The Journey to Simplicity – Expanding $0 Fees & Free Shipping to Bags and Drinkware
It was a warm summer afternoon in San Diego, Calif., August 2014. Goldstar’s leadership team was kicking off their very first strategic planning session as a newly-formed team. The company was just welcoming a new general manager, Howard Cubberly, and shortly before their first marketing manager, RJ Hagel. They were also joined by Goldstar veteran and vice president of sales, Kenny Ved.
The meeting was being held at a local gastropub around a small cocktail table talking over hors d'oeuvres and craft beers—an informal "pen and napkin" style affair. Goldstar’s team was small but nimble, and extremely optimistic about building a company around a great team of people, an amazing value proposition and a best-in-class customer experience. The month or so leading up to the meeting was spent talking with distributors, asking questions and learning about what makes a great "go-to" supplier.
Simplicity® Was Born
At the time, writing instruments still dominated the No. 1 hard goods space. As a category, it was slowly losing market share to the likes of drinkware and bags. But, regardless of the product, there was still something missing—the ease of doing business.
During Goldstar’s interactions with distributors, one of the primary concerns with many suppliers was the overabundance of setup and decoration charges, artwork fees and complicated rush order requirements. On top of that, shipping charges always varied, and the process simply became frustrating. Many people spoke too often of having to make the choice—"Do I pass along all these extra fees to my customer potentially upsetting them, or do I absorb the extra costs and just take the hit?”
As the consumption of IPAs and flat-bread pizzas continued, Goldstar’s team naturally kept steering back to the question: “What if all those extra fees just didn’t exist? What if we continue to focus on having competitive pricing, but eliminate extra charges and create a simple, all-inclusive price? We can provide a transparent buying process that was easy to understand and execute.” And at that moment, the idea of Simplicity® was born.
From Writing Instruments to Bags & Drinkware
In a nutshell, the premise of Simplicity® is just that—to make it as simple as possible for distributors to get the product they need with as little time and effort as necessary. That means all-inclusive pricing on everything—$0 setup charges; $0 decoration fees; and include all proofing, art and rush charges. Plus, since writing instruments were their core, quick delivery was a must—free shipping in three days or less to the contiguous United States and free shipping to Canada.
Over the next few years, Goldstar evolved its business, branching out into new categories that include bags and drinkware. The key element in their strategy remained—all-inclusive pricing on everything. Even full-color decoration that has been known to carry hefty setup fees upwards of $100 were waived.
For 2021, Goldstar has taken another leap forward and introduced free shipping on its complete line of bags and drinkware. When combine with all-inclusive pricing and small order minimums, distributors now have opportunity to pass along significant savings or make additional profit, with orders starting as low as 50 pieces.
More Than Just Price
The heart of Simplicity® is more than just simple pricing—it’s about making doing business easy. It’s about removing the barriers to selling and supporting distributors with creative solutions to help them be profitable along the way. Take for example some of the other services Goldstar is admired for:
- A dedicated support team so distributors know exactly who to contact for questions and support.
- A facility in Dundalk, Ireland, that offers order distribution throughout Western Europe
- Free services, such as virtual design boards, random samples and spec samples for large orders.
- Repurpose-able flyers, social media and customizable collateral with ZoomCatalog
- More than 70% of their products offer full-color decoration that meets client’s branding needs.
- A collection of in-house, U.S.-made writing instruments that provides virtually unlimited inventory.
- Low order minimums and deep inventory on dozens of popular styles and colors
- Quick standard turn-around times best demonstrated in their Simplicolor® decorated writing instruments. They print in 24 hours at any catalog quantity without the need to note it on your purchase order.
Experience Color, Fun and a Whole Lot of Simplicity®
Simplicity® has truly become the core of Goldstar’s belief system. You can find Goldstar's staff invested into executive boards and committees on over a half dozen regional associations. They have a fun and engaging social media presence, creative design standards and an unforgettable staff who brings smiles to distributors every day. They have won multiple awards by the most highly respected distributor groups, media companies and associations throughout the promotional industry, exemplifying their commitment to excellence.
If you haven’t had the chance, make sure to come experience Simplicity® for yourself. Visit Goldstar at www.goldstarpens.com or search them on social @goldstarpens.