PPB October 2022

Sustainable Apparel Garments Gone Green P. 14 Best Industry Websites Pyramid Awards: Technology P. 28 PPEF Scholars Aiding The Future P. 48 The Talent Crisis Promo’s Great Resignation P. 68 ’Tis The Season The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide P. 78

Offers cannot be combined. Valid through December 31, 2022. While supplies last. Visit IMAGENBrands.com for complete details including most-up-to-date pricing and production times. ([FOXVLRQ IRU RXWOHW RYHUVHDV DQG FXVWRP LWHPV ‹ ,0$*(1 %UDQGV SURGXFWV DUH ULJRURXVO\ WHVWHG WR FRQ¾UP FRPSOLDQFH ZLWK &36,$ DQG RWKHU 1RUWK $PHULFDQ SURGXFW VDIHW\ ODZV DQG VWDQGDUGV 7KH PDMRULW\ RI ,0$*(1 %UDQGV SURGXFW 6.8V DUH 3URS FRPSOLDQW DQG GR QRW UHTXLUH D 3URS ODEHO ZKHQ VKLSSLQJ WR &DOLIRUQLD ‹ ,0$*(1 %UDQGV ORJR ,0$*(1%UDQGV FRP DQG DOO UHODWHG WUDGHPDUNV ORJRV DQG WUDGH GUHVV DUH WUDGHPDUNV RU UHJLVWHUHG WUDGHPDUNV RI ,0$*(1 %UDQGV DQG RU LWV DI¾OLDWHV RU OLFHQVRUV DQG PD\ QRW EH XVHG ZLWKRXW ZULWWHQ SHUPLVVLRQ ‹ ,0$*(1 %UDQGV $OO ULJKWV UHVHUYHG ,0$*(1® LV D 5HJLVWHUHG 7UDGHPDUN RI 6FULEH 2S&R ,QF GED ,0$*(1 %UDQGV Thank you for your support in this mission. Everything you expect. More than you can IMAGEN! Scan Me to view stock plush IMAGENBrands.com 4 Paws for Ability enriches the lives of people with disabilities by placing life-changing service dogs. Push % 1 Throughout this gifting season, we will proudly donate 1% of sales on every stock plush order referencing code PLUSHGB22 to 4 PAWS FOR ABILITY!

AIDING THE FUTURE Heading to college in the fall, these 162 students are benefiting through the generosity of PPEF’s scholarship program. 4 Perspectives The Team Supporting You 8 Feedback 11 INNOVATE 12 Question Catching A ‘Big Fish’ Client 14 Eye On Apparel Sustainability 24 Marketing Inside The Rebranding Project At Nadel 37 GROW 38 Editor's Picks Writing Instruments 42 Promotional Products Work In The Fitness Market 63 THINK 65 Fast Forward Don’t Let Supply Chain Slowdowns Sour Your Holiday Season 76 Viewpoint Sparkling Brilliance 89 CONNECT 90 Close Up Stacey Felice, PPAChicago 93 Inside PPAI 100 PPPC Communiqué TOPS+ 2023 In Full Preparations 103 New Members Board Candidate Vote Results + More 107 Datebook 112 Creative Calendar THE GREAT RESIGNATION IN PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS Our sector isn’t immune to unprecedented turnover. Industry companies are reassessing what they offer employees and how they can attract new talent. BUILT FOR BUSINESS The 10 best industry websites earned PPAI Pyramid Awards for their innovations, aesthetic appeal and ease of use. THE 2022 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Appreciation is the name of the game, so think big for corporate gifts this year and wow recipients with name brands, thoughtfully assembled kits and supportive messaging. Check out these 22 gift ideas for 2022. 48 68 78 28 contents Promotional Products Business The Official Business Monthly of Promotional Products Association International OCTOBER 2022 | OCTOBER 2022 | 3

Dale Denham, MAS+ President & CEO perspectives The Team Supporting You Although my colleagues may sometimes tell you it feels like it’s been much longer, I just passed my oneyear anniversary since taking over at PPAI in August 2021. It’s been a busy, unique time for the entire industry, and the Association is no different. Along the way, we’ve reimagined the makeup of the organization in hopes of positioning ourselves for the future so we can serve you in far greater ways than we ever did before. The people are changing. PPAI is changing. I wasn’t here for the darkest times in 2020 and early 2021. Confronted with the reality of a year with no PPAI Expo and reduced membership (as companies were forced to make cuts of their own), the board and decision makers from the staff led a challenging reduction in the headcount of teammembers during the pandemic. PPAI’s headquarters staff was reduced from 80 to 40 people, but heroically managed to keep the most critical operations functioning. In addition to decisions made by PPAI, some staffers chose to go their own way amid The Great Resignation. You can read more about its massive effect on the entire industry on page XX. The departures are not the whole story, though. We all know what got us here won’t get us there. PPAI is rebuilding the teamwith our newmission and vision in mind. In some cases it has meant imaginative hires, and in others it means smart promotions for people who have worked hard and earned it. Among our most important moves, Alan Peterson was promoted to senior vice president and Ellen Tucker was promoted vice president of revenue and expositions. Both have been with PPAI for seven years. They, along with many employees, have taken on additional responsibilities that allow them to make a greater impact. We also added a new director this year, Josh Ellis, who is leading an overhaul of our approach to media and has brought many good things to the organization. As of September 1, we had hired 18 new people in 2022, including a pair of industry professionals who bring valuable insight and experience. Pat Patton joined us in a role key to our member engagement efforts, particularly with our larger distributor members, and Lindsey Davis came on board to lead our Promotional Products Work efforts. Both were hugely important to the exciting debut of PPW Expo, our client-facing virtual event, in September. I can’t wait to see where they and the rest of the staff steer that annual event in the years to come. We are still hiring and are seeking a variety of talent to join our team – a mix of people with industry experience, association backgrounds and some with unique professional skills that can contribute to our vision. As I look back on the last year and all the progress, I am extremely proud of what the team has accomplished and how our staffers have grown individually in what they bring to the table every day to serve you. We’re focused on making smart investments for the future. I’m thankful we have an engaged board that is supporting our new vision and aligned with building a staff that can execute our plans. Our teamwill drive the industry’s movement toward digital transformation and corporate social responsibility, as well as our efforts to grow the standing of the industry through Promotional Products Work. All of this means you can expect more change, as well as greater returns. My colleagues and I are committed to delivering member value in meaningful ways that will help grow the marketplace and support you. The people are changing. PPAI is changing. 4 | OCTOBER 2022 |

PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Denham, MAS+ 888-I-AM-PPAI EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Robert I. McLean, Jr., CPA, CAE, CEM SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Alan Peterson DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Brigitte Rousseau, CPA, MBA VICE PRESIDENT, REVENUE AND EXPOSITIONS Ellen Tucker, CAE DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Paul Elfstrom DIRECTOR OF MEMBER ENGAGEMENT Anne Stone, CAE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Keith Vincent PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Josh Ellis 972-258-3028 JoshE@ppai.org NEWS EDITORS James Khattak 972-258-3052 JamesK@ppai.org Jonny Auping 972-258-3044 JonnyA@ppai.org ASSOCIATE EDITORS Kristina Valdez 972-258-3094 KristinaV@ppai.org Rachel Zoch 972-258-3063 RachelZ@ppai.org -ART DIRECTION SPARK Publications SPARKpublications.com 704-844-6080 ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT SALES MANAGER AND NATIONAL ACCOUNTS Melissa Massey 972-258-3029 MelissaM@ppai.org ACCOUNT MANAGERS Connie Brazil 972-258-3064 ConnieB@ppai.org Taylor Coward 972-258-3033 TaylorC@ppai.org ADVERTISING CONTACT Mimi Duong 972-258-3025 MimiD@ppai.org BOARD OFFICERS CHAIR OF THE BOARD Dawn Olds, MAS HALO IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Todd Pottebaum, MAS+ Quality Resource Group, Inc. CHAIR-ELECT OF THE BOARD Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays VICE CHAIR, FINANCE SERVICES Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody BOARD MEMBERS TERMS EXPIRING 2023 R. Renée Jones, MAS+ A Creative Touch David Nicholson Polyconcept NA TERMS EXPIRING 2024 Dawn Olds, MAS HALO Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays TERMS EXPIRING 2025 Noah Lapine Lapine Associates, Inc. Andrew Spellman Therabody TERMS EXPIRING 2026 Chris Anderson HPG Denise Taschereau Fairware AT-LARGE DIRECTOR TERM EXPIRING 2024 Melissa Ralston, Koozie Group PPAI HEADQUARTERS 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038-3526 Phone: 888-IAM-PPAI (426-7724) www.ppai.org, pubs.ppai.org READER RESOURCES SUBSCRIBE TO PPB: Subscribe online at pubs.ppai.org or send your name, title, company name and mailing address, along with phone and fax, to PPB Subscriptions, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Or phone in your subscription to 972-258-3019. Include payment with your order. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted, along with checks. Additional member subscriptions are $58 for PPAI member companies (U.S.), $70 (Canada and Mexico) and $75 (international). Nonmember subscriptions are $72 (U.S.), $82 (Canada and Mexico) and $92 (international). Please allow four to six weeks for start of subscription. ADVERTISE IN PPB: Download a media kit with rates and specs for all PPAI print and digital publications at pubs.ppai.org, or call 972-258-3019 or e-mail mediasales@ppai.org. WRITE FOR PPB: The magazine regularly accepts articles from both professional writers and industry experts—like yourself. Find out everything you need to know about submitting an article or an idea by reading PPB’s Writer’s Guidelines available at pubs.ppai.org/submit-content. REGIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE DELEGATE Kara Keister, MAS Social Good Promotions 6 | OCTOBER 2022 |

feedback Send feedback on articles in PPB or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Tech 101 PPAI Media looked at tech products in August – a $900 million category in the industry, according to PPAI research – and offered an explainer on a product category that some distributors avoid as too complicated. Thank you! Yes, tech products can be intimidating. I’ve been selling promos for 54 years, when they were called “advertising specialties.” Keeping up is essential, and you just made it much easier to understand what a “power bank” is! This industry has always been exciting and fires the imagination. You that were born with the “tech” chip are so very lucky. If you want to, you can do anything. Thanks for pulling us “Oldsters” along. It’s much appreciated. FRAN SUMMERS Owner Empower Promos Santa Clarita, California NALC’s Return A Success In August, PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference returned after a two-year hiatus from in-person events. It brought leaders together from across the industry to connect and learn. This was my first time attending this event, and the curation of the speakers far exceeded my expectations. Every speaker truly created meaningful conversations about how to look at our industry and inward at our company. Enormous kudos to the entire team that put this on! PATRICK NAPURSKI President Halls & Company Brooklyn Park, Minnesota PPAI 111778, S6 Walk Away The Right Way In the magazine’s July issue, PPAI Media shared a question about how to respond to a customer that has begun price shopping after a distributor had spent considerable time and money working with them on the project. Understanding that everyone has already said what needs to be said, I would end my speech with: “I do not wish any outcome other than the best for you and your company, but inmy experience your final outcome will not be as planned. My experience has been clients that receive inferior products, goods not on time and if there are any issues, no one is available to fix the problem. Please remember not to be embarrassed on your decision and reach back out to us. We will welcome you back with open arms and the same quality service and prices we have always offered.” My dad always said: “Never step on the toes connected to the backside you may have to pucker up to tomorrow.” JAMES MONTGOMERY President Montgomery Promotions Tifton, Georgia Value In The Face Of Adversity In August, PPAI Media reported on a Wall Street Journal article on CEOs’ potential cost-cutting measures in the face of tightening budgets, and promotional products could be on the chopping block I couldn’t agree more with Danny [Rosin]’s statement: “Consider the power of thoughtful, utilitarian and sustainable branded gear that helps recognize staff, thank customers and help companies connect with prospects that might not give them the time of day if they did not offer them something of value for their time, data and insight.” I think we need to keep this concept top of mind all the time, though, not just in economic downturns. My clients all know whatever product suggestions I make to them, they will be useful, not just something to carry a logo. A recent example is a local community college client. They wanted more of their students to follow their TikTok channel. I suggested branded ring lights for the students’ mobile phones, so their “follow” message (right below the brand) is front and center in a useful tool every time the students use that handy ring light to make any videos. SANDEE RODRIGUEZ Owner Graphic Designs & D&S Designs Greater Philadelphia 8 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

CUSTOM ORNAMENTS Let us help you create something that the recepient will keep for years to come! ! "# $ %%%" ! "# $

PPAI Pyramid Awards The 10 best industry websites earned PPAI Pyramid Awards for their innovations, aesthetic appeal and ease of use. INNOVATE 24MARKETING: INSIDE THE REBRANDING PROJECT AT NADEL page 28 12QUESTION BIG FISH 14EYE ON APPAREL SUSTAINABILITY OR BUST | OCTOBER 2022 | 11

compiled by Kristina Valdez Big Fish I want more business from a new, large client. How can I formally ask for more orders? QA Distributor Asks: I’ve recently started getting orders from a rather large business. But they didn’t just hand me their entire business, although it seems on the table, considering the previous company they were working with hasn’t been working out. I’m unsure on how to ask them for another product… am I approaching this incorrectly? How can I formally ask for more orders? I found a good question to ask is, “What else can I help you with? Do you have anything coming up in the next few months that I can line up for you?” It gets them thinking and shows that you’re proactive rather than reactive. LORI TRAFFORD CEO iPROMOTEu/Chesapeake Promotion Corporation Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada PPAI 674444, D2 Yay for getting that business! I’m always a fan of sending the buyer a nice spec or personalized sample of a great product or “thought of (company name) when I saw this product” or “what do you think of (this item) for (next big event).” Something that shows them you are thinking about themproactively andmore than when they place the order. I’ve always had good success with something personal and a good spec sample… just a thought. Also, remember, they came to you because of lack of good service from another company. Focus on your service quality with them and even if it takes them longer to hand over all business, it will most likely be worth the wait proving to them how awesome you are over time. Quality over quantity! TARA AUSTIN BURNS Owner Branded. Kingsport, Tennessee PPAI 793792, D1 First off, good for you! Secondly, stay focused on doing what you are doing to a high standard and build that into the story of why they should try on you for more of the biz. As for asking, just always check in and ask if there’s are other projects you can help with, or other project managers/teams that might have similar business needs. Ask for internal referrals. Good luck! JIM NOSLER Owner Publications Resources Brewster, Massachusetts PPAI 764240, D1 First off, it takes time to build a relationship, there are probably other buyers within the company you want to meet. So, find out what they have going on by subscribing to their blog posts and following them on social media, they will be posting everything they’re working on and planning on there. Based on their audience and what they have going on, send them curated product ideas with their logo on them once a month. Suggest they share the email with their colleagues. Send spec samples periodically. Send a set of well thought out self-promos, but call it “sample pack.” Include a couple of hard copy catalogs with a note to pass around. Set up a meeting where you will show samples of cool products – this typically results in lots of information on future events and quote requests, and also other people are invited to the meeting. Good luck! GLORIA LAFONT Owner Action Promo Plantation, Florida PPAI 656637, D1 12 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

QA Distributor Asks: Have you been working harder than ever, quoting on countless pieces of business only to have prospects not even having the decency to reply to your quote, follow up calls or emails? We are hearing from so many that it is a matter of money. They are proceeding as quickly as possible, but with gas and other operating expenses going up so astronomically, their hands are tied. Some are struggling just to stay in business but are having to deal with the most limited liquidity in the past 20 years. CHRIS POLLAN Owner Pollan Promos Starkville, Mississippi PPAI 276409, D2 Don’t take it personally. You will never knowwhat is going on in their lives and there could be many reasons why they’re not responding. Do your follow ups, stay in touch and be open to new opportunities. Chances are they will come back! Most clients do if you add value to your service and do things a little better than the competition! NILOO AMIRI Managing Principal Tower One Promotions, LLC Long Beach, California PPAI 682218, D2 That has been a problem for me long before COVID. A potential customer just has to have the pricing by 5 o’clock today – often onmany items. Once you get it to them, they won’t even return a phone call for weeks. JOHN BAGWELL Owner Bagwell Marketing Dallas, Texas PPAI 336431, D2 Do You Have An Answer? A Distributor Asks: I am a part of a business networking group in my area. In my group, we have a financial planner, realtor, personal insurance rep, a Mary Kay rep, a digital marketing agent, a hotel manager and other local business owners. Since I know most you have been in the business longer than I have, what topic would you do a presentation on, to a group of business owners and salespeople? A Distributor Asks: I just got an order in, and on every one of the items, the supplier’s website is screenprinted on it. I haven’t had this happen before, except on samples. Usually, there’s just an item number. What do y’all think about this? Email your response(s) to Question@ppai.org for the chance to be featured in a future issue of PPB. PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC:101273 www.americanaccents.com 888.287.7883 PERFECT FOR... Interior print optional ѭ 8FRUQJ PNYX ѭ 5WTIZHY UFHPFLNSL ѭ 8ZGXHWNUYNTS GT]JX ѭ <JQHTRJ PNYX ѭ FSI RTWJ We have over 60 sizes to choose from! Full color digital imprint No die cut fees Quick turnarounds ѭEasy to assemble ѭSelf locking Need Mailing Boxes? ѭMade & printed in the USA 5 Piece minimums | OCTOBER 2022 | 13 INNOVATE

Sus t a i nab i l i t y by Rachel Zoch acr23 / Mushakesa / Shutterstock.com Sustainability Or Bust Going green with garments is necessary to keep your business out of the red. But what does that mean on a practical level? Demand for sustainable products remains high and cannot be ignored, even in the face of inflation and rumors of recession. Survey after survey shows that consumers want sustainable products and practices. A 2021 global consumer survey conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value and the National Retail Federation found that 40% of consumers seek products and services aligned with their values. Further, 60% are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact, and of the 80% who say sustainability is important for them, nearly 3 in 4 would pay a premium for sustainable and environmentally responsible brands. From the employer/employee perspective, sustainability is also a great retention strategy, as younger workers are especially likely to 14 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

Knorre / Alhovik / Shutterstock.com expect their employers to be responsible corporate citizens. Although millennials are leading the way as both consumers and employees, the desire for sustainability tracks across all age groups. Suppliers and distributors of promo products must pay attention or risk falling behind the curve. But there’s good news, particularly when it comes to sustainable branded apparel, as more and more eco-friendly fabrics and garments have become available in recent years. So, “sustainability” is clearly important – but what does this big, buzzy umbrella termmean on a practical level? Key elements of a sustainable business model include: Circularity: What Goes Around Comes Around Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns is No. 12 on the list of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015, with specific targets including “substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.” Irys Kornbluth, CEO of Everywhere Apparel, a supplier of recycled cotton garments (mostly made in Los Angeles), says the promo apparel market is uniquely suited to adopt a circular model of production, usage and recycling. “Companies want to clothe their employees in their branded merchandise and spread the word about their brand, but to do so in a way that’s sustainable and circular,” she says. “This is really a great area to do that in, because there’s a lot of repeated production, a lot of the same goods that are being produced on an ongoing basis.” Everywhere makes all its garments from recycled cotton yarn, and the company offers garment recycling as a service as well. This doesn’t only keep unwanted or discarded garments out of the landfill – by some estimates, the average American throws out 80 pounds of clothing a year – but gives those materials a new life. “If we’re doing a custom run for a distributor or whatnot in the network and they end up having a few pallets leftover or merchandise that didn’t get sent out to the field, we can help them recycle that back into new products,” says Kornbluth. “So it’s minimizing the risk of overproduction and also helping to address those problems if they do come up.” Cleaner Operations: Reduce Energy And Water Usage, Emissions Cleaning up production operations in your supply chain also makes a big difference. The more garment suppliers and distributors expect their business partners to participate in sustainable initiatives, the easier, less expensive and more accessible these processes will become for everyone in the industry. Doug Jackson, president of Minnesota-based supplier Storm Creek, tried dipping his toes into recycled fabrics about a decade ago. At first, it was slow going because he didn’t have enough volume to demand sustainable yarns and fabrics from Storm Creek’s suppliers. But he kept asking, and eventually more options became available. “At that point we decided that we could, as a company, start putting a big force toward trying to do everything recycled,” Jackson says. “Once we realized that we could do that, we started looking at Although millennials are leading the way as both consumers and employees, the desire for sustainability tracks across all age groups. | OCTOBER 2022 | 15 INNOVATE

Sus t a i nab i l i t y the whole supply chain and saying, OK, can we as a company start saying that we need certification from all of our fabric mills, from all of our dyeing mills, from all of our yarns, from every part of the channel?” Although it was still “a big boys’ game,” he adds, awareness and demand were growing, and the kinds of recycled and eco-friendly materials he was looking for were getting easier to come by. It’s all about volume, he says – there has to be enough demand to make it worth the effort for everyone in the supply chain. Storm Creek also started asking all of its suppliers to commit to earning Bluesign and OEKO-TEX certifications, both of which reduce harmful chemicals and wastewater pollution “We want all of our mills to be OEKO-TEX certified or Bluesign certified, and really what that means is that they just use better chemicals for the environment,” Jackson says. Certifications: What To Look For In Your Suppliers And Their Products In fact, there are multiple certification programs and other measures of sustainability to look for. Here are four of the biggest: • Bluesign helps manufacturers better manage dyes and water usage. The company conducts on-site assessments to help clients understand the environmental and chemical management status of their facility, and a specific action plan is created to close any gaps observed during the assessment. • OEKO-TEX develops test methods and standards to support sustainable measures in the textile industry. Compliance with OEKOTEX Standard 100 can earn your garments a label indicating that every component – from threads to buttons to printings and coatings—has been tested for and cleared of harmful substances. • EcoVadis is a universal sustainability ratings provider that helps companies manage program and performance reviews, supplier selection and onboarding, procurement process changes and more, including tools to help promote your company’s green initiatives. • You may have seen the B Corp logo on a company website recently and wondered what it means. B Corp Certification, managed by the nonprofit B Lab, is a CSR designation that a business can earn by meeting standards for performance, accountability and transparency on factors from employee benefits to supply chain practices. Communicate: Make Sure Your Customers Know About Your Sustainable Efforts The IBM study authors suggest that to do sustainability right, companies need to recognize consumer demand, incorporate sustainable initiatives like those described above throughout your operations and earn customers’ confidence through transparency and traceability. Once you’ve taken these steps toward sustainability, be sure to promote your efforts and certifications with messaging and product/ packaging labels to inform buyers and end users. For example, supplier Gildan reports its sustainability, circularity and environmental achievements online. Everywhere and Storm Creek also highlight their sustainability practices on their websites. “Younger people are becoming more of an influence, and they just look at things in a different way that made more people want to think about it,” says Jackson. “We all can do more nowadays. The price is not as crazy as it used to be, and it’s more available.” Once you’ve taken these steps toward sustainability, be sure to promote your efforts and certifications withmessaging and product/ packaging labels to inform buyers and end users. wolfman57 / Shutterstock.com 16 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

Product Spotlight The 100% GRS Certified Recycled Cotton Unisex Crew Tee from Everywhere Apparel is a soft and sustainable T-shirt designed to be recycled at end of life and reincorporated into the company’s supply chain. Available in white or black, sizes XS-3X. Each shirt includes a QR code to help wearers recycle it and other clothes. Everywhere Apparel / PPAI 795141, S1 / www.everywhereapparel.com Like Everywhere’s tees, the company’s 100% Recycled Cotton Unisex Pullover Hoodie is made of recycled fibers and without dyes, bleach, fertilizers or pesticides. This classic hoodie sweatshirt features a kangaroo pocket and a lined hood without drawstring. Available in white, gray or black, sizes XS-3XL. Everywhere Apparel / PPAI 795141, S1 / www.everywhereapparel.com Don’t forget your tootsies! Go for a total custom product with the ability to knit complex logos and patterns on these Sustainable Custom Knitted Dress Socks. Recycled cotton yarn from old garments or leftover fabrics prevents additional textile waste and requires far fewer resources than conventional or organic cotton. Socks are woven from 80% recycled cotton, 18% nylon and 2% spandex. SOCK101 / PPAI 625402, S6 / www.sock101.com | OCTOBER 2022 | 17 INNOVATE

Sus t a i nab i l i t y Storm Creek offers a variety of button-down dress shirts made from recycled yarns, including the Men’s Influencer Gingham Shirt. The four-way stretch lets you move with ease and keeps the fabric wrinkle-free. The quick-dry fabric also features UV protection. Available in blue or black (shown) and sizes S-5X, as well as L-2X tall. Storm Creek / PPAI 438091, S6 / www.stormcreek.com Each bestselling Men’s Front Runner Vest contains seven recycled bottles with 40% of the outer shell and 35% of the insulation from recycled materials. The water-resistant, windproof, quilted vest provides warmth without bulk and includes zippered chest/ front pockets and an interior embroidery pocket. Available in six colors (shown in jet/ black) and sizes S-5X, as well as L-3X tall. Storm Creek / PPAI 438091, S6 www.stormcreek.com With its C-FREE line, SanMar measures the carbon footprint of each style and purchases verified carbon offsets to remove an equivalent amount of emissions elsewhere in the environment. The Port Authority Ladies Recycled Performance Polo Shirt is made of certified recycled materials, from the 100% recycled poly pique fabric to the thread. These shirts also provide snag-resistance, moisture-wicking and UV protection in five colors (shown in rich red) and sizes XS-4X. SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 www.sanmar.com 18 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

visit us at newellcustomwritinginstruments.com Experience a high-performance gel pen with the Sharpie S-Gel in both matte finish and metal barrel. With no smear, no bleed technology, this Sharpie pen delivers an exceptional writing experience. The gel ink pen features intensely bold colors for always vivid writing, while the contoured rubber grip provides you a comfortable writing experience during any writing task. Finally, it’s sleek design and metal barrel make it a pen you’ll be hesitant to loan out. The Sharpie S-Gel in a metal barrel offers a smooth writing experience at home, school, or in the office. Writing never felt so good!

Make a statement with these glow-in-the-dark Tornado™ twist-top rollerball pens. Each one has a blue luminescent glow at night so they’re on standby to capture your dreams. Two options are available with the Classic White with gloss barrel and chrome accents and the Chaplin with matte white barrel and Stealth black trim. Customize the packaging as well to double the impact. Each black tube doubles as a pen stand when not in use. For more information about how to add these dreamy fine writing instruments and many others to your next project please contact us at 972-479-1405. After all.... Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!® PPAI #111196 • Sage #50296 Classic White Chaplin TH E P E N YO U ’ V E B E E N D R E AM I N G A B O UT retro51promo.com

Adidas has pledged to use only recycled polyester in all its products by 2024. The Adidas Golf Basic Short Sleeve Sport Shirt features classic athleisure style in 100% recycled polyester with UPF 25 protection and a moisture wicking finish. Available in 16 colors (shown in Amazon) and sizes S-4X. S&S Activewear / PPAI 256121, S12 / www.ssactivewear.com The lightweight, brushed fleece Cutter & Buck Adapt Eco Knit Stretch Recycled Womens Half Zip Pullover is made of certified ecofriendly 88% recycled polyester – with an average of 16 recycled plastic bottles in each garment – plus spandex for stretch. Sizes XS3X, 12 colors (shown in red). Cutter & Buck / PPAI 196156, S11 www.cbcorporate.com Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. | OCTOBER 2022 | 21 INNOVATE

Inside The Rebranding Project At Nadel by James Khattak In March, the near-70-year-old distributor Jack Nadel International (PPAI 107145, D12) announced that it was rebranding as, simply, Nadel. Now that some time has passed, PPAI Media has checked in with Nadel to learn more about the rebranding, the thinking behind it and how the transition has gone. At the time of the rebranding, the company – headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices around the world – said the new name reflected its evolution from a promotional marketing firm to a complete, in-house agency of talent and brand promotion. It noted that as the world is changing, Nadel was changing to stay ahead of the industry and influence its direction. Debbie Abergel, Nadel CSO 24 | OCTOBER 2022 | INNOVATE

“We are the same company meeting the needs of a changing industry,” says Debbie Abergel, Nadel’s chief strategy officer. “Branded merchandise has evolved, and we are pleased to have a hand in that evolution. We believe in the power of connections through branded merchandise. It used to be about positioning the merchandise; now it’s about sharing your story – culture, ethics, sustainability, community, financials, etc.” Founded in 1953, Nadel has grown from offering branded merchandise to custom product development, digital storefronts, fulfillment, global distribution and other services, and counts companies like Meta, Netflix and Tesla among its clients. The refreshed brand includes a redesigned website and updated social media presence to go along with the streamlined name. Abergel stresses that what hasn’t changed is the company’s approach to the market. She says, “We are in the same space, same values, same service and quality we have offered for over 60 years. What is new is sharing a bit of our secret sauce and transparency with clients. Letting them see what it takes to execute their needs has been rewarding.” Nadel partnered with Ludlow Kingsley, a boutique branding agency also based in Los Angeles, for the project. Bringing a third party in provided a fresh perspective on the company’s work to deliver its brand promise to clients, vendors and employees. “This was the most important aspect of the rebrand,” says Abergel. “During the process we pored over all types of marketing collateral, yearbooks, newsletters for the past 60-plus years – what you see in the rebrand is what has been As part of the distributor's 2022 Nadel U national sales meeting, participants enjoy an event hosted at the California Science Center. | OCTOBER 2022 | 25 INNOVATE

consistent with Nadel since the late ’50s – a dedication to our craft and our culture. We used this base at various times over the past 60 years to meet changes in the branded merchandise space and in the world. We believe staying true to our culture and creativity will ensure our future.” The company sought feedback from both within and outside the organization during the branding process. Accurately reflecting the internal voice was of paramount importance. “The year before rolling out the new look, we really wanted to connect with our people on what does it mean to work and be a part of Nadel,” Abergel says. “Our goal throughout this rebrand journey was tomake sure that each employee was a part of the process. The next group was our vendors, and then last were clients. Our employees are the stewards of the rebrand. Their acceptance and adherence without mandates from leadership has been the reward.” And the rebranding has been invigorating within the company. Abergel says, “The way we rolled out the brand is important, and we have a new look that feels so good to us all. My co-workers love wearing and carrying Nadel branded merchandise. It’s a beautiful thing. I think the reason they do is that they are proud for what Nadel stands for. There is deep pride and ownership for this company amongst our people.” Khattak is a news editor at PPAI. Successful Rebranding Campaigns Nadel isn’t the only company to refresh its brand’s look. Here are some recent, successful examples from around the corporate world. • Dunkin’ Donuts dropped the donuts. In its name, at least. The brand still resonates with customers, while reflecting its modernized, broader focus. • Pabst Blue Ribbon – of cheap, college-student-friendly beer fame – remade itself when it entered the Chinese market. As “Blue Ribbon 1844,” it highlighted special ingredients and processes and sold for $44 a bottle. • Founded in 1938, by the end of the 20th century Old Spice was synonymous with the brand “your grandfather smelled like.” In 2010 it successfully battled that stigma and connected with a younger audience with actor Isiah Mustafa, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” ¾ ¾ ¾ As low as $.77(C) ! "# | OCTOBER 2022 | 27 INNOVATE

Built For Business The 10 best industry websites earned PPAI Pyramid Awards for their innovations, aesthetic appeal and ease of use. compiled by PPAI Media Staff This year’s 10 winners of the coveted PPAI Pyramid Award In Technology have learned the secret to keeping clients coming back. Their innovative, state-of-theart websites give clients the tools and information they need to save time, money and frustration, and inspire their imagination with endless ideas. PPAI’s technology competition, one of five annual Pyramid Award programs available to member companies, recognizes the most effective websites based on judges’ assessments of the use of images, content relative to the intended audience, ease of use and creative delivery. A team of industry judges selected this year’s winners in the categories of e-commerce, mobile apps/websites and web content/functionality. FEATURE | PPAI Pyramid Awards 28 | OCTOBER 2022 |

eCommerce Website Gold Winner Hexa | Custom The Hexa Design Lab is an innovative microsite program that allows gift recipients (employees, event guests, award winners, etc.) to design their own jacket. Its purpose is to heighten the value of the gifting process by creating memorable experiences and giving receipients products they will love and be excited to receive. It also builds a culture of collaboration, creativity and individuality and results in unparalleled promotional value for the organization and distributor who championed it. The process begins with a questionnaire the distributor completes for the client with information on product styles, color palette and logo placements they wish to offer. Then the microsite is built and a custom link and redemption codes are shared with recipients. Then the fun begins as they bring their jacket to life with the choices offered along with gender, size and fit information. And finally, they check out with their redemption code, just like on any other e-commerce site. Silver Winner Showdown Displays Showdown Displays’ Virtual Showroom provides an immersive and interactive product experience for distributor partners and their clients. Initially conceived as a method to address the transportation and presentation of physically large and cumbersome products, this initiative was accelerated by the challenges of remote presentations created by the pandemic. The elimination of in-person events and presentations evolved into an opportunity to reimagine product presentations and experiences. This comprehensive platform unites multiple facets of the Showdown Displays’ branding, innovation and educational efforts into a single reference point allowing users swift and easy access. All points within the environment were conceived as end-user friendly enabling reseller partners the freedom and ability to share this environment with their clients. Since its launch, the Showdown Displays Virtual Showroom has hosted more than 12,000 tours from 5,500 unique users. PPAI Pyramid Awards | FEATURE | OCTOBER 2022 | 29

Mobile Apps/Mobile Websites Gold Winner Gemline Gemline’s redesigned mobile site makes browsing on tablets and mobile devices faster and easier, and the modern desktop site seamlessly transitions to the mobile site, resulting in an improved shopping experience. In addition, the streamlined mobile site features full product descriptions, detailed decoration information and alternate product images allowing distributors to see multiple angles of the item they are viewing. Content now also includes product videos with Designer Creative Clips and stop motion videos for a more stimulating viewer experience. All video content can be easily viewed on mobile devices from relevant product pages or from an easy-to-find video and webinar section in the footer. Silver Winner PromoPulse PromoPulse was created to help promotional products professionals quickly and easily find ideas, inspiration and information from suppliers, service providers, associations and thought leaders. The promo industry generates over 750 pieces of new content daily and PromoPulse makes it easy to search, share and save that content. Distributors can personalize their content by choosing which publishers they want to follow and they can choose how they wish to consume the content: via app, daily email, Alexa or a searchable infinite scroll web feed. Plus, the Weekly Checkup email is delivered every Sunday with ideas from publishers recipients aren't following in the app but who are popular with other distributors. Gemline® FEATURE | PPAI Pyramid Awards 30 | OCTOBER 2022 |

Web Content/Functionality Gold Winner ePromos Promotional Products ePromos’ redesigned website provides a modern and more efficient shopping experience for clients. Through improvements to the navigation, visual palate and site speed, the site now provides customers with clear visual direction to product categories, products for seasonal events, trends and popular searches, making it easier for those who know what they want and sparking ideas for those searching for ideas. The home page style and content were completely revamped. Lifestyle images show products in action, and the number of sections has been increased to allow more relevant products to be displayed. A new “Trusted By” section lets shoppers know the company works with recognizable brands. Since launching these updates, page load times have decreased by half and conversion rates have doubled. Gold Winner HPG HPG’s new cloud-based, patent-pending, automated virtual tool HPG Catalog+ enables distributors to upload any number of logos in any format, select one to 10 HPG catalogs and, in minutes, receive a link to download customized, personalized copies in which every product on every page of every catalog is branded with the logos uploaded. The distributor is then able to use these catalogs, with pages of client-branded products, as sales tools when presenting to their clients. PPAI Pyramid Awards | FEATURE | OCTOBER 2022 | 31

Web Content/Functionality Gold Winner PromoCorner PromoShow is a virtual trade show portal for suppliers, distributors and end users to communicate and share ideas via text chat and video conferencing. The portal is open 24/7 and can host both public and private events independently and simultaneously. In addition to exhibitor virtual booth space, PromoShow incorporates a separate lobby with space for education and training. PromoShow is also designed to consolidate supplier content from various outside sources in a single space so attendees can learn more about a supplier without needing live interaction. Exhibitors may include searchable product data from DistributorCentral, social media posts from PromoPulse, digital flyers and catalogs from PromoCorner.com and videos from YouTube and Vimeo. This content is available to attendees at any time. In addition, attendees may schedule meetings with exhibitors, as well as check exhibitors’ schedules for access to live presenters. At a customer’s request, PromoShow can be “skinned” to provide a completely customized experience for private events. Silver Winner commonsku The purpose of the commonsku site is to educate supplier and distributor prospects on the benefits and features of the commonsku platform and help current customers to learn more about the commonsku team, platform stats and updates. Because the site is the first impression that potential clients have of the company’s digital platform product, countless hours went into designing each element of the site, and analytics are used to improve it each quarter. Visitors will immediately see a snapshot of the platform product and be given a choice to either watch a video to learn more or start a trial of the platform. Throughout the site, visitors will notice redesign upgrades, such as helpful infographics, flowcharts and gifs to address many of the common questions asked by prospects. Additional information, such as pricing, company information, education/ training or the login portal, can be easily found in the top bar section of the site. A chatbot was also added (hosted by the company mascot, skubot) so visitors can ask questions and get answers in real time. FEATURE | PPAI Pyramid Awards 32 | OCTOBER 2022 |

We’ve reduced prices! ECO-FRIENDLY PLA COLD PLASTIC CUPS ೒ Offset Printed: 1–6 spot colors ೒ 10,000 piece minimums ೒ Food service grade ೒ Economical for multiple color imprints American HISPEED ೒ Screen printed: unlimited spot colors ೒ Free PMS matching ೒ 100 piece minimums ೒ Metallic & neon inks available American TRADITION ೒ Full color digital imprint ೒ 25 piece minimums ೒ Ideal for small events ೒ Great for multi-colored and detailed artwork American DIGITAL Need Matching Lids? Scan for pricing! Scan for pricing! Scan for pricing! Scan for lid pricing! H-CG20 T-CG20 D-CG20 H-CG16 T-CG16 D-CG16 H-CG12 T-CG12 D-CG12 H-CG9R T-CG9R Quick Turn Arounds Made & Printed in the USA Made from Eco-Friendly PLA

W W W . H I G H T E C H G R A F I X . C O M b <ù

Silver Winner Corporate Specialties The Corporate Specialties blog features editorialquality articles that illustrate the core of the company’s concierge service. Like a hotel concierge who knows the best restaurants, the Corporate Specialties team knows what promotional products are on-trend, on-brand and will get results, and these are featured in the blog. There’s also a three-part series on marketing strategy and a section that showcases client wins; for example, a $70,000 fundraising campaign built around a T-shirt Drew Barrymore wore on the cover of InStyle. The result is a well-rounded content forum that not only keeps customers informed but also allows them to save time and money by helping to narrow their product choices and make more educated purchasing decisions. Silver Winner Gemline Gemline’s new website supports its commitment to digital transformation, providing customers with more self-service options while increasing the efficiency of site maintenance. With its tab format, the new design delivers a clean, modern look that is easily adaptable to mobile phone use. Improved navigation and upgrades throughout the site enhance the user’s experience with elements, such as highlighting top product categories under “What’s Trending,” a section the company can frequently update. New tabs below product images now allow users to see both decoration options and pricing on the same tab. In addition, a more robust page footer leads users to key areas within the site, and all product flyers are combined on one page with tabs to make it easier to find different types of flyers. Gemline solicited customer feedback to make these changes and upgrades and says it is now easier than ever for customers to find the information they are seeking. Gemline® PPAI Pyramid Awards | FEATURE | OCTOBER 2022 | 35

GROW page 48 Aiding The Future This year, students at universities ranging from New York to Tennessee, Utah, Hawaii and many other states are receiving financial assistance on behalf of the Promotional Products Educational Foundation. 54EDITOR'S PICKS WRITING INSTRUMENTS Add Some Muscle To Fitness Marketing Promotional products help gyms, health clubs and other fitnessfocused businesses flex their creativity, capture more attention and reach bigger audiences. page 42 | OCTOBER 2022 | 37

Wr i t i ng I ns t rumen t s by Kristina Valdez Put A Pen In It Writing instruments are one of the most popular promo products, and consumers can never have too many. Whether it’s signing a bill or drawing in a coloring book, these promo products keep your client’s brand in an end user’s hand. If anyone else needs to borrow a pen, they’ll happily pass it along. When the check comes at a restaurant, my friends and I always debate. We whisper to each other, “Should we steal this pen?” Especially if it writes like silk, and we aren’t the only ones. In 2017, Bon Appétit wrote that pens had become “restaurant postcards,” replacing thematchbook. The foodmagazine declared “the best way to remember ameal is to steal a pen.” It’s not just happening in restaurants, either. In 2012, Paper Mate surveyed office workers, and 100% admitted to stealing a pen. But one out of five did it on purpose. Most (50%) will steal a pen because it writes smoothly or effortlessly. For others, it’s because they like the way it looks (36%) or simply because they like the color (34%). But there’s another reason why someone would swipe a pen—because it’s meaningful. It’s the pen they used to buy their first home, the pen froma first date, the pen they used to sign amarriage license or to open a new business. Pens and other writing instruments aren’t just harmless wins for our kleptomaniacal tendencies – they have been known to steal (the show), too. In animatedmovie Zootopia (2016), rookie bunny cop Judy Hopps, along with her reluctant fox partner JackWilde, solve amissing persons case with a carrot pen. This chunky carrot pen is multipurpose, functioning as a tape recorder, too. The pen is an invaluable tool, especially in critical moments. Out of the hands of a bunny cop, writing instruments can still make a statement. Nearly 70% of promo pen recipients who had received one pen in the past year remembered the name of the advertiser, according to PPAI’s study “Writing Instruments in U.S. Households.” Jaymie Cook, northwest regional sales manager at California-based supplier Goldstar Pens, says writing instruments are perfect for brand awareness, the GROW 38 | OCTOBER 2022 |

Perfect for signing on the dotted line, this solid brass rollerball features a Euro-style screw-on cap design, a woven steel barrel and chrome metal clip and trims. There’s also a German-made black ink refill. Logomark / PPAI 110898, S12 www.logomark.com No. 1 reason why people buy promo. “In California and the Northwest, I see people purchasing writing instruments for HR gifts, employee recognition (both in-office and remote) and conferences/executivemeetings.” According to PPAI’s 2021 Sales Volume Study, writing instruments are the thirdmost popular promo product. The product category was also one of several to grow by 25% or more in sales. Charles Duggan, MAS+, national accounts manager at Goldstar Pens, says, “One of the things we lovemost about writing instruments is that they’re a portable way to promote your brand. They land directly in the user’s hand and keep your business on the go. Whether they’re in a pocket, a purse, or on a desk, writing instruments push out your message on a daily basis. They can promote your updated branding, your current messaging, or even a specific value that you’re offering. Pens are like amegaphone: amplifying and increasing your impact. And a quality pen? That never goes out of style.” A report fromBusiness Wire projects the global market for writing andmarking instruments to grow by 3.7% from2020 to 2027. Working professionals are expected to be the fastest-growing segment, according to a report by GrandviewResearch. This is mostly due to the introduction of innovative multipurpose writing instruments, an increase in promo used by educational institutions and offices and the availability of recyclablematerials tomanufacture pens. Manufacturers are also combining customized pen body styles, clips and ink types to create unique scribing experiences. There’s one style Cook is especially looking forward to seeingmirrored laser imprinted items. “I haven’t seen anyone in the industry using this method yet. Mirrored laser imprintingmakes your logo shine on the pen. They are beautiful and will definitely be a trend next year, and will probably stay,” Cook says. In this increasingly digital world, consumers haven’t written off writing instruments. They are relying on these tools for creativity and productivity. For your client’s next campaign, put a pen in it—a pen so great someone will want to steal it. This ballpoint stylus pen with LED light is ideal for students and professionals. The battery is included. Simply push down on the cap to turn the light on and off. The ink is black with pen colors available in red, black and blue. Hit Promotional Products PPAI 113910, S13 / www.hitpromo.net Writing Instruments This Limerick Instant-Dry Gel Pen is perfect for taking quick notes. The black gel ink is smudge-proof and dries instantly. This soft touch gel pen has silver metal accents, including its clip, and a touch capacitive stylus. Sweda Company, LLC / PPAI 113914, S11 / www.swedausa.com | OCTOBER 2022 | 39 GROW