PPB December 2022

A PPAI Publication » December 2022 Play To Win! The PPAI Expo Primer P. 40 Big Gamble: When The PPAI Expo Moved P. 62 Talking The Talk Meet The Keynote Speakers P. 74 The Final PPB? Major Announcement P. 87 The PPAI Expo 2023 marks 20 YEARS in Sin City for promo’s biggest and best trade show. P. 62

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Everything you need, right in your pocket. go.sageworld.com/mobile The O icial Show Planner for The ...and More! Create a Walk List See the Floorplan Get the Education Schedule Find Exhibitors View the Product Pavilion

4 Perspectives What Does Expo Mean To You? 8 Feedback 11 INNOVATE 12 Question Join The Club 14 Insights Benchmarking Supplier Credit Card Fees 18 Profile PPAI Expo Team 22 Eye On Apparel Headwear 31 GROW 32 Editor's Picks Drinkware 44 Promotional Products Work Automotive 51 THINK 52 Fast Forward Beyond Pumpkin Spice 58 Five Minutes With Kara Keister, MAS 73 CONNECT 74 Close Up Maureen Zappala James Pogue, Ph.D 80 PPPC Communiqué Women Empowerment Event Returns 83 Inside PPAI LDW Preps Promo’s Regional Associations For The Year Ahead 91 New Members Spotlight: Enric Amat, BUFF 95 Datebook 100 Creative Calendar 40 MAKING THE MOST OF THE PPAI EXPO 2023 The PPAI Expo 2023 opens January 9 in Las Vegas. Promo pros can expect everything they’ve loved about the industry’s largest and longest-running trade show, plus more. 62 THE BIG GAMBLE Shrouded in secrecy and full of risk, The PPAI Expo moved to Las Vegas in 2003. Twenty years later, the leaders behind the bold decision tell the story of how it happened and how they avoided catastrophe. contents Promotional Products Business The Official Business Monthly of Promotional Products Association International DECEMBER 2022 | DECEMBER 2022 | 3

What Does The PPAI Expo Mean To You? Dawn Olds, MAS+ Chair Of The Board perspectives No one does it like PPAI. The timing, venue and attendance lead the way in our industry. When you hear the words The PPAI Expo, what memories pop into your mind? Is it the sound of the casino as you make your way to the show floor? The fall you almost had on those terrible cobblestones (maybe that was just me)? The buzz of electricity you feel as you walk through the show doors on the first day? The hug from that old friend you haven’t seen since the last Expo? Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with a group of distributors, suppliers and service providers to talk about what makes The PPAI Expo so important to them and to our industry. Their answers clearly showed that Expo is an important member value and key to our industry’s culture. Here’s a snapshot of what I heard: • The PPAI Expo is the glue that holds the industry together. • This is a relationship industry. The PPAI Expo is key to expanding networks and building upon existing relationships. • Coming back from Las Vegas with fresh ideas and a burst of creative energy is a great way to start the new year. • No one does it like PPAI. The timing, venue and attendance lead the way in our industry. Having an industry-leading event like this does not happen by accident. I have had the privilege of serving as your PPAI Board of Directors Chair this year and have seen first-hand the incredible amount of work and dedication the Association staff puts into The PPAI Expo. They sweat the finest of details to make sure members have the best experience possible. Everything they do is centered around the Association’s mission and vision: Our vision is that promotional products are universally valued and essential to every brand. Our mission is to be the force and the voice to advance the promotional marketplace for the benefit of our community. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham and the team for the results they have driven home this year. They have shown incredible tenacity and resilience during an extremely difficult period for organizations relying on trade shows as a central source of revenue. PPAI is poised to wrap up the year in a terrific financial position, with foundations in place for initiatives that will continue to move the mission and vision forward in the future. In closing, I would also like to thank PPAI members for their support of the Association and its board. Whether it is volunteering for a committee, serving on the board, writing letters to government representatives for a legislative push, attending PPAI events or exhibiting, it is only through your continued commitment that this organization survives and thrives. It has been my pleasure to serve. I look forward to continuing to advocate for the industry that has served many of us so well. See you in Vegas! 4 | DECEMBER 2022 |

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PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Denham, MAS+ 888-I-AM-PPAI DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Lindsey Davis 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 JoshE@ppai.org DEPUTY EDITOR Rob Phillips RobP@ppai.org SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR James Khattak JamesK@ppai.org NEWS EDITOR Jonny Auping JonnyA@ppai.org ASSOCIATE EDITORS Kristina Valdez KristinaV@ppai.org Rachel Zoch RachelZ@ppai.org RESEARCH MANAGER Robert Fitzpatrick RobertF@ppai.org ART DIRECTION SPARK Publications SPARKpublications.com 704-844-6080 ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT MAJOR ACCOUNTS MANAGER Jackie Berg 972-258-3051 JackieB@ppai.org ACCOUNT MANAGERS Connie Brazil 972-258-3064 ConnieB@ppai.org Taylor Coward 972-258-3033 TaylorC@ppai.org ADVERTISING CONTACT Amy Weisman 972-258-3080 AmyW@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 media.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 TERM EXPIRING 2027 Kara Keister, MAS Social Good Promotions 6 | DECEMBER 2022 |


feedback Send feedback on articles in PPB or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Promo’s Fraud Problem In September, PPAI Media shared Hirsch’s experiences with fraudulent orders and their potential red flags. The Houston-based supplier’s story prompted several industry professionals to share their own stories and concerns about scam orders. About eight years ago, we were scammed in a similar incident. A new employee got excited about a large order from an industry distributor and thought because it was prepaid that we were covered. We shipped the order, and at that point I found out about it, and discovered that the credit card used was stolen. We contacted FedEx and managed to track down the shipment, which went from a warehouse in Florida to a warehouse in Michigan. We contacted the FedEx driver, who was about an hour away from that final delivery, at which point the (blank) watches would have been shipped to Nigeria. The FedEx number we were given to ship on was also fraudulently used. Lessons learned: prepayment by credit card is not worth much and blank good orders are very suspicious. DAN MCCARTY, CAS President BizPins Elgin, Illinois PPAI 223970, S5 We had one that we caught before the order was placed. They were using a long-time customer name and we were all over it. Then they asked about sales tax – they were in a different state but wanted to pick up at our location – and that got us looking more diligently. We realized they were using .con instead of .com for the email. We also called the company and they had never heard of the person trying to buy this order. They also said they knew there was an issue with someone using their name to try and buy stuff. It was the best one I have ever seen in my 30-plus years. Good luck all, be diligent and check on everything. JIM ROBERTSON Comptroller, Controller Trademarks Promotional Products Houston PPAI 106743, D7 Independent Contractors At Risk In Labor Proposal PPAI is tracking a rule change proposed by the Department of Labor that would make it more difficult for promotional products professionals operating as independent contractors to maintain their status. For years, I have chosen to be an independent contractor. If I wanted to be considered an employee for an organization in the promotional products industry, I would currently be working with an organization that offers “employee” status. We do have a choice in this industry. Please do not take my freedom away to work as an independent contractor. KAREN BALL Sales Geiger Avon, New York PPAI 105182, D12 As an independent contractor, I set my own hours and work when and if I want to. My ability to work at my own pace, on my own time, allows me to pay my bills, feed my family and be selfsufficient. And I pay my own taxes at a higher tax rate than as an employee. Don’t put new restrictions on independent contractors. CHERYL BRUNGARDT Owner Thank Em Promotions Wheat Ridge, Colorado Bakhtiar Zein / Shutterstock.com 8 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE


INNOVATE PPAI Research: Benchmarking Supplier Credit Card Fees Merchant fees when processing credit card payments are a cost of doing business. We asked suppliers their standard fees to present a picture of what industry companies pay. page 14 18 PROFILE THE PPAI EXPO TEAM 12 QUESTION JOIN THE CLUB Get Your Head In The Game Find out how to put your clients on top with promo headwear and learn what’s in demand, from caps to knits. page 22 Krakenimages.com / weARproduction / Shutterstock.com | DECEMBER 2022 | 11

compiled by Kristina Valdez Join The Club Has becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce been helpful? Q A Distributor Asks: I’d love to hear your experience of joining/belonging to your local chamber of commerce. Has it been helpful for meeting new clients? Any other thoughts on the experience? So, I have found my local city one to be a bust. I joined a regional one, which led me to a national one, and both have paid dividends. My experience is that chambers of commerce can be a hit or miss. See if your local chamber has any regional partnerships – that’s where the money is. ED HAMNER Owner Howling Print & Promo Chardon, Ohio PPAI 593536, D1 I believe if you’re in a big city it can be a great way to get clients. When I first started in promo, I went to networking events every week. I got two of my biggest clients that way, and another big client who was a speaker at a networking event also became a client. Just about all my business came fromnetworking. Like everything else, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. When people get to know you, you will get business. I would also recommend offering to be a speaker at one of the chamber events. You can share ways for members to promote their businesses. It’s a great way for members to get to know you, like you and trust you. ROSALIE MARCUS Owner The Promo Biz Coach Jenkintown, Pennsylvania PPAI 438212, A1 Like most things anyone joins, you get out of it what you put into it. Many people join, don’t participate in events then complain they never got anything out of it. I belong to two local chambers and try to be relatively active by attending special events, ribbons cuts and banquets. I’ve also sponsored some smaller events, participated in a leadership program and served on committees. I have been happy withmy ROI, and it also gives me a non-sales opportunity to be in front of clients, prospects and referral partners. TOM D’ABRUZZO Owner BrandStorm Promotions Augusta, Georgia PPAI 795934, D2 Q A Distributor Asks: How would you react to notice from a client that they acquired a product sourcing account and will do their purchasing internally? I had this happen years ago. The client didn’t know how to write POs properly or understand how to submit art, so orders would just get put on hold. The last straw was when their employee placed an order for Vector Goddess / Shutterstock.com 12 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE

mousepads direct from an overseas “supplier,” paid upfront and they showed up wrong. We now work with the client again, and they understand that we are in business to make a profit. CRAIG WEISS Vice President of Sales Initial Impression San Diego PPAI 358140, D5 Speaking as a distributor, there are so many moving parts to our industry that they’ll wind up, most likely, wasting a lot of their time and resources and getting frustrated. The barriers to entry on the distributor side are so low, so every year people enter and eventually leave our industry because they find out that it’s not as easy as it looks. My advice is to focus on delivering value to your customers and stop wasting your energy on things like this. AVERY MANKO Owner The Manko Company Mendenhall, Pennsylvania PPAI 221758, D4 Our business model is old and outdated. I think our industry has a hard sell on new customers on price. Our only option is to sell handholding and product/design vetting services and think of ourselves as consultants versus “promo” people. People don’t like our markup and will find deals. With the internet, it’s not even that hard. ABE FOUHY Owner Cheaper By The Dozen Newberg, Oregon PPAI 795934, D1 Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. “The barriers to entry on the distributor side are so low, so every year people enter and eventually leave our industry because they find out that it’s not as easy as it looks.” – AveryManko, The Manko Company 12 oz. STADIUM CUP UPIC: accents ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | DC: 101273 PPAI: 111248 Item Width 3.2” Item Height 4.2” Scan for pricing Features &Options: •Multiple print methods available •Made with heavyweight plastic •No extra cost for 1 side, 2 side, or wrap imprint •25 piece minimums (on select print methods) •Made & printed in the USA Item Height 4.2” 16 oz. STADIUM CUP UPIC: accents ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | DC: 101273 PPAI: 111248 Item Width 3.625” Item Height 4.2604” Scan for pricing Features &Options: •Multiple print methods available •Made with heavyweight plastic •No extra cost for 1 side, 2 side, or wrap imprint •25 piece minimums (on select print methods) •Made & printed in the USA 3 d Item Height 4.2” et v l S D 1 Item Height 4.2604” r n a 22 oz. STADIUM CUP UPIC: accents ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | DC: 101273 PPAI: 111248 Item Width 3.625” Item Height 5.6736” Scan for pricing Features &Options: •Multiple print methods available •Made with heavyweight plastic •No extra cost for 1 side, 2 side, or wrap imprint •25 piece minimums (on select print methods) •Made & printed in the USA u Item Height 4.2604” s la n o ri DIUUM Item Height 5.6736” x m r d 32 oz. STADIUM CUP UPIC: accents ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | DC: 101273 PPAI: 111248 Scan for pricing Item Width 4.0625” Item Height 6.8148” Features &Options: •Multiple print methods available •Made with he vyweight plastic •No extra cost for 1 side, 2 side, or wrap imprint •25 piece minimums (on select print methods) •Made & printed in the USA PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC:101273 R E I N T R O D U C I N G : A D I S T R I B U TO R S A L E S TOO L ! Easy to use pivoting product swatches Fun and convenient visual idea starter! Products are scaled to “Actual” sizes Scan to request a kit! Flip over to see product details! www.americanaccents.com 888.287.7883 Booth #3237 January 10-12, 2023 Booth #1600 January 5-6, 2023 Stop by our boo s! | DECEMBER 2022 | 13 INNOVATE

PPAI Research Benchmarking Supplier Credit Card Fees INSIGHTS Cr ed i t Ca rd Fees by Robert Fitzpatrick and Kristina Valdez Merchant fees when processing credit card payments are a cost of doing business. We asked suppliers their standard fees to present a picture of what industry companies pay. In a new PPAI benchmarking survey, responding promotional products suppliers charge distributors an average of 2% for credit card purchases. In most instances, the suppliers merely pass along the same rates they are charged by credit card companies. The benchmarking information could be useful for suppliers to assess how their rates compare to competitors, or to distributors curious about how the fees they’ve been paying stack up. • Every time a business accepts a credit card payment, credit card issuers charge a merchant fee. • Many businesses build these costs into all of their prices, though some apply a specific fee that would not be charged for ACH payments. • Among supplier respondents, the highest percentage charged to distributors was 5.08%. Certain responding companies reported that they simply take the hit from the credit card companies and do not pass the price along to distributors. “We consider it good business and a way to get quicker payment,” one said. Credit card fees are legal in most states. Businesses can charge convenience fees or a surcharge. Customers are charged a convenience fee when they use a form of payment that isn’t customary for the business. This is legal in all 50 states, but it must be clearly communicated at the point of sale and with another preferred form of 14 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE

Join PPAI's Research Work Group payment available. Where legal, surcharges must also be clearly displayed at the point of sale and on your receipt. The study found that virtually all (over 95%) of responding suppliers accept Visa and/or Mastercard. American Express is accepted by 81.3% of respondents, with Discover accepted by just over half at 54.2%. Fees can vary depending on the type of credit card accepted and the type of transaction. For example, interchange fees are made directly to the card issuer for each swiped transaction, and assessment fees are charged monthly by the credit card network so that a merchant can use certain credit cards. According to Forbes, the typical cost of credit card processing usually combines interchange and assessment fees. Finally, whenwe asked suppliers how they arrived at the credit card fee they charge to distributors, an overwhelming number of suppliers stated that they charge what the gateway payment provider charges. “Our invoices tend to be rather large, and if someone wants to pay a $10,000 invoice with a [credit card], the cost to us is over $300,” one supplier said. “We cannot afford to absorb that cost and therefore need to charge the customer.” There are a fewways to avoid these fees, like sending a check, asking your bank about an ACHor finding a new vendor. One supplier said, “It’s not every vendor and it’s not every transaction. Find a new vendor. You have options.” Fitzpatrick is the research manager at PPAI. Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. 2. Which major credit cards do you accept? American Express Visa MasterCard Discover Not applicable Percent 100 80 60 40 20 0 Hello, my name is Robert Fitzpatrick. I am the Research Manager at PPAI. Now more than ever, business decisions are being made with data. I receive daily requests for information and data points that you and your companies need to do your best work. To create the insights that will drive progress for all of us, I need your help. I’m asking for volunteers to join me on the PPAI research work group. You’ll get to contribute ideas and knowledge, working closely with me and in coordination with your colleagues from across PPAI’s membership to advance our shared goals. If you’re interested in joining the work group, please email me at RobertF@ppai.org. | DECEMBER 2022 | 15 INNOVATE

The PPAI Expo Team The Dream Team The PPAI Expo isn’t built in a day, and it doesn’t happen without these hardworking staff members. by Jonny Auping If it takes a village to raise a child, then The PPAI Expo is the Association’s baby. There isn’t a person on PPAI’s staff who doesn’t contribute tomaking it one of the biggest trade shows in any industry and easily the largest andmost impactful in promotional products. But there are a few select people who work tirelessly on the countless details that lead to the January event that the promo world is anxiously anticipating. By that time, though, the talented people whomake up that teamhave put in thousands of hours of work on the event. In fact, they’re already working on the one after that. “I think a lot of people assume that production for The PPAI Expo begins when registration opens,” says Alan Peterson, PPAI senior vice president. “We actually start the production – sales and operations andmarketing and more – about 16 months prior to The PPAI Expo in any given year.” Ellen Tucker, vice president of revenue and expositions, says, “Everything seems busier during Quarter 4 because there’s a lot you’re thinking about for 2024 already. But you’re also dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s for 2023. It’s the most stressful time, but you get used to the balance.” There isn’t a stretch in the calendar when Peterson and Tucker aren’t working on making sure The PPAI Expo becomes the must-attend event that brings the industry together. As part of the Association’s leadership team, they do so much more than make big, consequential decisions regarding The PPAI Expo; they stay constantly attuned to the details required to execute those decisions and come up with solutions to unexpected obstacles. As you’re reading this, they likely could tell you Plan A, B, C and D for a potential issue you might never consider. The PPAI Expo now puts a priority on executing a sustainable event, which means working alongside Mandalay Bay Convention Center and MGM, adding logistical challenges when it comes to internal planning. It takes a dedicated team. According to an internal analysis, Peterson says that, factoring in on-site labor from contracted vendors and internal work from within PPAI’s walls, an estimated 70,000 hours go into producing The PPAI Expo. Supported and led by Peterson and Tucker, this is the team that makes the industry’s largest and longest-running trade show happen. Khristopher Harris Show Manager, Expositions For a trade show the magnitude of The PPAI Expo, success comes in the preparation. This is the space where Khristopher Harris thrives. Harris provides budgeting, research, concept design, and mentoring to the rest of the Alan Peterson Ellen Tucker Khristopher Harris Melissa Massey Ashley Van Der Stuyf Vicki Sypien 18 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE

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team and much more. All that he brings to the table requires a fastidious attention to detail. “I believe that I have a fiduciary duty to the Association and our members to produce a best-in-class trade show that delivers a positive and lasting impression on exhibitors, attendees and guests year over year,” Harris says. In a static world, where everything always goes according to plan, putting together such a large show would be a massive undertaking. But that is not how the world works. The event’s countless variables require planning, preparing, executing and reacting, and the team can never panic when it comes to the reacting part of the equation. The PPAI Expo 2022 was the industry’s in-person return to the event, but another COVID-19 variant popping up all over the country well after the event was planned and in motion forced the team The unsung heroes: Exhibitors Stop by PPAI headquarters near the holidays, and you’ll see an extra focus from the whole staff preparing for The PPAI Expo, but Vice President of Revenue and Expositions Ellen Tucker is also grateful for the work that the event’s exhibitors are putting in at this time. They are PPAI’s partners in making the event such a success. “Quarter 4 is a very busy time for our industry,” says Tucker. “The amount of work that our exhibitors are doing in Q4 includes not only getting their booths ready for the show, but they have the busiest time of the year getting catalogs out, whether that’s print or digital. Some of them are busy with awards and recognition. You start piling that stuff up, and you can forget how taxing this can be on them as well. “We have the show, and we do everything we do to connect our exhibitors and attendees. But without them and their extra effort, our show wouldn’t be what it is.” to make adjustments, prioritizing health and safety. The event went on, thanks to the team that Harris works with. The 17th century poet John Donne said, “Noman is an island.” Harris likes to say, “Noman or woman is an island. When the show is over, I can truly say we have done this together.” Melissa Massey Sales Manager and National Accounts, Business Development and Expositions Massey wears plenty of hats at PPAI, but in the lead up to The PPAI Expo 2023, she is encouraging the business development team in their sales efforts and working with leadership andmarketing on new ideas that could lead to revenue generation for the Association. More than a party or networking opportunity, The PPAI Expo serves a specific purpose for exhibitors. Making sure that each is put in a position to consider the trip a success requires plenty of planning. “I think people would be surprised to know the amount of thought and effort that is put into the initial space assignment of the show floor during the summer prior to the event,” Massey says. “The business development team spends several weeks taking great care to ensure that we maximize the use of space, make sure competitors are as far away from each other as we can and that we assign exhibitors to booths that are as close as possible to their choices.” Ashley Van Der Stuyf Account Manager, Expositions Van Der Stuyf works with the staff and vendors on all show management requests and orders, from structure, signage and furniture to electricity and internet service. Even scheduling and entertainment can fall under her responsibility. “All tasks are equally important to one another,” Van Der Stuyf says. Come December, Van Der Stuyf is spending just as much time working on the details of The PPAI Expo to be held more than a year in the future as she is preparing for the event coming up a few weeks later. Vicki Sypien Meetings and Registration Manager, Expositions Did you enjoy The PPAI Expo 2022? Sypien had something to do with that. The range of her responsibilities extends to working withMandalay Bay Convention Center’s service manager and catering team andmaking sure the meeting rooms and social events at The PPAI Expo are at the quality you would expect from the Association. “My most important role would be to ensure that our attendees have a seamless user experience when registering and booking housing for The PPAI Expo,” Sypien says. The PPAI Expo is built from the ground up, but it exists for the people who attend, and Sypienmakes sure that attending is not just enjoyable and valuable but painless throughout. “There are a lot of moving parts,” Sypien says. “It’s like a puzzle.” Auping is a news editor at PPAI. The PPAI Expo Team | DECEMBER 2022 | 21 INNOVATE

by Rachel Zoch Get Your Head In The Game Find out how to put your clients on top with promo headwear and learn what’s in demand, from caps to knits. Ha t s If T-shirts are the foundation of promo apparel, hats are the icing on the brandable cake. More than two-thirds of consumers own a promo cap, and just one lid averages over 3,400 impressions out in the world, making hats a highly visible and useful investment for any brand. At a lower price point than most garments, headwear also provides a more accessible entry point into promo wearables, budget-wise. “We really believe that headwear is recession-proof,” says Jenny Straub, director of strategic partnerships with Arkansasbased supplier Outdoor Cap, which marked 45 years in business in 2022. “If your budget doesn’t allow for a golf shirt… you could choose a hat or cap, and that’s going to be less expensive – but I’ve still given you something personal, and you still feel just as special.” Hats simplify ordering and distribution, since most are one-size-fits-all, and with the wide variety available, it won’t be hard to Krakenimages.com / weARproduction / Shutterstock.com 22 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE by Rachel Zoch

find the right hat for the occasion. Plus, if a supplier is short on stock, customers can choose from so many options that they might end up with something even better than what they originally had in mind. Trends come and go, but the need for quality, comfort and style endures. To craft a promotional hat people will want to wear, comfort is a must. Quality also matters, because you want a hat that will last. “Your cap has to look good and feel good,” Straub says. “You can’t give out a cap that someone’s just going to throw in the back of their closet.” Aim for fit, function and flair to create a hat that will not only be worn but become a favorite. “We talk about ‘windshield caps’ a lot – that favored cap that person is going to wear every day,” says Straub. “That’s what they throw in their windshield [on the dashboard] so they have it when they’re going to go into the store or head to church or wherever.” Decorate To Differentiate When it comes to style, get creative with decoration to set a basic trucker cap or beanie apart and make it a stylish choice to be worn again and again. “The decorating is almost as important as the cap itself,” says Mike Nakajima, a sales executive with Mega Cap, a California-based supplier. “Retail quality and the right decorating technique are both essential to create a final quality product.” Gone are the days of slapping a logo on the front of a cap or beanie and calling it a day. With so many decoration options, it can be daunting to choose. Consider a new twist on traditional embroidery, like 3D, reverse 3D or sublimation. Patches, also a triedand-true favorite, come in a number of different materials and can be permanently affixed or swapped and supplemented on a cap with hookand-loop patches. Printed seam tape is another decorative option for a fun surprise inside. Outdoor Cap manufactures headwear for retail brands as well as the promo products industry, so they have a sneak peek at what’s coming. Look to the outdoor market, especially surf and skate, for clues about what’s trending, says Ben Roberts, head of marketing for Outdoor Cap. Currently, he sees ropes, perforation (using die cuts or lasers) and generic camouflage patterns as hot embellishments. “Patches are still a red-hot item for any interested customer,” he adds. “They look great, and they are easy to make high-quality and detailed, especially if you use a sublimation technique, so we’re seeing a lot of that. Leather or faux leather patches are also huge.” Roberts also believes that direct embroidery will always be popular as a classic cap decoration. “Caps have this kind of Americana mystique to them, whether it’s the attachment with baseball or something else, but they always have this kind of heritage feel thing going on that embroidery really lends itself to,” he says. Straub adds that clever placement can make all the difference in decorating, because front and center has become just one of many options for branding. “You don’t have to have your brand blaring at the very front of your cap to really know that people believe in what you’re wearing,” she says. “In fact, when we do a cap for my strategic accounts, we definitely suggest to put it off to the side.” The idea, she adds, is to spark curiosity in the viewer to ask the wearer about what’s on the hat: “Because it’s kind of elusive, you don’t see exactly what it is, so people will ask.” Great For Giveaways And Brand Stores “Every brewery that you go into has amerch section. That’s your billboard. Some breweries will sell 50 of themaweek, and it’s a great reorder. I love to suggest that to distributors, because theminute they sell out, they needmore. That’s really huge right now for all kinds of retailers and in the restaurant business. It didn’t stop at Hard Rock Cafe. Theywant to have another revenue stream.” – Jenny Straub, Outdoor Cap | DECEMBER 2022 | 23 INNOVATE

Ha t s 1Truckers Rule The humble trucker hat – a structured cap with fabric front panels and mesh rear panels – remains king. “Everybody wants some sort of modern trucker cap. It’s gotten into every single market,” says Straub. “Every type of customer buys it. It’s not just for the landscaper or the construction worker.” Vogue reported plenty of sophisticated caps featured in fall runway shows: “FromGucci to Coach to Burberry, the all-American baseball cap was the dominant headgear on the catwalks.” Again, creativity is key, and the structure of trucker hats provides a great canvas for multiple decoration techniques, including printing and embroidery on the mesh back panels in addition to the standard front crown area. “The trucker hats always feel a little bit cleaner,” says Roberts, “so they end up lending themselves to being a nice vessel for any brand that comes along that needs to have a good-looking, sharp cap.” 2 Poms: The Bigger, The Better Fluffy accessories are in, according to Vogue, and the bigger the better. Look at the knit caps available and you’ll see poms the size of your fist. “Poms have become really important right now because the bigger the pom, the better the cap,” says Straub. “We’re noticing that trend all across fashion and retail.” Straub says she sees knit hats worn as fashion accessories now, regardless of the weather, and by all genders. “You can look at some of the rock stars, and they’re constantly wearing a knit cap,” she says, “so then all of the other people want to copy off of those musicians. We’ve even seen it on the West Coast when it’s 85 degrees.” 3 Hot Headwear Styles For 2023 All the hat styles available can lead to analysis paralysis when it comes to choosing a product. Here are three styles sure to put your clients’ brands on top: The OC771 Ultimate Trucker Cap provides a comfortable fit and sharp-looking finish ready for a variety of decorative branding elements. Available in 60 color combinations (slate/navy/gray shown). Most colorways are cotton twill fronts, heathered are synthetic linen, and the others are cotton linen. Outdoor Cap / PPAI 213485, S10 / www.outdoorcap.com The OC806 Oversized Pom Watch Cap “was popular right from the get-go,” says Straub. This stylish and warm acrylic knit beanie is equipped with an oversized pom on top and features a 3-inch cuff for decorating. Available in five colors (midnight blue shown). Outdoor Cap / PPAI 213485, S10 / www.outdoorcap.com 24 | DECEMBER 2022 | INNOVATE



3Fun (With Protection) In The Sun Bucket hats are still hugely popular with consumers, although they tend to be a bit pricier than caps, due to the materials and time needed for construction. Boonies and wide-brimmed straw beach hats (aka lifeguard hats), which provide sun protection during outdoor activities, are also popular. Nakajima has seen a boost in demand for lifeguard hats, not only from companies looking for promo giveaways but also those wanting to outfit their outdoor workers. “We have seen an increase in all our straw headwear, but an unusual jump in our lifeguard straw hats,” he says. “Most are branded with a variety of patches for promotional use, but also for companies who want to provide their outdoor workers with protection from the sun. Some styles are available with a stock underbill decorated fabric lining for an added pop of color and an additional layer of sun protection.” Although these three styles are trending now, the baseballstyle billed cap and its variations (dad, trucker, etc.) are still tops – and there are tons of great options for promo headwear. Here are a few to consider: Provide a little shade with a Lifeguard Straw Hat with inner elastic sweatband, perfect for working outdoors, a day at the beach, by the pool, gardening, etc. The brim measures 4.5 inches with optional fabric lining underneath for added sun protection. Mega Cap / PPAI 223859, S5 / www.megacapinc.com Thanks to Y2K nostalgia and countless TikTok videos, bucket hats are everywhere. Put your client’s brands on top with a 60% Recycled Crosshatch Cotton Bucket Hat. Available in 15 colors (shown in beryl green) and sizes M-L. Mega Cap / PPAI 223859, S5 / www.megacapinc.com | DECEMBER 2022 | 27 INNOVATE

Contact us at Sales@Xpeditefulfillment.com 978-478-5250 | xpeditefulfillment.com | READY, SET, GROW! PROMOTIONAL FULFILLMENT EXPERTS SINCE 1993 We focus on fulfillment. You focus on growth. VISIT US AT BOOTH #2933

Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. Ha t s Give a nod to streetwear style with this acrylic Slouch Beanie, which can be worn slouched (as shown) or rolled/cuffed. Available in five colors (charcoal shown). Ivory Headwear / PPAI 319600, S4 www.ivoryheadwear.com For serious sun protection, check out this Recycled PET Boonie Hat, which contains the equivalent of two 16-oz. water bottles and features an adjustable chin cord. Available in navy (shown) or black. IMAGEN Brands / PPAI 114197, S10 / www.IMAGENBrands.com For an unstructured “dad hat,” the Port & Company Brushed Twill Low Profile Cap offers a classic look and lightweight feel in 100% brushed cotton twill with a selffabric slide closure. Available in 13 colors (royal shown). SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 / www.sanmar.com Color my World www.antwerpdiamondsincentives.com | DECEMBER 2022 | 29 INNOVATE


GROW page 44 Drive More Sales Learn how promotional products can rev up automotive marketing. Making The Most Of The PPAI Expo 2023 The PPAI Expo 2023 opens January 9 in Las Vegas. Promo pros can expect everything they’ve loved about the industry’s largest and longest-running trade show, plus more. page 40 32 EDITORS PICKS DRINKWARE | DECEMBER 2022 | 31

Dr i nkwa r e by Kristina Valdez Half Full Reusable drinkware fills our every day. From glass bottles to ceramic mugs, these products represent our hope for better. Consumers choose drinkware with goals in mind. Whether it’s to drink more water or waste fewer single-use items, drinkware solves many problems simultaneously. Not only has reusable drinkware become a status symbol, but it’s also a testament to convenience, costefficiency and eco-friendly living. According to PPAI research, drinkware was the second highest-selling product category for distributors in 2021. Sales for drinkware also grew by 25% over 2020, when overall use of reusables dipped. Drinkware is overflowing with promo potential. For your client’s brand to stand out, find drinkware that people will take with them wherever they go. 06photo / alexmisu / DSBfoto / Jr images / Lalandrew Phayabs / PJjaruwan / itim2101 / Shutterstock.com GROW 32 | DECEMBER 2022 |

Early in the pandemic, with fear of the coronavirus spreading on surfaces at an all-time high, Starbucks and other retailers asked customers not to bring their own cups. CivicScience says that reusable water bottle usage declined in 2020, slipping 6% from 2018. The decline was even seen among environmentally aware consumers, 71% of whom owned one in 2018 compared to 67% in 2020. But this dip didn’t last long. People began to once again commute, rejoin gyms and reconnect with friends. CivicScience data shows that 60% of U.S. adults opt for a reusable bottle. Now, Starbucks is bringing back the option, even incentivizing customers to bring their own reusable drinkware with discounts and fees. The main goal is to make paper and plastic cups the lesser option. But Starbucks won’t be ditching them right away. Currently, the largest coffee house chain in the world is simply introducing the idea to their customers that reusable drinkware can serve a greater purpose. But by 2025, Starbucks wants to move away from disposable cups entirely. For drinkware, brand names matter. Contigo is the most used brand, followed by Coleman and Yeti. But popularity is dependent on lifestyle. For example, S’well brand is more recognized among those who practice yoga or Pilates rather than those who hike. “Yeti will always be the go-to brand – or at least, the initial brand our customer always asks for,” says Thomas Rector, CEO of Indiana-based distributor ScreenBroidery. “In my opinion, it is not always the best solution. At ScreenBroidery, our sales team’s first question when our customer asks for Yeti is, ‘Why Yeti?’ “The answer to this question helps us understand the real purpose of what our customer is trying to accomplish. And because of Yeti’s poor inventory in 2022, the question has been important to help us find a better solution that accomplishes our customers’ objectives. We have had lots of success with other premium brands like Otterbox, RTIC, Corkcicle, Hydro Flask, ASOBU, etc.” Major suppliers are tapping into the power of brand. In August, Logomark announced a partnership with retail barware brand Snowfox. The same month, Polyconcept North America announced its largest inventory investment ever with Hydro Flask. Premium quality and retail brands are trending in promo, emphasizing a thoughtful gifting experience. Drinkware is one of the best ways to promote your client’s brand. PPAI research shows that branded drinkware is kept longer than other promo items, which is why it leads in impressions, with more than 1,400 for the average item’s lifecycle. With branded drinkware, you can be sure that the glass is always half full. The House Bar A Negroni sbagliato is probably the drink of the year. This cocktail – made with Campari, sweet vermouth and sparkling wine rather than traditional gin – has become an internet sensation. Thanks to a behind-the-scenes interview for HBO’s The House of Dragon that went viral on TikTok, it’s all anyone wants to try. In a short clip, TV stars Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke – who play the feuding Princess Rhaenyra and Queen Alicent, respectively – ask each other their drink of choice. D’Arcy says a Negroni, adding “sbagliato” before ending with a captivating “with prosecco in it.” Cooke responds with an “Ooh, stunning.” The brief interaction went viral immediately, spellbinding fans. The original video has more than a million views, and fans have posted more than 15,000 TikTok videos using the sound, according to NPR. People vow to try it, and bartenders are preparing to stock up on ingredients just in case this TikTok trend leads to a shortage. The pandemic is still affecting how people consume alcohol. Home drinking increased during the pandemic, and homeowners are revamping their home bars. A 2022 U.K. study found that home bars are now a bigger priority than a new kitchen. Homeowners are willing to spend more on a home bar than an upgraded kitchen, new porch or home gym. After several years of uncertainty, home bars encourage leisure and entertainment, offering an oasis to unwind and reconnect. Serhiy Shullye / Shutterstock.com | DECEMBER 2022 | 33 GROW

Drinkware Whether in the kitchen, car or campsite, the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth With Flex Sip Lid lets users enjoy their favorite brew leak-free. It fits under most coffee brewing systems and can be used as a small at most coffee shops for less paper cup waste. The exterior is soft to the touch with comfortable handles. PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15 www.pcna.com Dr i nkwa r e Help your client elevate every workday or weekend trail trek with the 17-ounce, spill-proof CORKCICLE Commuter Cup. Made from insulated stainless steel with a ceramic coated interior, this cup keeps beverages cold for up to 18 hours and beverages hot for up to five hours. With easy-grip flat sides and a non-slip bottom, its slim design fits bike cages and most cup holders. Gemline / PPAI 113948, S11 www.gemline.com This h2go Rincon is ideal for keeping beverages cold. The 18-ounce single wall glass bottle has a threaded bamboo lid and a translucent soft touch finish. Ink imprint is semi-matte in appearance. ETS Express / PPAI 135148, S11 www.etsexpress.com Stay hydrated with the innovative Ida Sport Water Bottle Bluetooth Speaker. With this two-in-one, recipients can carry less to the beach, on walks or to the gym. This water bottle can be imprinted with a custom design in full color or spot color. Sunjoy Group / PPAI 357417, S7 www.sunjoy.us 34 | DECEMBER 2022 | GROW

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This two-tone ceramic mug has doublewalled construction with an unglazed tan textured base. The stylish, 17-ounce mug has a curved handle for comfort grip. It’s hand wash only. Ariel Premium Supply PPAI 161650, S11 www.arielpremium.com This rainbow barware set has everything you need to craft the perfect cocktail in an on-trend oil slick finish. This stainless-steel rainbow plated set includes an 18-ounce shaker, jigger, strainer and bar spoon with muddler end. In its curated packaging, it’s ideal for any aspiring mixologist. True Brands / PPAI 531435, S4 www.truebrands.com This tumbler with a bamboo straw and lid is made with thermal-resistant glass combined with colorful and vibrant silicone sleeves. The bamboo lid and matching bamboo straw make this trend-setting bottle the perfect vessel to stay hydrated. St Regis Group / PPAI 230188, S6 www.stregiscrystal.com Dr i nkwa r e | DECEMBER 2022 | 37 GROW

Dr i nkwa r e The But First, Coffee kit comes with a 13-ounce insulated stainless steel tumbler and a 12-ounce stainless steel, double-wall vacuum insulated mug. The two-piece gift is packaged in recycled crinkle paper. It’s a great option for the holidays or employee recognition. Spector & Co. / PPAI 168328, S10 www.spectorandco.com The reusable Cupanion Bottle is manufactured sustainably in New York and comes in over 15 lid colors. Recipients must reuse it only twice to offset carbon emissions generated in production. Each bottle connects to the free Fill It Forward app through the QR code printed directly on the bottle. No extra Fill it Forward tag is required. Users can track the social and environmental impact of each reuse using their phone. Fill It Forward / PPAI 792815, S1 / www.fillitforward.com This three-in-one insulator is copper-lined and vacuuminsulated to maintain optimal drinking temperatures. Dual walled and stainless steel, it keeps ice for over 48 hours. The cup includes two lids: a thumb-slide, screw-on lid and a black can/bottle ring. It can be used to drink from the insulated tumbler, as a 12-ounce can cooler or as a 12-ounce beer bottle cooler. Starline USA / PPAI 112719, S10 / www.starline.com Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. 38 | DECEMBER 2022 | GROW