PPAI Magazine May 2023

MEDIA.PPAI.ORG 05.23 IN THIS ISSUE Who Is Anji Corley? And Why Does She Love Promo? pg. 52 Athleisure Wear p. 12 Net-Zero Carbon p. 32 Marketing Magic p. 38 The Long March p. 66

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4 From PPAI Come Rain Or Shine 8 Feedback Essentials 11 Creative Calendar 12 In Style Not Just For The Gym Anymore 16 Use Case Sip & Sell 20 Good Taste Sand, Surf, Sun & Snacks Voices 26 Solutions Mistakes Happen 28 Innovation Technology Second 30 Your Business Mingle Mindfully 32 Responsibility The Race To Net Zero Must Read 60 Promotional Products Work Market Smarter: Tips For Tutoring Centers Community 79 PPPC Communiqué 81 Buzzworthy 85 Inside PPAI 90 New Members 93 Datebook 98 Perfect Promo CONTENTS 05.23 The Long March Promo's retreat from China has begun, with apparel suppliers finding new sources of cotton and many more companies seeking to diversify their supply chains. 66 VOLUME 47, ISSUE 04 Who IsAnji Corley? When PPAI’s Promotional Products Work Expo returned in March for an electric spring encore, Anji Corley got the party started. As a professional excitement builder, Corley is bringing her authentic energy and personal love for promo to future PPAI events. 52 Marketing Magic After a year of pandemic-driven upheaval, these promo pros pressed on and conjured up clever and creative campaigns for their clients, their own companies and the industry at large. Here, we recognize the best of the best with PPAI Pyramid Awards, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards. 38 38 52 66 Rob D the Baker / wacomka / Shutterstock.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 3

Come Rain Or Shine AS THIS MONTH’S ISSUE of PPAI Magazine hits your mailbox, we have just wrapped up the Association’s annual spring board meeting. It’s always an important gathering of the directors representing you, along with PPAI staff, as we chart our progress and plan the course ahead. This year the meeting was held at The Broadmoor, a historic and picturesque resort in Colorado. This property also hosted the 2022 PPAI North American Leadership Conference and is clearly a business that understands the value of promotional products. At NALC last summer, I witnessed the value of promo to The Broadmoor firsthand. Stepping away from the conference’s keynotes and panels to follow up on a call, I quickly witnessed the unpredictability of the surrounding mountains as a torrential downpour came over the property, sending guests scattering. At the same time, I noticed that these conditions were creating panic for a group of folks getting ready to head to their wedding rehearsal dinner. It was clear they would have to walk across the property in their best attire, and they were wrestling with what to do. No one had thought to pack an umbrella for the event. Just as the group had resigned themselves to a wet and miserable evening, two resort staffers entered the lobby and began passing out hotel-branded umbrellas to the group and placing dozens more just in front of the door for any guest to use. I watched as the relieved wedding party walked outside and across the property to their venue, all in a line with big, sturdy umbrellas boasting The Broadmoor logo. I’ve been in this business for a long time, but even I was impressed by the statement that visual made. The resort’s small investment in umbrellas had a huge impact on this customer’s experience and completely turned an unpleasant situation into a lifetime memory. Thinking back on that scene, I have great pride in what our industry provides to The Broadmoor and countless other businesses the world over. We help brands and organizations express themselves, tell stories and make connections. For a hotel, it may be with a timely umbrella for the walk over to a milestone event. For a real estate agent, it could be a keepsake writing instrument they give to a young family signing the deed to their first home. These are not just things, they are memories. Spreading that message and multiplying the effect of promo is the core mission of PPAI’s Promotional Products Work initiative. As it happens, we spent a healthy share of the time at our April board meeting strategizing and aligning support to expand and evolve this campaign. We believe that telling these stories is vital to our continued growth as an industry. Whether it’s through the spring and fall PPW events, or by creating online content for end buyers, your board and PPAI staff are doing our part on your behalf to keep the importance of promo top of mind and well regarded by our ultimate clients. Much like those umbrellas, we have you covered. From PPAI Kevin Walsh, CAS Chair of the Board 05.23 The resort’s small investment in umbrellas had a huge impact on this customer’s experience and completely turned an unpleasant situation into a lifetime memory. Pack / Shutterstock.com 4 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

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PPAI® 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 ACCOUNT MANAGERS Connie Brazil 972-258-3064 ConnieB@ppai.org Taylor Coward 972-258-3033 TaylorC@ppai.org Heather Mangold 972-258-3067 HeatherM@ppai.org Sandy Mendoza 972-258-3019 SandyM@ppai.org ADVERTISING CONTACT Amy Weisman 972-258-3080 AmyW@ppai.org PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Denham, MAS+ 888-I-AM-PPAI DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Lindsey Davis, MAS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Alan Peterson DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Brigitte Rousseau, CPA, MBA VICE PRESIDENT, REVENUE AND EXPOSITIONS Ellen Tucker, MAS, CAE DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Paul Elfstrom DIRECTOR OF MEMBER ENGAGEMENT Anne Stone, MAS, CAE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Keith Vincent BOARD OFFICERS CHAIR OF THE BOARD Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Dawn Olds, MAS HALO CHAIR-ELECT OF THE BOARD Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody VICE CHAIR, FINANCE SERVICES Denise Taschereau Fairware BOARD MEMBERS TERM EXPIRING 2024 Tom Goos, MAS Image Source AT-LARGE DIRECTOR TERM EXPIRING 2024 Melissa Ralston, Koozie Group TERMS EXPIRING 2025 Noah Lapine Lapine Associates Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody TERMS EXPIRING 2026 Chris Anderson HPG Denise Taschereau Fairware TERMS EXPIRING 2027 Dan Pantano alphabroder | Prime Line Joshua White BAMKO REGIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE DELEGATE TERM EXPIRING 2027 Kara Keister, MAS Social Good Promotions 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 PPAI MAGAZINE: 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 PPAI MAGAZINE: 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 email mediasales@ppai.org. WRITE FOR PPAI MAGAZINE: 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 PPAI’s Writer’s Guidelines available at media.ppai.org/submit-content. Promotional Products Association International 6 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

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Send feedback on articles in PPAI Magazine or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Feedback GoodStudio / Shutterstock.com 05.23 In Search Of A Solution The April issue of PPAI Magazine shared a distributor’s tale of doing considerable research for a client’s project, only for them to turn around and buy the products online “because they are online and free shipping.” The distributor asked their peers how they weed out similar customers. I find that the client whose first words out of their mouth is, “I saw this online for $XX, can you sell it for less?” is a client that will end up taking up a lot of time and end up ordering elsewhere. Clients going online to research for pennies less becomes a hassle and usually will not end well for me. The work and time involved does not factor into some clients’ minds. Donna Schwechter President Diamond Star Promotions Great Neck, New York PPAI Names Its 2023 Technology Committee PPAI has announced the members of its Technology Committee for 2023. This group of distributors, suppliers and service providers will work with the Association to identify industry problems and brainstorm viable solutions, as well as advance its Promo Data Exchange (PDX) program. Impressive group of visionary individuals! Looking forward to seeing progress and leadership around this important issue. Paul Kiewiet, MAS+ Executive Director Michigan Promotional Professionals Association Grand Rapids, Michigan This is a nice, well-rounded group. I can foresee some thought-provoking exchanges for a critical area facing our industry. Christopher Duffy Vice President of Marketing California Tattoos Tucson PPAI 111028, S5 Gemline And Former Secretary of Defense Share A Look At Global Issues In March, PPAI Media reported on a webinar hosted by Lawrence, Massachusetts-based supplier Gemline featuring Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and CIA chief. The session, which included a Q&A component, provided high-level commentary on major issues facing the U.S. and its business community. With a near monopoly on global trade for promotional products by China, our industry’s business relationships with China are of paramount interest. The more insights we can gain – as well as political influence we can gain domestically here in the U.S. and in China – the better we position ourselves for mutually beneficial opportunities, gains and losses. Jeff Adkins ZZ Promos El Monte, California PPAI 52441, S5 8 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS TO BE UNIVERSALLY VALUED Essentials 05.23 GOOD TASTE Sand, Surf, Sun & Snacks page 20 CREATIVE CALENDAR p. 11 IN STYLE p. 12 USE CASE p. 16 Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com Outfit recipients for a day at the beach with promo products designed with the seaside in mind. PPAI • MAY 2023 • 9

If this calendar is helpful or if you have ideas for ways that we can better provide this information, email the editors at magazine@ppai.org Creative Calendar | Essentials Exceptional Promotions SPECIAL OBSERVANCES CALL FOR Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions. Compiled by Kristina Valdez NATIONAL CANDY MONTH 6 NATIONAL DRIVE-IN MOVIE DAY 18 INTERNATIONAL SUSHI DAY 10 NATIONAL KITTEN DAY 16 NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY Product idea: Tacos have been trending for years, and finally tequila is having its moment. Featuring authentic classics like tacos al pastor and Baja-style fish tacos, Tequila & Tacos also includes entirely new spins – such as fried Brussels sprouts tacos or tempura-battered seaweed tacos cradling ahi tuna – paired with delicious cocktails crafted with the finest agave spirits, like a traditional tart Paloma cocktail rimmed with spiced salt or an eye-opening mezcal Manhattan. The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5 / www.thebookco.com August NATIONAL DOG MONTH 4 NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY 8 NATIONAL CBD DAY 30 NATIONAL BEACH DAY Product idea: This True Spectrum CBD Soothing Freeze Gel is ideal for athletes, weekend warriors or anyone with an active lifestyle. Used by chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, massage therapists, podiatrists and more to deliver a great topical relief, True Spectrum Soothing Freeze Gel combines natural ingredients that allow deep penetrating cold therapy pain relief in a convenient roll-on applicator. Made in the USA. Select Manufacturers / PPAI 110946, S1 / www.selectpromo.com June 29 NATIONAL CAMERA DAY 24 NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY July NATIONAL PICNIC MONTH Product idea: Reminisce or simulate a drive-in movie with this LCD projector. It delivers high-quality entertainment in vivid imagery. There’s a wide variety of multimedia functionality, allowing you to stream media via USB flash drives, memory cards and two HDMI connections. Enjoy streaming all types of movies, music and media through various apps by connecting a compatible streaming device. Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10 / www.hirschpromo.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 11

Essentials | In Style Not Just For The Gym Anymore By Rachel Zoch HOODIES AND TEES HAVE ALWAYS been a no-brainer for the collegiate market, but soft, comfy clothing with style has never been more popular for all ages. Office dress codes have trended more toward casual since the pandemic, and people want transitional clothing that can go from the office to the gym to the weekend without missing a beat. Even fashion maven Tim Gunn, who a decade ago tweeted, “When it comes to dressing, comfort is overrated,” has come to appreciate comfortable clothing, and high-fashion designers like Stella McCartney are jumping on the athleisure train. “There’s been a shift in wanting to feel comfortable but still feel fashionable and professional,” says Lauren Esser, an account manager with Denver-based distributor Specialty Incentives. “There’s just this desire to feel good in the clothes that you’re wearing and still feel appropriate to meet with customers and be in the office or be remote, and then it also makes it easier to swing over to the gym or maybe go for a walk over your lunch break.” Wellness and embracing the whole person at work have become bywords over the past few years, and catering to comfort with athleisurewear options is a subtle way to show that a company cares about its employees and customers. Transitional garments that people can feel appropriate wearing in a variety of settings – including on their days off – also contributes to a sense of work-life balance, and more relaxed dress codes have become an important tool for employee retention. Athleisure marries style with comfort in modern brandable pieces appropriate for work, play and everything in between. UfaBizPhoto / Shutterstock.com 12 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

In Style | Essentials “The Morpheus Knit Jacket rocks because it can be dressed up, worn with jeans or paired with athleisure and makes any outfit look polished and put together,” says Esser. Available in heather charcoal or black, women’s sizes XS-3X and men’s S-5X. Fossa Apparel / PPAI 330885, S1 / www.fossaapparel.com “I’m not saying that you can just come in your pajamas. There’s a huge difference,” says Esser, “but you can still be put together but feel comfortable.” Athleisure is naturally a huge market for colleges and universities, but companies and brands can tap into team spirit with these styles, too. Companies of all kinds are outfitting their teams in athleisurewear for trade shows and more, especially those looking to project a relatable, fun image. “Certain clients don’t want to be perceived as being too serious or corporate, so there’s also that dynamic,” says Esser. “The way that they dress and present themselves can say a lot about the company. … It comes back down to branding and how brands want to distinguish themselves and what feel and vibe they want to present.” At the same time, casual is getting less casual as buyers increasingly focus on value and aligning their brands with the impression of quality. Promo suppliers are offering their own retail-inspired versions of trending athleisurewear, and customers are excited to see these pieces. Kelsey Jones, an account manager with Ohiobased distributor City Apparel, says the Port Authority Ladies Microterry Pullover Hoodie “has been a huge hit because it is soft poly/rayon/spandex material that can either be dressed up with a pair of jeans or dressed down for a more athleisure look.” Made of super-soft, snag-resistant fabric, it features side vents and a drop-tail hem for a relaxed fit. Available in four colors (dusk blue shown); sizes XS-4X. SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 / www.sanmar.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 13

Crewneck sweatshirts have been increasing in popularity and are now requested almost as often as hoodies. The unisex Comfort Colors Adult Crewneck Sweatshirt, made with 80% sustainably and fairly grown USA cotton (20% polyester), comes in 35 garment-dyed colors, including trendy pastels and earth tones (light green shown), and sizes S-2X. alphabroder Prime Line / PPAI 156993, S16 / www.alphabroder.com Joggers continue to gain in both popularity and style. These Unisex Fashion Fleece Jogger Sweatpants are made in the USA of a supersoft poly/cotton blend and feature an easyfit waistband with elastic and drawcord, side pockets and ribbed ankle cuffs. Available in five colors (asphalt shown) and sizes XS-3X. Royal Apparel PPAI 269959, S1 www.royalapparel.net The retail-inspired LL Crossbody Belt Bag Fanny Pack echoes the shape of what Refinery29 calls “the internet’s favorite crossbody.” Recipients can wear it as a belt bag or across the shoulder, making it the perfect athleisure accessory for a hot girl walk or any adventure. This custom bag has a metal zipper (gold or silver) and is available in 15 standard colors, or choose from 140 stock colors to stand out. AZX Sport / PPAI 224494, S6 / www.aztex.com Essentials | In Style “You can still be put together but feel comfortable.” –Lauren Esser 14 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Don’t forget about footwear options, from lace-up sneakers to comfy slides and slip-ons. “I have done custom Converse for a client, which is a lot of fun,” says Esser. “I was just at Target, and those slip-on comfortable fashion slides are everywhere.” Try on a pair of custom Hydro Sliders for a comfy retail-inspired accessory. These slip-on sandals feature an eco-friendly EVA sole with full toe lift and arch support, plus recessed heel and slip-resistance bottom. Available in sizes from toddler through adult and five stock colors. The Kanata Group / PPAI 111063, S7 www.thekanatagroup.com In Style | Essentials Esser sees more people wearing fun, trendy sneakers with outfits, too. “It’s not just the clothing – it’s everything from the shoes up, and you can still look put together and professional,” she says. A snazzy pair of branded sneakers like these Scoots can add that finishing touch. The custom-printed shoes are made with recycled materials and available in men’s sizes 4-15, women’s 6-11.5 and kids’ 10-youth 4. SOCK101 / PPAI 625402, S6 / www.sock101.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 15

Essentials | Use Case DRINKWARE Sip & Sell Industry pros reveal the products they use, the products they want and the products they would suggest. These product picks are sipping essentials for everyday use. Compiled by Kristina Valdez ALICIA MATTHAI Owner Haymaker Promotions PPAI 764103, D1 Baltimore, Maryland MATTHAI FAITHFULLY USES a gift from her son. “I use my Tervis tumbler for coffee and my 30-ounce Yeti for water every day, though I hate to admit that one because selling Yeti is impossible! My son got me the new Tervis with his college logo, so I think of him in the morning with my coffee. Our summer friends all have Yetis in different colors, so we always know which one belongs to each person. When I use mine in the winter months, it not only encourages me to drink water, but it also makes me long for lake days.” This 24-oz. Tervis Sports Water Bottle comes with aneasy carry lid and is a great bottle for hot and cold drinks. The double-wall insulated tumbler reduces condensation, and it has a lifetime guarantee. Tervis Tumbler / PPAI 110960, S4 / www.tervispromos.com The 30-oz. YETI Rambler is the tumbler that gets you through the day. Brew stays hot, and iced coffee will stay cold, so there’s no rush. Kitchen-grade stainless steel with doublewall vacuum insulation will protect your drink at all costs. Like the entire Rambler Family, the 30-oz. tumbler and whichever lid you put on it are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Diamondback Branding / PPAI 655170, S6 www.diamondbackbranding.com MATTHAI WANTS TO TRY a trending product. “Like everyone in America, I want to get a Stanley tumbler, preferably in a very exclusive color!” This 40-oz. Stanley Adventure Quencher is the latest obsession. Its stainless steel double-wall vacuum insulation keeps liquids hot for up to seven hours and cold for up to 11 hours. There’s a reusable straw and a screw-on lid featuring a straw opening, sip-through opening and full-cover close top. Starline USA / PPAI 112719, S10 / www.starline.com 16 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials MATTHAI WOULD SUGGEST using unique colors with personalization. “We have been selling quite a few of the Senso from Ariel. I think the tumblers are a great value for the price, and they offer a variety of decoration methods. They also have unique color choices, which have been very popular with my customers.” This 10-oz. Senso Classic Wine Tumbler is the perfect appreciation gift made of stainless steel with a powder-coated matte finish (shown in aqua). The copper-lined double-wall insulation makes it condensation free, and it keeps beverages hot for up to four hours and cold for up to 12 hours. Ariel Premium Supply / PPAI 161650, S11 / www.arielpremium.com MITCH SILVER Co-Owner Printable Promotions PPAI 102841, D4 Chicago, Illinois SILVER FAITHFULLY USES one logoed tumbler. “Since I’ve added a reusable straw from Hit Promotional Products to my Chicago Blackhawks Tervis tumbler, I am encouraged to drink more and more water each day to remain hydrated and healthy!” These two stainless steel straws are reusable and come with a cotton carrying bag. The tips feature a silicone covering, and the set includes two wire cleaning brushes. Hit Promotional Products / PPAI 113910, S14 / www.hitpromo.net SILVER WANTS TO TRY something with style. “Gordon Sinclair has introduced a new studded tumbler. The elevated studs create a striking effect and a stylish texture and look. These are modeled after the tumbler sold at Starbucks these past few years. I’d like to see what all the hype is about and try one out!” This 24-oz. studded reusable tumbler comes with a lid and straw. It’s sure to be a favorite, bringing plenty of impressions to your client. It’s made from 100% recycled plastic, and it’s also dishwasher safe. Gordon Sinclair / PPAI 111537, S4 / www.gordonsinclair.com SILVER WOULD SUGGEST asking your clients critical questions first. “When I work with my clients, I don’t necessarily have a specific drinkware piece in mind when we begin talking. I like to ask them a few probing questions to help me suggest drinkware that is specific to their needs.” Recipients will enjoy this sporty pickleball paddle pattern design on a 16-oz. Tervis tumbler. This printed wraparound design is sealed between the tumbler walls, so it won’t wash off. Tervis tumblers feature double-wall insulated construction that keeps drinks hot or cold longer and reduces condensation to prevent rings on your table. Tervis Tumbler / PPAI 110960, S4 / www.tervispromos.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 17

JEREMY PICKER Creative Director/Founder AMB3R PPAI 438297, D6 Denver, Colorado PICKER FAITHFULLY USES something that was once a sample. “Drinkware has been the biggest growth category for my company for over four years. It was the sole reason we made it through 2020,” says Picker. “When now-VP, Adam Stone, brought in samples of the ETS 20-ounce Frost to our design studio, they became an instant winner with the team. The next week we did a selfpromo to give to all our clients and a few extras for us. Six years later, I have used the Frost almost every day for my four shots of espresso iced with some half-and-half.” The 20-oz. Frost is a stainless-steel thermal tumbler with vacuum insulation that comes in nine colors (neon pink shown). It features a clear acrylic push-on swivel lid, and an optional stainless steel straw set availis able. ETS Express / PPAI 135148, S11 / www.etsexpress.com PICKER WANTS TO TRY a versatile cooler. “BrüTank by BrüMate from Hirsch is a 55-quart cooler with a removable 2.8-gallon drink tank with a built-in tap, so it allows for mixed drinks with plenty of storage for cans/bottles, as well as a dry rack for other snacks or condiments. So many uses for one cooler.” Essentials | Use Case PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums www.americanaccents.com | 888.287.7883 Scan for pricing! •170+ stock shapes available •Handle can be custom printed •Custom shapes available •Multiple sizes to choose from •3mm white, rigid, PVC material •Digitally printed with 4-Color process 50 piece minimums! RALLY SIGNS Handleless Rally Sign Handled Rally Sign 18 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials The BrüTank cooler has puncture-resistant all-terrain wheels that glide over any surface (including sand), an EVA foam-bench top, built-in bottle opener, ice retention for seven days (or more) and many more functional accessories recipients would love. Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10 / www.hirschpromo.com PICKER WOULD SUGGEST something for everyone. “The Frost Buddy is a utilitarian stainless steel that keeps your sodas or adult beverages cold. No condensation, and it fits over 500plus cans and bottles, slim and longnecks. It’s just nice to hold, and you can add beverages inside of it for a normal hot or cold drink. It’s an item that everyone will actually use.” This Frost Buddy is a universal can cooler made of double-wall, vacuuminsulated stainless steel to keep contents cold for over 12 hours. The silicone lid locks cans and bottles in place with a nonslip silicone bottom. Available in 35 colors or patterns (white shown). Starline USA PPAI 112719, S10 www.starline.com No Minimums FREE SETUP 9 - 12 - 15 or 17ft High Includes one side imprint w/ground stake Feather Flag EQP Sale! PPAI/582106 SAGE/50398 Go To DiscountMarketingProducts.com to see all Sale Display Kits 9ft Regular Price $164 (C) Now Just NOTE - All flags are shown with optional cross base Must use Promo Code PP0523 $145 (C) Valid thru 7/31/23 Convex Concave Teardrop Angled Flat Blade Choose From 6 Shapes Ground Stake Included Carbon Fiber Poles Full Color Imprint Free PMS Color Matches Free Carry Bag PPAI • MAY 2023 • 19

Essentials | Good Taste Sand, Surf, Sun & Snacks Outfit recipients for a day at the beach with promo products designed with the seaside in mind. By Rachel Zoch SUMMER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, and that means time at the shore for lots of people, whether it’s a lake, river or ocean. While resorts, state parks and boardwalk businesses have been putting their names and logos on promo products since forever, a day at the beach can be a great opportunity for almost any brand to build a lasting relationship with end users. Keith Lofton, VP of sales for Pro Towels, says the beach is a great place to get your client’s brand out there in a fun and memorable way. “When you’re on the beach, you’re not working, you’re out having a good time, enjoying your weekend,” he says, “so your brand can really speak in a very fun manner and to likeminded people.” People tend to keep and use beach towels for 10 to 15 years, he adds – and they offer one of the largest imprint areas available in personal promo items – so plenty of people beyond the user can see that item for brand recognition. “It can make an impact to a lot of people outside of the just that individual that’s using the towel,” says Lofton. A good towel is literally the foundation of a day at the beach. This heavyweight 100% cotton terry velour Jewel Collection Beach Towel comes in 10 colors (purple shown) that can be imprinted with Ghost Ink, a water-activated method that takes on a lighter hue for an interactive experience. Pro Towels / PPAI 112755, S8 www.protowels.com Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com 20 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Good Taste | Essentials Snacks are also a must for a day of sun and fun, and there are tons of sweet brandable options. Here are a few with an aquatic theme: You don’t have to be a pirate to enjoy this TwoWay Treasure Chest filled with Gummy Bears and Swedish Fish (among other options). Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 / midnitesnax.com Get whimsical with the Clever Candy Round Acetate filled with Gummy Starfish, sure to be a hit with any sweets lover. NC Custom PPAI 111662, S7 www.nccustom.com For a nostalgic seaside favorite, this 16-oz. Tumbler filled with Salt Water Taffy can be imprinted with your client’s logo or name. When the non-melt candies are gone, the BPA-free double-wall acrylic tumbler can be reused again and again. NC Custom / PPAI 111662, S7 / www.nccustom.com 10% OFF THRU 6.15.23 MUST USE PROMO CODE PP0423 10% off current website prices, does not apply to freight or additional charges Budget Presentation Folders Made in USA 9" x 12" Two 4" Pockets 15 Sq. Inch Imprint Biz Card Die-Cuts Coated White Stock PPAI/114154 SAGE/57590 Foil Stamped Ink Printed Looking for Folders on a Budget? as low as $.62(C) after discount PPAI • MAY 2023 • 21

Essentials | Good Taste Don’t forget the sunscreen! This Sun Bum Day Tripper Kit includes three travelsized name-brand sun care essentials – SPF 30 sunscreen lotion, SPF 30 lip balm and Cool Down aloe lotion – in a handy zipper pouch ready for your client’s logo. Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10 hirschpromo.com These plastic Solid Color Classic Sunglasses offer UV400 protection. Available in eight colors (green shown), and one size fits most adults. This summertime staple makes a great seaside souvenir or promotional handout. WOWLine / PPAI 112440, S4 www.wowline.com Keep water – and sand – out of your stuff with the Urban Peak 3L Essentials Dry Bag, which comes in four colors (blue shown). “Dry bags are pretty darn cool, especially when you’re thinking of Fourth of July and the summer,” says Rhonda Campagna, president of Georgia-based distributor STG Marketing. “They keep the sand out, but they also keep everything from getting moist.” Starline / PPAI 112719, S10 www.starline.com This large, lightweight, Easy Breezy Tote includes a front pocket for a smooth imprint area and for holding small items. Available in four bright colors (lime shown), it’s perfect for the beach, shopping or travel. Southern Plus / PPAI 110918, S4 www.southernplus.com “When you’re on the beach, you’re not working, you’re out having a good time, enjoying your weekend, so your brand can really speak in a very fun manner and to like-minded people.” –Keith Lofton 22 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Good Taste | Essentials Kiddos will love the Beach Bucket Set of colorful play accessories designed to promote imagination. Perfect for a play date at the beach, pool or even the garden. Recommended for ages 18 months and up. Illini/Altco / PPAI 111235, S8 www.illiniline.com The Scratch & Sketch At The Beach activity book invites children of all ages to trace the images on coated paper and reveal seaside scenes in glittering colors. Wooden stylus included. Not for children under 5. The Book Company PPAI 218850, S5 www.thebookco.com PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 888.287.7883 www.americanaccents.com Scan for more info! Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums 25 PIECE MINIMUMS! GRIP-IT™ PLACEMATS Made from soft, durable triple layered PVC • 170+ stock shapes available • Custom shapes available • Digitally die cut; no extra fee • Available in 7 di‘erent colors • Digitally printed with 4-Color process PPAI • MAY 2023 • 23

IDEAS TO ADVANCE THE MARKETPLACE Voices 05.23 INNOVATION page 28 TECHNOLOGY SECOND Improved tools are part of any companywide digital transformation, but it’s the initial mindset shift that matters most. SOLUTIONS p. 26 INNOVATION p. 28 YOUR BUSINESS p. 30 RESPONSIBILITY p. 32 PPAI • MAY 2023 • 25 mentalmind / Shutterstock.com

Q A Distributor Asks: We have a client with four very specific Pantone colors that they would like to match consistently in every print job across various items. The green color specifically has been an issue several times (too dark on tumblers, too light on T-shirts.) I know inks and colors will look slightly different on different items and backgrounds, and I’m aware of the coated versus uncoated issue. I’m suggesting pre-production proofs, but sometimes that isn’t feasible. Are there any words of wisdom that I can or should pass on to the client when explaining color variations? Some textile printers don’t use the Pantone blending inks to match PMS. I have a local guy who uses the inks from his “house brand” of opaque screen-printing inks, and he’s a genius at matching PMS colors. Given every factory and every screen printer is different, the thing to do is have a conversation with the art team at every factory and then explain limitations to your client for every order. And, yes, get pre-production samples. CRAIG SAHLI CEO Graphics Network Tulsa, Oklahoma PPAI 670721, D1 Some colors are more difficult due to their makeup on the color spectrum. For screen printing, have your printer order your specific ink in special and test-print the color with every new bucket to the previous “approved” swatch. That will help, but not perfect. On hard goods, if they run full color (CMYK), then they cannot control the specific colors. Your specific colors need to be run as spot color to better dial them in/control them. This is going to limit what products you can choose from. ANDY LANTZMAN Promotional Therapist Geiger Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPAI 780859, D1 Mistakes Happen Industry pros are quick to share expertise, insights and opinions on all things promo. Amid this batch of answered questions, distributors share how they navigate finicky color matching, late rush orders and compromised cards. Compiled by Kristina Valdez Voices | Solutions Kovalov Anatolii, IFaritovna, Gino Santa Maria, Massimo Vernicesole, New Africa / Shutterstock.com 26 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Solutions | Voices Q A Distributor Asks: I have one credit card that I use for promo vendors that I don’t have an account with. I do not use this card for anything else. My card is hacked two or three times a year. I offer to send a check, but most vendors won’t wait and don’t have ACH or PayPal. Any suggestions? As a rule of thumb, and hopefully you aren’t doing this, but never ever put credit card numbers on purchase orders. CHARITY GIBSON National Account Coordinator Peerless Umbrella Company Newmark, New Jersey PPAI 715404, S10 Do business only with suppliers that take payment in a way that suits you. This topic has been repeated over and over through the years. A lot of answers in this thread and previous ones seem to think force is the way or waiting for everyone to change is the answer. Those two options are not proactive solutions. You must adapt to those you want to do business with, or do business with those that comply with your wishes, or encourage those you want to do business with to make the needed changes for you. One-time orders now and then because they have the lowest price will not be convincing. It seems the only viable option is to take control of your clients’ buying habits and lead them to your preferred vendor’s products. Only sell the products from suppliers that accept the payment method(s) you need. BRUCE REISSAUS, MAS Co-owner Advertising Specialties Alliance Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania PPAI 222672, D2 Q A Distributor Asks: How do you handle rush orders that do not deliver as promised by suppliers? If a deadline was missed, I’d refund in full no matter whose fault it is. RICH GRAHAM Chief Imagination Officer BigPromotions.net Dallas, Texas PPAI 256367, D2 About two months into COVID, when the suppliers or delivery services both started struggling, we stopped guaranteeing rush and have stayed under that even to this day because it’s still just too much outside of our control to guarantee anymore. However, should this have happened prior to COVID, we would have done full refund because we are only as good as our word and suppliers. CHRIS POLLAN President and Owner Pollan Promos Starkville, Mississippi PPAI 276409, D2 PPAI • MAY 2023 • 27

Voices | Innovation Technology Second DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION has become a familiar phrase – so familiar that it’s cliché. But for something so often talked about within companies, it’s still widely misunderstood. People get hung up on the digital part. They assume that the concept is all about improving technology and they ignore the bigger, much more important aspect: transformation. Growth. Development. Improvement. Progress. That’s the whole point. Transformation is hard. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but ultimately transformation means your business looks different than it did originally. Buying or upgrading software may make you more efficient, which is important, but not transformational. That’s the kind of small project that can transform a process or department. Larger projects and a change in mindset are more likely to transform a business. The promotional products industry is in critical need of digital transformation. The most pressing need is to eliminate distributorbuyer friction, which results in a negative experience for the ultimate customer, as well as higher costs. The most significant friction in our industry is the ordering process, from creating the order to proofing to order status, all the way to invoicing. There are so many areas to address in the industry ordering process, but like any major transformation project, it begins with a vison and then a first step. For our industry, the first step is that no one should make or take a phone call to confirm inventory or order status. Ever. This first step involves suppliers providing electronic access to their inventory status and distributors taking advantage of the freely available information. PPAI is encouraging members to use Promo Data Exchange (PDX) to transmit and receive inventory and order status. PromoStandards, a PPAI member business service, is an additional option for those who have larger IT staffs and want to focus on integrating with each individual firm. For suppliers already using PromoStandards, implementing PDX additionally allows for maximum users reached with a single PDX integration. The high ROI of eliminating this simple-to-solve, unnecessary friction will change perspectives and set the foundation for more challenging steps in the larger journey to come. Lao Tzu said it best: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It’s the most important of them all because it is the beginning of progress. While the industry advances, each organization must also make decisions on necessary digital transformation. For some, that means embracing e-commerce in a more significant way. For others, it could be overhauling internal operations. Regardless of where Improved tools are part of any companywide digital transformation, but it’s the initial mindset shift that matters most. by Dale Denham, MAS+ mentalmind / Shutterstock.com 28 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Innovation | Voices you start, your transformation should result in a better customer experience with your organization. Don’t lose sight of the importance of the customer in any effort. At PPAI, what began with such simple mindset shifts as publishing our media team’s articles online when they are ready (instead of weeks or months later when you receive your magazine) has created the initial forward momentum that is now demonstrating itself in transitions from outdated but comfortable business and finance systems to newer, more robust platforms. We’ve seen significant gains already, and the culture is moving ahead, even if we have a long way to go before many member customers even notice the transformation. The improved technology is just a secondary factor in fulfilling our vision. In any company, leadership must have a commitment to transformation. Leaders must change the expectations and culture before moving on to new technology (if new technology is even needed). If the leaders do not actively lead the transformation, the investment is likely going to be wasted anyway. The best leaders will lean into a transformation project and allocate time and energy to ensure success, not simply approve a budget and leave the rest to IT – a sure recipe for challenges, if not failure. Having a strong and capable IT team to identify and implement the right technical solutions is important, but the commitment of leaders is just as necessary. Bad technology choices don’t help, of course. They can delay progress and be extremely costly. But these missteps can be overcome, whereas an unwillingness to evolve cannot. The cultural advancement your business makes will far outweigh the bells and whistles that come with any new software. Every company in promotional products needs to be on a digital transformation journey. It will never be complete. But like life, the journey is the reward. Cliché, sure. But absolutely worth understanding. Denham is the president and CEO at PPAI. What Is PDX? • Promo Data Exchange (PDX) is a free integration for PPAI member suppliers. It transmits order status and inventory to 45,000 distributor SAGE users. • Access to this information is included with distributors’ SAGE subscription (every PPAI distributor member company has at least one license). PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 888.287.7883 www.americanaccents.com Scan for more info! Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums 50 PIECE MINIMUMS! GRIP-IT™ COASTERS • Digital 4-Color process imprint • Custom shapes available • Digitally die cut; no extra fee • 170+ stock shapes available • Available in 7 di’erent colors • Triple layered PVC material PPAI • MAY 2023 • 29

Voices | Your Business ARE YOU A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION KIND OF PERSON? I am not. While I believe strongly in setting goals, I have never been inclined to set them around a calendar year for the sake of tradition. A few years ago, I noticed a trend among some of my colleagues and friends. In place of setting a specific resolution, they are choosing a word of the year. If you’re unfamiliar, choosing a word of the year is something that is done instead of, or maybe in addition to, setting a specific resolution for the new year. The idea is that you choose a word that will guide and inspire you throughout the year. It is said to be a powerful way to set intentions for the coming year, allowing you to focus on a way you want to feel or what you want to experience in the 365 days ahead. One of the things I like most about this concept is that there isn’t going to be a specific moment of ultimate success or failure – it’s a lot more practical and realistic to how we lead our lives than to create a resolution that is likely to go out the window before February, anyway. With a word of the year, your focus may ebb and flow throughout the 12 months, and there will always be opportunities to improve and refocus. This is one of those moments of refocus for me. The word I chose at the beginning of 2023: intentionality. As we’re heading into the summer months, many in the promotional products industry, including me, are entering a season of increased business travel. This means lots of opportunities to network and a great chance to introduce intentionality to your networking. Weaving intentionally into your networking will provide a far more effective approach to helping you reach your goals. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way: 1. Define your goals. Before you start networking – in fact ,before you determine where you want to be networking – it’s important to know what you want to achieve. These could be company or individual goals. Whether your networking goal is to learn from others, build your networking, find resources or something else, it’s important to set clear and specific goals. This will help you get the most out of the time you invest in networking. 2. Know your strengths. Determining ahead of any given networking opportunity how you can rely on your strengths to approach the situation will help set you up for success. Knowing your strengths is also important in determining Mingle Mindfully As business travel season heats up for many promotional products pros, it’s important to remember the purpose behind networking efforts. by Ellen Tucker, MAS, CAE Fagreia / Shutterstock.com 30 • MAY 2023 • PPAI

Your Business | Voices how you want to present yourself and how you want to differentiate yourself from others. This will help you create a strong personal brand that will resonate with others. 3. Be strategic. Networking isn’t just about meeting people. It’s about identifying and building relationships with the right people – people who have the potential to help you achieve your goals and grow both personally and professionally. Make sure to build in time to be intentional about how and who you are building your network with. 4.Follow up. Networking is not a one-time event – it is an ongoing process of relationshipbuilding, so be intentional about the need to stay in contact with the key people you meet. Following up after an initial meeting and staying in touch are equally important components of the process. Intentionally put aside time from your regular routine to connect with your network. It’s easy for this to take a back seat to the hustle and grind of our day-to-day life, especially for anyone in sales. But we must make sure to have a plan in mind to stay top of mind with your most important contacts. As I continue my year of intentionality, I’m looking forward to putting this advice to work at PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference and Women’s Leadership Conference in June – I hope to see you there! Tucker is the vice president of revenue and expositions at PPAI. PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums www.americanaccents.com | 888.287.7883 Scan for pricing! •Made from renewable resources •Metallic and neon ink colors oered at no extra cost •Free PMS matching •Choice of linen-like material or 2-ply facial quality material 50 piece minimums! •Multiple print methods available WHITE POCKET NAPKINS •Built-in pocket holds & protects utensils Register Now: PPAI.org/events North American Leadership Conference: June 4-7, 2023 Washington, D.C. Women’s Leadership Conference: June 25-27, 2023 Eagan, Minnesota PPAI • MAY 2023 • 31

Voices | Responsibility ESG, OR ENVIRONMENTAL social governance, is changing the way publicly traded corporations view their balance sheets. Activist investors have driven this movement predicated on the concept that corporations should value purpose alongside profit, and both the investment community and legislators have proved to be enamored of this concept. Those publicly traded corporations, such as cloudbased software company Salesforce, are increasingly looking to their supply chains to align with and support their efforts. Private companies should be taking note of this evolving ESG landscape, too. Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Louisa McGuirk, senior manager of sustainable procurement for Salesforce. I first met Louisa when she joined us as part of a corporate social responsibility panel during the 2022 PPAI North American Leadership Conference, where she shared the visionary work Salesforce is doing in the sustainability space. Words matter, so at the outset of our conversation, I asked Louisa about the terminology Salesforce uses in its work. At Salesforce, “ESG” is most often used in relation to reporting and accountability to stakeholders, while “sustainability” describes its work to accelerate global progress to net zero and create a naturepositive future. As a corporation, Salesforce believes business is the greatest platform for change and has an obligation to address what it considers to be a climate emergency. Salesforce has net zero residual emissions today and has set ambitious targets to reduce and compensate for greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain in pursuit of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius for a future that avoids the worst impacts of climate change. To accomplish this goal, Louisa is working beyond Salesforce’s four walls to drive a sustainable reaction down the supply chain. The beauty in this approach is in its ripple effect. Salesforce cannot reach net zero without the engagement of its suppliers, its suppliers cannot meet net zero without their suppliers, and so on. That’s where companies like those in the promotional products industry begin to fit into this conversation. According to Louisa, at least 90% of Salesforce’s greenhouse gas emissions Reducing carbon emissions is one step on our journey toward a nature-positive future. by Anne Stone, MAS, CAE The Race To Net Zero 3rdtimeluckystudio / Shutterstock.com 32 • MAY 2023 • PPAI