PPAI Magazine May 2023

New Members | Community How did your company get its start? I started my company, The Genevieve Group, in June of 2019. It came on the heels of some very painful job losses over the course of three years. A classic scenario of corporate buyout, then corporate layoffs, followed by opting for a smaller organization that could not afford to employ me despite our best efforts to make a go of things. These changes were coupled with my passion for this sales channel increasing, my skillset growing and building a large network of both colleagues and customers whom I truly did not want to let go of. I knew I had the knowledge to bring new retail brands to this channel, and I saw a need in our marketplace for smaller, lesser-known brands who needed guidance and expertise to enter and navigate the promotional products and corporate gifting world. What led your company to enter the promotional products market? Long story short, I was the HR director for Beacon Promotions from August of 2009 to April of 2017. In my time there, I was provided the opportunity to invest in the company, and as part of the ownership team I was fortunate to learn from some industry giants. Beacon acquired Canyon Outback Leather Goods, and that gave us an opportunity to segue more into the incentive channel. At the time, our president, Gary Haley, entrusted me to lead an effort to make Canyon a retail brand and expand the sales channel in the incentive market. Helping once at a sales event (fish out of water from the normal HR role) lead to a second, and then to Gary asking me to officially switch roles to become the channel manager for Canyon Outback, Special Markets. I was hooked. There was no turning back to my old career once the passion for sales was ignited. What’s your favorite thing about being in the promotional products industry? Hands-down, the people. I have made lifelong close friends with customers, co-workers and colleagues. I consider many of them my extended family. This is a complex industry, and I relied heavily on my network to show me the ropes, help pick me up when I stumbled, teach me best practices and learn how to sell. I’m forever grateful for all the support over the years from these people. Every one of them has played a unique and important role in helping me get to where I am today. Why did you join PPAI? Joining PPAI was a no-brainer. The weight being a PPAI member carries is huge in our industry. I knew it would give validity to my company, open doors to new customers and allow me to participate in shows including The PPAI Expo, which I’ve attended for nearly a decade. Being a member of PPAI gives my suppliers the ability to showcase their products to our vast network of national customers. New Member Spotlight Sarah Jensen Weidman Owner & President The Genevieve Group LLC PPAI 798701 GenievieveGroup.com PPAI • MAY 2023 • 91