PPAI Magazine June 2023

MEDIA.PPAI.ORG 06.23 IN THIS ISSUE UX Tips p. 38 The Thoughtful Contrarian p. 42 A Brighter Outlook p. 58 Consumer Research p. 64 INTRODUCING

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4 From PPAI Go Ahead, Make Mistakes 8 Feedback Essentials 11 Creative Calendar 12 Use Case Ruff Life 16 In Style Style With Substance 22 Good Taste Gridiron Good Times Voices 28 Your Business Keep It Simple 32 Solutions What Would You Do? 34 Responsibility Closing the Loop 38 Innovation User Experience Tips For The Inexperienced Must Read 46 Feature Introducing PPAI 100 52 Promotional Products Work Celebrating Diverse Cultures Community 72 Buzzworthy 74 Inside PPAI 78 New Members 82 PPPC Communiqué 83 Datebook 90 Perfect Promo CONTENTS 06.23 The Thoughtful Contrarian BAMKO’s Joshua White talks company culture, digital transformation and why he asks questions to broaden the conversation. 42 VOLUME 47, ISSUE 05 A Brighter Outlook Promo is now running on solar power. Several prominent companies have installed solar panels for both their impact on the environment and their financial payback. 58 Consumers Covet Promo During Economic Hardships We may be headed for a recession this year. If so, promo businesses are well positioned to weather it. 64 64 58 42 Sergey Nivens / Valentin Valkov / Shutterstock.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 3

From PPAI Dale Denham, MAS+ President & CEO 06.23 Go Ahead, Make Mistakes THIS WILL COME AS A SURPRISE to some readers, but I do make mistakes occasionally. And that’s OK. It’s better than OK, in fact. It’s a good thing. I encourage myself and my team to allow for errors, or at least allow things to not be perfect. Perfection cannot be the enemy of progress. There’s a quote from the legendary basketball coach John Wooden that resonates with me: “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” Trying new things often involves a few stumbles in the process. Perhaps you are already saying “as long as you don’t repeat the same mistakes,” and I agree. If I make a mistake that demonstrates I didn’t learn from a previous one, I hold myself accountable, and I do the same with my colleagues. For example, as we attempted to rebuild the PPAI staff after COVID reductions, we made several great hires that have exceeded expectations. But we also made some hires that did not work out. Each manager took time to learn from those personnel misjudgments and made great hires on the second try. The best leaders encourage people to take risks and accept that miscues, setbacks and disappointment will come with the territory. Some companies build a culture that is willing to celebrate failure as part of the growth process. Others attempt to do it but don’t handle the learning opportunities created by failure quite so well. These well-meaning leaders may simply ignore mistakes or errors completely. They are pleased that an employee is at least trying. But when a key mistake is made, it’s important to discuss what should be learned. At the same time, a good leader will make it clear that they are happy the person took a chance to make something happen. If a mistake should have been avoided based on what needed to be learned through a previous miscue, a more difficult conversation must occur. While still applauding the effort, leaders need to focus more on the fact the mistake should not have occurred this time. The leader should then ask their colleague to reflect on what they learned from the latest experience. If the employee cannot state clearly what they learned from the process, they are likely to repeat it yet again. As a leader, you may need to work closely with the colleague to make sure their next effort avoids costly errors. In some cases, the leader may need to move in a new direction. That should be handled carefully, however, because fellow employees may take note, and you don’t want to discourage other risk-takers. Leaders need to hold people to account, beginning with themselves. But great leaders also create safe environments to make mistakes on the way to growth for the individual and the organization as a whole. I hate it when I make a mistake, and I’m disappointed when PPAI somehow messes up. But I love it when we learn and grow. The best leaders encourage people to take risks and accept that miscues, setbacks and disappointment will come with the territory. Some companies build a culture that is willing to celebrate failure as part of the growth process. 4 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

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 Karie Cowden, MAS Connect the Dots Promotions 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 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

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Send feedback on articles in PPAI Magazine or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Feedback 06.23 Pushing Back Against Noncompete Clauses PPAI Media’s new “Voices” series features the opinions and advice of promo industry influencers. Joshua White, head of strategy and general counsel at distributor BAMKO, wrote on how a potential FTC ban on noncompete clauses shouldn’t trouble promo executives in the article “Have You Considered Not Being Awful?” Just like clients, I want our people to work with us because they want to, not because they have to. Erik Whitcher Vice President of Sales 3 Point Brand Management Tigard, Oregon This is an excellent article. So many people and companies have been stymied by noncompetes. My heart goes out to young people, with creative, vibrant minds who are required to sign a noncompete. Mary Williams Owner Pick Sales Support Temple, Texas Facing The PFAS Challenge Promo companies are facing a regulatory challenge on the near horizon surrounding perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in use in many products today. So far, most of the compliance issues companies will have to deal with are at the state level and vary significantly. In “PFAS: The Chemical Dilemma,” PPAI Media examined how promo companies can face the issue. I think the most important takeaway from the article, as well as the relevant thing to do today, regardless of the product category one has, is to start a conversation within the company’s compliance, supply chain and product development teams, and also with the suppliers and their factories. It is also wise to reach out to the test labs to understand the adequate test protocols about PFOA and PFOS. Sanjay Kotia, MAS Manager of Product Compliance and Quality Assurance SnugZ USA West Jordan, Utah PPAI 112982, S11 Must Read | PFAS THERE’S A REGULATORY ISSUE ON THE HORIZON that practically every company operating in the promotional merchandise market is going to have to deal with. And that horizon isn’t evenly distributed. For some, they’ve already reached it, and for others it’s in the short- or medium-term distance. But it’s coming, and most of us are going to have to contend with it, one way or another. There are more than 9,000 perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (aka PFAS) in use today in myriad products. Due to the strength of their carbon-fluorine bonds, they are persistent, bio-accumulative “forever chemicals,” and some have been shown to have multiple, adverse effects on human health. Governments at the state and federal level, and around the world, are enacting regulations controlling or prohibiting their use. These rules apply to different product categories, follow different schedules, require different testing and mandate different responses. In short, it’s very confusing. The Chemical Dilemma As regulators at the state and federal level pursue and enact legislation to limit the potential danger of PFAS chemicals, promo businesses need to navigate with finesse. by James Khattak onimate / Shutterstock.com 42 • APRIL 2023 • PPAI Patagonia’s Place In Promo Patagonia announced in March that it was returning to the branded merchandise market after a two-year hiatus. PPAI Media connected with the company to learn more about the move, but industry professionals were left with lingering questions. I love the brand, their message and their product, but in this case I think they have many things to figure out before they’ll be an appreciated partner in the promo world again. The intentional ambiguousness is just frustrating. They sure sound like they’re just trying to appease people but don’t really want to play ball and participate. Jason Balera National Account Executive SayNoMore! Promotions Eagle, Colorado PPAI 220688, D5 Reading this article, it seems to me that Patagonia is not ready to re-enter the industry. I would think a better fit would be selling through a SanMar- or an alphabrodertype supplier. I would assume these suppliers would forecast inventories. SanMar and alphabroder seem to market similar brands that have logo customization rules. Peter Bianchi, MAS Owner and President Edgemont Marketing Group Scarsdale, New York PPAI 508650, D2 8 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS TO BE UNIVERSALLY VALUED Essentials 06.23 USE CASE Ruff Life Industry pros reveal the products they use, the products they want and the products they would suggest. These product picks are a pet’s best friend. page 12 CREATIVE CALENDAR p. 11 IN STYLE p. 16 GOOD TASTSE p. 22 rebeccaashworthearle / Shutterstock.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 9

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Creative Calendar | Essentials NATIONAL GRILLING MONTH Product idea: The Everett Wine & Cheese Table brings comfort and style to outdoor picnic parties or evenings in bed. It comes with a bamboohandled steel cheese fork-and-knife set. It can hold all your charcuterie choices, including cheese, nuts and olives. The tabletop includes cutouts to hold two wine glasses and a bottle. The 10inch picnic table is made of environmentally friendly natural bamboo, and its collapsible design saves space for transport and storage. Logomark / PPAI 110898, S11 / logomark.com Exceptional Promotions SPECIAL OBSERVANCES CALL FOR Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions. Compiled by Kristina Valdez 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 July 1 NATIONAL PLAY OUTSIDE DAY 20 NATIONAL LOLLIPOP DAY 25 NATIONAL WINE & CHEESE DAY NATIONAL GOLF MONTH Product idea: The Decadent S’mores Pop brings the campfire with you. Each pop is made with two large marshmallows between two chocolate-covered graham crackers topped with marshmallow drizzle and crushed graham crackers. This classic treat is made better on a stick. Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 midnitesnax.com August 2 NATIONAL COLORING BOOK DAY 10 NATIONAL S’MORES DAY 24 NATIONAL WAFFLE DAY NATIONAL SELF- IMPROVEMENT MONTH Product idea: Cheer on your favorite team with this fringed Spectator Scarf. This acrylic scarf is available in 13 color combinations to stand out in the stands and provide the perfect keepsake. It's a great gift for tailgates or campfires. SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 / SanMar.com September 6 NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY 16 NATIONAL GUACAMOLE DAY 27 NATIONAL SCARF DAY PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 11

Essentials | Use Case PET GEAR Ruff Life Industry pros reveal the products they use, the products they want and the products they would suggest. These product picks are a pet’s best friend. Compiled by Kristina Valdez ALLISON BENDIS, MAS Account Manager Klondike Advertising PPAI 591557, D5 Anchorage, Alaska Bendis faithfully uses a collapsible dog bowl for her pets. “Several years ago, I pitched the Illini Collapsible Silicone Pet Bowl for a client’s community relations event. It’s since become their signature marketing piece, and I’ve snagged a dozen overruns because it’s such a convenient accessory! Whether it’s clipped to my CamelBak or stashed in my bike basket, I’m always glad to have this handy bowl on outdoor adventures with my pups.” This collapsible silicone pet bowl is perfect for travel, walks and trips to the dog park. Use the included carabiner to attach the bowl to backpacks, leashes, purses and more. It’s easy to clean and top rack dishwasher safe. Illini/Altco / PPAI 111235, S7 / illiniline.com rebeccaashworthearle / Shutterstock.com 12 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials Bendis would suggest safety products. “I recommend Fey’s Reflectix line for clients seeking event swag that speaks to pet lovers in northern climates. ZipArounds are a multifunctional and lowcost way to show that you care about enhanced safety and visibility for pets and their people. I’ve also found that Reflectix leash covers are an effective thank-you gift or marketing piece for pet-related businesses.” The Zip-Around’s reflective material provides visibility from 500 feet away. It works well with circular logos and designs and easily attaches to zippers, bags, outerwear, warmups and jackets. These tags are a low-cost option for employee safety programs and also for children, teens, adults and seniors. Fey Promo / PPAI 113944, S8 / feypromo.com This slip-on leash cover represents a novel approach to pet and owner safety. They easily slide over most standard leashes and have a large imprint area. Fey Promo / PPAI 113944, S8 / feypromo.com Bendis would try a ball thrower. “My youngest rescue dog seems constantly disappointed by my throwing capabilities. Wov-In’s Tennis Ball Toss Toy might be just the ticket!” This tennis ball toss toy has industrial strength. It’s colorfast with non-abrasive polyester. The fabric includes up to eight colors, sewn to one side of one-color classic webbing. WOV-IN / PPAI 113213, S5 / wov-in.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 13

Essentials | Use Case LORINDA MOYA Owner Lemonade Promo PPAI 753246, D3 Austin, Texas Moya would suggest a customizable pet leash. “You can’t be without an amazing leash. We have so many options for our best friends! We love recommending this 6-foot pet leash that is fully sublimated.” An important part of pet care and ownership is exercise. Take a step in the right direction with this walking leash, which can be customized with a full-color, photographic imprint of your client’s company name and logo. Designed to be durable, it makes a great gift or giveaway for pet stores, shelters and veterinary clinics. AZX Sport-USA / PPAI 224494, S6 / promoplace.com/azxsport Moya would try a pet-friendly water bottle. “I have two dogs and a cat, so water is on tap for them. I highly recommend the 33-ounce Asobu Dog Bowl water bottle when outdoors or on a walk/run. You can’t get any better than this. You get a stainlesssteel water bowl that easily twists off the bottom of your water bottle.” The stainless steel Asobu Dog Bowl water bottle has an easy-grip handle that makes it convenient to carry even on long walks with your dog. It’s equipped with a detachable stainless steel and plastic bowl that discreetly twists off the base of the bottle when it’s time to rehydrate your dog. Ad-N-Art / PPAI 236926, S4 / adnart.com Moya faithfully uses a pet bag dispenser. “Since we get outdoors in Austin so much, one thing that every pet owner should own is a pet bag dispenser, because it’s highly necessary when going on walks/runs. We always say “PUP – for ‘pick up poo’!” You can’t leave home without this.” This pet bag dispenser comes with a matching metal carabiner that attaches easily to a leash or belt for easy use on the go. It includes 15 waste bags to clean up after your furry friend, and it twists open for easy refill. Available in 14 fun colors, this item is a fun addition to any giveaway. Tekweld / PPAI 266346, S4 / tekweld.com 14 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials JEFF SOLOMON, MAS Branded Merch Advocate FreePromoTips.com PPAI 537474, A00 Canyon Country, California Solomon faithfully uses a portable water bottle. “We have two certified therapy dogs that visit schools, special events, the airport and wherever a friendly dog is needed. Volunteering our time to see the joy these dogs bring to the people they visit has been gratifying. One of my favorite products is a portable water bottle with a drinking tray that is very convenient to use, since it’s a bottle and dish in one.” This foldable doggie water bottle is made of high-quality food grade material. Ideal for trips or walks around the block, it offers one-hand operation – simply push the switch right to fill water and left to stop water. Nolwenn / PPAI 747582, S3 / nolwn.com Solomon would try this cleaning kit. “The classic waste bag dispenser is an essential item you must have.” The Pooch Pack Clean Up Kit is the perfect pet care accessory to promote cleanliness and responsible pet ownership. This pouch has a quick sanitizer access hole, waste bag dispenser flap and an adjustable belt loop. It includes 15 waste bags and a 0.5-oz hand sanitizer. Ariel Premium Supply / PPAI 161650, S11 / arielpremium.com Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. Solomon would suggest trying something different. “Pets are personal, and a distributor may not want to give a client a gift for their pet. The other side of that thought is that people love their pets, and it may get a favorable response that differs from giving a traditional business-focused product. There is always some charm in being different, and it can be an excellent opportunity to share a meaningful brand message.” This full-color bandana is available in four sizes to fit most dogs. It’s a great item for adoption drives, dog walks, shelters or any pet-related retail location. Tekweld / PPAI 266346, S4 / tekweld.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 15

Tap into the evergreen popularity of workwear, prized for its utility and durability, as well its aesthetic and inclusive appeal. By Rachel Zoch BLUE-COLLAR WORKWEAR HAS BEEN a favorite of subcultures from punk to hip-hop for half a century, but now it’s hotter than ever. Post-pandemic, people want to feel comfortable in and empowered by what they wear, and workwear brings with it both an easy fit and an attitude of toughness and resilience. Since these pieces were designed for function over fashion, workwear offers a timelessness that transcends trends. That said, workwear sits squarely at the intersection of several current trends, from the boxy, relaxed fit of the ’90s to the demand for comfortable, gender-neutral clothing. It also speaks to both nostalgia and sustainability, with century-old brands like Carhartt and Dickies that are known and prized for their durability. Trend forecaster Samuel Trotman says workwear is here to stay because it fits our modern lifestyle better – and because it offers both physical and emotional comfort. “With everything going on in the world now and all the instability and fears around sustainability, people are looking more and more to timeless garments that are both functional and high quality so that they last,” he told Gear Patrol. Function is at the heart of workwear’s appeal, says Elson Yeung, president and head designer of Californiabased supplier KNOSS Apparel, because people want transitional clothes suited to a variety of situations and activities. “The pandemic allowed people to have much more flexibility in what they wear to work,” says Yeung. “Our lifestyles have really changed in terms of what does work mean? What does personal life mean anymore? There’s such a crossover in between that you can create efficiencies that benefit both sides.” Consumers want functionality and utility, whether at work or at play, he adds, and workwear implies that you’re a problem-solver who gets things done. “Everybody’s really interested in utility, says Yeung, “but then, depending who you’re asking, there are people who wear the utility wear because they do utility things on a day-to-day basis, and then there’s this other group that wears utility wear that doesn’t really do utility things. It’s a fashion statement.” This utility-first approach also means that function takes priority over gender and fashion norms, so workwear offers greater inclusivity than other apparel types. “You’re designing for the person, not so much the gender,” says Yeung. Here are a few options for brandable workwear jackets, from tried-and-true brand names to promo-exclusive pieces: Style With Substance LightField Studios / Shutterstock.com 16 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI Essentials | In Style

1. This lightweight but durable Carhartt Full Swing Cryder Jacket provides freedom to move with stretch panels on the back, sides and elbows for a full range of motion. Made of water-repellent canvas plus insulation, the jacket also features a detachable hood, zippered chest pockets and hidden snap hand pockets, as well as a drop-tail with drawcord adjustable hem. Available in black or gray (shown) and sizes S-3X. SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 / sanmar.com 2. The poly/cotton twill Dickies Men’s Unlined Eisenhower Jacket offers a classic workwear silhouette and light outer shell. The jacket features slash front welt pockets, a heavy-duty brass zipper and a pencil pocket on the left sleeve. Also available with a lining, this jacket comes in black (shown), charcoal or navy and sizes S-3X. alphabroder / PPAI 156993, S16 / alphabroder.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 17 In Style | Essentials

3. The workwear-inspired Legend Men’s All-Season Canvas Utility Jacket, made of a water-resistant poly/cotton blend, offers rugged durability and lightweight warmth, plus a convertible collar, pen slots and a heavyweight zipper. Available in black, navy or coyote brown (shown) and sizes S-4XL. KNOSS Apparel / PPAI 798753, S1 / knoss.com 4. The Horizon chore jacket, made of canvas and insulated throughout, features adjustable cuffs with heavy-duty snaps and a longer, drop-tail hem for extra coverage when bending and lifting. Insulated pockets on the outside and handy pockets on the inside keep belongings close at hand. DRI DUCK Traders / PPAI 318801, S5 / driduck.com 18 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI Essentials | In Style

5. The lightweight Porter Eco Insulated Shacket, made from 40% recycled polyester, features a cozy microfleece lining, adjustable snap cuffs, zippered front pockets and more. Its shirttail hem, articulated elbows and ergonomic sleeves let you move your arms freely. Available in black (shown) or navy, men’s sizes S-3X and women’s sizes XS-2X. PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15 / pcna.com 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 •White high-density pulpboard •170+ stock shapes available •Custom shapes available •Available in 35/55/80 pt thicknesses •Full color digital imprint 50 piece minimums! PULPBOARD COASTERS 20 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI Essentials | In Style

6. The 100% cotton canvas Boulder Shirt Jacket balances function and fashion with its 100% cotton plaid flannel lining, spread collar, chest flap patch pockets, snap closure cuffs and drop-tail hem. Available in gray, navy (shown) and taupe green, women’s sizes XS-3X and men’s sizes S-5X. Vantage Apparel / PPAI 113235, S10 / vantageapparel.com Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. PPAI/582106 SAGE/50398 No Minimums • 7oz 300D Polyester • Full Color • Full Coverage • Wrinkle Resistant • Machine Washable • Free PMS Matches FREE SETUP NEW Sustainable Fabric Table Cover EQP Sale! Go To DiscountMarketingProducts.com to see all Table Cover styles Made from 100% recycled polyester as low as $144.00(C) Valid thru 8/31/23 Non-Fitted - 4ft, 6ft or 8ft Fitted - 4ft, 6ft or 8ft Pleated - 4ft, 6ft or 8ft PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 21 In Style | Essentials

Essentials | Good Taste Gridiron Good Times Promo designed for tailgating can help brands make the most of football season as fans root for their favorite teams. By Rachel Zoch FALL IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER, and along with it come football season and the great American pastime of tailgating. More than ever, people want to get together, and tailgating provides plenty of opportunity for gathering and good times. Promo can get in on the action to help brands make the most of the celebratory atmosphere as fans root for their favorite teams. We’ve all seen the extreme tailgaters who basically build a living room in the stadium parking lot, but you don’t need to haul out a recliner and big-screen TV to host a successful tailgate. Gameday essentials include food and beverages, of course, but don’t forget seating, shelter and something to keep everyone entertained. Andy Hudson, director of marketing for St. Louis-based supplier Incentive Concepts, says his list of must-haves includes a portable grill, a game to bring people together and a cooler for your drinks. Ultimately, he adds, tailgating is about enjoying a shared experience. “I don’t want to get too philosophical here, but COVID kind of made us all appreciate what we really have, that we have our family and that if things go wrong, we can persevere through the thick and the thin of challenges,” Hudson says. “That’s what it’s all about now, and I think the people that contact us now are more thoughtful about what they’re going to give to their employees or their customers or partners, whoever their clients are.” Here are a few promo products perfect for hosting an amazing tailgate: antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com 22 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Get the gridiron party started with a grill that goes with you. The Broil King Porta-Chef 320 features 426 square inches of cooking space, cast iron cooking grids, three stainless steel tube burners and folding resin side shelves. Four sturdy snap-in legs are easily detachable and can be stored under the grill for easy portability. (Standard propane tank sold separately.) Incentive Concepts / PPAI 212912, S10 www.incentiveconcepts.com Savory snacks are a must. These Fully Cooked Chicken Wings are precooked for perfect results every time. They are light and crispy, like they were fried, but without the mess or time required to achieve their smoky flavor with hints of salt and pepper. OS SalesCo dba Omaha Steaks PPAI 434044, S1 business.omahasteaks.com/PPAI Break out the Cheesehead hats and serve up A Taste of Wisconsin (delicious for non-Packers fans, too). The gift set includes your choice of mild cheddar or shelf-stable mild pepper cheese, tangy beef summer sausage, a box of water crackers and a small cleaver perfect for serving, plus a heavy-duty, sustainable bamboo chopping board, fire-branded with your custom imprint. Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8 www.mapleridge.com Make your tailgate tail-great with The Ultimate Tailgating Playbook and its 75 mouthwatering food and beverage recipes sure to make you an MVP. The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5 www.thebookco.com PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 23 Good Taste | Essentials

Share sweet treats with a festive Football Cupcake Stand. This easyto-assemble display offers three levels of serving space. The Beistle Company / PPAI 111182, S3 www.beistle.com Hand out Touchdown Tubes labeled with your logo and filled with your choice of chocolate footballs wrapped in foil (shown) or Jelly Belly jelly beans or chocolate buttons in your team colors. (Also available in bags and other container options.) Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 midnitesnax.com Keep the party going during timeouts and commercials with a game. This Triumph Sports Official Fowling Set combines two of America’s favorite games – football and bowling – in one perfectly portable package. “You throw the football in the air instead of throwing a bowling ball down the lane, and you try to knock over the pins,” says Hudson. “It’s amazing. We’ve played it here with our team, and it just ties everything together for your outdoor experience.” Includes 20 pins, two brandable boards, one football and one air pump. Incentive Concepts / PPAI 212912, S10 www.incentiveconcepts.com Transport ice, drinks and snacks easily with the Coleman 60-Qt. Wheeled Cooler. Available in white (shown) or fog gray with one-color or full-color digital imprint. This wheeled cooler is great for tailgating with its 95-can capacity and hinged lid with four built-in beverage holders, plus a retractable telescoping handle and rustproof drain. IMAGEN Brands / PPAI 114197, S10 www.imagenbrands.com 24 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI Essentials | Good Taste

No tailgate is complete without can coolers. This Koozie britePix Can Kooler can be decorated with an all-over, full-color imprint in sharp detail, or choose from stock themes (football shown) or dozens of colors. Koozie Group / PPAI 114187, S13 / www.kooziegroup.com Engage remote employees or thank customers from afar with a tailgating-themed gift like this Rustic Laser Engraved Wood Box With Two Beers & Snacks, which includes two cans of beer and two snacks inside a slide top wood box laser engraved with a custom message or company logo. A+ Wine Designs / PPAI 173549, S4 www.apluswinedesigns.com 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 Corrugated surface adds interest & dimension •Design allows for quick & glue-less assembly •Material adds insulation & allows for easier grip •Full wrap imprint for no additional charge •Digitally printed with 4-Color process 50 piece minimums! BEVERAGE SLEEVES PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 25 Good Taste | Essentials

Advertise your brand and provide shelter with this 10-foot Square Canopy Tent with fullcolor digital printing on all valances and peaks. Includes aluminum pole frame, canopy, stake and rope kit, and carrying case with wheels for easy travel and setup (weights to secure frame not included). Wall options available. Quinn / PPAI 360359, S5 www.quinnflags.com Add tunes or a radio playby-play to your tailgate with a portable speaker like the Origaudio Breakaway Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. Simply twist the left and right sides to separate one speaker into two, filling even large rooms with high-quality surround sound. A silicone sleeve makes it easy to twist back together and take on the go. HPG / PPAI 110772, S11 hpgbrands.com The Tailgating Couch, built with lightweight steel construction and hard wood armrests with cup holders, offers a 12by-9 inch imprint area for maximum impact. Available in black (shown), red, blue and navy. AAA Innovations PPAI 110972, S4 www.aaainnovations.com Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. 26 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI Essentials | Good Taste

IDEAS TO ADVANCE THE MARKETPLACE Voices 06.23 SOLUTIONS page 32 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Industry pros are quick to share expertise, insights and opinions on all things promo. Amid this batch of answered questions, distributors share how they handle odd requests, clients’ orders and former employees. YOUR BUSINESS p. 28 RESPONSIBILITY p. 34 INNOVATION p. 38 PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 27 SkazovD / Shutterstock.com

Voices | Your Business Keep It Simple IF YOU’VE BEEN in the promotional products industry for very long at all, you’ve probably picked up on a trend: Your colleagues in this line of work were either born into it and shown the ropes by family members, or they fell into promo by complete accident. I’m the latter – a first generation American, the daughter of Caribbean-born parents from Trinidad and Tobago. They raised me in Brooklyn, New York, a long way from Houston, where I now live, or our company’s headquarters in Minnesota. I entered this industry by chance. When I started my career, I knew nothing of promotional products. I didn’t think anything of them except that they were free: the T-shirt you receive at a sporting event or the pen you use at the bank. I told myself that I would stay for six months and then get into something else. Those six months have turned into 18 years and counting – the same length of time it takes for a baby to become an adult. I wasn’t born into promo, but you could say I’ve been raised by it. And just like your parents teach you common sense, this industry has taught me what I call the basics, which apply no matter how high you climb on your career ladder or how much your business scales. A leading operations executive identifies commonsense principles to help you and your business advance, no matter if you’re new to the market or a promo lifer. by Latisha Marshall I wasn’t born into promo, but you could say I’ve been raised by it. ESB Professional / SmLyubov / VectorMine / Shutterstock.com 28 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Your Business | Voices My knowledge of operations comes from years of working in the trenches. I’ve learned by osmosis mixed with being told no and a lot of trial and error. I worked my way up from an entry-level role to a C-suite position, and along my journey I have learned and seen so many things. But I always come back to the basics. No matter how many books you read on management, at the core there are basic steps or tips that determine every outcome. Let’s get back to the basics in running successful promo businesses. Here are five quick tips to achieve operational success: 1 Do The Work Don’t skip steps in the process. Take time to do your research, vetting ideas and processes. Doing this will allow you to make better decisions that will directly affect what you are trying to accomplish. This preparation is essential to creating a solid plan. Slacking in this area can be costly and may lead to the downfall of a project or process. 2 Listen And Solicit Feedback Listen and trust people of tenure in the roles or positions closely tied to the process or plan. Solicit feedback and stay in constant communication. Involve all key players and eliminate silos. This will create understanding and alignment among the team. Alignment ensures all players are working in unison to accomplish the goal – a superpower often forgotten. 3 Execute It’s easier said than done, but always critical. Be clear about what you want to accomplish. Set goals or milestones, and be accountable. Discipline will be necessary, so you can avoid shiny things taking you off course or going down rabbit holes. It is easy to become overwhelmed, so execute each task in phases or steps. Break things down into bite-sized pieces, allowing a buildup to completing the intended goals. 4 Measure At this point you have done a sizable portion of the work. Too often, this is when fatigue kicks in. You have been working so hard that you neglect to measure the fruits of your labor – but the work is not over. Retrospective meetings are important, but it’s also crucial to have tangible data No matter how many books you read on management, at the core there are basic steps or tips that determine every outcome. PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 29

Your Business | Voices 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 to prove and support what you are trying to accomplish. You want to identify strength and areas of improvement. These callouts will lead to better decisionmaking that will enhance your success. 5 Step And Repeat Rome was not built in a day. Sometimes it takes more than one time for a process or task to stick. Do not get discouraged if what you laid out falls short the first time. Step and repeat – try and try again until you find a groove, and then watch what you have created bloom. *** On top of their likelihood to increase your odds of success with any project or process, practicing these tips repeatedly will increase your own skill level, value and awareness. Operations is not a race but a marathon, and you will improve with time and practice. If you can apply these tips, you are on your way to growth, scalability and operational success. Marshall is the vice president of operations at distributor ePromos Promotional Products. A self-described “operations fanatic,” she originally joined the company as a pre-production coordinator in 2004. Operations is not a race but a marathon, and you will improve with time and practice. PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 31

Voices | Solutions What Would You Do? Industry pros are quick to share expertise, insights and opinions on all things promo. Amid this batch of answered questions, distributors share how they handle odd requests, clients’ orders and former employees. Compiled by Kristina Valdez Q A Distributor Asks: I am having a problem with one of my suppliers. I’ve ordered 1,000 totes every year for several years now. It is not a special order. This time, they didn’t have enough left in stock to complete the order. They’re unsure when the stock will come in. They have my order, and I have approved the proof, so everything is ready to go when the stock comes in. Now, they want me to pre-pay for them to order the stock. I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to be pre-paying for something they are not even sure they’re going to be able to get. Thoughts? It would be one thing if they were not able to get the stock in because production and shipping is so bad right now, but the fact that they want you to front the money, that would be worrisome. BRENDA KNOLL BUDD Owner BKB Custom Gifts Gulfport, Florida PPAI 798305, D1 Don’t pre-pay unless you want to use a credit card and they give you a pre-payment discount, plus no charge for the use of the card. This way you can dispute the charge if it doesn’t come in. Get in writing when the order is due in and a guaranteed cancel date. RUSSEL STEINBERG Owner Welamat Livingston, New Jersey PPAI 570612, D1 Red flag, and you sense it. Trust your gut on this and find another solution. Best wishes, hope it all works out! LISA DEANE Owner Fuze Richmond, Virginia PPAI 579477, D2 AKorkmaz / Mr. Luck / SkazovD / Shutterstock.com 32 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Solutions | Voices Q A Distributor Asks: I am a one-person shop and looking for an at-aglance solution so I can see where each client is at in the process. I’m juggling about 60-plus clients at a time. I’m worried about the quality of service decreasing. What do you use to keep track of your orders and where they are in the pipeline? I recommend Zoho CRM. They’re the most affordable and most effective for us. We’ve tried ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, etc., and they didn’t work out. We can customize Zoho for our needs, and if you take Zoho One, there is a whole load of apps you can use for your business. It has a Kanban-style interface as well. Alternatively, you can use ClickUp as a CRM for free. It has a Kanban-style view as well. SWADESH PADHI Marketing Ambassador ForestNation Louisville, Tennessee PPAI 793582, S1 I second Zoho One. It has a projects section you can customize. Nothing beats keeping all your client info in one app. It’s what I used when I had the distributor business, and it allowed me to be very efficient. Now in my agency, I continue to use Zoho and also ClickUp to manage our freelance writers. It’s a good system and could work, too, but with Zoho, you have all the emails, projects and other history on each client’s record. GLORIA LAFONT Owner Action Promo Plantation, Florida PPAI 656637, D1 In addition to the proprietary order management system we use, I’ve also been using SAGE project management platform to track things like proofs and shipping that automatically send out to the client and the before-order tasks. DAWN MARIE PERKINS Owner Spotlight Print & Promo Solutions Merrimack, New Hampshire PPAI 693324, D1 Q A Distributor Asks: We had an employee who used to work for us about four years ago but quit and started her own promo business, taking customers with her. Today, I received a confirmation email from a supplier on an order that I didn’t place. After investigating, I found out that she ordered this item and told the company to search for a repeat order under my company name. How would you handle this? If everything has been settled, then you could make her aware that you got the confirmation. Or you can just ignore it. AARON SALTZMAN Owner Silver Line Promotions Southfield, Michigan PPAI 486015, D2 I would call the supplier and cancel the order. Let them know the order was placed without your knowledge and the person who placed the order does not have permission to use the artwork. KATHIE HOUSTON Owner Houston Promotions Enid, Oklahoma PPAI 520320, D2 First, you tell the vendor it is not your order and you didn’t approve the order, and if you don’t approve of her accessing the previous order, then you let the vendor know. Most cases the vendor won’t let the new company process as a reorder. DAWN KUHSE Owner APP Imprints Woburn, Massachusetts PPAI 486015, D3 Look for CRM software email client * * PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 33

Black Salmon / Bohdan Populov / Shutterstock.com Voices | Responsibility IN PROMO, WE SAY that product responsibility is everyone’s job. And increasingly, our work doesn’t end when handing off merchandise to the end user. Extended Producer Responsibility is a growing policy approach that assigns producers and importers significant new responsibility for the treatment or disposal of products at the end of their life cycle. That responsibility includes financial and physical concerns. EPR is also described as a method to identify the various environmental impacts relevant to a product’s entire life cycle, including its packaging. The driving factor for many of these policies is the goal of moving away from a linear economy, which entails taking, making, consuming and disposing of resources. Governments are instead seeking a circular economy that invests in advanced technologies related to product design, recycling and manufacturing that leads to zero-waste, closed-loop systems in which resources are not discarded. The elements of a closed loop entail production, usage, reduction, recycling and reuse. The model prioritizes products that are made to be made again. Closing The Loop More state legislatures are increasing producers’ burden to ensure sustainability is carried through to the end of a product’s life cycle. Here’s what you need to know. by Maurice Norris 34 • JUNE 2023 • PPAI

Responsibility | Voices Legislation To Follow In the U.S., most of the movement on EPR policies is coming from out west. Numerous states have enacted laws addressing end-oflife concerns for consumer products and packaging. Some others are updating preexisting laws, while several are considering new approaches. For example, California’s Senate Bill 54, which passed in 2022, implements what could be the country’s most ambitious state-mandated paper and plastic recycling requirements. Under SB 54, plastic packaging in the state must be recyclable or compostable by 2032. Some of the legislation’s requirements start earlier: There is a 30% threshold for plastic packaging in California to be recycled by January 1, 2028, with increases to 40% by 2030. California’s goal is for this policy to achieve a net reduction of plastic packaging waste by 25% within a decade. California’s EPR legislation applies to just about any company that handles consumer or commercial goods, including manufacturers and direct sellers. SB 54 also requires producers of covered materials to join a producer responsibility organization (or PRO) by January 1, 2024. The purpose of the group is to manage businesses’ activities to comply with SB 54’s requirements. The PRO will develop plans for the collection, processing and source reduction of materials covered by SB 54. The methods prescribed by the state government to enforce SB 54’s mandates are similar to other compliance-related requirements, including reporting, recordkeeping, registration and auditing. Although California’s EPR legislation may be regarded as the most comprehensive in the U.S., it is certainly not the only policy addressing endof-life concerns for products and packaging. In 2022, Colorado passed the Producer Responsibility Program for Statewide Recycling Act. This law also establishes a PRO to manage the state’s recycling program. These state-mandated memberships are the method for shifting the costs of recycling programs and other government efforts to create circular economies. Colorado’s Department of Public Health and the Environment will oversee the administration of the state’s PRO, including the creation of a statewide list of recyclable items. Oregon has a similar law that went into effect in 2022. The law embodies the same concept of shifting responsibility for the costs of recycling and closed-loop initiatives to producers. The Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act expands public access to recycling services and upgrades the state’s recycling facilities, among other goals. The new law’s requirements take effect in 2025. PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 35

Responsibility | Voices 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 a 2-ply facial quality material •8 napkin colors to choose from •Made with 20% recycled fibers •Metallic and neon ink colors o„ered at no extra cost •Free PMS matching •4 imprint methods available 100 piece minimums! COLORED DINNER NAPKINS Gaining Momentum The West Coast is not the only region that has implemented state-level requirements regarding end-of-life concerns for consumer products. In 2021, Maine’s legislature enacted a law that created what the state is calling a stewardship program. Maine’s EPR law establishes an organization to implement the stewardship program under the oversight of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. This arrangement is similar to the western states’ PROs, with the same funding mechanism. Massachusetts also expanded its waste disposal ban in 2022 by adding textiles to the list of covered materials and lowering the threshold for food waste to trigger the law’s requirements. As of November 2022, facilities generating more than one half-ton of organic or food waste per week are covered by the disposal ban. There is an exception; some contaminated textiles are exempt from the waste disposal ban’s enforcement. In addition to existing laws, two dozen states have proposed new EPR policies in 2023 alone. Some are creating new mandates, while others are expanding on existing requirements. Complying with these demands will likely require an approach similar to methods for adhering to other laws our industry has dealt with before. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, among others, taught us the importance of recordkeeping, reporting, registration and other solutions. Needless to say, distributors and suppliers need to be prepared. Norris is the public affairs manager at PPAI. Under SB 54, plastic packaging in California must be recyclable or compostable by 2032. PPAI • JUNE 2023 • 37