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  • May 26, 2020 5:35 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

     Vivian Herrin
     Markably
     




    What is your title/role within your company? My title is CEO, yet with a small company this gives me the privilege to wear all the hats.

    What do you like best about your company? I like knowing there are no limits to what we can do and who our clients are. By offering promotional products there are many different industries we reach and work with, building relationships along the way.

    How were you introduced to the promotional products industry? While working for a marketing company, I received multiple requests from clients to locate sources and purchase branded items complementing their campaigns. This was where the lightbulb of an idea developed to create my own company and jump into the world of promotional products. The early days were mostly providing printed collateral along with the special items to promote the client’s brand. We have now grown to be a full-service promotional products distributor.

    If you had to pick one, what is your favorite promotional product? First, to pick just one favorite product isn’t fair at all!  I have always loved pens and believe every business should have a branded pen.

    Tell us something about you that most people may not know. My husband and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner at the first location of Souplantation on Mission Gorge Road in San Diego. We were on a tight budget and this was a favorite place for us, so it was an easy decision to have our pre-wedding celebration there. We’ll be married 32 years this November. We’re sad to see Souplantation close their doors after so many years and fond memories.


  • May 21, 2020 6:36 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Pivoting Safely To PPE
    …with counterfeits everywhere, how can you confidently source safe products?

    5/18/2020 | Jeff Jacobs, The Brand Protector

    It seems everybody in the promotional products industry decided to sell personal protection equipment overnight. Most are approaching the opportunity to fill the urgent need with an altruistic heart, but a few opportunists in our industry have offered a toehold to the growing problem of counterfeit products.

    I’ve had a couple of conversations this week with distributors hesitantly filling orders for only their best clients, and only on request. They realize there is significant risk to their brand not only from the appearance of taking advantage of high demand, but also from unknowingly selling unsafe product.

    At the commencement of “The Mask Rush,” the gold standard was the N95 respirator mask, intended to protect the wearer from incoming airborne particles and from liquids contaminating the face. Highly regulated (CDC, OSHA, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and in short supply, priority on these respirator masks was to get them to healthcare providers and first responders. The Food and Drug Administration originally rushed approval to 80 manufacturers in China to make N95-type masks for U.S. healthcare workers on April 3rd. But in an abrupt reversal, the FDA cut that number to just 14 at the beginning of May, saying masks did not meet U.S. standards. According to the Wall Street Journal, tests found 60 percent of 67 different kinds of imported masks allowed in more tiny particles than U.S. standards allow. One Chinese manufacturer’s masks filtered out only 24 to 35 percent of particles, well below the 95 percent threshold that gives the masks their name. The FDA has even issued letters to 14 manufacturers for making “bogus claims” of the capabilities of their masks. It’s easy to see why distributors would be hesitant to navigate the choppy waters of importing these masks, which leads me to an important point: How can you spot a fake, even one made in the U.S.?

    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health here are some signs of a fake N95 respirator mask:

    • It features ear loops instead of a headband
    • A missing testing and certification approval number on the mask’s exterior face, on the exhalation valve (if one exists), or on the head straps
    • No markings on the filtering face piece respirator
    • Misspellings, such as the NIOSH acronym
    • Decorations of any kind
    • Approval for children, since there are no NIOSH-approved respirators for children.

    There’s also risk in turning to fabric masks as an option, especially for suppliers not aware of the updated FDA emergency use order (EUO) intended to clarify manufacturing guidelines for fabric masks. The EUO was updated and re-issued to clarify that fabric masks are intended only for “source control.” This means that these style masks provide only a barrier of outbound transmission by covering the mouth and nose during a cough, sneeze, or just while speaking normally. In short, fabric masks are meant to protect others, not the wearer. They’re not meant to give a false sense of security. In fact, the FDA makes it clear these fabric masks are not authorized as personal protective equipment. They are not a substitute for filtering face piece respirators or for surgical face masks. There’s the rub for many distributors. These fabric masks have very specific labeling requirements, they cannot be advertised as PPE, and they have to be traceable for any product failures (like skin reactions from end-users).

    Chris Blakeslee, the president of Bella+Canvas, told me there is “an incredible lack of awareness around facemasks” in our industry. Bella+Canvas pivoted early in the mask game, and is now making 100 million masks a week. “In a matter of weeks, our industry has probably become the largest PPE distribution network in the world,” Blakeslee told Promogram. But, he continued, “We’re putting ourselves at risk by being uneducated. We all know how these things go. At some point, someone wearing a face mask is going to get COVID-19, and they’re going to have the perspective that the mask didn’t protect them. If the company who made it didn’t adhere to the guidelines, they’re going to be in trouble.”

    Finally, we’ve talked here several times about the promotional products industry being a little slow on the draw when it comes to product safety and sustainable sourcing. No question the trend we’ve seen toward improving that will continue as businesses come back to full throttle, and that’s a good thing. During the time I worked with the Quality Certification Alliance, I had the opportunity to work with several compliance experts from accredited suppliers who both volunteered their time to the non-profit, and also cooperatively shared their companies’ best practices, ultimately helping create the protocols QCA used for accreditation. I had the occasion recently to connect with Larry Whitney, who was president of the Board of Directors during part of my tenure with QCA, and whom I just learned has gone out on his own to form Whitney and Whitney Consulting Group.

    Larry spent 15 years with Polyconcept, the last six as director of Global Compliance. Why do I think it’s important to mention this move here and now? One of the key indicators for suppliers truly interested in producing safe and compliant products was the ability to first document the protocols necessary to evaluate products for safety risks, regulatory requirements, and social accountability of supply chains, and then, follow those protocols every day. Larry’s consulting is an extension of what he did at Polyconcept, as well as helping with tariff mitigation and sustainability programs. Should you find yourself looking to jumpstart your current compliance efforts, I’d recommend reaching out to see if Larry might be able to help you. He can be reached at rlw@whitney-whitney.com.


  • May 21, 2020 6:34 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    With soaring unemployment numbers amid COVID-19, it's natural to wonder if your job is safe. Whether or not your company has experienced layoffs or cutbacks, the anxiety is real. These are challenging times, and while nothing is guaranteed, you can take steps to increase the value you bring to your employer.

    Mary Kearl, a writer for The Muse and other outlets, says there are some things you can do now to increase your job security and make yourself a more appealing candidate should you decide to explore other opportunities. Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Kearl's six tips to boost your job security now and beyond the pandemic.

    1. Remember to RAFT. This stands for being Resilient, Adaptable, Flexible and Thoughtful. Resilient professionals do not let tough times keep them down. They keep moving and do whatever it takes to stay afloat. Adaptable employees learn to go with the flow, adjusting as work environments and assignments change. Those who are flexible are willing to take on new and different roles. Employees who are thoughtful find ways to show kindness to their bosses, colleagues, and customers. These are the kind of people you want on your team. When you remember to RAFT, you can turn yourself into someone no one wants to part with.

    2. Embrace creativity. Your company and your clients value people who can creatively solve their pain points. Now is not the time to fall back on business as usual—it's time to think about new and different approaches. To increase your job security, Kearl recommends using your creativity to help your company think through the unforeseen obstacles of the present moment and those still ahead. The only bad idea, she says, it not having any ideas at all. Be creative, demonstrate innovative thinking and look for inventive ways to solve problems.

    3. Never stop learning. To make yourself the best employee now and in the future, commit to being a lifelong learning. What are some skills you do not currently have but may need? Even if you only focus on acquiring these skills for an hour a week, you can make yourself a valuable part of your team. Be sure to focus on the big picture, noting the fields that may grow the quickest during the pandemic. For example, how can you sharpen skills that may be relevant to e-commerce business and customer experience?

    4. Think of solutions—and then execute. If you want to make yourself a valuable part of the team, it's important to not only have ideas, but also know how to get them done. Your boss and clients have a lot on their minds right now, so don't wait for them to come to you with a problem. It's best to think ahead and tackle challenges without being asked. In this current season, you can make your mark by being someone who rolls up your sleeves and gets the job done with tenacity.

    5. Reach out to others. Networking is valuable skill that's worth developing, especially during uncertain times, notes Kearl. Even though people are social distancing or working from home, they will still appreciate you reaching out to them. By simply checking in on a prospect, client or former colleague, you could be opening the door to a new business opportunity. Don't be afraid to be transparent in these conversations. If you need help, ask for what you need. The other person will likely welcome the opportunity to make a positive difference in your life.

    6. Practice empathy. Empathy is a soft skill that's especially valuable during difficult times. When you display empathy in all your interactions, you become someone that others want to work with. Whether it's your current team or your clients, others will recognize and appreciate your empathetic approach. Strive to listen actively, offer to help however you can and see how you can make a difference, no matter how small.

    Although the current unemployment numbers may rattle you, they don't necessarily mean that your job will be cut. Still, it's important to build the right skills and keep the right mindset to make yourself as valuable as possible—whether it's with your current team or a new one.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Mary Kearl is a professional writer who has contributed articles to Forbes, HuffPost, Business Insider and others.

    Used with permission from PPAI

  • May 21, 2020 6:32 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    You’ve probably noticed “Congrats Grad” painted on car windows, “Class of 2020” décor in every grocery store, and plenty of graduation-themed social media posts to know that soon, many are finishing up their senior year in high school and moving on to bigger and brighter things.

    Although this year, most seniors are unable to walk across the stage or collectively throw their caps into the air, many are “virtually” celebrating their achievements.

    Here are six of our favorite products to gift grads and make them feel extra special!

    Graduation Cap-Shaped Fan


    SAGE #52366

    Cheer on a senior in your life and be their biggest fan. These graduation cap-shaped fans are the must-have summer accessory, especially with the temperatures quickly rising. And for parents moving their college-bound seniors into the dorms in August, these fans will help them cool off in between loads.

    Car Flag and Mount


    SAGE #64008

    Make a wave with this “Class of 2020” polyester car flag and mount. Add a logo to the flag to create increased brand exposure and spread the celebration when driving around the neighborhood or picking up that curbside to-go order.

    Leather-Bound Journal


    SAGE #57117

    Organization and managing assignments are key during college. What better way for that than with this leather-bound journal, featuring a weekly, monthly, and yearly schedule. Students can tote these good-looking journals to the classroom. Plus, the addition of a logo on the cover is A+ for brand awareness.

    Box of Chocolates


    SAGE #52303

    Gift the grad a sweet treat with a box of four delectable chocolate truffles. Not to mention, the cap-shaped box is a nice touch as well!

    Flash Drive Silicone Bracelet


    SAGE #65302

    PowerPoint presentations take a lot of time and energy. This flash drive silicone bracelet will help students keep track of their projects, all while driving traffic to the brand that is imprinted on these bracelets.

    Desk Organizer


    SAGE #52020

    As mentioned above, organization, when in college, is key! This desk organizer comes with everything a senior needs to keep everything in order. We promise the roommate will right away ask the question, “Hey, where’d you get that desk organizer? I need that!”

    Even with social distancing in place, there are so many ways to celebrate graduates. These are just a few product ideas to help get you started!

    *Cue “Pomp and Circumstance”* (yes, look it up!)

    Used with permission from SAGE

  • May 21, 2020 6:25 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Want to Achieve Success?
    Embrace These Tenets5/19/2020 | Cliff Quicksell, Cliff's Notes

    I recently stumbled upon some archived readings; this one in particular came from IBD or Investor’s Business Daily. I thought the core of the article was brilliant and I would like to extrapolate my thoughts in hopes that it will help give you a jumpstart for the balance of your year.

    How you think is everything: my daughter and I were involved in a pretty serious accident several years ago. When the car finally stopped rolling I realized very soon that my car was totaled.  My daughter, 16 years of age, at the time, looked at me and said, “Dad, we’re both ok and safe…and it’s just a car, we can get another new car”. I learned from that lesson that there are many ways to view a situation, positive or negative, choose wisely.

    Remember your roots: think back to where you were, things may have been better, but I would reckon, if you looked hard, things today are much better. When we take a moment to see from where we have come and where we are today, those thoughts should give us inspiration to move forward. Additionally, this retrospective view should bring tolerance and compassion for those less fortunate than you. Do what you can to give back and pay it forward.

    Make your dreams your goals: Take the dreams you have today and plant them as future goals; stop wishing and start doing. I had a friend of mine that was seriously in debt. I remember having a chat with him, he mentioned he had this dream of being debt-free, not owing a soul. He mentioned that “NOW was the time to put a plan together and work that plan” and remarkably, 10 months later my friend’s dream/goal was realized…so can yours!

    Never stop learning: once you have knowledge, apply it. A good friend of mine Barry Roberts once said that; “Knowledge without action is useless”. Applied knowledge, if used in a positive way can lead to remarkable discovery. Never feel you are too old or too tired to learn. I used to own a martial arts school, I had a gentleman come to me and said, “I would like to my Black Belt”, he mentioned it had been a “life-long dream”.  I told him it would be a hard road, but he could do it if he really wanted it. Eight years later at age 78 he was presented with his first degree black belt. Quite an achievement! What is your new learning opportunity?

    Be persistent and work hard (smart) – you need to do both.  Speaker Jim Tunney told the story of persistence and hard work when he spoke about the Chinese Olympic Diver, He Xi and her rigorous training schedule. He summed it up pretty succinctly: ‘…four years of training, EVERY DAY for seven hours a day, up and down the ladder, dive after dive just for her final Olympic Gold Medal winning dive…which took less than three seconds…” that puts things into perspective.

    Learn to analyze the details at both levels – What you do today the micro things, how will they affect the big picture?  And what about the big picture or macro plans, how will they affect what you do or what you put into action today. Think both micro and macro to keep things on track and in perspective. An amazing speaker, Jesse Itzler summed this idea up in one short quote that he lives by every day, now I do as well; “Remember Tomorrow” – how will my actions today determine the outcome tomorrow, rather powerful thought!

    Focus your time and money – no truer statement has been made, “time is money” and your thoughts, ideas, hard work ALL have value. Place a dollar value on your time, if you do not value your time, how can you expect others to do so. The thought of getting paid for my knowledge never occurred to me, however when I implemented that change and determined my hourly rate it began to put my business on a path of higher productivity and profitability. What are you worth an hour?

    Don’t be afraid to innovate – change is inevitable, don’t fight it. Always be in a mode of evolution. Take a moment to GOOGLE™ the evolution of various brands: Apple, IBM, UPS FedEx; just do it (sorry NIKE, no pun intended) and see how these companies are always in the mode of change and innovation. Remember what I have always said, “if you’re not different, than you’re the same”.  Thomas Edison, in his quest to invent the light bulb, failed over 1,700 times, or as he put it, ‘I found 1,700 ways NOT to make a light bulb…’, how far would you go?

    Deal & communicate effectively – EFFECTIVE Communication IS the number one skill you should perfect to propel your business forward. How you communicate with your staff, clients and vendors will indeed lead to your success or failure…it is up to you. Are you an effective communicator? Good way to tell is; do people seek out your thoughts and opinions? Do people find you receptive? Do people find you approachable? You know! A big part of being an effective communicator is being an effective listener; an active listener. You have seen the people who seem to be listening but actually mind-drift and cut you off mid-sentence, look at their cell phones while you are speaking. Develop good listening skills, be approachable, be open to ALL possibilities and become an exceptional leader.

    Be Accountable – this one is tough. Pointing the finger inward rarely happens. Imagine if more people took responsibilities for THEIR actions, amazing things would happen. Being accountable means taking control of your actions and accepting the good with the bad as a result. I make it a point to always look inwardly first; I have made it a habit. It was not easy at first but now I must say it helps me focus on becoming better and better every single day in all aspect of my life.

    Take a moment to review these tenets, how did you score? If you keep these thoughts in the forefront and work to master and hone them daily, you cannot help to be successful.

    Until next time, continued good selling ~ CQ

    Used with Permission From PromoCorner

  • May 21, 2020 6:22 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    In turbulent times, it's not easy for sales managers to navigate the way forward. Everyone is struggling under the same worry and fear of the unknown. However, amid a storm, leaders must be able to rely on their team members to continue to deliver. The success of an individual team and an entire organization rely on everyone doing their part, even in a crisis.

    While you might not be thinking about those sales reps who continued to be highly engaged during the past months of COVID-19, you should take note of the employees who rose to the occasion. John Baldoni, an author, keynote speaker and executive coach, says the best leaders look beyond survival mode and spotlight the employees who continue to make things happen, even during challenging times.

    In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Baldoni's thoughts on what to look for in your team as the world adapts to life during a pandemic.

    Out-of-the-box thinking. In the current global climate, now is not the time for conventional thinking. You need fresh insight and new ideas. Is there someone on your team who always seems to look at data differently than everyone else? Maybe they see patterns and can make projections that prove helpful. Baldoni says that when the world is turned upside down, leaders must recognize the thinkers who construct ideas by joining concepts from different disciplines.

    Critical thinking. To steer ahead through a storm, leaders must be able to think strategically. The best sales professionals should also be able to reason with precision and propose solutions that address problems, notes Baldoni.

    Quiet leadership. Teams need introverts and extroverts to thrive. While extroverts often get the spotlight, Baldoni advises leaders to look at what the introverts on their team have quietly achieved over the past couple of months. Who are the reps on your team who have continued to push forward without calling attention to themselves? Remember those people.

    Confidence. The best leaders exude confidence—in themselves and in their colleagues. Throughout the crisis, who has demonstrated unwavering confidence? How has this person inspired others to want to follow their lead? Baldoni says it's important to look for confidence in your team members because people feel good about following confident leaders.

    A spirit of teamwork. Leaders must know how their actions affect others. That's why a team ethos is so important, especially during seasons of uncertainty. No one knows what the future holds or how business will look as the world adapts to the coronavirus. When you're looking at your sales team, take note of those individuals who work to create camaraderie and teamwork.

    Trustworthiness. Baldoni encourages leaders to consider their employees who always pull through. Who are the people you can count on for their reliability and expertise? Do others look to them as a trusted resource? Don't overlook these trustworthy team members and be sure to acknowledge their valuable contributions.

    While you may have hired your team members for specific sales traits, you should also notice how their other traits have shone through in the past couple of months. When you look for traits such as confidence, leadership, and a commitment to the overall team, you know you have assembled a team that is poised to adapt to any challenge.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: John Baldoni is an internationally recognized keynote speaker and executive coach who provides his services via video conference. Baldoni has written 14 books, including MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership and GRACE: A Leader's Guide to a Better Us.

    Used With Permission from PPAI.

  • April 22, 2020 8:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)
    PPAI_logo2019_new2_257693.png
    A Video Message from PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE
     
    Paul_Bellantone_1024288.jpg
     
    Dear PPAI Member:

    I hope this latest update finds you doing well. It’s week 4 for me and the PPAI staff to work remotely and learn to live with the COVID-19 new normal. While it doesn’t appear that we will be headed back to the office anytime soon, we are starting to see some good news across the country as social distancing seems to be having the desired effect. Hopefully, we are beginning to turn the corner.

    In the meantime, it’s certainly not business as usual for PPAI or our industry. I’ve alluded to it multiple times in previous updates, we are all having to make some very tough decisions. What’s different about making these tough decisions, as Seth Godin pointed out in a recent blog, is for the first time, challenges and tough decisions are not individually unique as they may have been in the past. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are all experiencing difficult times as a result of the same incident. And, as a result, it’s virtually impossible to get away from it. Everyone is talking about the same challenges and grueling decisions. That is making it even tougher to remain positive.

    But with trying times and difficult decisions comes the opportunity for creative solutions. For PPAI it’s finding ways to:
    • bring you the content you desire today
    • offer you social and business interaction platforms
    • generate learning opportunities
    • and facilitate business
    I hope my previous updates have shown you how we are doing just that. Because while it may not be business as usual, business still needs to get done. You still need to communicate with customers. You still need to maintain a brand presence, and you still need to focus on the future—regardless of how uncertain you may be about what the future holds. 

    PPAI UPDATES: 

    Supplier Business Updates Editing Made Easier – The most viewed page on PPAI’s Coronavirus Update webpage is the Supplier Alert page. This is where industry suppliers are updating their status as it pertains to any business disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve now made it easier for suppliers to keep that information up to date. Suppliers can simply login to their PPAI My Site account and add the latest information. 

    Pyramid Award Submission Fees Waived – Being able to show clients your award-winning campaigns is one of the best ways to help position you as a solution provider as your clients look for ways to rebuild their businesses. I know it may not be on the top of your list right now, but as mentioned earlier, we can’t lose sight of the future. So let’s celebrate creativity, innovation and collaboration. No fees for submissions or return costs for the PPAI Pyramid Award 2021 competition. The competition will be open April 27–May 29, 2020.
     
    Helpful Advice in PCT – Every day our team is offering up a dose of practical advice and thought-provoking ideas in Promotional Consultant Today. Recent issues tackled topics such as how to approach selling in a global crisis and shared tips for dealing with unexpected change. You can find all issues here and subscribe for free to get PCT delivered to your inbox every day. 

    Tech Summit Cancelled – Another tough decision has been made. We’ve decided to cancel the 2020 PPAI Tech Summit, which was scheduled for September 21-23 in Austin, Texas. However, keep your eyes open for details on a virtual Tech Summit. 

    ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS:
    Please know that I continue to hope and pray for all of you and a resolution to this crisis in the near future. I’ll end with a quote from the same Seth Godin blog. “The boat is really, really big and we’re all in it.” Seth Godin
     
    Let’s stick together, help each other out and know that the promotional products industry is and will be around to help our neighbors, communities and nation bounce back from this. And for that, we can feel proud!
     
    Sincerely,
     
    https://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/PPAI/PB_Signature.jpg
    3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, TX 75038 • www.ppai.org • 1-888-I-AM-PPAI • fax 972-258-3004 • www.facebook.com/ppai.hq
    PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL
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  • April 17, 2020 12:23 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    COVID-19 - This too is a Defining Moment

    The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    4/16/2020 | Paul Kiewiet, Pursuit of Purpose

    When we speak and write about generational themes, we often reference shared major moments in life that define a generation. For the generation prior to Baby Boomers it was Pearl Harbor and World War II. Many Baby Boomers can describe where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated. For Gen Xers, the Shuttle Challenger disaster is a singular moment and Millennials were shaped by the events of September 11, 2001. For Gen Z, the Great Recession of 2008 disrupted family life in their formative years. Many have asked what will the new Generation be named — the one who follows X, Y (Millennials) and Z? Already, demographers are labeling the youngest among us as Gen C for Coronavirus.

    We should remind however, the events mentioned above in the context of understanding generations have profound impact on everyone. The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic shutting down our worlds and creating havoc with our businesses is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    I recently recorded a podcast with Bobby Lehew (skucast with Paul Kiewiet) about a time when multiple disappointments and set-backs totally upended my life and my plans. At a most shocking moment of betrayal, anger and hurt, I called a friend out of desparation and received life-changing advice. “Paul, he said, “you are experiencing a Defining Moment. What you decide to do with it may determine your future.”

    Because of this advice, I was able to make value-based decisions that did indeed allow me to choose love over hate, victory over victimhood and clarity to see opportunities that opened up in front of me.

    As this pandemic rages through our country and the world and our businesses dry up and loved ones get sick and we cannot see the end or a way out it is time to remember that “This Too Shall Pass.” There is another side and a way out. We may not know what the future holds but we do know that nothing succeeds like resilience. Getting knocked down doesn’t matter as long as you just keep on getting up. If you need a moment to wallow or to mourn the past, take it and then get back up and move on.

    This perfect defining moment is going to be very uncomfortable. We seem pretty hardwired to not like change. But growth requires change. Trust this moment and live here. No one can go back and change the past. So let go of the shoulda’s. The past does not exist.

    Don’t worry about the future. Plan for it yes. React in the present moment with today’s reality and don’t write fantasies about how bad it’s going to be. The future is fantasy. It is not real. This moment is the only reality and right now, you have what you need in the now.

    Acceptance of the my present experience did not come easily or comfortably but two teachers appeared with words I could own. Ekhart Tolle in “A New Earth” wrote, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” And Byron Katie reinforced that thought with the instruction to “Love What Is.” It is the only reality you have so you can love it or suffer. The only two choices.

    Paul will be presenting a webinar on this topic “When It Rains Lemons” on Wednesday, April 22 at 12:30 EDT. To register for this free webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8678262065348870668

    Paul Kiewiet MAS+ is an industry speaker, writer, consultant and coach. He serves as the executive director of MiPPA. Kiewiet was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame and the MiPPA Hall of Fame. He served as Chairman of PPAI in 2007. A former distributor, he founded Promotion Concepts, Inc in 1982 and worked with some of America’s most valuable brands including Coca-Cola, Kelloggs, and Whirlpool.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner.

  • April 17, 2020 12:17 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Michele Wieckowski
    Bic Graphic 

    What is your title/role within your company?
    Field Sales Account Manager

    What do you like best about your company?
    The best part about BIC graphic is the feeling of family. I honestly felt that I was part of a family from the moment I got hired. Everyone is so willing to help one another and the customer. That feeling of camaraderie stretches between every department, not just sales. We are an organization that is supportive of us championing our own ideas and always striving to be “one team.”

    How were you introduced to the promotional products industry?
    Honestly, I saw a job posting for BIC graphic and applied. I’ve always been a consumer of BIC products and admired the brand. What’s better than working for a company that you truly believe in the products? Industry wise, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but as I am sure everyone in the industry can relate; I was hooked from the very first interview!

    If you had to pick one, what is your favorite promotional product?
    Just one?! Oh this is a very tough question! But, I have to go with the CLG pen. I know that sounds silly but my grandfather always had one in his pocket and it reminds me of him helping me with homework. It’s funny that a pen can bring back so many memories. I also love how you can have a different color on top and bottom of this pen. My favorite combo is “Navy” and “Berry Crush.” But, Pop’s favorite was maroon and always placed in his front pocket.

    Tell us something about you that most people may not know.
    I’m originally from Scranton, PA. Yes, from that show “The Office.” Although, Dunder Mifflin isn’t real Scranton was a great place to grow up! It was also the home to my dance company where I taught ballet.


  • April 17, 2020 7:43 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Above photo: Dustin Burnett (in hat), a co-founder of Allmade and owner of print shop Nothing Too Fancy, visited Haiti, as have all the leaders of Allmade's co-founding companies, to see firsthand the work the organization supports and to meet the people who benefit from it.

    Vancouver, Washington-based supplier Allmade was founded by the leaders of nine screen-printing companies, who saw an opportunity to make a difference in the environment by using fewer resources and bettering the lives of people living and working in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Together, Ryonet, Printed Threads, Mel Lay, Nothing Too Fancy, Superior Ink, Barrel Maker Printing, Maui Screen Printing, Rockford Art Deli and Synergy Media Ltd.—companies that purchase hundreds of thousands of t-shirts annually to sell to printers as blank canvases and to customers as customized, printed shirts—combined their industry knowledge to focus primarily on the human and environmental impacts of t-shirt manufacturing, while continuing to provide clients and end users with high-quality, fashion-forward tees. 

    “This founding group, with the support of the rest of the screen-printing industry, has a unique opportunity to influence the apparel market by suggesting and offering socially and environmentally responsible alternatives to our customers, who are often unaware of the exploitative nature of t-shirt manufacturing and its environmental impact,” says Ryan Moor, CEO of Ryonet and co-founder and chief visionary officer of Allmade.  

    It all started when leaders from these screen-printing companies traveled together to Haiti, though it was a vision long shared by the leaders individually. “Being in the apparel industry for 15 years as a decoration supplier, I always had an eye on getting into blank apparel. Better shirts equal better prints, equal more success and higher value in the industry, after all,” says Moor. He was approached by one of Ryonet’s customers, who runs the Global Orphan Project (GO Project), a nonprofit in Kansas City, to accompany them to Haiti and help GO Project with its efforts in orphan prevention and job creation. In 2016, Moor, along with his wife Amanda, and sons Cohen and Brody, took their first trip to the country—where nearly 60 percent of the population lives under the national poverty line, according to the Central Intelligence Agency—where they were first exposed to the realities of the apparel manufacturing industry there. “I was blown away with what I saw,” says Moor.

    In Haiti, Moor was confronted by a country infiltrated with “poverty, child abandonment and environmental destruction driven by low [pay] and the lack of jobs.” He also learned that nearly 80 percent of the orphans in Haiti’s orphanages have living parents and family who simply don’t have the means to care for them. And when looking closely at the apparel manufacturing business, he learned about “the massive amount of water, chemicals and oil used, and the impact of over-made, poor-quality apparel” on the environment. “This drove us to start Allmade, a movement to break the cycle of low-cost, low-value and low-impact apparel and turn it into a shirt and an industry that feels great, does great and makes an impact on people and [the] planet,” says Moor.

    So far, Allmade has produced about 1.3 million shirts, made with an eco-friendlier tri-blend cotton, and has saved 637 million gallons of water—Allmade’s shirts are made using 70-percent less water than a standard t-shirt—and recycled 7.8 million plastic bottles, with each shirt preventing six plastic bottles from entering landfills. Allmade has also officially partnered with GO Project to help with its work to prevent children from entering Haiti’s orphanages by creating ethical, living-wage jobs; an effort that has segued into the creation of the Transition Academy, which, Moor says, “teaches a young generation ethical, wage jobs and life skills to reverse the poverty cycle.”

    PPB spoke with Moor to learn more about Allmade’s efforts.

    PPB What initially drove Allmade’s mission to give back to the community and to manufacturing apparel in sustainable, earth-friendly ways?

    Moor Frankly, it’s everywhere you look. If you trace root problems of global environment, health and poverty, it is a vicious cycle, [and] doing something different breaks up and reverses [the cycle]. Cleaner oceans and garbage patches equal recycling water bottles and paying people in developing countries, where, according to the Plastic Bank, 80 percent of the world’s ocean trash comes from. There are so many more things, [like the amount of] water, chemicals and pesticides used. I recommend educating yourself, [watching] the True Cost documentary and [reading] Dana Thomas’s Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes and Yvon Chouinard and Naomi Klein’s Let My People Go Surfing. These are great resources and how we started learning. You can just Google “environmental impact of apparel” and go into a huge rabbit hole.

    PPB Tell us about Allmade’s tri-blend fabric and how it helps with the company’s sustainability goals.

    Moor First is the global footprint. We make our fabric in the USA and in North America, using Texas organic cotton, requiring less transportation and a lower carbon footprint. We use Tencil Modal, made from trees, known to have almost six percent of the environmental impact of cotton: less water, fewer chemicals and a closed-loop carbon footprint. We use recycled water bottles, though still polyester, which is preventing bottles from turning into ocean waste and micro plastic.

    PPB Do Allmade’s leaders participate in community service initiatives, whether domestic or overseas?

    Moor All of the Allmade team has been to where we make things, both giving their time and money to help the missions that we give back to. I think actually going versus sending money is having such a big impact. You share what you did, what you learned and inspire others to do the same.

    PPB What’s in store for Allmade in 2020?

    Moor There is a huge industry announcement coming this month that will involve a major partnership and massive investment in the product, from how easy it is to get, to what is available to make an impact. We are fortunate and excited. People care and the industry is talking about sustainability—buying what is right and good is not what is cheap. You, if you are reading this, are making it happen. Feel your  impact!

    Watch the video as Moor recaps his first trip to Haiti here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3UntGCD-Fo 

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications

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