January - February 2017 Print


    Happy New Year! It’s an honor to serve as the PMANC President this year. I have very big shoes to fill as Past President, Cristina Ysselstein, has led the way and implemented many programs that will serve our association for many years to come.  I plan to work with the PMANC Board to continue the initiatives Cristina started such as the community outreach PMANC Cares project, as well as a focus on providing professional development education. 

    I really look forward to working with the very talented group of industry professionals on the PMANC Board.  This year the PMANC Board welcomes three new directors: Laurie Dowell (Jack Nadel International), Nicole VanVleck, CAS (The Vernon Company) and Tony Lee (Stormtech Performance Apparel).

    One of our goals this year is to provide you with learning resources to help do your job better.  We’ll kick off the year with a new free monthly webinar series. You’ll be receiving detailed information soon on the topics and how to participate.  You’ll even be able to obtain credits towards your CAS certification just by listening to the free webinars. 

    Our Showcase this year is going to be great!!! Last year was a success and this year we are raising the bar. We’ll be returning to Monterey on May 5 for our Promo de Mayo SHOWCASE! We’ve already received a great response from suppliers to exhibit and we’re finalizing details for a few professional development sessions.  We will continue to send updates, as we get closer to the event. Mark your calendar with the date so you won’t miss out!

    Another goal for this year is to find and implement new ways to increase the value of your PMANC membership. The Board is already discussing several new ideas, but we really need to hear from you on how PMANC can better serve your needs. Send me an email or call our Executive Director, Carol Murphy, at 415-622-6866. We’d love to hear from you!

    I wish you a very successful 2017!


    Ivonne Lahlouh
    2017 PMANC President




    PMANC Cares completed a very successful donation drive just in time for the holidays!  We asked for your unused and discontinued outerwear samples that we could donate to the local LIFEMOVES facilities for Bay Area families who are currently homeless or in need. Last month Louise Kostoff (Logomark) and Cristina Ysselstein (ETS) drove a huge cargo van around the bay area and picked up donations. What started as an empty cargo van was quickly filled with mountains of jackets, blankets, socks, sweatshirts, and hats! Harriet Pecot, Gift Officer at LifeMoves shared, “This is like the never-ending gift!  All of us really appreciate the many donations.  Please let all the donors know that we truly appreciate their generosity and their kindness and that they are impacting the homeless in our communities.  You will be keeping people warm this winter and letting them know they are seen by their community and valued.  Thank you so very much!”

    How about a BIG CARGO VAN sized THANK YOU for PMANC Volunteer, Louise Kostoff, who coordinated the drive. And we can’t forget to thank you all for your generous donations!








    Attention Baby Boomers and Gen Xers – Be Bold, and Facilitate Feedback!

    One of the most common stereotypes the Millennial Generation faces is the constant need for feedback. (Brack & Kelly. 2012) Many psychologists agree the need for feedback stems from the current social media platforms that created the addiction for constant communication (Peters. 2014). It is easy to see how this can be an issue, but if we apply this dedication in our industry, we can use it as a tool for perfecting a recipe to build strong and prosperous growth.

    When we make a cake for the first time, it’s a nerve-racking process. We carefully measure each ingredient, hover over the oven to watch the batter rise, and finally, we taste the cake with the intention to note what we can do better next time. Millennial’s look forward to the taste test. They will taste test so many times that they can visualize the next cake and the outcome before the cake is even baked. Data, or ingredients in this case, is every Millennial’s favorite tool (Corona 2015). It should not be a shock that the first generation to be exposed to an infinite amount of data is addicted to its power. In this case, we can use our Millennial’s addictions to feedback as a way to gain constructive feedback in our industry.

    Let your office get creative on how they want to construct their feedback. Polls, interactive response questions, create social platforms for the company; dedicate a social page for instant feedback, or generating an email known to clients that are marketed for feedback purposes. For example adding a feedback email in your signatures allows clients to express positive or negative experiences. From that data, you able to tweak our recipe.

    The taste test goes both ways. Millennials love receiving feedback as much as providing it. Forty-six percent of the U.S. workforce is comprised by Millennials (Lynch, 2008). By comparison, the generation before them, Gen Xers represent only sixteen percent of today’s workforce. Use the expressive percentage to give your company the ingredients it may be missing! This large measurement of the workforce can help generate constant feedback to manifest a very tasteful outcome. Happy Baking!


    Ellie Gallegos
    Branding Coordinator
    Jack Nadel Int'l.

    Lynch, A. (2008). ROI on generation Y employees. Bottom Line Conversations, LLC. Retrieved from http://www.knoxvillechamber.com/pdf/workforce/ROIonGenYWhitePaper.pdf
    (Brack & Kelly. 2012) Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace. Retrieved from www.execdev.unc.edu
    (Corona 2015) Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths via IBM Institute for Business Value
    (Peters. 2014) Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. Recorded Seminar and modern explanation




    Welcome to PMANC’s spotlight on our members!  Each month I (Laurie Dowell - JNI) will be reaching out to a distributor or supplier and sharing their thoughts on the ups and downs of this ever-changing industry.

    As I walked the aisles of PPAI this year I realized how many friends I have made over the years but have fallen out of touch with some.  I know we all are guilty of going full speed when it comes to our clients but we forget to pay the same attention to our industry contacts.  This column gives us the opportunity to get to know leaders and innovators in Promotional Marketing.  To kick things off I reached out to an old friend, Ray Decker, founder of Imagine Promotional Group in Petaluma. 

    What makes Imagine Promotional Group different from other distributors in the industry?

    DECKER: I always tend to cringe when I am asked this question because the first thing that comes to mind is "everyone generally sells from the same pool of suppliers so how exactly would anyone in this industry be that different?". We all tend to put a spin on things like "We are different because of our creativity" or "our service" All good things but I think what it really comes down to is the mix of people that make up the whole team. The IPG team has over 30 plus years of combined marketing and promotional product experience - and we are just getting started. Each of us is different but we all share one thing in common: a total dedication to knocking our client's socks off.

    What is the most interesting part of your job?
    DECKER: Lately, it’s been all about managing a lot of changes and growth over the last year, creating an environment for not only business growth but individual growth.

    What do you feel has been the most important innovation you have seen in our industry?
    DECKER: Cloud base solutions - i.e. CommonSku platform. Best decision we ever made.

    What role do you think social media plays in the selling process?
    DECKER: The verdict is still out on exactly how to measure the impact social media has on our business but we have joined the cause and support it via Instagram and LinkedIn.

    What advice can you give someone coming into the industry?
    DECKERWith the first warning "Once you get in you never get out" :). Seriously - this is an amazing industry to work in both on the supplier and distributor side (speaking from personal experience). Just find the right position that fits who you are and maximize your potential and the rewards will come. 

    What are 3 career lessons you have learned through the years?

    1. From my mentor and close friend Larry Seidman - never burn your bridges! You will never know when you may need that person to help open a door. 
    2. Don't wait for things to happen in your career - ask for it to happen - no one will ever know what you want unless you speak up.
    3. Be open to change and other people’s perspectives.

    What motivates you?
    DECKER: Loving what I do and the people I work with - clients and associates. Pride in what rewards come from hard work, smart planning and creative problem-solving.

    What is the craziest thing on your bucket list?
    DECKER: Moving to a European country for a year to learn a new language and culture. Italy sounds good right now.

    People would be surprised if they knew what about you?
    DECKER: I'm an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church and have performed 17 weddings and 2 funerals. I'm sticking to just weddings these days - funerals are not so fun to do. My 18th will be later this fall.

    Lastly, New Year’s resolution???
    DECKER: I don't have any this year - not that I am perfect but there is nothing I can think of that I would change or add to my life. I have a lot to be thankful for and want to just focus on the good and not spend energy on the bad.


    Laurie Dowell
    Senior Branding Consultant 
    Jack Nadel Int'l.





    Do you like to save money?

    PMANC's 2017 online Supplier Coupon Book will be available to members in mid-January. This savings resource is filled with 187 pages of money saving coupons from local and national suppliers.

    The book will feature offers like 30% off your first order, free next day shipping, EQP pricing and free set-ups.  In the past, members have told us they easily recouped the cost of their annual membership by using just a few coupons in the book.

    Current members can access the catalog by logging into the member pages using your email address and password. You'll find a link to the catalog under the PUBLICATIONS tab. Click on Member Login for Supplier Coupon Book.

    There's never been a better time to become a member of PMANC and get great savings on items you order throughout the year.  Click here to apply for membership.  






    Tim O’Neill, of ImageMasters
    , earned his CAS designation at The PPAI Expo 2014 and went on to earn his MAS the following year. 

    Read the full article here >>

    Halls & Company Welcomes Third Generation to Leadership Team

    Supplier member, Halls & Company, is celebrating 45 years of business! As an industry-leading manufacturer, Halls & Company, welcomes back third generation family member, Patrick Napurski.
    Read the full article here >> 





    Doug Carson CAS, CMMS
    Owner Carson Solutions Kaeser & Blair

    I was 41 years old and was suddenly thrown into the Promotional Products Industry with no training or experience. After a year, I decided that this was my next carreer path, so I started my own company. My brother owned a large landscaping firm and had space in his new office, and that is where I lanunched my carreer in the Ad Specialty world and absolutely fell in love with it. But at the beginning, I knew absolutely nothing. Even in those very early years when my sales where very low, a few supplier reps actually called on me and started to teach me the industry. I learned the codes, what art files were etc. I remember these reps fondly. The late Ann Pennings was the first rep to pay any attention to me and helped me get more reps to come to the office. Reps like John Smith, retired, Jodie Friedman and Robert Collins. Without their help and guidance, I wouldn’t have survived. My biggest step was being asked to join the PMANC Board by Craig Hughes and Litza Coughlin. Craig was a factory rep and Litza owned her own local distributorship. I met many more reps while serving on the board, and they helped me hone my craft. As my business grew, I found the products I would present to my clients were the products from the vendor reps I liked. It didn’t have much to do with the factory itself but rather what the rep was showing me. They taught me how to present their products and why my clients should use the produts they represented. Over the years I have repeatedly said, “ I don’t buy Suppliers, I buy Reps”.

    I owned Carson Integrated Marketing for 16 years, and then my wife of 35 years died of breast cancer. It devasted me, and I lost focus and sold my company to a national firm. I stayed with that firm as a manager. After satisfying my commitment, I couldn’t handle the management side of the business and returned to sales, what I loved. However, I didn’t want to start a new company all over again, so I contracted with a national distriburship to place my orders. It was based out of Ohio. The national distributor gave me buying power, financing, CSR support and allowed me to do just what I do best…..client relations.

    This brings me to the reason for this article.
    I use the same philosophy as I did when I owned my own company and that is to rely on my local reps to help me learn about the products they represent. I returned to “buying reps not suppliers.” As many of you know, the national distributorships bill our clients from their home base, so in my case the billing address is Ohio even though I sell in California. It became a shock to me to learn that all of my reps who I respected and counted on, and who gave me a lot of their valuable time, were not getting credit for my sales. All the credit went to the Ohio rep for doing absolutely nothing. This has been bothering me for years, so I started asking questions of my reps, the national companies I sold through and the suppliers. My findings further infuriated me because the national companies don’t see anything wrong with the reps in their area getting all the credit from sales of reps across the country. I was told it was because those reps in their area spent a lot of time at the office helping with pricing and samples and special programs. Those reps never bothered to contact people like me in other areas, they only concentrated on the home office. My local reps were still giving me their undivided attention, even though this situation existed. I respect them more today after learning the facts.

    When I spoke with the suppliers, their excuse was that it was the national distributors that wanted their reps to get the credit and had given them those instructions. When I spoke to the national distributors, I was told that it was not their policy but the supplier’s. I did find a handful of suppliers that would give the local reps credit if their name appeared on the PO sent in by the national distributor. Then I found out, with most suppliers, that that doesn’t make a difference. I was told it is to difficult to separate the PO’s, and it wasn’t feasible to have that practice. But what confuses me is why can some suppliers do it and some can’t? If  national distributors said “This is the way we do business,” then things might change.

    In my opinion, and many of those to whom I have spoken, this practice is extremely unfair and absolutely contrary to how all of us make a living in the industry. Almost all sales people on either side of the industry make commissions, and commissions are earned through effort and expertise. The reps in a national distributor’s area don’t have to do anything to earn commissions on my sales and the sales of people like me. To be truly fair to those reps who support me and my efforts, I believe it is time for a change in the industry.

    The officers of PMANC asked me to write an artcle on this subject, and I was thilled to do so.   I am proud of my association’s interest in making a change. It is time to create a standard procedure for getting credit to the correct people. It’s time for suppliers to take care of the people who sell their lines throughout the country. Whenever I can, I will use those companies. There is a lot of competition in the industry, so my allegiance will be to those that care. I am not alone, my feelings are felt by most, and I call on all to help push for a change.




    A warm welcome to one of PMANC's new board members, Laurie Dowell of Jack Nadel! And now.....a few fun facts on Laurie.

    When did you first start working in the promotional products industry?
    Laurie: March 1988. I was hired as the receptionist and 3 weeks later was made the office manager. It grew from there. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing companies and love that I’ve found a home at JNI.

    What do you listen to in the car when on the road? 
    Laurie: I go between Alice 97.3,
    country on satellite or a flash drive with my favorite songs.

    What is the best piece of advice you've gotten in regards to the industry?
    Laurie: Keep the fire in your belly. It is what drives you to be the best you can be for your clients, both internal and external.

    What is your favorite food? 
    Laurie: Where do I begin???  Probably butter tarts, a dessert from Canada that my mom made every holiday.

    Where did you meet your spouse? 
    LaurieMorro Bay in 1988.  We both were traveling for business for the same company.

    Do you have any children? 
    Laurie: I have 4 kids, 3 girls and 1 boy and 5 grandchildren; 4 boys and 1 girl.

    What is the happiest moment in your life?
    Laurie: There have been so many moments but probably marrying my husband and watching our family grow.

    Favorite sports team?
    Laurie: The Warriors for basketball; Dodgers and Red Sox for baseball; Sharks and Maple Leafs for hockey and the Rams for football. 





    Volunteer Your Talents and Make a Difference in Our Industry

    PMANC’s goal this year is to increase engagement with our members. Being a PMANC volunteer is a great way to build valuable professional relationships, gain visibility and expand your knowledge, and make an impact that matters to all of us.

    Short on time? No problem!
    Many of our members have expressed interest in volunteering, but have very little time and don’t want to over-commit to a large project. This year we’re offering volunteer opportunities to match your schedule, whether you only have an hour, or would like to be involved in a major event, such as the annual Showcase.

    Please take our quick survey and let us know your area of interest and how much time you have available. Our new Volunteer Committee Chair, Tony Lee (Stormtech) will contact you and discuss what assignment might be a good fit.

    Please CLICK HERE to let us know how you would like to be involved.  Thank you!




    1/25/2017            9:30 am - 10:30 am         How to Sell Uniform Programs
    1/25/2017            11:00 am - 12:00 pm       The Next Wave Of California Regulations: Priority Products
    2/22/2017            9:30 am - 10:30 am         How to Use Promo to Sell Promo:  The Art & Science of Self-Promotion
    2/28/2017            11:00 am – 3:00 pm         Promo 101: beta (for more info contact Melissa Deckelman)

    3/29/2017            9:30 am - 10:30 am         Marketing To Millennials                   
    5/4/2017              12:30 pm - 9:30 pm         SHOWCASE Golf, Fashion Show, & Fiesta in Monterey PROMO DE MAYO
    5/5/2017              9:00 am – 4:00 pm          SHOWCASE 2017, PROMO DE MAYO
    5/21 2017            10:30 am - 11:30 am       Explosive Upselling: Value-Added Products & Services to Bolster Profitability
    6/28/2017            10:30 am - 11:30 am       How to Tweet Like The Donald:  Twitter For Dummies
    7/26/2017            10:30 am - 11:30 am       Latest Regulatory & Product Safety Information You MUST Know Now!
    8/30/2017            10:30 am - 11:30 am       How to Sell Food Programs     
    9/13/2017            10:30 am - 11:30 am       How to Be Awesome     

    9/20/2017            10:30 am - 3:30 pm         PMANC Fall Showcase/Wente
    10/25/2017          10:30 am - 11:30 am       How to Know If Your Products Are Safe, Compliant and Quality   
    11/29/2017          10:30 am - 11:30 am       TBD        Speaker: TBD  

    12/20/2017          10:30 am - 11:30 am       TBD        Speaker: TBD    
    12/7/2017            11:30  am - 2:30 pm        PMANC Holiday Party     




    Hopefully, you have marked your calendar for the PMANC SHOWCASE EXPO 2017 on May 4th & 5th! Can you guess how we thought of the event name Promo De Mayo?

    We are very excited for this year's Showcase and are planning even more social events and professional development sessions. You won't want to miss Promo De Mayo in Monterey, Northern California's largest Promotional Products Tradeshow!

    Have you liked the PMANC page on Facebook? We will keep you posted on the PMANC SHOWCASE EXPO 2017 on Facebook and email.  Stay tuned!




    Last month on December 1st, PMANC had an amazing holiday party at the Marriott Union Square in San Francisco.  Our merry members had a chance to catch-up with industry friends, reflect on our remarkable year, and congratulate the newly installed 2017 Board of Directors.  The food was delicious, the space festive and holiday cheer was plentiful!

    We raised over $700 for the Campbell Brown Scholarship Fund with the entertaining auction MC’d by the dynamic duo, Jodi Spangrud (Company A) and Victor Valencia (SanMar), thank you both! We would also like to thank Diana Fay (Sanmar) and Loretta Mingram (MKI Incentives) for their hard work organizing the raffle and creating beautiful gift baskets!

    We would like to extend our thanks to the following companies who helped make our Holiday Party a big success.

    Raffle Prizes & Amenities:
    Advance Corporation 
    The Book Company 
    Crystal D 
    Ariel Premium 
    ETS Express 
    Howard Berman & HB Sales
    Fairytale Brownies
    Cutter and Buck
    Loretta Mingram/MKI
    Leeds PCNA
    Ivonne Lahlouh/Lahlouh Inc.
    Diana Fay

    Also, thanks to our Wine Sponsors:
    Stephanie Critchfield/The Vernon Company
    Amanda Baughman/HIT Promo
    Darrell Fronczek/American Ad Bag
    Robert Collins/Collins & Associates
    Ivonne Lahlouh/Lahouh Inc.
    Dennis Klum/BrandVia Alliance




    PMANC has just launched a LinkedIn Group and Instagram page, and continue to post news events on Facebook and Twitter. Your support on all social media platforms would be appreciated tremendously.



    See you around!