March - April 2017 Print


    There are so many things happening at PMANC over the next few months!

    Spring is coming up and it has been nice to see the sun out after so much rain. PMANC has been very busy since the beginning of the year, as you will see from all of the activities listed below.

    We had a very successful Board Meeting with the Director of Member and Engagement & Regional Relations at PPAI, Carol Gauger, as our meeting facilitator. The discussions were about Membership, Recruitment & Retention, PMANC realities, ideation, goal setting, and strategies. We are elevating our knowledge so we can continue to provide and fulfill our member’s needs.

    Don’t forget all the activities coming up and please go on our website to sign-up. I look forward to seeing you all at Showcase!

    There’s still time to submit a scholarship application!
    Did you know that members of PMANC can submit a scholarship application for a member of their immediate family?  The PMANC Campbell Brown Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a PMANC member’s dependent family member based on the student’s academic achievement.  Here is the application link:

    First Impressions in March
    They’re Back! Our First Impressions series continues this year with two dates coming right up in March.  We’ll be hosting events on Tuesday, March 14th in Fresno and Thursday, March 16th in Novato.

    The interactive format for First Impressions was started in 2013, to provide distributors with an opportunity to connect with local suppliers. Now, 4 years later, our attendance keeps growing due to the popularity of the events. Distributors learn new information about the latest trends, products and services in the industry. The informal atmosphere allows suppliers and distributors a chance to get better acquainted.  There is no charge to attend and distributors are invited to enjoy a complimentary light buffet lunch.

    Complete details and a link to registration are included in this newsletter.  I urge you to take a few hours and join us.

    I’m sure you familiar with the adage about the cobbler’s children. Are you using promo products to sell your promotional products?  This month, PromoKitchen Chef and social media guru, Charity Gibson, presented creative ways to use promotional products to create a lasting impression with our clients.

    Our new monthly webinar series is an exclusive member’s only benefit.  If you are not a member, join now so that you don’t miss out! 

    9th Annual Golf Tournament and SHOWCASE
    It’s getting closer!  Our annual golf tournament will be held on Thursday, May 4th at the Pacific Grove Golf Course in beautiful Monterey, California. After the tournament, join us for the golf awards and fabulous fashion show.

    Distributor registration for our big SHOWCASE, Promo De Mayo, on May 5th is now open!  Don’t miss this opportunity to see the largest promotional products tradeshow in Northern California.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon,

    Ivonne Lahlouh
    2017 PMANC President 




    Join Us!
    PMANC Showcase Expo
    MAY 4th & 5th, 2017

    What do Margaritas and Monterey have in common besides starting with the same letter? Both are part of our Promo De Mayo Showcase this year!  

    Register Now for the most productive and fun show you will attend this year!

    We are very excited for this year's Showcase and have planned 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.

    Take advantage of reduced rates at the Hyatt!
    We have negotiated a great discounted rate. The special PMANC rate of $185, includes parking, use of the business and fitness center, in-room complimentary Wi- Fi and the $22 resort rate. Reserve your room before Wednesday, April 5, to assure this rate.  Discounted room block will sell out. Book Early!  Click here to reserve your room.

    Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
    1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, California




    Does The Shoe Fit?

    Remember last issue’s piece regarding millennial addiction to feedback? Well, it got me thinking. If the promo industry is trying to keep up with the millennial need for speed that Amazon touts, why don’t we simply make our products review based? Just like Sage, and ESP where Distributors can rate Suppliers based on their experience, let’s bring those star ratings to the products. Millennials like to do their homework – researching a product before they determine whether to buy or sell.  For example, when I asked another Millennial to type in ‘Ralph Lauren sneakers’ into Amazon, the first thing he noticed below the item title was the review. Gold stars gleaming at us to buy this popular and loved product.

    Next step, the Millennial scrolls to the bottom of the page and immediately starts reading customer reviews. When asked why he did that, he bluntly said, “Well, you gotta know what you’re buying!”  I read the page along with him and some of the reviews stated, “Very comfortable,” and “They are snug, so I moved up a size” or constructive feedback like “Looks nice, but doesn’t last.” Together these reviews create some sort of average in our mind. To a Millennial, reviews are tools which establish a justification to buy. 

    I totally visualize myself in these shoes. I feel the snug fit and the damage I may cause in them from my daily routine that might not make them last. After all this consideration, we ask, are they worth it? Would these same shoes be of value for someone else?  We like to buy things for other people that we would also in turn buy for ourselves.  So even though the end user will not be leaving the review for the products, the distributor's review holds to be just as valid. As scary as reviewing could be for a company’s products, it will always be beneficial for quick, instant data of what products are hot, and what products are cold. Just like my message last time, we must use this type of review based feedback to our advantage. The reviews are tools to our overall recipe to ace the perfect cake, and in this situation, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

    Do you agree, disagree or have another opinion? Click the Link to let us know how you feel about this topic! 



    Ellie Gallegos
    Branding Coordinator
    Jack Nadel Int'l.




    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.

    Gilroy has long been known mainly for their love of garlic.  But for those distributors in the know, Gilroy is home to Chameleon Like, Inc., a manufacturer of stationery products.  Chameleon sets itself apart by keeping everything local which allows them to bring their creative expertise to their clients while guaranteeing that the quality is always first.  Here is what’s happening with Jasmine Ventura, National Account Executive at Chameleon Like.

    What makes Chameleon Like different from other suppliers in the industry?
    VENTURA: We’re not just a supplier, we are a manufacturer. About 90% of our line is made to order in our Gilroy, CA facility. Our competitive advantage is our ability to customize our journals at every step of the process. Distributors and their customers can choose the binding style, cover material, and filler options; they can add inserts, pockets, pens, and closures. Because most of the products in our industry are imported, very few suppliers can match our level of customization

    What is the most challenging part of your job?
    VENTURA: At the beginning of the year, I was promoted to National Account Executive. My responsibilities are the same as when I was a regional rep. But I haven’t worked closely with these distributors, if I’ve worked with them at all. And Chameleon has never had a dedicated rep for these companies. Finding a way to get in touch with the right people has been the most challenging part of this new role.

    What do you feel has been the most important innovation you have seen in our industry?
    VENTURA: The most important innovation I’ve seen in our industry is the use of technology to build efficiencies. I’m specifically excited by the traction PromoStandards has been gaining in the industry. I know that we are looking forward to implementing that for our business.

    What can you tell us about new products for 2017?
    VENTURA: This year we launched a few new lines. Our Rio line is new journal style available in 7 vibrant colors. My favorite features on this journal are the perforated filler sheets and the retro, library-style accordion pocket on the inside front cover. Our All Kraft line is a recycled journal line featuring a natural recycled chipboard cover and kraft filler paper. We’re the first in the industry to offer this type of filler! Our Diva line features our new holographic cardstock cover material. This is available in 3 colors – Rose Gold, Stardust, and Silver.

    What excites you about Chameleon’s future?
    VENTURA: We’ve continued to invest in our production capabilities, bringing more outsourced tasks in-house and making strides to shorten our rush turn time. We’ve also invested in filling some gaps in our decoration offerings. Currently, we’re working on being able to offer personalization and variable data – coming Summer 2017.

    What is Chameleon’s corporate philosophy?
    VENTURA: As a manufacturer in an industry full of commodity suppliers, we have long made the decision that price would never be our main strategy for continuing our growth. Instead, our focus is introducing high quality, innovative products, offering superior creativity, and delivering the best customer service in the industry.

    What decoration method is trending now?
    VENTURA: I’ve seen a lot of glossy tone-on-tone imprints lately – specifically a glossy black imprint on a matte black material, like our Classic Black Chipboard or our Boardroom Black Canvas. This decoration is especially impressive as an oversized imprint.

    What is the weirdest job you ever had?
    VENTURA: When I was a senior in high-school, I was a ride operator for Monsoon Falls and Vertical Velocity at Six Flags Marine World. I can still recite the safety spiel…

    People would be surprised if they knew what about you?
    VENTURA: I can change my own oil.

    Lastly, what did you do for Valentine’s Day???
    VENTURA: We went lowkey this year since Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday – a double feature at Capitol Drive in and a chilled bottle of champagne.


    Laurie Dowell
    Senior Branding Consultant 
    Jack Nadel Int'l.




    PMANC Members can attend monthly for free right from your desk! Not having to deal with commute traffic is probably the biggest benefit =D

    You'll learn from the industry's best in a one hour CAS accredited webinar that you can enjoy at your desk or with the recording on-demand. A variety of educational opportunities will be presented each year and members can work toward their CAS/MAS or earn additional credits towards maintaining their CAS/MAS designations.

    March 29th: Bill Petrie presents: "The Lessons of 100%: Strategies to Reduce Client Friction to Sell More."

    Wednesday, April 26:  Seth Barnett - PPAI - "Marketing To Millennials."

    Click here for more information



    Are you using your coupon book? It's worth taking a look because there are some awesome coupons totaling more than $3K in savings. Here are a few examples: $30 off Akron Line; Free setup with American Ad Bag; Free new product kit at Bagmakers, EQP all 2017 for Goldstar Pens, and free set-up on a tech product with Crown. To get discounts like these you need to be a PMANC member and have the electronic coupon book with the applicable codes. To renew your dues or to join click here. Upon receipt of your renewal, you will be emailed the coupon book. Coupons are valid until 12/31/17.

    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.  





    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 career 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 launched my career 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 were 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 products 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 devastated 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 distributorship 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 for 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 suppliers. 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 would be too 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 article on this subject, and I was thrilled 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.

    Doug Carson CAS, CMMS

    Carson Solutions Kaeser & Blair





    PMANC Members - Did you know your children are eligible to receive a scholarship through your membership with PMANC?

    In 2013, the PMANC Board of Directors announced the founding of the Campbell M. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund, a scholarship fund designed and committed to supporting education for the children of PMANC members. The Campbell M. Brown Scholarship is named for an industry veteran who spent almost 40 years working in management at various companies including Jack Nadel International, Idea Man Inc., Walter W. Cribbins Company and Geiger.

    Cam’s gift was his ability to nurture new salespeople, always so giving of his time and experience. He was a deeply caring mentor and stayed close to many he guided throughout the years. Cam gave back to our industry serving on the board and two terms as President of PMANC.
    PMANC is proud to continue the scholarship program. This year, PMANC, as well as several PPAI regional associations, will facilitate the application process though PPEF, the Promotional Products Education Foundation. After the applications have been reviewed, PPEF will forward a list of potential candidates to the PMANC Board. The Board will make a final decision on the recipient of the Campbell M.  Brown Memorial Scholarship for 2017.

    Applicants, who submit an application, will also be considered for scholarships from PPEF who will be awarding $175,000 in 2017!

    Apply today! The deadline to submit an application is March 15, 2017.

    PMANC Members, click here for the scholarship application




    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 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!




    A warm welcome to one of PMANC's newer board members, Nicole VanVleck of Vernon! And now.....a few fun facts on Nicole.

    When did you first start working in the promotional products industry?
    Nicole: June 2001

    What do you listen to in the car when on the road?  
    Nicole: COUNTRY and my daughter's conversations

    What is the best piece of advice you've gotten in regards to the industry?
    Nicole: Keep in contact even during a down economy, eventually people will need to fill their closets.

    What is your favorite food?
    Nicole: Anything blackened and spicy

    Where did you meet your spouse?
    Nicole: At the gym =)

    Do you have any children?
    Nicole: Yes and she is awesome

    What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you in front of a client and how did you recover?
    Nicole: I fell down the stairs carrying a garment bag **
    eyeroll** graceful. I laid on the floor laughing.

    What is the happiest moment in your life?
    Nicole: So many to choose from…the day my fiancé proposed and the day after my daughter was born.

    Favorite sports team
    Nicole: SF GIANTS!

    If you could do anything in the world and not fail what would it be?
    Nicole: Interior Architect 




    3/29//2017            9:30 am - 10:30 am        Lessons of 100%: Strategies to Reduce Client Friction to Sell More

    4/26/2017             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     




    Thank you to all vendors that have signed-up for SHOWCASE Promo De Mayo! 




    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!