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In The Promo Products Industry, Pens Are Great But The People Are Even Better

ePromos employees touring the BIC facility

Have you ever gotten caught up in your day and found yourself being downright mean to a colleague on the other end of the phone? I wish I could say that I wasn’t guilty of that very thing, but alas that is not the case. However, as a promo products professional, I have learned that people are much more important than promotional pens, and most times when you put people first, the sale and the relationship come.

In the last month I have had the opportunity to witness others putting people before pens. The first example was on a trip to visit one of ePromos’ largest suppliers: BIC Graphic. It’s always a learning experience when you see how the pens are manufactured and decorated, especially seeing how the newest techniques are accomplished. But what was even more impressive was seeing the president of the large supplier know the names and situations on most of the 700 employees.

We toured four buildings, each building with a different decoration method or product offering. In every building, he would stop, shake hands with his employees, call them by name and most times ask how they were doing. I believe that was one of the most impressive things on the tour. It was a great demonstration of “people are more important than pens.”

Another example is the team at ePromos. It is always unthinkable when you get the call that a serious accident has happened to someone the team holds in high regards. In this case, it was a supplier rep who had been hit by a drunk driver. Luckily, the supplier rep was able to walk away with just some aches and pains, but the team wanted to show they cared. ePromos took up a collection in honor of our friend and donated it to M.A.D.D. on his behalf.

The longer I am in the industry, the more you become family. Yes, you. My co-workers, suppliers and customers. It’s you that makes selling custom pens (that will get a ton of impressions – so buy some) so awesome.

Members of the ePromos team visiting a supplier: BIC Graphic

Members of the ePromos team visiting BIC Graphic



Another Reason Why I Love The Promotional Products Industry: Professionalism

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Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a tradeshow for our phenomenal sales team in Minnesota. As ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager, it is always a pleasure being around suppliers; especially 28 of our top suppliers. I always learn so much.

With any tradeshow, there are always last-minute things that happen. Shipments don’t come in, there’s thigh-high snow, ground blizzards, highs of -2 degrees, and rental cars that only go 40 miles an hour.

However, despite all of the above, the theme of this tradeshow was professionalism.

One example is shipping. You have to love it. Sometimes, you never know when express shipments will actually arrive. When a supplier’s display showed up eight minutes before the show was to begin, I witnessed direct competitors jump into action to help set up a display that normally would take more than an hour in five minutes flat. Professionalism.

Then life and business can cause situations where professionalism is necessary. Fifteen hours before the tradeshow was set to begin, a supplier rep (who had already arrived in Minnesota) was notified that his company had been sold. I was standing next to him when the owner called while the tradeshow was in progress to discuss his fate.

Instead of running out of the show, he said: “I am sorry sir, I am in the middle of a commitment to a customer. I can call you back at …” He performed the tradeshow on one of the worst days like nothing was going on. Professionalism.

I am honored to work with some of the top companies, but most of all top people. It’s another reason why I love the promotional products industry.

Here’s another reason why I think the promo industry is so great.

Check out a few photos from the tradeshow, and for more, click through the album on ePromos’ Facebook page.

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ePromos’ Own Gives An Inside Look At The Crazy-Intense Sport Of Pond Hockey

More than 500 games were played on 25 rinks at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

More than 500 games were played on 25 rinks at the U.S. Pond Hockey Championship

As if the sport of hockey wasn’t intense enough, bring it outdoors on a frozen pond in the middle of winter in Minnesota. That’s the setting for the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championship, the nation’s largest outdoor pond hockey tournament.

If you’re a sports fanatic and you’ve never played pond hockey (or at least watched it), you should. ESPN.com listed the tournament as part of its “101 Things Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die.”

ePromos’ Karl Gilbert, a Brand Consultant who’s also a lifelong hockey enthusiast, was on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis last month, participating in his first-ever Championship.

Read on for his account of the sport he’s loved since childhood and his experience at the 2014 U.S. Pond Hockey Championship.

How many years have you been playing pond hockey?

I have been playing hockey since I was five or six. Pond hockey is just something we play for fun. This was the first time I participated in this tournament, so we were rookies in some sense of the word, but we had a good team.

How did you prepare for the Championship?

A lot of us play in men’s leagues in our towns, which helps keep our game sharp.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

Being outside and playing hockey outside is something I did all the time as a kid growing up. If it was winter, and if it was a weekend, then that’s where my buddies and I would be – playing hockey on the outdoor rink (ODR).

What’s most challenging about it?

Having to be defensive. It’s easy to get lazy/want to be offensive because it’s pond hockey, but the actual tie breaker for any ties in the tournament is goals against. We didn’t really agree with that rule, being as we were the team that scored the most goals in one game and the tournament in our division, but it is something we learned and can use to our advantage next year.

How did you feel right before the puck dropped?

I felt good. Was all bundled up and ready to go since it was a bit cold!

Were there any outrageous moments during the game?

We had some teams try to start some stuff, but our enforcer, Mitch Ryan, put a few guys over the boards to restore peace out there.

How far did you advance? What was the final outcome?

We did not make it to championship Sunday, despite winning three of four games. We lost our first game 8-6 after we were up 4-0. We did not have any subs (you play with four guys on the ice and are allowed two on the bench), so that definitely hurt us. We won our next three games very easily (15-5, 33-2, and 16-7 I believe).

What does it take to be successful in pond hockey?

Creativity. Your team needs it to win.

Anything else to say about your experience or the sport in general?

Look for the team “The Warroadians” on next year’s Golden Shovel (the trophy for the tournament). We plan on going back and taking home the gold.

pond hockey team

Some members of Karl’s team (from left): Kyle Hardwick, Joe Harren, Karl Gilbert, and Gabe Harren


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A Look At Some Of ePromos’ Best-Loved Promotional Products

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day filled with cupids, candy, and of course, love. We couldn’t let the occasion pass without sharing a few of the promotional products that we adore. Read on to hear from some ePromos employees about the promo items that make them swoon.


custom imprinted cell phone handset

ePromos staffer: Leah Beack
Product: Retro custom imprinted cell phone handset
Why she loves it: “It reminds me of my youth!”








custom tervis tumbler

ePromos staffer: Susan Bendel-Bridson
Product: Clear promotional tumbler by Tervis
Why she loves it: “This is the perfect tumbler if you love your cold drinks really cold and your hot drinks really hot. I am a huge Tervis tumbler fan and don’t drink out of anything else!”










custom travel bag

ePromos staffer: Bonnie Florek
Product: Lamis promotional carry-on bag
Why she loves it: “I love to travel, and this bag is the perfect size and shape to take on the plane. It will easily fit under the seat or in the overhead bin – and red is my favorite color!”





custom conversation hearts

ePromos staffer: Lisa Goudreaux
Product: Custom packs filled with conversation hearts
Why she loves it: “By far my favorite – the classic conversation hearts. I just love them – so nostalgic!”








custom travel mug

ePromos staffer: Cyd Reuter
Product: Black chrome personalized travel mug
Why she loves it: “This is my favorite travel mug because it is big, stylish, and it is a little different in shape and color so it stands out. I love coffee, I love drinking my coffee on my commute to work, and I love doing that in a really stylish, yet functional travel mug. Give me a travel mug and I am your friend forever!”






infuser custom water bottle

ePromos staffer: Audrey Sellers
Product: Infuser custom water bottle
Why she loves it: “I love adding a burst of flavor to my water with fresh fruit or mint. And the skinny design is so cool.”










ePromos Has A Face … And It’s Awesome

(This is a guest post from Hope Binegar, ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager.)

In my 16 years in the promotional products industry, I have worked for all different types of companies. One was a very large traditional distributor, another was a very large not-so-traditional distributor, another was a mom and pop, and I’ve even worked for a well-known supplier.

I treasure my time at each of these companies. The knowledge I gained at each helped me become the professional I am now: Senior Supplier Relations Manager at ePromos, an online distributor.

Am I proud of my title? No. Trust me, I don’t take myself too seriously. What I am proud to say is, “My name is Hope Binegar and I work for an online promotional products company!”

You are probably chuckling at this point. Why would I need to make such a declaration?

Social media has made it easier to see people’s opinions on the promo industry, and online companies always get clobbered. I just read a story about an industry professional tracking down a package for a customer. It ends with all caps … “AND THIS IS WHY WE’RE BETTER THAN A FACELESS PROMO WEBSITE.”

Whoa. I have to tell you that we are a great company that’s far from faceless. We have a team that loves and cares for its customers just as much as a traditional distributor.

Our reps go to the mat for our clients. Consider these examples: Getting a $25,000 order sent to nine locations on the same day, redirecting UPS deliveries to make in-hands dates, staying up late quoting and finding just the right items, resolving any quality issues (I had them as a traditional distributor as well as online.)

No, I promise you we are not faceless. We are ePromos, and we are not just a phenomenal company, we are a team of great Brand Consultants and promotional products experts who love our clients and fight for their needs.

ePromos St. Cloud team

They all make me very proud to be a part of the ePromos team.



Meet ePromos’ 2014 Top Supplier Award Winners

At The PPAI Expo last week, the promo industry’s largest tradeshow, ePromos bestowed its 2014 Top Supplier Awards on its most commendable suppliers.

Congrats to our 2014 award winners:

Inside Rep of the Year

Inside Rep of the Year: Scott Woodward with Leed’s. Pictured: Jeff Brown accepts on behalf of Scott Woodward.


Outside Rep of the Year: Michael Leone (pictured) with Hit Promotional Products

Outside Rep of the Year: Michael Leone (pictured) with Hit Promotional Products


Supplier of the Year: Bagmakers. Pictured (from left): Roger Bayness, Senior VP of Sales; Hope Binegar, ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager; Pete Gleason, Regional Business Development Manager; and Maribeth Sanford, Founder

Supplier of the Year: Bagmakers. Pictured (from left): Roger Bayness, Senior VP of Sales; Hope Binegar, ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager; Pete Gleason, Regional Business Development Manager; and Maribeth Sanford, Founder


Elite Supplier of the Year: Hit Promotional Products. Pictured (from left): Jennifer Grigorian, VP of Marketing; Mike Merkin, Regional Sales Manager; Hope Binegar, ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager; Mike Leone, Sales Manager; Crystal Jewel, Inside Sales Rep; Sheila Johnshoy, ePromos’ Vice President of Marketing

Elite Supplier of the Year: Hit Promotional Products. Pictured (from left): Jennifer Grigorian, VP of Marketing; Mike Merkin, Regional Sales Manager; Hope Binegar, ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager; Mike Leone, Sales Manager; Crystal Jewel, Inside Sales Rep; and Sheila Johnshoy, ePromos’ Vice President of Marketing

The annual awards competition spotlights the extraordinary suppliers that consistently go above and beyond. A team of ePromos employees selects the winners each year based on two criteria: They must be an ePromos Top 20 supplier and they must demonstrate outstanding customer service.

ePromos’ Senior Supplier Relations Manager, Hope Binegar, says: “These suppliers win the Top Supplier Awards not only because they develop great products, but because they’re real partners to us. They help train our people on the benefits of using those products, and they’re there to discuss creative solutions when we want to do something out of the ordinary for our clients.”

Want more? See the press release on ePromos’ 2014 Top Supplier Awards.