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Looking Back at How It All Started: ePromos’ Humble Beginnings


ePromos turns 20 this year! You may be wondering, “how did it all begin?” But the real question is not “how” – it’s “why?”

Jason Robbins, ePromos Founder and CEO, shares his story:

It was May of 1997. At the time I had been working on the product supply side of the industry selling promos to distributors who sold to advertisers. I had seen too many advertisers miss the mark in their choice of promo, either by over or under spending, targeting the wrong market, or just plain choosing bad products that wouldn’t impress their recipients.

I knew that I had 20 hats in my closet, but I liked only one or two of them; I had 20 t-shirts that had been given to me, but I kept wearing just four or five of them. I realized that promo buyers would be wasting time and money if they weren’t at the top of the pile. The Internet was just starting to rev up, and I put down my life savings at the time to build the first website that would show off amazing product, make it easy to browse to see all the possibilities, and be capable of making a complex order process simple for online orders.

In June 1997, in the living room of my apartment on 19th Street in New York City, ePromos was born.

I dove head first into this new adventure armed with only one mission: above all else, my customers would look great. Even if they knew what they wanted, we’d provide other ideas with the goal being to give product that would be used and appreciated (not wasted and left in hotel rooms) – product that would elevate the company in the eyes of the recipient. We would do this with smart people who knew their stuff. We’d call them Brand Consultants, and they would guarantee customer satisfaction…

I’m not just talking about the kind of customer satisfaction that comes from on-time delivery of the correct item with the correct imprint – those elements are and should be expected. I’m talking about the kind of customer satisfaction that goes above and beyond, that puts the right logoed merchandise in the hands of the right people to make the biggest impact for our customers. And an experience that is fun and easy for the buyers. That mission is what drove me to create ePromos, develop a functional and intuitive website, and build a passionate team of consultative, in-house marketers. That’s behind our customer’s loyalty driving our business today.

In April of 1998 epromos.com launched, and that’s really where our story begins.

The expertise of our Brand Consultants and their personal relationships with our customers combined with the wide reach and seamless shopping experience of the web catapulted our business forward. We wanted to merchandise all categories while ensuring high-quality products at a range of price points. This is not an easy feat as there are millions of items we need to choose from in order to provide our online offering of between 12-15k products. We wanted a site that had not too much and not too little – a selection that was just right.

Then and now, customers can easily browse our inventory and have that special, reliable connection to our consultants who are not only great with creative product recommendation but also save time. ePromos was conceived from the idea that promotional products deserve a personal approach, a personal connection. That connection is what is at the heart of our company… and I’m proud to say that heart is what started it all.


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