When you’re shopping for mementos from the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia from July 25-28, expect to see a lot of donkey pins. And Liberty Bell T-shirts. You may even find some fashion-forward items liberally sprinkled with other beloved icons of the City of Brotherly Love – from the triumphant Rocky statue to the tasty soft pretzel.
Philadelphia-based distributor Impact Dimensions (asi/230321), official merchandiser for the DNC’s host committee, has developed nearly 70 different promotional products to commemorate the massive political event expected to bring 6,000 delegates, 15,000 journalists and countless other engaged citizens to the nation’s first capital this summer. “It’s everything under the sun,” Impact Dimensions chief operating officer Norbert McGettigan said of the swag. “You name it, we’ll have pretty much everything.” None of the items will feature the names or likenesses of the actual nominees, however; Clinton-themed products will be handled by another vendor, since campaign finance laws make it too complicated to combine the two types of merchandise, McGettigan added. "We really just have the fun Democratic-themed stuff."
In mid-June, the distributor launched the host committee’s online merchandise store, phldncshop.com, to showcase an array of T-shirt styles, baseball caps, coasters, lip balms, commemorative coins and more. The online store is a great way for the public “to easily access fun mementos and memorabilia,” according to Kevin Washo, executive director of the host committee. As Impact Dimensions President Luis Liceaga puts it: “This new site will provide everyone the opportunity to get themselves a bit of the Philadelphia flair.”
All of the products created for the event were made in the USA by ASI-member suppliers, McGettigan says. In addition to offering official host committee designs, Impact Dimensions reached wholesale licensing agreements with seven local artists to boost the variety of designs available. “Each artist is so distinctly different in style that nothing overlaps,” McGettigan said. “These are some pretty cool artists with cool ideas.”
New Hope, PA-based artist LisaBeth Weber, whose handmade Cause Pins have been worn by Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright and other notables, said she’s “humbled and delighted” to have three of her designs chosen to commemorate the DNC. “This cause is very close to my heart,” she said. “Voting is very important to me.” An attendee of the last two DNCs in Charlotte, NC, and Denver, Weber said she “walk[s] the walk as well as talking the talk” of political activism. Her DNC designs include a slightly whimsical depiction of the Liberty Bell, a donkey and a soft pretzel, with the phrase, “See. Vote. Eat.” scrawled underneath. She also supplied a timely and poignant rainbow-hued design with the slogan: “#LoveWins.”
The other artists with work featured in the shop are: Seun Olubodun of Duke & Winston, Dan Duffy of Philly Word Art, Brett Bender, “Project Runway” winner Dom Streater, Michael Fulkerson of Doyle + Associates, and Mary Dougherty, in collaboration with Bender and Lindsey Strippoli. An added bonus of using the artists, McGettigan noted, is that each has his or her own following and will be pushing clientele to the e-commerce site. “It’s a win for them and a win for us because we get seven additional people tweeting and using social media to drive people to our website,” he added.
In addition to the e-store, Impact Dimensions has set up a brick-and-mortar location in a high-traffic area of the Comcast Center. A quarter of the store, which had a soft launch June 29, consists of consignment merchandise that McGettigan describes as “clever, cute and fun” gift shop items, like patriotic dice, coloring books and other trinkets. “Some of this stuff was not possible for us to develop from scratch, but it’s stuff we think people will want to purchase,” he explained. During the week of the convention, Impact will open another shop at the main event in the Wells Fargo Center, as well as multiple pop-up shops throughout the city.
Impact Dimensions was also able to snag a juicy upfront order from the DNC for 10,000 delegate welcome bags, 50,000 lanyards and 12,500 T-shirts.