Supplier Entrepreneur of Year: Dan Taylor

Meet BamBams' Dan Taylor

Dan TaylorFor some, the gateway to the industry was a matter of happenstance, but for Dan Taylor it was a little more calculated. A psychology major in college who was too far into the program to change, Taylor couldn't suppress his desire to own his own business. So upon graduation, he started a forms distributorship.

He and his partner were considering additional avenues of revenue, and though they had fiddled around with promotional products in the past, it wasn't until they "tripped upon the inflatable sticks" that they felt they'd found a product with good potential. And just like that, it was on. "We went to China to set up our operation," says Taylor, president of BamBams (asi/38228). "We joined ASI as a supplier and had our first large order in February of 2003. We tried to come up with a good name for it, and one of our first employees said, 'How about BamBams?' So we named it that."

The company has been successful because Taylor has been laser-focused on manufacturing, logistics and how to get an order manufactured in China, produced quickly and delivered on time with quality. With an office and warehouse in China and 100 factories to do business with, BamBams has added over 1,000 products and counting. To date, the strategy has been a recipe for entrepreneurial success: Stumble out of the gate before perfecting a workable business plan.

"Every year we've experienced double-digit growth except one; we were allocating resources elsewhere," Taylor says. "After that, we've continued our growth and it's always been double-digit."

Part of the success has come from identifying and jumping on trends – think yellow "Livestrong" bracelets. "Silicone bracelets were the second product we added," he says. "We happened to ride the coattails of silicone bracelets, and now we manage a pretty good market share for them." A young and energetic sales force is also key. And to keep moving forward, Taylor has invested in the company's infrastructure – a clear sign that the entrepreneur has graduated to full-fledged business owner.