Profile - The Show Must Go On
Meet Mark Greenspan
In May 2012, Mark Greenspan, president of Creative Promotions Inc. (asi/170711) and Eco Show Respect Apparel (asi/51600), went to the hospital for a neck fusion. What happened next shocked him.
"I wound up on life support with several of my major organs shutting down," he says. "I'm still learning about things that took place. I wasn't able to process what was happening to me."
Greenspan spent 10 days in the hospital with failure of the kidneys, pancreas and liver, and doctors told his family and friends that he might not survive. Greenspan trumped expectations and survived. Just eight months later, he officially launched Eco Show Respect Apparel (ESRA), a recycled fleece line that is completely USA-made, union-made and environmentally responsible.
Greenspan isn't new to the apparel industry, though he spent much of his time on the wholesale end, selling mainly to department and specialty stores before joining ASI in 2000. He spent 10 years at Levi Strauss and Co. and moved his way up to the sales manager position of the Youthwear Division. During his five years at Oshkosh B'Gosh, he was promoted from national accounts sales manager to vice president/general manager of the Menswear Division. For five years, he was also the president of Winn International, a small leather goods company that specializes in briefcases and attaché cases. There, he gained invaluable importing and design experience while traveling throughout Asia and South America, sourcing both leather and contract manufacturing capacity.
Then, in the late 1990s, a longtime friend needed marketing direction for his ASI distributorship and asked Greenspan if he was available. Greenspan agreed to help.
"Within a short period of time, I realized I had a real affinity for promotional products," he says. "It was an easy decision to start my own business and Creative Promotions Inc. was born." Since 2000, Greenspan has been the president of Creative Promotions, Inc., and, since 2008, a minority shareholder in Eco Promotional Products Inc. (asi/185797).
Never one to sit still for long, Greenspan jumped on an opportunity that arose about two years ago, when a major industry supplier dropped its eco-friendly fleece program. "I saw that move as an opportunity to fill the void left in the marketplace," says Greenspan. "And I wanted to do it in a way no one else had done it. It was risky because I decided to offer a recycled fleece program that was also USA-made and union-made. This is not something I could have brought to fruition without my years of background experience and connections." In fact, Greenspan was making preparations to launch this line, to be called Eco Show Respect Apparel, when he ended up in the hospital for much longer than he expected.
But he never considered giving up on releasing it. "I've always been extremely competitive and negatively motivated," he says. "In other words, I've always strived for success while motivated primarily by the fear of failure. It never occurred to me to give up on ESRA because I believe in the company and all that it represents."
In some ways, he explains, the postponement of the launch was a good thing. "The USA-made and recycled fabric philosophy of ESRA is even more relevant now than it was when I started putting the company together two years ago," he says. "With a wonderful, loving family and a fantastic support team, I was able to keep my focus on the new company."