Advantages

Case Study: A Perfect Fit

Bruce Weiser, owner of Spire Printing & Packaging, LLC (asi/332401) in New York City, recently spoke with Advantages about how he expanded into the ASI market at his boutique creative marketing firm.

Bruce Weiser, owner of Spire Printing & Packaging, LLC (asi/332401) in New York City, recently spoke with Advantages about how he expanded into the ASI market at his boutique creative marketing firm.

A Perfect Fit

Bruce Weiser, owner of Spire Printing & Packaging, LLC (asi/332401) in New York City, recently spoke with Advantages about how he expanded into the ASI market at his boutique creative marketing firm.

“We’ve gradually narrowed our core industries down to fashion, real estate, finance and hospitality. They’re the strongest markets right now.”

Advantages: How long have you been in the promotional industry?

Bruce Weiser: I started in sales when I was 15 years old. I worked at the Army/Navy store where the older generation trained me in sales. If someone came in and asked for blue jeans, I learned how to pull their correct size off the rack without asking them what they needed. People nowadays would be so impressed with that. But if you work with jeans all day, you know a size 32. I learned how to know the product and the customer. Eventually, I founded my own company in New York, knowing that the New York market requires the fastest service and the best value.

Advantages: What kinds of products and services do you currently offer?

BW: We offer everything from soup to nuts, whatever our clients can use. We’re a boutique creative agency, so we work with luxury brands on their graphic design, printing and presentation packaging, direct mail and fulfillment. We specialize in binders for presentations and high-end media kits, and video brochures as well. We’re also doing well with leather goods, like portfolios, journals and jackets. We’ve gradually segued into real estate and hospitality, particularly high-end restaurants and their menus. That was when we realized that pens were big for elite restaurants, so we started working with BIC Graphic (asi/40480) for pens for high-end clients. BIC is a wonderful vendor, and they really know the urgency of business in New York. So far this year our pen sales have exceeded $25,000. The first time we attended the ASI Show in New York, it was all such a blur. It still is, actually. But we just started really looking for items that our clients would be interested in.

Advantages: How should a decorator gauge their current situation to figure out if promotional products are right for them? How did you decide it was the right time for you?

BW: We turned to pens, which are a natural offshoot of the custom menus we were already doing. We’ve done less expensive pens all the way to the more expensive $100 Cross pens. We just had an $8,000 order in pens from a client, and we’ve also started selling flash drives and tote bags. I always thought my high-end clients would never go for traditional promotional products. But we’ve gotten into a few product categories, and our rule still applies: We won’t offer them anything that’s less than stellar. Sometimes we feel that we have to hold our ground a bit to make sure they don’t do anything to jeopardize their brand just to save a little bit of money. We want to make sure they’re always doing what’s right for their brand, because mistakes reflect badly on them and us. We’re lucky that we have several buyers who take us to their companies — when they move jobs, they take us with them.

We’ve also worked with many other printing and promotional products dealers and helped them sell in many of the complicated packaging sproducts, particularly video brochures. These are sales they would have passed on otherwise.

Advantages: Has your client base changed dramatically since you’ve added promotional products?

BW: We’ve gradually narrowed our core industries down to fashion, real estate, finance and hospitality. They’re the strongest markets right now. In fact, a New York restaurant with entrées at $55 and up just bought $20,000 in pens from us. They’re building their brand, and when people have that pen on their desks —  it’s subliminal messaging. It’s the type of place where if a VIP client makes a reservation, they’ll serve special entrées just for him or her, items that aren’t even on the menu. It’s a family-owned place, and they really respect their vendors. They go the extra mile for their customers, and we make sure the products we sell them reflect that.