2018 Hot List: Elli Chemel, AT Designs

Meet the new stars shaking up the promo market with their ambition, empathy and passion to be the very best.

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Elli Chemel

AT Designs (asi/30239)

“Holy crap, where did that come from?” is exactly the kind of “aha” moment that Elli Chemel is going for as he leads his company to develop groundbreaking products.

In just three and a half years, Chemel has shaken up AT Designs’ culture and created a collaborative workspace where innovation is the name of the game. Armed with an industrial design degree and a dynamic personality, Chemel “trusts his gut” to lead him to meaningful work. One of his early triumphs was the development of the Airhogs brand of toy remote control vehicles, which he played a pivotal role in building into a $250 million global brand.

Two of his recent creations, metal custom spinning tops and medal morphers – medallions that transform from medals to trophies – have generated promo industry buzz, attracted a record number of new customers and significantly increased sales across all of AT’s product categories, Chemel beams. “The success of the spinning tops showcased that we don’t just have to make commodity products, we can differentiate ourselves,” he says. “We try to put a twist on everyday items.”

Chemel’s resourcefulness has always been apparent. Consider that when he was in college, he got pick-pocketed in London, had no money to get back and started dancing on the street in Piccadilly Square to earn cash. He did well enough to get himself home. Then, when he went back to college, he took a job at a nightclub, getting people into the club and on the dance floor. He made enough money to pay for a full year of tuition.

So when Chemel says his “ultimate goal is to be the most innovative supplier in our industry,” it’s wise not to doubt his skills.

Listen Up!

We asked Hot Listers what song they listen to as motivation for the day, a big meeting, or presentation. Here's what gets Elli fired up!