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2018 Hot List: Eric Simsolo, Next Level Apparel

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

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Eric Simsolo

Next Level Apparel (asi/73867)

He wears more hats at work than the queen of England; so many, in fact, that Eric Simsolo has resisted having business cards printed for himself. What’s the point, after all, considering he has a role in sales, marketing, new product development, research, factory coordination and seemingly endless other areas? “My title changes depending on the day,” Simsolo says. “I’m really just trying to keep ingenuity here going and be a good steward for our brand.”

He’s been such a good steward that even though he’s only worked at Next Level full-time for the last two and a half years, Simsolo admits he’s already part of the company’s brain trust, helping to drive the supplier’s 32% 2017 sales increase. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, that he’s climbed the ranks so quickly considering he started working at Next Level in high school. Then, as a student at Chapman University in California, he planned out his class schedule so he could go into the Next Level office every Friday.

After a brief stint at an entertainment licensing company, Simsolo has come home to Next Level, overseeing new departments and building up big wholesale accounts with Top 40 suppliers. He laughs off his rocket-powered rise to “walking by the right office at the right time,” but the reality is Simsolo represents the industry’s next wave of savviness and skill.

“My goal is to deliver what customers want and what the market wants,” Simsolo says. No doubt he’ll deliver, unless, of course, it involves a business card.