Sean Ingram has carved out a cool niche. The president/project manager for Kansas-based distributor Blue Collar Industries (asi/141693) and his team work primarily with bands and entertainers in the music world. To keep such creative clientele happy, it’s important to come to the table with fresh ideas – new products and branding solutions that will impress the artists and help build their brands with audiences
And that’s a big reason why Ingram attended the ASI Show Dallas on Thursday. The show, he said, provided a good forum for quickly discovering an array of new products – for seeing firsthand what items could work for his customers. “The face-to-face time we get (with suppliers) is really important too,” Ingram said of his reasons for attending the show. “They see we’re real people. We see they’re real people. The business relationship is smoother going forward.”
Ingram wasn’t alone in his quest for exciting products and strengthened business relationships. On Thursday and Friday, thousands of distributors flocked to the ASI Show floor at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas in search of sweet swag that would help spur sales and generate ROI for their clients.
They had no shortage of nifty new items to check out. Take, for instance, the Golfwith Smart Marker from Top 40 supplier Gold Bond (asi/57653). Push a button, and the teched-up product works through Bluetooth to alert users on their mobile phones the distance to the center of the green. Of course, it also serves as a traditional ball marker with a nice face for imprinting logos. “There has really been a lot of interest – a lot of requests for samples,” says Gold Bond’s John Brotton, noting that the Smart Marker makes an excellent employee/client gift in addition to being an ideal item for any golf-related promotion.
A short ways down the show floor, an eco innovation with a twist was garnering ample attention at the Devara (asi/49470) booth. The product was a retractable badge reel made partly of hemp. Devara Vice President Joe Fina said the item was designed particularly with the nascent legal cannabis market in mind – a market that is exploding with growth, particularly in western states where state-level legalization is spreading, he said. Badge reels made with hemp appeal to cannabis businesses keen for products that align with their image and market – and that serve a practical function. “It’s a highly regulated industry that requires people to wear name badges, and our badge reel can certainly help with that,” Fina said.
Elsewhere, another booth capturing significant foot traffic was that of supplier Raining Rose (asi/80489). The interest was encouraged, in part, by clever design that had the booth looking like a mini camping site. Raining Rose representatives Mason Linn and Lindsey Davis were dressed as summer camp counselors. The "campy" theme helped Linn and Davis draw in distributors, who benefitted from learning about new Raining Rose products like Lip Sips – a line of lip balms that are flavored to taste like delicious beverages, from Mint Mojito and Blueberry Moscow Mule, to Cucumber Agave Sparkling Water, Root Beer and Chocolate Coffee Stout. Featuring SPF 15 broad spectrum protection, the Lip Sips formula includes beeswax, organic hemp seed oil and rosemary extract. Linn said distributors have been selling the Lip Sips to end-clients that range from health care companies to breweries and everything in between. “They have appeal for a wide variety of end-users,” Linn said.
The list of interesting new products on display in Dallas could go on and on. Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100) was showing hand-made sculptures comprised of business cards. Cosmo Fiber (asi/46755) had a Bluetooth speaker that doubled as a flower pot – listen to tunes while you water your plant. Hot items in apparel included a men’s striated heather performance polo from Century Place Apparel/Paragon (asi/85988).
The diversity of products on display was a boon for Stevie Reybok and Janya Francis. The pros from Wills Point, TX-based Glover Rubber Stamp & Crafts were on the hunt for products that would help them continue to expand the offerings of their 100-year-old family business beyond the stamping field into awards, trophies, plaques and promotional products. Having only walked three isles at the show, the trolleys they pulled were already stuffed with catalogs and samples. “It’s our first time at this show and we’re really enjoying it,” said Reybok. “There’s so much here that can help us do more sales.”