Q&A: EmbroidMe President Joseph Loch

It’s been just three weeks since Joseph Loch was named president of Top 40 distributor EmbroidMe (asi/384000) and he hasn’t stopped for a breath yet. The former Hickory Farms, Inc./Pfaelzer Bros. (asi/60717) executive has met with each member of EmbroidMe’s corporate team to develop strategies for next year and just finished his first tradeshow experience in his new role. Counselor spoke with Loch about entering the promotional products industry and his plans for the future of EmbroidMe, which ranks as the 18th largest distributor in the promotional product industry with $90.3 million in North American promotional product revenue.

Q: What led you to joining EmbroidMe?

Joseph Loch: The company was looking for an executive with an operational background and sales experience who could evolve the brand. I’ve done a ton of research on the company and it is such an iconic brand. The team has done a wonderful job growing it to over 300 locations across the world. It’s a thriving company and we want to expand it even further. Personally, I’m thrilled to be here.

Q: What interests you about the promotional products industry?

JS: When I was at Hickory Farms and developing the B-to-B operations, I was introduced to the promotional products business. We would use a lot of promotional items like customized toy trucks for transportation companies. But it’s not just about products – it’s a business that will continue to grow. The corporate environment has changed to casual wear with executives preferring their employees wear their company’s logo. Small businesses are asking for services to help promote themselves. Franchise owners are asking how their businesses can be found and promoted. We want to provide a combination of all these services to our customers.

Q: How do you feel about the state of franchising?

JS: I’m just coming off my first show in Denver and I met with hundreds of business people either transitioning to a new job or looking to invest. From what I saw, there is a high interest in the model. Franchising looks pretty healthy.

Q: What are some of your future initiatives for EmbroidMe?

JS: We have our Ignite show coming up in January where we’ll be meeting with different owners and operators and introducing some new services. We’ll be developing additional printing services for business cards and letterheads and we’ll also be offering website development services. Small business owners have being asking for help in driving traffic to their website and integrating their social media so we want to deliver those services to them. Our goal is to arm our franchises with services they could sell to drive big benefits for their customers.