NEW YORK, NY – May 6, 2015 – Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran delivered sass, sizzle and savvy advice to a crowd of entrepreneurs at the ASI Show® New York on Wednesday, telling them to stay competitive by keeping their workplace fun.
“Fun is good for business,” she told a rapt audience of nearly 300 at a two-day trade show at the Javits Center hosted by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) for buyers and sellers in the $21.5 billion promotional products industry.
“I created outrageous fun,” Corcoran said, “instead of just boring Christmas parties.” She said her legendary costume parties and picnics helped everyone in her real-estate office to bond, creating a stronger team, while helping lure top people from her competitors.
In her keynote, “Build Your Business Using Innovation, Branding, Leadership and Guts,” Corcoran, who’s personally invested in over 30 startups on ABC’s Shark Tank, offered advice on supercharging personal and professional brands – after entering to the theme music from Jaws.
“It’s a fabulous act of the universe to actually be in business for yourself, having nobody tell you what to do,” Corcoran (@barbaracorcoran) said by way of greeting. “Congratulations for having the guts to run your own business.”
The mega-entrepreneur built the most successful real-estate business in Manhattan. By billing herself early on as a realtor to the stars, she seized the city’s imagination, along with sizeable publicity, cementing her reputation. She also suggested business owners “shoot the dogs early,” by firing underperforming salespeople publicly ranked by how much they sold.
“Barbara Corcoran was excellent – one of the best motivational speakers I’ve ever heard,” said Dr. Kevin Chen, of Business Methods Corporation (asi/152950). “Her take on image is very important – it’s so important to show the right image to your customers."
The keynote was a highlight of the show, held Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6, attracting 175 exhibitors and nearly 1,600 distributors from 32 states and seven countries. The show also drew 141 female-owned and 120 minority-owned companies, along with 97 businesses based in New York City. All told, 11 companies also chose ASI’s show to host their sales meetings.
Distributor Brian Dawson, of EmbroidMe.com (asi/384000), said his company loves holding its regional meeting at the New York show. “It’s a valuable way for us to expose our franchises to the promotional products world,” he said. “We speak with our vendors, look at different opportunities, what’s new and what’s awesome in the market. It’s just a great time to meet and learn more about the business.”
Supplier Melinda Marr, of Hotline Products (asi/61960), said she appreciates the national exposure ASI Shows provide. “Since we don’t have sales or multi-line reps, shows are the way for us to get exposure in the industry. The attendees here range from veterans who’ve been in the business a long time to brand new distributors who’ve only been in business for a month or two. We like that range because the veterans are already loyal, and the new distributors need education.”
Tuesday night, attendees enjoyed the annual Counselor® Hot 25 party, held this year at exclusive rooftop club, Dream Downtown, featuring a celebrity DJ and stunning views of the city. The party celebrated 2015’s hottest product design and best ad awards, products and 10 fastest-growing suppliers and distributors.
Kathy Cheng, president and owner of Toronto-based Redwood Classics Apparel (asi/81627), took the top spot on this year’s Hot List. Cheng started her business five years ago, and in short order made it one of the hottest apparel brands in North America, growing the business 87% from 2012-2014. Last year, her company was named Counselor’s Fastest-Growing ad specialty company in Canada.
Click here for Counselor’s 2015 list of the industry’s hottest, most innovative game-changers.
Also during the show, ASI’s new networking clubs featured a night out at Mercury Lounge to see indie-rock band Kopecky and a dinner at Fig and Olive, giving industry people a chance to socialize after hours and make new business contacts.
“The Northeast region is a strong market for this industry and we’re thrilled to bring people together in New York City, at the heart of it all,” said Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, vice president and general manager of ASI Show. “We’re committed to continuing to provide a supportive venue for buyers and sellers to meet and do business.”
According to ASI’s Advantages® magazine, total sales of promotional products in the nine-state Northeast region grew 3% from 2013 to 2014, for a total of $3.6 billion – with New York state alone accounting for sales of $1.2 billion. Health care, education and technology continue to lead the pack in terms of promotional product opportunities.
“The pace of ASI Show New York is like the pace of Manhattan itself: quick, lots of action and people doing business on every corner,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president of ASI Show and president and chief executive officer of ASI.
The show also offered 16 hours of education, including classes on lead generation, social media, digital marketing, finance and making million-dollar sales. All classes qualified for points toward the ASI Certification Program. To date, over 30,000 industry professionals have registered for classes necessary to obtain the industry certification through ASI’s free Online Learning Center.
Tuesday, ASI’s product expert, Joe Haley, conducted a live version of his popular “Joe Show,” featuring cool, new products from leading suppliers.
And, hundreds of attendees took photos and signed the inside of the ASI Promocar, a Mazda Protégé that ASI employees covered inside and out with hundreds of promotional products donated by ASI suppliers. The Promocar (hashtag #ASIpromocar) is part of an ASI PR campaign called “Driving Serious Fun,” designed to spread the word about the industry’s creativity and ingenuity.
For complete coverage of the show, including stories on education, visit www.asicentral.comand www.asishow.com.
The final 2015 show of the season is in Chicago (July 14-16), featuring a keynote by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities for 2015 or 2016, contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the ASI Show
The ASI Show was created for active ASI member distributors and suppliers, and attracts more distributors than any other industry show – with 20,000 attendees. Offering a full education conference, networking opportunities and an interactive show floor, the ASI Show provides a complete trade show experience. In five host cities per year (Orlando, Dallas, Long Beach, New York and Chicago), the ASI Show is ideal for advertising specialty businesses searching for new ideas and new business. Additionally, the ASI Show runs the ASI Roadshow, the ad specialty industry’s most popular traveling show, and fASIlitate, ASI’s hosted buyer event.