Second Careers in Promo - Ki-Jana Carter

Four high-profile pros find success with second careers in the promo industry. Meet former NFL player and Heisman Trophy runner-up Ki-Jana Carter.

For a split second, Oregon’s defense thought it had him. But then Ki-Jana Carter lowered his shoulder and ran through one defender, before cutting back to the inside. In a flash, he was gone – 83 yards to the end zone. It was Penn State’s first offensive play of the 1995 Rose Bowl – annually one of college football’s biggest games. Carter, the Nittany Lions’ All-American running back, had just scored his first of three touchdowns on the day.

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As the Penn State faithful roared in the swollen stands waving blue-and-white pompoms, Carter’s teammates mobbed him behind the endzone, encircling their star in wild jubilation. This was a moment of thrilling success, the apex of Carter’s brilliant college playing days, which opened the door to a seven-season professional career in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.

While the Rose Bowl co-MVP and Heisman Trophy runner-up has since hung up his shoulder pads, he is still hustling his way to success, and he’s doing it in the promotional products industry.

Carter is the CEO/founder of ByoGlobe (asi/589992), a Davie, FL-based distributorship. Powered by the Penn Stater’s energy, creativity and business acumen, ByoGlobe is growing and snapping up household name clients. For Carter, it’s especially exciting to be scoring such big wins in the promo space – an industry he loves. “There’s so much creativity,” says Carter. “It’s pretty cool when you take something a client needs, something that’s going to help build their brand, and you bring it to life.”

Still Scoring
For Carter, a personal business revolution began with a question.

After retiring from football and entering the business world, Carter opened ByoGlobe, a company that was in the janitorial and sanitation supply market. One day, a client asked if Carter could provide branded merchandise. He fulfilled the request – an experience that got the wheels of his mind turning. “I thought,” says Carter, “of all the clients I already have, who could use branding and marketing services?”

The answer was all of them.

Seeing substantial sales opportunity, Carter soon lowered his shoulder and threw himself into building the promo business with all the intensity he once used to ram opposing linebackers. Before long, his branded merchandise sales overtook sanitation supply revenue. “With promotional products, anyone I talked to could utilize my services,” Carter says.

Committed to the new business path, Carter decided to focus exclusively on promo. After delving into the business full tilt, he spearheaded growth at ByoGlobe in 2015 and 2016, building a diverse roster of clients that now includes adult beverage brands, cruise lines, airlines and more.

The running back turned adroit businessman has earned such coveted clients by focusing on building strong relationships – ties rooted in his ability to provide customers with valuable ROI. In part, Carter has been able to engineer excellent results because of his willingness to learn the intricacies of the promo trade, and to continually educate himself about emerging trends, products and services. That, along with recruitment of like-performing sales pros for his distributorship, has sent the arrow racing up ByoGlobe’s revenue graph. “In this industry, like in football, you need to know your playbook in and out and have great teammates to be successful,” he says.

It also doesn’t hurt to have fun with what you do, and Carter has a lot of it. A marketing major at Penn State, he possesses a keen creative streak – an asset he enjoys putting into action for clients. “For me, it never seems like work,” says Carter. “I love what I do.”