How a Distributor Overcame Inventory Issues to Deliver Promo Kits


You always want the best for your customers. It’s hard to tell them that a product they cared about is out of stock, but things do happen, especially now when inventory and lead times can be very heavy. This does not mean that the campaign is irreparable. There are so many options to choose from as long as you have the know-how and the initiative to seek out other vendors.

Keith Hamilton, Promotional Product Expert and Director of Design Services at Proforma Think Ink, Charlotte, NC faced this exact situation. Through his relationships with different vendors, he was able to deliver a kit project with products that ticked all the boxes for his client.

Can you tell us about a promotional campaign you worked on that mixed both print and promotional products?

Keith Hamilton: Sure. The project I did with my current client, they decided they needed a package to send to their employees to complete a stellar year. So we designed a box [and] a thank you card, then added several promotional products, including a backpack and a tumbler. Together, it meets all printing and promotional needs, but it also meets the needs of the client to thank their employees for all the work they have done.

How did you choose the particular collection of products for this application?

KH: It came from the customer. They first started with polo shirts, and after that they decided to come back because they didn’t think polo shirts were enough to thank them. So they came back and rebudgeted and said, “Hey, let’s look at something like a really nice backpack.” This is a tech department, so they didn’t want just any backpack, but a high quality backpack that tech people would really like to use, and that would fit and protect their computers. . And then, of course, with that, they said, “Well, let’s also take a cup that goes with the backpack.”

Did you encounter any obstacles while working on this campaign? If so, how did you overcome them?

KH: First they asked for Ogio [backpacks], and I unfortunately encountered inventory problems with this brand. Great brand. Some were in stock, but not enough for the whole project. So, of course, that’s still a problem. The second problem was the deadline. They needed it within three weeks, and they needed over 1,600 pieces. With the embroidery and decoration of the goblet, this was a huge sticking point. So I moved them to PCNA and Leed’s, because their team is just stellar there. Absolutely amazing team with the way they can decorate. Just their ability to decorate is amazing.

What advice would you give to distributors wishing to work on a similar project?

KH: The other great thing about PCNA is that they had both coins. They had both a high quality backpack and a high quality tumbler, so they could do them together. They also have the realization in-house. However, I went with another executing agency just because they could finish it faster.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked for?

KH: When looking at projects like this, fulfillment is going to be a huge aspect of it, especially in this day and age where there’s so much of a mix of “Are you still working from home? Are the employees coming back? It’s always important to have fulfillment where it can be shipped to employees’ homes.


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