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July/August 2017 Newsletter Print

President's Column


I think it is time 

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and having an opportunity to enjoy the great weather, good friends and all the fantastic things our region of the country has to offer.  UMAPP is very excited to announce that we are signing a contract to hold our Booth Show at US Bank Stadium in early May 2018.  This will be a fantastic venue for all of our supplier members and distributors to showcase what they have for 2018 and really celebrate Minneapolis and what it has to offer!

We will be putting together a vibrant and dynamic team of people to make this event one-of-a kind. The ideas and concepts are really starting to flow amongst the board but we need participation from our members to really make this something special! In the coming weeks, we will have an opportunity for our membership to join our Booth Show Planning Committee and we will be kicking it off with a meeting and Happy Hour social at the stadium or nearby.  Please stay tuned for more information on this event.

The kickoff of this event really ties in closely with my main topic of this column.  I am not very Social Media savvy… I do not have a Facebook account (sacrilege, I know) and have only dabbled in Twitter.  I have a solid LinkedIn presence and just opened an Instagram account this past week.  It is all very daunting. There are a few reasons I am slow to this process- age may be a bit of a factor- I will be 50 in about a month, there is some fear that I don’t know what I am doing and will post something incorrectly or maybe I just am a bit too nostalgic… ahhh the way it used to be. 

Well, I have finally decided that it is time to put away all of these excuses (and that is what they are) and join the club- folks this is the way we are going to be communicating for the foreseeable future.  I have really started to delve into this world of Social Media over the last 6-8 weeks and it is clear that I am missing the boat when it comes to my personal branding and what we need to do for UMAPP and our companies.

I realize this is not an easy task - we have had a Facebook page at UMAPP for several years and have tried to be consistent, but it is challenging.  What is required is for someone to take it upon themselves to see the importance of this venue for promotion and running with it, right??  We all want to have someone within the clients we work with who champions our cause and really supports our products and believes in our ideas and what we bring to the table.  The same has to be done at UMAPP and our organizations - we need to step up and champion this avenue of communication because this is the future.  There is no question in my mind that being able to provide content to a variety of platforms is important and will help grow our personal brand, our company’s goals and UMAPP’s exposure to obtain volunteers or attendees to different events.

We are by no means going to be perfect and it is going to take a lot of time but as the President of UMAPP for the rest of 2017, I am going to do my best to start us on a path to having a presence on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.  How this is going to look will be slow and we will probably make some mistakes. So for you that are savvy and experienced - be patient, but I think the process of doing this and being in this space is going to move us to a place where we can communicate with a variety of age groups and users that we have not been able to in the past.  We will use social media for the new Booth Show and we will utilize these platforms to create excitement, awareness and information which in the past may have been a little harder to find. Yes folks, I think it is time!!!

Carter Sharp

UMAPP President 2017





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Fire & Ice Show

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Holiday Showcase


Distributor registration is open through August 10.   

Potential exhibitors:  There are TWO tables left.   Click the Read More link for the registration icon.  

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Calendar of Events


WILD WEDNESDAY WEBINAR |  July 26  |   11:30 AM 

Presented by:  Anne Stone, Public Affairs Director of PPAI (Promotional Products Association International).  


Seminar 9-10 am:  "Managing the Millennial Market" by Seth Barnett, Diversity Engagement Manager of PPAI
Exhibit Hours:  10 - 2 

Read More



Available by August 1.  Check the UMAPP website ( 


Join the rewarding group of people who volunteer to lead UMAPP.   One distributor term will be open and one supplier position (two-year term).  Applications coming soon.  


Applications will be available on our website; click here to view the rules and see the current winners.


2018 UMAPP ROOM SHOW  |  February 19 (new date!) 

Hilton Airport Mall of America | Supplier applications for this show will be available soon.


2018 FIRE & ICE BOOTH SHOW  | May 9 (new date!) 

US Bank Stadium | Concourse   (new venue!) 

Exhibitor registration will be opening SOON.  

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Coupon Book


USING YOUR MEMBER SAVINGS?   The 2017 Coupon Book Has Discounts.  

As a UMAPP member, you receive discounts on Constant Contact (email and marketing service), FedEx, SAGE, Pantone, and the infamous UMAPP Coupon Book.  These discounts are accessible through the member portal on UMAPP’s website.  Look for the log-in box on the home page.   Haven’t set up your own member account?  Click the link in the log-in box for new accounts.                 

Over 190 pages of supplier discounts just for UMAPP members are available inside the Coupon Book.  Just use the discounts two or three times, and you've just paid for a full year of UMAPP membership.   This book is available to ALL staff of every UMAPP member company. Imagine if your reps are using this book every time they place an order. The savings!   

Note:  You must sign into your website account to access any of UMAPP's member discounts.   To create an account, visit the home page and click the link under the login box.    Log-In to your website account.    


Constant Contact, FedEx, SAGE, Pantone and Zoomcatalog discounts.  


Receive noticeable discounts for all of these services, just for working for a UMAPP member company.




To access the discounts:  

  • LOG IN to your website account.    
  • Then look for the "Discounts" link on the left side. 

Note:  UMAPP website accounts are by individual (not company accounts).  If you work for a member company and need to create a website account, click here.    

Once the account has been approved by UMAPP staff, you can access the discounts by going to the "Member Area," logging in, and looking in the Quick Links for the discounts.


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Welcome New Members



Apollo Group (Supplier)
Joseph Lee 
               1401 Estes Avenue           
               Elk Grove Village, IL  60007           
HTT Headwear (Supplier)
Jamie Allen 
               41185 Raintree Court      
               Murrieta, CA   92562        
M2 Business Solutions, Inc.  (Distributor)
Monique (Nickie) Plevell 
               1260 Yankee Doodle Road, Suite 103        
               Eagan, MN  55121            
OMNI Apparel, Inc.  (Supplier)
Larry White
               13500 15th Street            
               Grandview, MO  64030   
Shirt Hub  (Supplier)
Dinesh Wahi 
               11984 Riverwood Drive   
               Burnsville, MN  55337     


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Guest Column


Ink Stains

by Steven Meyer, MAS, VP Sales RiteLine

In a world where cursive writing is not being taught and our sentiments seemingly must be expressed in 140 characters or less, I thought you might enjoy some quotes about the old school experience of writing.

A written letter is like a bowl filled with a certain content. The purer the content, the more delicate strings of the human soul it touches.    L. Pronenko

Writing is a kind of music not for the ears, but for the eyes. Unknown

Letters are symbols which turn matter into spirit.  Alphonse de Lamartine

Ink transforms my thoughts into your emotions.   Unknown

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Did you know?


. . .   About the trick to protect clothes in the wash?  Zip up pants and other garments that have metal zippers before laundering.  The little teeth are like miniature chain saws that can damage other clothing in the washer and dryer.   Jeff Yeager, author of The Cheapskate Next Door and Don't Throw That Away


. . .   About 60% of employers research job candidates through search engines and social-media sites?  AND: About 40% of employers said that they were less likely to interview job candidates if they could find no information about them online.    Survey by  


. . .   The age of first-time US moms keeps rising?    Their average age was 26.3 years in 2014 (latest data available).  That was up from 24.9 in the year 2000.  Study by researchers at National Center for Health Statistics, Atlanta, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's NCHS Data Brief.  


. . .   You can make cheap earbuds sound great?    Just insert the earbuds, then put a pair of noise-protection earmuffs over them.  Use earmuffs with a noise-reduction rating of about 24 dB.  Examples:  Peltor Sport Shotgunner II ($23) . . . Howard Leight QM24+ ($12).  You won't need $300 Bose headphones!  Michael Hsu writes the column "The Fixer" for The Wall Street Journal.


"You can either grow old gracefully or begrudgingly.  I chose both."  Roger Moore, British actor, 1927-2017

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Advertising with UMAPP


One of the benefits of being a UMAPP supplier member is the opportunity to advertise.   

Have you considered: 

1.  Advertising in this newsletter?  For just $75 per issue, this newsletter reaches up to 1,600 distributor sales staff via email, and it is always posted on our website.   Your company's home page is accessed by clicking the ad.  

2.  Advertising on the home page?  For only $25 per month, your ad on our home page could be seen by over 1,000 people per month.  Ads have a link that goes directly to your company's home page.  

3.  Sponsoring the monthly E-News?  An easy way to reach close to 1,600 distributor sales reps, this is an inexpensive option that also links back to your company's home page.   

For more information and to register, read more here.

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 112:

"Engaging people is about meeting their needs—not yours."

Tony Robbins

The Secrets To Develop Your Best Presentation Skills

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.


Whether it's in front of a potential customer, in front of the board or in front of a room of industry movers-and-shakers, at some point, many of us have had to give a presentation. For some, this situation immediately sets off alarms in your head, and causes your palms to sweat and your mouth to get dry. Why do we get nervous? Because we know the audience is judging our every move. During the presentation, we know that we must persuade the audience, convince them and engage them.

Making a presentation can cause a lot of pressure. And because of that, some executives will spend thousands of dollars on presentation coaches to prep them to be more persuasive presenters. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share some insights from former presentation coach, Kristi Hedges. Having worked with hundreds of company leaders, she shares her key tips in her book, Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others. In her Forbes article, "Confessions of a Former Public Speaking Trainer: Don't Waste Your Money," Hedges makes these recommendations. Some of them might surprise you.

1 . There is not one right way to present. Speaker training is helpful if you want to be a professional speaker, but most of us are in the business of simply engaging our audience and building our level of influence. Speaking coaches have all types of mantras and styles. For example, some will tell you to use big gestures, and others will tell you to use no gestures. Hedges says that the type of presentation ability that propels careers and creates followers comes from the inside out. You can learn it—but not in a presentation training class on superficial attributes. This must come from the inside out. Your style is what works for you.

2. You don't need rules. Many people who use coaches go in with the attitude that there are black and white rules to follow to be an effective speaker. While there are some basics, such as don't hide behind your PowerPoint slides, Hedges notes that most great presenters all have different techniques. Some presenters appear smooth and polished, while others don't. What makes a presenter successful is the way that individual has presence in front of the room and how engaging that person is with the audience.

3. Authenticity comes first. The No. 1 ingredient to having presence is authenticity. This is why people get nervous speaking. It's because the audience is judging you on your authenticity. As humans, we immediately can tell if someone cares, is genuine. As Hedges says, authenticity creates a trust bond and establishes credibility. The rest of the presentation rules become superfluous.

4. You already have these skills. Believe it or not, you can save yourself a lot of time and money honing your presentation skills because you already have this ability within you. Authenticity comes naturally to us in the right situations. For example, when you are in a relaxed setting sharing ideas or conversing with family or friends, you are your authentic self. It's when we get nervous and anxiety-ridden that we can come across as less than authentic. The body language you use to be present and influential on stage should be the same body language you use when talking to your friends around the table. That style is authentic to you, so begin to take note of these relaxed situations and try to emulate these skills that are unique to you.

Source: Kristi Hedges is a leadership coach, speaker and author of Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others. She blogs at

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson


Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.


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Industry News

Quality Resource Group® (QRG) proudly announces that Badger Graphic Systems™ of Madison, Wisconsin has joined the QRG family of companies.  With the addition of Badger Graphics™, a full-service print management and marketing company, QRG sales now exceed $40 million. Financial terms of the transaction were not released. Todd Pottebaum, QRG President, noted, “Gene Davis has built a remarkable company that’s  deeply rooted in core values, process, and the desire to exceed client expectations. We look  forward to offering scale and resources to Badger Graphics’  esteemed client base. Our vision for continued growth and building value means the best people on our team offering innovative services and support for our clients. We’re excited to have Badger Graphics become part of the growing QRG brand.”

The Pro Towels family is excited to announce that they are moving their western USA location to a brand-new facility in Las Vegas, NV.  Due to the remarkable growth of their company and the need to expand their production, they are now moving to a more modern and larger facility that will give them room to grow. With the move, they will be adding new equipment, additional capacity and increased warehouse space.

Hub Pen Company and Beacon Promotions are proud to announce Danica Ford has joined Hub’s sales team as Business Development Associate.  Danica comes to Hub with over seven years of sales experience as a Merchandising Lead for a popular clothing retailer, where she was also responsible for managing inventory.  She also worked as Assistant Manager at an entertainment and party venue, working closely with customers through all phases of events.

Hub Pen Company and Beacon Promotions are proud to announce Robert Firth-Arnold joined their Supply Chain Team as Buyer in May 2017.  The Minnesota native brings many years of experience as a buyer to the company, first with shopping network and portal Evine and with multi location industrial supply distributor Mars Supply since 2012.  Through his experiences with both companies Robert gained a wealth of knowledge of inventory analysis and control, cost and condition negotiations and the software that drives these functions.

The Magnet Group has promoted Nicole Schouten to inside sales manager WI, MN and IL. Nicole began her career with The Magnet Group in 2005 in customer service. She was promoted to project manager in 2015. Nicole is creative and she gives attention to detail on every project she handles. Nicole can be reached at
The Magnet Group is proud to announce PPB has chosen Carrie Laufenburg, director of key accounts, as one of its 2017 Rising Stars. Carrie is one of only 10 suppliers recognized by PPB for her leadership, industry and community involvement. Carrie can be reached at
The Magnet Group has hired Andrew Spellman as Sr. Vice President and General Manager of Magnet LLC. Andrew was a regional sales manager for Magnet in the 1990’s, so this is a ‘homecoming’ for him and his family.  Andrew graduated from the University of Missouri, and has spent most of his career in the promotional products industry.  His passion for sales and customer service combined with his experience make him the perfect candidate for this role.
The Magnet Group has promoted Dave Glaser to vice president of field sales. Dave started with The Magnet Group in 2011 as a regional sales manager and was promoted to national sales manager in 2015. Aaron Gunderson, senior vice president of sales says, “Dave continues to exemplify leadership with our sales organization and the company. This is a well-deserved promotion!”

Pioneer Balloon Company received three awards in the “Wide Web” category for three different foil balloons from the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) at its 2017 Excellence in Flexography Awards at Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge, NY, from January 28-30: an FTA Gold award, an FTA Silver award, and an FTA Bronze award.
The Excellence in Flexography Awards recognizes exemplary package printing. Awards are judged over a three-day period by a group of flexographic industry experts. Categories include wide web, mid web, narrow web, combined corrugated, preprinted linerboard, envelope, self-promotion and non-traditional flexography, college student, and high school student. Out of 481 entries at this year’s awards, only 121 were honored as being noteworthy flexographically printed pieces. According to the FTA’s website, “Flexographic Technical Association is the premier destination for flexography training, articles, events and other resources. Since 1958, FTA has been providing the means to an end: Enabling flexographers to grow their skills, connect with likeminded individuals, expand their reachable market and drive flexography to package printing dominance.”

Hub Pen Company and Beacon Promotions are proud to announce that Beacon’s Brad Castleman has joined Hub’s sales team as Business Development Associate.  Castleman has been with Beacon for over three years with the inside sales and customer service team.  In his new role he will be responsible for developing new business for both Hub Pen and Beacon Promotions.

WOVIN Brands, a Wisconsin-based supplier, including WOV-IN® (ASI 92980, PPAI 113213, SAGE 54020), Promopet® (ASI 79698, PPAI 468134, SAGE 69183) and Footprints USA (ASI 550030, PPAI 280344, SAGE 67681) has announced that they have acquired Handy Industries (ASI 78206, PPAI 163908, SAGE 60388). Handy’s automotive line will not be carried forward.

Ariel Premium Supply is pleased to announce the appointment of Neal Gondran as Regional Sales Manager for the South Region. Neal will be responsible for working directly with our top distributors in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas and Arkansas. Neal comes to Ariel with 6 years of industry supplier experience, both at the regional and national levels.

Storm Creek (PPAI 438091), a leading supplier of premium outdoor-inspired apparel, announced today that effective immediately, its full line of apparel is solely available directly from Storm Creek.  The company has repurchased all Storm Creek inventory from River’s End Trading Company, a wholesale supplier of corporate identity apparel. Distributors can order all products directly from Storm Creek’s Distributor Website, or from the corporate account team at its Minnesota-based headquarters. The company also has 19 independent sales reps across the U.S.



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Guest Column III

Top-Shelf Tip No. 119:

"Any method by which you get to see things that you haven’t seen before hones your practiced ability to make connections."

Stephen Metcalf


Four Strategies For Making The Right Connections

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

I'm a seasoned marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience under my belt. One thing I know for sure as I enter the second half of my career, you don't get everywhere alone. In fact, of the nine employers that I've worked for over the years, more than half of those jobs began with a connection that I had within the organization. In other words, networking is critical to keeping the momentum of growth and opportunity throughout your career.

Unfortunately, networking comes easier to some people than to others. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these five strategies from Jill Johnson, business author and speaker, on how to build your network of connections.

1. Build Your Network Before You Need It: Johnson says the best time to start networking is while you're still in school. Look for professional groups in your field. Attend their events with the goal to meet people working full-time in the field and learn from the speakers. Many of these groups need volunteers.

As a student, I was a member of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and had opportunities to interact with public relations professionals. It was a great way to ask questions, learn about the skills I needed and make connections for internships.

Be sure to follow up your meeting with a thank-you note and reach out to make a connection on LinkedIn, along with a personal message. These are the details that get you remembered.

2. Be Specific In Asking For What You Want: Don't waste the time of your networking contacts. Be clear about what you are hoping to gain from the meeting. Tell them exactly what you want to do and why you think they can help you. "Informational interviews" are a terrific method for learning about their career path and gaining their insight on how to build your career. Make sure you have a stated purpose for the meeting and then stick to it. Ask if there are any events, trade association meetings or volunteer opportunities that you should consider to help you build your network and gain some good foundational experience.

3. Face Time Is Critical: We're all too used to communicating by text and email. While that works in many situations, networking requires a personal connection. People can only get to know and like you as well as help you when they meet you in person.

You can get face time simply by asking for it. Request a 15-minute face-to-face meeting. Prepare for your meeting by reviewing your contact's professional LinkedIn profile and company website. Have your question list ready, then greet them and listen carefully as they answer your questions. Conclude the meeting with a sincere "thank you," in person and with a follow-up handwritten note.

4. Use Your Expertise To Help Others: Ready to pay it forward? Share some of your learnings and perspectives with your new networking connection and keep in touch. One interaction is not enough. Remember to pay it forward by asking if there is anything you can do to for them. There might not yet be an answer, but it counts that you're interested in a two-way street if possible. You have valuable knowledge, too.

Whether starting out early in your career or looking for the next right opportunity, try these tips and branch out with new contacts.

Source: Jill Johnson is the president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant and author of the forthcoming Bold Questions Series. Johnson helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted nearly four billion dollars' worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

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This is a newsletter provided by the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals.  UMAPP is a professional trade association for companies in the promotional products industry.  UMAPP covers the states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Western Wisconsin.  Membership is by company, but all staff are included under the umbrella of the company membership.  

For more information, contact the UMAPP office at:  

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