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Associate Programme means everyone’s a winner

Paul Green of Galpeg talks to Product Media about the progress of the company’s Associate Programme

Paul Green, the UK distributor entrepreneur behind the Galpeg Associate Programme, now has 20 people involved. Galpeg was founded by Paul’s father Gerry in 1975, and in 1985 Paul started a new promotional gift business under the Galpeg brand. From an early age, he saw the merits of having back office support.

In the USA, there are approximately 5,000 promotional product distributors working in some form of affiliate programme. Why? Because so many have concluded that an affiliate structure provides the best opportunity to grow a business and at the same time achieve a better work/life balance.

Having celebrated the 40th anniversary of Galpeg last year, Green has experienced more than once something that will be familiar to many businesses – namely, the need to reinvent in order to survive. Green set up the Associate Programme on the back of the credit crunch in 2009, when a lot of sales people and business owners were losing their jobs or going into receivership. However, it was really only in 2012 that the programme started to grow.

In this model Galpeg and the associates share profits, with associates receiving up to 65%, depending on the amount of profit they generate. Given that Galpeg is taking the financial risk, and provides full back office and cash flow support to the associate, it is understandable that the associate programme continues to grow.

The associates provide their own pre-sale support, while the post-sale is managed by Galpeg. Associates have their own brand identity and are free to leave at any time. Interestingly, only one has left, and that was to go back into retail and set up a shop. Why this high success rate? “Well, because we provide more than just back office support, we provide a real community and exchange of ideas to improve business performance,” says Green. 

He is passionate about seeing the associates succeed, and now provides niche product websites, developed by Galpeg, so associates can benefit from leads generated through campaigns on the sites. Green made a key decision early on to focus entirely on supporting the associates and not run a parallel business in competition, which he believed would ruin the ethos of the programme.

Associates have also shared exhibition platforms together. Last year Green helped one associate improve his profit margin by 10%, and another source a very specialised item that has resulted in a substantial ongoing order.

So what happens when things go wrong?  “We have had some associates who haven’t worked out,” Green explains, “so more attention is now taken over the selection process – this is essential, as one bad apple could reflect badly on the rest.”

And what do the associates think? Wesley Dabbs from Aurora Merchandise says: “I am now entering my sixth year as a Galpeg associate, possibly one of the best moves of my life. It has given me good earning potential and excellent buying power for my client base, enabling me to be more competitive and win more business. I work alongside a great team of people who are totally 100% committed to the programme.”

Richard Andrews of Promotional Works says: “I have found everyone at Galpeg to be trustworthy and approachable, and I have made good friends along the way. The support and experience of everyone at Galpeg means that although I steer my own ship, I never feel like I am working alone. 

“Professionally; Paul and his experienced team are the best in the business. Personally; they are supportive and great fun. Being a Galpeg associate has literally changed my life – within two years of joining I was able to buy my first house!  I have no reservations in recommending the Galpeg Associate Programme to anyone in a similar position to myself.”

Theo Bell of Merchandise Europe says: “The support and resources at my disposal allow me to manage major brands, nationally and internationally and develop original and very technical product designs that would have been otherwise unachievable.”

As for the suppliers, Haydn Willets, UK sales manager for Mid Ocean Brands, says of the programme: “We have the advantage of dealing with a strong group of highly motivated and experienced sales people running their own businesses, but we can have confidence in the support that is provided by the administration team at Galpeg for the associates and also in the financial security of the Galpeg company.”

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