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USB2U joins the Gilt Edged Group

Two successful Midlands businesses, both well-established names in the promotional products industry, have merged.

Gilt Edged Promotions and USB2U will be working under one roof in Moulton Park in Northampton with the aim of becoming the UK’s leading promotional products supplier.

Together they will generate a combined annual revenue of £8.5m. Gilt Edged and USB2U will continue to trade under their well-known individual brand names, and the team of over 60 people are excited by the opportunities that their shared skill-sets and strengths will bring.

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Stunning new venue for a perfect Christmas

Join the bpma at one of the highlights of the promotional year: the bpma Christmas Lunch on December 11.

Members and guests are invited to celebrate with us in London’s West End with good entertainment, great company, and excellent food.  And perhaps stay over for some Christmas shopping or take in a show or a spa package!

There is a new venue this year: the luxury Cumberland Hotel (pictured) at Marble Arch. It opens with the drinks reception at 12.30pm, with lunch at 1pm. Dress code is lounge suits and money will be raised in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK.

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Company removed from bpma membership

The bpma has removed Blindside Marketing, a merchandise sourcing house, from its membership due to an unresolved complaint and a contravention of the bpma Code of Conduct.

Fellow bpma member Mosaic Marketing tried to source some bespoke tea towels through Blindside Marketing. Unfortunately, the resulting order process was a catalogue of disasters and poor communication back to Mosaic.

As with all complaints, a number of attempts were made to Blindside to respond to the complaint, all of which were ignored.

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‘Owlsee’ wins bpma Student Design Award

A design for flat-pack binoculars called “Owlsee”, has won the the bpma Student Design Competition for design students from universities across the UK.

Entries were whittled down to a final few with students then invited to champion their designs at a judging session in June at the Museum of Brands in London.

The finalists were from Nottingham Trent and Brunel Universities. Each student had five minutes to pitch their idea to the five judges: Gordon Glenister of the bpma, Maz Ali of Innovation 1st, Jean-Francois Chodecki of Corporate Creations, Angus Montgomery, editor of Design Week, and Bilal Hussain of Alvastone.

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Standardisation at last?

Matt Pluckrose, managing director of Desktop Ideas, on the new USB-C ports.

We have all got used to changes in the cables and connectors that power and connect our devices to power and our data hosts. Just when they seemed
to make sense to us, all the major tech companies have found a new standard which hopefully can bring standardisation over time. This new standard is known as USB-C and its design features reversible, symmetrical ends so there is no longer a wrong way to insert a cable into a port. But the significance of this is far more significant than that for laptops, tablet and smartphone users. The new connector technology means we should see quicker charging of gadgets, faster transfer of data and, as the design is somewhat smaller than its ancestors, slimmer devices.

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IPIA outlines innovative plans for The Print Show

The Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA) has revealed it is to use its significant presence in the inaugural edition of The Print Show to help its members from across the UK gain valuable exposure.

Taking place at Birmingham NEC from October 13 to 15, The Print Show will give printing companies the chance to view some of the latest technology on offer. They will gain access to a plethora of useful information that could help them expand their business into new markets.

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Government funding for PSI exhibitors

After a six-month bidding process through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the bpma has secured funding status which enables it to offer individual grants of £1,500 for UK promotional merchandise industry companies exhibiting at the PSI show in Dusseldorf in January 2016.

The grants can be set against the cost of exhibition space, stand costs including design, construction and stand dressing and relevant marketing collateral.

Through the UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme fund (TAP), the bpma has been able to distribute more than 60 grants to suppliers looking to either export or to grow their export sales who have exhibited at PSI since 2011.

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SPS strengthens European sales team

SPS has welcomed Rebecca Hilton to its European sales team in a move that will further strengthen the company’s European operations. In the last 12 months, SPS has taken massive strides across Europe with the launches of SPS France, SPS Deutschland and SPS Holland.

Rebecca joins the company as European development co-ordinator, based in Blackpool, and brings a wealth of experience from working in the European Parliament in Brussels for six years as well as living in France, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark. Fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and Danish, she is also learning Hebrew.

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Well-known face joins Evolve Branding

Lui Notarnicola, a well-known figure in the promotional products industry, has joined the sales team of Evolve Branding as national account manager.

He previously worked at Doves Clothing, Booth Bros, and Fairway Identity, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise spanning over 24 years.

An authority in all aspects of decorated garments and accessories, Lui will be responsible for developing the future growth of Evolve Branding where managing director, Harvey Jeal, has recently invested in additional improved printing resources.

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Goldstar recruits new fields sales manager

Rachel Ross has joined Goldstar Europe as fields sales manager, responsible for sales management and revenue growth in the north and west of the UK.

She brings years of industry experience and strong relationships within the UK promotional customer base. She previously worked for Senator Pens, Bic Graphic, PF Concept and, for a short while, as a multi-line agent.

Goldstar general manager Colin Loughran said: “It is important for us to find the right person to support the Goldstar ethos. The list of attributes included experience and hardworking but more importantly we wanted someone that is liked and respected in the industry. We’re thrilled to have Rachel as part of the team.”

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Senator ‘bags’ Cherylee from fashion world

Senator’s newest recruit, account manager Cherylee Green, comes from the world of sexy fashion accessories – cool UK-designed leather handbags to be precise.

As the UK & Ireland sales manager for fast-growing outfit Smith & Canova for the past 10 years, she has a significant amount of experience when it comes to channel marketing.  “This is something we consider essential,” said Senator managing director, Andrew Hill.

“Our customers deserve the best, and Cherylee certainly knows what she’s doing, having played a pivotal role in helping drive Smith & Canova through a substantial growth period.”

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Substances added to rules on hazardous substances

Four phthalate plasticisers have been classified as Priority 1 Substances and added to the existing six substances restricted by EU Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).

The four phthalates are Bis (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP), Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) and Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP). They join lead, mercury, cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE).

RoHS limits these substances to 0.1% or 1,000ppm (except for cadmium, which is limited to 0.01% or 100ppm) by weight of homogenous material. Restrictions on the four new substances will be phased in from July 22, 2019.

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Tap into grant for upgrading broadband

Your business can get a connection voucher of up to £3,000 for faster, better broadband through the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme.

Businesses within the promotional merchandise industry are eligible for the grant after the Government extended its Connection Voucher Scheme to 50 cities across the UK with £40m of funding.  The scheme is managed by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 

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bpma Annual Conference

The second bpma Annual Conference, “Future Proof Your Business”, has been hailed a success, with many of the sessions filled to capacity.

More than 220 delegates, experts and speakers defied strikes and traffic chaos to attend the event at the Park Inn Heathrow on July 9, with many staying on for the bpma Annual Business Awards Dinner the same evening.

The proceedings were opened by the chairman of the bpma, Matt Franks, who called for support of an independent association that could prioritise its core values and help grow and expand the industry and the use of promotional merchandise as part of the general marketing mix.

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Outstanding Branding make it a hat trick

Outstanding Branding made it a hat trick of awards this year when they took the top prize of Group Member of the Year at the 15th Advantage Catalogue awards and launch dinner.

Andy Thorne and Sarah Penn took to the floor to thank all the suppliers who had voted for their company, with Andy commenting: “To get the continued backing and support from our supply chain is very humbling. This is our third award in seven months and really does pay testament to a brilliant team we have at Outstanding Branding coupled with truly remarkable suppliers.”

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Louise’s story

Louise de Silva from Outstanding Branding is this year’s bpma Professional Development Student of the Year award winner.

Louise joined Outstanding Branding in February as production manager from a background in retail, working in buying and product development within children’s wear. She enrolled on the Trained in Promotional Merchandise course within the education programme in February and achieved an impressive 100% in the exam in April.

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The hidden financial benefits of bpma membership

Mandy Hastie, managing director of Liquid Lens and part of the membership committee at the bpma

While the core benefits of bpma membership are well known such as enhanced reputation, professional development and business opportunities, not everyone knows about the hidden support and discounted services they can take advantage of as a member.

When you become a bpma member, you become part of a supportive group, one that can offer expert advice, specialist services and financial support when you need it most, but there’s an added benefit too….

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Get set for Promotional Products Week!

Promotional Products Week (PPW) takes place from September 14 to 18, showcasing promotional merchandise at its best and highlighting its essential role in the marketing mix.

Lots of distributors and suppliers are getting involved, and here are the bpma’s tips for making the most of the opportunity:

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New member for Ignite

The Merchandise House, based in West Sussex, has joined the Ignite group of distributors. It was set up last year by Tanya Cooper who is well known to many suppliers from her work with Sourcing City and, prior to that, Promota.

Richard Pettinger from Ignite said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome The Merchandise House to our group. I have known Tanya for many years and have no doubt that her in-depth industry knowledge will enable her new company to flourish. We hope that we can assist and be part of that success.”

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Frontline Image wins in BTC activewear promotion

Frontline Image has become the second winner in a VIP promotion run by clothing specialists Gildan and BTC activewear.

Matthew Mackay, sales director at Frontline Image, went to The Open in St Andrews in July with a guest with his prize of two VIP tickets. They had access to an exclusive private garden with putting green and free wine, beer and snacks alongside other VIP benefits.

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