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Strength and Support




(August 2020) August is a special time: it’s still summery enough for long nights outside, but the approach of autumn is evident as everyone begins to prepare for the start of the school year and fall sports seasons. However, as I write this, the debate about how students will experience both of those things this year goes on, and we’re all still trying to identify how to tackle the next sales season. Right now, all we can know for sure is that we’re very unlikely to be back to business as usual come September or October—and we might just need to prepare for an anything-but-normal holiday season, as well.

But despite the many things that have changed in our lives this year, I’m proud to say that one very important thing hasn’t changed: the collaborative relationship between suppliers and retailers that has enabled innovation and brought new products, new processes, and more than a few smiles to customers around the world. More than ever, our industry retailers and suppliers have proven that even when the chips are down, personalization professionals will use their ingenuity and creativity to make great things happen.

August also is a special time because it’s when the Awards and Personalization Association releases the annual Supplier Directory. This resource gives our members easy access to the contact details for the hundreds of member suppliers who can help them find the new products, invest in the equipment, and access the support and resources they need to satisfy their customers’ demands and grow their businesses. I know many retailers keep their directory handy year-round, referencing it whenever they need to make a buying decision or have questions about the products and equipment they’re already offering in their shop.

To me, this Supplier Directory, and the way we use it, is a perfect representation of that collaboration—and healthy competition—among our industry retailers and suppliers. Every supplier that appears in the directory and every retailer who uses it has pledged their support to the mission of the Awards and Personalization Association: to help businesses thrive.

There is a massive number of options available from the companies in our membership—more than can be described in the Supplier Directory alone—so I encourage you to also use the many other resources at your disposal to make buying decisions easier. Check the Product and Supplier Search on our website to learn more about the precise products and equipment you need. Post questions on the Member2Member Forum; it won’t be long before your fellow members respond with their unique insights and answers. Access the many educational resources we have online to benefit from the expertise of leaders in the industry. Every time you interact with your fellow members—whether it’s to research a new product, learn a new skill, give much-needed advice, or make a new purchase—you are supporting not just your business, but our entire industry.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible power of recognition—I see everything this industry is doing to give back and continue to thrive despite the most difficult of circumstances. I see the ways you’re helping yourselves and one another during this time.

I encourage all of the shop owners out there to keep accessing the unique products, equipment, and support every supplier in the Supplier Directory can offer. And I encourage every supplier to continue offering the wide variety of quality products, equipment, and services that enable retailers to share their incredible skills and creativity with happy customers everywhere.

Together, we can help ensure the health of our industry—and the many different companies and people in it. And together, we can ensure that everyone experiences the incredible power of what we do: create and recognize great things.

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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