executive perspectives: Homeward Bound
P+P: How does the economy continue to affect the industry?
JGS: I believe that we make our own nano-economy. If all we offer is facilitation of promotional products transactions, our nano-economy will suck. If we focus on generating tangible, trackable results (revenue and profit) for our clients, our nano-economy will be great, irrespective of what the national or international economy does. Blaming one's income on "the economy" is a cop-out and is symptomatic of issues closer to home.
P+P: What do you expect to be some of the biggest changes or challenges the industry will face?
JGS: The No. 1 issue is being a "me too" and competing on price. We have to focus on driving revenue and profit for our clients—and proving it to them, to keep our jobs.
P+P: What keeps you up at night?
JGS: Nothing, really. We sell promotional products as an add-on to a larger relationship. When we have been tapped to do the marketing and/or advertising work for a client we ask, "Do you purchase promotional products? It's an advertising medium and we should do that for you, too." We usually get the business.
P+P: What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now? Why?
JGS: We're using in-house 3-D printers to produce low-quantity, personalized promotional products and prototypes. The margins are huge (90 percent) and the prototyping is much faster than sending it out to a service. In my opinion, 3-D printing is good for one- to 200-piece orders of things like keychains where each employee gets his or her name "in the plastic."
P+P: What would people be surprised to learn about you—hobbies, special interests, etc.?
JGS: The "music thing" (I play guitar, bass and keys) is out of the bag, after playing at [promotional product industry shows like] SAAC and PPAI Expo. I'm a pilot and I paddle through the Panama Canal, on occasion.