Raising the Bar
Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated, "Certainty? In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes." So in a changing industry full of uncertainty—one begging for someone to take an ethical stand on how to conduct business, and facing a barrage of new product safety laws—where does the industry look for guidance, a solid knowledge base and products that offer peace of mind? Where can distributors find that certainty?
Perhaps the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), a nonprofit group founded by industry leaders, can provide that assurance. With a solid mission statement: "To raise the bar in providing consistently safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise to clients and their constituents," the organization is attempting to offer as much certainty as possible without a calculator and Schedule C or one foot in the grave.
At the 2009 PPAI Expo, Nichole Stella, editorial director of Promo Marketing and Print Professional, sat down with three of the organization's founding members, Jay Deutsch, CEO of Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA), Woodinville, Wash.; Trevor Gnesin, president of Logomark, Tustin, Calif.; and Andrea Engel, vice president of merchandising for BroderBros., Trevose, Pa., in order to learn more.
Promo Marketing (PM): What is the QCA? ... What was the catalyst behind forming the QCA?
Jay Deutsch (JD): ... We are really excited about this venture. The QCA is really a group of 14 founding members coming together and saying we are going to put together a quality program, a safety program, surrounding products and social compliance inside of the marketplace. The great thing about this organization is that you've got suppliers who are in different categories ... [and distributors who] really care about doing the right thing for the industry. And doing the right thing for the industry is really [just] doing the right thing. It's the law now, [the] Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a federal law, in conjunction with Prop 65 and with a lot of the other state regulations.