Under 40: Jamie Hoelscher, ePromos Promotional Products Inc.
Jamie Hoelscher, 32
Director of Merchandising
ePromos Promotional Products Inc., St. Cloud, Minn.
How she got her start: After spending five years in the retail industry as a jewelry buyer, I was ready for the next step in my career and a new challenge. At that time, ePromos happened to be looking for a new merchandising manager, and after several interviews and meetings with their vice president of marketing, I realized that my skill set and passion for product would be a good fit for [the company] and that I could provide a fresh perspective with my background in retail. I accepted the position, and immediately immersed myself in the promo industry. I truly did not know what I was getting myself into (in a good way!). I really believe I found my niche when I found ePromos.
Her current role: As the director of merchandising, I am responsible for all things product-related. I oversee a team that merchandises both our ePromos and Motivators websites, as well as all product marketing, including print and digital, vendor relations and setting the overall merchandising strategy. It is our goal to deliver best-in-class product with exceptional service.
What she likes best about her job: I love watching how retail trends translate into our industry, and it’s been especially exciting to watch that evolution over the past few years. From my seat, it’s a lot of fun because we get to focus on some cool new products, which makes our website and promotions more interesting and engaging. I also get to work with some absolutely amazing and talented people, both internally at ePromos and within our supplier network.
Age roadblocks and advantages: Technically, I am a millennial, but I’ve never really identified myself as one. When I graduated, it was a tough economy, making it difficult to find any job, let alone a job in your desired field. It was a challenging environment, so being driven and proving yourself was a necessity. That really helped build a strong foundation and combined with my firm work ethic that formed who I am today.
Her biggest career influence: Sheila Johnshoy, our chief revenue officer at ePromos Promotional Products, hired me and took me under her wing. [Having] a similar background, she knew I would succeed in this industry and gave me every opportunity to ensure that it would happen. Sheila left the company for 15 months before returning as our CRO and during that time, I would often ask myself “what would Sheila do?” when faced with a new challenge or tough decision. She allowed me to create my own path, learn from my mistakes and has always been there supporting and encouraging me along the way.
Her most meaningful business accomplishment: By far, my most meaningful accomplishment has been my promotion to the director of merchandising. It was always a long-term goal of mine to get here, but honestly a title I never imagined holding at this point in my life and career. I get to manage an amazing team, and I could not operate the way I need to without the work they put in day-to-day. It’s rewarding to reflect back on the past five years and see how far we have come as a merchandising department—from the way we think about product to the supplier relationships we have built. In addition, I feel fortunate to be a part of the tremendous growth that ePromos has experienced as a company.
Her differentiating factor: ePromos is always evolving, as is our industry, and you have to grow along with it, embracing the change and overcoming adversity. Staying relevant is key from a product standpoint, technology enhancements, social media, content, current events, marketing tactics and sales strategies. We are always looking at all angles to better serve our customers and are coming up with creative ways to keep ePromos top of mind. Just in the last year alone, we have had to adapt to changes in tariffs and compliance laws. I’m proud to work with a team of individuals who are innovative, collaborative and can react quickly to change.
Why she believes the future is bright: I believe online promo sales will continue to grow, especially as we see more and more people utilize mobile for their shopping experience.