January - what an amazing month! I do love it. The end of year sees me winding down, relaxing and partying with family and friends. Then come January, I head back to work refreshed and raring to go, with a full-on schedule of trade shows to start the year.
It really feels like a new year as we set off to visit the trade fairs taking place in those early days of January. A myriad route with new exciting products and potential new supply partners. We are on a mission, looking for the latest amazing products and trends for the year ahead. It is then back to the office, where the team carries out full due diligence on any new suppliers and products to make sure they fit with our ethical and compliance approval process before we can share with our customers.
This year wasn't any different. The first weeks in January saw me flying to Germany for the Trade Fair organised by PSI - which is the Promotional Product Service Institute, a professional network established in 1960. PSI sees itself as the organiser and voice of the European promotional products industry. We are one of the 6,000 member companies that make up the network, comprising both suppliers and distributors of branded promotional products. We are veterans at this fair! The Sourcing Team is in it's 22nd year and we have attended this annual show too many times to remember!
As most of the trade fairs tend to take place in different countries around the same time, we end up having to divide the shows between us to manage them all. These last three years I attended the US trade show and PPAI Expo - partly because they have an exceptional education program and partly because I also had the pleasure of presenting two sessions - one focusing on Ethical Business, the other on Doing the Right Thing. So this year, I was delighted to be back in Germany with a chance to catch up with all our European partners. It was a dose of inspiration, full of creativity - and this year, the range of sustainable products was exceptional!
We also attended our UK local trade show and caught up with our many UK manufacturers. We included a few more retail, textile and fashion events to our calendar, including the Toy Fair and a Retail Show, and finally, to round off our international circuit, we also visited the trade fair in Poland. There we discovered incredible new sustainable promotional products, very exciting technology items and fantastic textiles.
The thinking on branded merchandise at The Sourcing Team is that we can provide products that are both locally sourced and globally sourced - so that whatever the requirement, we can always provide the right solution to fit the budget, timeline and specifications. As a result of our 28-year experience in this sector, we have a robust, exciting and unique network of manufacturers. However, we need to ensure we are always up front with trends, ideas and products, so we keep our eyes and ears open. This allows us to constantly bring our clients new opportunities for quality, branded marketing materials - which naturally all meet our deeply-rooted ethical, compliant and sustainable values!
Back at the office, we are now working up all the products, processing the due diligence so that we can ensure we only share products from ethically-approved suppliers that give us the confidence we look for in product safety... because that's what we do! We should be ready to share these with you in our March newsletter. So make sure you are on our mailing list and click here to subscribe if you haven't already.