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A Message to Distributors, From Suppliers

Last year I had the opportunity to do about 11 weeks of ASI Roadshows and a few larger shows like ASI Orlando. Throughout all the shows I’ve done in my years I’ve noticed something. When distributors walk through shows, some (not all) don’t make a valiant effort to stop and talk to at least a majority of suppliers. I notice this more at the larger shows, but it’s still noticeable in smaller numbers on roadshows.

Now, suppliers understand that with the larger shows distributors only have a limited amount of time to see a large number of suppliers, this is just the fact of our industry. We also realize, as suppliers, it is our job to get distributors in our booth to tell them about our products. Having said those two facts, suppliers too often see distributors stroll past their booths with a glazed look over their face, not making a substantial effort to stop at their booth, or even respond to a simple “Good morning.”

To many, this may sound like a complaint. It is not.

I think I can safely say that most supplier reps have had these thoughts at some point in their career while working a trade show booth. I think I can also safely say that most suppliers realize the fact that many distributors have some sort of an idea of what they’re looking for at a trade show, and tend to tune out anything that’s not relevant to what they’re after.

While this may be an effective way to get through the entire show, it does not allow you to discover many new ideas and alternative solutions to your customers’ problems. How are you going to grow your business if you don’t actively seek out new and exciting products for your customers at these fantastic trade shows?

As we near the end of the trade show season in our industry, I challenge distributors to broaden their radar at the shows they attend next year. Try to look for alternative solutions and new ideas for your customers, in addition to what you need to look for at that particular show. I invite anybody reading this to give me any insight you have on how you choose to walk a show floor in our industry, and share your thoughts on this matter.

Meet the Team – Angela Stevens

Last time in our Meet the Team series we featured Andrea Volker. This week we have her sister Angela Stevens! Angela is our customer service rep for the Southeastern U.S. and has been with us for 15 years this September. Angela and her husband, Mike, have two kids named Jake and Jessica who are 22 and 19. Jake has worked at ID Line for the past three years now in production, and Jessica is a full time student. They have three dogs named Buddy, Sandy, and Chewy.

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: My mother’s womb I think, but I was born in La Paz, Bolivia – military brat 😉

Q: Did you go to college? If so, where?
A: Yes, Anoka & Hennepin Community College

Q: How did you start working at ID Line?
A: Referred by my sister Andrea

Q: What’s your favorite part about what you do?
A: When I hear back from a customer that the items were received well and everyone is happy.

Q: What’s your least favorite part?
A: Making errors

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: When there is time I like four wheeling, fishing and most outdoor activities as long as there is no running!

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
A: Europe. Several countries there I want to visit.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Depends on the day. Today I like green.

Q: If you could give distributors any tips/insight/constructive criticism, what would you give them for working with suppliers?
A: Sending plenty of details with quote requests. Another one is knowing the budget. This can save a lot of back and forth if we know the budget ahead of time.

You can find Angela on LinkedIn here
If you have any questions about products or samples, please contact:

Meet the Team – Andrea Volker

Andrea Volker is our customer service rep for the Northeastern U.S. and has been with us for nearly 17 years now. She has a husband named Eric and two kids, Brandon and Dylan who are 13 and 10. Her mother is from Bolivia, which has contributed to her fluency in Spanish. She also helped extensively with our remodel of our Badge Release website:

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: MN, born & raised.

Q: Did you go to college?
A: Yes, Hennepin Technical College, degree in Network Administration.

Q: How did you start working at ID Line?
A: I started through a temp service as receptionist. Two weeks later, moved to Customer Service.

Q: What’s your favorite part about what you do?
A: Helping a customer out of a jam.

Q: What’s your least favorite part?
A: The feeling you get when you realize you’ve dropped the ball.

Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Cooking & Reading

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
A: Italy. It’s part of my heritage; let’s not forget the breathtaking scenery, food and wine.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Today my favorite color is teal.

Q: If you could give distributors any tips/insight/constructive criticism, what would you give them for working with suppliers?
A: My advice would be to check with your supplier before quoting your customer if you are unfamiliar with a product or working with a new vendor. Not only can we assure you have the right product selected and priced, we can also offer alternative solutions.

You can find Andrea on LinkedIn here
If you have any questions about products or samples, please contact:

Business Leader, Meet the IT Guy…

A few months ago I had the chance to interview Dale Denham for a required assignment in one of my classes, Management Information Systems. The main focus of the interview was about what his job as the Chief Information Officer of Geiger actually entails, however we talked about a few important points that I think everyone in this industry and beyond can benefit from.

For those who don’t know Dale, he has a degree in business, but has always had a love for technology. His first jobs were in sales and sales management, and noticed that technology was always involved in sales and sales management, as well as to the overall business. He found that he was fairly good at dealing with technology and with solving problems and asked himself, “How much more efficient would I be as a business leader if the businesses that I work for had better technology?” This led Dale down the technology path and still to this day balances between business and technology.

When I asked Dale what he thought was the most challenging part about being in the IT/IS field he responded with something interesting. In most cases, business people want their problems solved, but don’t always understand or don’t want to understand how challenging certain things can be, even though they may look simple on the surface. Business people will often ask an IT manager if they can fix something and a lot of the time they will respond that yes they can fix that. While this problem is most likely solvable, the business person doesn’t always realize that there are sometimes 30 steps that have to be gone through for that problem to be fixed, and if you don’t do it correctly there’s a good chance something will go wrong. Because of this, there’s often a misunderstanding of timelines and the business people then get irritated that things take too long.

As we continue to see technology implemented further and further into business, we will see an increase in the number of people in the IT field. It will become increasingly necessary for business people to better understand the processes and time required to accomplish tasks involving IT. I challenge everyone reading this to learn something new about Information Technology this week to better understand what it actually takes to fix an issue.

After all, relationships are what business is all about!

Passing the Social Media Torch

Today I am officially passing my social media torch to my fellow co-worker Colin. But, not a real torch because, you know, that could be dangerous. I have been doing blog posts, and making sure we have those ever-so coveted Klout points. Not sure what Klout is? That’s ok, in the social media world it’s a thing. Trust me.

Keeping ID Line in front of all our wonderful customers and then of course their customers is very important to us. We make amazing products, and we want to make sure everyone in the Promotional Products industry is aware.

So! From this day forward I will be venturing into my own entrepreneurial adventure called Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe, and also school full time at Le Cordon Bleu for Baking & Patisserie. Colin, who also happens to be Eric’s son, and if you’ve seen us at trade shows, you have probably seen him too, will be taking over our social media accounts.

So make sure to follow our blog, and all the social media outlets. And be gentle to Colin, he might be a little new at the social media thing, but I’m confident he’s going to find you all some great content.

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest: @idline

Instagram: @idline_halls

YouTube: IDLineTV

I’m not really nervous…. Just looks like it! Thanks so much to you all for all the fun interactions and wonderfulness you have thrown my way. Happy hump day and enjoy the rest of your week. Make sure to say hello to Colin, and always follow along for up to date information about ID Line.

Summer in Minnesota

Nothing says summer in Minnesota like grilling, days on the lake, and delicious food. What are your favorite summer activities and recipes? 

I’ve been having fun pinning lots of delicious recipes and all the things we love about being in MN. With so many lakes there’s always something to do outside. 

We also have many amazing restaurants and breweries, you could eat at a new place and try a new beer every day of the summer. 

Check out our Pinterest board with everything we love about MN and let us know your favorite new thing to do! 

Enjoy the summer!


Father’s Day is Coming Soon!

Father's Day is coming up this weekend. What do you normally do to show love for your father? Gifts? Experiences? Do you take him out fishing? Or do you let him go fishing all by himself? For me, making memories is the best.

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What Does Mother’s Day Mean to You?

I know it seems like a Hallmark holiday to a lot of people, and it's just an excuse to make money on cards, flowers, and chocolate, but when you're a mother, it's so much more. Life gets in the way most days, and no matter what good intentions we have to spoil the ones we love for no reason, it doesn't always happen.

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Earth Day Wood Badges, Tags & Pins

Since today is Earth Day what better product to showcase than our wood products! Badges, tags and lapel pins are all available in our natural wood material. Since all of these are cut using our new fancy shmancy laser, we can custom cut them however you would like with no extra charge. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

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Badge Release Program

Have you heard of our Badge Release Program (BRP)? It's pretty amazing, not gonna lie. So many of our badges, tags and other products are available for our BRP. We just launched our new BR website so distributors and end users are able to go into their programs and order or reorder items.

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