Start a Business Supplying Branded Corporate / Promotional Gifts

A corporate gift company makes branded items for companies that are given out as gifts for promotional purposes. This can include anything from pens and notepads to branded flash drives.

Getting Started
The business model is simple and has two components: the item and the print (usually a logo in the case of a company) and is usually sold as a package. The company will ask for a quote, and the price usually differs on the amount of colours the logo will be. Popular products to supply in this industry include: keyrings, lanyards, writing instruments, cups, cooler boxes, bags, caps, coasters,  bottle openers (popular with liquor companies), clocks, various clothing and much more.

There are various business models in this massive industry:

The one man show
Usually sources the product from a wholesaler and takes it to a printer while managing the whole process. So once the client requests a quote, you will in turn get a quote from both the wholesaler and the printer, put a markup on and deliver the quote, once client accepts the quote they pay a 50% deposit to go ahead and the balance on delivery of job. To advertise your product line you would essentially develop a catalogue of the products the wholesaler or importer sells, and if you can have some samples, printed samples if you can.

The printer and supplier
This business model is similar to above, but requires a bit more capital to start, essentially you will buy the product from a wholesaler and do the printing yourself. Meaning you will need the relevant printer, whether pad or screen-printer. This is for people that don’t want to outsource the printing, but it limits you and requires more capital, this is because you will need various different printers to have a diverse product line and you may need people to work for you as it’s difficult to see clients, quote and do the printing. People who do this usually specialise in a certain area such as pad printing (pens, golf balls etc.) or embroidery (caps, towels etc.)

The importer, printer and supplier
This is similar to above but instead of buying from a wholesaler, you import the product directly yourself, this has a lot of potential for growth, but requires substantially more capital as you need to import containers of items at a time.

This brings me to another two business models and that is being the wholesaler/printer to the corporate gift company, this means you won’t deal directly with the end client, but with their supplier. This means you will have a lot of people bringing you work but the margins will be thinner as you are essentially a wholesaler. The two opportunities here is: that you import and wholesale the goods only or that you only focus on the printing.

Image credit: acedtraduceri