Marketing, PR & Advertising and Small Business & Startups

You are what you wear when it comes to brand recognition

Small EGR firm puts company names on almost anything.

March 11, 2016
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Floral Ave
The team at Floral Ave Promo recently spent several months culling through its database to confirm every item was something worth offering to clients. Courtesy Heins Designs

When it comes to brand recognition, quality trumps quantity.

Floral Ave Promo, a promotional business at 927 Floral Ave. SE in East Grand Rapids, has spent the last two years putting its clients’ brands on a wide variety of products.

Tracy George, owner and managing member, founded the Grand Rapids-based company, which is part of the national Advertising Specialties Institute. One of Floral Ave’s biggest clients is Holland-based office furniture company Haworth.

Floral Ave Promo has thousands of products available on its website, including umbrellas, chargers, mugs, pens, bags, flash drives, flashlights and many more. The most popular item of choice, said George, is apparel — particularly, T-shirts.

“We’re a promotional items business. We basically put someone’s brand or logo on anything and everything,” said Betsy Kooistra, account manager.

“Anywhere from pens to drink ware, gadgets, items they might need for a tradeshow, employee gifts and giveaways, T-shirts … apparel is a large part of our business.”

George, who studied marketing, business and Spanish at Calvin College, said what’s really helped Floral Ave Promo has been its showroom. This allows customers to actually handle or try on the products, giving them a sense of the quality of the product.

“We have probably 100 T-shirt samples with different cuts, colors, fabrics and styles. It’s a lot to sift through. That’s why our showroom is fantastic. We want it to be subtle enough so people will wear it, but we also want your logo to be recognized,” George said.

“How we separate ourselves is we weed through all the junk and we really only present quality items people would be proud to put their logo on. It sounds simple, but we put a lot of thought into our promotional giveaways.”

George said one of the more unusual products Floral Ave Promo has created is a cake carrier. It’s unique, she said, but it also is something a client could use to leave a lasting impression.

“What we tell clients is, ‘Hey, if you’re a traveling salesman, you’re always bringing some kind of edible gift to your clients. Well, what if you gave them something they couldn’t throw away — a lasting gift?’” she said.

Floral Ave once made selfie-sticks for an office party. Another product that stands out for George was designing baby bibs and onesies for a craft brewery.

“The industry has adopted this phrase: ‘trinkets and trash.’ That is not what we do. We don’t lead with the least expensive item,” she said.

“It took us four months to sift through our database to (confirm) that every item is something we’d recommend.”

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