Promotional products, corporate gift Los Angeles.

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my promo story carl robinson

Carl Robinson is the co-founder & CEO of Rumble Studio.  He shared his story of ordering company t-shirts and his advice on the importance of ordering a sample to check sizing.

rumble studio tshirtsWhat type of promotional products did you order? Do you have a favorite or “go to” promo item for your business and industry?
We’re a new start up, so we haven’t ordered that many promotional products for our customers, but we have ordered them for our team. We bought t-shirts for everybody in order to increase morale, to tie everyone together, and to look good in team photos. We bought branded Rumble Studio mugs for everybody for the same reason. We also got stickers so we can give those away at events along with fliers and things like that. So, the general kind of startup merchandise in order to give it to the team and also give it out at events.

Tell us about your goals and priority of your project/campaign.

Well, one of the goals of having some promotional items, when we attend events, it’s just helps attract people to the stall and get a chance to talk to them. They think they’re going to get something for free, that’s more of a reason to come and say hello. And then, obviously, we can give it to them as a thank-you after having spoken to us, and they can take that away and remember us when they see that next time, when they’re at home the next day, they’ll remember our conversation and perhaps that will increase the chances that we’ll have a following discussion.

What was your method in searching for your promotional product? 

The first time I ordered t-shirts, I just went on Google and searched promotional t-shirt, and there were quite a lot of providers, so it was quite difficult to choose between them. I eventually settled on one based on the apparent quality of the t-shirt because I figured, the team are going to be wearing these, they need to be comfortable, but it was more expensive than I thought, actually, because I was ordering polo shirts with embroidered logos so it wouldn’t come out in the wash. It actually came out to be quite expensive, much more than I thought it would be, we bought some hoodies as well which were quite expensive. I was very disappointed when they arrived because the sizing was completely wrong. All the men’s items were way too big and all the women’s were way too small. So none of the sizes matched people’s actual sizes and it was a bit of a disappointment. The second time we ordered them my co-founder Joris Guerry ordered some simple white t-shirts with the Rumble logo on them. He did a much better job because they all fit and they looked great. So, it’s a bit of a gamble when you haven’t dealt with a company before and I definitely learned my lesson, not to order too much at once. If you’ve  got a big order in mind, just get a sample or one or two t-shirts to try the size out and the quality of the material before you put that big order in. 

Did you find the promotional products you were looking for? What other challenges did you encounter? 

When I was looking for mugs, the first time I gave up because they were just far too expensive, coming in at about fifteen euros per custom mug, which was just way too much. But again, my co-founder managed to find a much cheaper alternative. Maybe he’s just got better Google skills than me, but the prices range a lot and it’s better to compare a bunch of providers to make sure that you’re getting the best deal. Again for the t-shirts, as I said, I encountered a lot of challenges with the sizing until they finally came through. The embroidery was perfect, there was nothing wrong with the actual quality of the t-shirt, which made it even more of a shame that most people just couldn’t wear them. 

How did you make the decision on this promotional products for the project?

The decision on the t-shirts was basically made on the perceived quality of the t-shirt, but I can say it was a bit of a gamble. I’d never done it before and had no evidence to base it on. The one thing I did see was that they had a pretty decent Trustpilot rating, so I could see independent reviews on that company, and that gave me the confidence to proceed. That was definitely a helpful thing but in the end the reviews didn’t quite work out for me because I could say the sizing was all wrong and I didn’t see any reviews that mentioned that. 

Tell us about the result of the project. Are you happy with the outcome on your ROI? Do you feel that you have achieved your goals with these products?

Not so happy with the ROI on the t-shirts, I bought because like I said, I spent a lot more than I expected, and not everyone got to wear them. The ROI on the second batch that my co-founder order was great and we spent a lot less, everybody wore them,  they were very comfortable. Definitely got the money out of my ten euro t-shirt. So yeah, I believe that we will eventually achieved our goals.

What advice would you like to share with people who are interested to order promotional products?

Yes, my advice would be to always order a small sample first just to check the quality of the sizing. Definitely check out reviews. If you can find a Trustpilot review or another review site that can definitely help. And do research. Compare the market. Have a look at a few supplies. Don’t just go with the first one you find because the pricing and the quality varies a lot. 

About the Author

Swire Ho

Swire migrated to Los Angeles in 1996. He is a proud Chinese American who speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English. He trained as a sound engineer, working at recording studios and entertainment agencies before starting his own firm, Hellman Production, Inc, 2003 in Los Angeles. Swire and his team successfully produced attractive, personalized DVD and CD cases and custom merchandise like T-shirts, earning a Score award in 2009, for small business success. His business eventually grew so popular, he decided to sell Hellman Production in 2013 to focus exclusively on the promotional product industry.

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