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I've never really considered ASI - but am now wondering if I should? Or are there other organizations that I should?

We do embroidery and tees, and are considering moving into cutting. About to open our first storefront in September. May someday add promotional products, if I can be convinced that they are worth the time and effort.

Has anyone seen real benefits to ASI?
 

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I've never understood the benefit of joining an (expensive) organization when you have access to all promotional products without being a member. Do ASI members get big discounts or something that I'm not aware of?
 

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Besides ASI, there is SAGE: Promotional Products Business Services Sage offers just about the same as ASI and will host a website as part of their basic program. Now for a nice combo (or was last year) The basic cost for Sage is about $495 vs about $1200. PPAI is also about $495 a year BUT when I joined PPAI, Sage membership was included. So I got both for $495.BUT unless you are heavily involved in promotional products it is not a big help. The is a free site for promotional products that will also host your website. That is DistributorCentral Promotional Products eCommerce Software - Home With each of these organizations, you have to show your are in the "business". Check each for their membership rules. A nice feature of PPAI is the host the biggest promo product show each year in Las Vegas
 

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Some promotional product suppliers won't sell to you without a PPAI or ASI number. All suppliers require proof that you are in the industry and not an end user. That keeps our customers from by passing the distributors and buying direct. Being a member makes it easier to purchase from suppliers plus you get a product database that helps with searching.
 

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I would wait at least until after you've been running your store front for a while to get that running smoothly, see how busy you are and what customers are requesting. I don't think its necessary but some people (mostly promotional products people) like its exclusiveness and they must find it helpful but as mentioned, there are free online sources available to you. I received an email last week from Distributor Central about a free webinar they are giving on July 9th to discuss the features available to site users. You may want to check that out. I also read recently that next year's ISS in AC will be held jointly with Expo East. Attending that show would be a great opportunity to check out the non-wearables side of the promotional products industry. I went one year. It was a lot of fun and I received lots of samples and supplier catalogs.
[media]http://issshows.com/static/pdf/3.12.14_ISS_Atlantic_City_PPAI_Expo_East_Press_Release_-_Reached.pdf[/media]
 

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Distributor central is similar and free. We are a member of distributor central and asi just to round out our product line.
 

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I'd recommend registering with Distributor Central. It's a database of thousands of products from dozens of distributors. Each one will display the net price, retail price, and a shipping estimate and display a link for ordering. If you're like me and offer promo products to my T-shirt customers as an additional service, this is very convenient.
 
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