APA President's Message - We're Nearly There! (Nov/Dec)

By APA Administrator posted 01-11-2022 12:21



Blink! And, just like that, it’s December! You know what it’s like when you get the lyrics of a song stuck in your head? Well, for me, it’s “I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it…” Sing it with me! It’s time to plan for Vegas, baby! Can I get a “finally!”??

Let’s not overlook the incredible positive change we are experiencing with the new and improved M2M Forum. Thank you to the committee, APA staff and APA Board for being proactive and acting swiftly to implement the new platform! I LOVE it. If you haven’t taken the time to jump on, please do it NOW. I promise you will really enjoy it and see a great value. Yes, you need to noodle around and get your bearings, but once you do, it will be a WIN. Trust me, it is very easy. I mean, if I can figure it out! Jus’ sayin’! (That’s a Southern speak!) I keep finding new ways to do things or find things, and I am back to being on the forum daily. The new digest is great as well.

Supplier Showcase has been another great addition. Giving suppliers an opportunity to perhaps reach retailers who didn’t know them increases their audience. I have learned a few things I didn’t know and found new suppliers to me as well. What a great program!

And then, Vegas! OMG! Have you looked at the class list? You know I am a huge fan of our education program. The 2022 class schedule is TERRIFIC. I went ahead and ordered the recordings because I have classes that conflict timewise with others and there is so much I want to take. Plus bringing the recordings back to share and train my team is invaluable. Registration pricing for the recordings is a steal! Be sure to order them with your show registration to get the super low $89 pricing.

There is a lot going on “behind the scenes.” Staff has been hard at work on the hotel to make sure our costs are as tight as possible. We have excellent room rates for the show this year, and that is due to their efforts. Thank you! Surprisingly, we still have suppliers that have not committed to the show, but the good news is that we have NEW suppliers who see the value and are jumping on board. I ask you to please advocate with your suppliers to make sure they are going to exhibit. The International Awards & Personalization Expo is THE ONLY show for our industry that brings together the largest number of suppliers specifically important to our businesses.

I have spoken to quite a few new retailer members during the past year who are looking for resources. They list Facebook as their primary resource, so when I talk about APA and member benefits like the Forum and our show, it opens up a new horizon for them. Without a doubt, no show compares to ours, and being IN PERSON to see, touch, and feel products, test equipment and speak to the suppliers is one of the biggest reasons to attend. Education and networking are also HUGE, but for resources, there is no comparison.

Lastly, a plug for both our industry Gold Obelisk nomination process and the ARIEF Scholarship program. Please take a minute to think about suppliers and retailers who led the way during this difficult year and NOMINATE them. See the most recent recipients starting on p. 36! Also, the ARIEF Scholarship program is a benefit for you, your team, and their families. Be sure to share the opportunity and encourage applications. The forms are on the website and in Insights (p. 40).

As you head into the holiday season, I want to wish you success, health, strength and happiness. I look forward to seeing you in Vegas! #APAthrive

By: Lisa R Higginbotham, CRM - FIVESTAR Awards and Engraving, and Awards and Personalization Association President