Lesmar's new premises in Luton

New offices for Lesmar

Earlier in September, the leading supplier of branded merchandise solution, Lesmar, announced that it would be moving offices from Wheathampstead to new, larger premises in central Luton in conjunction with its affiliated company IPPAG Global Promotions.

Managing director Mike Oxley explained that the company’s continued growth over the past several years meant that they were outgrowing their former offices.

“Our new office space is three times larger than our previous offices and offers a more efficient layout,” he said. “It will support our continued growth and expansion for the coming years and provide a fantastic work environment for our current and future staff.”

Lesmar’s new address is The Atrium, Park Street West, Luton, LU1 3BE. The company’s telephone numbers remain the same.

For further information contact:

Vanessa Wood

Eurotrophex show 2016

Amersterdam prepares for Eurotrophex 2016

Europe’s largest Trophy, Awards and Personalisation event is taking place at The PTA (Passenger Terminal Amsterdam) for three days, from 15th – 17th October 2016. Just 20 minutes from Schipol Airport and opposite Amsterdam’s Central Train Station, the show is easily accessible for the visitors who attend from over 70 countries worldwide!

Tracey Greenfield Euro Trophex Show Organiser said: “Visiting the exhibition is a must if you work in the trophy, awards, engraving and personalisation industry. If you are looking to identify suppliers, manufacturers, distributors or worldwide export opportunities then this is the show for you.”

With ‘Live’ demonstrations and displays, Euro Trophex 2016 will give you the chance to source ideas for your customers, get up close and personal, handle and test the products, see the latest developments and trends in your field and discuss your requirements in person with those who have the knowledge to help you find the best solution for your business.

There will also be worldwide catalogues launched exclusively at Euro Trophex and stock for next year available to pre-order. You can cast your expert opinion by voting in the Euro Trophex Awards to identify those companies whose innovation and commitment are driving the industry through the use of design and materials.

Engraving Machines, Lasers and Heat Presses will all be demonstrated, giving you a valuable insight into how easily and effectively these machines can be integrated into your organisation. The latest developments in glass and crystal sublimation, photo imaging, laser engraving, embroidery, giftware, signage and promotional items such as badges and pins and corporate gifts will make this three day exhibition a truly useful resource to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the marketplace and influence the direction in which you take your business.

Visit and register for your free entry pass.

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Outstanding Branding launches OB:TV

Global supplier of promotional merchandise Outstanding Branding have launched their OB:TV channel to showcase news, reviews and trends within the Promotional Merchandise Industry.

“I have to say firstly a big thanks to Dorian Tranter (DT), of our fantastic partner supplier, Desktop Ideas, for agreeing to take part in our inaugural broadcast”, comments Andy Thorne, Sales and Marketing Director for Outstanding Branding. “Getting the message out that promotional merchandise works is something DT is as passionate as we are to be involved in, and he did a fantastic job presenting some of their top selling product range.

“Having received over 5,000 views across all social media channels already, we can see the power of the format, and will be releasing more videos in the coming weeks to educate and entertain our clients, suppliers and friends!”

To view OBTV or tune at to their facebook page.

Any supplier wishing to be involved in forthcoming editions should contact Andy Thorne on for more details.

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Stephen Reeve, managing director

The Umbrella Company completes management buy-out

Earlier this month, The Umbrella Company Ltd. announced the completion of a management buy-out from Shawn Hassack.

The buy-out is led by The Umbrella Company’s management team, comprising Stephen Reeve (managing director), Julie Herring (finance director) and John Fields (operations director).

The Umbrella Company, formed in 2000 by Shawn Hassack, is a market-leading supplier in the promotional merchandise market in branded umbrellas, parasols and gazebos.

Stephen Reeve, MD, said: “I am delighted to finally announce the news today as this has been a project we have all been working on for a few years now to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible so that we can continue to provide industry-leading service and continue with the company’s historic core values.

“We have a professional and dedicated team who are passionate about the success and future of the company. Shawn has been a great leader and a very good friend to work with over the past 10 years and with his continued invested interested for a few years I am honoured to take the business on to the next chapter.”

For further comment on this announcement, please contact:

Stephen Reeve


Tel: 07855831742

The Sweet People logo

The sweet people at Liquid Lens change their name

After 18 years as the well-known Liquid Lens, the company that specialises in confectionery merchandise is changing its name to ‘The Sweet People’.

If you’re already a distributor for Liquid Lens, you have probably already seen the gradual branding change that began earlier this year, but from 1st October 2016 the new name, look and domain, will become official.

Currently, the new domain will be

“We now completely specialise in sweets so the name change makes a lot more sense to our customers,” commented Mandy Hastie, Sales and Marketing Director at The Sweet People (formerly Liquid Lens).  “We will also be expanding into Europe next year so felt we needed a name that really reflected what the company is today.”

The Sweet People are keen to let their loyal customers know that nothing from their range will be discontinued and that the new name simply echoes their focus on branded gourmet confectionery products.

Visitors at the PPExpo

PPE registration process is made more social

Customer Focus, organiser of both the Promotional Product Expo and PPE Roadshows, has announced further enhancements and investment into the registration experience for all visitors to its shows.

It has teamed up with GleanIn, leaders in the provision of social software for event organisers. GleanIn will work alongside Customer Focus’s existing registration supplier, Interchange Communications, to provide a brand new platform for visitor registrations.

The platform will allow visitors to register using their social media profiles, making the process fast, accurate and efficient.

It also encourages and permits registrants to share their attendance with their social networks, and to directly invite their networks to attend.

GleanIn further provides the capabilities to follow exhibitors at PPExpo on Twitter or Facebook, allowing visitors to keep up to date with the new products/services they will have available at the show.

Paul Kehoe of Customer Focus said: “The digital world is growing at a fast pace and should be embraced in order to deliver first-class experiences and solutions to our customers.

“GleanIn software will provide our visitors with a best-in-class registration experience, not to mention allowing the industry to connect through the show.

“With people using social media regularly, this is an easy and simple way to pre-register for events.”

Superdiscs in use

Fantastak offers custom options for SuperDiscs

Fantastak Ltd, Europe’s leading developer and manufacturer of glue dots and supplier of niche adhesive products, have invested into new equipment for manufacturing their SuperDiscs that allows them to be flexible in shape and size at the production stage.

Previously available only as discs, the adhesive seals can now be any number of shapes, such as squares, oblongs, hexagons or four-leafed clovers. Sizes and colours as well as designs are also now customisable upon request to suit the customers’ needs.

SuperDiscs are clear adhesive discs used to seal objects such as CD cases, boxes, bags, tins and jars. For the retail, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries, they provide a simple solution to demonstrate their product hasn’t been tampered with or contaminated.

“This is an exciting development here at Fantastak. This new technology allows us to be much more flexible in meeting our customers’ needs,” commented Paul Simpson, Fantastak’s technical director.


A Stix drinks stopper

SPS to launch StixToGo in the UK and Europe

After negotiations with ‘StixToGo’, SPS have secured the rights to manufacture and supply the innovative hot drinks ‘stopper’ for the promotional products market for the UK and Europe.

The polypropylene accessory fits snugly into take-out coffee cups to help retain heat and minimise spills.

Thanks to the manufacturing expertise across the SPS group, the patented StixToGo will be manufactured in the UK and supplied as an optional extra with products in the Americano drinkware range.

“Our Americano family of products continues to be a huge success and we’re always looking for new ways to develop our product offering and add further value,” explained SPS sales and marketing director, Diane Anderton. “This new addition to the range will bring something innovative to the market, which we’re sure will be very well-received.”

Available from late September, the product is available in black and white with standard ‘Drink Me’ message. Bespoke models and different colours are available subject to minimum order quantities.

The new-look PPD magazine

PPD set for a new look – and website

PPD will be officially unveiling a new-look magazine on 10th October, with an accompanying website to follow shortly afterwards.

The new PPD – the industry’s leading magazine for the promotional products industry – will feature an array of improvements including a more contemporary design for both the publication and the website.

Readers can expect to find an improved layout, in-depth features and articles, and clearer news sections alongside opinion pieces, interviews and company spotlights.

In addition, the new magazine will boast improved product category sections and have more of a focus  across the whole chain of supplier, distributor and end-user perspectives.

The new website had been designed to provide the reader with a user-friendly experience and will boast improved navigation and functionality throughout.

The site will provide regular news updates, access to detailed information on the magazine, new product updates and upcoming events as well as product launch videos. Paul Kehoe, of PPD’s publisher Customer Focus, said: “We have been working on the new PPD format for the last few months and we’re delighted with it.

“The new-look magazine will focus on high-quality content and cement PPD’s position as the authoritative voice of our industry.

“Supported by a new website which will provide regular news and other content online, PPD will keep its readers up to date with all the key news, trends and opinions from right across the industry.”

Visitors attend the PPE Roadshow 2016

The PPE Roadshow 2016 pitches up for autumn show

Customer Focus completed their 2016 series of PPE Roadshow exhibitions with three final shows in September at Sandown, Manchester and Dublin.

The biannual, touring exhibition gives suppliers and distributors in the promotional products sector –from established industry giants to budding, homegrown businesses – the chance to meet, connect and talk shop face-to-face.

The Exhibition Centre at the Sandown Park Racecourse, the Manchester Suite at Manchester’s Old Trafford stadium, and the Red Cow Moran Hotel in Dublin provided the venues where hundreds of visitors flocked to enjoy the shows.

The autumn PPE Roadshow 2016 

New name, same quality

In previous years, the shows were run under the name of The APG Shows. Yet with the hosting company rebranding from Trade Only to Customer Focus, the exhibition shows also got a makeover. The national January event, the Trade Only National Show (or TONS) became the Promotional Product Expo (PPE), while the spring and summer travelling exhibitions, APG, became the PPE Roadshows.

It was soon clear that the rebranding had not affected the quality of this year’s shows.

“I am delighted with the resounding success of this year’s PPE Roadshow series,” said Paul Kehoe, general manager of Customer Focus. “We have seen many new suppliers and new visitors this year, interspersed with many of our established industry guests which helps keep the shows fresh. Most importantly, this helps to engineer new contacts and, with that, new business opportunities for both suppliers and distributors.

“In addition, this year we have seen a number of new product launches at the shows, welcomed expert speakers to deliver educational masterclass sessions which have all helped deliver terrific value for time to our visitors,” added Kehoe.

Among the new products being showcased at the autumn show were four models of Uni-ball pen by Premier Brands, who this month partnered with Japanese manufacturer, the Mitsubishi Pencil Company.

In fact, several suppliers were exhibiting at the roadshow for the first time this autumn, such as Leo B. Stanley, director of Ink Edibles. “It was our first one and we were very impressed. We really didn’t know what to expect, but the feedback was incredible,” he commented to PPD.

Speaking to PPD, Henry Lacey, country manager UK and Ireland for Fruit of the Loom, added: “I thought the quality of people was pretty good.

“It’s more of a PR exercise for us to get in touch with the end-users. We’re not here to sell per se, but we’re here to give brand awareness.”

The Umbrella Company's stand

 Looking ahead

The shows also act as an important touchstone for overseas companies to touch base with the British market. “For us as a German company, the PPE Roadshows are really important because that’s our chance to meet our British customers,” said Patrik Kaiser of Kalfany.

“We have been doing these shows for years and we have always got benefit from them,” added John O’Donovan, field sales manager of IF Solutions. “We’re in the field, so we get great results from meeting new and existing customers face-to-face. It’s not necessarily just what happens on the day, but what it leads to throughout the year ahead.”

The roadshows maybe done for this year, but there is still time to get involved for 2017.

The Promotional Product Expo is recognised as the biggest and best show in the industry, and will run on the 25th and 26th January 2017 in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. For further information, please visit:

For stand or sponsorship enquiries for the 2017 shows or any other questions, please call: 0844 880 2751

As per this year, there will be six shows throughout 2017. Contact Stephanie Cunningham to book now:

(l-r) Tony Clubb, Hannah Murphy, Steve Ward, Nicola Derbyshire, Ann Ward, Ben Ward

Tony Clubb at moving party for Business Gift UK

When Business Gift UK celebrated the official opening of their new premises, over 30 clients joined them – including the England Rugby League star, Tony Clubb.

As a Community Stadium Partner, Business Gift UK are proud to name Wigan Warriors among their clients and were delighted that Tony could help them out on the day.

Local businesses and organisations were keen to support company founder Stephen Ward and his team at the opening. Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses of Longridge donated a selection of local cheeses which were enjoyed with local beers and other refreshments. There was a Frisbee competition with lucky dip prizes and a guest appearance by the Blackburn Rovers FC mascot, Rover the Dog thanks to Adrian Ward of the BRFC Community Trust. Lucky6 Marketing provided photographs and social media coverage of the event.

All who attended were shown around the new offices and given a Business Gift goody bag. With the sun shining it was a fun event of which there are expected to be many more in the future. Steve Ward said that he was delighted with how the event was received and thanked everyone who had contributed.

The move to Momentum Place in Bamber Bridge followed the 30th anniversary of parent company Ad-Options last year.

Gourmet burger with food flag

B-Loony raises the bar for food flag hygiene

Printing company B-Loony has completed a several-thousand-pound project to build a food-safe clean room – complete with robotic machinery – for the production of food flags.

Earning themselves a certificate in food safety standards, B-Loony’s marketing manager Kris Baker said: “We are immensely proud. We believe we are the only operation in the UK (and possibly the world) which meets the FSSC:22000 food hygiene regulations for producing food flags, and where the flags are actually made by robots in a food-safe clean room.”

B-Loony manufacture food flags to give users not only a great branding and advertising opportunity, but also to provide consumers with essential ingredient and allergy information. Furthermore, B-Loony realised that as these flag sticks were in contact with food (particularly meat and fish), they had to be produced in a food-safe and hygienic environment.

Andrew Simmons, sales director at Soyang Europe

New website for Soyang Europe

Soyang Europe is set to make a splash with its brand new website, which coincides with the launch of the digital print media manufacturer and distributor’s extended material portfolio.

“We’re really proud of the new website which we’ve built completely with our customers in mind,” explains the company’s sales director, Andrew Simmons. “Finding the right online presence has been key to Soyang Europe moving on to the next level. We’ve added some superb new materials to our already extensive selection and are pleased to reveal our new consolidated material collections; Print, Self-Adhesive, Décor and Textile. We’re very excited about the website going live.”

Soyang Europe has experienced tremendous growth and success since it was founded in 2005 and the last year has been no exception, with new staff acquisitions and more product launches. It has also become a key UK distributor for DECAL self-adhesive vinyl and wall-coverings.

“Our motto has always been to keep Every Surface Covered and our aim is that the new website will give a clear and up-to-date compendium of our product offering, regardless of whether site visitors are existing customers, new ones we’ve yet to meet or complete novices to the industry,” continues Simmons. “We wanted the site to be easy and enjoyable to use, giving a true reflection of what Soyang Europe and its team has to offer to the industry.”

Soyang Europe’s new website is now live and can be explored at

T'nB logo

BIC Graphic Norwood to partner with T’nB

BIC Graphic Norwood has announced a new partnership with French premium electronics brand T’nB.

The exclusive partnership will see a selection of T’nB products – including audio wearables, speakers, full-colour power banks and multimedia accessories – available to the promotional products market in plenty of time for the gift-giving season.

Trade Marketing Manager Ian Barham said, “As a relatively young brand, T’nB has grown throughout Europe incredibly quickly in what is a very fast-paced and innovative retail electronics marketplace.

“With our exclusive new partnership, we look forward to helping grow the brand in the promotional product industry, allowing us to offer distributors a range of branded products with the emphasis on quality and functionality, but still at an affordable price.”

Business in a Box bundle

Customer Focus introduces ‘Business in a Box’ bundles

Since 2003, Customer Focus Software Ltd have made it their mission to give companies in the promotional products industry the tools they need to compete for big business. With a range of market leading software, catalogues and exhibitions, their solutions have given distributors and suppliers alike the means to bring in and manage customers and sales.

In order to give customers the complete package of tools they need to fully operate their business, Customer Focus are now introducing their ‘Business in a Box’ solution. Taking effect in September, services will be consolidated into three main bundles to choose from forming a Bronze, Silver and Gold package. The bundles will give customers the opportunity to benefit from Customer Focus’ full range of solutions including:

  • Spectrum catalogues
  • Product sourcing
  • Ecommerce website with integrated virtual samples and online designer
  • Full order management and CRM system with integrated email marketing (powered by Constant Contact)
  • Corporate scheme sites
  • Quarterly Eflyers

Shaun Parker, MD of Customer Focus commented: “Our new Business in a Box solution has been introduced to enhance our offering and support to our loyal customers. We believe that by giving customers one all-encompassing, affordable package, they will be able to more effectively manage their business and ultimately drive more sales. We are looking forward to working closely with our customers to implement our full range of services and understand their end goals so they can reap the benefits and use our tools to their full potential.”

To find out more about the ‘Business in a Box’ bundles and what is included, please download the Business in a Box rate card here.

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Attendees line up for The Print Show

Fujifilm signs up for The Print Show 2016

Fujifilm has signed up to exhibit at The Print Show for the first time, stating that the event’s focus on the UK industry and a personable setup were the main reasons behind its decision.

“Being a UK show also gives attendees the chance to focus on the issues and opportunities specifically related to the UK industry,” explained Keith Dalton, Fujifilm Graphic Systems’ UK director.

“The size and focus of The Print Show means visitors can see new technologies and discuss their business needs with exhibitors in a more personable environment than the bigger international shows.”

Fujifilm will use the event to showcase its Acuity LED 1600 II wide-format LED UV inkjet printer, which offers a printing speed of 33sq m/h as well as a top-end resolution of 1200dpi.

In addition, Fujifilm will be showing a host of samples that can be produced on its Acuity LED 3200S, which will officially launch in the UK at a special open day event this month.

“As this year’s Print Show follows our own annual open day in September, we will also carry the theme of this open day—‘Go Creative, Be Creative’—through to the show as well,” Dalton said.

Fujifilm will share its stand with a number of its UK industry partners including Service Offset Supplies, Mayday Graphic Products, Offset Supplies, and Intuprint, which will allow visitors to view even more products and solutions alongside the core Fujifilm portfolio.

The Print Show will run from 11th to 13th October, 2016.

To find out how to register, visit

Guy Edwardes with his Epic 2017 calendar

Allan+Bertram and Guy Edwardes are calendar dream team

Allan+Bertram, the makers of award-winning promotional calendars, have announced a collaboration with nature photographer Guy Edwardes.

Guy, who has been a professional photographer for almost 25 years, has supplied Allan+Bertram with his work in the past. But Epic 2017 and View 2017 will be the first to feature his stunning natural landscape shots exclusively.

“It’s great to be working with a UK company that produces such a fine quality product, and it’s even better to think that some of my favourite landscape photographs will be displayed on so many walls in 2017,” explained Guy.

Guy Edwardes with his View 2017 calendar

Guy Edwardes with his View 2017 calendar

WATERS' co-directors Rhian East (left) and Rachael Wheatley (right)

RAR award for creative agency WATERS

Welsh-based creative agency WATERS has won a recommendation by the leading UK awarding body, the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

The prestigious RAR recognises companies on the nominations of their own clients. Some of the services WATERS has been recommended for include brand identity, print design and production, digital and website design, and strategic marketing.

“I’m very proud that WATERS has achieved the RAR status award,” exclaimed Rachael Wheatley, founder and co-director. “It is a testament to the dedication, passion and hard work that every member of staff at WATERS puts in, day in day out without fail, and for which I am really thankful.

“I’m also extremely grateful to our clients who nominated us for this award – we work really hard to provide all of our clients with a high quality and effective service that fits their specific business requirements. “

The PSI Sustainability Awards 2016

Winners of The PSI Sustainability Awards 2016

‘Sustainability isn’t a trend, it’s an obligation.’ That’s the motto of the Promotional Product Service Institute (PSI), who on Friday 3rd September presented their Sustainability Awards for the second year running.

The event, hosted in the beautiful Kurhaus in Wiesbaden, Germany, was an opportunity for the industry to recognise those products, campaigns and companies who lead the way on their sustainability credentials.

Below are this year’s winners from each of the eight categories.

Category 1: Economic Excellence 2016

Winner: Walter Medien GmbH

The print and calendar specialist received the award for the second year running. This was in large part due to its latest sustainability report, which was described as ‘clear and commendably transparent’.

Category 2: Environmental Excellence 2016

Winner: Karl Knauer KG

Sustainability as a core business principle and generous environmental investments helped secure this German-based print and promotional products company a win here.

Category 3: Social Excellence 2016

Winner: Giving Europe GmbH

Already celebrating it’s 15th anniversary, this promotional products import company won for their ‘transparent and well-documented social standards, which far exceed the legally required minimum norms’.

Category 4: Environmental Initiative 2016

Winner: Victorinox AG

Victorinox AG charged to victory for their Cultural Landscape Conservation Project, a highly original project against climate change, for conservation and for tourism promotion.

Category 5: Social Initiative 2016

Winner: Faber-Castell AG

The Earl of Faber-Castell Children’s Foundation was created in 2001 to assist children’s hospitals, orphanages, schools, child care facilities, etc., improve the lives for the children involved regardless of nationality or religion.

Category 6: Sustainable Product 2016

Winner: Touchmore GmbH

This marketing and advertising company’s Logoloop flyer was a brilliant piece of design, but it’s green credentials were second to none as well. As eco-friendly as it was clever.

Category 6: Sustainable Product Set 2016

Winner: Präsenta Promotion International GmbH

The APPLEDAY apple-holder-and-knife set was a winner for this company; even the brochure and packaging was impeccable sourced from sustainable materials.

Category 6: Sustainable Product – Writing Instruments 2016

Winner: manaomea GmbH

Munich startup manaomea created the ingenious textile pencils made with no wood at all. Instead, they are made from agricultural waste and organically grown natural fibres.

Category 7: Sustainable Campaign 2016


The pilot project ‘Local Wood from Bavaria’ set a new standard in the German wood-processing industry. The voting jury concluded that the campaign’s ecological focus and total transparency “…contributes to emotional consumer ties to phrases such as ‘regional’ or ‘from my local area’.”

Category 8: Sustainable Company of the Year 2016

Winner: Karl Knauer KG

Already a winner in Category 2 and with submissions in all the other categories too, Karl Knauer KG took the final and ultimate award of the evening.

Congratulations one and all.

Jumpers (left to right) Dale, Brian, Molly, Richard and Sam toast their skydive

The Cotton Textile company’s charity jumpers

On Saturday 4th September, The Cotton Textile Company’s Sales Director, Richard King and Managing Director Sam Blandford were for the high jump – with a 10,000-foot, charity skydive.  They were joined by King’s daughter, Molly, as well as her godfather Brian Runnals (of Northcoast Log Cabins Ltd) and his son Dale Williams (of Kettle Kitchens Ltd).

The group overcame fear and foul weather to take the plunge. “The cloud was above 10,000 feet by the time we jumped so we could clearly watch the land rushing towards us as we free fell the first 5,000 feet,” explained Richard.

The group were jumping to raise funds for the British Royal Infirmary – an institution dear to their hearts after Molly spent three months there as a patient after being diagnosed with Auto Immune Encephalitis. This is a condition that causes the brain to either forget simple tasks or deliver messages to the wrong areas of the body, which creates some very unusual behaviour.

And yet, just over a year later, she has recovered to the point where she is now studying Marine Biology at Falmouth Marine School. “Molly has always been determined and her commitment to giving something back to BRI Children’s Hospital has been total,” Richard added.

The team had surpassed the initial £1,000 target on their page, but if you wish to add to their total, you can do so for the rest of the week via the following link:

Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots Group

Blackhawk Network to acquire Grass Roots Group

The employee and customer engagement solutions company Grass Roots Group Holding Ltd., previously an affiliate of WPP, has announced it is to be acquired by Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc.

The acquisition promises to be a productive one for both parties: Grass Roots hopes to be able to offer new products and capabilities to its current clients, as well as take advantage of Blackhawk’s global network to broaden Grass Roots’ international reach. Meanwhile, Blackhawk will be able to make use of Grass Roots’ expertise in meetings and events management.

“We are really excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to Grass Roots,” said Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots. “Together, the two companies will have increased scale and scope, and we will bring those benefits to our clients and partners.”

“The Grass Roots team has extensive industry experience and a proven track record of success in the consumer and employee engagement markets. We are thrilled to welcome them and over 2,000 managed service clients to the Blackhawk family,” added Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk.

Grass Roots will operate as a subsidiary of Blackhawk. Matthew Howe and Jonathan Kenny, co-managing directors of Blackhawk’s UK-based Europe operations, will lead the European operations of Grass Roots as well. Stewart Rigby, managing director of Blackhawk Asia-Pacific, will lead its Asia-Pacific operations.


CEO Christophe Vanackère (left) and CTO Michael Cohen (right).

New CEO and CTO announced for Trace One


Trace One, the global leader in private label management software, last week announced the appointment of Christophe Vanackère as CEO and Michael Cohen as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

The new leadership follows the acquisition of Trace One by HgCapital earlier this year, which provided the company with significant support to continue its ambitious international growth strategy and expand its product portfolio.

“I am delighted to join Trace One at such an exciting time,” Christophe Vanackère said. “Trace One is perfectly placed to address new opportunities in both its core and vertical markets.”

Christophe Vanackère started his career at Lectra, a world leader in product lifecycle management solutions, where he quickly became Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and South America. Most recently, Christophe held the position of Managing Director for France at the enterprise applications company Unit 4.

Michael Cohen started his career in the Billing and Supply Chain Team at Debitel AG, one of the largest mobile phone providers in Europe. His most recent role was Director of Technology for Egencia, the corporate travel brand of the Expedia group.

promo international

Promo International helps the girls reach the top

Beccles Breast Cancer Now girls succeed in overcoming Machu Picchu. Following a chance meeting with Peter Townsend, MD Promo International Ltd, technical jackets were donated for the adventure. “The trip was extremely tough with all of us suffering from altitude sickness to a greater or lesser degree, with 3 of us needing oxygen and one of us nearly having to be helicoptered off on the first night! I am delighted to tell you that despite this we all completed the challenge,” says Tracey Riches after completion of the climb.

Temperatures fluctuated between late 20s during the day to minus 7 degrees at night. “As well as wearing them in the evening and the freezing mornings (we were up between 4.00am and 5.00am each morning) we all slept in our jackets and I know that they contributed to our success and wellbeing.”

Tracey continues to outline the reason for the trip – “On Valentine’s Day 2011 my friend Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer. 6 months and a double mastectomy later she gathered her closest friends around her and declared her intention to fight back by fundraising for the breast cancer research charity, Breast Cancer Now. This is what we have been doing ever since:

• Walking the Great Wall of China
• Cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia
• Trekking Machu Picchu
• Boiling liver to make additive free dog biscuits
• Transforming our local village hall to host our annual ball
• Publishing a cook book
• Knitting Christmas baubles
• Stripping off in a church yard for our Calendar Girl style calendar

To date our small group has raised over £65,000. For our next event we have purchased a 21-year-old £150 Renault Clio that we have sprayed pink and we will be driving from Suffolk to Venice at the beginning of September in the Crumball Rally.

premier new company

Premier acquire The Merchandise House

Leading Essex based distributor, Premier Print & Promotions have confirmed that they have acquired The Merchandise House promotional company based in Billingshurst, West Sussex for an undisclosed sum.

“All of us at Premier are looking forward to welcoming The Merchandise House’s customers and introducing them to The Premier Difference,” said Jamie Marshall, Founder and Managing Director of Premier Print & Promotions Ltd. “Premier are still actively looking to acquire other promotional businesses. Hopefully The Merchandise House will be the first of many companies to join the Premier family in the months ahead.”

Premier Print & Promotions are a clear success story within the industry and they continue their ongoing expansion through organic growth and their continual assessment of potential acquisitions.