When it comes to event swag, it’s important to have a vendor who not only has a pulse on fresh product and customization ideas, but who you know you rely on when it comes to production. We’ve all worked with swag vendors who send tons of links to products that don’t fit our needs, email us design templates the day artwork is due, or are nowhere to be found when a shipment is missing. Yikes.
That is where one of our FAVORITE swag experts, Ashley Freeman, comes in. A Product Consultant at Creative Marketing Concepts aka “CreativeMC,” Ashley is product savvy, super communicative, and always ready to creative problem solve if we hit a snag. She gets both branding and production, and we are so lucky to have her as a partner. That’s why Ashley is our April 2021 #Eventprof of the Month.
I think Ashley COLD CALLED me when I was in-house at Taulia in 2013. We hit it off, and she was my go-to resource for trade show giveaways. Since Dynamo was born in 2016, we’ve been fortunate to work with Ashley and her CreativeMC team on various client projects from conference kits to holiday gifts.
A recent virtual user conference viewing kit project had Mackenzie and Ashley in close contact daily to ensure that the client’s items were all produced on brand and on time, coordinating additional items from sponsors, printing 100% custom boxes during a supply shortage, and then handling fulfillment – kitting and shipping hundreds of packages to be delivered across the US and Canada. (Check this post for tips on hosting a successful virtual event.)
Read on for a peek at the kit, along with insights into what the life of a promotional products consultant is like!
Here are 10 questions with our April feature, Ashley Freeman.
1. What initially drew you into the events industry?
What drew me to this industry is it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and I knew every day was going to be different. It’s such a creative, fast-paced and exciting industry, and I love that!
2. What’s a day in the life of Ashley like?
A day in the life of Ashley is a lot of meetings! So much of this industry is based around event dates so pre-planning and coordinating with clients is so important. I’m often on Zoom calls with clients to help plan a new hire kit project, a virtual conference fulfillment, or walking a client through an online company swag store demo.
3. How do you feel your role helps advance your company’s overall goals?
CreativeMC is about creating indelible brand moments that connect people and bridge cultures. My role is to do that by curating the latest looks for my clients that are not only ahead of trends, but also reflect their brand style and ethos. My colleagues and I are also constantly researching new products and we have a sister company in Europe, so we’re also unearthing emerging brands from around the world to present to our clients.
4. How many projects do you work on per year? What’s the mix?
I manage and coordinate hundreds of projects a year! The events range from trade shows, to employee onboarding and rewards, and customer experiences. This past year everything has been virtual, so we’ve been part of creating virtual cooking classes, magic shows, roadshows and more.
5. How do you measure success for the projects you manage?
I measure success by how my client feels at the end of a project. I love hearing my clients say you made the swag process so easy and painless! My goal is always to take on the heavy lifting so my clients can focus their efforts on their event.
6. What is your favorite project you worked on over the past year, and why?
So far my favorite project is Iterable Activate! Iterable is so creative, they have an amazing logo, and their team is always such a pleasure to work with! They put a lot of thought into their customers’ experience and it shows in their swag and packaging. Their team came up with a fun and colorful theme for this year’s event and we brainstormed some very interesting swag to go along with that theme. I know their recipients were very happy to receive this year’s kit.
7. What is your absolute favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is meeting clients! I think of myself as more of a personal shopper so it’s important for me to get to know my clients and their style. I love getting to know people, getting to know their brand, and figuring out how I can help them create memorable experiences with their swag and events.
8. Where do you see your industry going in the future? Any trends?
I see the industry moving toward more retail brands – particularly those who offer eco-friendly and social impact products. There’s been a huge increase over the last couple of years in retail orders and with so many brands making themselves available in the swag industry, it makes sense! I love that companies want to give their employees and clients retail brands they know and appreciate! At CreativeMC we work closely with a number of San Francisco brands and we have access to over 50 different retail brands within the US and Europe!
9. Where do you find inspiration?
I love to see the new fashion, retail and lifestyle trends people are obsessing over to inspire fresh takes on styling swag or curating products. We create seasonal lookbooks to show our clients what colors, materials and products we think are going to be hot. Check out our new Spring/Summer lookbook for inspo!
10. Any advice for #eventprofs just getting started?
Hustle and do everything you can to make real connections with people. I’ve found that having a meaningful connection with clients makes the job 100 times more fun.