PPAI stands for Promotional Products Association International. PPAI is the largest non-profit trade organization for suppliers and distributors of promotional products. It has over 15,000 member companies and produces the largest promotional products trade show known as the PPAI Show. The trade show is held every January in Las Vegas.
We have been members of PPAI for about 17 years. There are several reasons why one might consider a membership but I will start with our reasoning. Initially, we wanted to support our industry and exhibit at the PPAI Show. We make custom logo bar stools and at the time, we were members of ASI but not SAGE or PPAI. We learned about PPAI and joined and have kept our membership active since. The PPAI Show is the best promotional products industry show. I have exhibited at ASI shows, SAAC, PPPC, and Promotional East. All of them are great shows. We don't particularly like doing trade shows so when we reduced to a single show, we decided to stay with PPAI. The PPAI show is reason enough to join. It is great as a supplier because you get access to many of the top distributors. It is great for distributors because if a supplier like us is only going to do one show, it will probably be PPAI.
Here are some additional reasons to join PPAI.
- Discounts on vendors including FedEx
- Advocate for the promotional products industry
- Be a part of a community
- Attend the PPAI show
- Educational opportunities
PPAI has two main types of memberships. You can join as a full member or you can join as an associate member. Associate members get access to the PPAI show but that is about it. Associate members must prove that they are part of the industry. If you are a full member, you are divided into several categories of membership.
- International Distributor
- International Supplier
- Business Services
- Rep Multi Line
I think these categories pretty much speak for themselves. I was curious if Canada was considered International. According to PPAI's website anyone outside of the United States is considered international. I guess that makes sense but I wanted to check to be sure. The only thing you may not be sure about is what is the difference between a supplier and a distributor. It gets really complicated when you consider there are really manufacturers, manufacturers reps, inspectors, distribution, importing, decorating, distributing, and selling. I consider the distributor the company that sells to the end buyer. They may also import. They may also decorate or drop ship but if they are the final seller, they are the distributor in our minds. We sell our logo products to distributors and the distributors sell our product to the end user.
All companies in the promotional products industry should seriously consider a membership. We need people advocating for our industry and that is one of the main things that PPAI does. They need our support.
PPAI Mission Statement:
PPAI® is the trusted leader delivering essential knowledge, resources and community to ensure the success of our members and the industry.