Images talks to Pro-Ad to find out what qualities promotional merchandise companies look for when choosing decorated bag suppliers

Pro-Ad, which was established in 1982, offers more than 70,000 items of promotional merchandise, corporate clothing and business gifts to clients such as Kiss FM.

Bags continue to be a stalwart of the promotional marketing world with a recent survey of marketers by the BPMA revealing that 66% of them had bought bags for a marketing campaign at some point – only pens ranked higher in the survey.

It’s little wonder then that Morpeth-based Pro-Ad offers so many different types of bags. Founder and managing director Carlo Nardini comments: “We offer a big variety of bags including cotton shoppers, jute bags, PET-laminated bags, woven and non-woven bags, laptop bags, shoulder bags, conference bags, trolley bags, backpacks made of material varying from different grades of nylon to leather…”

“We choose our suppliers depending on the quality of service and products they can offer us,” he explains. “We visit their stands at the industry’s biggest trade shows and make factory visits in order to assess the value of their products. For each individual order, we choose the supplier depending on what type of bag the client requires – style, colour and price – and the branding requirements.”

As you would expect in the promotions industry, one of the key criteria Carlo uses for selecting a particular supplier is the knowledge that they will be able to deliver on time. He also places a lot of importance on the type of machines the supplier uses, along with their ability to offer quality products and certifications such as SEDEX.

Most of the bag suppliers can also handle the embroidery and printing for Pro-Ad, however the company also has regular printers and embroiders that it works with. “We choose them based on the quality of their service as well as the lead time for each individual job,” Carlo comments.

Clients’ bag requirements and their involvement in the selection of the products varies massively, as Carlo explains: “We have customers that have very specific requirements and know exactly what they want, while others need more guidance. When a client is unsure about which product to use we offer them guidance based on their budget, their artwork, the use of the bag and the merchandise’s recipients.” Carlo reports that the most popular bag is the cotton shopper: “They are green, ethical and have a longer life.”

For garment decorators that are looking to start selling bags to promotional merchandise companies, Carlo has this advice: “Look carefully at the service angle of what the client requires. This includes the quality of the product, well-printed bags, and delivering on time. The ability to sort out issues quickly is also very important along with the ability to create artwork and visuals.”

A selection of printed bags produced for Pro-Ad’s client by one of its time-conscious and quality-delivering suppliers