At iPROMOTEu, we love our Affiliates and are committed to helping them achieve their goals. We also believe in sharing their stories — how they got into the promotional products business, what led them to join our organization, how we’ve supported their success, and what they enjoy most about working with us. Check back often for more Affiliate success stories, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be notified when new spotlights are available.
The Q Group
The Q Group is an iPROMOTEu Affiliate based in Bend, Oregon. Founded and owned by Mark and Mary Quinlan 20 years ago, Q Group began with a distinct focus on supporting religious organizations and non-profits. Today, the company has extended its focus to include financial institutions, retailers, hospitality, and others while still dedicating around 40 percent of its support for churches and non-profits.
In 2008, Mark was focused on selling products while Mary managed the back end of the business. Unfortunately, Mark was diagnosed with cancer that same year. For Mark to be able to focus on treatment, Mary knew some business changes had to be made.
“I call it the perfect storm because we were in the middle of the recession,” Mary said. “Creditors were tightening their terms, customers were paying late — or not at all. Mark was the income producer, so I suddenly had to move out of an administrative function into a sales role that I didn’t know much about.”
Mark and Mary had a business partner, Kyle Kalma, located in California that graciously stepped in to manage Mark’s accounts while Mary stepped into her new sales role. However, they did not have the support they needed administratively nor the financial support to offset the cash flow challenges they were experiencing.
The Search for a Solution
“Mark began researching companies, one of which was iPROMOTEu. We had a telephone call with Ross and decided to move quickly to join iPROMOTEu. From the start, we utilized a lot of what they had to offer — especially their order financing — and their administrative support. Through the blessing of deciding to join iPROMOTEu, we were able to come back from tough times. We powered through the recession and maintained our customer base. I’ve been able to move into selling and running the company, and we’ve grown. We’ve definitely tripled our business since joining iPROMOTEu.”
Mary cited iPROMOTEu’s vendor relationships as a significant benefit of Q Group’s affiliation.
“iPROMOTEu’s Preferred Vendor Program has been an integral part of our affiliation. We get discounted rates and pricing, preferred production for virtually every order, and extremely attentive customer service. We can take an order and know that it’s going to be large or difficult, yet we know that we can reach the top of the vendor’s leadership or production team, and they’re going to get it done.”
Never Going Back
After a few years battling cancer, Mark began to recover, and the couple sat down to evaluate their situation and whether they really needed iPROMOTEu anymore.
“We looked at everything, including comparing what it cost us to be an iPROMOTEu Affiliate versus being independent. It made absolutely no sense to go back to being independent because of our relationship with iPROMOTEu, their vendors, and the services they provide.”
The value iPROMOTEu provides for the Q Group extends well beyond services alone, however. The Q Group also takes advantage of iPROMOTEu’s frequent vendor showcase events.
“It’s like speed-dating your vendor. You discuss your projects, challenges, and customer needs and find opportunities. iPROMOTEu’s vendor showcases have helped me to build great relationships with new and old vendors. And the vendors know that when I call, it’ll be a good order and they’re going to do whatever they can for me.”
Affiliation as a Competitive Angle
As more and more distributors are experiencing, the increased availability of online platforms offering promotional products at competitive rates has begun to pose a greater challenge. To counteract this, Mary and the Q Group lean on their close affiliation with iPROMOTEu.
“We promote the fact that we’re an iPROMOTEu Affiliate and are part of one of the largest buying groups in the country. We get access to preferred pricing with vendors across the board, we offer high-quality customer service, and we 100 percent guarantee anything we ship.”
While being a member of such a large buying group certainly has proved beneficial, one key element has been critical to the Q Group from day one: independence.
“The idea of going with another company that takes your identity away from you was not something we ever wanted to engage in. We treasure our customer relationships. Being able to have the autonomy to help them how we want to help them was important. iPROMOTEu doesn’t compete against us, nor did they try to take our brand away.”
The Road Ahead
Going forward, the Q Group will be growing deeper within its respective customer bases. The company has been able to carve out a few new niches over the years while maintaining a steady growth trajectory. And when asked to identify the biggest advantage of being an iPROMOTEu Affiliate that has helped them along the way, it was tough to name just one.
“There are so many! The biggest thing is the financial freedom of being affiliated with iPROMOTEu. I know I can go out and get a $100,000 order and not have to worry about coming up with a deposit. I know I have their financial backing to support my business. I also applaud the employees at iPROMOTEu. They’re all exemplary people. They work very hard and will do whatever they need to do to take care of a request or issue. They’re always on our side and advocate for us. We appreciate them so much.”
Join the Q Group and more than 1,100 other distributors and salespeople who’ve discovered the freedom, support, and financial success available at iPROMOTEu. Contact us today.