While in Charlotte, North Carolina, PPAI Professional Development Manager Jody Mello (above left) and Professional Development Coordinator Emery Colbert (above right) visited the offices of JournalBooks/Timeplanner Calendars (PPAI 110769), where they met with Carolyn Keene (center), who handles marketing and communications at the supplier. Mello and Colbert’s visit to JournalBooks was a chance to connect with the supplier and its staff, and learn more about its operations, facility and outlook on the industry.

Keene, Mello and Colbert’s conversation also touched on the importance of education at the company, specifically on how they keep their customers up-to-date with what JournalBooks can do for them, and internally, how they can stay current with trends and best practices.

“We are a made-to-order company, and a lot of clients are intimidated when you say custom or made-to-order because they feel like they have to make these difficult decisions—they’re not sure what’s the best, what’s the most popular, what works well,” says Keene. “One of our biggest goals is to educate distributors on not only what works and how much time it would take, etc., but also to give them the peace of mind that you don’t have to know it all, we can work with you to figure out what works best for your project and fits your needs.”

JournalBooks staff also works together to identify and share information and observations about the industry. Keene says, “We’re always keeping an eye on what’s going on within and outside the industry. And we’re all good at sharing what we see with each other, just so everyone’s aware. Most of us come from a retail background rather than promotional products, so there’s definitely a learning curve to put yourself in the shoes of a distributor or end user.”