Promo International are a product sourcing and manufacturing company, recently acquired by PCC. We spoke to Director, Peter Townsend, to talk about what Promo International do, his experiences since joining our business, and everything in between…
So Peter, what did you know about PCC before you joined the business?
Before we came on board, I’d worked with PCC for about three years on various projects, working with the Lead Supply team. Paragon seemed like a very good fit for us, in terms of the potential of what we could help to deliver for their client base. Everyone I've met so far has been really professional and engaging. People are interested in what we're doing and where our project is going.
That’s what we like to hear! So, what would you say is the key thing you can deliver for clients?
We can design and develop relevant, creative merchandise for whatever message our clients need to get out to their customers. People are always wanting to communicate, and we can help them do that, and help them stand out in a noisy marketplace.
We can come up with products that people enjoy using, and which resonate. I love working with creative clients – the quirkier the better. We’ve recently onboarded P&G, working on the 2021 Xmas gifting for Old Spice. It's a global project, which is a great start.
When we can be creative, we can make the message relevant and make a connection that lasts.
So what’s the quirkiest thing you’ve sourced for a client?
I think the weirdest thing we've ever produced are wheel clamps for the DVLA. It’s a classic example of what happens when you’re a sourcing company - being able to produce a product competitively, no matter how unusual.
And what did you do before Promo International?
I founded the business in 1987, originally as Olympic Promotional Watches. At one time, we were the biggest importer of watches into the UK – around two million per year. We then morphed the business into a general sourcing company.
That’s a lot of watches! How did you get into that?
It came from my involvement in motor racing – I started in 1982 and raced professionally for five years. I competed with people like Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert in Formula Ford racing, and was British Champion in 1984.
That’s genuinely impressive!
Thanks. I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. And with racing I got to enjoy being scared - keeping the car completely on the limit. Now my thrill seeking is limited to playing golf and riding my motorbike around the lanes of Essex.
I’m now going to attempt a crashing change of tone and move onto some other, more important questions. What did you have for your tea last night?
Chili con carne! My wife is the chef in our house, and since lockdown she’s become obsessed with those Gousto ingredient/recipe boxes. Honestly, they’re off the scale - everything utterly delicious.
I’ll be sure to give them a go. Who’s the worst celebrity for you to be stuck in a lift with?
Joey Essex. It's really a talent to be that silly.
I’ve interviewed a few people from Essex recently, and I get the feeling that TOWIE has been a bit of an albatross around their collective necks. Anyway, what’s your favourite holiday destination?
Definitely Switzerland. I love skiing, love walking in the mountains. We go twice a year.
Do you have a favourite word?
That’s awesome. And do you have a least favourite?
There’s no need to be so abrupt. Oh, you mean ‘No’ is your least favourite word?
Ok. What’s the best piece of advice you've been given?
Measure twice, cut once. I stick by that. Get everything straight, get your facts right, then act.
That’s something we can all live by. Finally, what superpower would you have?
I think I’d choose invisibility. Do you know where my mind went there? I thought it’d be good because I could go into clients’ offices and read our competitors’ quotes!