Reflections on 25 Years of Revolutionizing the Promotional Gifting Business

Dear Journal,

Reflections on 25 Years of Revolutionizing the Promotional Gifting BusinessThis past June marked the 25th year Red Scarf Gift Co (formerly Red Scarf Promotions) has been in business. Our little Mohawk Man wearing the Red Scarf decided it was time to hang up his hat, or should I say red scarf?

Looking back it has been a wild and exciting ride! I started my business at 38 years of age (which was already considered old) and it was NOT my world. After a couple of appointments, I thought I was going to sell pencils on the street! As I sat in my new office on Bathurst St, I asked myself, how the heck am I going to sell a white C handled mug and a pen? This is so boring! What have I done? I really ought to go back to the fashion business. It was amazing to me that clients in the corporate world did not have the gift of visualization or imagination. They couldn’t visualize red, purple, orange or any colour for that matter! Note: this was the first opportunity!

Good Lord! Where do I go from here?

As I sat in my chair, depressed and unmotivated, I asked myself: what do I do best? What do I love? How am I going to change and differentiate myself from the snap crispy jackets and calendars of the world?  I realized that if I was going to make any money at all, I would have to change the way business was done, at least between Red Scarf and Mr./Miss Client.

I mention the first flag… that was the first gap that needed be filled. The first thing I did was pick up a phone and reached out to my fashion world for some washed denim shirts that were colourful and interesting. they were beautiful! Comfortable, easy to wear, they were corporately acceptable and certainly a refreshing change from the crispy, slippery textiles that were currently available that I couldn’t stand touching.

The gap the needed to be filled was that colour was void at this time. No one was showing any colour except for: black, navy, green and burgundy….yikes! Clients needed to see there were other possibilities and they were not restricted to those boring colours or apparel! A “shake up” was in order.

I called Bell Canada, spoke to a VP of Marketing I think, and asked for an appointment. The name of my company had something to do with the fact that appointments were easy to get, however, it’s fair to say that the phone was the only way to reach out to new clients and cold calling was perfectly acceptable.

That was 1995! Bell Canada clients jumped at these beautiful shirts and not only was the phone ringing off the hook, Red Scarf received preferred vendorship status from Bell that lasted a magnificent 15 years. As I previously mentioned, it was an exciting and wild ride!

How did Red Scarf get its name? Only a few bold clients asked me this question during the 25 years and it is a big secret!

Until next week….

Joanna Ranucci of Red Scarf Gift Co - Unique Promotional and Gifting for Incentives and Rewards - Toronto Canada