Former First Lady and her daughter share hard-won advice and wisdom at inaugural trade show
TREVOSE, PA – February 7, 2019 – The ASI Show®launched its inaugural trade show in Fort Worth with a one-hour keynote with former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Today Show correspondent Jenna Hager. The mother-daughter duo wowed nearly 700 business owners and entrepreneurs with their deep appreciation for the opportunities they’ve enjoyed as part of a political dynasty, along with the special privilege of helping others succeed.
“We’re such a fortunate, wealthy nation,” said Mrs. Bush, who works tirelessly on global healthcare, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform and supporting America’s military. “Every generation should have the opportunity to be educated. Parents should set the expectation early that their children will go to school and stay in school. Kids deserve the chance to learn and pursue their dreams.”
By coincidence, the Bush-Hager keynote took place five years to the day President George W. Bush spoke at another of ASI’s Texas trade shows. ASI’s three-day Fort Worth show (#ASIFortWorth), which ended Wednesday at the Fort Worth Convention Center, grew this year to over 4,300 attendees, up 17%, with 433 exhibitors, up 12% over its Texas show last year. The brand-new show attracted exhibitors and distributors from 43 states and four countries, along with 724 companies from Texas, 200 women-owned and 185 minority-owned companies.
Click here to read a Counselor story on the keynote and click here to read a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper on the economic impact the ASI show had on the city, estimated to be $2.8 million.
In 2017, Texas alone accounted for $2.95 billion in sales of promotional products, and at $8.5 billion, the South leads the nation in total sales of logoed items companies, schools and nonprofits typically give away to promote their company, brand or event.
The warm and witty Mrs. Bush and Jenna laughed with each other while enjoying an easy rapport with the moderator of the Q&A, ASI president and chief executive officer, Timothy M. Andrews, who asked them about their experiences living in the White House, working in the family “business” of politics, writing bestselling books together – and their favorite promotional products.
Mrs. Bush drew the biggest laugh of the morning when she pulled out a Laura Bush bobblehead she said she’d gotten off the clearance rack after Barack Obama became president. Jenna said she loved the “Jenna and Henry” mousepads sold at a store in Crawford, TX, where she and her husband married in 2008.
“It was wonderful,” said Laura Rosenfield, of Buffalo Specialties (asi/149870). “We loved the interaction between mom and daughter. They were just real, down-to-earth people giving us history and how their family life was impacted by it, which made for a wonderful and memorable presentation.”
Mrs. Bush and Jenna, who recently co-wrote Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life with her twin sister Barbara and two children’s books with her mother, also described the joys and challenges of working closely with family members, a message that certainly resonated with those audience members involved in managing family-run businesses.
“Not everyone has the same working style, and that’s OK,” said Jenna. “I think we’re harder on each other as family.”
ASI’s Education Day attendance was 458, up 12%, and 600 people enjoyed networking opportunities at the ASI Show Bash at Billy Bob’s Texas on Tuesday night, featuring a full bar, buffet, live music, armadillo racing, line dancing and a bull riding show. A motivational breakfast with Dallas Cowboys great Roger Staubach thrilled the crowd, especially as the former quarterback threw three autographed footballs to distributors.
“I was blown away by the attendance numbers, the growth in exhibitor participation and the incredibly positive feedback I’ve gotten all week from people loving our very first Fort Worth show,” said Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior vice president and general manager of ASI Show. “It’s always a little bit of a risk moving a popular show, and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s willingness to try something new and couldn’t be happier that our members are as thrilled as we are with the move.”
Plus, 14 distributor companies chose Fort Worth to hold meetings, 12 of which are top 100 companies like American Solutions for Business (ASB), which brought 400 sales associates to the show, HALO Branded Solutions, Proforma, Taylor Communications, Geiger, AIA Corporation, iPROMOTEu, Kaeser & Blair, Safeguard and more.
Attendees said they loved the action on the show floor and the chance to meet with old friends and industry colleagues while talking to suppliers about their newest products.
“I really like coming to ASI Shows, especially this one, because I discover so many new items and get great ideas,” said distributor Benjamin Best, of the UPS Store (asi/500033). “I always leave feeling positive. The move to Fort Worth is great! I’m from Dallas, but I love coming here because you still get the feeling of a big city, but with a small-town feel. There is plenty to do and see here and it’s easy to get around.”
Andrea Winans, of Proforma-Angelini (asi/491557) said, “We’re from Houston and we see a lot of regional and table top shows come through town, but we always make a point to make it to this ASI Show. Top national and large regional suppliers commit to exhibit which makes it very appealing to those of us who can’t make it to Las Vegas or Orlando at the beginning of the year. You could probably do it in a full day, but why? The education before the show and the fun events after makes it worthwhile to stay.”
Suppliers told ASI they enjoyed meeting face-to-face with the distributors who crowded into their booths.
“We’ve had a lot of traffic and interest, and everybody at ASI Show has been great to work with,” said supplier Luca Bianconcini, of Ted’s Cigars (asi/68596). “So many leads! We couldn’t be happier with the results.”
After hosting an annual show in Dallas every year since 2003, ASI moved its show to Fort Worth, citing its walkable downtown, easy travel to and from near-by airports, hotel access and affordability.
“We’ve had a great time in Fort Worth,” said distributor Denise Long, of First Impression (asi/194421), echoing the sentiment of many. “We loved Dallas and always had a great time at those shows, but we really love the freshness and energy of Fort Worth. It’s been a great change.”
Carla Sisk, of Colormix Graphics (asi/165002) said, “The convention center has been accommodating and easy to navigate. Downtown Fort Worth is awesome – very walkable to restaurants, bars and hotels. We’ve had a great time and are really looking forward to coming back here next year. Good job, ASI Show, for choosing Fort Worth.”
Registration is now open for ASI Chicago, taking place Tuesday, July 9, through Thursday, July 11, at the McCormick Place convention center, featuring TEDx speaker Luke Williams.
For more information on ASI shows, contact Cheryl Kahan-Radhuber, director of marketing, at [email protected].
About ASI Show
The ASI Show Family of Events – ASI Show, fASIlitate, fASI 500 and the ASI Roadshow in the U.S. and Canada – fosters business-building relationships among ASI member distributors and suppliers, and includes options to meet the needs of the entire membership base. ASI Shows, the flagship series, are large-scale convention center trade shows held in Orlando, Fort Worth and Chicago. fASIlitate is a hosted buyer event that brings together the industry’s elite – top suppliers and million-dollar distributors – for three days of scheduled one-on-one meetings in select hotels across the country. fASI 500 is a new hosted buyer event which brings together suppliers and distributors who sell over a half of a million dollars in the promotional products industry. The ASI Roadshow visits top cities across North America and gives distributors an opportunity to escort their top clients. Visit www.asishow.com for more information about our full event portfolio.