ASI’s Counselor Magazine Names Hottest Entrepreneurs

Kathy Cheng of Redwood Classics Apparel tops 2015 Hot 25 list of  promo trailblazers

TREVOSE, PA – June 3, 2015 – Kathy Cheng, the force behind one of the hottest apparel brands in North America, topped Counselor® magazine’s 2015 Hot 25 list of the most successful entrepreneurs and trailblazers in the promotional products industry.

Cheng, president and owner of Toronto-based Redwood Classics Apparel (asi/81627), grew the business 87% from 2012-2014. The company makes all its garments in Canada. “We place a tremendous amount of focus on our people and planet through a strong framework of human rights and social and environmental initiatives,” Cheng told Counselor. “Profit comes after.”

Counselor, the“voice” of the industry, is published by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI).
The results and more information on all Hot 25 winners were published in the June “Hot” issue of the award-winning Counselor magazine, along with 2015’s hottest product design and advertising awards, and 10 fastest-growing supplier and distributor companies.

The people on the list of 27 movers and shakers from 25 ad specialty companies were celebrated during ASI Show® New York at a rooftop party at Dream Downtown nightclub in New York City.

“The hardest part of compiling a short list of this industry’s hottest suppliers, distributors, decorators and salespeople is narrowing down the names, since there are so many hardworking, results-driven innovators to choose from in an industry that thrives on high pressure and creativity,” said Counselor Editor Andy Cohen. “These ad specialty industry professionals are the ones getting noticed, taking the market by storm and most definitely refusing to look back. They’re changing the industry by approaching business in highly unique ways, standing out from the pack with their energy, vision and inspiration.”

Anyone in the $21.5 billion promotional products industry can nominate a peer for the annual Hot List, published since 2008. ASI’s editorial team reviews each nomination and determines the top innovators.

The Counselor 2015 Hot 25:

1. Kathy Cheng, president and owner of Toronto’s Redwood Classics Apparel (asi/81627).
2. John Infantino, president of Bay Area distributor BrandVessel (asi/145158).
3. Jeff Scult, founder of San Francisco fashion apparel supplier Golden Goods (asi/57695).
4. Jennifer Powell, account manager for Atlanta-area distributor Inkhead Promotional Products (asi/231159).
5. Grace Hiles, new business development and project coordinator for Atlanta distributor Booker Promotions (asi/142800).
6. Todd Schneiderman, VP of sales at Nashville’s Something Inked (asi/466856).
7. Faride Jarufe and Martin Lopez, leaders of Honduras-based Grupo Fama distributorship (asi/215405).
8. Joseph Sommer, owner of New York City’s Whitestone Works (asi/359741).
9. Nicole Parker, director of sales and marketing at Kansas-based apparel company Dri Duck Traders Inc. (asi/50835).
10. Steve Flaughers, owner of Ohio supplier Proforma 3rd Degree Marketing (asi/300094).
11. Damien Vieille, CEO of supplier A-1 Vitabri Canopies (asi/94101).
12. Jamie McCabe and Michelle Merrifield, owner/president and VP of operations of Canadian distributor McCabe Promotional Products (asi/264901).
13. Billie Whitehouse, co-founder of Wearable Experiments.
14. Mike Wolfe, CEO of Chicago-based distributor Zorch (asi/366078).
15. Yousuf Razzak, CEO of decorator Chicago Printing & Embroidery (asi/161697).
16. Jessica Hutwelker, account manager for Sunrise Identity (asi/339206).
17. Marcus Davis, product development leader for Hanes Branded Printwear (asi/59528).
18. Adam Decker, president of supplier Logo Mats (asi/67849).
19. Jim Martin, VP of Texas supplier Numo (asi/74710).
20. Vicki Ostrom, senior designer for apparel supplier SanMar (asi/84863).
21. Lisa Smith, owner of distributor firm Republic Promos (asi/307316).
22. Maria Cristina Rivera, owner of distributor firm Bistaruba Advertising, of Aruba (asi/140616).
23. Eva Schone, founder of Texas-based supplier Trophyology (asi/92231).
24. Wesley Merson, VP of sales for Pennsylvania supplier Emperor Marketing (asi/52371).
25. Robin Crampton Steele, VP of marketing and client relations at Florida supplier IDproductsource (asi/62088).

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Learn more at and on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.