Meet Brenda Curland, Queen of Promotional Gifts

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Everyone loves a promotional giveaway.

Whether you’re at a trade show, a BrandSource event or even the barbershop, these logo-emblazoned handouts help us remember the business or occasion while often providing real-world functionality. (Think how handy that flashlight keychain has been!)

For the businesses behind them, that translates into goodwill, countless visual impressions and a positive association with the brand, making for a cost-effective marketing investment.

Helping to spread that positivity for AVB/BrandSource and scores of other companies is Brenda Curland, President of JIM Promotions & Uniforms in Cordova, TN. For the past 11 years she has owned and led the family-held business, which began as her parents’ men’s clothing store.

As Curland recounted, the business branched out into embroidered and screen-printed uniforms and staff apparel in 1988, and later added promotional items to help its clients promote their companies. “As the retail business changed, we closed the retail store and began doing business fulltime as JIM Promotions & Uniforms,” she said.

Today, JIM Promotions is the go-to resource for promotional items, apparel and uniforms for all manner of businesses, as well as government agencies and casinos. Her assortment runs the gamut from customized pens and water bottles to smartphone PopSockets and wireless chargers. You may have seen or actually own examples of Curland’s work if you ever attended a BrandSource show, where members have been variously treated to imprinted shirts, hats, pens, sticky notepads and highlighters.

If you were lucky enough to be a Dealer of the Year, add a branded floormat to your takeaways, while at last summer’s Convention, 50th Anniversary members left in style, donning BrandSource-emblazoned Members Only jackets. Member dealers also do business with JIM Promotions, ordering imprinted pens, warranty folders and gift-with-purchase drinkware, as well as company attire for the staff, including their service and delivery teams. All courtesy of Curland and Vice President of Sales Barry Stamm, who is the point-person for all AVB and BrandSource-related promotional products and apparel.

Curland started out 31 years ago working part-time in her parents’ business, as the flexible hours allowed her to also care for her family. As her children grew older she began putting in more hours, and following her mom’s passing in 2009 became president and principal of the company.

Curland said she enjoys the diverse nature of the promotions trade, in which she finds herself working on various projects for a wide range of customers. “We have many different types of clients,” she noted. “They range from corporations to universities to government agencies. We may have an order for 20,000 pens for FedEx at the same time we have an order for five embroidered shirts for a newly-hired staff person at one of our furniture clients.”

Asked if being a female owner has helped or hindered the business, Curland said the former.

“Being a woman-owned company has expanded our business,” she said, noting that JIM Promotions is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for female business owners and entrepreneurs. WBENC Certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing some of the country’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many state and local government entities. In addition, her company is certified “Woman Owned” by Tennessee, the city of Memphis and local Shelby County.

“With these certifications, extra opportunities are provided for business,” Curland said.

Aided by the certifications and Curland’s business acumen, JIM Promotions enjoyed a solid 2019, and the company is looking forward to “a great 2020,” she said. A key growth area is technology products such as Bluetooth speakers, portable power banks, Apple AirPods and the aforementioned wireless chargers, while the current culture of casual attire has actually benefitted her uniform business.

“Casual dress has increased our uniform business, as it has allowed more people to be a part of [extending] brand recognition for our clients,” she explained. “Today, you will see staff as well as delivery personnel wearing embroidered casual attire. I see casual dress as another opportunity for my clients to advertise their businesses.”

In fact, embroidered polo shirts (with moisture-wicking, non-snag features) are one of JIM Promotions’ most popular products, Curland said. And despite rising demand for tech items, imprinted pens and tumblers remain top sellers.

So if you’re attending next week’s Summit 2020, visit Brenda and Barry on the Expo floor, and raise a BrandSource-engraved travel mug or tip your embroidered baseball cap to and JIM Promotions.

YSN is published by AVB/BrandSource.