skucon 2018, Las Vegas skucon 2018, Las Vegas

The Conference for

Innovators, Explorers and Dreamers

In the promotional marketing industry.

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LAS VEGAS/January 14, 2018

About Skucon

Hello, friends!

skucon is back!

So many of our friends keep making skucon bigger and better each year! And we are proud to announce an all new venue, just a few blocks down from the old venue!

This year, we’re joined by headlining acts that represent some of the most imaginative brands in the business: Icebox, Strideline, and marketing maven, April Dunford.

By popular demand, we also welcome back our wildly unpredictable Entrepreneur Jam that allows three young entrepreneurs to pose their unique challenges to a panel of pros and to you, the audience.

In the afternoon: mind-altering Jam Sessions. Improvisational riffs guided by leaders in each field. From importing to e-commerce, these topical sessions are high-impact, quick delivery presentations with some back-and-forth question-and-answer time, but concentrated together so that you can get the maximum value from multiple jams.

And the real swagger?

The community. It’s no longer a secret. We outgrew our old venue because the commonsku community is a movement: a growing gathering of the freshest, most innovative thinkers in the industry. Tired of the way business used to be, they are leaders of today, leaders of tomorrow, and they are shaking shit up with attitude and verve.

So, come chill with our friends from the Icebox. Style into 2018 with Strideline, master your marketing with the maven herself, April Dunford, and jam with your friends.

Mark and Catherine

Why Attend?

The only 1-day conference jam-packed with the entrepreneur’s essentials:

  • Stake your market dominance with the boldest brand strategies.
  • Unleash your potential with stores and ecommerce.
  • Learn the new social that’s nothing like the old social.
  • Harness the strength of supplier negotiations.
  • Ignite your love for incentives.
  • Freshen your outlook with fashion-forward trends.
  • Empower and inspire your team to successful autonomy.
  • Discover the heavy-margin world of direct importing.
  • Explore how sustainability drives a profitable enterprise.
  • Understand how operating excellence fuels growth.
  • Develop peace-of-mind despite a chaotic and break-neck pace.
  • Make marketing the message that moves your audience.

There is nothing like skucon in the industry.

Robert Fiveash

Brand Fuel

You walk away with so many amazing ideas at the end of the day.

Nicole Hite

RuMe Brandsuite

I love skucon. This is my favorite event.

Adam Walterscheid

T-Shirt Tycoon Solutions, Inc.

It’s about meeting and connecting with like-minded people.

Winston Lo

Boulevard Advertising Inc.


Jan 14, 2018
Location: The Venue, 750 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV

7:45 - 9:00 am

7:45 - 9:00 am

Registration + Breakfast

9:00 - 9:25 am

9:00 - 9:25 am


9:25 - 10:15 am

9:25 - 10:15 am

Obviously Awesome - How Context Setting can Take Your Company from What? to Wow!

Differentiation in a crowded market is critical. In this session, you will learn how context can transform a commonplace commodity into an obviously awesome experience for your customers, and how this subtle shift can present your solution or product in a way that distinguishes your brand. As customers struggle to make sense out of thousands of products and too many choices, you’ll learn that context is the key to breaking through the clutter and being heard and you'll discover how a few simple techniques can help you set context for your own promotional products business to get you noticed. Join our special guest, April Dunford, former VP Marketing with IBM, Nortel, and Siebel, and Market Positioning expert, as we explore how to use context to stand out in a crowd!

10:15 - 11:05 am

10:15 - 11:05 am

Taking Success in Stride: Lessons from Retail to Wholesale

Featured in Forbes and the New York Times, with licensing agreements from the NFL, ESPN, the NCAA, and MLS, and in stores like Nordstrom’s and Cosco (and many more!) Strideline socks adorn the feet of stars from Snoop Dog to Antonio Brown. As one of the hottest brands to hit the B2C and B2B market, co-founders Jake Director and Riley Goodman share the stage together and reflect on their journey from becoming a retail trendsetter to the challenges faced (and opportunities ahead) for a retail brand entering the promo space. From their views on direct selling, to the future of the promotional products industry and B2B market, Jake and Riley will share their story in a way that will give you insight into converting trends into opportunities, grasping the importance of market positioning, manufacturing and marketing best practices, and navigating the fast lane from start-up to success.

11:05 - 11:30 am

11:05 - 11:30 am


11:30 - 12:30 pm

11:30 - 12:30 pm

Entrepreneur Jam Session

Three entrepreneurs have five minutes to make a brief presentation about their business and then pose a challenge they are facing to a group of expert panelists (as well as the audience). The panelists then respond with their advice and (just like a musical jam session) the expert panelists riff off each other, and come up with a score of ideas that play well for both entrepreneur and the audience. Join us for a fast-paced, idea-generating jam!

12:30 - 1:30 pm

12:30 - 1:30 pm


1:30 - 2:15 pm


1:30 - 2:15 pm

Importing Secrets: How to Make Creativity the Commodity Killer Virtue Vice Bar

Fundamentally, there is no difference between a $500 stock order and a $50,000 import order, so why aren’t more distributors playing in the import world? Russ Mogell, importing impresario, will share fundamental ideas on why you should be offering custom-import to your clients and how to make importing easier by harnessing creativity as a commodity killer. Tips will include how to turn a generic product into something bespoke for a brand, how to deliver “Wow!” and “A-ha!” moments with killer merch, making friends with the complicated world of compliance, using importing to your competitive advantage, and more! Join Russ as he shares examples and stories from his experience that will help you maximize opportunities through the world of importing!

Build a Kick-Ass Brand that Attracts Kick-Ass Clients Virginia

How do you attract big name companies to work with you and your brand? Companies like Pepsi, Trident, RayBan, Sundance, New York Fashion Week, SXSW, The Grammy’s, and Levi’s, have turned to Renya and her team to build powerful promotions and create killer campaigns. In this session, Renya will share her experience working with these brands and reflect on tools that you can use to position yourself to work with the right kind of clients. From understanding the importance of brand anthropology to making profound impressions with your personal brand, Renya will share tips on the right attitude, trend spotting, fashion-forward design, and marketing ideas you can use to work with the very best. Join us for a no-holds-barred discussion on building a kick-ass brand that attracts kick-ass clients.

The Value of Values Virginia

Your core values drive the growth of your organization. Your values are paramount in winning and developing new business and improving the customer experience. Your values are instrumental in the evolution of your team’s growth and are a critical factor for recruitment and retention and your values shape your company, both as a framework for decision making by your leadership team, as well as guiding principals throughout the organization. Join Andy Thorne and Sarah Penn as they share how they arrived at their core values and discuss how these values build the culture of their business and have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

How Operational Excellence Fuels Profitable Growth Bugsy

Building top line growth is relatively easy in this industry but increasing profit so that you can invest and grow for the future is much tougher. Join Brandon Mackay as he walks through operational principles that have helped grow Snugz from a 6-person company to a $40 million, profitable powerhouse. Included in this session will be ideas you can use to help move from chaos to systems and from disorder to discipline, a session dedicated to process improvement, helping you work smarter, grow your net profit, and enjoy your work more!

Q&A with Keynote Speaker April Dunford on Market Positioning, Differentiation, and How to Truly Stand Out in a Crowd! VIP Lounge

Market positioning and differentiation are complex strategies that often gets lost in the weeds when it comes to practical application. Join April as she hosts a special Q&A session for skucon attendees that will expound on her morning keynote by answering your questions directly, it will be an informal and intimate Q&A intended to bring the general conversation of product and market positioning to your specific challenges. Come prepared with your questions and join the fun!

Aaron's Office Hours Virginia

Questions about commonsku? Curious about best practices? Join Aaron Kucherawy, commonsku’s Manager of Customer Success, in an open session intended to give you the time and space to ask questions about the platform. This is a Q&A made available to anyone curious about commonsku or anyone who wants to make sure they are using the platform to its full potential.

2:15 - 3:00 pm


2:15 - 3:00 pm

How to Turn Your Customer's Brand into Lifestyle Brand Virtue Vice Bar

Brands like Red Bull, Harley Davidson, and Porsche couldn’t be more different yet they have one critical thing in common: they have each grown from mere products with logos to lifestyle brands that represent a movement. Every brand has the potential to become a lifestyle brand. In this session with Kathy Cheng, whose experience includes manufacturing for global trendsetters such as Roots Canada, J Crew and Billy Reid, as well as one of the industry’s leading fashion-forward companies, Redwood Classics; we’ll explore ideas that can help nurture your customer’s brand into a lifestyle brand that people love. You’ll learn the critical questions to ask clients so that you can develop product that speaks their story and you’ll discover the emotional touchpoints that can inspire lifestyle branding for every company. Included will be tips on how to incorporate retail trends that inspire a brand’s identity and best practices that help us engage with supplier partners by capitalizing on their experience and design architecture. Join us for a forward-thinking conversation and a fast-paced look at building a lifestyle brand!

Building the Agency Model Virginia

Janie Gaunce, President/CEO of Grapevine Designs, has built one of the most successful creative agency distributorships in the business. As one of the earliest adopters of the agency model, throughout Janie’s career, she learned many lessons that can help you determine if this model is right for you. In this session, Janie will answer the following questions:

  • What does the “agency approach” even mean?
  • Why would you consider the agency approach?
  • When does it make sense to grow into this model?
  • Where and how do you start?
  • How do you build an ace-team? Who are your critical roles?
  • How do you engage with clients with this model?
  • What does a fee structure and/or product pricing look like with this model?

The agency model is actually harder work but it can be incredibly rewarding. At the end of this session, you will have a grasp on whether or not this model is right for you and, if it is, how to begin implementing this model in your business today.

Rapid Fire 30-in-30: Company Stores, Ad Campaigns, and E-Commerce Experiences from the Trenches Bugsy

From company stores to using adclick campaigns to drive sales, we’re covering a range of ecommerce tips in a rapid fire conversation about how to use digital tools to build a successful business. We’ll answer 30 questions in 30 minutes on topics related to ecommerce driven sales including company stores, adclick campaigns, and more. From platforms to contracts, and our best 401 tips, join us for a wide-ranging, rocket-fueled Q&A on how to navigate the digital landscape with key revenue drivers. Join us for the challenge and the fun!

Up Your Marketing Game Exec. Conf. Room

Time was when a catalog, website, and email were all you needed to market your wares. That was then. Now, you need to tell stories, provide inspiration, and bring a cadre of ideas for your clients. In this session we'll talk about how to do just that through tactics like trend reports, curated collections, case studies, and more. Join Lee Strom, Vice President of Marketing and CMO of SanMar, who, through his experience with SanMar, REI, and Eddie Bauer honed the foundations of his marketing craft with essential tools that help him stay on top of the marketing game.

Differentiate to Win! VIP Lounge

A critical problem facing every distributor today is one of uniqueness: building a business that customers recognize as immediately different and one that provides obvious value. In this session, Stephanie Leader will be sharing secrets from her journey as they worked to discover their uniqueness and help you learn how to determine yours. Stephanie will help answer the questions:

  • What’s really different about your differentiator? How do you find your uniqueness?
  • Am I just a commodity? How do you compete on differentiation and win?
  • Once you have defined your UVP, how do you successfully sell into a large company?
  • Buzzword of the year is "innovation" but, how do you create value with that? Do customers really want it? Are they willing to pay for it? How important is price?
  • Why picking good client partners adds value to your value-prop.

Join us for a crucial conversation on how to celebrate your uniqueness by standing up and standing out!

Aaron's Office Hours Virginia

Questions about commonsku? Curious about best practices? Join Aaron Kucherawy, commonsku’s Manager of Customer Success, in an open session intended to give you the time and space to ask questions about the platform. This is a Q&A made available to anyone curious about commonsku or anyone who wants to make sure they are using the platform to its full potential.

3:00 - 3:45 pm


3:00 - 3:45 pm

Stress Less: How to Thrive in a Deadline Driven Industry Virtue Vice Bar

A deadline driven profession is filled with many stressful moments. Many who have mastered the profession have also figured out ways to manage stress and thrive, despite the sometimes tumultuous and often unpredictable nature of the business. In this session, Roni will discuss:

  • How to distinguish the symptoms of stress from the reality of reactionary responses to deadlines
  • How stress impacts our lives, our behavior, our work, and frustrates our success
  • The benefits of creating mini-mindful moments in your day
  • The power of "mind over what doesn’t matter"
  • Mindfulness at work: the real power tool

Join us for a rich discussion on how to stress less, enjoy work more, while thriving, despite deadlines and uncertainties.

Four No-Bullshit Ways to Leverage Social to Drive Sales Virginia

Social media, community engagement, and events have allowed RIGHTSLEEVE to scale and grow sales and margins over the last 10 years. In this session with Ria Lupton, marketing manager at RIGHTSLEEVE, you’ll discover four no-bullshit ways to build a strong, social brand that actually leads to more business. You’ll learn how RIGHTSLEEVE has used social media to successfully engage and grow sales with top tier clients like McDonald’s and Salesforce and how to build strong communities that lead to deeper engagement and significant growth. Join Ria as she shares case studies highlighting what works and what doesn’t!

From Incentives to Engagement! Exec. Conf. Room

"Incentives" is a word that has been stripped of its meaning and one that commoditizes a much bigger opportunity. Motivation is no longer about dangling carrots in front of people to get them to do things they don't want to do, motivation today is about connecting and engaging with people in authentic ways to achieve mutual goals. The question for the modern "incentives" company today is: How do you drive engagement? This evolution, from incentives to engagement, marks a shift in the way company's motive and inspire their employees, and it's a ripe field for those in the promotional marketing profession who want to add value to their service offerings. The engagement dialogue puts you in the center of the conversation about some of the most pressing topics that face your customers (and you!) today. In this session, Anita Emoff will discuss the evolution of incentives-to-engagement and reflect on her experience building Boost Rewards while working with large customers, plus, discuss the rewarding opportunities that are available for those who want to carve a niche in the new motivational industry.

How to Find Time to Kick Ass in Business Development Virginia

In the day-to-day busyness of dealing with clients, managing orders, and handling fires, business development tends to be the first thing to drop off. The trick to making time for this critical aspect of growing sales is to make small shifts in your daily habits, creating organization and structure that make small pockets of time efficient. In this session, you will learn how to organize your prospects, clients, and schedule to find time to make business development happen.

Suppliers: Faster, Better and Higher Quality Lead Gen with commonsku Bugsy

Suppliers are landing deals, getting access to hard-to-reach distributors, collaborating on real-time projects, increasing sales, and getting their new products noticed ... all through commonsku. In this session, Samantha Kates will share some of the tips, hacks, and best practices that will help you:

  • Capture real-time leads
  • Amp your interaction with distributors on real-time projects
  • Gain insight into a customer’s business, leading to more engagement and more sales
  • Embrace marketing strategies for the next gen supplier
  • Make lasting connections with customers

Aaron's Office Hours Virginia

Questions about commonsku? Curious about best practices? Join Aaron Kucherawy, commonsku’s Manager of Customer Success, in an open session intended to give you the time and space to ask questions about the platform. This is a Q&A made available to anyone curious about commonsku or anyone who wants to make sure they are using the platform to its full potential.

3:45 - 4:15 pm

3:45 - 4:15 pm


4:15 - 5:15 pm

4:15 - 5:15 pm

Secrets from the Swag Masters: How Icebox Keeps It Cool Virtue Vice Bar

The Icebox has earned a reputation for being the most innovative and edgy swag fanatics on the planet. Join Chief Swag Officer Scott Alterman on a ride through their crazy journey as he shares lessons learned on how to build a swag empire while constantly evolving. From Icebox University to their amazing showroom, insane videos, and even the practicalities of shipping over 50,000 orders annually, we’ll peek behind the curtains at one of the most vibrant brands in the business today to learn what it takes to stay fresh and keep it cool.

5:15 - 5:30 pm

5:15 - 5:30 pm


5:30 - 7:00 pm

5:30 - 7:00 pm

skucon Closing Party

You'll be buzzing with new ideas, come share them with friends! Join us as we party on the 2nd-floor patio and take in the awesome views of downtown Vegas. Unwind over food and drink (reception style) and connect with friends, old and new. Perfect nightcap for a madhouse day!


The Venue, Las Vegas, 750 E. Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV

  • Sunday, January 14, 2018
  • Conference: 8:00am-5:00pm; Reception/Light Dinner 5:00-7:00pm
  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks, cocktails and a light dinner on January 14 are included in your registration fee.
  • No refunds issued after Dec 1, 2017
  • Recommended conference hotel: Downtown Grand, 206 N. 3rd St. Las Vegas, 855-384-7263. (we don’t have special rates with the hotel)
  • Prefer airbnb? Check out these cool options here
  • Questions? Drop us a line at

Presenting Partners

Power Partners

Supporting Partners