Interview with Tetsu Liew of Empire Promos in New York

interviewHenk : Dear Tetsu, Could you please give some short feedback about your company, I learned your company is working since 1984 in Premium and gift business ? Does your company import products from China, or do you source from US suppliers ? For which major corporations does your company work ?
Tetsu : Although most of the products we sell are made in China, we work with trusted intermediaries in the United States to procure the imports. Some of our suppliers import the items directly from China on our behalf. Others buy the products and imprint them for us as needed.
Our company has worked extensively with many major corporations and nonprofits during the twenty plus years we have been in business. These include: American Express, Barnes & Noble, Citicorp, Prudential Investments, the United Nations, MTV, OppenheimerFunds, Universal Motown Records, Young & Rubicam, Elsevier and Continental Airlines.

interviewHenk : Are your clients mainly based in New York or do you also serve clients throughout the US or even abroad ? Your website is very complete, and it seems easy to order online. So I suppose you get orders from all over the US ?

Tetsu : Before we launched our website, we were mainly a local agency serving the business community in New York, which consists of many different kinds of business and organizations including nonprofits and companies involved in financial services, health care and media. Through our major corporate clients we have always been involved with providing service to their overseas divisions. Our local market also includes cultural institutions, real estate companies, associations and law firms.
As we’ve expanded our web presence, our client base has diversified nationally and globally. In the U.S., we now work with government agencies, schools, religious institutions, and companies in technology, pharmaceutical, industrial and many other fields. We provide service to clients in the US who need to ship abroad, and clients in other countries who need promotional gifts to distribute in the US.

interviewHenk : What makes your company different from other distributors in the industry ? In other words, why do your clients choose your company rather than your competitors.
Tetsu :We have always been on the cutting edge of new products. Our in-house art department has always created art for clients to approve before their orders go into production. Our clients like our responsiveness, creativity and efficiency. Our prices are competivie even though our service is above par. Now our clients love our website, which gives them a wide selection of products that are attractive and well-priced. Here’s what our some of our clients have to say about us:
Nicole Pilla, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Hi Carol,
Just to let you know, that everything turned out awesome! You guys did a fabulous job! Everyone was just thrilled!!!! Your customer service was exceptional! Thank you so much for your fast turn around. All of your hard work was truly appreciated. I definitely look forward to doing business with you again. I have already started giving out your web site to my colleagues!

Lauren Foster, The Israeli Consulate
Hi Fran,
I wanted to tell you that we received the bandanas on Tuesday; they look absolutely beautiful. We’re very pleased with the end product, and with how easy it was to work with you. Thank you so much for all your kind assistance. We look forward to working with you again in the future.

Bonnie Sonnenshein, DesignTex
Dear Carol,
Thank you so much for the Orrefors bowl! It’s lovely! More than that…thanks for being the kind of supplier that made me look good on my new job! Happy Holidays! Love, Bonnie

Victoria Viola, Citibank, N.A.Dear Carol,
Just a little note to thank you for the terrific job you did on the “Citibank PromoPower Catalog.” As you know, the program is a major success. It has been running for 3 years without a hitch, and thanks to you, has alleviated my staff’s involvement and the amount of time needed to satisfy Citibank’s premiums and merchandising needs. Keep up the great work!

American Express
Francesca Terrel Enclosed are your samples. Thanks again for a wonderful job on the key chains! I look forward to working with you again in the future.

Judy Lawten, Medivance, Inc.
Thanks for such great service!

interviewHenk : Which are your most popular products this year in the US and why ?
Tetsu :Pedometers have been a best seller due to the current interest in fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Here’s one that’s popular because of its attractivenss, functionality and price:
Here’s a link to our pedometer page: Pedometers

A bag we call our “Barnes&Noble Bag”, as we designed it with our client Barnes&Noble, is a best seller because of its appealing and practical design and its great under a dollar price for trade shows:

Another favorite are mints in tins. These are the perfect little advertising gift that anyone can use: Mints in tins


interviewHenk : In the promotional products market rush service becomes more and more important, sometimes even more important than the cost of the product. How does your company deal with rush orders ?
Tetsu : We have many trusted suppliers who can produce imprinted products for us in one day. Because our art department is always available to make sure our clients’ art is ready for production, we are able to service these requests. Our accurate and fast. database driven order processing system makes it easy for us to get the orders into production quickly. We feature many items that can be produced in less than four days, many at no additional charge.

interviewHenk : Thanks for your time Tetsu !
The Empire promos website :