St Regis Group

Listen to the Episode:

Links mentioned in the episode:

St Regis Group Website

Contact Information:

steve@stregisgrp.com

(888) 854-0591 ext. 3282

Transcript:

Marty Hartman:

Welcome to the supplier spotlight interview. Today we have Steve Smidt from St. Regis Group on the line. Welcome Steve.

Steve Smidt:

Thank you so much Marty. I really appreciate it and good morning or good afternoon everybody and thank you so much for taking timeout of your busy schedule. I know how busy it is at this time of the year to come onto the podcast so much appreciate it and we totally appreciate all your partnership and support

Marty Hartman:

While you have everybody’s attention, tell us why they should listen to the rest of this episode, this interview.

Steve Smidt:

Okay, so the St. Regis Group today is the largest supplier of awards and recognition in the industry. We are in our 21st year and we started in 1998 and over the years we’ve made strategic acquisitions, so we’ve covered everything from custom awards, from low to high to everything in between. We try to make things as easy as possible. We have very, very low minimums. Most of them as low as one. We carry the catalog quantities of all the items in our catalog. We ship and decorate very quickly. Our motto is “Place the order with us. Don’t worry about it. We do the rest.” We also pride ourselves on having the best packaging in the industry. So we’ve really become a one stop shop for awards and recognition as well as glassware and gift ware. Today we have the largest selection in the industry.

Marty Hartman:
Yes, anybody whose familiar with St. Regis knows that you guys do a fantastic job with your rewards and recognition, but what else in your group, what are some other things that our members may not be aware of that you can help them with?

Steve Smidt:
Okay, so four years ago we went out of our comfort zone and made our first non award company acquisition and that was MiPen company. So MiPen company today is also one of the largest supply of writing instruments. But in keeping with the St. Regis way of doing things, we’ve also acquired some brands. Today we have RitterPen out of Germany. We have Stilolinea out of Italy. We have Castiel, which is also a European brand. And what we’ve done there is we’ve come up with some new and unique decorating techniques as well as upgraded all the refills so we only use Euro style refills both in our plastic and in our metal pens. And three years ago we acquired K&R and ESP. ESP in Canada and K&R in the United States and they are one of the largest suppliers of drink ware, bags, tools.

Steve Smidt:
And we’ve also made some branded acquisitions as well, like Kor, Reduce which are lines of drink ware. Swissmar which is a brand of housewares. We also have my MyPhoto, which is a line of photo frames. We also have acquired Menna, which is a line of tea infusers. So we have a lot of brands that are non awards under the St. Regis Group umbrella as well. And one of the things that we’ve also done to make things easier for everybody, is we’ve consolidated everything into a group concept. So now there’s only one website. So when you go onto the website, you can sea rch by price point, you can search by item number, you can search by brand, everything’s being consolidated into one website, one ASI number, one company the St. Regis Group.

Marty Hartman:
That’s great. So you mentioned a lot of really great high end brands there. And you also mentioned a little bit about unusual decorating techniques. Can you elaborate on the decorating techniques that are available to our members?

Steve Smidt:

Yes. So we’ve always prided ourselves on not only having a fantastic selection of products and items, but one of the things that really sets us apart are some of our decorating techniques. So one of the new decorating techniques that we have is we have a division now called Duke Custom Cresting. And what Duke Custom Cresting is our ability to print onto glassware and onto ceramic mugs that’s totally dishwasher safe for residential use. And this has been a real game changer because we only etched onto all our glassware and onto all our mugs, but we now have the ability to offer you an option. You can add the print on it where there’ll be a higher minimum lower price point or we can etch on it where there’ll be a lower minimum and a higher price point.

Steve Smidt:
So we’re always about options. Another decorating technique that we brought in house on the awards is 3D, so we do all 3D decorating in house now on all the cubes and all the optical crystal. We do that all in house as well. We were one of the first ones that did full color on writing instruments and we also now have the ability to do full color, which we call vivid print or spectra imaging on any award, piece of glass, acrylic, optical crystal. If it’s five inches or less in thickness we now have the ability to do full color on it and that’s become also very cost effective.

Marty Hartman:
Well that sounds like you’ve got a lot of opportunities with the different decoration options. Would it be possible if our members were interested in just getting the awards and doing the decoration themselves? Is that a possibility?

Steve Smidt:
Yes, it is a possibility that you can buy blank goods from us. That you can always do. However, there’re huge advantages in us doing the decorating because you know that’s our business, that’s our expertise is decorating and shipping. Then the other thing which has become a real big thing in the industry, we are totally Prop 65 compliant. You can rest assured that the products and everything we do have met all the Prop 65 requirements and that’s become a very big and important part because as all your members deal with more of the fortune 500 companies, that’s become an absolute requirement now is to be Prop 65 compliant.

Marty Hartman:
Now you also mentioned packaging that sets you apart. Can you elaborate a little bit about that?

Steve Smidt:
Yeah, so we do all our packaging in house. So every award comes beautifully packaged. We have two different sets of packaging. One comes in a beautifully blue lined box called the Carrington or black box called the Birch Mount box. So all our awards, all our coffee mugs, all our glassware, gift ware, decanters everything comes in its own gift packaging. Packaging is a very big part of what we do and we also have the ability to imprint onto the packaging itself.

Marty Hartman:
So what are some other services in addition to the packaging? Do you offer any other perks or services with your orders?

Steve Smidt:
The best thing about St. Regis is we made the decision a long time ago we do not charge a rush charge. If, we have the ability to get something out. So we offer 24 hour service. For example, between now and the end of the year we wouldn’t be able to do it because we’re so inundated with orders. But if we have the inventory in house and we can decorate it and ship much quicker than the normal four to five day shipping time, we will do it and we will not charge you a rush charge.

Marty Hartman:
Oh that’s good. Now I know this time of year is very busy. Everybody trying to get their orders in, but getting that fast turn around could be a lifesaver.

Steve Smidt:
Yes. Some of the other services we offer we really love to partner with you so we also offer, for example, customized flyers. We do a lot of email blogs. It’s totally customized for you with certain products on we offer customized flyers. We also have zoom catalog. One of the other things which we do, we also white label websites. What is a white label website? We will create your own website, which will have all your details, your name, whatever color, your address, your website that it will be populated with our products. So when someone goes on there and they’re looking for awards and recognition, we’ll have all our products on it. So we do offer white label websites as well.

Marty Hartman:
Oh that’s a great perk. And is there any charge for that?

Steve Smidt:
No charge for any of those services.

Marty Hartman:
And you mentioned ZOOMcatalog, which is a wonderful way to view all of your items and also be able to share that. We love all of our suppliers that are using ZOOMcatalog. Since you talked about shipping, do you ship FOB in Canada?

 

Steve Smidt:
We do. So we have a US corporation, which is based out of Chicago, Illinois, and we have a Canadian corporation that’s based out of Canada. So we actually have in the United States we have two FOB points, one is Chicago and one Buffalo, New York. But we have a Canadian corporation and we ship and decorate in Canada and ship in Canada.

Marty Hartman:
Oh, that’s great for our Canadian members. So you mentioned a lot of the brands that you carry and I know that people know you primarily for awards, but one of your divisions, R.S. Owens does some very famous awards. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Steve Smidt:
We actually do. For many years, for about 25 years we used to do the Oscars. So R.S. Owens used to do all the Oscars. And since then we do a number of different award shows and game shows. So we do all the Emmys, both the daytime and the night time Emmys. We also do American Idol. We do NASCAR. We’ve also done the Monster Cup and we also recently in the last few years do a lot of YouTube awards. So we do a lot of these custom awards for a lot of high profile, not only companies but award shows as well.

Marty Hartman:
So it’s very likely that our members have seen your awards on television, at least during the award shows.

Steve Smidt:
Absolutely. But if you watch the Emmys you saw our award. If you watch NASCAR, you saw our award. If you watch the MLS soccer, that cup was also made from us. And yeah, so we do a lot of those award shows as well.

Marty Hartman:
Well wonderful. Hopefully our members have learned a lot more that they didn’t know about the St. Regis Group. But what else would you like to let them know before we end the interview?

Steve Smidt:
Well, one of the things, I think that’s very important for us, we’re all about partnership and sometimes that word is spread very glibly around. We have a large selection, not only of awards, drink ware, glassware, decanters, writing instruments, but the big thing with us, is making sure that you have a wonderful shopping experience both in terms of customer service, of making sure that your customer is highly satisfied with the order that they receive. So we’re very, very conscious of and spend a lot of time in upper management, always making sure that every meeting we have a couple of times a month, the first question that comes out, “how can we do better?” And that’s something that as a group we totally strive for all the time. How can we do better and how can we partner better? And we always welcome suggestions and anything that you can tell us on how we can improve are welcome because that is something that is really driven our company in the last 20 years.

Marty Hartman:
So if members want to get in touch with a St. Regis Group and start to look at products or if they have questions, what’s the best way to do that?

Steve Smidt:
I would say initially the best way to do it is let them use me as their contact point and then I will then also we’ll give you your own dedicated inside person and then they can start to deal with them. But I would like to be the initial contact point. I’d like to meet all your members. One thing about me, I’m very responsive so you’ll get an answer very quickly and I think that’s start off that way. And then afterwards I will either email you and let them know who the inside person is and who then need to deal with.

Marty Hartman:
That’d be great. All right. And do you want to give your contact information?

Steve Smidt:
Yeah, I’ll give my contact information. So my name is Steve, S-T-E-V-E Smidt. S-M-I-D-T. My email is Steve S-T-E-V-E at S-T-R-E-G-I-S-G-R- P.com. So that’s StRegisgrp.com. If anyone got any questions or anything that anybody would like to answer me, I’ll welcome any questions, any feedback.

Marty Hartman:
Thank you very much, Steve and I hope that our members take you up on your offer and contact you for more information.

Steve Smidt:
Oh, thank you, Marty.

Marty Hartman:
Appreciate your time.

Steve Smidt:
I really appreciate the time that you all took to spend with me today. Thank you very much.