PLE Partnerships | Kenn Burns

PLE Partnerships | Kenn Burns

We spoke to Kenn Burns from Fully Promoted Vancouver about how he worked with PLE Painting to produce all of PLE’s shirts, caps, and other promotional materials for PLE’s rebrand process. Kenn is the owner of the Vancouver franchise and is an expert on creating impactful, memorable products that stand out in the market place.

About Fully Promoted

Fully Promoted is the largest international promotional product customization, embroidery and screen print service franchise in the world. Each location is independently owned and operated.

Fully Promoted started with the first EmbroidMe store in 2000 with franchising veteran Ray Titus, who realized that the $45 billion dollar promotional products industry could use some of the same expertise and initiative he’d already applied to building Signarama, the world’s largest sign franchise in the world.

They are a privately held company based in West Palm Beach, Florida with 10 brands and over 1,800 locations worldwide. EmbroidMe was rebranded to Fully Promoted in 2016 to offer more services to their clients.

How did you first get started with Fully Promoted?

Kenn:  I was doing an import business in the late nineties. It was mostly soccer uniforms and it all came about because I had studied in China for a while. And I kept a connection there for some custom manufacturing.

When I wound that business down and I wanted to do something was a little more flushed out I came across, Fully Promoted which was in 2006. And, the advantage to it was that, when I was doing in-house production. We own our own equipment and we do our own imprinting.

And then also it’s really more business-focused. So as opposed to being seasonal with uniforms, we really had something for all seasons in particularly for businesses like trades, uniforms, et cetera. They always need something. And so, it was a transition from being a very niche business, doing soccer uniform importing to being a more fully fleshed out uniform supplier for businesses as well.

What do you like best about your job?

Kenn: There’s a lot of guys out there who are brokers and they just buy from one person and sell to another. And I actually really enjoy being the doer and owning the equipment and having the shop that actually does the work of putting the logos on the shirts.

There’s that aspect to it. And then also there’s the creative aspect to it as well. I’m not a branding specialist. I certainly have folks I refer to regularly for branding. PLE actually uses a branding company which is also the one that I refer to the most.

But still, there is a very creative side to what I do. I get that nice blend of having both creative aspects to every day at work, but also the actual physical work and machinery that’s just fun to be around.

What are some of the challenges you face in your job?

Kenn: I think like everybody, staffing is always a challenge. We have long time long-term staff but we have a lot of seasonal aspects of our work. We are scalable in terms of what we may be doing in January versus what we might be doing in April.

In a city like Vancouver, staffing is always a challenge. I think that runs across industries, but we’ve been, we’ve been bused, always be able to find really good experienced professionals. I work a lot of late nights with part-timers and contractors just making sure we keep quality control.

How many staff do you have during your busy season?

Kenn: On a regular year, like, especially in the spring-summer is the schools wind down with their end of year swag, but the camps are, are ramping up with stuff for their camp goers and conferences, et cetera.

We have as many as seven to eight people working in the shop a day. Sometimes that’ll be split over a couple of shifts. But regularly we have four people at a time.

What is something that people don’t know about your industry?

Kenn: How easy it is to waste money. It’s so easy to waste money on this stuff that my industry does. It really helps to work with good marketers and good branding specialists to really get a handle on what you want and what’s going to be a benefit for you. Probably one of the most common things I say, honestly, is don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy selling expensive shirts, or I really enjoy selling expensive pens, something of that nature, but the truth is that your marketing dollars don’t necessarily have to go into the most expensive items. And, not only that, but folks will waste money on things that aren’t achieving their marketing aims.

I often find myself in a position where I’m actually asking them to second guess what they’re doing. I may just suggest something else that they should buy from me. But working with a good marketing agency or branding specialist will definitely help you spend your money wisely when it comes to the imprints.

What is one project that you’ve worked on that particularly stands out?

Kenn: They come big and small. There’s so much mask stuff going on right now. We do all sizes in all quantities, but one piece that I really enjoyed doing in the spring as kind of the dust settled on what we needed to be doing in terms of wearing masks and what constituted a good mask and what constituted an adequate mask. Most of us just need to be wearing adequate masks.

We did a project for a local Aboriginal family and children’s services support group. We did a thousand masks for them using what actually was a photograph of an artwork that they had. Essentially it was a large panel that basically took a photo of a block and then it became the actual piece of the mask at the front.

The artwork was beautiful and the piece itself ended up being a very artistic piece. We really like doing that kind of thing. We do left chest logos day in and day out, but every now and again we get to work on a project that really has a little more artistic merit to it.

How have you worked with PLE Painting and what do you like about working with them?

Kenn: We worked with them in a couple of capacities and in a couple of different directions. First and foremost, all of these nice things I’ve said before I realized you were going to ask this question were they do work with a marketing agency and one of my favourite ones. They had a very specific aim when they come to me to talk about uniforms.

We did a lot of variations of uniforms for them, everything from caps and t-shirts, to hoodies and jackets. They had a very specific approach. It makes the initial portion more challenging. We had to be very particular and go through proofs and go through a few different samples to understand what they wanted. But then once that’s done, it’s a front-loaded effort on my part and on theirs. Once all of those decisions are made, it makes everything else easier.

A lot of folks in my industry would love somebody to just walk up and just say you need a thousand of something and then they print it off and it’s done. But it’s a very transactional way of doing things when you actually invest time.

When you find a client that’s willing to invest time in what they get, then you get to enjoy it much more than just the transactional nature of the process. You actually become involved in their business and invested in their success because their success means that you did things right with them.

And they come back to you.  PLE also happened to be my preferred choice for a painter as well. So I have referred my own clients to them and my own friends to them. I always get great feedback on the work that they do. I spend time as a strata council president and I referred work that I know ended up going to PLE and everybody was just, was just really happy with them.


How To Identify Painting Trends and Adapt in 2020 and Beyond

How To Identify Painting Trends and Adapt in 2020 and Beyond

In this blog post we’re going to talk about painting trends in Vancouver, specifically challenges for strata councils, building and business owners as well as homeowners that have upset the typical maintenance and painting landscapes.

 2020 has been a strange and unique year for us all. 

During challenging times, it becomes even more important to plan effectively and spend wisely. We’re with you! 

PLE has been working hard with our team, our clients, and our partners to adapt our strategies so we can continue to bring our best, and to help you, as our clients to get the most value possible.

With the influx of work we are seeing, here are 4 things to consider if you are thinking about hiring a painting company in 2020 or 2021:

1) More Demand: With all the uncertainty, many strata councils, homeowners, and businesses put capital improvement/maintenance projects (including painting) on hold in 2020.

As many of these projects are not optional in the long run, and we are spending more time at home than ever, wear and tear is still happening and these projects are still going to need to be done at some point. With that, we are already seeing a big demand for 2021

We recommend getting a quote from your painter sooner than later. Top local companies can book up fast!

2) Maintenance is best done on an ongoing/as needed basis: When it comes to painting, delaying needed work can have expensive repercussions from both an aesthetic and cost perspective.

If your budget is tight, top local painters can work with you to help determine what work is urgent and what can wait. At PLE we love to help clients build plans to help manage upcoming projects over time AND within your budget. 

3) Clear Communication: When looking to put together a painting project, choosing a company that offers clear, concise and comprehensive quotes/estimates is really important.

At PLE Painting, we prioritize putting together great estimates that are easy to understand, knowing that we are all on the same team as we work through your project.

4) Indoor Painting: With winter coming, the Vancouver painting industry basically moves indoors. As such, October thru March is a great time to plan and execute interior painting projects.     

Pro Tip: Local painting contractors will price more aggressively in the winter, so you can save money if you act fast. 

Going into November, there is a push to get quotes and complete projects before the holidays, so by acting sooner, you can ensure your favourite company will be able to prioritize your project.

PLE Partnerships | Attley Stone

PLE Partnerships | Attley Stone

We spoke to the Attley Brothers who are the owners of Attley Stone, a local stonemason company that severs Vancouver to the Sea-to-Sky corridor. They are a cool duo who have been in business for over 10 years and are go-to people when it comes to anything stone related. We managed to take a few moments to chat with them last week about their job and why they like working with PLE Painting.

About Attley Stone:

Co-owned by John Attley and William Attley, these brothers are dedicated to keeping Stone Masonry an art, paying attention to every detail and creating a surrounding that feels right. With a background in Heritage & Traditional Masonry, Attley Stone works hard to keep an authentic look and quality to our stonework while delivering the utmost in craftsmanship.


How did you first get into your trade?

William: We always loved working with my hands and working with other people. I always like to see what I can create and see my customer’s reactions to what we built.


What do you like best about your job?

John: Building relationships with other trades and other people. I think that is kind of the foundation of what we’re doing. It’s one of the most enjoyable things: when you can come together with another company or trade and execute a job.


What are some of the biggest challenges you face on the job site?

William: I think it’s, being efficient with what we do and making sure that everybody’s working together as a team and really doing everything together so nobody’s higher than anybody else. We’re just all on the same level, trying to get the job done.


What is one thing most people don’t know about your trade?

William: That it’s a dying trade. Not many people are doing it anymore. It’s very rare to have young people into this trade and it’s good to see younger people getting into it.


What is the favourite project you’ve worked on?

John: I think probably a project we did with IKO Building Group on Angus Drive. It was a restoration of an old home in Shaughnessy. The stone was big focal point of that and I think the project turned out really nicely. And it’s, it’s definitely a marquee home in the area.


What do you like best about working with PLE painting?

William: I think their leadership really goes a long way and looking up to them and how they work with their employees. I think they’re just really leading the way with how to run a company properly.

John: To build on that, I think that their selflessness on-site and the ability to work with all their peers is really exceptional.


How does working with PLE painting make your job easier?

William: I think just the communication with them is probably the best aspect of it. just knowing where we are on the project and what needs to get done next.