Skylight Creative Ideas, Inc
Skylight Creative Ideas Offices:
Creative ideas are exactly what Skylight Creative Ideas, Inc. has been delivering for 40 years. The full-service promotional products company will celebrate its 40th year in business in 2017. Owner and founder Bob Titelman, Sr., says the fact that he maintained a client base, built a stellar reputation and nurtured successful relationships for 40 years makes him very proud. “I am proud that I am able to help clients achieve their marketing and branding objectives,” he says.
Skylight Creative Ideas is a family-owned business, with Titelman’s son, Bob Jr., working as a partner and his daughter, Becky, in sales. What was once known as the “tchotchke” industry, the promotional products business has exploded with thousands of product choices for companies to build their brands and meet marketing objectives. Skylight Creative Ideas boasts over 750,000 products on its website. “The cool thing about this industry is the retention of products,” Bob Sr. says. “Three years from now, you’ll still be using that pen or mug that you received from our client.”
Titelman says that although the market is evolving toward higher technology premiums like flash drives, cell phone wallets and iPhone cases, people still want paper calendars. “The promotional item needs to be both seamless and functional. It has to make sense for the client,” he says.
It is that sense of the client’s needs that has helped Skylight Creative Ideas grow from a small home business in 1977 to today’s thriving company with headquarters in Bel Air and satellite offices in Towson and on the Eastern Shore. It has an in-house graphics department and warehousing capabilities. The Titelmans say they are still expanding. Bob Sr. emphasizes the importance of the company’s support staff. “There is very little turnover here,” he explains. One team member has worked in the office since 1981, and clients know to ask for her when they need help.
Bob Jr. joined his father in the business in 2007. After graduating from college and taking a job as a financial advisor, he confided to the senior Titelman that he didn’t like it. His dad asked him to give the promotional industry a try. “I feel fortunate to be in the business now,” Bob Jr. says. “It’s still fun. I like coming up with new ideas and trying to give the client the best solution.”
He will always remember his first client. It was a drug company introducing a veterinary drug at a movie premiere event. His challenge was to find something novel that would identify the company’s brand but tie in with the movie theme. He also had to honor budgets. His solution: microwave popcorn bags that when popped, revealed the company’s logo in full color on the bag.
“That’s our differential – the creative part,” says Bob Jr. “We ask clients, ‘What is your market?’ If it’s the senior market, the best item might not be a flash drive.”
The Titelmans say part of their job is to educate people. While the client is always right, sometimes the client needs a little design help or color consultation. The team at Skylight Creative Ideas offers their expertise. In addition, they educate customers about product manufacturing. “When I first got into the industry, almost everything was made in the USA,” Bob Sr. says. “Now, only the printing is done here, and most items are made off-shore. To be cost-effective, we had to develop relationships with off-shore factories we trusted and who are compliant with U.S. customs regulations.”
Skylight Creative Ideas didn’t earn a ranking among the top 10 local promotional companies or in the top 15 percent nationally without these types of forward-thinking strategies. In addition, they dress for success. At a trade show, the industry may sanction polo shirt and khakis or “business casual,” but the Titelman gentlemen still wear suits and ties to meet clients and colleagues. “We know it makes us look more professional and it tells the client that we have something worthwhile to offer,” Bob Jr. says. “My dad taught me that from the very beginning.”
Bob Sr. guided the industry’s growth in his role as two-term president of the Chesapeake Promotional Business Association in 1999 and 2000. Now Bob Jr., who has served as vice president and treasurer in the organization, will take the helm as president in 2017. Both men hope to continue to be catalysts for industry growth, by working with all of the promotional products companies to provide effective solutions to marketing challenges. From apparel to watches, golf balls to stress balls, and pens to flash drives, there’s a solution for everyone. I95