That time I had a factory tour of a Canadian promotional item manufacturer

Canadian manufacturing of promotional items is something we get asked about a tonne.  The most common types of Canadian made promotional items are clothing, plastic molded items like keychains and sublimated items like pillows and lanyards.  We were recently taken on a tour of a factory in St. Laurent Quebec that makes custom fabric items for the promotional products industry.  It was really neat to see behind the scenes of how these items are made and get a better understanding of the work that goes into them, let me tell you a little about what we learned.

11 Years in this business

I have been in the promo business since 2009 and in that time I have been in my production facility, a mug printer in Edmonton, embroidery shops, screen printing shops and 3-D printing shops, but I have never seen in a factory that makes physical items from scratch, so this was very cool.

What types of things does the factory make?

Take a look for yourself! https://www.martinivispak.com/en_ca

These guys are one of the top industry manufacturers of lanyards, but they also make things like mouse pads, masks, pillows, shirts, jackets, fitness towels, hockey accessories, bags and pouches and more.

How long has this factory existed?

This factory used to be called Insane Products, but they dropped that name when they joined forces with another company, they have been around for a combined 40 years and have always had their head office in Quebec.  They also have an office and staff overseas to aid with sourcing and manufacturing some of their primary products and some finished goods as well.

What was the biggest thing you learned?

Without a doubt it was seeing the silk screening drums.  They are giant wheels of screens where you put the image on the outside of the drum, then the ink goes into the middle to be squeezed through the screen as the fabric is slid along underneath.  I was stuck in the idea that a silk screen had to be mounted in a frame, placed on a garment and then squeegeed on, but this system was something totally different and obviously very efficient for step and repeat printing. I am pretty sure this is how newspapers are printed too.

Why did you go for a tour?

One of our core values at The Promo Addict is to partner with our suppliers.  We feel that it is really important to build a deep relationship with the people who make our products.  We were invited on the tour by Neil Mihan from Promo Place Canada https://promoplacecanada.com/ This website is one of our favourite resources for finding flyers, specials and deals from our favourite suppliers all in one spot.  Neil had setup a day when the owner of Martini Vispak was going to do factory tours by invitation only for some of their top distributors, who would I be to say no right!?

How did you Stay COVID Safe during the tour?

This is my favourite part, the tour was done via Zoom, so I never had to leave my office.  I was able to see industry leading technology, get behind the scenes and I never had to leave my office.  If any other suppliers are reading this and want to give me a tour, please reach out because I’d love to see behind the scenes on how chocolate is molded… also, send samples.