About skucamp

Dear skummunity,

skucamp is back!

In 2017, we launched the first skucamp at a magical venue in Palm Springs. Our goal was to create a boot camp experience that was fun, inspirational, and challenging, one that would bring together the brightest in the community to share with each other and learn. And now, we are excited to welcome you home to our original location, the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs! This is not merely a reboot but a new event with a fresh and original vision.

skucamp is an intimate experience, with plenty of time for fun and deep connections. Our format this year combines ideas led by industry experts as well as group mastermind sessions where smaller groups meet to dive deep into the most requested business topics selected by you. Which means, at skucamp, you’re not hearing from only one expert from a stage, you’re hearing the best ideas crowdsourced from over 100 of your fellow attendees in a hands-on, peer-to-peer networking experience that opens your heart and ignites your mind. At skucamp, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Amp your marketing as the new sales growth.
  2. Navigate supply chain issues like a pro.
  3. Attract and retain only the best talent.
  4. Build a creative compensation plan that incentives sales.
  5. Engage and inspire the modern workforce.
  6. Create a distinctive culture true to your unique DNA.
  7. Motivate a team of leaders to self-manage hyper growth.
  8. Master the commonsku platform by learning from your peers.

We can’t wait to see you in Palm Springs this Fall.

Mark Graham and Catherine Graham,
Co-founders, commonsku

Meet Our Speakers

Hear from some of the promotional products industry's most passionate and creative personalities. Walk away inspired and ready to tackle the year ahead.

Claudia St. John

Affinity HR Group

Jeremy Lott

SanMar

Sarah Whitaker

Williams Advertising

Chris Anderson

HPG

Mandi Rudd

Brand Energy Marketing

Dan Pantano

alphabroder

Brenda Speirs

Buzztag; Ripple Collective

CJ Schmidt

Hit

Kris Sorokwasz

ABGI

Quianne Perrin Savoy

Moore & Moore Merch

Brian Gill

thumbprint

Dale Denham

PPAI

Michelle Guetle

Callard Company

Sean Mooney

Showpony

Alex Wier

Wier / Stewart

Catherine Graham

commonsku

Brett Boake

Score Promotions

John Vo

Whoopla

Bobby Lehew

commonsku

Mark Graham

commonsku

Schedule

A word on our format this year:

When designing the program for skucamp this year, we reached out to the skummunity who shared their greatest business challenges with us. We incorporated these challenges into our curriculum for skucamp 2021.

From HR & team development, to sales & marketing, to supply chain, to peer to peer learning related to the commonsku app, we have four tracks throughout the event. Each track kicks off with a main stage session to introduce the topic, followed up by two breakouts that allow you to drill down into each subject, giving you plenty of time with your colleagues to share from your experience and learn from each other.

Breakouts are small by design (6-8 people) and are not elective, so don’t worry about having to choose!

skucampers will receive 11 CAS credits for attending skucamp

12:00 - 4:00pm

12:00 - 4:00pm

Registration/Check-In @ the Clubhouse

Arrive in Palm Springs, check into the Ace Hotel, grab your famous skucamp gift bag, and connect with new and returning skucampers by the pool!

6:00pm - 9:00pm

6:00pm - 9:00pm

Opening Party @ the Commune

Celebrate the opening of skucamp with dinner, drinks, fun and games at the Ace Hotel.

6:30 - 7:30am

6:30 - 7:30am

Run and/or Walk Club

Clear out the cobwebs and join us for a run as we check out beautiful Palm Springs on foot! All levels welcome. This is a great way to kickstart a day of learning and inspiration.

7:30 - 8:45am

7:30 - 8:45am

Breakfast @ the Clubhouse

8:45 - 9:00am

8:45 - 9:00am

skucamp Kickoff and Welcome

9:00 - 9:40am

9:00 - 9:40am

General Session: Marketing is the New Sales (Sales & Marketing Track)

Sarah Whitaker
Sarah Whitaker
Sean Mooney
Sean Mooney
Alex Wier
Alex Wier
John Vo
John Vo
Mark Graham
Mark Graham

During the past year, there’s been a huge shift towards business development with marketing playing a key role. Marketers are now the new Sales Makers. For a long time, the marketing profession was like the stepchild in the sales household in the promotional products industry. But now, marketing is the compass, how customers find you; marketing is the fuel for sales growth with existing clients; and marketing is how you differentiate and distinguish yourself from the herd. Join this panel of fresh marketing makers who are redefining how marketing makes sales happen today.

9:40 - 10:00am

9:40 - 10:00am

General Session: Mindshare Tips from the Mastermind

Before we head into our breakouts, we’ll visit with Brenda Speirs of The Ripple Collective. The Ripple Collective is a consortium of over fourteen mastermind groups featuring pros in the industry formulated around specific roles and missions. Through the formation of these groups, Brenda has learned and observed the key aspects that make both a good contributor and a good listener. We’ll discuss a few tips to help you make the most out of your breakout experience!

10:00 - 10:45am

10:00 - 10:45am

Breakout: The Art of Marketing (Sales & Marketing Track)

There are two sides to marketing, the art side and the science side. The art side of marketing consists of your brand, your brand’s identity, personality, and voice. The art side is about creating content and harnessing social media in a way that inspires your audience. The art side of marketing is about emotionality and tone, experiences and your brand story. In this breakout, we’ll share our best tips and practices for creating a brand that reflects inspiring values. Join your colleagues in a radical discussion as you dig behind the art of branding, image, and identity to discover your unique value and learn the next evolution of your brand.

10:45 - 11:15am

10:45 - 11:15am

Break

11:15 - 12:00pm

11:15 - 12:00pm

Breakout: The Science of Marketing (Sales & Marketing Track)

The art side of marketing is about creating a brand experience that is unique and compelling whereas the science side of marketing is the tools and tactics that bring new customers to your door. In this breakout, we’ll explore the science of marketing: the processes we use to qualify prospects, the analytics we use to measure progress. We’ll share what worked and what didn’t, from social media to email newsletters, we’ll explore together the tools and tactics we’ve successfully implemented to land new business or grow existing business. Bring your best ideas -and hardest lessons learned- and get ready to explore the tools and techniques that bring on the ROI.

12:00 - 1:00pm

12:00 - 1:00pm

Lunch @ the Clubhouse

1:00 - 1:45pm

1:00 - 1:45pm

General Session: Our Supply Chain’s Future (Supply Chain Track)

Jeremy Lott
Jeremy Lott
CJ Schmidt
CJ Schmidt
Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson
Catherine Graham
Catherine Graham

The disruption to our supply chain has been the most severe in recent memory and yet, these challenges today are not the only challenges we should be concerned about, nor should they obscure the opportunities these also present. In this interview with three of the industry’s largest suppliers, we’ll talk about why these issues are occurring today, how to adapt and thrive with flexible options, and how much of this disruption is momentary and which challenges will eventually even out. More importantly, we’ll discuss how these challenges will fundamentally alter our supply chain moving forward, plus, the bigger issues on the horizon for our supply chain and how we can prepare for the upcoming changes and sell toward a brighter future.

1:45 - 2:30pm

1:45 - 2:30pm

Breakout: Managing Clients Through Today’s Fragile Supply Chain (Supply Chain Track)

It’s a tough time for our supply chain: raw material shortages, production times that are compromised, inventory issues, and labor shortages - all impact our ability to deliver branded merch on behalf of our clients. In this breakout session, we’ll explore with each other how we are finding creative ways to solve client challenges and manage expectations, despite the challenges.

2:30 - 3:00pm

2:30 - 3:00pm

Break

3:00 - 3:45pm

3:00 - 3:45pm

Breakout: Beyond Today’s Challenges; Toward Tomorrow’s Opportunities (Supply Chain Track)

It’s not enough to simply think of our challenges today. Our panel shared insights that will shape how we sell into the future. The success of our industry rests on the strength and workflow of our supply chain. In this breakout, we’ll explore how we can become better partners as we navigate today’s challenges, but also share ideas on how we think about the future to ensure a sustainable, growth-oriented industry going forward.

3:45 - 4:30pm

3:45 - 4:30pm

General Session: The Changing Sales Game

Michelle Guetle
Michelle Guetle
Brett Boake
Brett Boake
Mandi Rudd
Mandi Rudd
Brian Gill
Brian Gill

Sales is sales is sales. Right? Wrong. The pandemic accelerated a host of changes for the sales profession, particularly for the B2B professional. Changes to our sales process. Changes in client expectations, market demand. Changes in our messaging. Even the role of sales itself is changing. In this session, we’ll explore those changes with three industry leaders, highlighting how each company has shifted their sales approach to maximize growth. We’ll also close our day with a day one wrap up and reflection, creating action steps from our best insights learned from the day.

6:30 - 9:30pm

6:30 - 9:30pm

"Dine Around" @ the Commune

6:30 - 7:30am

6:30 - 7:30am

Run and/or Walk Club

Clear out the cobwebs and join us for a run as we check out beautiful Palm Springs on foot! All levels welcome. This is a great way to kickstart a day of learning and inspiration.

7:30 - 8:45am

7:30 - 8:45am

Breakfast @ the Clubhouse

9:00 - 10:00am

9:00 - 10:00am

General Session: Building an Inspired Team - The Post-Covid Edition (HR & Team Development Track)

Before the pandemic, business leaders were preoccupied with finding and inspiring the right talent needed to build their corporate brand and success. Fast forward to today, business leaders must confront the even more daunting challenge of finding and inspiring talent in an incredibly tight labor market, where clients, vendors, suppliers and even their own employees may be working remotely. Add to that the "Big Quit" and pervasive "Bored-out", a close cousin of burnout, and, well, things are rough. In this session, we'll:

  • Explore the labor trends that are driving and will continue to drive a tight labor market
  • Present strategies for hiring exceptional talent in a virtual world
  • Highlight ways to inspire and energize your hybrid workforce so you can steer clear of the Big Quit and Bored-out.

This session is presented by Claudia St. John, author of Transforming Teams - Tips for Improving Collaboration and Building Trust, and president of Affinity HR Group, a national HR and people management consulting firm.

10:00 - 10:45am

10:00 - 10:45am

Breakout: Building a Vibrant Culture From the Inside Out (HR & Team Development Track)

Building a brand is no longer an external-only focus. Brand building begins with a unique culture from the inside out. But massive changes in how we work means the old ways of engaging with our teams are no longer as effective. The hybrid workforce, the volatility in the job market, and more, means we need to think beyond mere engagement, toward building a culture that unlocks our team’s creative energy. In this breakout, you’ll share and learn from your peers the best practices they’ve used for cultivating an engaging culture, including ideas on how to measure your team’s success, build actionable and accountable goals. We’ll share ideas on how others plus keeps their teams refreshed, energized, and emotionally connected! Plus, best tips on recruiting and retaining only the best talent. Come prepared to share and learn!

10:45 - 11:15am

10:45 - 11:15am

Break

11:15 - 12:00pm

11:15 - 12:00pm

Breakout: Secrets of Great Employer Brands that Attract, Retain, and Reward (HR & Team Development Track)

Given the massive shifts that are occurring in the job market, hiring and retaining the best talent is everyone’s biggest challenge. In this breakout, we’ll discuss how to build a better external employer brand that attracts the best talent. We’ll share our best tips on building teams that allow you to scale, plus, share compensation and incentive ideas that inspire your team toward growth. Come prepared to share insights you’ve learned from and be prepared to take notes as your colleagues share what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. When it comes to one of the biggest challenges running a business today (hiring and keeping the best talent!), sharing with your peers is the best way to learn.

12:00 - 1:00pm

12:00 - 1:00pm

Lunch @ the Clubhouse

1:00 - 1:45pm

1:00 - 1:45pm

General Session: Putting the learnings into practice inside commonsku (commonsku Track)

Catherine Graham
Catherine Graham
Aaron Kucherawy
Aaron Kucherawy

General Session: Catherine Graham and Aaron Kucherawylead us through how to apply all of the track learnings from marketing, team development and supply chain management inside commonsku. This will set the stage for what all of you ask us for the most, the sharing of best practices of how your fellow peers are leveraging commonsku.

1:45 - 2:30pm

1:45 - 2:30pm

Distributor/ Supplier Breakout:

Distributor Breakout: Now that we’ve worked our way through best practices for marketing, team development, workflow and collaboration, how do you apply all of these learnings in your hands-on, day-to-day process of running a business? In this session, we’ll move from theory to practice by sharing and learning from each other, how to use the platform to amp your marketing, fuel sales growth, collaborate with suppliers, and build better, more connected teams.

Supplier Breakout: While distributors are gathering to maximize their new learnings in the platform, suppliers will head to the clubhouse to meet in supplier-only breakout sessions to share what they’ve learned over the past few days. Led by Dave Shultz, our Vice President of Supplier Partnerships, you’ll get a chance to explore best practices with other suppliers, and share your insights on supply chain and partnerships.

2:30 - 2:45pm

2:30 - 2:45pm

Break

2:45 - 3:30pm

2:45 - 3:30pm

The Future of the Industry Panel

Dan Pantano
Dan Pantano
Kris Sorokwasz
Kris Sorokwasz
Dale Denham
Dale Denham
Quianne Perrin Savoy
Quianne Perrin Savoy

The pandemic unleashed seismic forces on our industry, from supply chain challenges to manufacturing dilemmas, product categories (hello, kitting!) and more. In this session, we’ll use this information to conceptualize what a successful way forward looks like from the perspective of both suppliers and distributors. Join us as we explore what our industry looks like tomorrow and the action steps we can take to shape it toward a successful future today!

3:30 - 4:15pm

3:30 - 4:15pm

General Session: Wrap Up Day Two - Creating Your Action Plan

Catherine Graham
Catherine Graham
Mark Graham
Mark Graham
Bobby Lehew
Bobby Lehew

We’ll close skucamp with a look toward the future as we chat with Mark and Catherine (and you, the audience), sharing highlights from our day’s learning, plus, we’ll explore how our industry and our world is radically evolving and how we can harness our insights to build a bold path forward. Join us as we wrap up an intense (but fun!) skucamp, and create a solid action plan for growth!

5:30 - 8:30pm

5:30 - 8:30pm

Closing BBQ and Pool Party @ Main Pool

Depart Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, United States

Special rates are available to skucampers (for rooms booked Sept 27-30).

Standard King Bed Rooms at $255.14/night (all taxes/resort fees included)*

To book your room, please call the Ace Hotel (760) 325-9900 and mention the booking code “commonsku2021”

*Optional room upgrades

Patio room (Garden) +$20/night (+tax)
Standard Double room +$40/night (+tax)
Simple Suite $50/night (+tax)

Room rates available while room inventory lasts (make sure to book your rooms soon)!

Photos

skucamp has a special and unique energy. Here are some photos of skucamp over the years in Palm Springs, New Orleans and Pittsburgh.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is your vaccination policy for attendees at skucamp?

For the safety of all guests, we are requiring every attendee to be fully vaccinated before the event. We are asking each attendee to complete this form indicating their vaccination status prior to the event.

Who is skucamp designed for?

If you are the owner or C-level manager within a supplier or a distributor, skucamp is the conference for you. skucamp is an intimate experience, with plenty of time for fun, deep connections, and shared learning among your peers. Our format this year will combine workshops led by industry experts as well as group mastermind sessions where smaller groups meet to dive deep into relevant business topics.

Is there a cancellation policy on my skucamp tickets?

Yes, we will issue a full refund if you cancel before September 1, 2021. There are no refunds after September 1, 2021. You can transfer your ticket to a colleague for no charge at any time.

Can I bring my wife/husband/partner/family?

skucamp is an intimate event designed specifically for business owners and space is very limited. Our schedule is jam packed with education, activities and meals planned specifically for the attendees. You will not have much free time during skucamp so we recommend having family come a few days before skucamp or stay a few days after with you.

If you bring a non registered guest to skucamp, we require every guest to be fully vaccinated as well.

How is skucamp different from your other events?

Each of our events is designed with different themes in mind. Many people will attend all events as they all offer something unique.

skucamp is a multi day business planning boot camp for executive-level distributors and suppliers to plan their year ahead.

skucon focuses on high-level education and inspiration for any role, distributors or suppliers. It is hosted the day before the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.

commonsku University Plus is a virtual conference for distributor customers of commonsku to learn how to use the platform more efficiently.

You can learn more about our events here.

How much does skucamp cost?

The cost of skucamp is $1295/person (USD). Your registration fee includes all workshops, breakouts, entertainment, merch, drinks, and most meals. Travel to/from Palm Springs and hotel costs are not included.

Tell me more about the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

This ain’t your father’s business hotel. It's beautifully appointed, very funky in a retro way, and lots of fun. We will be using the meeting spaces in a creative way to foster the connections and downtime that are so important for learning.

To learn more about the venue, visit the Ace Palm Springs here. You can also see the many pictures from our past skucamps here.

Special hotel rates are available to skucampers here.

How will you ensure a safe and clean environment for guests?

skucamp Palm Springs is held in a beautiful venue that’s primarily outdoors. This is the perfect environment as we ease ourselves back into a post pandemic world. The indoor venues at the event all have huge open doors that can be kept open to allow for free air flow.

Our partner location, the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, and the City of Palm Springs is committed to a superior health and safety experience. Specific details can be accessed here.

Ace Hotel Health & Safety

Palm Springs Health & Safety

We are also requiring every attendee to be fully vaccinated before the event. We are asking each attendee to complete this form indicating their vaccination status prior to the event.

What’s included in my registration fee?

Your registration fee includes all workshops, entertainment, merch and meals. Travel to/from Palm Springs and hotel costs are not included.

Included meals:
Sept 27 - dinner
Sept 28 - breakfast, lunch, dinner
Sept 29 - breakfast, lunch, dinner

What costs are excluded?

Travel to/from Palm Springs and hotel accommodations are excluded.

When should I arrive/depart?

We encourage you to arrive before 5 pm on Monday September 27 so you are checked in and registered for our kick-off party that evening. We have a full schedule of education and activities planned so we recommend departing on Thursday September 30.

What is the weather like?

Palm Springs in October is awesome (High 95/Low 67).

What do I wear at skucamp?

skucamp is very casual. Dress for comfort, leave the dress shoes at home. Shorts and flip flops are welcome (and encouraged).

What is the best way to get to Palm Springs?

You can either fly direct to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) or fly to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and rent a car. The driving time is approximately 2 hrs to Palm Springs. We encourage you to post on the commonsku community to arrange carpools with fellow attendees.