By Jordan Houston
Amanda Wigal-Schlosser never intended to go into promotional product manufacturing, but she couldn’t resist the offer to own her own business. Now, the Phoenix native says she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Wigal-Schlosser is the owner and president of Brandables, a promotional products supplier that has serviced the North Scottsdale community for more than 25 years.
Opening its doors in 1992, Wigal-Schlosser says she was asked to take over the company as a former employee three times before she finally took the plunge.
“I took this job just as a year thing, I didn’t love the idea of selling Tchotchkes,” she says. “I didn’t understand it, but now I love it. I absolutely love it.
“I think once it became my own boss and I started working hard and saw the success. I never really thought of anything else. It’s my baby. It’s my first child before I had children. I nurtured it, and I saw it grow and grow.”
Brandables is a nationwide, Scottsdale-based promotional products supplier that seeks to help companies advertise and create their brands while standing“ out from the competition.” The company, located at 7707 E. Acoma, Suite 110, offers engaging products that can be given away at trade shows, conventions, online or from places of business.
The products range from ceramic mugs to tote bags, wristbands, lanyards, flash drives and key tags. Other popular items include wearables, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and ball caps, and gifts and wedding favors, like framed wedding photos, thank-you cards, calendars and silicone bracelets. Sports-related items are also in demand, especially golf products, the site continues. Brandables offers golf balls, golf towels and gift bags.
“I don’t like to be the 1-800 number, where someone calls and says ‘I want pens’ and then we take the order,” Wigal-Schlosser says. “We say, ‘Well, what are you trying to do and what are you trying to accomplish?’”
Growing up in Central Phoenix, Wigal-Schlosser majored in marketing at ASU and minored in French and international business. The businesswoman intended to pursue international business school and later move to Washington, D.C., but fate had other plans.
After graduating from ASU in 2003, she took a job at Brandables as a placeholder until her next move, she recalls. Wigal-Schlosser worked for the company for three years before she agreed to purchase it in 2006.
“I really didn’t know anything about owning a business,” she explains. “I didn’t go to school for owning a business. Sometimes you just learn from figuring things out.
“The idea intrigued me to be my own boss. It’s really cool to work for yourself. It’s really difficult, but it’s extremely fulfilling to know it’s yours.”
Wigal-Schlosser has since expanded the company to include fulfillment warehouse services, which allows companies to store marketing collateral, company products and supplies. Brandables typically stores clients’ promotional products inventory, however, fulfilling orders for them when called upon.
“I thought this was a great avenue to look into and expand,” the Brandables president says.
“Right before this pandemic, we really reworked our warehouse to make it work for a lot more storage for other customers who weren’t just our customers. They would buy our product and would also bring in their own product.
“Then the pandemic happened, and now lots of people decided they don’t want to work in an office and want to start their own e-commerce site. But they don’t know where to store that, because it can’t fit in their garage. It was really perfect timing.”
Wigal-Schlosser says that although she would like to expand her Brandables in some capacity in the future, she enjoys the framework of small-business operations.
For her, the most rewarding part of the job is the connections that she fosters with her staff and her clients, Wigal-Schlosser explains.
“Of course, I always want to grow, but I purposefully try to keep us smaller,” she expresses. “I like that small-business mentality and feeling when people call and talk to us and we all kind of know what’s going on.
“What I’ve noticed is everyone needs what I do, but people don’t think about it until the last minute and then they’re in a rush or in a crunch. And then we make them look like a star and they’re so happy. It’s so neat to be a part of someone’s story, but in the background.” ν