Branding Impact

Equal parts financial analyst and tactical trend-watcher, Chris Ferriter and the team at SoBe Promos are putting a sizzling spin on the idea of Miami-based business.
Text by Ryan Jarrell | April 18, 2018 | People

The bearer of a tastefully tussled coiffe and the carefree manner so pejoratively applied to all of his generation, 30-year old Chris Ferriter, upon first glance, could perhaps be mistaken for a simple sales rep at his own concern. A moment’s conversation, however, reveals a stark and unavoidable truth — this millennial maverick of marketing and finance, far from being the recipient of trust fund financing and pure, dumb luck, has, with the help of similarly aged partners CFO Scott Latimer and CEO Steven Kramer, reinvented and reinvigorated a massive market.
As the VP of Business Development at promotional products provider SoBe Promos, Ferriter has personally witnessed powerful success in bridging that perilous gap in the business sphere, upscaling a start-up from dream to full-blown competitor. Scarcely 4 years old, SoBe Promos has catapulted, achieving a staggering 1,050% in sales growth since their inception, netting almost $4 million in 2016 sales alone (up from a modest, if acceptable, $682,000 in 2014). To what does Ferriter elect as the key to his success? A modish mixture of financial savvy, new technology utilization, old-school mercantile mentorship (CEO Kramer’s father is none other than Jeff Kramer, CEO of groundbreaking promo provider Bullet Line), and speed, baby, speed. “One of the fun things we like to do with new sales people is take them out to trade shows and tell them to not just look at the products, but to look at our competitors. It’s a very antiquated industry,” says Ferriter. “It really needed a jolt of youth. A younger generation is used to getting things very quickly and we work very fast as a result. I think the industry standard is like a 24-hour response time, but we can throw mock-ups back at potential clients in a matter of minutes.”
No stranger to the whip-crack pace of capital, Ferriter cut his financial accounting teeth in no less an intimidating industry as defense, honing his presentation and spreadsheet skills at a roughly $31 billion market, before taking a leap of faith and allying with fellow UM graduates Latimer and Kramer. It’s that measure of open-mindedness and adaptability, Ferriter believes, that is required to survive and thrive in the modern marketplace. “You gotta move fast,” he says, underlining again and again the importance of efficiency when satisfying a clientele increasingly expectant of instantaneous satisfaction. “You have to be able to shift gears on a dime, and alter your path very quickly. Things change quickly, especially here in Miami, so you can’t afford to get locked into one mode.”
Perhaps most surprising of all, the aspect that Ferriter suggests most strongly for the aspiring entrepreneur is to stop being so imaginative. “I think a lot of the time people think a startup has to be some crazy new idea no one has ever thought of before, it has to be something no one’s ever conceived. And I think that’s a broken idea,” he says. “SoBe Promos isn’t anything like a crazy, unique business. We sell promotional products. There are hundreds of thousands of competitors in our market. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we focused on amping up our quality standards and doing things better than our competitors. And I think it’s worked out pretty well so far!”;