With almost 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, spanning the healthcare and branded merchandise industries, fresh color CEO Joe Scott brings a fresh perspective and vision to the branded merchandise industry.

Wanting to improve the level of creativity and customer experience he created fresh color—a full-service branded merchandise agency.

We sat down with Joe to learn more about his background, what led him to start fresh color, and the agency’s unique offerings. Read on for insights from our conversation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I was born in Chicago and have spent my life here. My family is from the south side. I grew up on the south side and in the southwest suburbs. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I double-majored in Marketing and Management and was a three-year captain on the Men’s Basketball Team. 

When I am not spending time with family I like to spend time giving back to the youth in the community. I volunteer with the Grand Kids Foundation. The focus is to aid positive youth development through education, physical fitness, and nutrition initiatives. I am also a volunteer youth basketball coach. That allows me to coach and mentor kids on the South and West sides of Chicago.

Joe volunteering at the Grand Kids Academy Camp.  Location: Curtis Granderson Stadium.

Tell us more about your professional background. How did you become interested in the promotional merchandise industry?

I spent almost a decade in the pharmaceutical industry, the majority of that time was with Pfizer. Working in sales for Pfizer was my first real introduction to the scale and power of promotional merchandise. Promotional merchandise was such a big part of our day-to-day. As a marketing major, I was always interested in the merch. I was fortunate to be given an opportunity to see how the marketing department chose which items the company used. This gave me great insight into the promotional merchandise industry. 

How did your experience with promotional merchandise evolve from there?

Later as a consultant for a healthcare startup, I was the one making the promotional merchandise purchasing decisions. It gave me a much-needed infusion of creativity, which I enjoyed. After moving on from that role I was still interested in branded merchandise. While still in the corporate world I began a side hustle testing the water by procuring merchandise for small businesses. A lot of my clients were friends with small businesses. I would help source items like branded t-shirts, hoodies, and PopSockets. This was my introduction to partnering with businesses.  

What motivated you to start fresh color?

When I was sourcing branded merchandise as a consultant and later as a side hustle for my friend’s small businesses it was not the best experience. I was dealing with outdated processes, poor customer service, and a real lack of creative collaboration from the companies I reached out to. I wanted to create the type of company I wish I had dealt with. A creative partner that provides high quality products, is tech forward, and delivers a superior customer experience.

Another big motivation was knowing I would increase the diversity in the promotional merchandise industry. While researching the industry, I found out that there wasn’t a lot of diversity within this space. That made me want to enter even more. I want fresh color to be an example of what is possible for minority business owners. 

What are your main goals for the company?

I want fresh color to become one of the leaders of the industry by doing things differently and giving companies a fresh way to get their branded merchandise. We want to be known for delivering exceptional customer experience and results. 

How can people interested in fresh color learn more?

You can learn all about our services at www.freshcolor.io and contact us to start a project here. You can also send an email to hi@freshcolor.io. We look forward to discussing how we can help you refresh your branded merchandise.