Rightsleeve, The Next Chapter
Catherine and I have some exciting news to share with our community of customers, friends and family.
Rightsleeve has been acquired by Genumark.
I started Rightsleeve in 2000 out of the spare bedroom in parents’ house in Toronto. I had just graduated from university and moved back home to live with my parents. The ultimate victory lap, so to speak.
Prior to starting the company, I had just resigned from a job as an investment banking analyst on Bay Street, a job I really disliked despite the fact it was a career opportunity that could have set me up financially for life. I left that opportunity to sell Tshirts from my parents’ house. Many people thought I had completely lost my marbles. For about 2 years, I felt the same way.
It was a lonely and scary time as the very early days of Rightsleeve were filled with meager sales, plenty of rejections and suppliers reluctant to work with some kid with an office in their parents’ house.
But somehow it all worked out. Over the last 20 years, Rightsleeve grew to be a leading creative promotional products agency in our industry. Needless to say, a turning point in our success was when Catherine joined the company in 2007, applying her financial services and consulting expertise to the growing company.
But enough about us. We wanted to write to you about why this is exciting for you, our valuable customers.
Rightsleeve will continue to operate as its own brand, as a division of Genumark. Our team remains intact as does our office location on Merton Street. Stephen Musgrave will continue to lead the company as he has for several years now.
There will be no change in how we interact with our customers, specifically our presentation and workflow process that you are accustomed to.
We chose Genumark because of the complementary approaches we both take to the market. Rightsleeve is the leading creative promotional agency in Canada, while Genumark is the leading company program supplier in the country. Genumark has a national footprint across Canada which offers incredible opportunities to Rightsleeve’s customers.
There is virtually no crossover in our customer accounts or in our key offerings.
While Catherine and I will no longer be formally involved in Rightsleeve, we remain connected to the company through commonsku, the software platform that powers the company. Catherine and I founded commonsku in 2011 and will now be our full time focus. We will continue to have a very strong vested interest in Rightsleeve and Genumark’s success, just as we do with the almost 500 distributor companies on the commonsku platform.
We are excited about this new chapter in our lives. We can’t thank you enough for believing in us.
Before wrapping up, I have spoken about the “journey” we have been on and I wanted to illustrate this through a series of photos that capture the fun over the past 20 years. Thank you to each and every one of you for believing in us.
We’re just getting started. Here’s to chapter 2!
Mark Graham and Catherine Graham
Rightsleeve - a look back in photos
An early business card
An exasperated Catherine after an intensive painting session as we moved into our first office space at 250 Merton St (3rd floor)
Building the first showroom
Simon Greer, our first hire in the role of Creative Director helped transform an early Rightsleeve into a fun and cool place to work. Simon was instrumental in helping craft the brand and company values. Simon, you are the best and a true original. Rightsleeve would not be where it is today without Simon.
An early trade show booth, custom built from wood purchased at Home Depot. Full credit to Simon Greer for his skill and craftsmanship for pulling miracles off in those days.
Customer service maestros Amanda Guy and Christine Crescencia making magic happen
Catherine and some massive computer monitors (and more painting).
The Rightsleeve Mini Cooper (first of many!)
Matty G,1 yr old, making cold calls with Simon and Catherine
The team is growing
“Friends don’t let friends buy bad promo”. Julia Corcoran hamming it up at a trade show
More growth! Moving into our new office on the 5th floor at 250 Merton St. The first of many office construction projects
The new office is finished!
The team continues to grow!
Rightsleeve wins the Dell Small Business Excellence Award. This was awarded to companies who used technology in innovative ways to differentiate and drive business growth. We flew down to Austin, Texas to meet Michael Dell. This was the inspiration we needed to start commonsku 2 years later. Graham White is on the left, our good friend and initial developer of Rightsleeve’s first technology product (ROMAN). Fun fact, moments before this photo was taken, Graham asked Michael whether he’d like to come to Toronto and watch a Leafs game. He smirked. Michael, you are welcome any time in Toronto. Maybe a Leafs-Stars game some time?
Requisite office reception shot
One of our many Swag 2.0 events where we introduced clients to the hottest new merchandise ideas.
Look at that young looking Stephen Musgrave! Stephen started off at Rightsleeve as an account coordinator and has since grown to be the head of the company. He’s a spectacular coach and leader.
Lauchlin Burnett and Stephen Musgrave helped Rightsleeve chart a fiercely creative and original path with plenty of crazy videos and office antics. Lauchlin had a massive impact on Rightsleeve.
Here’s the video they were shooting in this picture
More hires meant we need to knock down walls and expand the Rightsleeve office. Catherine swinging the hammer!
Our kids played a huge role in telling us what was cool and not cool over the years. Matty G in action …
A little love to our camp division, Camp Rightsleeve. Hey Katie and Cass!
The launch of Branded, our series devoted to new styles and trends in the promotional products industry. A big shout out to our event host, Shopify, one of our longstanding customers whose growth in recent years has been staggering, not to mention a huge source of pride within the Canadian business community.
That time Justin Trudeau wore a Rightsleeve produced Shopify hoodie.
At the 5th edition of our event MARKET, where startups would pitch to a panel of experts, bringing the startup and marketing communities together.
Taking home 4 awards at the PPPC Image awards.
More Halloween fun!
Hitting the community around our office for an Earth Day cleanup!
Team bonding with some new faces at Rightsleeve
Oct 3, 2019-
Rightsleeve is acquired by Genumark.
(left to right: Emma Freed, Mark Freed, Catherine Graham, Mark Graham, Mitch Freed)