ConnXus.com is an online service that matches corporate buyers with diverse suppliers and lets buyers conduct searches for performance-rated suppliers or post contract opportunities for suppliers to submit bids. Basic memberships are free.

Dr. Irving-Ray joined ConnXus as a buyer member and posted her opportunity. Jon Zwitt, sales manager for Muñoz Brandz, responded, and within one week of submitting his proposal, his company won the contract.

Founded in 2005 by Bengals standout and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Anthony Muñoz as a team distributor for exclusive athletic brands, Muñoz Brandz now focuses solely on corporate wearables and accessories as well as marketing and promotional products. The company donates a portion of its sales to support the Anthony Muñoz Foundation, which focuses on developing youth mentally, physically and spiritually.

The biggest challenge we face finding new business is the number of competitors in the market, explains Zwitt. We offer more than just price considerations, but in many traditional bidding situations, the message of our mission gets ignored.

ConnXus offers us access to companies seeking MBEs [minority business enterprises] who need a quality resource and to buyers for organizations we might not normally be able to reach, says Zwitt. Responding to an opportunity is so easy: The request is clear; everyone is on a level playing field; and the process is smooth, robust and swift. Responding to an opportunity isn’t a waste of time because it is an actual job. We connected, produced and delivered the job in two weeks. Everyone is happy.

As a buyer, Dr. Irving-Ray recommends ConnXus to both other volunteer organizations and business owners: Professionally, I run a healthcare organization, and I’ve used other services offering to connect you with suppliers, but there never seemed to be many options available and turnaround time was a problem. With ConnXus, I had a great experience. Everyone loved the shirts, and they’ve washed well. Plus, the service was excellent. After we placed the order, a new member joined the chapter, and it was no problem to add one more shirt. I’m very, very happy.

My husband suggested that I try ConnXus dot-com, says Dr. Irving-Ray. He owns a business and joined ConnXus as a supplier member. The concept really appealed to me: It’s not about who knows who, but about connecting with a company that can truly meet your needs. Also, as an organization for African-American families, we try to support other minority organizations as well as smaller, local companies that serve our community. 

Marcia Irving-Ray needed shirts. As president of the Cincinnati chapter of Jack & Jill of America Inc., an organization for mothers centered on service, her chapter was hosting a regional conference. She needed to find a supplier who could provide a quality polo shirt at an affordable price, customize it with the chapter logo, and offer a style and sizes to satisfy the chapter female members, their husbands and their children, who ranged in age from 2 to 19. She wasn’t sure where to start.