LD Products Difference Maker Christian Pepper Eschews the Safe Bet, but Cashes in on Rewarding Career

Christian Pepper, LD Products Inc.

In the 1998 film “Rounders,” the protagonist struggles between committing his full attention to law school while trying to hide from his true passion, which is playing poker for a living. In a pivotal scene, one of his law professors relates a similar choice between becoming a rabbi, which was deeply rooted in his family, or pursuing a career in law. The professor opted for the latter, which devastated his family.

“The last thing I took away from the Yeshiva was this: We can’t run from who we are,” the professor concluded. “Our destiny chooses us.”

One of the earliest career crossroads encountered by Christian Pepper came not long after he graduated from the University of Greenwich in London. A former IBM executive, Jeremy Stirling, had secured a contract to create an asset recovery division for Lexmark and was in the market for a good salesperson. Pepper’s degree was in business, but he was looking for work in the marketing field. Pepper did the interview, anyway, wanting to remain top of mind for his recruiter. While Pepper found Stirling to be a great guy, he had no interest in sales and said as much.

Stirling’s reply was pure Hollywood.

“A marketing person is just a salesperson who doesn’t have any balls,” he told Pepper. “You’ve got a pair of balls, haven’t you, Christian?”

Stirling may not hold a candle to Martin Landau in acting ability, but Pepper took the sales position. More than 20 years later, this 2018 ENX Magazine Difference Maker can fully attest that his destiny found him. The president of the channel partner division for LD Products is proud of the career he’s created, and has the utmost respect and admiration for the 200-strong colleagues and the corporate culture that’s cultivated at LD Products. Pepper credits Aaron Leon for fostering a family-type atmosphere at LD Products.

Having the Goods

From an operations standpoint, Pepper believes LD Products is without peer. “I get a kick out of the reaction customers have when they tour our facility,” he said. “There is no other business I’m aware of in our industry that employs high levels of the latest warehouse automation commonly associated with Amazon Fulfillment centers. It’s necessary because we ship an average of 8,000 orders a day. As one CEO of a well-known industry distributor put it recently when he toured, ‘This place is operations porn.’”

Passionate, hardworking and more than a little outspoken, Pepper places value on honesty and integrity. He’s found guidance sages in people such as Stirling and Clover Founder Jim Cerkleski, and both have proven to be examples of the success that hard work and determination can produce. In fact, it was Stirling who also provided a key nugget of advice that Pepper has taken to heart: Always bat with a straight bat. The cricket metaphor cautions against trying to make trick shots.

“Jeremy explained to me that a career is long and over the years you are going to encounter your peers multiple times,” Pepper noted. “Sometimes, you’ll be ahead of them, and other times they’ll be the person who can decide something important that affects you. He told me, ‘If you always act honestly, you can walk into any room with your head held high and not worry.’ Conversely, if you treat people badly, one day that is going to catch up with you.”

The year 2017 marked an exciting time for Pepper and LD Products, as its Gold Line quality standard came to fruition for new-build compatible toner cartridges. New-build compatible cartridges had long been knocked for having a reputation of low quality, but after eight long, grueling months of product development and field testing, Pepper and the LD Products team emerged with a product that he believes is on par with OEM quality standards.

Golden Future

Now, with eight months of selling the Gold Line under his belt (and a return rate of .1 percent), Pepper believes the best may be yet to come. “I hope that over time, as we gain more customers and market acceptance, our team and the Gold Line will gain widespread industry recognition for product quality,” he said. “For now, in the early stages of our business, our team knows that the work is paying off and I’m incredibly proud of them.”

In cultivating that high level of quality, Pepper notes that the onus is on LD Products to continue ensuring that it has fully committed the resources necessary to maintain the ideals of the Gold Line and the notion that new-build reman doesn’t equate inferiority. Moving ahead, Pepper and LD will seek diversification opportunities to help resellers supply corporate customers with products and services in the future office environment.

Christian and his wife, Zoe, are the parents of a son who is fast approaching his first birthday, and the Peppers are keen on adding to their brood in the near future. They enjoy boating and camping and relish weekend opportunities to explore America’s lakes and shorelines. Pepper loves to fish while on vacation (the couple has visited most of the lower 48 states) and looks forward to the day when he can share all of his outdoor knowledge and talents with his son.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.