I am a fairly new ASI member (ASI# 581700)
If you would like to get involved in the advertising specialty industry without much start-up money it may be best to to your selling as an affiliate of someone (like me) who is already connected to the network of suppliers and distributors. Otherwise Monthly ASI dues are $150.
I would be happy to help you get started in this industry. As I said I am pretty new myself but I may be able to help with marketing ideas (such as referral/rewards programs, newsletters and business cross promotions) and provide access to the entire network of promotional item distributors.
There are a couple ways I can think of to help. If you want to discuss further don't hesitate to contact me!