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3 Tips for Keeping Up to Date with Product Safety

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Product SafetyIf you haven’t been paying attention to product safety in the promotional products industry, you’re missing a growing trend: sell children’s apparel that doesn’t meet regualtions, pay a hefty fine. Or, in some cases like Hung Lam, president of Miami-based LM Import-Export Inc., go to jail.

Just today Counselor PromoGram is reporting that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that retailer Ross Stores has agreed to pay a $3.9 million fine for repeated violations regarding the sale of children’s apparel with drawstrings.

But what can your business do to ensure you’re selling products that meet industry regulations? For starters you can read this very helpful Q&A with Prime Line CEO Rick Brenner on what distributors need to know today to ensure products they provide to clients are safe. Also helpful: this month’s Counselor feature on ever-changing category that is kids’ products.

And in the meantime, here are three tips to help you keep up with regulations:

  • Define It: It’s likely obvious that a garment is for kids only, but it’s important that distributors make sure the products they’re selling are deemed youth apparel and certified as safe – either with labeling or certificates that pass CPSC standards.
  • Stay On Top: Selling youth apparel nationwide could certainly expand your market share and boost your bottom line. But remember to follow the regulations of the state into which those items are being sold. Certain states like Washington, Maine and California have aggressively tackled safety with greater manufacturing scrutiny. Websites like SaferStates (www.saferstates.com) and the home page of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) can provide links to a wealth of information on banned substances and state actions.
  • Know Your Suppliers: One of the best ways to ensure your products are safe is to work with suppliers who make youth apparel safety their top priority. Ask for testing certificates, and use suppliers trusted by other large-scale distributors within the industry.

5 Ways to Improve Client Retention

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Improve Client RetentionFact: Over two-thirds of customers who stop doing business with a company leave because of the treatment they receive from YOU.

With times as tough as they are these days, that’s a telling stat. Your competitors might be doing something better than you, but that’s not why some of your business is leaving you in the dust. This month’s Wearables “Business Toolkit” feature is loaded with tons of great advice on everything from creating effective and cheap content marketing to going retail. Check it out here, and in the meantime here are 5 ways you can improve your client retention:

  1. Distinguish between a bad client and a difficult client
  2. Listen to your customers
  3. Have organized systems in place
  4. Nurture the relationship
  5. Follow-up is paramount to success

5 Types of Bling for Promo Products

Filed under: Tip of the Day

BlingEver since hip-hop culture ushered in the term “bling-bling” back in the mid-90’s, it has been used so much to describe flashy or elaborate jewelry and accessories that it’s now permanently part of the mass culture. Heck, even my grandmother used the word once when she saw a shirt my five-year-old daughter was wearing that had sparkles on it. “She’s got some bling on today.” (Really, gram?)

So pervasive has “bling” become that it’s also firmly part of the promotional products industry, often accentuating logos and adding a little zest to the finished product. This month’s Advantages magazine “Advantages University” feature focuses exclusively on bling and how it’s used in this biz. Click here for the 4-1-1 on bling, and in the meantime here’s 5 types of bling used in the industry:

  1. Rhinestones are cut glass resembling the appearance of a diamond. They give off a reflective sparkle.
  2. Sequins are small round discs of metal or plastic that are slightly cupped, catching light for a glittering effect.
  3. Spangles are flat, shiny discs of plastic or metal that glisten with light and movement.
  4. Rhinestuds are octagon-shaped metal pieces that produce the shimmer and shine of rhinestones but at a lower price point.
  5. Nail heads are rounded, flat metal pieces that resemble the top of an actual nail.

Poll Results: How Much Vacation Are You Taking This Summer?

Filed under: Poll Results

Wow, we sure have some workaholics in this industry. I always knew promotional products professionals worked hard, but when it comes to vacations, I figured they vacationed hard too. According to our latest poll results, however, that doesn’t seem like the case.

On May 1 we posed the question: How much vacation are you planning to take this summer? Answer options, including votes and percentage, were as follows:

  • 1 week (60 votes, 20%)
  • 2 weeks (64 votes, 21%)
  • A couple long weekends (54 votes, 18%)
  • What’s a vacation? (125 votes, 41%)

Looks like a long, hard summer ahead for some of us. That’s too bad … I’ll be thinking of y’all as I hike Yosemite in August. Cheers!

Here is the breakdown of votes in a graphic. (Total Votes: 303)

Poll Results

Top 10 Apparel Exporters

Filed under: Tip of the Day

China flagIt’s no surprise that China has dominated the apparel manufacturing landscape, but could changing conditions like rising transportation costs cause a shift in power? Unlikely, but China’s loosened grip has certainly opened up more opportunity for other countries. This month’s Wearables magazine cover story “To Every Corner Of The World” examines how some countries are looking elsewhere to source garments. It’s a great read and answers a lot of questions, including: Which countries are apparel companies turning to now for production?

Read it now, and in the meantime here are the top 10 apparel exporters in the world. (Data from the World Trade Organization):

  1. China ($153B)
  2. Hong Kong ($24.5B)
  3. Italy ($23.2B)
  4. Bangladesh ($20B)
  5. Germany ($19.6B)
  6. India ($14.4B)
  7. Turkey ($14B)
  8. Vietnam ($13.1B)
  9. France ($11B)
  10. Spain ($9.3B)


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