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Tip of the Day - How to Identify Eco-Friendly Suppliers

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Sense and SustainabilityKudos to Stitches magazine for a great article they did this month on a growing sustainability movement by apparel suppliers to help shore up eco practices for the benefit of the planet. Called “Sense and Sustainability,” staff writer Chris Ruvo highlights how hard some wearable suppliers are working to ensure sustainability … and to make this world a better place.

I highly recommend this article, and in the meantime here are 6 questions you can ask suppliers to ascertain if they’re really taking sustainability seriously:

  1. Are your manufacturing facilities certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production? 
  2. Are you a participating company with the Fair Labor Association? 
  3. Do you have a formal, written internal policy that describes how you expect manufacturing partners to treat their workers and/or minimize the environmental impact of the apparel creation process? If so, how do you ensure standards are met? 
  4. Are there particular steps you’ve taken or systems you’ve put in place to mitigate the impact of manufacturing and transporting apparel on the planet? 
  5. What charities, nonprofits and/or humane organizations do you support? Are you involved in community outreach?  
  6. Do you produce an annual corporate social responsibility report that’s available for view?

Six Myths About Going Green

Filed under: Green

Going GreenCan one person really make a difference? If they’re buying eco apparel, then the answer is yes!

This month’s “Business of Wearables” edition, written by John Veach of Century Place Inc., describes how all “great journeys start with the first step” and that one singular person can make a difference. It’s a good read, complete with six myths about going green, so check it out! And in the meantime, to pique your interests about the eco-friendly movement, here are the six myths:

  • Myth #1: I alone can’t make a difference.
  • Myth #2: Recycled products will only produce low-grade attire.
  • Myth #3: I can’t be certain these products are eco-friendly.
  • Myth #4: It costs more to support and purchase eco-friendly products.
  • Myth #5: Eco-friendly apparel doesn’t need my support.
  • Myth #6: We have an abundant supply of natural resources.

Tip of the Day - 4 Ways to Overcome Eco Objections

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Jennifer Chiu, product manager for Ash City (asi/37127), offers some smart talking points for distributors looking to sell their clients on green. “Clients need to understand the true essence of green products and also, from a business point of view, the marketing value of it,” she says.

Here are four talking points and details Chiu recommends sharing with clients to overcome objections:

  1. Remind clients that green is growing. “Industry leaders are committing to greener operations by purchasing most or all their energy needs via alternative energy sources and building facilities that are green,” she says.
  2. Explain that green is rapidly becoming a business standard. “Green is not a niche anymore,” she says. “It’s become a term to describe a brand’s or company’s philosophies. It has become a marketing tool and soon it will become the standard.”
  3. Highlight the importance of green to the average consumer. “We live in a world where green is part of our vocabulary,” she says. “For example, high fuel prices are constant reminders for green alternatives.” Leverage this common vocabulary and awareness with your client.
  4. Show examples and utilize market research to your advantage. “Retail brands are expecting to expand their product lines in organic cotton products by 33% in 2010, creating an estimated $5.3 billion market,” she says. Sharing this type of information is persuasive and establishes you as the expert, which is key to overcoming objections.

From WearableStyle, vol. 132


Tip of the Day - Promote Your Business in an Eco-Friendly Way

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Want to promote your business in an eco-friendly way? Take a cue from the real estate industry, where sustainability has become a key selling point.

Susan Singer, senior vice president of sales for The Corcoran Group and a self-proclaimed “eco-broker,” has branded herself “The Green Queen.” She promotes the sustainability of the properties she’s offering, and drives potential clients to her website with an eco-friendly self-promo product.

“Years ago, I used refrigerator magnets and a mouse pad, and they both got me a lot of mileage,” Singer says. “But I wanted to do something that was eco-friendly this time and that could be used in an eco-friendly way.”

To help spread the word about her business, she ordered plenty of imprinted tote bags made of recycled plastic material. The bags feature a stenciled image of the historic London Terrace apartment building, for which she’s a broker, as well as her contact information and branding for Corcoran Group Real Estate. She decided not to include the name of the London Terrace building so that the bag would have wider appeal – she wanted it to be “just about living in New York and having an eco-friendly bag … that way people will want to use them and it’s just free advertising,” she says.

Singer sent the totes to her neighbors, clients and potential clients – and gave one to every unit in London Terrace. She also distributes them at events when the opportunity arises. For example, she recently offered the bags after she spoke at an Earth Day seminar at Baruch College in Manhattan.

The totes direct people to Singer’s website, www.susansingerspaces.com. On this informational and self-promotional site, they’ll find information about her properties ranging from Brooklyn to Uptown Manhattan, as well as Tales of the Green Queen, a regular comic strip in which a cartoon version of Singer tours the city, helping people save on energy costs.

Singer’s totes get an enthusiastic response. “I’ve had people call me or e-mail me saying, ‘I’m so grateful for this tote. It’s so sweet and reminds me of the building,’ and people from the building have just stopped me on the street,” she says. “It’s really been very good for me.”

From Stitches Embroidery Business Insights, vol. 127


Top 10 Made In the USA Products

Filed under: General

Ice Cream Cone HatJust in time for the Fourth of July, ASI has released it’s inaugural Top 10 list of Made in America products, including an ice cream cone hat, picnic backpack, an igloo cooler and more! Check out the list here, which includes emails of all suppliers in case you’re interested in ordering some of these patriotic products!

For more, read yesterday’s press release.  

And if you’re interested in more seasonally themed product lists, choose from the following:

Enjoy!

–BigTopPop


Tip of the Day - 5 Earth-Friendly Options

Filed under: Green, Tip of the Day

Curious about what to look for when sourcing for earth-friendly promotions? Try searching for these options:

  1. Biodegradable corn plastic is used for everything from pens to mugs.
  2. Solar-powered technology “fuels” earth-friendly flashlights, calculators and more.
  3. Organic cotton, bamboo or hemp makes apparel “green.”
  4. Recycled PET transforms traditional polyester and plastics into environmentally correct choices.
  5. Naturally appealing products like plant seedlings, seed packets and even imprinted walnuts provide a clever alternative to man-made promotional items.

From Advantages University, April 2010.


Top 10 Eco Friendly Products

Filed under: Green

In honor of Earth Day next month, ASI has created its first-ever top-10 list of eco-friendly giveaways. Included in the list is — among other products — a neat bamboo dinnerware set, seed paper postcards and, no joke, a journal made entirely out of elephant poop! (right)

For the complete top-10 list, including the contact information on how to purchase products, go to www.asicentral.com/earth.

And as a special bonus, our very own Joe Haley — of The Joe Show fame – gives us a video rundown of the top-10 eco-friendly products in the industry today. Click here to watch the video, or just watch it below.

Peace, man.

– Mr. ECO


Sell This Product - Eco-Friendly

Filed under: Sell This Product

Products that are safe for the environment don’t have to cost a premium. In-house recycled materials can improve cost-effectiveness and offer big savings.

When Garyline (asi/55990) started molding plastic necktie hangers with recycled plastic in the 1960s, nobody knew recycled would become one of the biggest trends in the industry. The supplier has always molded about 10% of its product.

Scott Denny, vice president, says the company used to collect all the runners, trimmings and rejects in the molding department to be re-ground and recycled. This first-use, primary recycling is food-safe and can be used in housewares such as sports bottles and auto mugs, which are Garyline’s best-selling recycled products. In addition to bottles and mugs, the company offers tote bags, chip clips, ice scrapers, flyers, yo-yos, first aid cases, clipboards, rulers and many other products.

Although many manufacturers sell off the recycled material for use in park benches, flower pots or garbage cans, Garyline began recycling its own plastic 40 years ago as a way to improve competitiveness. “We have always been among the lowest-cost producers because we do not lose 10%-15% of our raw material to waste,” Denny says.

Today, many of the supplier’s products are available made of only recycled materials at costs equal to or less than their non-recycled versions. Expanding the company’s color selection has also improved sales of recycled products.

Garyline prides itself on remaining on the leading edge of technological developments in the industry. In 2008, it began offering sports bottles made of clean, food-safe, re-crystallized, post-consumer recycled PET at a cost comparable to virgin PET. Denny says the company recycled the equivalent of 12 million disposable one-use soda, juice and water bottles into reusable, recyclable sports bottles. And in 2009, the company began purchasing food-safe, post-consumer-recycled HDPE, and from this material, they have developed a 100% post-consumer recycled bike bottle.

“Everyone is concerned for the environment,” Denny says. “Using recycled plastics, especially post-consumer recycled plastics and reusable products that replace disposable products, is a great way to do something to help the environment.”

Most people want eco-friendly options without having to pay a premium. Denny says the higher cost for recycled materials is largely due to many manufacturers and importers who see the popularity of “green” promotional products as an opportunity to cash in. By recycling its own materials, Garyline is able to charge the same for recycled materials.

As a primary manufacturer with all processes under one roof, the supplier can fill large orders in a short lead time. For example, the company can mold and print more than 25,000 units per day of its 20-oz. recycled bike bottle. All its recycled products are made in the USA, and the supplier has independent laboratory tests for all materials and inks and CPSIA certificates of compliance on file for all of its products.

CASE STUDY

The purchasing manager for a large corporation was “appalled” by the waste and cost of disposable coffee cups used in their many offices around the country. This company was concerned with the economy and was implementing many cost-cutting programs. They were looking everywhere for savings. They purchased a reusable, recycled auto mug for everyone in the company. They sent an effective message that wastefulness was bad for the company and the environment.

From the 2009 Advantages September Supplement.


Sell This Product - Eco-Friendly

Filed under: Sell This Product

When it comes to an abundance of recycled products, understanding the product, material and cost needs of clients helps “up” your selling game.

Last January, Crown Products (asi/47700) launched its Ecologic product line in response to many inquiries for more environmentally friendly products. The line includes customizable, reusable and recyclable products made from recycled materials. It’s part of the company’s commitment to bring sustainable products to the marketplace, and to protect natural resources for future generations.

John Ratcliff, vice president of national accounts at Crown Products, says the company anticipated eco-friendly products entering the promotional products industry when the trend became popular in retail several years ago.

“Those earth-conscious customers have been loyal and not concerned about the slightly higher price they pay,” Ratcliff says. “Their eco-mindedness outweighs the price.”

Recycling, waste management, technology and Fortune 500 companies particularly have been asking for more eco-friendly products to demonstrate their corporate commitment to the environment. The biggest pitfall for distributors when telling their clients about eco-friendly product offerings is lack of knowledge of the market.

“Understand the product,” Ratcliff says. “This is a must. Jump on the bandwagon and know the eco lingo. Understand the content and know what the components are.”

Knowing what your client is looking for in terms of product, material and price point, as well as having nationwide trends and statistics to support your statements, makes you a more compelling salesman or saleswoman. Choosing to use recycled promotional products helps close the loop by creating demand for the material being collected by recycling programs.

FAST RECYCLING FACTS

  • The U.S. EPA estimates that 75% of our waste is recyclable.
  • Americans recycle four billion pounds of plastics a year. 
  • In 2007, 56% of the paper used in the U.S. was recovered for recycling, which means every person in the country recycled an average of 360 pounds each year.

CASE STUDIES

  • A green cleaning company’s customers went online to receive a discount coupon. Along with mailing the customer a coupon, they received the Ecopen as a free gift.
  • A university purchased the Recycled Drawstring back sak for their 2009 Green Initiative. Along with their logo they printed, “I used to be a soda bottle” on the bag. The university is taking on a huge green initiative and the bag will be stuffed with school recruiting information to be handed out at school fairs and shows. 
  • A property-management company purchased the Non-Woven Reusable Grocery tote as a new-tenant gift. They gave each tenant four totes to replace normal plastic grocery bags. This promotion provided a thoughtful gift for a new tenant to help promote eco-awareness and helped reduce waste at the property dumpsters, saving the management company money on trash collection.

From the 2009 Advantages September Supplement.


ASICentral Goes Green

Filed under: Markets, Research

That’s right, ASICentral now has a home for all things Green!

With the eco-friendly market skyrocketing and industry experts proclaiming it’s no longer a fad but a trend, we here at ASICentral decided it was about time to create a home on our web site dedicated exclusively for the Green market. Click here to find information regarding the eco-friendly trend, including:

  • Latest news
  • Catalogs
  • Videos
  • Timely tips and articles
  • Case studies
  • Eco-friendly terminology
  • Sales tips
  • New items

And much more!

– meanVINgreen


 

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