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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?

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 - Going Green

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Want to go green but not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Here are a few tips to help distributors get started.

Start small. Make little changes first – changing lightbulbs, turning off lights and computers at the end of the day – then work up to more aggressive measures, such as going paperless through electronic invoices.

Make it a group effort. Going green is much easier with staff and customers behind your efforts. Make sure employees are on board – some eco-friendly distributors even suggest making the environmental pitch a personal as well as professional effort.

Get support. Virtually no distributor can make an entire supply chain go green on his own. Want to assure clients that your products and their manufacturing processes are green? Auditing firms can do just that for annual fees that, while not always cheap, can pay off by helping distributors land clients like corporate giants who demand spotless manufacturing measures.

Push the process as much as the products. Selling green products has been a smart business strategy for several years. Now, it’s as much about how distributors operate as it is about the products they sell. Distributorships already ahead of the curve are spending more and more time talking up the merits of green supply chains, in-house eco-friendly processes and other moves that help to not only green products but the industry as a whole. – Betsy Cummings

From Counselor’s Hot Trend: Green is the New Black


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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