August 2, 2013
Filed under: Wearables
From guest blogger C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables magazine.
Wearables has an upcoming cover story for October about apparel that helps charities and saves lives. In the process of gathering stories, one of its readers reached out for help with his charitable event. Neil Jorge of A Better Copy is hosting an event on September 14th called Comics 4 A Cure. The event uses artwork from professional comic book artists to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Throughout the year the group uses comic book art therapy for sick and dying children in Florida hospitals. Neil is looking for a supplier to donate 70 black T-shirts for the event.
If you are interested in donating, contact Wearables editor C.J. Mittica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 31, 2013
Filed under: Uncategorized
The 2013 Counselor State of the Industry is hot off the press, and — as usual — it’s filled with tons of useful information including how-to strategies, data analysis, insights, trends and business tactics.
One of the best parts of the report is the imagery — charts and graphs really nail home some of the stats, and each article has them. The most glaring? Under the article titled “The Competitor You Can’t See” Counselor lists the top 11 perceived competitor threats to distributors. Here are the top 5, including percentage:
The dropoff from the top spot is stark, and it’s clear distributors fear websites that sell at the lowest possible margins. Want to know how to combat them, as well as the rest of the threats on the list? Click here now.
July 26, 2013
From guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips …
The things that decorate my tiny cubicle include a few framed photographs, two plastic orchid plants (I would love real flowers but I struggle to keep even myself healthy and thriving), a gnome figurine and a fake autographed photo of Christopher Walken: a gag Christmas gift from a close friend. I questioned every item I brought in to adorn my work space, convinced that they would define me as a person. All it would take was a single troll doll with dirty neon hair and a gem belly button and I’d be haunted by it forever.
Fortunately, my desk accessories (deskessories? Genius!) are mild, even amateur, in comparison to the oddities that dress the desks of some of my co-workers. As MVP’s of an industry that thrives on wacky products, ASI employees often receive free promotional items that are … shall we say … unique? Do you need a Gangnam Style figurine that doubles as a flash drive? No. But it makes one hell of a conversation starter. I decided to conduct an in-depth investigation, and expose the dirty truth about ASI’s desk decorations. Thus, here they are!: a few of my favorite ASI deskessories in no particular order:
MR. T BOBBLEHEAD DOLL
Online editor Vinny Driscoll works tirelessly to upkeep our social media presence while his Mr. T bobblehead watches from atop the cubicle wall, nodding eternally in agreement. “#pitythefool!” cries the tiny intimidating figurine.
MCDONALD’S FRENCH FRY GOLF CLUB COVER
Copy writer Chuck Zak is pictured here with his McDonald’s French fry golf club head cover. Does Chuck Zak play golf? No. Why does Chuck Zak have a fast food inspired golf club head cover? It is one of the many mysteries that lie within those cubicle walls. Legend has it the fries are a device he uses to communicate with the editorial gods. Of course, no one can ever know for sure. You see that perfectly trimmed beard? It’s full of secrets.
While Patty Cangelosi slaves over the pages of copy she edits daily, she is surrounded by an array of odd items including giant highlighters and magnets shaped like slices of pizza. But perhaps the strangest of all her deskessories is the photo drink coaster pictured here, a sample gift from one of ASI’s suppliers. Why is this the top of the wacky food chain, you ask? Because Patty has no idea who those people are.
Managing editor Joe Haley’s office is a mecca of promotional oddities. It’s got everything you can dream up…a plastic pig that shoots pong balls out of its mouth, a trail hitch ball cover shaped like Barak Obama’s head, a plastic shot glass that includes a turning mechanism which allows for no-mess jello shots, an electric guitar branded with the “Joe Show” logo … I could go on. Joe is pictured here with one of his most precious office accessories: a caped monkey that doubles as a slingshot. Don’t make him angry; his office is an arsenal of weaponry that might not injure, but has the power to severely annoy.
C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables magazine, proudly shows off the miniature bale of cotton that he acquired while conducting story research in Texas. A normal bale of cotton weighs approximately 500 pounds and holds enough cotton to make 325 pairs of denim jeans. After completing a few Good-Will-Hunting-esque mathematical equations (who am I kidding, I majored in English), I concluded that this bale holds enough cotton to make at least three denim bowties for Canadian tuxedoes.
Michele Bell is the editor of Supplier Global Resource magazine and people cannot keep their hands off of her deskessories. This silver twisty-thingy (excuse my use of industry jargon) is a favorite among her visitors. It reminds me of a hitchhiker outside of a Phish concert: it could possibly strangle you, and it is always picked up.
BOWLING PIN WATER BOTTLE
And ah, of course, the infamous bowling pin water bottle: the wild card that blew this investigation wide open. It requires no lavish witticisms to introduce it. It is the answer to possibly the most important scientific question of all time: how do you combine America’s favorite sport (besides competitive chess of course) and hydration? It is the product of years of struggle for researchers who were hungry to create something incredibly subtle and yet still so majestic. Its owner requested to remain anonymous in this investigation report, as to avoid torment from the paparazzi and constant media attention. “Yes I have a bowling pin water bottle,” she says, “But I just want to live a normal life!”
Well, that concludes this episode of “An Intern Rants about Nothing of Importance.” Tune in next week, when I will rate the office toilets in descending order based on comfort level, timing of the automatic flush, and amount of creativity used in stall door graffiti.
…That’s a joke people. C’mon, did you really think I have the seniority and power to make those kinds of judgments? I’m just an intern for Crissakes.
July 17, 2013
Filed under: Awards
Here ye, here ye! The winners of this year’s most prestigious awards — the Counselor Awards — will be announced tonight from the Art Institute of Chicago between the hours of 6:30-10:30 p.m. CST. Want to know who receives the awards as they happen? Follow our Live Tweet on Twitter at @asicentral and use the hashtag #ASIAwards. We’ll post all winners after the ceremony on www.asicentral.com at 11 p.m. EST.
Award categories include:
So who do you think will win this year’s Counselor Person of the Year? Stay tuned … and good luck to all!
July 10, 2013
Filed under: Poll Results
When I posted the June poll “Which Social Network Do You Use Most For Business?” I figured most of our ad specialty friends would vote for Facebook, and they did. Over 50% of the total votes went to the social network that now boasts over 1.1 billion users and growing. This definitely did not shock me …
However, what did shock me was that Pinterest, the social network that really lends itself to imagery, received just one measly vote! Given that this is an industry rife with new and interesting products, I personally believe that companies should be looking a little more closely at Pinterest as a platform to promote their products. But I digress …
The following is the breakdown of votes for the question: “Which Social Network Do You Use Most For Business?” (191 total votes)
June 25, 2013
Filed under: Tip of the Day
If 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:
May 20, 2013
Filed under: Tip of the Day
Did you know: Customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those businesses than other clients?
Yes, it’s a brave new world, folks, and unless you’re out there working the interwebs you’re missing out big time. This month’s Counselor story titled “Rules of Engagement” focuses on how distrubutors can boost their sales by utilizing 4 innovative means to better market to clients. Click here to read the story … and in the meantime, here are the 4 basic tips: (Click the link for more explanation)
April 2, 2013
Filed under: Wearables
I love the color green, and all the shades in between, especially the warmer ones like turquoise and teal. That’s why I was so happy to see that Pantone selected a shade of green — Emerald — as the Pantone Color of the Year for 2013.
How exactly does this affect the promotional products industry? If you deal in apparel, then you know that ASI has its finger on the pulse of fashion trends and our Wearables magazine devotes ink each issue to the hottest hues and how you can use them.
Want to see some cool examples of emerald in action and how to pair it with other hues? Then you don’t want to miss this issue of Wearables Fashion Sense.
March 27, 2013
Filed under: Poll Results
Is trust between suppliers and distributors Better, Worse or the Same today than five years ago?
That’s the question we posed to our users last month, and according to our results, the answer is bleak.
By a margin of 42% (93 votes) to 34% (76 votes), our users voted for “Worse” over “Better” with the remaining 24% (52 votes) saying “Same”. (Don’t miss Counselor magazine’s 3-part look at trust issues in the industry.)
Here’s the complete breakdown to this poll: (TOTAL VOTES: 221)
March 22, 2013
Filed under: Tip of the Day
Negotiating … yeah, it can be daunting, especially if you’re a small distributor just starting out. But when dealing with suppliers, remember: You have the right to negotiate.
In an April management article, Counselor magazine offers some great tips and advice on how get your haggle on. Want to improve your negotiation skills? Then this article is a must-read. In the meantime, here are 6 tips for negotiating with suppliers: