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Spring Ahead of your Marketing

Spring is here and these promotions are awesome. For a limited time when you order early, your 2016 Calendars can go to work for you today as a leave behind brand builder. Also, get 100 Free Triumph Appointment calendars when you order 300 Bic Intensity Clic™ Gel Pens.

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Handy Glossary of Fabric Terms

screen-images-catolog-cover1×1 Rib: This narrow rib has a soft, fine hand and retains its slim fit.

2×1 Rib Knit: Textured rib knit with a comfortable stretch—made to be worn alone or layered.

Anti-Pill Finish: A treatment applied to garments primarily to resist the formation of little balls on the fabric’s surface due to abrasion during wear. See Pilling.

Baby Pique Knit: A knitting method that creates a fine, small textured surface that appears similar to a very small waffle weave. See Pique Knit.

Birdseye Jacquard: A small geometric pattern with a center dot knit into the fabric.

Brushed: A finishing process for knit or woven fabrics in which brushes or other abrading devices are used to raise a nap on fabrics or create a novelty surface texture.

Casual Microfiber: Tightly woven fabric from a very fine polyester thread, usually with a sueded finish for a soft feel. Inherently water repellent and wind resistant due to its construction. 100% polyester microfiber.

Colorfast: A dyed fabric’s ability to resist fading due to washing, exposure to sunlight and other environmental conditions.

Combed: A process by which the short fibers of a yarn are removed and the remaining longer fibers are arranged in parallel order for a high quality yarn with excellent strength, fineness and uniformity.

Cool Mesh™ Technology: Similar to a pique knit but with a more open texture for increased breathability. Features a soft hand for better comfort.

Double Knit: A circular knit fabric knitted via double stitch on a double needle frame to provide a double thickness.

Dri-Mesh® Polyester: The double layer mesh construction releases heat and sweat, while maintaining breathability. 100% polyester double mesh.

Dry Zone™ Technology: A double-layer polyester fabrication that wicks moisture away from the body.

Duck Cloth: Tightly woven, plain-weave, bottom-weight fabric with a hard, durable finish that provides wind and snag resistance.

EZCotton™ Pique: Made from the highest grade of long-staple cotton, this fabric has an innovative finish that provides a consistently softer hand, enhanced smoothness, color fastness, wrinkle resistance and shape retention. 100% cotton.

Garment Dyed: A dyeing process that occurs after the garment is assembled.

Garment Washed: A wash process where softeners are added to finished garments to help the cotton fibers relax. The result is a fabric with a thicker appearance, reduced shrinkage and a softer hand.

Honeycomb Pique Knit: A pique fabric with a waffle or cellular appearance.

Interlock Knit: A two-ply fabric knit simultaneously to form one thicker and heavier ply. It has more natural stretch than a jersey knit, a soft hand, and the same appearance and feel on both sides. Commonly used in knit shirts and turtlenecks.

Jacquard Knit: Often an intricate pattern knit directly into the fabric during the manufacturing process. Typically, two or more colors are used.

Jersey Knit: The consistent interloping of yarns in the jersey stitch to produce a fabric with a smooth, flat face and a more textured, but uniform back.

Linen: A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers.

Microfiber: Tightly woven fabric from a very fine polyester thread, usually with a sueded finish for a soft feel. Inherently water repellent and wind resistant due to its construction.

Microfleece: Crafted from ultra-fine yarn, this lightweight, high-density fleece is brushed less than a regular fleece garment for a tight look, excellent softness and warmth. 100% polyester microfleece.

Nylon: A synthetic fiber with high strength and abrasion resistance, low absorbency and good elasticity.

Organic Perfect Weight Cotton: With the same relaxed drape and comfortable stretch of Perfect Weight, this fabric is made from certified organic cotton for a hypoallergenic and biodegradable fabric. 100% certified organic ring spun combed cotton.

Piece Dyed: A dyeing process that occurs when the fabric is in yardage form after it has been knitted or woven, but before the garment is assembled.

Pigment Dyed: A type of dye process used to create a distressed or washed look that results in soft, muted tones and a soft hand.

Pima Cotton: A term applied to extra-long staple cotton grown in the U.S., Peru, Israel and Australia. It can only be grown in select areas where the cotton is fully irrigated and benefits from a longer growing season for a softer, stronger cotton than standard cotton.

Pique Knit: A knitting method that creates a fine textured surface that appears similar to a waffle weave. Commonly used for polo shirts.

Poly-Bamboo Charcoal: Polyester fabric blended with polyester from bamboo charcoal which resists UV rays and wicks moisture.

Polyester: A strong, durable synthetic fabric with high strength and excellent resiliency. Low moisture absorbency allows the fabric to dry quickly.

Poly-Filled: A warm polyester lining found in the body or sleeves of outerwear garments. It has more loft than a regular nylon lining.

Popcorn Pique: Alternating rows of baby pique knit and a larger pique knit that resembles small circles knit closely together.

Poplin: A tightly woven, durable, medium-weight cotton or cotton blend made by using a rib variation of the plain weave which creates a slight ridge effect.

Pre-Shrunk: Fabrics or garments that have received a pre-shrinking treatment.

Rapid Dry™ Technology: Designed with a unique weave to wick away moisture from the body.

Rayon: A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose, derived from wood pulp, cotton linters or other vegetable matter, with a soft hand. Frequently used for shirts and pants.

Rib Knit: A textured knit that has the appearance of vertical lines. It is highly elastic and retains its shape. Commonly used for sleeve and neck bands.

Ringspun: Yarn made by continuously twisting and thinning a rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer hand.

Rip-Stop Nylon: A lightweight, wind and water resistant plain weave fabric with large rib yarns that stop tears without adding excess weight. Often used in activewear.

Sandwashed: A process in which the fabric is washed with very fine lava rocks or rubber/silicon balls, resulting in a softer fabric with a relaxed look and reduced shrinkage.

Sherpa Fleece: A knit terry fabric that has been brushed and washed to raise the fibers for a fluffy, plush feel. The thick terry loops stay soft and absorbent over time.

Soft Shell: A fabrication that combines the benefits of hard shell fabrics with a breathable, flexible and comfortable fabric

Soil-Release Finish: A fabric treatment that helps a garment release stains in the wash.

Spandex: A manufactured elastometric fiber that can be repeatedly stretched over 500% without breaking and will still recover to its original length.

Sport-Wick Fleece: An anti-static fleece that provides moisture wicking by releasing moisture from the inner layers.

Stain Resistance: A fiber or fabric property of resisting spots and stains. Commonly used for industrial or restaurant uniforms.

Stonewashed: A process in which the fabric or garment is heavily washed with lava rocks or rubber/silicon balls, resulting in a softer fabric with a distressed, weathered look and reduced shrinkage.

Sueded: A process in which fabric goes through a brushing process to raise the nap and give the garment a soft hand.

Taslan: A durable and water repellent nylon fabric with a slightly shiny surface, used mainly in outerwear garments.

Teklon: A rugged, stronger Taslan nylon that is water repellent.

Terry Velour: A pile weave cotton fabric with an uncut pile on one side and a cut pile on the reverse side. It has a soft, plush feel and is water absorbent. Commonly used for towels, robes and apparel.

Tri-Blend: A unique, soft blend of poly, cotton and rayon that has heathered look.

Twill: A fabric characterized by micro diagonal ribs producing a soft, smooth finish. Commonly used for casual woven shirts.

Two Ply: A yarn in which its thickness is made up of two layers or strands, adding durability and weight.

UV-Protective Fabric: A term used to refer to a fabric that resists the ability of ultraviolet rays to penetrate the fabric. Protects the fabric from fading and the wearer’s skin from UV rays.

Waffle Knit: A square pattern knit into a garment.

Waffle Weave: A square pattern woven into a garment.

Waterproof: A term applied to fabrics whose pores have been closed and will not allow water to pass through.

Waterproof Rating: The waterproof rating is expressed in millimeters (MM) and refers to the amount of water a fabric will hold before it leaks.

Water Repellent: A fabric’s ability to cause moisture to bead up and roll off a garment.

Water Resistant: A fabric’s ability to resist moisture.

Weathered Twill: A special dye process resulting in a softer fabric with a weathered appearance.

Wickability: The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to pass through to the surface, so that evaporation can take place.

Wicking: Dispersing or spreading of moisture or liquid through a given area by capillary action in a fabric.

Wool: Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or lamb. The term wool can also be applied to all animal hair fibers, including the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel, alpaca, llama or vicuna.

Woven: Fabric constructed by the interlacing of two or more sets of yarns at right angles to each other. Woven fabrics are commonly used for dress shirts and camp shirts.

Yarn Dyed: A term used when yarn is dyed prior to the weaving or knitting of the garment.

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The Ten Commandments of Branding!

1. BE DISTINCTIVE! You’ll land your company in expensive legal hot water if you attempt to steal or encroach on another company’s identity. Apart from legalities, you tend to get the most bang for your branding buck when you generate a powerful contrast with competitors’ images. Do something different.

2. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT! The more times your slogans, logo, stories, colors, themes, values and other elements come before your intended public, the greater their effect. Normally, if you have XXXXX dollars to spend this year spreading awareness of your brand, you’re better off creating thousands of small impressions than spending it all on one blow-out event.

3. BE CONSISTENT. Branding works best when you use the same colors, the same musical theme, the same company name and the same symbols in all company materials and environments.

4. BE PERSISTENT. Those within a company will be tempted to change the image of a brand way before it’s time to do so. Never, never modify or update a central element of a brand just because you’re tired of it. If it’s working, it can continue working for decades.

5. DON’T WATER IT DOWN. A brand must stand for something and must be linked with something specific in the minds of your public. If Ben & Jerry’s ice cream were to move its headquarters from Vermont to, say, Las Vegas, a crucial part of its identity would be lost. When Packard, which had been America’s top luxury-brand car, suddenly announced in the 1940’s, “Now everyone can afford a Packard,” the company slid into deep trouble. Cadillac picked up buyers who’d previously wanted the cachet of a Packard.

6. GIVE IT AWAY. The benefits of familiarity, credibility and visibility that accompany branding. Giving away imprinted merchandise to potential buyers inexpensively keeps your brand in front of them. Tens of thousands of promotional items exist besides the familiar paperweights, coffee cups, T-shirts and jelly bean jars. Hold them out as premiums for sizable or frequent orders, or as prizes in monthly drawings.

7. MAKE WORD OF MOUTH EASY. Hotmail and MCI are two companies that grew exponentially by making it easy or providing incentives to tell friends and relatives about their company. You can spread your brand quickly on a smaller scale by, for example, enclosing two business cards or promotional magnets in a mailing instead of just one, sending two hats when they ordered one and providing lots of opportunities for people to request brochures, catalogs or identity merchandise for friends and colleagues.

8. EVOLVE AS NECESSARY. Brands may need to mutate when they’re perceived as misrepresenting a company that has changed or as out of step with the times. A dramatic example is the updating of Betty Crocker, who lost the original gray flecks in her hair over time and changed from homey-looking to dressed for success to more informally attired as society changed.

9. BE CREATIVE. To promote her book, I Love Men in Tasseled Loafers, Boston humorist Debbi Karpowicz commissioned a new drink, The Tasseled Loafer, from the New England Bartenders School. When she found out her hairdresser used coffee to get rid of red highlights in hair, she sent out a media release for him with a packet of coffee stapled above the headline, DISCOVER HOW TO PERK UP YOUR HAIR WITH COFFEE.

10. PROTECT IT. Registering a trademark gives you a measure of legal exclusivity on your brand identity, including sometimes even a color scheme, a product’s look and feel or an interior decorating scheme. Even so, you may need to police unauthorized usage of your brand elements by searching out offenders and sending cease-and-desist letter Contact an intellectual property attorney for details.

*Source: Copyright 1999 Marcia Yudkin and ePromos.

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Celebrating Small Business Week

We just discovered a new cap company who has great prices AND quality caps and are excited to share them with you.  And all prices include embroidery!  And the embroidery set-up is FREE when you purchase 48 pieces or more!

The Complete Cap Guide

Types of Caps

There are a few different types of caps available (e.g. fitted hats, flex-fits, or adjustable hats), and each cap fits and is sized differently. When choosing a cap, it is important to consider how the hat should fit and whether adjustments will be needed or not.

315913Flex-Fit Hat

Flex-fit caps are not adjustable, but typically come in size small, medium or large. These hats have an elastic band in the back that allows for a small amount of stretching. They can be considered “one size fits most.” Buyers can find these hats for sporting events or for fashion. They often fit very well if properly sized.

Adjustable-Fit Hat

Adjustable fit caps have a velcro or snap-style strap on the back that makes them “one size fits all.” This style is popular with women, since it has an opening in the back that allows a ponytail to be pulled through. This is the least expensive style of cap, and is often the kind given away during marketing campaigns.

Bucket

Bucket hats are shaped differently than traditional baseball caps and are often called a “Gilligan cap,” because they resemble the hat worn by Gilligan on “Gilligan’s Island.” These hats are non-adjustable and come in a “one size fits most” style. One advantage of the bucket hat is that the brim goes all the way around and provides sun protection to both the face and the back of the neck.

Visors

Visors are like caps with the bill in the front and (often) an adjustable strap in the back. However, they do not have a top cap. They are like a headband with a brim, and provide shade for the eyes without trapping in the heat of your head. Visors often come with the same options as baseball caps when it comes to fabric and logo choices.

Cap Materials

Caps are typically made of cotton or polyester materials to allow the fabric to wick moisture from the brow and head. Classic or vintage hats are typically made of wool, and are thicker than modern hats. All caps should have a tag on the inside that details the construction materials, so buyers can be sure of what they are purchasing. There are also some differences in the type of fabrics used in caps that make a difference in the care of the hat. These fabrics are discussed below.

Brushed Cotton

Brushed cotton is a cotton-based fabric that has been brushed repeatedly until it is very soft. This fabric comes in different weights, from light to heavy. Most professional baseball teams use brushed cotton in their hats.

Cotton Twill

Cotton twill fabric is a lighter weight than brushed cotton, and has a light, subtle sheen to it. This fabric is a common, sturdy fabric used in hats.

Washed Chino Twill

Washed chino twill is a lightweight fabric that has a soft feel. It normally features subdued colors, since this fabric cannot hold a bright or vibrant dye. Hats made from washed chino twill are common in most department and clothing stores, and are great for casual wear.

Pigment Dyed

Pigment dyed fabric is produced through a process where cotton fabric is distressed during dyeing to created a weathered finish. Colors are often faded and subdued, so this fabric is great for a soft, cool and casual look. These hats are often further weathered by fraying or distressing the bill of the hat, as well.

Polyester Mesh

Polyester mesh is a blended fabric that creates a soft, airy, and breathable mesh. Because of these traits, this fabric has become popular in baseball caps worn during the summer.

Brushed Canvas

Brushed canvas caps are made of a cotton canvas brushed to a suede-like softness. The texture is light, but the fabric is very sturdy and durable. These hats will stand up to wear and tear better than ones made with other fabrics.

Wool Blend

Wool blend caps have a waffle-like texture and substantially more weight than cotton or poly-blends. There are not many manufacturers that make wool-blend hats; they are not as popular as the lighter types. However, wool makes for a strong, sturdy hat that lasts a long time.

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Ten Reasons to Purchase Promotional Products

1. Trade Show Promotion
The top reason that companies purchase promotional items is for use in trade show promotions. The categories of items purchased for trade shows run the gamut from inexpensive giveaways to very expensive gifts for executive buyers. The largest volume of trade show sales is in takeaway gifts for exhibition stand visitors.

2. Customer Retention, Appreciation
Customer retention and appreciation is the second most cited reason for purchasing promotional items. Gifts to existing customers include everything from free sticky note pads sent out by office supply companies to imprinted sugarless mint tins handed to customers after a tooth cleaning at the dentist. Promotional items are an excellent way to show appreciation to your clients for their support.

3. Goodwill/ Enhance Image
In the same vein, many companies use promotional items to increase goodwill and enhance their image. A local business may buy promotional items like drink cups to support a youth organization’s fund raising event, for instance, or purchase t-shirts for a youth sports league.

4. Improve, Reward or Recognize Employee Performance
Promotional items are powerful motivator employee incentives. Many companies offer incentives to their employees to help reduce the absentee rate, reduce workplace accidents and increase productivity. Among the most popular types of promotional items used as employee motivators are apparel and trophies.

5. Create Awareness of New Products/Service/Facilities
Promotional items are one of the best ways to introduce a new product or service to your customers. One of the things that promotional items do extremely well is raise awareness – which is part of the reason that they are so often used by councils and other government agencies to introduce new initiatives and make the public aware of new policies and services.

6. Reinforce Existing Products/Services/Facilities
Promotional items can also be used to increase awareness of existing services and facilities and to encourage their use. They’re often used to get existing customers to “upgrade” to a higher level of benefits or order new services from businesses with whom they already do business.

7. Generate Sales Leads and Responses
Nothing generates sales leads as well as the promise of a free gift. Whether you use promotional items as a thank you for referrals, or send a free gift to anyone who responds to a direct mail response postcard, the lead generation potential of promotional items is unparalleled.

8. Fundraising/Increasing Donations of Money, Food, Blood
Non-profit organizations and government agencies often use promotional items as a “thank you for giving” gift. Because of the wide range of promotional items available, it’s very easy for non-profit agencies to tailor promotional campaigns that take advantage of more valuable incentives for higher levels of donations.

9. Open Doors, Secure Appointments
You can’t sell if you can’t get in the door – it’s a truism about sales in general. Offering a gift to prospective customers in return for them listening to your sales pitch is a time honored way to set appointments. Promotional items give you the best value for your marketing budget because you can buy promotional items in bulk, reducing your overhead costs.

10. Motivate Dealers, Retailers
Any industry that relies on retailers and dealers often uses promotional items to motivate their associated dealers to move certain product lines. Automobile manufacturers may offer product incentives to dealers who make high sales in a new model or one that has slow sales, for instance, and breweries may offer promotional merchandise to bars and restaurants for sales in excess of a set amount.

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