Saturday, April 28, 2018

6 Spring Apparel Trends that Command Attention

1.      If you missed our April event with Trimark, there is still time as part of our May anniversary month to take advantage of special pricing. We featured numerous processes including: 

  1. Metallic
  • Shiny features on apparel are among the most popular trend this season. Seize this opportunity with metallic transfers including metallic embroidery. Our friends at Trimark offer many different decoration methods. Be the first in your company with the eye catching HXD method that offers no limits on colors including metallic gold and silver and gives your logo a 3D look.


  • Paint splatters and graffiti inspired designs are a fun and creative trend this season. These designs work well with Trimark’s InFusion decoration method. This method is permanent, breathable and has a retail, fashion forward look.

3.      Brand Patterns
  • Branded apparel is not just for identification of employees. In fact, if you want employees to wear items in their leisure or you want your best referral partner to actually wear your branded gift- be subtle and fun-  put the branding in an unexpected location. From the show some of my favorite pieces demonstrated mixed media processes with a pop. Such as this zoo jacket. 

  • Patterns are an up and coming trend that gets your brand in the spotlight. This technique works well on apparel with a pocket or tag for a custom message to employees.

4.      Digital Photos
  • This is a modern trend that gives your decoration a realistic, detailed look. InFusion works perfectly for this style. Trimark has a Photograffixx transfer technique that also produces a crisp look.

5.      Retro
  • Classic oldie but goodie! Retro logos are in style again. If you are looking for a vintage, distressed or faded style, try the InFusion technique or a distressed embroidery method.

6.      Patchwork
  • Quilting and patchwork is an up and coming trend that will be admired by the masses. Asymmetry is what’s hot this year; try it out with different patterns and textures. Try using a variety of decoration techniques to get the full results.
Dimensional logos, layered with other processes were a hit with every attendee to the April show.

Did you know the dimensional HDX can be applied to hard goods too?

Keith's new favorite shirt is this one- the fabric has be suede-ed, making the performance fabric feel soft rather than clingy- and it has no shoulder seams. No time to visit the showroom, you know we make "house calls"!

Accepted the Challenge?

EMT produces thousands upon thousands of challenge coins each year; apparently they accept a lot of challenges! Pun aside, many people have never heard of a challenge coin.

An article by Mental Floss titled, “A Brief History of Challenge Coins” does an excellent job of discussing both the origin and evolution of challenge coins throughout time. Among military organizations, the challenge coin has remained a way to show their dedication, pride and denote rank. Because the meaning of each coin is unique to the organization, it can be a secretive, or members only acknowledgement.

Aside from military organizations, challenge coins also play a large role in the gaming, souvenir industries, and first respond-er communities.

  • These coins are usually very budget friendly to produce, but carry a high perceived value for gifting or resale. 
  • Challenge coins are easy to transport and offer a unique way to display a logo and or message through a variety of different imprint methods.
  • Though typically 1 1/2″ to 2″ in size, challenge coins can be cast in all shapes and sizes.  In addition to the coin itself, there are a variety of options available to both protect and display challenge coins. These cases and stands add only a minimal additional cost to the item itself, while ensuring that the coin will retain both its finish and value for years to come.
Are you interested in discussing ways that a challenge coin could enhance your next recognition opportunity? Set up a time with our team to review choices and plan your commemorative piece; check out some examples of coins we've done for local organizations.

Campaign's That Stick

If you’ve watched any Hollywood awards shows this year, you’ve probably noticed one wardrobe accessory adorning nearly every designer dress and jacket on the red carpet.
Lapel pins!

From the Time’s Up enamel pin featured at The Golden Globes, to the orange Everytown pin worn at the Academy Awards, lapel pins and the causes they promote have been a constant this awards season. While using lapel pins to promote awareness is nothing new, the lapel pin’s rise in popularity in the retail and collectors’ markets have (die) struck a resonant chord with supporters, making lapel pins the must-have fashion statement in Hollywood and beyond.

So what is it about lapel pins that captivate cause marketers and their supporters?

Our friends at EMT suggest these 3 reasons, lapel pins "stick" your message: 

1. Eye-Catching and Effective Campaigns

  • With a custom lapel pin, the design can be tailored to compliment the messaging of the campaign, and spark conversation around the cause. Provocative or subtle, color filled or modestly finished, lapel pins are impossible to ignore.
Want proof?
  • Re-watch any red carpet interview show to see how many times the conversation turned from fashion and film, to awareness. Nearly every interview became an opportunity to divert the discussion into something more substantive, and demonstrate the wearer’s commitment to a cause.
Now, move that conversation off the red carpet and into your local coffee shop, and you’ll see why so many awareness, political, and social campaigns find grassroots promotional success with lapel pins.

2. Fashion-Forward Fundraising
  • In the business of swag, we often talk about ROI and cost of a product versus its perceived value. With custom lapel pins, campaigners are offered an economical promotional investment with a perceived value that far outweighs their cost.

  • Additionally, creating a brand identity around a cause or organization is as necessary for non-profits as it is for corporate marketers. The versatility of lapel pin design offers marketers the ability to tailor their message to very specific audience, and effectively engage supporters and donors. These messages live on as people wear and re-wear these pins, and as photos and videos of the events are played on television and posted online, amplifying the message even further.
By employing different metal finishes, enamel color, and enhancements (think jewels, moving parts or printed presentation cards), lapel pins can be customized to achieve any look or style – from whimsical to tailored, or playful to sophisticated. Truly, there is a lapel pin option that works for everyone. It can become confusing to navigate all the choices, which is why we stock our showroom with examples of different processes, so you can touch and feel the difference first hand. However if you are looking for a quick e guide to share with a friend, this one from EMT is a great resource.

3. It's not the butterfly clip that makes lapel pins stick around, it's the emotional attachment.

  • Lapel pins have long been used in employee, volunteer, and donor programs to recognize service and achievement. One of the reasons these programs are so successful is the ability of a lapel pin to create an emotional connection between the wearer and the organization that is tangible. The emotions felt when these pins are seen and worn are tied to a person’s ideals, their identity, and their memories, and those sentimental attachments run deep. So deep, in fact, that lapel pin trading and collecting has permeated pop culture to spark lapel pin enthusiast conventions all over the world.
Few promotional tools carry the kind of longevity that lapel pins carry. Long after a pen’s ink runs dry or a calendar’s pages run out, lapel pins continue to send messages that spark emotional connections, and create call backs to memories that would otherwise be forgotten.
In short, cause marketers are drawn to lapel pins because they are a small product that pack the power to send big messages that stick!

We Woke Up Early for This?

 School groups and non-profits frequently hold runs, races & walks. Outdoor events are a great way to raise both money and awareness for your organization. Planners for these types of event seek items to reward participation, yet the problem arises; what to give out?

Our friends at EMT suggest we consider these points: 

  • The trophy looks different for everyone. For some, it is an intangible. The trophy is simply the satisfaction of having achieved a goal or realized a dream. For most, however, a physical object is what they are after. But why? What’s so important about a statue of a generic shape on a pedestal or piece of metal fastened to a colored ribbon?
  • Like most tangible objects people tend to value in life, it’s not about the object. It’s about what the object represents. In the case of military medals and pins, these relatively small objects with what is usually very plain decoration often represent a lifetime of service, incredible bravery, and inhuman sacrifice. 
    • For Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, patches are given only when they are earned and serve as trophies for learning new skills and participating in certain experiences. 
    • Then there are runners who receive medals for finishing and/or winning races. People of all ages participate in one mile fun runs, 5ks, half and full marathons, mud runs, color runs, and even wine runs. There are also turkey trots, splash and dashes, Ragnar relays, and so many more. In any of these cases, the medals are a big deal!
We've established why give out medals but now what type of medal? 

  • Some of these medals offer a lot of choice in terms of appearance, materials, details, color and function- yep, you can even purchase medals that are bottle openers or even fidget spinners.  
  • Budget, how many participates do you have for the event. 
  • What's the demographic? Expectations will vary by age bracket and type of event. 
    • For example we have one client puts on an annual race where participants run over a 24 hour period- that's dedication! 
  • For serious runners who wake up early, spends hours a day training, investing in footwear, gear and pay entry fees, as well as travel there is an extra level of preparation that goes into running a race and crossing a finish line is unparalleled. It requires patience, persistence, and discipline. Taking all of this into consideration, it’s now easy to see why runners value these pieces as they do. These medals represent a level of dedication and effort that very few are willing to put forth and when participants see the medal, a deep emotional connection that is made that extends far beyond metal and ribbon. If you are a race organizer, consider this your reminder that the pressure to produce a medal worth waking up early for, is on!
Maybe you are just looking for some exercise- note a marathon? When you are in a rush for metal projects- EMT has us covered for you!

Innovation. Problem Solving. Brand Alignment- What's your message?

 What does it take to be deemed an innovative problem solver? I suppose it depends on what you consider a problem and what you value as a solution. One of the exciting aspects of our industry is the ability to align our clients with supplier partners that offer solutions that speak to the core values of your brand. One of the 41 suppliers I met back in March at the Power Meeting, was Allen Mugs.

Since 1959, Allen Company strives for top accolades, seeking to position their brand as a trusted partner, who exceeds your custom drinkware and hydration needs; valuing the confidence associate their brand. In fact, they've earned the honor of  "Most Award Winning Decorator." Besides  innovative decorating, they are a BRAND LEADER with brands such as CamelBak®, Blender Bottle®, KORwater, Takeya® Thermoflask® and more!

When a client tells us need a product that fits our core values, offers unique decoration and has innovative products- we know this will be a solution!

Check out a couple of their unique brand names:

Stojo is the leak proof, collapsible, reusable cup that's a game changer.

Designed by a group of on-the-go urban dads who realized the impact their daily coffee habit had on the environment through disposable cups. Recognizing the hazards of a busy lifestyle and already overloaded commute, yet still wanting to minimize the amount of waste each contributed to landfills, Stojo was born.

Reusable. Easy to use. Lightweight. Holds hot or cold drinks. Compact - collapses to just 2" when not in use. Leak proof both in use and when collapsed. Made of recycled materials. It doesn't hurt that it's just plain fun to use Stojo. It makes us smile.

Head over to Stojo's home on our website where you'll find lots of detailed information.

We're so excited about this new brand that - like proud parents - we're sharing video

Introducing Dopper the completely sustainable brand - Cradle to Cradle certified, B Corp Certified and PET free.

Check out these facts:

  • The design of the Dopper features a drink opening similar to a single use bottle opening - just what most of us are used to drinking from so it feels comfortable and familiar.  Without the landfill waste of a single use bottle! 
  • Dopper also has a reusable drinking cup within the bottle design - choose to drink straight from the familiar bottle opening or use the unique drinking cup.
  • Dopper is a mission based company with it's own foundation. 5% of their top line sales goes to water and sanitation projects worldwide. When you choose a Dopper bottle for your custom imprint, you choose to support a cleaner world and clean, safe drinking water for all.
  • Dopper plasic bottles are made of 100% virgin plastic.  Why does that matter?  Because using recycled plastic in a water bottle can't be controlled for quality. Plus plastic that's been recycled once has limited options for recycling again. Dopper plastic bottles are 100% recyclable.

Ready to try something new with your branding?

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Do You Know the Top 5 Reasons to Wear Sunscreen in Cooler Weather?

Hot cold, hot cold, will we ever shake winter around the triangle. The answer is yes, before we know it we will be in the middle of our hot humid summers.

Sunscreen is synonymous with summer right? However did you know there are 5 compelling reasons to wear it in cooler weather? Our friends at the lip balm company put together this list to keep us connected to personal wellness in all four seasons. Until we hit our hot weather stride, these tips are good to know.

Here are 5 Reasons to Wear Sunscreen in Cooler Weather:

1. UVA radiation is deceptive.

UVB rays tend to get more of the attention, as they’re the cause of sunburn and that lovely post-burn peeling, but UVA rays get deep into the skin, thus having the potential to cause premature aging and DNA damage that can lead to various types of skin cancer. Even more revealing is that according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays make up as much as 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth.

The hard part about UVA is that it can get through glass, which makes you exposed to it even if you’re sitting by a house window, in the car, or on an airplane 12,000 feet in the air. This also means that weather conditions like clouds and fog have little power in preventing UV rays from reaching your skin. Even low levels of sun damage add up over time, including on those colder days, and five or more sunburns can actually double your risk of developing melanoma. One of the best things you can do in response to this risk is to wear broad spectrum sunscreen (with SPF 30 or higher) on a daily basis, reapplying more often when you’re outside and exposing any skin. Because it can be frustrating to apply it separately every day, a great solution is using a face and body moisturizer that includes SPF 30 broad spectrum protection in its formula.

2. UVA rays bounce and reflect.

While you may not be getting snow again this year, did you know that fresh snow can double your exposure to UV rays? That’s because snow reflects the sun’s rays back to you. To further complicate it, your phone or tablet can actually do the same thing, even if on a more moderate scale, though one study found that an iPhone can increase exposure by 36%. Let this be a lesson: Be mindful of the reflective surfaces you use that could heighten the amount of UV radiation that’s reaching your skin.

3. Medications can increase photosensitivity.

Do you apply a medication or prescription cream to your face or skin? It may be making it more photosensitive (that is, more likely to receive sun damage). These products include retinol, chemical peels, high blood pressure medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and even some antibiotics. Again, it’s crucial to be aware of what you’re putting on your skin, as you may not even realize you’re making your skin more prone to sun damage. If you must continue taking medications that could have this effect, the simple solution is to apply high quality broad spectrum sunscreen to ensure your skin’s safety.

4. Cold weather can weaken skin protection.

Similar to the impact of certain medications, the skin’s ability to protect itself from UV rays is compromised when weather conditions turn cold and dry. The outer layer of the skin simply becomes more vulnerable to the environment, inhibiting it from shielding your body from UV exposure as well as it would during warmer days. To help combat the issue, you can apply a thick lotion with SPF to affected areas.

5. Higher altitudes equal higher risk.The higher you are in terms of altitude, the more prone your skin is to UV damage — so whether you’re skiing, staying in a mountain lodge, or spending time in an area with increased elevation, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed areas like your ears, lips, and neck. SPF lip balm doesn’t take much room at all, so you can always keep that on hand. It’s worth it, too, considering that UV exposure has been found to increase 4-10% for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level. In addition, direct UVB levels in Vail, Colorado, for example, are about 60% greater than at sea level.

The bottom line? When in doubt, put on that sunscreen. You’ll be saving your skin from damage you may not even know is building.

For a look at the sunscreen products we offer, visit our products page and select “Sunscreen” under the “Filter by Category” option. The Lip Balm company is especially proud of their SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen available in a tottle and 1 oz bottle, featuring zinc oxide as its only active ingredient to create natural-based broad spectrum protection.

Be ready to protect skin in warm or cool weather with this promotional special!