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Counselor PromoGram
Vol 1162, October 7, 2014
NEWS STORIES
CPSC Recalls Children’s Sweatshirts
A government crackdown on children’s apparel that poses a choking hazard continued last week when regulators recalled more than 7,800 hooded sweatshirts. Both kids’ items featured neck-area drawstrings, which are prohibited by federal regulation because of the strangulation risk they present.
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The products involved in the recall were the Boys Fission Zipper Hooded Sweatshirt imported from Pakistan by Mira Loma, CA-based Active Apparel and the Pure Baby Organic Boy’s Hoodie imported from China by LA-based Chantique’s Corp. Neither company is an ASI-listed supplier. No injuries were reported in connection with either of the recalled products.

“Consumers should immediately take the hoodie(s) away from children,” reads a statement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which issued the recalls. “Consumers can remove the drawstring from the garment to eliminate the hazard or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.” Those who return the Fission hoodie will receive a $10 gift card in addition to a refund, regulators say.

With approximately 7,800 units in circulation, the Fission hoodie was sold for about $18 in Fred Meyer and Kroger stores nationwide from June 2014 through August 2014. Available in black, green, royal blue, true red and turquoise colors, the sweatshirts have a white drawstring tie that is attached on each side of the neck area. On the label, it states Karachi Pakistan, Active Apparel, has the manufacture date “MAY, 2014,” and batch number 61271,159.

Meanwhile, regulators say that Baby Organic Boy’s Hoodies were sold for $62 at children’s boutiques nationwide and at other stores such as Elephant Ears, Pumpkinheads, Sprouts. Available from January through August of this year, approximately 60 of the sweatshirts are in circulation. The product comes in solid gray with a red drawstring that is inside the lining of the hood that surrounds the face. A label with style number PB1613.B12 is sewn into an inside side seam of the garment under the washing instruction label.

In February, the CPSC recalled a set of girls’ jackets that were sold at Burlington Coat Factory, Cookie’s Department Stores, and Kids Stop stores. The products in question were deemed hazardous because they had a band of material around the neck area that could cause choking. Just two months before that, regulators recalled children’s sweatshirts branded by retailer Little Willy’s because of neck drawstrings. The moves have continued a crackdown by the CPSC on what it deems as dangerous children’s outerwear, which shouldn’t contain any drawstrings around the neck areas.

Ennis Acquires Hoosier Data Forms
Top 40 supplier Ennis Inc. (asi/52493) announced yesterday that it has acquired print company Hoosier Data Forms, which is based in Indianapolis, IN. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but as part of the transaction, John Cornelius, previous owner of Hoosier, will remain with the company in a sales and management capacity.
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“We are pleased to add John Cornelius, Hoosier Data Forms and their loyal customers to the Ennis family,” said Keith Walters, chairman, president and CEO of Ennis. “Hoosier Data Forms has been serving the region for almost 40 years and the Cornelius family’s historic printing roots go back more than 100 years serving Midwest distributors.”

Ennis said it will now consolidate Hoosier and its Printegra Indianapolis operation into one facility. The transition to the single facility will take place over the next six months, but following the consolidation, both companies and their employees will continue to operate under their respective brand names.

Separately, Ennis recently announced its financial results for the three months ended August 31. In the company’s fiscal second quarter, net sales increased by 12.2% over the same time period last year, reaching $151.8 million. Its print division grew sales by 24% while the company’s apparel sales (which include numbers from its Alstyle Apparel (asi/34817) division) dropped by 4.1%. Ennis said its apparel sales on a volume basis actually increased by 1% for the quarter, but suffered the overall drop due to a 5.1% decline in the average selling price.

“Overall we are pleased with the results for the second quarter,” Walters said. “Our print margins improved as we continue to make operational improvements at our recent acquisitions. Our apparel margins and operating results continue to be impacted by a challenging domestic retail environment [in which] discounting continues to be prevalent in the marketplace.”

Ennis ranks as the fifth-largest supplier in the industry, after reporting 2013 North American ad specialty revenues of $239 million, a 1.6% increase over 2012.

U.S. Economy Added 248,000 September Jobs
The U.S. unemployment rate now stands at 5.9% - the lowest in five years - following a stronger-than-expected September jobs report. Employers added 248,000 positions last month, a number that easily exceeded consensus forecasts and provided greater optimism about a sustained economic recovery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released the report, also revised upward job gains in August and July by a total of 69,000 positions.
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The business services sector - a category that includes engineers, accountants and architects - had the strongest September for hiring, adding 81,000 jobs. Retailers contributed 35,000 positions, while the health care market provided 23,000 and the construction field brought on 16,000 new workers. Other areas, including the closely-watched manufacturing sector, were basically flat. Overall, the economy added 671,000 full-time positions, while part-time jobs declined by 384,000.

U.S. payrolls have now expanded by an average of 227,000 positions per month in 2014, a period of job growth in line to be the best in 25 years. Still, while more jobs are being created, the labor-force participation rate – a measure of Americans who are working or want to work – fell in September to 62.7%, the lowest mark in three decades. Job participation among Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 is historically low, a noted concern of the Federal Reserve as it prepares to fully unwind its QE3 bond-buying program this month. About 9.3 million Americans remain unemployed, with 3 million out of work for longer than six months.

Wage growth is also a lingering economic concern, as average hourly pay among private sector workers fell one cent in September to $24.53. In an economy considered healthy by economists, wages usually rise between 3.5% and 4% annually. In an effort to spur the economy through more borrowing and spending, the Fed has kept its benchmark interest rate near zero for almost six years. When the rate increases, which is likely to happen next year, some analysts worry hiring and any wage growth may slow, at least temporarily.

In the meantime, after the September jobs report was released, many banks and economists upgraded their Q3 GDP forecasts. Most estimates now fall at around 3.5% growth, which would follow a strong 4.6% official GDP gain in the second quarter.

The Joe Show: Winter Wonderland
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off several items you can suggest for upcoming client promotions. Looking for a unique way to combine cold-weather gear with the technology expansion? How about some items that are sure to warm up winter promotions?    
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Click here to watch the latest episode of The Joe Show.

Want more videos? Subscribe now to our YouTube videos.


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Mobile Use Ramps Up Among Small Businesses
A new survey from payroll processing firm SurePayroll shows that small businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile technology. The study, which queried owners of companies with 1-10 employees, shows that 80% say they’re leveraging mobile technology in their business operations.

"We see the increase in mobile use from our customers, as many of them do payroll for their businesses straight from our mobile app,” said Scott Brandt, vice president of SurePayroll. “And we can all see how our phones are a constant part of our daily lives now. It only makes sense that business owners are using the technology for business a larger percentage of the time.”

The survey also looked at mobile technology platform choices, asking small business owners whether they use Apple or Android devices for business purposes. Of those surveyed, 58% said they use Apple for work and 32% said they use Android devices. It's a sharp contrast to mobile users across the globe, as a recent Business Insider study found Android had a 78% share of all international users. Only 1.6% in the SurePayroll survey said they use BlackBerry and just half of 1% use the new Amazon smartphone.

"We asked people why they used the platform they chose and with Apple, the word that came up over and over again was 'easy.' Small business owners tend to be responsible for so many aspects of the business, the more simple and streamlined things are, the better," said Brandt. "The people who use Android talked more about flexibility, price and compatibility. It really comes down to your comfort level with the different operating systems."

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ASI Radio: Effective Strategies For Selling To Millennials
On this week’s episode of the Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts gave advice to listeners who were looking for ways to call on the newest and youngest clients. On the show, we also revealed our Favorite Things, discussed strategies for ramping up public relations, and debated whether email marketing still works.

If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast on Tuesday, October 14 – when a special guest will join the show. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show – and give us a call at (215) 953-4979 to hear your voice on the air. 

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Counselor How-To: Protect Your Firm’s Reputation
It could happen to you – maybe it already has. A disgruntled employee, an angry customer, or an underhanded competitor could try to burn you by spreading rumors, lies, or misinformation about your business. “Bad news travels faster than good news,” says Mike Emoff, CEO of Shumsky (asi/326300). “I kind of wish I could market good news like bad news, but you can’t.”

How you handle a wave or, possibly worse yet, a slow trickle of bad PR will determine the future success of your company. Responding well can limit the damage, but protecting your reputation should start long before a crisis is upon you. Nowadays, protecting your reputation means staying ahead of the news, experts insist. MSNBC’s Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First, believes Google Alerts gives you a good watchdog to do just that.

“It will notify you when certain keywords are said in any kind of media outlet or Web link. You put your company’s name and your key personnel in there, and if anything is said about them, you immediately get notified via email,” he says.

Emoff, also a Google Alerts proponent, has used the tool to keep ahead of potential drama. Why? The last thing Emoff wants is for one bit of bad press to be picked up later by a wire service or an industry blog, giving legs to something that might not even be true. “Something bad can happen now and be posted in three hours,” he says. “I want to know about it before then so we can send PR out to our industry magazines to circumvent – or at least preempt – any major issue. If it’s set up right, Google Alerts works for our industry and our size because it’s free.”

Click here to read Counselor’s latest Management column and glean more tips on protecting your company’s image.

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Nominations Open For Counselor Product Design Awards
Counselor magazine is looking for innovative products for its annual Product Design Awards competition. Suppliers are invited to nominate their favorite eye-catching products in the following categories:

  • Apparel
  • Awards & Recognition
  • Bags
  • Calendars
  • Caps & Wearable Accessories
  • Desk Accessories
  • Drinkware
  • Housewares
  • Meeting & Travel Products
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Tech Accessories
  • Watches & Jewelry
  • Writing Instruments

To enter, please submit the following:

  1. A sample of the product. (We recommend that the product be exclusive to the supplier that is submitting it, although this is not a requirement.)
  2. A brief description of the product, including any special features.
  3. The category that the product should be considered for.

There is a limit of one submission per category, per company. Please note that only products from North American suppliers will be considered, and that submissions will not be returned unless requested. Items that were submitted for previous Counselor Product Design Awards competitions are ineligible.

Please send samples and descriptions to:
Karen Akers
Counselor Magazine
4800 Street Road
Trevose, PA 19053

Questions? Please email Karen Akers at kakers@asicentral.com. All submissions will be judged on the following areas: design appeal, functionality and the ability to attractively feature a logo (when appropriate). Winners will be featured prominently in a future issue of Counselor. Don't delay – send in your nominations today.

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In The News
Newton Manufacturing Company (asi/283300) recently hosted sales and supplier representatives at its National Sales Meeting & Trade Show held at the Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC, from September 14-18. The themed event, called “Wild About Charleston,” began with a reception dinner, followed by four days of informational sessions, product demonstrations by suppliers and tours of downtown Charleston.

Innovation Line by Innovation Specialties (asi/62660) announced that it has reprinted its Super Saver Catalog and extended special pricing through March 31, 2015.

The Allen Company (asi/34330) announced that it celebrated its 55th anniversary with an Open House on September 30.

R.S. Owens (asi/75530) recently created the Dove Awards to be given to winners at the Gospel Music Association Awards. The ceremony will be aired live from Nashville, TN, tonight on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Colonial/Redi Record (asi/81110) announced that it will be closed from Thursday October 9 through Friday October 17 in observance of a holiday, and will reopen on Monday October 20.

MTM Recognition (asi/270880) is now the official recognition partner of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team.

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People On The Move
Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant (asi/44900) welcomes Shelley Bednarski as Southeast regional sales manager. 

Innovation Line by Innovation Specialties (asi/62660) has announced that Mike Doyle, Kerry Schmock and Lorel Gardner of The Doyle Group will now represent the company’s product line in Michigan.
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ASI NEWS
Newest Ad Study Video Posted
ASI’s latest YouTube video illustrates results from the 2014 global ad specialties impressions study.
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Global Ad Study Released
Groundbreaking global research proves promo products deliver commanding advertiser recall among 85% of consumers surveyed.
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THE ASI SHOW

FIND SOLUTIONS TO YOUR CLIENTS’ END-OF-YEAR NEEDS
Attend the Advantages Roadshow for FREE when it visits the Midwest NEXT WEEK. Delivering leading suppliers and hot, money-making products for your clients’ end-of-year projects, the Roadshow is the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to stay on top of your game.

►Monday, October 13 • Minneapolis, MN • DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis - Park Place
►Tuesday, October 14 • Des Moines, IA • Embassy Suites Hotel Des Moines - Downtown
►Wednesday, October 15 • Omaha, NE • Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conv. Center & Coco Key Water Resort
►Thursday, October 16 • Kansas City, MO • Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff
►Friday, October 17 • St. Louis, MO • DoubleTree by Hilton St. Louis - Westport

Come on over. All distributors are invited to attend the Advantages Roadshow for FREE. The morning schedule features distributor education from 7:45 a.m.-9 a.m. and tabletop exhibits from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com to register for free and to review the complete Advantages Roadshow schedule. Distributors can register on show site with a valid business card.

Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Join us at The ASI Show in 2015:
Orlando • Education: January 4 • Exhibits: January 5-6
Dallas • Education: February 3 • Exhibits: February 4-5
Long Beach • Education: March 24 • Exhibits: March 25-26
New York • Education & Exhibits: May 5-6
Chicago • Education: July 14 • Exhibits: July 15-16

Plus, don’t miss the ASI Roadshow, the industry’s #1 traveling show. Visit www.asiroadshow.com for the complete schedule and go to www.asishow.com for information
on all ASI Shows.

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NEWS QUICK LINKS
Mobile Use Ramps Up Among Small Businesses | ASI Radio: Effective Strategies For Selling To Millennials | Counselor How-To: Protect Your Firm’s Reputation | Nominations Open For Counselor Product Design Awards | In The News | People On The Move
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