Consumer Spending Stays Even in December Consumer spending in the U.S. remained flat in the last month of 2015, according to the Commerce Department, which released the data on February 1. But while spending throttled down during the holidays, savings reached a three-year high. Read Article
U.S. and China Manufacturing Experiences Slowdown Factory activity in the U.S. and China slowed in January, according to a report by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). U.S. manufacturing declined for the fourth consecutive month due to a strong dollar and weak demand overseas. The ISM’s manufacturing index inched up to 48.2 from 48 in December, though any reading below 50 indicates contraction. Read Article
Small Businesses Unsure of Marketing Effectiveness According to a new study, a majority of small businesses are unsure about the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Indeed, 62% of 1,000 small businesses polled believe their marketing is either ineffective or don’t know whether it’s working, according to the survey by InfusionSoft and LeadPages.
The Joe Show: Unique New Products
In this episode of The Joe Show, Product Editor Joe Haley shows off unique promotional items for fun branding opportunities, including a crocodile-shaped pen, a Suds n Toss towel for dogs and the Belt-e-vator. WATCH THE JOE SHOW
S&S Activewear To Operate Under Single Brand
S&S Activewear (asi/84358) announced it will operate under a single brand beginning this spring. In March, the company will officially function under the S&S Activewear name, after previously operating as S&S, Americana Sportswear and Eva Sportswear. The company will also add a fourth warehouse location in the Kansas City, KS, area. Currently it operates locations in Bolingbrook, IL, Santa Fe Springs, CA, and Robbinsville, NJ.
"It's been a very natural transition," said Margaret Crow, director of marketing. "We began in 2014 by polling customers and mill partners, and the resounding answer was for us to go with the single name of S&S Activewear. We transitioned for a year, and last December, instead of producing three separate catalogs, we released a single catalog for 2016 with all three logos on the front. We're looking forward to simplified branding in 2016."
The company will soon launch a single website under the S&S Activewear brand. Visit www.ssactivewear.com for more information.
Envision Tees Acquires Something Unique
Mergers and acquisitions advisor Generational Equity announces that its client Something Unique, Inc. (asi/329836), based in Denison, IA, has been acquired by Envision Tees (asi/188438), in Dubuque, IA. Something Unique offers custom apparel, awards, signage and promotional products to a variety of markets, including schools, small businesses and corporations.
"We have been focused on growing our services offered and customers locally and regionally," said Tom Rauen, owner of Envision. "We're extremely happy to offer existing clients of Something Unique a great customer experience and look forward to serving the Denison area along with western Iowa."
8 Tips for Building a Successful Blog
Promotional product sales professionals can position themselves as reliable experts – and generate sales – through a blog that provides value. For example, little more than a year ago, Nicole McNamee started The Promo Diaries (www.thepromodiaries.com). Since then, the blog has been an ROI machine for the national sales manager at Boundless Network (asi/143717). "Generally, every post results in an order," says McNamee, whose blog is rich with videos, images and conversational writing about products and promotional ideas. Here, McNamee shares some of her best practices for blogging.
Obituary: Joseph Zollman
Joseph Zollman, a promotional products distributor for over 20 years, died on Jan. 28, 2016, in Altamonte Springs, FL. He was 93.
Zollman started his promotional products career with Maxwell Bentley Mfg. Co. in North Bellmore, NY, and continued with Oxwall Tools, Latama and calendar company Ready Reference, all based in New York. He is also a former editor-in-chief of Minkus Stamp Catalogs and wrote about stamp collecting for various publications.
Born in Belgium in 1922, Zollman left his home country after the Nazis invaded in 1940. After traveling on his own through France, Morocco, Martinique and Puerto Rico, he arrived in New York, where he reunited with family members. He relocated to Florida in 1999.
He is survived by his wife Greta of 67 years; daughter Yvonne Zollman Mosca (John Mosca); son Peter (Ellen); and son Steve (Lori), along with seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jewish Family Services of Orlando (www.jfsorlando.org), the Jewish Pavilion of Orlando (www.jewishpavilion.org) or the National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org).
Take The State Of The Industry Survey
Counselor is currently polling professionals in the industry – both distributors and suppliers – to find out how the market did in 2015 and to get impressions on where the industry is headed in 2016. We need your input. Please take some time to go to www.StateoftheIndustry.com and complete the annual State of the Industry survey. Your responses will remain anonymous, and you'll be helping to create Counselor's annual State of the Industry report.
Nominate Now For Fastest-Growing Companies Awards
Has your company been experiencing incredible growth over the past few years? We'd like to hear from you. Please click here to nominate your company for Counselor's annual recognition of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing Companies in the industry. Questions? Email Karen Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIC Graphic (asi/40480) has received the 2015 Supplier Engagement Award from Deluxe/Safeguard Business Systems (asi/316203) and was named a Top Supplier Of The Year by iPROMOTEu (asi/232119), which also gave BIC the Special Recognition Award for its support of iPROMOTEu's "A Woman's View" program.
Chocolate Inn / Taylor & Grant (asi/44900) announced it has been named a 2016 Gold Partner by both Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601) and Geiger (asi/202900) in the United States and Canada.
Links Unlimited (asi/67617) has entered into a partnership to become the exclusive distributor of wearable fitness band Moov to the corporate market. For more information, visit http://welcome.moov.cc.
Showdown Displays (asi/87188) announced its 2015 sales award recipients during the company's National Sales Meeting. The Watson Group was named Independent Sales Representative of the Year and Showdown's Dan Donnellan, key account representative for the Midwest region of the U.S., was named Factory Sales Representative of the Year.
The Premier Group Network has announced that alphabroder (asi/34063) and High Caliber Line (asi/43442) have joined as supplier members.
GROW YOUR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK AT ASI SHOW® DALLAS NEXT WEEK Expand your relationships, learn the latest trends and discuss goals and clients' needs face-to-face with industry colleagues at ASI Show Dallas next week (Feb. 9-11) at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Register today using promo code Promogram and network with industry professionals who are serious about doing business!
Start your sales year off strong with the new connections you make at these networking events:
FREE: Distributor Networking Lunch– Brainstorm With the Experts (first come, first served): Discuss hot topics with popular ASI Show speakers, subject-matter experts and distributor peers
FREE: ASI's Minute to Win It– Join us for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and lots of fun with the industry's hottest new game show
FREE: Closing Celebration–End your show and collect new friends' business cards or maybe even close a last-minute deal over beer, wine and snacks
Networking Clubs – Meet new suppliers and distributors during fun activities focused around adventure and running (A small fee applies to cover costs)
You can't miss this opportunity to make important connections at this crucial time in the sales year – register today! For more information on the complete three-day schedule, call (800) 546-3300 or visit www.asishow.com.
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