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Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes

Vol 223 / April 7, 2014

Big Apple Picking
Wearables Managing Editor Joe Haley got to work early at The ASI Show New York, searching for the hottest new promotional items at ASI New York. What did he find? Click here to watch The Joe Show Day 1 video and here to watch the Day 2 video.

Trend Alert: Raincoats
Q&A: Staton Corporate & Casual
Sales Challenge: How To Defeat Price Cutters
What's Hot on
News Briefs
Our Favorite Wearables
Ask An Expert
Wearables Terms
Show List

Trend Alert: Raincoats

The New Englander raincoat (5099 for women and 9199 for men), available from Charles River Apparel (asi/44620), is perfect for wet weather, since it's made from polyurethane bonded to a woven backing for additional fabric strength.  
A classic yellow rain slicker never goes out of style. The vibrant hue is evocative of half-remembered childhood images: the girl in the canary dress and giant umbrella poised mid-stride on the salt canister, or that burly, bearded fisherman steering through a storm on the bag of fish sticks. And what about the Man in the Yellow Hat who lives with Curious George? Didn't Paddington Bear sometimes wear a yellow hat too?

Maybe the brilliant buttercup of a glossy raincoat just recalls sunshine-soaked summers, keeping us cozy against the chill and damp of a relentless April shower.

Whatever the reason, some suppliers have seen sales of rainwear trend upward lately, thanks in part to image-heavy social media sites like Pinterest. "Our women's New Englander rain jacket is one of our most popular ‘pinned' styles," says Heather Brunner, marketing manager at Charles River Apparel (asi/44620). Hooded with a straight silhouette, adjustable cuffs and a reflective safety stripe accent, the jacket is a stylish take on a closet staple. Front vented capes allow easy decorating access.

More important than the cut and color of a raincoat, of course, is its practical application: How effective is it at keeping the rain out? The New Englander is made of polyurethane, woven to be 100 percent wind- and waterproof, yet still breathable, Brunner says. Heat-sealed seams and an adjustable drawstring hood provide further protection against the elements, she notes.

Over at River's End Trading Co. (asi/82588), Columbia-brand rain jackets feature proprietary Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable protection. It's meant to keep rain from getting in while allowing moisture to wick away from the skin, says Lori Anderson, marketing manager. "The result is outerwear that keeps you dry and comfortable, no matter what," she says.

Raincoats are a "great out-of-the-box idea" for distributors, since everyone needs protection against the rain, but few people think of rainwear first when considering outerwear, Brunner says. Outdoor-oriented professions — construction workers, landscapers, utility linemen and emergency service providers — are ideal markets. Resort stores, college bookstores and corporate executive gifts are smart targets as well.

Also consider local TV stations, whose reporters need to stay stylish and dry when braving storms for their viewers, Anderson says.

And if yellow just doesn't strike your client's fancy, the New Englander jacket comes in an array of colors for women, from hot pink to aqua. Men's jackets are available in navy and black styles. The Columbia coats from River's End are available in black for women and men. No matter the color, these coats can shine in the rain.
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King Poly
There is a new fiber that rules the apparel industry: polyester. Here are the new rules for selling this top performance fabric. Click here to read.

Objection Overruled

Learn to how overcome objections from prospects. Click here to read.

Earth day is approaching, so take the ecological approach to your apparel sales. Click here to read.

Be sure to visit to read these stories and more.
Q&A: Staton Corporate & Casual

Lea Robinson (left) and Kara York of Staton Corporate & Casual (asi/89380) recently created a new video marketing campaign called The Thread by Staton.  
As industry companies continue to explore the vast potential of online video, Staton Corporate & Casual (asi/89380) has decided to launch its own web series endeavor. The Thread at Staton is a talk show that touches on the latest trends in the industry. Lea Robinson, vice president of sales & marketing at Staton, talks more about the social media campaign she and Kara York, vice president of product marketing, have spearheaded.

Q: What is your background in the industry?  
Lea Robinson: I have been with Staton for 25 years and I started from the ground up. Today, I work closely with the owners and assist in running the day-to-day operations. Kara has been with Staton for 15 years and concentrates on merchandising and advertising.

Q: How did the idea for The Thread at Staton come about? 
LR: I went to a seminar on social media, and I left there energized and full of ideas. I sat down to brainstorm with Kara, and together we created the concept of The Thread by Staton.

Q: What is the format and what kind of information do you present?
LR: We conduct a web-based talk show at We first present "The Buzz," during which we discuss industry news and hot topics. Then, we talk fashion, and we offer information on trends, colors, product choices and new ideas for potential customers.

Q: What is the primary objective and how do you plan on meeting it? 
LR: Our objective is to be informative, helpful and entertaining. If we sell something in the process, that's great, but our main goal is to provide helpful information. We plan to keep it simple and creative.

Q: Do you see any trends that are taking the industry by storm? 
LR: Comfort Colors by Chouinard sells garment-dyed apparel, and they've been a huge success for us. Our customers are selling it more and more into the college markets and doing really well with youth and students.

Q: What excites you most about the apparel industry? 
LR: I enjoy the many hats I wear at Staton, but at the end of the day, my first love is for the customers. I have established relationships that I consider friendships. We even know about each other's families. Watching their businesses grow and knowing they can rely on us makes me feel very accomplished. I'm old school. At the end of the day, it's all about people!

Q: What are your immediate and long-term goals for the campaign? 
LR: We hope that our customers embrace us, get to know us and become part of our show. In the long-term, I'm hoping Oprah or Ellen will call!

Check out The Thread by Staton at and visit Staton Corporate & Casual at
2014 Best Places To Work Nominations Are Open
For the seventh year in a row, Counselor is setting out to identify the industry companies that employees simply love to work for. These are the distributors and suppliers that have a loyal work force and that provide a work environment which employees want to go to every morning.

Counselor will be unveiling its annual Best Places To Work list later this year at the second annual Best Places to Work Conference in July – it will undoubtedly include an elite list of industry companies. Do you want your company to be considered? Getting involved is easy – and it's completely free to participate. The only necessary qualification is that a company has at least 10 employees.

To nominate your company, or any others in the market that you think deserve to be recognized, simply click here. Also, there's no risk to participating. Only the honorees – those companies with the best scores from the survey – will be published in Counselor.

So, don't delay. Click here to register your company to be considered for one of the most exclusive lists in the ad specialty market: Counselor's Best Places To Work.

Sales Challenge: How To Defeat Price Cutters

Johnny Campbell, head of consulting firm Rise Up and Win International, has clear advice for companies coming up against competitors that are all-too-willing to cut their prices to win deals. "If you help clients increase their profits and increase the loyalty of their customers," Campbell said, "then price will never matter. You have to exist to help clients."

The key, Campbell said, is that distributors should focus on becoming more than just product sellers to customers. "You need to be more to them," he said. "You want to be more to their business, to their marketing plans, to their community, to everything they do. It's a process, but if you can integrate your company into your clients' operations and their everyday business, then price never becomes an issue."

To get to that level of relationship with customers today, ad specialty distributors need to ask good questions. They need to understand the pain points and challenges of clients, and they need to find out exactly what drives their business today. Ultimately, they need to have valuable conversations that reveal how they can become a trusted resource – and not just the low-cost provider – for customers. "Ask the right questions so you know the higher purpose that promotional products can provide to your clients," Campbell said. "There's something that promotional products can bring their organization that gives a higher purpose than just buying items. What challenge do they have that promotional products can help solve? Knowing that for all your clients is the key to overcoming price cutters today."
4-Needle Stitched: Double-needle stitched but with four stitches.

Fish Eyes: An undesirable condition that occurs when screens are not degreased and/or dried properly. Fish eyes appear as round spots on a screen once the emulsion has dried.

Plied Yarn
: A twisting together of two or more yarns in a single operation.
Alternative Apparel (asi/34850) is launching Move by Alternative this fall, an active apparel collection that includes fashion-forward tops, bottoms, bras and outer layer pieces. View the look book of the collection here.

Graphics One has announced the new GO X-24 printer/cutter. GO will be launching the X-24 at the 2014 ISA Expo in Orlando, FL. The GO X-24 printer/cutter device can print and contour cut images using the same unit and it uses GO's EcoColor eco-solvent ink.

Epson has announced that its SureColor F2000 Series DTG ink jet printers, both the White and Color Editions, are now shipping and available for purchase from a network of authorized resellers, including All American, Axiom America, BelQuette Inc., and others. For more information, visit

ERB Safety (asi/51204) now offers a Premium Surveyor vest that features 10 pockets, including a back tablet pocket, and comes in Hi-Viz Lime. For more information, go to

Imprintables Warehouse (asi/58475) has announced that Steven Jackson, education specialist and trainer for Stahls' Equipment and Imprintables Warehouse, will teach a two-day workshop on using the Roland VersaCAMM printer/cutter. It will take place on Friday, April 25 and Sat., April 26 at Stahls' headquarters in St. Clair Shores, MI, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For more information, call (800) 347-0068, e-mail or visit

Madeira USA recently held a color naming contest for its Mini Snap Cone thread spools. The company received approximately 1,500 suggestions over the course of the contest, and has named the following decorators as the winners:

  • Kathy Bolejack, A Personal Stitch, Highlands Ranch, CO, for Blush Pink
  • Marian Eure, Embroidery Creations, Windcrest, TX, for True Blue
  • Mary Dozeman, Mother Hen's Quilt Embroideries, Allegan, MI, for Spearmint
  • Lisa Schultz, Pup'parel, Somerset, KY, for Raisin
Each winner will receive a 3-drawer wooden chest that holds 180 Mini Snap Cones, spools or barrel spools, and a certificate acknowledging their winning color name.

PolyOne Wilflex Inks has added a new hybrid mixing base to its Epic non-phthalate ink color system portfolio. Visit for more information.

SnugZ/USA Inc. (asi/88060) held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony in its new state-of-the-art building in West Jordan City, UT. View a tour of the new building here.

Suntex Industries (asi/90160) welcomes Gwen H. Kelly to the position of customer relations manager.

The Wild Side has combined the 3-D textured look of puff with neon colors to create a new line of stock transfers available in a variety of designs, including florals, resort, patriotic, nautical and cheer. The company also offers custom location transfers in neon puff and foil, available in six templates, and all layouts can be modified with the customer's location. Visit for more information.

Trimark Powered by Leed’s (asi/66888) has announced the addition of Tim Earle as field sales manager for customers in Northern California, Northern Nevada, Utah and Hawaii.

Tri-Mountain (asi/92125) announced it has released 12 new spring apparel styles in 49 different colors. For more information, visit

Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990) has promoted Julie Henschel as the new mid-west regional sales manager. She covers Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri and comes with over 21 years of experience in the promotional products industry.
Columbia Fishing Shirt
Contrary to popular belief, a rod and a worm is not all that's needed to fish. Or at least fish successfully. This Columbia fishing shirt has the accoutrements that any angler can want: two fly box pockets, three other compartments for accessories and a rod holder and utility loop. The light poplin fabric is both breathable and protective to help catch fish, not a sunburn. Available from River's End Trading Co. (asi/82588);

Selling Tip: Anything fishing related is fair game. Local bait shops, fishing trip organizers, party boat captains, angler publications and much more should fall for this shirt hook, line and sinker.
Q: My customer is asking for a purple cable-knit sweater for women. Something fashion-forward and trendy.

A: Tri-Mountain (asi/92125);; actually has a line called Lilac Bloom, which is all about those trendy, fashion-forward pieces. Specifically, the Layla women's short sleeve sweater (LB921) and the Audrey women's long-sleeve henley sweater (LB922) are both cable-knit cotton garments that are available in purple shades.

Another possibility is the women's Monatou sweater (100719) from Dungarees LLC (asi/50947); It's a heavier, cotton/acrylic turtleneck that's available in four colors; "nightshade heather" is a twilight hue on the darker side of purple.

Selling Tip: Following the lead of the retail industry, the promo products industry has moved toward fashionable looks for women. When the end-user is female, your client just might be willing to pay more for a style that will appeal.

Q: I'm searching for men's flat-front khaki shorts for a country club's summer uniform. Can you help?

A: Dress to impress with Blue Generation (asi/40653); The men's flat-front twill short (BG-8002S) is stain- and wrinkle-resistant with an expandable elasticized side waistband.

Alternately, find sharp-looking shorts from A+ Career Apparel & Image-Wear (asi/84835); Product 7031M, the men's flat-front short, will not fall short of your expectations. The brushed twill garment features a relaxed fit, two back pockets and a durable nylon zipper.

You may also enhance your client's summer wardrobe with product 8252MN from Bruxton Career Clothing (asi/42392); It's a poly/cotton blend with a wrinkle-free, stain-release finish.

Selling Tip: Any organization that has an outdoor component should be thinking about summer uniforms now. Think hotels, rec centers, lawn care services, amusements parks, etc. If they're not reaching out to you, reach out to them.
April 6-9, Marlboro, MA
New England Apparel Club Show
(781) 326-9223;

Apr. 29-May 2, Montreal, QC; Ottawa, ON; Toronto, ON; Burlington, ON
Advantages Roadshow
(800) 546-3300;

May 13-16, Raleigh, NC; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Nashville, TN
Advantages Roadshow
(800) 546-3300;
May 18-21, New York City, NY
National Stationery Show
(800) 272-7469;

May 19-22, Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL; Sarasota, FL; Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Advantages Roadshow
(800) 546-3300;

May 29-June 1, Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
(239) 732-6642;

Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes
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