Products - Functionally Warm
Suppliers Will Offer More Touchscreen Glove Options
Mixing apparel with technology, one of the most popular wearable accessories gets a makeover.
No matter what kind of cold weather Mother Nature decides to bring, one thing consumers won’t forgo is constant activity on their cellphones, particularly smartphones with touchscreens. Retail and wholesale suppliers are meeting the need for combined warmth and function with touchscreen-activated gloves, which contain special filament that allow for conductivity even when fingers are covered up.
“A majority of our recent orders have been acrylic gloves with three-finger touchscreen activation,” says Ian Kalna, vice president of West Coast sales at Pop! Promos (asi/45657). “We also offer five-finger activation, as well as cotton and synthetic options for work gloves.”
In the coming months, suppliers will offer even more touchscreen glove options, says Alex Morin, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Debco (asi/48885). “Specifically, they’ll have added insulation for ultra-cold days and will incorporate more retail-inspired fabrics,” he says.
Nucom/Burk’s Bay (asi/74600), for example, has had significant success with lambskin touchscreen gloves, which offer a professional, mature look in addition to convenience. “They can be worn dressed up or dressed down,” says Creative Director Joy Nelson. “The classic lines go well with bomber or fashion jackets, and debossing the cuffs adds a truly custom look.”
Some of the best markets for touchscreen gloves include colleges and universities, as well as sports teams, says Morin. He also cites the energy industry, in which employers give them as gifts to their laborers.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the broad base of interest in this accessory,” says Nelson. “We’ve had orders from luxury car dealerships as well as 18-wheel truck drivers.”
Pop! Promos, for its part, has had recent success with the wireless communications market. “Verizon, Sprint and AT&T are battling for market share, and these PMS color-matched touchscreen gloves are very applicable to their products,” Kalma says. “Distributors usually start with a one-color imprint, and then perhaps add colors or go full-color. We can also add PMS color-matched rubber dots to the palms for extra grip, and a customized sewn-in tag.”
While embroidery, sublimation and screen printing are popular embellishments, decorators will often create an eye-catching imprint for the ultimate impressions. “A world-renowned zoo turned the fingers of their gloves into crocodile teeth,” says Morin. “It was a marvelous example of ingenuity when it comes to incorporating the brand into the product.”