Los Angeles Launches Reusable Tote Giveaway
Ahead of a single-use plastic bag ban that will begin on January 1, the city of Los Angeles is handing out free reusable totes to residents. Read Article
While some of the tote bags will be produced overseas, many will be manufactured by nonprofit groups in southern California. Officials plan to give away up to one million bags through the initiative. "Angelenos will be carrying these around for decades," said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz.
According to officials, it will cost about $5 to manufacture each of the locally-made bags, which are being constructed from recycled or repurposed materials. A group called Green Vets L.A. is manufacturing the USA-made totes out of donated material, while Homeboy Industries will screen-print logos. So far about $25,000 has been donated to help fund the giveaway program.
"We will be creating good green jobs for some of the most worthy charities in the city," said Koretz. "I know the Bureau of Sanitation and the California Grocers Association will be giving out hundreds of thousands of bags, but we want everyone to benefit."
This past summer, Los Angeles became the largest city in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags. The legislation will prohibit plastic bags in supermarkets and large drug stores starting in January, while smaller shops must comply with the law beginning on July 1, 2014. Stores will be allowed to sell paper bags for 10 cents apiece, although the long-term goal of the ordinance is to encourage people to shop with reusable totes.
"This has been a cultural shift in our city," said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian. "This will be a better city when we are without plastic bags."
CPSC Recalls Children's Sweatshirts
Continuing a long line of children's outerwear recalls this year, the CPSC announced last week that it has recalled sweatshirts branded by retailer Little Willy's. Read Article
The items were designed for children between the ages of two and 10, and they were sold online at www.zullily.com and www.gilt.com from January 2012 to May 2012.
The CPSC said the products were recalled because they contain drawstrings through the neck area, which are deemed to be strangulation hazards for children under 12. While no injuries were reported prior to the sweatshirts being recalled, the CPSC and Little Willy's jointly said that consumers should immediately stop wearing the products and remove the drawstrings or return them to Little Willy's to have the drawstrings removed. The items were manufactured in Peru and imported to the U.S. by Little Willy's of New York, NY.
In its statement announcing the recall, the CPSC again warned apparel manufacturers and sellers about the dangers of children's clothing with drawstrings near the neck or waist areas. "In July 2011, CPSC issued a federal regulation regarding drawstrings in children's upper outerwear," the federal consumer product watchdog said. "CPSC's actions demonstrate a commitment to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on neck and waist drawstrings in upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts."
Obama Administration Delays Small Biz Health Care Site
This holiday season online shopping is soaring, but there's one thing many American small business owners will not be able to buy on the Internet: health care insurance for their companies. Read Article
On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Obama administration announced that small businesses in the 36 states served by www.HealthCare.gov will not be allowed to buy medical insurance coverage for their employees through the government-operated website until November 2014. Until then, owners in the affected states who desire to buy the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) for workers will have to make the purchase directly through an insurer, agent, or broker.
HealthCare.gov has been beset by crippling technical problems since launching last month. Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicine and Medicaid Services, said officials felt it was more "important" to get the malfunctioning site's application and enrollment features for individuals up and running before turning to enabling the site for small business owner buying.
The delay in allowing online purchasing has prompted criticism from small business owners and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). "Small businesses continue to be low on the priority list during the Obamacare implementation process," Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB's manager of legislative affairs, said in a statement. "It probably matters little to people in Washington that the failure to get the small business exchanges online adds yet another onerous paperwork requirement for job creators. The continued delays add to uncertainty and contribute to the decision of many owners to take early renewals of their small-group plans."
The postponement of web-based purchasing of SHOP for businesses with less than 50 employees applies only to companies in the states where health insurance is sold through HealthCare.gov. Small firms in the other 14 states and the District of Columbia can buy insurance online through state government-run health exchanges.
The Joe Show: Fun End-of-Year Promos
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some new items that are perfect for a variety of upcoming promotions. Read Article
Looking for products for campaigns designed to help revelers ring in the New Year? How about a unique item that will surely surprise recipients? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Trimark Powered by Leed’s Announces Full U.S. Rollout
Trimark Powered by Leed's (asi/66888) has announced its national expansion across the United States. The company, a business unit of Polyconcept North America, first entered the U.S. market 17 months ago as a pilot program.
"We are thrilled that Trimark Powered by Leed's has been so well received in the U.S. The collection of apparel styles that we offer is unlike anything available in the market today," says Sharon Willochell, president of Trimark Powered by Leed's and chief operating officer of Leed's (asi/66887). "We are happy to be in a position where we can leverage Leed's strengths to bring Trimark's products to the market to change the way people think about promotional apparel."
Polyconcept acquired Trimark Sportswear Group (asi/92122), an Ontario-based apparel supplier, in April 2011. Since the beginning of the pilot program, Polyconcept and Trimark Powered by Leed's have slowly phased in availability to other parts of the country, but have avoided offering full national availability until now. Trimark Powered by Leed's has previously told Counselor it would hire three additional sales reps and offer complete coverage of the U.S. with a dozen reps. In addition, the U.S. website for Trimark Powered by Leed's is no longer password-protected.
Trimark Sportswear Group had previously been in the U.S. market but divested its U.S. business in 2004. Leed's is handling all U.S. orders for Trimark apparel, while Trimark Sportswear Group is still responsible for sales and customer service in Canada.
Online Sales Rose 17.3% During Thanksgiving Weekend
U.S. online sales increased a total of 17.3% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to ComScore, an analytics firm whose data is closely watched by Wall Street.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) also estimated that retail sales over the full Thanksgiving weekend will reach $57.4 billion, with the average shopper spending $407.02, down from $423.55, because of lower prices. Black Friday was the biggest day, as more than 92 million people shopped for apparel, electronics and more, up from nearly 89 million last year. More than three-quarters (76.2%) of 18-to-34 year-olds shopped or planned to shop over the holiday weekend – higher than any other age group. "Cold weather, unique promotions and unbeatable prices put millions of Americans in the mood to shop for holiday gifts this weekend," said Matthew Shay, NRF's president and CEO.
In a move that surprised many, several major retailers opened their stores on Thanksgiving night, offering shoppers an extra opportunity for savings. About 25% of holiday shoppers say they were at stores by 8 p.m. that day. Nearly four in 10 (37.3%) were at stores by midnight. However, more than one-third of shoppers didn't arrive at stores until 10 a.m. or later. "Probably the most interesting is the amount of energy the consumer put into Thursday shopping," said Bill Martin, founder of shopping analytics firm ShopperTrak. "The retailers did a good job getting them up from the dinner table and into stores."
Consumers also logged onto their computers ahead of Cyber Monday to spend online. According to the NRF survey, 40% indicated they shopped online over the weekend, or approximately 59 million shoppers. "Online shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend continues to be more popular as retailers tout special holiday savings through their mobile apps and websites," says Pam Goodfellow, director of Prosper's Consumer Insights.
Counselor Unveils Best Places To Work At the inaugural Counselor Best Places to Work Conference, held recently in Santa Barbara, CA, Counselor magazine announced its 2013 ranking of the best workplaces in the industry. With a list of 85 distributors and suppliers, the Counselor Best Places to Work this year is headed up by supplier firm Crystal Impressions by Seaena (asi/47782). "It's truly a great honor to be number-one on the list," said Allison Robbins, one of the company's owners, upon finding out about the ranking. "We're a fun company that we all love spending time at."
Rounding out the top five on the 2013 Best Places to Work list are: Proforma Albrecht & Co. (asi/116308), Beehive Specialty (asi/135780), Royal Crest Promotions (asi/83740), and Clean Fun Promotional Marketing (asi/162979). Click here to view the complete ranking of the 2013 Counselor Best Places to Work list.
Q&A: Blogging For Clients
A recent survey from research firm Social Media Examiner shows 62% of marketing professionals plan to make blogging their number one social media focus going forward. Why? "Content is the new cold call," says Bobby Lehew, chief branding officer at Robyn Promotions (asi/309656). "Every distributor, every supplier and every multi-line rep should have a blog."
Besides helping you connect with prospects, blogging can also boost a company's SEO, strengthen its industry reputation and improve relationships with current customers. The first stumbling block, though, for many people? Determining what to write about.
"Topics are all around you – they're called orders," Lehew says. "Every order resolves a problem for the customer. Ask yourself: What objective did that order help accomplish? Why did the client choose that item? How will it serve their purposes? The closer you get to finding out the "why" of an order, the more compelling a blog you can write. Remember that your employees, your new initiatives, your differentiating services and product lines – even the most innocuous happenings within your business – are worth writing about."
For more tips on how to create a blog that delivers bottom-line results, click here to read the full Counselor Q&A.
ASI Radio: Creative Holiday Gifts & Promos On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts provided listeners with ideas for unique gifts and promotions this holiday season. Plus, we shared our Favorite Things, provided tips for managing Baby Boomers in the office, and debated why companies go so wrong with their employee rating systems.
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 – Tuesday, December 10. 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.
In The News
Proforma Professional Business Solutions (asi/300094) co-owners Bethany and Josh Brevard announced that they have secured a Master Global Contract with a Fortune 500 international technology company. The deal will bring Proforma Professional Business Solutions' total sales with this client to more than $1 million annually, and it is a result of Proforma's recent expansion into the European market.
Brand O' Guitar Company (asi/41461) announced that it has moved into a 3,000-square-foot building to increase the size of its production area, warehouse space, sales office, print shop and showroom.
SWIM WITH THE SHARK: SECRETS TO MILLION DOLLAR SALES
Come hear insider tactics on how to become a business tycoon from two of today’s most successful entrepreneurs – Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary – during their Keynote on January 7 at ASI Orlando.
Corcoran and O’Leary will share sure-fire strategies for:
Developing a hard-hitting plan to boost sales and accelerate profits
Creating a thriving, fun workplace that breeds innovation and a winning team
Motivating yourself and those around you to achieve greatness
PLUS, watch as the industry's top suppliers compete for $5,000 to help them launch a cool, new product that will take the advertising specialty world by storm. Corcoran and O'Leary – with help from the audience – will judge live pitches from innovative suppliers and will award one lucky supplier the funds to launch a new product.
Register today for ASI Orlando, taking place January 5-7 at the Orange County Convention Center, at www.asishow.com. Hurry, the deadline for ASI distributor and decorator members to attend for FREE is Friday, December 6.
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2014:
Orlando, January 5-7, 2014
Dallas, February 4-6, 2014
Long Beach, March 25-27, 2014
New York, April 3-4, 2014
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014
Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete schedule.
Counselor® PromoGram® is
a trademark of the Advertising Specialty Institute. You were sent this
newsletter as a benefit of your ASI membership. Copyright 2013, ASI.
All Rights Reserved.
If youd like us to send Counselor PromoGram FREE to anyone else at your company (or to your off-site sales reps), go to www.asicentral.com/newsletters and complete the online form.