Senator Urges Total Ban Of Phthalates In Kids' Products
Citing a new toy safety report, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is calling for federal reforms to ban a list of potentially dangerous chemicals – including phthalates – that are often found in children’s products. Read Article
The report, produced by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), a watchdog organization, identified choking hazards and toxicity in a range of popular toys carried by retailers.
"Parents deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the toys they buy for their children are safe, not harmful," said Gillibrand. "This report highlights the urgent need to take steps to prevent these toxic and dangerous toys from ever reaching our store shelves and homes."
At a press conference in New York, Gillibrand announced she will introduce legislation to permanently ban six phthalates in all kids' items. Gillibrand's bill would build on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which Congress passed in 2008, by banning phthalates in all items used by children ages 12 and younger. Current laws simply restrict phthalates in products designated as toys.
"A lot of toys that are coming into this country, we don't actually have the capacity to make sure they are all tested and to make sure they all comply," Gillibrand said. "Because it's not labeled as a toy, it's exempt from current regulations. We need to pass legislation that protects all children."
Phthalates, which are commonly used to soften plastics, can be toxic to children in some cases, according to researchers. In recent years, phthalates have been phased out by many domestic manufacturers, although the NYPIRG study shows the chemicals are still contained in widely-available toys.
Hiring Forecast Strong For Q1
Heading into 2014, U.S companies are the most bullish they've been about first-quarter hiring in six years, according to a new survey. Read Article
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey shows that 17% of employers plan to increase staff levels in the first quarter, while 73% plan to maintain current levels and 7% plan to decrease payrolls. Given those numbers, the net employment outlook for the quarter is, when seasonally-adjusted, +13%. That's the best reading for a year's opening quarter since 2008. "Employers remain optimistic and continue to gradually improve their hiring projections despite the uneven economic recovery and other global and domestic influences," says Jonas Prising, president of ManpowerGroup, a workforce solutions company.
Based on input from 18,000 employers in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the survey indicates that hiring plans are strong across sectors. The leisure/hospitality industry has the most ambitious hiring plans, while the wholesale/retail and professional/business services sectors are nearly as optimistic that they'll swell employee rosters. Only transportation and utilities companies forecast a slight decrease in the pace of hiring. "We're starting to see talent strategy match the importance of business strategy as individuals with the right skills and experience become harder to find," says Prising. "Today, almost every major business decision focuses on knowing how to access, mobilize and optimize workforces to remain competitive."
While first-quarter outlooks remain relatively stable across all regions, there was some variance among different states and metropolitan areas. North Dakota employers indicated the strongest net employment outlook – +17% – while Montana registered a negative. Meanwhile, Deltona, FL, was the metropolitan statistical area with the most positive outlook (+24%).
Despite the nationally positive trend, Prising noted: "For widespread employment growth to occur, we will need to see hiring intentions increase at a much faster pace."
Maglite Enters Ad Specialty Market
Flashlight maker Maglite announced last week that it will be entering the ad specialty industry as a supplier firm as of January 1, 2014. Read Article
The company will operate in this market with the name Maglite Promo Direct, which is a new division of parent company Mag Instrument Inc. Maglite Promo Direct will be headed up by Marc Puglisi and Scott Kennis.
"Marc and Scott have a long history with Mag Instrument and are well known to many of our promotional products/premium incentive industry customers," wrote Anthony Maglica, owner and founder of Mag Instrument, in a note to the industry. "They are skilled relationship builders with a vast knowledge of the industry."
While Maglite products had previously been carried by multiple industry suppliers, they will now be offered directly to the market by Maglite Promo Direct. "As we approach the 35th anniversary of the rollout of the Maglite brand, and of our tradition of manufacturing premium-quality flashlights in the USA, we are confident that Maglite Promo Direct will produce a strong, effective focus on this class of trade as Mag Instrument becomes a direct supplier," said Maglica.
The Joe Show: Small Products, Big Punch
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley proves that great products do indeed come in small packages. Looking for a multifunction item that's sure to please homeowners? Read Article
How about a speaker that's great for people on the go? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Counselor® Wins National Award for Product Safety Coverage ASI’s Wearables® magazine also earned top honors for reporting on eco products, in the largest awards competition in media publishing. Find out more. More Free Education
Proforma Owner Completes Acquisition
Proforma Infinite Marketing Solutions (asi/300094) announced this week that it has completed a deal to acquire fellow distributor firm Image Builders Unlimited (formerly asi/230050), which is based in East Lansing, MI. Financial terms of the deal were not released.
"This acquisition will more than double my sales," said David Szidik, owner of Proforma Infinite Marketing Solutions, which is based in Grand Rapids, MI. "We are providing Image Builders Unlimited's customers with the same great customer service they've come to expect, with added products and services such as print, video, web services and much more."
Proforma Infinite Marketing was assisted in the deal by the Proforma Mergers & Acquisitions team, which has helped various Proforma owners acquire more than 25 businesses in 2013. "Mergers and acquisitions are a key pillar to achieving wealth in this industry," said Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma. "When I built my own $25 million distributorship, acquisitions were a successful strategy in growing my business. It's exciting to be able to assist our owners in achieving this level of success."
ASI Radio: Shark Tank Stars Share Marketing Advice On today's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts welcomed Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O'Leary, stars of the TV show Shark Tank, onto the show to share their best entrepreneurial advice. Plus, we revealed our Favorite Things, discussed why you don't need a big holiday party to motivate employees, and debated the biggest career killers.
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 24. 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.
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.
Vote In The Wearables Apparel Design Awards
Each year, Wearables names the best apparel and accessories in the industry – and we can't do it without your help. Your votes will determine the winners of our annual Wearables Apparel Design Awards. Choose the products you think are the best, considering design appeal, wearability and overall look.
Click here to vote. Voting will take place throughout December. And be sure to check out the February issue of Wearables to find out the winners.
In The News
Brother International Corporation announced that it will be at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas to unveil its ScanNCut machine. For more information on the new offering, go to www.scanncut.com.
Discount Labels (asi/49890) announced that in 2014 the company will unveil a new company logo and brand identity system.
Image Source Inc. (asi/230121) announced that its 11th annual fall showcase brought together 300 end-buyer attendees with 27 suppliers.
Promotional Design Inc. (asi/300762) has been awarded a five-year uniform contract valued at $2.4 million with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, TX.
SavvyPromo announced that its CEO, Susan Beacham, and the company's four-chambered Money Savvy banks was featured in the New York Times. For more information, please visit http://nyti.ms/1kvSUuG.
Sportsman Cap & Bag (asi/88877) announced that it has launched a mobile app for Android and iPhone users. Available in the Apple App store and Google Play store, the free app allows users to log in using the same ID and password they use at www.sportsmancaps.com.
Toddy Gear (asi/91411) announced that it now offers Spark™ custom packaging, a brand messaging delivery system for its Smart Cloth premium microfiber cloth and Toddy Pocket On-the-Go smart cloth.
Vonco Products Inc. (asi/94180) announced that on December 10, ThunderStix noisemakers became the first promotional product to be the answer to a question on Jeopardy.
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FIND THE CITY CLOSEST TO YOU And, mark your calendar…
The 2014 Advantages Roadshow schedule is now available. With minimal time out of the office, the Advantages Roadshow – the ad specialty industry's most popular traveling show – is the perfect way to stay on the cutting edge. Featuring an intimate tabletop environment, you'll leave with new product ideas and creative solutions for your clients' biggest challenges.
Northwest, January 20-24 • Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose
S. California,January 27-31 • Van Nuys, Ontario, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix
Northeast, February 24-28 • Boston, Long Island, Greater NY/NJ, Philadelphia, Baltimore
Midwest I, March 10-14 • Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee
Canada East, April 29-May 2 • Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Burlington
Southeast, May 13-16 • Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville
Florida, May 19-22 • Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota, Ft. Lauderdale
Canada West, June 2-5 • Vancouver, Travel Day, Calgary, Edmonton
Promotions Southwest, August 11• Irving Convention Center
Midwest II, October 13-17 • Minneapolis, Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis
All distributors are invited to attend for FREE. The morning schedule features ASI Education from 7:45 a.m.-9 a.m., followed by tabletop exhibits from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. For more information, visit www.advantagesroadshow.com.
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.
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