San Francisco Considers Plastic Water Bottle Ban
Six years after it banned single-use plastic bags, San Francisco could become the first major U.S. city to restrict plastic water bottles as well. Read Article
Under a new proposal made by city supervisor David Chiu, San Francisco would ban the sale of plastic water bottles at any events on public land with more than 100 people. The proposed ordinance would also prevent the city from spending any public money on bottled water.
"Given that San Franciscans can access clean and inexpensive water out of our taps, we need to wean ourselves off our recent addiction to plastic water bottles," Chiu said. "I hope San Francisco can again lead the way, by drinking water without harming the environment or the bottom line."
The proposal does have exemptions – for example, stores operating on private property could still sell bottled water, and races and charity walkathon events would not face restrictions. A first offense would bring a fine of up to $500. The proposal includes a sort of sliding scale, too, with provisions that could reduce sales over time. Vendors applying for future permits, for instance, to sell items on city streets might have to agree to not sell plastic water bottles.
Unsurprisingly, there are critics of the proposal, like the American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents companies like Coca-Cola (which produces Dasani water). "The consumer should have a choice on how they drink their water," ABA spokeswoman Kate Krebs recently told the San Francisco Examiner.
San Francisco's board of supervisors is expected to vote on the proposal by February. If approved, San Francisco will join Concord, MA, in enacting a plastic water bottle ban.
Retailers Set Up Fund For Bangladesh Garment Workers
Several retailers and labor groups are pledging to establish a $40 million compensation fund to help Bangladeshi families affected by April’s catastrophic Rana Plaza factory building collapse. Read Article
Bonmarché, El Corte Inglés, Loblaw and Primark have said they will contribute to the fund, an arrangement that is considered to be unprecedented in the apparel industry. To date, no U.S.-based retailers have agreed to contribute.
Families of the deceased victims would each receive an average of more than $25,000 – more than 10 times the yearly per capita income in Bangladesh. Workers who were injured in the collapse would also receive an undisclosed amount. Payments could begin by February, with money to be added in installments to ensure steady income for those affected well into the future.
Working conditions and wages for Bangladesh's garment workers have been sharply criticized since the Rana Plaza complex that killed more than 1,100 people. Dozens of major companies that source from Bangladesh pledged to begin safety audits in the wake of the disaster. Bangladesh factory owners also recently agreed to a 77% wage increase that was recommended by a government board. Minimum-wage garment workers now make $68 a month, up from the previous total of $38.
Garment exports in Bangladesh jumped nearly 25% between July and September of 2013 compared to a year earlier, despite multiple accidents there. Bangladesh is the second largest apparel exporter in the world after China.
The Joe Show: Trending For 2014
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley previews several trendy items for the New Year and beyond. Read Article
Looking for a great incentive idea for women? Need a product to pitch to trucking or freight companies? Searching for stylish winter outerwear?
Click here to watch this new-products episode of The Joe Show.
Counselor Commentary: Target Data Breach Lessons
During the Christmas season, there are always many things to be thankful for. This year, retailers are especially thankful about one thing – that they’re not Target. Read Article
After suffering the second largest data breach in U.S. history, the Minnesota-based company has come under enormous scrutiny, and deservedly so. The breach is as serious as it gets – as many as 40 million customer debit and credit cards were compromised beginning on Black Friday. The latest news could be the most concerning yet, as it appears hackers may have stolen encrypted PIN numbers as well.
The whole mess might lead you to believe that cybercriminals are only interested in the big score. The reality, though, is that smaller companies are more susceptible and more often targeted by hackers. A recent Ponemon Institute survey found that 55% of small businesses ($10 million or less in annual sales) have had a data breach and 53% of those companies have had multiple breaches. What happened to Target should be a reminder to every business – ad specialty industry companies included – that data protection is an important part of good customer service.
How can you ensure your firm's data is safe? Security consultants admit there's no foolproof way, but there are a few steps you can take to greatly reduce the chances you'll be victimized. Encryption is a critical part of any good protection plan, along with firewalls, updated anti-virus software and frequent employee training on the subject. For a more detailed list of suggestions, click here to read a Counselor Q&A that focuses on data security.
Besides taking preventive measures, there's also great value in preparing a response for business missteps – whether it be a data breach or a key order that didn't turn out right. To its credit, Target released a series of statements and contacted customers – many of whom were likely not affected – to explain how the company was trying resolve the issue. In a PR counteroffensive, Target offered customers 10% off most items last weekend and promised to provide free credit monitoring for one year to those whose information was stolen.
It's a good start, but the retailer has a lot to do before its reputation is repaired. Before the breach, YouGov's Brand Index, which measures perception among consumers, scored Target at 26 on its scale, which ranges from -100 to 100. After the breach, Target's number dropped to -29.2. Sure, it's a reaction to the constant media coverage and Target, like TJ Maxx and Marshalls did after a breach several years ago, will recover. But your company isn't Target – which is exactly why data security should matter so much to you.
New Signage + Decoration Pavilion Coming The ASI Show™ and ST Media Group International will debut the new pavilion at ASI's Chicago show July 15-17 at McCormick Place. Find out more. More Free Education
Consumer Sentiment Hits Five-Month High
The final Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan (TR/UM) consumer sentiment reading of 2014 shows an improving economic outlook among Americans. The latest sentiment index rose sharply to 82.5 for December, up from the 75.1 last month, the best reading since the summer.
"Most of the gain was due to more favorable buying plans due to renewed discounting as well as more favorable short-term prospects for the economy," survey director Richard Curtin wrote in a statement. "Personal finances, the most critical factor that shapes consumer spending, did improve in late December, although largely due to rising incomes and wealth among those in the top third."
The survey's measure of current economic conditions increased to 98.6 in December, a 10-point jump compared to November. The TR/UM gauge of consumer expectations also rose from 66.8 last month to 72.1 in December. Finally, the one-year inflation expectation was 3%, while the survey's five-to-10-year inflation outlook dipped from 2.9% a month ago to 2.7% today. Most survey results were in line with the forecasts of analysts.
Separately, reinforcing a brighter economic picture, figures from the Commerce Department this week showed personal spending rose 0.5% in November. After adjusting the data for inflation, purchases increased 0.5% as well, the biggest gain since early 2012.
ASI Radio: Keys To Social Media Success On this week's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts interviewed social media expert Marki Lemons Ryhal, who offered tips on connecting with customers across several platforms. Has Instagram become the best network for marketers to use? Can companies effectively measure the ROI of social media? What can salespeople do every morning to kick start their client engagement?
Click here to listen to the complete interview segment. If you missed any part of the radio show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, remember to join us on Tuesday, December 31, for our next broadcast. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show.
Counselor Q&A: Overcoming Order Errors
Eventually, every distributor has that uh-oh moment – all because of a mistake with an order. But smart businesspeople know they can turn a negative into a positive. "Customers are used to companies, not just in our industry, saying 'sorry' and then doing nothing about it," says Sarah Johnston, co-owner of PromoSpark (asi/349939). "I'm never going to go back to my customer and say 'sorry, I can't do anything.'"
Johnston believes her approach has not only resolved past issues for her company, but won her business as well. "We've actually picked up referrals because of the way we've handled mistakes," she says. What does Johnston do to regain trust after an order error? Click here
to read a Counselor Q&A featuring Johnston find out.
Podcast: Corcoran and O'Leary Of Shark Tank
Recently, ASI's Tuesday morning radio crew welcomed to the show special guests Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O'Leary of the ABC reality show Shark Tank. The duo discussed business ideas and execution, the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make and how to reduce risk. Plus,
Corcoran and O'Leary explained exactly what they look for in identifying products to invest in.
Click here to listen to the complete interview podcast. Also, don't forget that next month Corcoran and O'Leary will be keynoters at ASI Orlando on Tuesday, January 7.
CounselorUnveils 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.
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.
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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.