|Vol 0535, November 26, 2008|
Las Vegas Video Recap
Passes Strict Toy Safety Law
Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law last week a new bill that creates the strictest regulation on lead content for toys in the country. Called the Children's Safe Product Act, the law includes new safety standards for all toys made, sold or distributed in Washington state beginning in July 2009, including children's cosmetics, jewelry, toys and car seats, while making exceptions for roller skates, toy steam engines, bicycles, tricycles, chemical sets and video games. The new law cuts the allowable level of lead in toys to 90 parts per million, drastically lower than the federal standard of 600 parts per million. The bill also set stricter limits on cadmium (40 parts per million) and phthalates (1000 parts per million).
Critics of the bill say it could devastate state toy sales. With that in mind, Gregoire vetoed two sections of the bill delaying its enforcement so she can convene an advisory group to better study the implementation of the bill. The group, which will consist of children's advocates, doctors, toxicologists, manufacturers and toy retailers, will also help develop additional legislation where needed. The governor also requested an immediate clarification of some of the bill's provisions and a timeline as to when the new standards were to be put in place.
Mark Chernick, CEO of Washington-based Play Visions Inc. (asi/78719), was one of several toy manufacturers that consulted with the governor. He says that if the law does go into effect it will destroy the toy business in Washington due to the limited number of testing facilities as well as the additional cost for manufacturers. "There's just not a physical system in place on planet Earth that can handle the volume of safety testing that would be required for all the companies to comply," he says. "It's physically impossible. I'm guessing that when this law goes into effect there will be no toys in Washington. I know that we're going to stop shipping here and a lot of our competitors are as well."
New York-based Zenith Promotions (asi/98980) executive vice president Maria Lafichi agrees. While the company is no stranger to strict safety regulations they are a vendor for Disney they will draw the line at cost. "We've never had an item that did not pass a safety test, so I don't think that we have to do any more testing than we've already done," she says. "Maybe if it's a six figure order it might be worth it but for a relatively small amount of business we would think twice about shipping to Washington state."
Bottle Report Shakes Up Market
In what was perhaps
a response to viewer feedback, the show's producers fine-tuned some of its initial statements.
The follow-up report stated that BPA is found in products imprinted
with the number 7, not 3 and 6, as the report originally led
audience members to believe. Even suppliers who sell a relatively
small amount of drinkware are feeling the pains from the NBC
report. Take David Nicholson, president of Leed's (asi/66887),
for instance, for whom plastic bottle sales consist of less than
5%. The company likewise distributed a letter to its customers,
assuring them that all of its polycarbonate products meet current
FDA standards. The correspondence ended with a brief note that
Leed's would continue to explore BPA-free alternatives. "It
created more questions than answers," Nicholson said of
the Today Show report. "Overall, as you sometimes
expect with things in the mass media, it was somewhat of an alarmist
bit of reporting."
Pushes For Organic Cotton
To be certified as organic cotton, cotton must be grown in fields that are free from chemical pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years. That three-year period before certification usually results in increased production costs for farmers but a cotton product that cannot yet be sold for a premium because it is not considered completely organic. That transitional cotton will be purchased by Wal-Mart from approximately 1,000 farmers and should help spur cotton production. Ultimately, having Wal-Mart as a buyer should lead to lower prices on organic cotton for the whole apparel industry.
"It was a big step and an important step," says Anthony Corsano, CEO of Anvil Knitwear (asi/36350). "I was very pleased to see them take that step. It's the Wal-Marts of the world that will make organic cotton mainstream. We cater to a market that, if it makes fiscal sense and it supports their company philosophy, they'll use organic. But when you start getting it into a Wal-Mart in every nook and cranny in the country, that's a really good thing."
Promotional Pens Recalled
Michaels Stores, in conjunction with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a recall last week of about 310,000 promotional writing instruments. The items were sold individually in Michaels Stores under the company's Seasonal Writing Pens promotion. The pens, which were recalled because of excessive levels of lead in the paint on the surface of the items, were sold in Michaels Stores from August 2007 through March 2008.
In its joint statement, Michaels and the CPSC said that the recalled pens were made in China, but no U.S.-based manufacturer was cited. The statement also said that no incidents or injuries from the pens have been reported.
This recall comes on the heels of the largest ever fine imposed on a company for a harmful promotional giveaway, when Reebok was fined $1 million last month for handing out a charm bracelet that lead to the death of a four-year-old boy. The Minneapolis boy swallowed a charm on the promotional giveaway bracelet, which was found to have toxic levels of lead in it.
Your Company For The Best Places To Work Contest
For the first time ever, 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 Best Places To Work issue in September, and 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 15 employees. To nominate your company, or any others in the market that you think deserve to be recognized, simply go to www.qmrinc.com/nomination/asi. 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. Go to www.qmrinc.com/nomination/asi and register your company to be considered for one of the most exclusive lists in the ad specialty market: Counselor's Best Places To Work.
Are You A High-Margin Seller?
Counselor magazine wants to hear from distributors who are successfully selling ad specialties at a high profit margin. For our June issue, we're researching a feature on how distributors can improve their bottom lines by achieving high profit margins on the products and services they provide for clients. Are you keeping margins up in the face of client budget cuts? We want to hear from you. Please send a brief e-mail with your contact information to Andy Cohen at email@example.com if you're interested in being interviewed for this article.
Competitive Edge (asi/166085) was named one of the "Top 500 Women-Owned Businesses in the United States" by DiversityBusiness.com.
Hanco (asi/59490) announced that it is celebrating its 90th anniversary with promotions throughout the rest of this year.
iPROMOTEu's (asi/232119) 15 affiliates joining the distributor in March represent a total annual sales volume of $3.7 million.
Prime Line (asi/79530) announced that it now offers expanded services in Canada and Australia.
On The Move
Design & Promotions Corp. (asi/179515) announces that Gabriel Barker is no longer with the company, nor is he authorized to make calls, request samples or place orders using the distributor's name or ASI number.
MadeToOrder (asi/259540) hired Tony Brennan as a vice president and senior sales partner in Washington, D.C
Present Company (asi/299045) welcomes Copley Szostak as business partner and company president. Joyce Spiegel, founder and CEO, will remain with the company. The supplier's new address is 1011 Whitehead Road Extension, Ewing, NJ 08638 and its e-mail address is now firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRG Group (asi/90507) appointed Brian Porter as Midwest region manager.
Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) hired Kelly Henrich as sales rep overseeing TN, MS and AL. Elliot Pomeranz will service central and southern NJ and eastern PA.The Vernon Company (asi/351700) promoted Brad Lundquist to senior vice president of finance and administration. Joe Stocker is now vice president and secretary-treasurer.
|PRODUCT OF THE WEEK|
other new and creative products,
MONTH TO THE FIRST AND ONLY MAJOR
TRADE SHOW IN NEW YORK ASI NEW YORK
IS OPEN FOR ASI CHICAGO THE
LARGEST SHOW OF THE SUMMER
Register today at www.asishow.com and plan on enjoying an action-filled, three-day schedule featuring two exhibit days (July 23-24) and the acclaimed ASI Show Business Development Forum (July 22). ASI Chicago will deliver more than 800 leading exhibitors, dozens of innovative education sessions, three free Keynotes including a new program entitled Win All the Business You Want by Maribeth Kuzmeski and fun networking, including the popular Gala Celebration at Excalibur. (ASI distributor members who register by May 2 can request up to two free tickets.)Visit www.asishow.com for more information or call 877-ASI-SHOW. ASI distributor and decorator members can register for free and ASI distributor members can get a free hotel room!
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2008:
Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete 18-week schedule!
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