BIC APP Reports Financials BIC APP, the parent division of Counselor Top 40 supplier Norwood (asi/74400) and BIC Graphic North America (asi/40480), has reported its sales decreased 2.3% on a comparative basis to 69.4 million euros ($95.7 million) during the third quarter of 2013. Read Article
For the first nine months of this year, BIC APP said revenues fell by 6.2% to 184.5 million euros ($245.3 million).
"As expected, BIC APP sales performance is improving regularly quarter over quarter, in the U.S. as well as in Europe," said Mario Guevara, CEO of BIC Group.
In Q3, BIC APP reported a normalized IFO margin of 5.8%, down from 8.4% in the third quarter of last year. For the first nine months of 2013, BIC APP's normalized IFO margin was 1.3%, compared to 4.3% in 2012 – with the decrease due to a drop in net sales.
"In Europe, the hard goods segment remained under pressure, notably in southern countries, while stationery products are showing improvement," the company said. "Performance was good in France." In the U.S., meanwhile, during the first nine months of 2013, "BIC net sales continued to be weak. However, the third quarter showed some recovery. Our new products, especially Brite-Pix imprinted technology products, have been well received by customers, performing in line with our expectations," the company said.
BIC APP, which includes North American and European entities, continues to expect its full-year 2013 net sales to "decline low to mid-single digits." Because of the predicted decline in sales, BIC APP expects it "will realize less favorable volume absorption and therefore normalized IFO margin could decline to a mid to low-single digit level." Ranked by Counselor as the fourth-largest supplier in the industry, Norwood and BIC Graphic reported its 2012 sales fell to $324 million, a year-over-year decrease of 7.4%.
CPSC Recalls Children’s Sweatshirts
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled about 350 Trail Crest brand boys and girls hooded sweatshirts sold in sizes x-small, small and medium. Read Article
The items – which were manufactured in China and imported by Brooklyn-based Trail Crest – have a camouflage pattern on the shoulders and arms, and include drawstrings in the hood and zippers at the neck. No injuries have been reported to date. The CPSC has consistently recalled kids' apparel that includes drawstrings, viewing them as major safety hazards.
"Consumers should immediately take the garments away from children," the CPSC said. "Consumers can remove the drawstrings to eliminate the hazard or return the garments to Trail Crest for a full refund."
According to the CPSC, the sweatshirts were sold at Zulily.com and at other U.S. stores nationwide from November 2012 to February 2013 for about $15 each. The sweatshirts come in the following color schemes: birch and camouflage, pink and camouflage, and purple and camouflage. There is also tag sewn on the outside of the jacket left sleeve with style number 29121 and an additional Trail Crest tag in the neckline.
The CSPC is asking consumers to come forward and report incidents or injuries related to the sweatshirts through the site www.Saferproducts.gov.
Innovation Thrives At SGIA Expo
Equipment suppliers showcased a variety of innovative imprinting techniques at the SGIA Expo in Orlando this week, offering decorators the opportunity to experience and invest in the latest decorating equipment. Read Article
One of the top trends from the show is UV Ink. Among its bevy of unique printing solutions, Roland has brought a new printer to the market that uses UV light to dry ink. "You don't have to print on a special substrate," Group Product Manager David Hawkes told Counselor. "You can print on anything you can think of. The printer even has to ability to produce clear inks that gives everything from iPhone covers to wall decals a shiny layer of texture."
Another trend is personalization as decoration companies have created a multitude of ways to quickly and easily provide personalized decorated garments. Hirsch International (asi/14982) is offering new embroidery machines from Tajima and screen-printing presses from MHM that can personalize hats, shirts and more with just a few digital inputs. Stahls' ID Direct (asi/88984) has created capabilities for heat presses that can decorate shoes and accessories. The potential is huge for athletic teams. "We can put numbers on shoes to coordinate with the actual team uniforms," said Andrea Pietrowsky, marketing and communications specialist for Stahls.
More and more decorators that offer embroidery or screen printing as their primary service are turning to sublimation as an affordable way to be more of a one-stop shop for clients, since a wide variety of products can be sublimated. These include polyester-based apparel, drinkware and glass items, iPhone and iPad cases, canvases and more. "Sublimation is a very low-cost application for decorators, but it offers an extremely good mark-up," said Jimmy Lamb, manager of communications and education for Sawgrass Technologies. Lamb also gave the example of a decorator that embroidered uniforms for a hotel; if that decorator also sublimated, it could imprint linens, do-not-disturb signs, room keys, door tags, posters and more, opening up an additional revenue stream.
Finally, automation is also getting lots of play at the SGIA Show. Imprinting equipment has come a long way in terms of imprint quality, speed and ease of use, so decorators are able to produce high-quality embellished apparel and hard goods. "What's happening beyond that is how decorators can now automate these processes in their shops," said Paul Gallagher, CEO of Hirsch. "This means that shops are creating a better workflow through technology."
Ed Levy, director of software products for Hirsch, cites the example of a shop that embroiders 50,000 monograms via automated workflow – using little to no human intervention. Hirsch also has released a tablet-based product, Sidekick, which allows a machine operator to troubleshoot design issues and thread breaks, for example, in real time.
Counselor Commentary: Fight Rising Health Care Costs
The cost of health care in the United States has grown astronomically in the past generation. Read Article
This year alone, the U.S. is projected to spend more than $2.8 trillion on health care. In 1993, that number didn't even reach $1 trillion, which means the money we're spending on health care has grown by about 200% in the past 20 years.
That growth rate is obviously not sustainable, and it has been impacting the bottom line of many companies in the U.S. Companies, though, are not completely powerless when it comes to the rapidly rising cost of health care. In fact, some are taking creative and unique steps among their employees to try to stem the rising tide of health care expenses.
Take supplier firm Numo (asi/74710), for example. The company was one of 15 that the Counselor Best Places to Work Road Tour (www.CounselorMag.com/roadtour) visited last week on its cross-country trip. As a supplier firm in Kaufman, TX, which is about an hour outside of Dallas and has a population of about 7,000 people, Numo management does everything it can to attract and retain good employees. So, it provides employees with 100% fully-paid health care. It's most definitely the rare company today that covers the cost of all of its health care plan, and Numo has been hit hard with annual double-digit percent increases.
So, Numo vice president Jim Martin knew he needed to do something to help out both his employees and his company's bottom line. "The age of our people keeps going up, and so does the cost of their health care," he said. What did the company do? It got employees healthy. The company brings in a trainer three times a week, and about 40-50 of its 100 employees can work out with her during the day. That's right. They stop what they're doing for about an hour and work out on site with a trainer who pushes them hard.
In addition, the employees can play volleyball or basketball during scheduled break times. And twice a week, Numo brings in a nurse who holds a free clinic to diagnose medical issues (like strep throat) and monitor employees' blood pressure, Body Mass Index, weight, and blood sugar levels – all for free to Numo staffers. "We had people who were pre-diabetic or had other health issues they didn't know about before they started going to the clinic," Martin said. "This has been great, because we can help them before they really get sick."
These wellness measures have certainly helped Numo achieve its original goal, Martin says, of helping the employees save on the cost of health insurance claims. But it has also helped the company's workers get in shape, feel better about themselves, and become even more motivated in the office. "Yes, it has definitely helped us with our health care premiums," Martin said. "But it has also had a very positive impact on our workplace culture in general."
You see? Companies don't just have to succumb to the never-ending rise of health care costs. Don't just sit back and accept the annual increases or push more of the percentage of the increases toward employees. Do like Numo, and come up with creative ways to make employees healthier, so they don't need to incur as many health care costs in the first place.
SEC Proposes New Crowdfunding Rules
In a move that could signal a sea change in how small businesses raise cash, members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted unanimously Wednesday to propose new rules governing crowdfunding exchanges. The proposal enables investors to buy stock in companies online through a new financial entity called a funding portal.
Under the SEC rules being considered, small businesses could raise up to $1 million every 12 months through these portals – a capital-raising strategy that was previously prohibited. The new rules, outlined in response to the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act that was enacted last year, are designed to give entrepreneurs an easier way to generate cash, bypassing the usual hefty costs of going public or winning over large-scale investors.
"Many believe that, if structured appropriately, crowdfunding can bring great benefits to our economy," SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar said this week.
Despite the SEC's vote to move forward with Web-based equity crowdfunding – raising money by drawing together small investments from many people – the practice still has hurdles to clear.
There is, for example, a 90-day public comment period, during which the SEC will consider feedback before green-lighting the crowdfunding proposal.
The rules already have vocal critics, including those who believe the proposals unintentionally invite fraud and offer inadequate investor protections. "Unfortunately by approving crowd funding for unaccredited investors under the Jobs Act, it will turn ‘salami' scams, where small amounts are defrauded from investors, into the new normal," Andrew Stoltmann of Stoltmann Law Offices, told USA Today. "This is not a good day for financially unsophisticated investors who will be targeted unrelentingly by stock promoters."
Jenny Kassan, the managing partner at Katovich & Kassan Law Group who initially petitioned regulators about crowdfunding, has turned critical of the SEC's proposal. "I have many concerns," Kassan said. "Vague provisions will make it difficult to implement, the maximum allowable investments are much higher than our original proposed cap of $100, and without income or net worth verification, investors stand to lose more than they can afford."
Under the proposed rules, investors can contribute the greater of either $2,000 or 5% of their annual income every 12 months if their annual or net income is less than $100,000. Would-be investors taking in more than $100,000 annually could provide up to 10%. On the other side of the dealings, companies selling stock would have to reveal details on any investors or officers owning 20% or more of the company, under the proposed rules. Additionally, a soliciting firm's operating history and tax return information would be among the information that has to be disclosed.
Study: Friday Is Ideal For Marketing E-Mails
A new study released by software firm GetResponse shows that out of the five days of the workweek, marketers send the fewest number of e-mails on Friday – just 14.9% of their weekly total. While marketers send so few e-mails on Fridays, consumers are actually highly-responsive on the last day of the workweek, opening 19.6% of e-mails. In fact, the worldwide marketing e-mail click rate is the highest on Friday, according to GetResponse results.
The study showed that e-mail inboxes worldwide receive the most e-mail marketing material on Tuesdays (17.9%), followed by Thursdays and Mondays. During the study period, consumers opened 19.9% of the marketing e-mails received on Tuesday, more than they do any other day of the week. But, consumers also opened nearly one out of every five Friday marketing e-mails, producing the second highest e-mail open rate of the week.
Nicole McNamee, director of new business development at POP Solutions (asi/359180), acknowledges the importance of good timing in sending e-mails. She watches closely what days she tries to connect with customers and prospects digitally. "Tuesdays and Fridays have better response rates for us," she told Counselor. McNamee agrees that Friday is a good time to e-mail, but warns to "send before 3:00 p.m. CST because people take off later in the day."
Wearables: The T-Shirt That Could Save A Life
In the newest edition of Wearables, you'll find the inspiring story of Haley Bellows, a 21-year-old college student who's stricken with cancer. Her fight alone shows her courage, but that's only a small part of her story. Is it possible that a simple T-shirt, designed by one of her friends, is keeping Haley alive? Below is an excerpt from the article. To read the complete profile, click here.
"Without the words, there is just a girl. She crosses her eyes and makes goofy faces. She shakes her head playfully, blond-streaked hair crossing this way and that across her face. She flashes a meaningful smile and unveils a carefree laugh – the kind endemic to youth, born of a past without concern and aimed toward a future without limits. But this is a video, and there is a story to tell, at once sad, bittersweet and entirely unexpected. The weighty words appear on-screen like daggers to the heart.
‘Haley was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma a year and a half ago. She's gone into remission multiple times, but recently relapsed. Haley decided to increase her treatment, and in order to take matters into her own hands, to shave her head.'
Just under two minutes later in ‘Bald is Best,' Haley Bellows is shorn. The video was filmed by a friend, and there are dozens who join Haley on this July afternoon. Some cry. Many laugh with her. Practically all of them, including Bellows, share something. It pays for her treatments. It rallies a close-knit college campus by her side. It encapsulates the mindset that keeps her fighting when many others would give up hope. The thing they share? A T-shirt."
ASI Radio: Promotional Ideas For The Holidays
On this week's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts invited listeners to call in and share some of their favorite promotional campaigns for the holidays. Is candy and alcohol trite or tradition? What are some interactive promos that bring holiday cheer? How far should distributors go in planning clients' holiday parties?
Click here to listen to the complete call-in segment. If you missed the show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us on Tuesday, October 29, for our next broadcast. 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.
Win $500! Calling All Sales Superstars!
We are looking for our next Advantages Sales Rep of the Year to be spotlighted in our January 2014 "Sales Superstars" issue of the magazine. Nominate yourself or someone else who has come up with an incredibly creative campaign; blown the sales quota out of the water; gone above and beyond for a client or has stood out in some other way. Send a 150-word-or-less
e-mail (or video) explaining your nomination ASAP. Including a photo is even better. E-mail Kathy Huston, editor of Advantages, at email@example.com. Winners receive cold-hard cash and cold-hard bragging rights.
In The News
AnaJet (asi/16000) is celebrating the two-year anniversary of its technology alliance with Ricoh Printing Systems America (RPSA), a subsidiary of Ricoh Company. RPSA is the exclusive manufacturer of the MH2420 print heads that are used in AnaJet's mPower digital apparel printer.
ePromos Promotional Products (asi/188515) won an Outstanding Website award in the Web Marketing Association's 17th annual international WebAward competition, earning high marks in the seven judging criteria: design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use.
InnerWorkings (asi/168860) has entered into a partnership with Feeding America, which will have InnerWorkings managing the printing and logistics for the non-profit organization's direct mail campaign efforts.
J. America (asi/62977) has launched its new line release for Fall 2013 through Fall 2014, including 15 new styles this autumn season. For more information, visit www.jamericablanks.com.
Norwood (asi/74400) & BIC Graphic North America (asi/40480) announced that it continued its support of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life with a silver sponsorship of the August 2013 event. The company donated nearly $4,000 in cash and $20,000 worth of products for a silent auction that raised additional funds for the American Cancer Society.
Selco (asi/86230) has launched a mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android. The app is designed to give users the ability to quickly search through hundreds of watch products by brand, style, or price.
People On The Move
InnerWorkings (asi/168860) announced the appointment of Cendrine Montousse as general manager for the continental EMEA region. In her position, Montousse will supervise the operations of 16 InnerWorkings offices across continental Europe and Africa
WOW! IT HAS EVERYTHING!
Have you registered yet? ASI Orlando, the ad specialty industry's first show of the year, is jam packed with business-building events and sales opportunities that you cannot afford to miss.
Here's what will be waiting for you at ASI Orlando, January 5-7: