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Product Safety and Compliance

Like it or not, manufacturing is undergoing a significant shift. Heightened awareness of product safety and compliance legislation is having a huge impact on the promotional products industry.

 

The buzzword is compliance. Not only is product safety necessary, but it requires knowledge of the intricacies of the laws surrounding compliance. Are your manufacturing partners integrating product safety and compliance into their process? Producing promotional products without considering product safety and compliance issues is a risky business.

 

Here are two examples of product safety legislation out there. The most comprehensive U.S. federal law is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).CPSIA was enacted in August 2008 and imposes strict lead limits for children’s products and toys. State law may also affect product safety and compliance. One such piece of legislation  is California’s Proposition 65Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase.

 

A supplier who is doing their due diligence in respect to product safety and bringing a compliant product to market will likely come at a higher price. Product safety and compliance costs more, but the cost of ignorance is much higher.

 

Being knowledgeable about product safety and compliance issues can reduce risk. Asking a few leading questions can give you a better idea of how savvy your manufacturing partner is.

 

EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT

  • Does your supplier have a compliance officer who can understand AND explain compliance issues?
  • If they manufacture overseas, do they have boots on the ground for vetting and securing reliable factories?
  • Does your supplier adhere to a code of conduct that respects human rights?

PRODUCT TESTING

  • Can the supplier provide compliance testing from a reputable third-party?
  • Do they conduct AQLQC inspections?
  • How do you obtain the current test report for each product?
  • Do the test reports include photographs specific to the suppliers products or are they generic reports for similar products?
  • Does the report include all the required tests to comply with U.S. regulations or is it a report referring to European standards?
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Mardi Gras Goes Green: The Transformation of a Popular Trend

Mardi Gras – the festival of indulgence that has intrigued and delighted us in the United States since around 1699. The hallmark of this famous festivity – beads.  Thrown from floats, these timeless give-a-way items have been used by marketers to build awareness and drive traffic for decades. Over time, they have evolved into a pop culture phenomenon and are one of the most popular, and sought-after pieces of promotional jewelry. Collectible beads can be highly customized or a quick-turn promotional solution. Either way they are a proven advertising specialties product.

One of the hallmarks of a lasting trend is the ability to change with the times and cultural values of our society. The emphasis on sustainability, recycling , and environmentally-friendly products is paramount today.  Enter Corn Beads – throw beads made from corn plastic.  New eco-friendly corn beads are biodegradeable and compostable. They are made from a sustainable resource – corn, and return to the bio-mass in the form of simple CO2 and water.

So go ahead. Think greener promotions when you think beads and let the good times roll!

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The Game Changer: Titanium Sports Accessories

Titanium wristbands and necklaces. Ionic sports accessories. If these terms are new to you, it’s time to get in the game.

From professional basketball courts to Main Street and everywhere in between, titanium and ionic sports accessories are taking the world by storm.

Why the buzz? Titanium sports accessories have been reported to enhance focus and stability and accelerate recovery time. Ionic necklaces and bracelets have become the hot new sports trend, popular with a variey of sports enthusiasts.

 

With massive consumer appeal and endless customizability, titanium and ionic sports accessories are ripe for the advertising specialties industry.

The best part? Built-in product exposure courtesy of the countless professional athletes who are already sporting these ultra-trendy items.

As a promotional product, this trend extends way beyond sporting events: they’re in demand for company events, reward and recognition programs, corporate gifts and loyalty programs.

Why not get your brand in the game with fully customized ionic sports accessories? It’s a surefire win for your home team.

 

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Advertising Specialities might be greener than you think

The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and annual tradeshow Brew Expo, held in San Francisco this March, saw a significant increase in attendees over last year. A whopping 3900 folks came out to demonstrate their passion for beer and the craft of brewing. Attendance however, was not the only thing we noticed had grown in this segment. 

We noticed a real focus on sustainability across the board. Not surprisingly, brewers with a passion for handcrafting beverages have a high interest in recycled products and sustainable prodution for their promotional needs.

The ability to reuse existing materials or produce in a facility that generates its own solar power is quite a positive. Then I started thinking about products in our industry in general. There is a whole lot of reuse going on out there. Here is a short list of promotional products that you wouldn’t normally think of as “green”.

Mardi Gras Beads
Can be made from reground plastic or corn plastic.

Bags and Totes
Made from recycled bottles (PET), bamboo or post-consumer waste.

Coasters
Can be made from a variety of reclaimed materials including recycled circut boards, vinyl LP’s, street signs, and blue jeans.

Mugs
Made from recycled blue jeans, yellow pages, or old money.

Lapel Pins
Made from post consumer recycled iron.

Combine this with water or solar powered technology and fast-growing renewable resources like bamboo,  and the advertising specialties industry is a bit greener at heart than you might have imagined.

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Reusable Bag Alternatives: A Growing Promotional Opportunity

So goes California, so usually goes the nation.

California has been a leading force in pushing forward environment-based legislation. The most recent  is a ban on plastic shopping bags that will be impacting supermarkets, convenience and liquor stores, and pharmacies by the city of Santa Monica beginning September 1, 2011. Fines for ignoring the new ban – $75 per violation, with criminal prosecution possible for repeat offenders. Ouch!

Why should marketers care? Three communities in California and one in Texas have passed plastic bag bans this year. Nationwide, 19 plastic bag bans have been enacted or approved overall, beginning with San Francisco in 2007.

What about paper? In some places they are still offered for free, with a discount going to those who reuse them. Some stores are now charging for them. As grocery prices soar, one can only think that saavy stores may even consider discontinuing them as well another way of preserving margin and keeping product cost low.

Some statistical tidbits from the 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, conducted by the Advertising Specialties Institute are as follows:

–  Impression rate leader: Average of 1078 impressions per month
–  Kept for an average of 6.7 months
–  One of the lowest per impression costs at .001 cents per impression

Never has the reusable tote had such opportunity to gain in popularity. With a large live area for messaging, high impression rates, ability to spur favorable attitudes toward advertisers, the bag is a promotional item poised for growth.