Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 New Product Videos - 1

This is always a fun time of year for me because it's when the majority of promotional product suppliers introduce their new items for the current year.

Geiger traditionally assembles a research team and turns them loose on a couple of the major industry shows in January and they publish a report for all the reps to use. However this year, they went in armed with video cameras.

Here are a couple of videos showcasing several new product ideas.

Some cool cases for electronic devices from Built line:

Some really unique 'Green' products from Green Gear line:

For additional information on any of these products, email me at

More to come......


Monday, January 11, 2010

Cotton Prices Going Up - Details

More on my post from December 29 about rising cotton prices. The details of this come from an online article put out by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) last week.

Higher demand and recent poor weather in Asia have driven up the price of cotton, an increase that industry experts say will be felt by consumers within three to four months. Additionally, world cotton production is now expected to fall short of demand in the current crop year, which runs through July 31. "It's not something anyone can run from and there's no place to hide," says Rainer Friedrich, vice president of production at industry supplier, Charles River Apparel. "There won't be a price change until there's a leveling off and the demand evens out. That could be six to eight months from now."

According to Friedrich, in just the last two months the price of cotton produced in Pakistan has jumped by 40%. Overall, the cost of cotton has increased roughly 15% globally. "In general, consumers will pay more at some point," says Friedrich. "By March or April, the effect will be there. Manufacturers will try to spread out the increase, so there may not be a large difference at first. Distributors will probably have to charge more."

Because a larger number of apparel items, like polo's, are now commonly offered in synthetic fabrics, the greatest price volatility is expected to occur among suppliers that produce T-shirts. "In our industry, it probably affects the wholesalers more," said Chris Clark, vice president of sales at Ash City, another industry supplier. "When we use cotton, our pricing stays fairly consistent since we buy on the futures market."

Despite the surge in the cost of cotton, Friedrich believes there is a twist of good news to consider. "It means the economy is coming back," he says. "Demand for product is going up and you have to stock the shelves."

My take: It looks like we will see prices on T-Shirts and probably wearables in general creeping up a bit come the spring. T-Shirt prices tend to fluctuate week to week, much like commodities, so those figure to be a bit more 'fluid'. Not so however with polo's, jackets and other forms of apparel. The prices for those generally are set the previous fall and won't change midstream unless the suppliers are forced into it.

So if T-Shirts are in your budget for 2010, you may save some money by ordering them 1st quarter and holding onto them till needed. How much is difficult to project but if I had to guess, possibly 10-20%, at least for the short term, may not be out of the question. But this of course is subject to change and sometimes without notice. I will continue to monitor and post updates on this blog if there's anything new to report.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Green Movement Sets Sights on Shopping Bags

As of this week, supermarket shoppers in Washington DC will be taxed 5 cents per bag on
plastic and paper shopping bags. The reason is environmental and its the latest chapter in the Green movement -- a trend that first emerged in corporate America a couple of years ago and continues to gather momentum. The tax covers paper and plastic -- both of which negatively impact the environment, though for different reasons.

Paper bags are tied to trees -- to produce them, trees get cut down. On the other hand, those thin plastic bags most supermarkets use don't decompose at all, so they're awful for landfills.

The idea is to discourage the continued use of these bags and instead move to reusable bags -- the cloth-like (actually polypropylene) bags that supermarkets began selling a couple of years ago and that are also available through our industry. Businesses will retain a percentage of the tax, depending on whether they offer a credit for reusable bags, with the rest of the revenue going to a special fund to clean up an area river.

How smoothly the law is implemented depends on the efforts of the District of Columbia to educate and prepare the public. The city's Department of Environment started its campaign in the fall, and the willingness of local businesses to help out is an encouraging sign. For example, CVS is partnering with the department to provide 100,000+ free reusable bags, and Giant, which had opposed the legislation, has agreed to provide a free reusable bag with every purchase during the first week of January -- estimated to total 250,000 bags.

It's probably a safe bet to assume that the Federal and many state governments will take a long hard look at this effort with an idea towards replicating it -- and it could well mean the days of 'plastic or paper' are numbered.

But for the near term, if you're looking for a hot promotional trend entering 2010, reusable shopping bags are it.

And here's a thought. Since these bags are becoming more and more commonplace, which ones would you think are more likely to get used -- the low end, bland blue or red ones most supermarkets are selling -- or something nice and colorful with an attractive design (like say a company logo) that's available through the promotional products industry?

To me, this is a tremendous marketing opportunity for any company that values brand exposure to the people who shop in supermarkets and drug stores. And with some of the imprint processes that are now available, you can create some pretty cool designs.

More more information, contact me at