Merchandising Minute

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The Buzz On Promotional Stress Balls


Promotional stress balls: They’re one of those versatile giveaways that everyone can use. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a single person who has not been stressed out at one time or another in their lives. It affects us every day, so why not do something about it? Squeezing a stress ball releases tense energy and immediately helps you relax, but there’s more to stress balls than just the obvious.

Make a statement with your custom stress balls! With so many unique shapes and designs to choose from, you can take a spin on your brand and stand out with the right stress ball. With over 400 stress balls to choose from, ePromos is sure to have a stress reliever to fit your needs and make your business unforgettable. Check out our 11 stress ball categories for some out-of-the-box ideas. We have everything from food to animals to people and much more.

Get Your Brand Noticed

Having a stress reliever on your desk is a great way to make your brand stand out. Naturally people will want to pick up the stress reliever, examine it, give it a squeeze and talk about it, which puts your logo front and center while leaving a lasting impression. The more memorable the stress reliever, the more memorable the brand. The key is to pick a stress ball that demands attention.

custom stressball

I can’t resist giving this dragon a squeeze. It’s so unique!

I’m guilty of this myself! One of our merchandise coordinators has several stress balls on her desk, and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself picking the dragon stress ball up without a second thought, creating a natural conversation starter.

Everyone is unique. Embracing self-expression can enhance your workplace environment. Why not let workers express themselves and show some of their personality with our mood wobbler stress balls? With five emotions to choose from, your team can select a stress ball that fits their mood or personality. Choose from happy, apathetic, angry, stressed, or wacky. They are also a great way to add some humor to your giveaways as people try to decide which mood best describes them.

mood wobbler stress balls

So what’s hot in stress balls? This is what we are raving about:

Themes that are hot include:

1. Energy conservation and technology
2. Camouflage stress balls. This is no surprise with camo prints being such a hot trend.
3. Two-in-one promos. My personal favorite is our smiley guy cell phone stand!
4. Motivational phrases. Don’t forget to check out our brand new inspiring phrases!

logo stress balls

 


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Spring’s Stand-Out Print: Camouflage


It seems ironic that a pattern initially designed to help wearers blend in and disguise themselves has become one of spring’s hottest fashion trends. From apparel to footwear to accessories, this print is showing up on the runway and in the stores.

Check out some of these well-known brands that are embracing the trend this season.

Cole Haan

Cole Haan has launched The Camo Collection for spring 2014, including bags, wallets, shoes, and socks. Products are offered in a classic woodland-inspired or mosaic-style print. With functional commuter briefs and portfolios, the line is perfect for the fashion-forward male executive.

Valentino camo

Valentino

Apparel that hit the runway this year showcased an updated camouflage design. Evolving from traditional greens and browns, new color combinations took this print to a whole new level.  Notably, the Camouflage Fluo Collection by Valentino combines camouflage print leather and trendy fluorescent hues for a bold statement piece that is sure to catch the eye.

Lululemon

Lululemon has also jumped on the camo-inspried bandwagon. The yoga and athletic apparel company has introduced several new items including a microfiber camo yoga towel and camo running jacket.

Nike SB

Nike SB, a full line of skateboarding clothing and shoes, will drop a new camo pack in the Zoom Stefan Janoski sneakers later this spring. Offered in desert khaki or a green camo version, watch for these shoes to hit the shelves of retail stores in the upcoming weeks.

The camo trend is not only showing up on the pages of fashion magazines and runways, it’s increasingly popular for middle America as well. Take a walk through Wal-Mart, Kohl’s or JCPenney, and I’m sure you’ll find some camouflage print merchandise on the shelves. It’s no surprise when reality TV shows such as “Duck Dynasty” attract 8.6 million viewers and more than 4.2 million fans on Facebook. The characters’ laid-back lifestyles and love for hunting make them relatable to viewers. Each episode showcases full-on camouflage garb.

From high-fashion runways to everyday street wear, the camouflage trend is appealing to multiple demographics. Keep an eye out for spring’s must-have stand-out print: camouflage.

You can shop ePromos for promotional camouflage items right here.


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Swing In To Spring: 2014’s Golf Trend Alert


As spring rolls around and you start planning a corporate outing or charity event, you often find yourself scoping out the nearby golf courses. With an estimated 27 million adults who play the sport, 36% are managers and professionals. What better way to promote your brand or cause than some golf-themed swag? With golf being such a popular sport among both men and women of many ages, promotional golf products are a no-brainer. The merchandise is useful and functional, and as a result, it stays in the hands or bags of your recipients.

 

Puma custom polo shirt

So what’s on trend in the golf world this spring? In apparel, it’s all about comfort, function and style. The Pantone fashion color report predicts soft pastels paired with vivid brights for spring 2014. Expect to see lots of color on the course this year. Patterns to look for include color block and stripes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travis Mathew spring styles

Travis Mathew is a key brand to keep on your radar. After the launch of its golf line in 2008, this progressive apparel company has become a fashion must-have for golfers. This year the Travis Mathew team will be represented by PGA golfers James Hahn, John Mallinger, Chris Kirk and Max Homa. Check out the new Solana No.1 Spring Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIOFUSION golf shoe

The new BIOFUSION golf shoe by PUMA, designed to give golfers both function and fashion, provides lightweight comfort, performance and style. Pros Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt will be sporting these shoes on the fairway this year.

 

 

Jamie Sadock golf collection

Let’s not forget about the ladies. With an increase in woman golfers, apparel has been tailored with form-fitting silhouettes and fashionable colors. For a unique style, check out Jamie Sadock’s golf collection, which infuses interesting patterns and bold colors. LPGA champ Beatriz Recari will be seen wearing Oakley apparel & Taylor Made headwear this spring.

 

 

Putterwheel

Some new gear that was buzzing at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show were PutterWheel practice balls. This item is essentially a golf ball with the sides sliced off, designed with a red wheel liner. Set up your shot, and if you see red, you are not lined up correctly. The challenge is to stroke the PutterWheel squarely; a mis-hit will knock the ball onto its side. A great training tool that is sure to improve your short game, this item can be imprinted with any logo.

 

 

Ping gloves

Ping’s new Sensor Sport golf gloves made of cabretta leather and moisture-wicking material are one of the three in the new Sensor Cool line. These particular gloves help keep the hands dry and are durable enough to withstand varying weather conditions. They were recently seen on the hands of golf pro Bubba Watson.

 

 

For golf promo ideas, visit ePromos.com and shop our Top 10 Golf Promos.


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Bridging The Gap: Promo Turning Retail


This is a guest post from ePromos’ Merchandising Manager, Jamie Von Bank. Jamie will be sharing her merchandising insight in a new monthly column on the blog: Merchandising Minute. Check it out every month to see what Jamie has to say on leading trends in the promo industry!

As a rookie in the promotional products industry, I was eager to attend my first PPAI Expo last month, the promo industry’s largest tradeshow. Coming from a retail background, I expected to be overloaded with a plethora of generic tote bags, pens, t-shirts and tumblers. While all this was true, as I walked the show floor I was surprised to see many similarities to my previous retail world.

custom bluetooth speaker

Technology, always hot at retail, is also popular for promos.

For example, electronics were a predominate trend. This category skyrocketed at my previous company over the past year and always offers blockbuster items for major retailers during the holiday season.

When it came to promotional apparel, I expected the items to be basic and lacking in style. I was surprised to find apparel that was fitted, detailed and featured trendy color selections. I was impressed with the quality of the fabrics and the new decoration methods that many suppliers were using to elevate their products.

Accessories such as bags, sunglasses and cell phone covers showcased fashionable patterns, textures and colors. One booth in particular had impressive cell phone and iPad cases. You could feel the quality of the products when you picked them up, and they offered a wide variety of colors.

custom iPad case

The Tiffany-esque blue of this promo makes it an instant attention-grabber.

The cell phone case that stood out to me was a recognizable light blue color that instantly reminded me of the little blue box from Tiffany’s. It’s a color that resonates with most women and immediately makes you think luxury. Not surprisingly we found out this supplier was brand new to the industry this year, a true retailer at heart trying to expand the business with promotional products.

Other unique items looked like they stepped right off the pages of a Willliams-Sonoma or North Face catalog. I did not expect to see booths that exhibited well-known retail brands including Tumi, Nike, Brookstone, Puma and Camelbak.

In my previous position as a buyer, we were always looking for timely, topical and newsworthy products that were relevant to what was happening in the world. It was almost always guaranteed that once a trend became mainstream, everyone had jumped on the bandwagon and created their own version of that particular product.

custom bags

Fashionable patterns make a big statement for promo bags.

I found that to be no different as I explored the PPAI show. Not only does everyone try to out-do one another by offering a variation of the same product, but staying relevant with today’s culture was also prevalent. Some themes that highlight this are: the red solo cup, Beats-style headphones, stadium bags, camouflage, and neon colors.

So why is the industry making the swing to more retail-like products? As I asked myself, I questioned if it could be any of the following:

  • Brand recognition or loyalty
  • More attractive, desirable or useful items
  • Higher perceived value
  • Better quality and longer life-span of the product
  • A way for suppliers to stand out and differentiate themselves
  • More effective marketing for customers
  • Better experience for the end user, more likely to stay in their hands

The answer is not black and white but one thing is for certain: the gap between promotional and retail products is quickly closing in.