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Vol 233 / August 25, 2014


Safety Report
In the latest episode of the video series Counselor Product Close-Up, the focus turns to safety products. What markets should distributors target for this growing product category? What demographics are best suited for safety-product promotions? Click here to watch.

Trend Alert: Backpacks
Q&A: Dickies Occupational Wear
Sales Challenge: Step Up Self-Promotions
What's Hot on
News Briefs
Wearables Terms
Our Favorite Wearables
Ask An Expert
Show List

Trend Alert: Backpacks

This rucksack-design backpack (7950-47) has a bit of old-school charm mixed in with a modern camping look. It features a padded computer pocket and main compartment that includes pockets for a myriad of tech gadgets. Available from Leed's (asi/66887).
A popular accessory in the '90s, the backpack has made a powerful comeback, with labels like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Ed Hardy updating the style and comfort of the schoolyard staple. "The backpack is not gender- or age-oriented; it is stylish and fits into so many niches," says Eileen Flanagan, sales manager at Rothco (asi/83708).
Backpacks are both an accessory and reflection of personal style, according to A.J. Dickson, bags senior category manager at Leed's (asi/66887). "People are beginning to own more bags because they can change them with the season, their mood or their style – just like their clothing," he adds.

A backpack serves as a functional piece, while still adding a fashionable and edgy look to an outfit. "The trend is so popular because Gen Xers are entering the workforce and challenging the notion that you can't mix fashion and function with professionalism," says Alex Morin, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Debco (asi/48885).

With so many styles out there, the backpack can be used to stow much more than just schoolbooks, camping gear or gym clothes. "Fashion is being driven by a rucksack style of backpacks, but there will always be expansion and exploration of new silhouettes, materials and styles," says Dickson. "We're really seeing two extremes – one is the rucksack style that has both vintage and outdoor appeal, while the other is the slim and structured tech bag." Aside from your typical schoolbag, other styles include slingback, day-hiker and messenger bag.

The backpack has been recreated and redesigned with a more modern look. "The latest styles have padded compartments for laptops, pockets for charging devices and grommet holes for ear buds or speaker wire," says Morin. It's a practical and efficient way to organize your belongings. These added features make a backpack ideal because it's fashion with a purpose.

When it comes to a backpack's target market, it ranges from a younger demographic to an older one. Backpacks that are very colorful and have print designs on them are popular among millennials. Rotcho sells to screen and promotional firms, fashion houses, army-navy businesses and hardware stores, while distributors have sold Leed's products to the finance and health-care industry.

Backpacks are easy to decorate with screen printing or embroidery, making them a useful and effective way to grab attention for a company, sports team or charity. "Given the fact that a backpack has a natural billboard component to it, it's clearly a promotional winner," says Morin.
Advertisement: Blue Generation

Dirty Work
In our Dirty Jobs series, we spotlight the professions that require the most durable uniforms. Click here to read.

Case-By-Case Basis
Case studies are a compelling way to win over clients. Click here to read.

Get Schooled
Back-to-school sales can be fulfilled with on-trend accessories. Click here to read.

Be sure to visit to read these stories and more.

Q&A: Dickies Occupational Wear

Dickies Occupational Wear (asi/49675) was recently the focus of a study conducted by market research firm ConsumerDNA on preferred workwear among food service employees. ConsumerDNA surveyed more than 1,000 food industry professionals and found that Dickies garments rate highest in quality, durability and comfort. Susan Kohout, marketing director, spoke about the unparalleled construction of Dickies workwear and selling strategies for the food service market.

The flat-front Relaxed Fit Micro Denier Executive Pant (LP831) from Dickies Occupational Wear (asi/49675) is micro-sanded for softness and features a wrinkle- and stain-resistant finish. It's also industrial wash-friendly. Choose from two colors, black and desert sand.
Q: Why does Dickies workwear have such a favorable perception with food service professionals?
Susan Kohout: It begins with trust, and that doesn't happen overnight. For years, food service workers have counted on us because we design innovative clothing that meets specific needs of the industry. For example, our Ultimate Server Pant (LP537) includes extra pockets, reinforced belt loops for keys and designated areas for pens and notepads. Dickies was named a "best brand" among workwear suppliers, and it's worn by one in every four food service workers because it's high-quality and provides benefits they look for.

Q: What features are important to food services clients looking to outfit their employees?
SK: These clients look for high-quality apparel that's durable, comfortable and looks professional. We also offer convenience, with head-to-toe options that are built to last during the long hours the food industry demands. We're constantly striving to provide workwear that meets the needs of today's American workers, and we continue to update collections in order to keep up with trends in the industry.

Q: What items sell best to the food services industry?
SK: Our Ultimate Server Pant (LP537) is a new offering that's proven to be very popular and a great seller for the brand. Functional, long-lasting black pants and white shirts also do very well in the restaurant market. Dickies offers a range of workwear to choose from within this look, including the Multi-Use Pocket Pant (LP837) and the Women's Stretch Poplin Shirt (FL136).

Q: What are some selling strategies for this market?
SK: We've had success because we're a one-stop shop for restaurant owners, and we provide head-to-toe solutions for both the front and back of the house. It's also important to offer versatile designs. While the primary use for our workwear is usually long restaurant hours, our modern designs serve as an after-hours option as well.

Call for Nominations: Supplier Sales Rep of the Year/Supplier CSR of the Year

Supplier Global Resource, the industry's only magazine dedicated to ad specialty suppliers, is holding its fifth annual Supplier Sales Rep of the Year contest to recognize outstanding performance, exemplary service and top-notch professionalism. In addition, the magazine will recognize the best supplier customer service rep – a person who continually goes over and above for his or her distributor clients.

Distributors, do you work with a supplier customer service rep who makes your job infinitely easier, more streamlined and pleasurable to do? Do you have a supplier sales partner who always puts you and your customers' needs first and has a "do whatever it takes" attitude to make you shine? If you know the perfect contenders for both awards, email the nominees' names and details regarding what makes her or him award-worthy to Michele Bell (, editor of Supplier Global Resource, by Friday, September 5, 2014.

Sales Challenge: Step Up Self-Promotions

In the hustle and bustle of everyday business, it can be easy to let your marketing efforts slip. As back-to-school season starts, take some time out to teach yourself some new self-promotion tricks. Take a cue from Creative Marketing Concepts (asi/170631), a San Francisco-based distributor that has a simple and effective method of keeping its name top of mind. CMC sales reps incorporate strategic self-promotion into every presentation to prospects, by branding hot-selling items. Reps discuss the pieces during in-person pitches, then give them to the buyers. "We look for popular items with an interesting story – products that will enhance the presentation and make it more entertaining," says CMC President Zachary Tyler.

Lately, CMC has had success with the DigiClean – a microfiber screen cleaner from Flexible Innovations (asi/54596) that sticks to the back of mobile devices when they're not being used for cleaning. Embellished with the distributor's branding, the cleaners are cut into T-shirt shapes and feature the slogan "Your Logo Here." The T-shirt shape provides a novel talking point that allows reps to discuss how CMC can provide apparel in addition to fun, attention-grabbing hard good products. "Every single time we show it to people they are wowed," Tyler says. Las year, the self-promos generated an additional $130,000 in revenue for CMC through sales of the DigiClean alone.

Here are a few other tips for effective self-promotions:

Self-brand your most popular items and give them to prospects. Something you sell over and over is popular for a reason, and likely to have more resonance.

Select economical items to logo and give away. "Spending more than $20 per item would be a waste of money," Tyler says.

Get self-promo items from reliable suppliers. "If you have a great product, clients are going to want to order it for themselves, so you want to make sure the supplier is a good one to work with," Tyler says.

Co-sponsor a community event. This can be as simple and relatively inexpensive as sponsoring the dinner fundraiser at the local firehouse. Doing so puts your name in the public sphere in a positive light.

Get active on social media. Being engaging on social media platforms can expose you to new audiences.

Alstyle Apparel & Activewear (asi/34817) is sponsoring the Long Beach CANstruction 2014 Competition and is donating all of the T-shirts for the participating teams. Visit for more information, and to learn more about Alstyle, visit

BIC Graphic (asi/40480) now offers the 2200 mAh AMPMINI Portable Charger and the 6000 mAh AMPMAX Portable Charger with LED Flashlight, both from retail brand MyCharge. Visit and for more information.

Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788) now offers the 100-page UltraClub Fall Catalog. It features a variety of apparel and accessories that make it easier to buy and sell products. There has also been a digital Zoom version created to help customers. For more information about Bodek and Rhodes, visit offers The Collegiate Pack, a collection of college-, team- and athletic-themed vector templates and clip art files. It contains black-and-white and color versions of 50 vector clip art elements and 50 interactive design templates. For more information, visit

DecoNetwork Pty Ltd announced the launch of DecoNetwork 7, the latest release of its flagship ecommerce platform for the custom decoration industry. Key improvements to DecoNetwork 7 include live purchase order integration, area-based pricing and more. For more information, visit

Graphics One now offers the first eco-solvent printer, which can be upgraded to an integrated print-and-cut system. The GO X-24P (P model) is a 24-inch eco-solvent printer targeted at garment decorators, display makers and those looking to produce cost-effective decals. For more information visit,

Graphic Solutions Group (GSG) will provide demos by screen-printing veteran and consultant Lon Winters at the Fort Worth Imprinted Sportswear Show, Sept. 18 to 20. The demos will show how to use special-effect inks using Wilflex's new Infinite FX. It's a program that uses a few key specialty bases to print a variety of looks, textures and effects. For more information visit,

HandStands (asi/59525) announced that it has hired Jason Dunnigan as marketing coordinator and Sarah Christiansen as marketing art director.

InkSoft has redesigned the look and layout of online quotes, invoices and art approvals created in Business Tools. For more information visit,

(asi/66887) now offers a limited lifetime warranty on all High Sierra non-wheeled backpacks, business cases and duffels.

(asi/254384) has formed a strategic partnership with German-based Berendsohn AG, the companies have announced. The deal, made public recently, will provide Lynka with additional capital and support systems. It will also formally mark the business exit of Hanseatic Finance and Arco Capital, which had been Lynka's financial backers.

Prime Line
now offers a 2014 Gift Collection product line and catalog featuring 22 new leading-edge tech items.

Stahls' ID Direct
(asi/88984) is offering free product during the month of September with the purchase of a Hotronix shirt heat press. You'll receive a free 11-inch-by-15-inch MVP platen or $50 in free products. For more information, call 800.4.STAHLS.

(asi/89955) is celebrating Richard Stromberg's anniversary of being in the business for 50 years.

T-Biz Network International
has announced the dates for its popular Printers Boot Camp to be held in Bowling Green, KY, Nov. 2 to 4. The three-day T-Shirt Printers Boot Camp classes will be taught by Mike Fresener, and the three-day Master Color Separator Boot Camp classes by Scott Fresener. For more information visit,

Terry Town
(asi/90913) has announced the addition of Tony Sabo, Brickyard Sales and Mktg., to join its multi-line sales force.

Trimark Powered by Leed's
(asi/66888) has introduced 38 new fall styles, including sweaters, hoodies, vests and jackets. Visit Trimark for more information.

Blockout: An emulsion-like chemical that is used to cover pin holes and to block out any area of the screen you do not want ink to pass through.

Degrease: The process of washing a screen with a cleaning solution to remove all traces of dirt and oils prior to coating with emulsion.

Puff Ink: A special-effect type of plastisol ink that "raises up" or expands dimensionally during the curing process.
Linen Fedora

This Linen Fedora (128-1072) boasts a unique texture, heathered look and high-quality construction. The 100% polyester hat features a pre-curved 1.75-inch brim with a sewn-in hat band and fabric sweatband. The design allows for embroidery directly on the fedora. Comes in six colors. Available from Otto International (asi/75350);

Selling tip: A classic and fashionable alternative to the ubiquitous baseball cap, fedoras have made a comeback the previous few years. Call it the "Mad Men" effect. The style should appeal to youthful and fashion-conscious markets.

Q: I need men's polo shirts with pockets in tall sizes. I hope you can help me find some that come in many colors, but if not I just hope for a couple of colors. Thank you.

A: Rugged Outfitters (asi/84143);; offers the Contractor's Work Pocket Polo (K570), available in tall sizes and in five colors. It features color-fast fabric with stain-release finish.

You can also dress end-users in the Element Ltd. Short Sleeve Golf Shirt (096) from Tri-Mountain (asi/92125); This easy-care garment comes in sizes up to 4XLT and in 10 shades. Find several other options from this supplier as well.

Or, shift over to the Extreme ePerformance Men's Tall Shift Polo (85114T) from Ash City USA (asi/37127); It's got a left-chest pocket with a unique pen slot and a self-fabric collar.

Selling Tip: Performance polos are always a smart investment. Sell clients on easy-care properties such as wrinkle resistance, stain resistance, antimicrobial features or other great qualities these garments may offer.

Q: I'm looking for dresses for children that I can embroider. My previous supplier has discontinued the dresses in both lime green and mint green. Can you direct me to any other sources, please?

A: You'll find the most colorful selection from MONAG Apparel (asi/72010); Examples include the Interlock Lettuce Short Sleeve Layered Dress (40-0106), the Baby Rib Spaghetti Strap Dress (40-2160), the Interlock Short Sleeve Pleated Dress (40-0100) and more. Dozens of cute girls' dresses from this supplier come in the color Apple Green.

Additionally, Pima Apparel (asi/78820);; carries a Girls' Tank Dress (9008), a 100% cotton piece that's available in lime.

Selling Tip: Kids aren't the only people who love bright colors. No matter what you're pitching, show clients all the color options and suggest fun combinations they may love.

Sept. 8-11, Milwaukee, WI; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY
Advantages Roadshow
(800) 546-3300;

Sept. 17-20, Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show
(678) 285-3976;
Sept. 26-28, Fort Worth, TX
ISS Shows
(508) 743-0532;

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