But, Is It Good Enough?

I started this blog post two years ago and it’s just been sitting there.  The title stares at me every time I log in.  And I keep passing it by.  Since it is just about the 2 year anniversary of “the incident” I think it’s time we explore this topic.

The back story:

Two years ago we decided to sell our home in Ohio and move to North Carolina.  What we thought would take a while turned out to be a really fast process.  And stressful. So, so stressful.  Anyway, there was  huge crack in our front brick walkway that had caused part of the walk to drop over an 1″ and created a trip hazard, not to mention looking really horrible.  It had to dug up, the brick salvaged (so it would match), dirt & gravel added then the brick re-laid.  Here is where the problem arose. There was a pattern to the sidewalk.  A zigzag down the middle with half bricks outlining each side.  Now, there is another 15 feet of sidewalk clearly visible to match this pattern to.  At this point you have probably already guessed what happened.  The pattern didn’t match correctly.  Not only didn’t it match, but there were bricks left over.  Common sense would dictate that if you take out 50 bricks, 50 bricks should go back in, right? Nope.  I didn’t totally lose my cool, however our house was being listed in 2 days with an open house in 4 days so I wasn’t happy.  I made a call to the owner of the company (which wasn’t the person doing the work) and explained the situation.  His only response “But, is it good enough?”

Now, that was two years ago, the house sold in 10 days and I’m now happily on a mountain in North Carolina.  So technically, I guess it was good enough (maybe because I don’t have to look at it every day).  But that response still shocks me as much today as it did the day I heard it.

Mistakes happen, sometimes we can fix them, sometimes we can work around them, sometimes we have to start all over.  What is important, and what others remember about you, your service or your product, is how you react to those mistakes.

First, if you screwed up, take responsibility. Own your mistakes. Don’t try to blame someone else.  People see through that quickly and lose all confidence and trust in you.  None of us like to mess up, but you will be respected more for taking responsibility and hopefully salvage the relationship.  Maybe the mistake is actually that of your vendor (this happens to us on occasion).  To your client,  that is still YOUR mistake.  They don’t buy from your vendor, they buy from you. I’ve had to explain mistakes from vendors before and I try to do it as “this is what happened and this is how we are going to fix it.”  It is still my responsibility to get it corrected and make the client happy, therefore I have to own the mistake.

Second, don’t get defensive.  This is a hard one, especially if the other person is angry an d it truly is not  your fault.  Try to calm them down by offering to look into the details, exploring any possible solutions, etc.  If you automatically turn the blame back on an angry customer (even if they are wrong) you may never get them to look at the situation reasonably.  They may lash out on social media, which makes you look bad.  You may never win them back as a customer AND you now have (undeserved) negative feedback about you on social media.  Ask questions, have them state the facts of what they wanted/expected vs. what they received.  Asking questions in a attempt to clarify what happened can sometimes make the customer realize that the mistake is actually theirs without you having to point it out.  They might not admit it, but it this realization is usually enough to calm then down so you can work out a resolution.

Third, try to find a solution to remedy the mistake.  Even when it’s not your fault. Especially when it is not your fault.  We have had it happen more than once.  Sometimes mistakes are our fault and we will do everything possible to fix it (yes, even if it means losing money on the order).  But we have had instances where the client made a mistake and we help them find a solution that will work if at all possible. That might mean calling in favors, it might mean working late to make sure they will get their order. If there is any way possible we make it happen.   I can’t even image having a client call and say they received their order but part of the imprint was left off and responding with “but, is it good enough?”

Sometimes how you react to mistakes makes more of an impression that anything else you do in your business.

http://www.barefootswag.com   866-247-4320

sales@barefootswag.com

OSC (Oh So Cool) Floating Sunglass Lanyard & Key Tag

Those that love the water, whether it be boating, fishing or surfing, know that “oh crap” moment when your glasses (or heaven forbid, your keys) hits the water.  Save everyone from that heart stopping moment while promoting your business or brand with these brand new floating eyewear retainers and key chains.  Not only are they functional, but they are super cool- making you super cool when you add your logo.

The designers took a “less is more” approach to the lanyard design, creating a retainer that is functional, durable, lightweight and comfortable.  Being coast dwellers, they understand the importance of all these features and designed a product they wanted to wear.

Korkz eye wear retainer

The corks used are #9 natural corks (not pressed) that are purchased domestically.  The assembly and decoration are completed right here in the US- in North Carolina.  Your logo is laser engraved on 1 or 2 sides of the cork, creating a beautiful piece you will be proud to to show off. The laser imprint will not wear off and the cork is UV resistant, keeping your brand looking good for a long time.  We can also add custom packaging with hanger bags for a convenient point of sale item.  These can make a great add-on sale item- they aren’t just for giveaways!

cork sunglass floating lanyard

The cork floating eyewear retainer is perfect for marinas, boat manufacturers, fly shops, fishing guide services, resorts, company retreats, cruise lines, travel agents and so much more.  Anywhere there are people and water these sunglass lanyards will save a lot of grief.  Of course, sunglasses aren’t the only use- these are perfect for “cheater glasses” as well.  I wear my sunglasses when fishing to help cut the glare on the water, but then I can’t see to tie a fly on my line.  So the cheater glasses AND the sunglasses are on a Korkz lanyard.  They are so lightweight that having 2 is not a problem.

korkz eyeglass lanyard

Sometimes we want to protect other items besides our sunglasses when around water (or just have a cool key chain).  That’s where the Keez comes in.  Made from the same natural cork, this light weight key tag can be added to items beyond just keys.  While these are also great for any water related businesses or activities, the key chain will work well for wine tastings, wineries or wine shops, eco promotions and more.

cork key tag

These items are so new they aren’t even on our website yet!  Just give us a call or email us for more information and pricing.

http://www.barefootswag.com

sales@barefootswag.com          866-247-4320

Challenge Coins as Commemorative and Recognition Pieces

Challenge Coins have a well know history within the military as recognition pieces.  Some of their history, use and popularity within all branches of the armed forces are explored in this article.  This also helps to understand the increasing popularity of the coins outside of the military.

Corporations, Non-Profits, Colleges, Universities and more are using Challenge Coins more often for a variety of purposes. With two imprint areas (front and back), choices of metal finishes (gold, nickel, antique bronze, etc) and the option to add color to the design, the uses and possibilities are endless.

One of our clients holds a sales achievement incentive trip in a different location each year.  At dinner on the first night each attendee receives a Challenge Coin.  They use one side for the corporate logo then add the year, location and an image that pertains to that location in color on the back.  We’ve done waves, cactus, palm trees and more.  The first year someone qualifies for the trip they also receive a wooden display.  Once back to their office they can display the coins and add to their collection each year when they qualify.  These coins serve as a momemto of the trip, recognition of their achievement and also as an incentive to achieve the goals needed to qualify for the next trip.

Non-Profits can utilize the coins to recognize individuals for their volunteer hours or service.  By adding the organization’s logo on one side with a slogan or motto then adding the volunteer hours on the back you create a piece that not only shows your appreciation but gives the recipient and additiona sense of pride by recognizing the hours they have served.  This concept can also extend to recognizing all volunteers that helped achieve a larger project.  Add the date and project on the 2nd side to commemorate all the hard work and dedication to help achieve it.

Ground Breakings and Building Dedication ceremonies are ideal events for keepsake Challenge Coins.  The College or University logo can decorate one side in color and we can add the architect rendering of the building on the opposite side. Include a 1 piece display stand and these coins become a beautiful gift.

Alumni love the opportunity to display any item with the logo of their Alma Mater.  A Challenge Coin is beautiful incentive to join and Alumni Association or to recognize members for their years of membership, such as 10 years, Lifetime member, etc.    Coins also make excellent graduation gifts with the logo on one side and the year on the other.  Or we add an iconic image from campus on the 2nd side.  Challenge Coins also make excellent recognition items for faculty and staff and can be used for Speaker Gifts or special visitor gifts.

Rebranding, mergers and name changes offer opportunities to the corporate world to incorporate Challenge Coins into their marketing.  Utilizing one side of the coin to reiterate the company mission statement, slogan or a quote is a gift new employees can keep on their desk or a way to introduce a rebranding campaign.  Presenting coins featuring the new logo and mission statement to all employees at the announcement of a merger can help alleviate fears and discord.

Sales achievements, company goals and more can all be recognized and awarded with challenge coins as well.  Smaller and less expensive than traditional awards, coins make it possible to recognize the achievements of individuals, teams or all employees and staff.

Let us help you design a challenge coin to perfectly convey your message and achieve your goals.

challenge coins custom imprinted

With a variety of style options, we can design the perfect Challenge Coin for your needs.  Click here to see a sampling of our options.

www.barefootswag.com     866-247-4320

sales@barefootswag.com

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Direct Mailings

When considering using direct mail as a part of your marketing campaign it is important to sit down and think through your strategy. By making some careful choices, you can design an effect mail piece and increse your ROI beyond the typical .5-1% response rate.  Here are some of the basic ways to make sure you are desiging your post card, brochure, flyer or other direct mail piece to make it as effective as possible and generate the results you are looking for.

  • What is the primary purpose of your mailing?  Think about what is most important.  Don’t try to “kill two birds with one stone” and keep adding information.  Focus on one purpose.  That might be a Grand Opening, an End of Season Sale, a new addition to your staff or a new location.  With a clear purpose you will be able to create a bold, attention grabbing headline to entice the recepient to keep reading.
  • Where is your mailing list coming from?  Current contacts, a bulk mailing to a specific zip code or purchase a mailing list? If you are introducing a new product, service or staff member the mailing to your current list of contacts might make perfect sense.  However, if you want to reach new customers or clients this is not going to be the most effective means, possibly a bulk mail to a specific zip code would be a better choice.  Maybe you are opening a new business that has a very specific clientele (such as a pre school or luxury vehicle dealership).  Purchasing a mailing list that will narrow down the specific demographics you are looking for will greatly increase your response rate.
  •  Once you have your purpose and recipients in mind, you can begin designing your mailing.  This is where you need to keep reminding yourself that “less is more”.  Many people have a tendency to overcrowd their message.  Keep it simple and basic.   Add images that will catch the eye and also convey your primary message.  Make sure you keep both the text and images in line with the message you are trying to convey. As a general rule, use no more than 3 different fonts within your piece.  Fonts are a great way to promote a message- for example, a new daycare would be a perfect use for a font that looks like children’s hand writing.  A luxury auto dealership, not so much.   Images or graphics that bleed off the page can add interest.  Setting text to the side, top or bottom and not just in the center will help draw the eye around the page.  And again- less is more- leave some “white space” so your final product does not look overcrowded.
  • Add a “call to action”.  A coupon, discount code, free gift to the first 100 people through the doors, etc.  Think about what you can offer to increase the effectiveness of your mailing and encourage people to take the necesssary action.
  • Add some “bulk”.  Bulky mail is different, it gets noticed and it gets read (hence a better response rate).  Add a magnet to a postcard, include a small notepad in an envelope, or even do a box mailing with a larger item (like a small flashlight) inside.  This type of mailing is especially effective when you have a very specific and targeted mailing list.

Call or emaill today for help designing your print material.  We have a vast selection of fonts, graphics and images we can use to help you stand out and not have the same stock template look as the next guy!

866-247-4320   sales@barefootswag.com

http://www.barefootswag.com

Taking Awards to the Next Level

When choosing awards or commemorative crystal gifts, taking a leap beyond the typical choices will set you apart and give the recipients a beautiful, unique piece they can display on a shelf, desk or in a case with pride.  The illumachrome technique allow a full color image (picture, design, art, logo, etc) to be applied to the crystal, giving it a multi dimensional appearance with added visual interest.

This process creates unique gifts and awards to commemorate any event, recognize achievements or product launches and more. A creative way to incorporate the location of your incentive trip or convention by using an image of the resort or a landscape picture of the area on the awards given out at your event.  Another creative use would be featuring a picture from a project or a volunteer event on a crystal paperweight for each person involved or that contributed.  Need a nice gift to commemorate a new building dedication or ground breaking- use the architect rendering as the background for an piece that will be treasured- a great ideas for colleges, universities and hospitals. Feature a new piece of equipment or a product and add the launch date and company logo to the front for an eye catching piece.  I can’t think of an industry that these would not have a use in.  This technique is especially popular with Colleges and Universities, the Technology Industry, Equipment Manufacturing, Medical Field and for sales and achievement awards. There are so many ways to use this decorating technique that the sky really is the limit.

If you love the look of these awards, but don’t have an image to use, don’t worry. This can also work with stock images or a full color design (some examples are in the video).  We have a vast library of full color photos to fit most industries and we can help you find the perfect one for your awards.

And if you are looking for a piece that will sit out on a desk or counter and you need a design on both sides, this techniqe is perfect.  A backer can be added then printed with an additional message making the piece a 2 sided “billboard” and increasing the visibility of your message.  Using this process is perfect for product launches and for the pharmaceutical industry.

Need more ideas?  We are happy to help, brainstorm or make suggestions!

This video explains the process and features beautiful awards and gift ideas to give you ideas and get those creative juices flowing.

Contact us today for more information and ideas on how we can help you with these unique awards and gifts.

www.barefootswag.com        sales@barefootswag.com

866-247-4320

A Brief Explanation of Vacuum Seal Technology and Why it’s Hot (or Cold).

Just looking at drinkware on a website makes is almost impossible to discern why one style is better than another, after all, they look almost identical. Here is a brief explanation of how vacuum seal technology works and why it helps keep your beverage at the correct temperature.

BIC Graphic Blog

46119_clear_styled_1cVacuum sealed tumblers like our Glacial Diamonds Tumbler and bubba(R) Envy Vacuum Tumbler use special technology to harness the natural insulating properties of air. These tumblers are super hot in the promotional products industry and we thought we’d share a little more about the technology. These products are on the higher-end of tumbler-style drinkware and often require a little more information in the selling process.

The key to keeping drinks cold (or hot) longer than traditional double wall drinkware is the46113_clear_styled_1c vacuum seal insulation. In the case of the Glacial Diamonds Tumbler for example, the stainless steal tumbler is constructed with a hole left in the bottom of the outer wall. The air is then sucked out of the space between the walls and as it is sucked out a glass bead is then wedged into the hole and heated to create an airtight seal.

Because there are no air molecules…

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