Back to School Trends

Source: Back to School Trends by Bic ~Margit Fawbush

It seems like the school year just ended, but we’re already thinking Back to School shopping and promotions. We looked at trends to see what students are going to want to carry around with them when Fall comes and have identified a few items beyond the usual shopping list.


Rucks15861_straight_4cack styling in backpacks is hot – both in retail and high-end luggage, the drawstring closure with flap is everywhere.

KAPSTON® Jaxon Rucksack



Backpacks with extra functionality like 15858_Apple_4cearbud holes, side pockets for water bottles, extra handles for easy clip-on storage, etc are highly sought after.

Homestretch Backpack


grid_it_imageOrganizers help keep tech gadgets in place as well as make-up and other school supplies. A great idea for students who have a lot of small odds and ends to keep up with.  Great for college students to keep up with flash drives, power cords, and other small items so they don’t end up in the bottom of the backpack.




Clip it on! This water bottles features a pop up, drink through, spill proof lid and attached carabiner for clip on storage.  Great option for athletes and mobile hydrators alike. The metal carabiner is durable- prefect for attaching to bags or backpacks.

Vista Bottle 26oz


21180_styled_fcThese keyholders are popular – Students love the brightly colored straps and attach more than keys. USBs, keychains, hand sanitizers, keycards, and more get hooked on and carried around.

Wrist Strap Keyholder


Looking for an upgraded lunch tote? Bento boxes are all the rage, but yo15444_limegreen_4cu need a horizontal tote with an external water bottle pocket to make them work. Check out the KOOZIE® Swirl Lunch Tote and help them keep food fresh and ready to eat.  Great for students, teachers, faculty and staff.

KOOZIE® Swirl Lunch Tote



We are happy to put together ideas for your back to school, welcome to campus or new student orientation needs- just let us know your school, college or university colors and the budget and we are happy to do the research for you.


Marketing & Promotion Ideas for Ice Cream Month

Not only is July National Ice Cream month, but these notable days also fall within July: Creative ice cream flavors day, Strawberry sundae day, Ice cream day and Vanilla Ice Cream Day.  There are so many ideas for tying a promotion, event or marketing campaign around ice cream- let your imagination take over!

Showing appreciation to your employees on a hot summer day makes an easy tie in to ice cream. Serve up your bowls of ice cream with color changing spoons  with your logo or a message of appreciation imprinted on them they can take home.  This idea works well at company picnics, corporate outings or golf events.   Add a color changing bowl for even more impact.


Color changing mood spoons
Six different color combinations to choose from.

Create a fun in-store promotion using ice cream scoops as a gift with purchase.  Or mail out postcards, send to your email list, or post on social media for them to come in to get an ice cream scoop.  Or use them as trade show and festival giveaways or swag bag items.

ice cream scoop
Ice cream scoops are fun gifts with purchase.

Have a “make your own sundae” promotion at community events or for a customer appreciation event.  Serve ice cream in a vintage malt cup they can keep and have a selection of toppings to choose from- fun and customizable so everyone gets the ice cream and toppings they want.   Ice cream sundae bars are also popular at weddings and these can double as your imprinted wedding favor.

ice cream sundae cup

For a promotion that will really make an impression we can deliver four pints of ice cream right to your clients office or home.  This makes a perfect Thank you gift, Real Estate closing gift or Customer Appreciation Gift.  They will get a beautiful aluminum ice cream scoop along with a card explaining how to receive their ice cream.  Click here to see how this program works- it is sure to be appreciated.

Ben_and_Jerrys_1Creating clever tag lines, tie-ins and promotions centered around ice cream month is easy- we are available to work through the process with you to come up with an event or campaign that is sure to be remembered.





Some Assembly Required

My Dad didn’t “assemble” anything when I was growing up.  Nothing.  My mother tells the story that they went to  buy a bike for me at Christmas and when the salesperson  brought it out of the back it was in a box. My Dad refused to take it.  He told them he bought the one on the floor that was assembled and if that wasn’t what he was getting, then he wasn’t buying.  Thankfully the store gave in or I would have been a really disappointed kid on Christmas morning.

While this example may be a little extreme, many people approach their marketing the same way.  If you want a cohesive marketing plan you have to “assemble” all the right parts.  You can’t expect everything to be handed to you in a neat little “pre assembled” package and it work perfectly for your specific needs.

Think about your end goal (the assembled bike).  Is it to introduce a new product, make people aware of a service you offer, draw a crowd to a grand opening, get more traffic at your trade show booth, increase your visibility on social media?  Maybe you need to cut lost time accidents in the workplace, increase employee morale, reward staff for the completion of a large project, announce a merger.  The goal is what ever you need it to be- and it’s ok if you have more than one goal.  The important thing it to clearly identify the goal so you know what “parts” you need to put together to reach that goal.

Now, lay out all the parts you might need (even if it’s just in your head).  Print, direct mail, email campaign, radio or TV advertising, promotional products, packaging, delivery, follow up, etc.  This is just the review part.   Look at all the options you can use then start narrowing it down.  You don’t have to use every “part” (this is not true when assembling a bike, just saying).    Kinda like this:


What key elements do you need; what parts are crucial to the outcome.  Think of this as the “frame”.

For example, if you want to draw potential clients to your trade show booth, then you really need to focus on your actual booth first.  Do you need a backdrop, lights, shelving, brochure display, a table and chair to sit down with clients or will a table cover with your logo and an retractable banner work?

Now that you have your frame, are you just going to stand behind the table and hope people stop? No, not if you expect to be successful.  What “parts” do you need to get people to the event or to get those registered to stop at your booth?  A pre-show mailer? Social media campaign? Booth giveaway?   Brochures of your product/services? Samples?  An in-booth game to get people involved?  Free popcorn?

So you had a great booth, people loved your product and took away samples or information. Now what?  Social media follow up?  Direct mail piece to those that stopped by? Packaged gift to your top leads?

This last portion is the key to showing a nice ROI.  Sure, all the other pieces fit together and work and can get you to your goal. However,  the follow up is like the bike bell, not totally necessary to the function of the bike, but it lets everyone know you are around.  It makes noise and gets attention.

You can take this concept and apply it to any marketing or business goal you have- frame, parts, bell.  It’s a very simplified breakdown, but an easy way to remember to think about the finished product as a whole and to plan out the assembly before you start.  Then you can ride away on that shiny bike ringing your bell.

Need help with the assembly?  Give us a call, email or chat with us on our website and we can work with you to help you put all the parts together to achieve your goal.




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.   866-247-4320

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.          866-247-4320