Delicious Food Makes A Great Gift

Maybe not fruit cake or green beans, but chocolate? Everyone will gladly accept chocolate. Food is such a great item at the holidays as it is the season of sharing, and [there are] lots of festive gatherings and parties at home and work. Also, food—and chocolate—makes people so happy and it is easy to bring to an event as the holidays can also be such a hectic time with family, work and back-to-school. Varieties of flavors create fun conversations and all items are individually wrapped, so no sticky fingers or double dipping.

Those individually wrapped items are convenient, but variety also helps to avoid sending the exact same gift each year. For example, Taylor and Grant offer multiple food choices, packaging and flavors this year. The decoration is also an additional feature that can be altered each year. Some companies have us insert their holiday card or calendar, and that can go with a different gift each year.

Once again, they make great gifts for your clients to give, but also for you to present to your customers. Ordering bulk boxes and having them sent directly to you at your office so you and your sales reps can hand deliver them makes such a memorable impact. It provides a reason for the rep to stop by the client or prospect’s office with their card, thank them for the business during the year, mention a new service and say, “Talk to you in January”.


Lounge Around In The Perfect Robe

When the weather turns cold, its instinct for people to turn to the most comfortable and cozy thing they can find. Throw comfort and warmth into one with the Tahoe micro fleece shawl collar robe (RP2007) from Terry Town. This luxurious robe, made of 100% microfiber polyester fleece fabric, is perfect for end-users to curl up with a hot chocolate in any hotel or spa – even the wearer’s own home. Add in relaxed apparel and accessories for the ultimate in leisure. This is one package no one will want to check out of. 

Fashion-Minded Fleece

Fleece has been known for its cozy warmth and comfortable cut for years. It’s the sort of item one wears around the house or running errands on cold days. Today, however, fleece offers a stepped-up style in a number of options. The traditional sweatshirt for example, offers compelling fleece variations in pullovers, quarter-zips, zip-fronts and more – with a hood or without.

Though fleece does not have the reputation of being runway-ready, there has been a noticeable broadening of the category and upping of the fashion factor. “There are many of these styles available, so added details in styling and color help some to stand out from the basics,” says Margaret Crow, director of marketing for S&S Activewear. “Neons and bright colors are popular, and accent colors, or accents in camouflage, are great.” One example is the J. America Cosmic Poly Fleece, which is made from spun polyester feck fleece. “Spun polyester is wonderfully soft and comfortable, and the ‘feck’ makes interesting colors,” Crow says. “This style comes in a quarter-zip (8614) and pullover hoodie for men (8613) and a pullover hood for women (8616).”

Pattern is definitely in play as an up-and coming fleece trend. Crow references the Badger digital camo colorblock performance hoodie (1464), which has moisture-management and antimicrobial properties. “The touch of camouflage makes this style trendy,” she says. “It works well for teams as well as the corporate market.”

Beyond the sporty, fleece can also designed “office-ready.” Something feminine with a classic silhouette is timeless fashion. The Lilac Bloom collection from Tri-Mountain offers the Riley (LB677), a pea coat in a simple hip-length, double-breasted design. The garment is suitable for the workweek or weekend. Fashion details such as a two-button cuff and front pockets with a princess seam deliver a ftted look that appears tailored to the wearer.

Fall is windbreaker season

Fall is a transitional season, and you can never tell from day to day what the weather will be, which is why the windbreaker is the quintessential autumn garment. Within the advertising specialty industry, there are countless light jackets to fit everyone's need. Here are a couple of things to consider when choosing a style.

Consider desired features. Some light jackets are too thin to protect against the wind and rain. Make sure the jackets you offer have lining for that extra durability, as well as water resistance – something your customers will thank you for. Also important is breathability. Breathability is a key factor that people should consider when looking for a windbreaker. Many windbreakers don't allow the fabric to breath so they can become very hot and uncomfortable during moderate to high levels of activity.

 Functionality is key. When selling to the athletic market in particular, make sure the jacket has movability. Golfers, for example, need the full range of motion when they're out on the course.  In the past, many golfers would wear a wind shirt on a cool/windy day, but lately the trend has leaned toward a lightweight softshell.


Camo Crazy

There’s no hiding from camo. Though it’s never been out of style, it has come far out of the shadows and deep into everyday fashion – including all sorts of variations on the traditional pattern, and the introduction of some unlikely colors. But when camo stays truest to its origins, it has the biggest impact. Whether evoking the dust of the desert or the light- less depths of the woods, the pattern speaks to the inner adventurer in everyone. Use it to add grit to outerwear and casualwear, or as an unexpected pop of pattern to accessories that need to leave their comfort zone and go somewhere wild. 

The Uniqueness of Garment Dyed

The great thing about garment-dyed apparel is that every generation can appreciate its lived-in look and feel, allowing for an easy promotional item to offer customers. “The softer hand from the ringspun cotton, along with the earthy tones in the pigment dye, creates a unique finish that is in high demand,” says Scott Marino, owner of Neon Trees/Panda Apparel. “They are soft right out of the box and get even softer with additional laundering. They quickly become one of the most comfortable shirts people own.”

Most garments are “mill dyed,” where the fabric is dyed first on large rolls before an item like a T-shirt is created. With garment dying, Marion says, manufacturers take the “raw knitted fabric, sew it into T-shirts and then dye them with special pigments.” While it’s a longer process, this ultimately creates the “unique weathered earth tones” and deep, rich colors that win people over.

College students and groups, always color savvy, have picked up the trend because of its custom capabilities and opportunity to create fun alternatives to school colors.

Garment-dyed T-shirts are viewed as an upgrade from your typical T-shirt. A wide range of consumers love the ‘washed’ look that makes a garment feel like a vintage art piece.

a classic white shirt always works

Seasons come and go, but a classic white shirt will forever hold a place in people’s closets. Whether it’s a T-shirt or button-down, the simplicity of white allows it to work for multiple settings. Specifically within the ad specialty industry, different styles are popular for a variety of markets, such as health care, theme parks, airlines and hotels. The versatility of this essential is what makes it desirable. But it also has a simple appeal that continues to resurface in fashion circles. 

For a corporate outfitting program, white button-down options can be spruced up with modern twists. For women, offer a blouse with a significant detail such as zippers, ruffles or bold embroidery. “You can see how a white shirt allows the embroidery to pop without taking away from the style,” says Taraynn Lloyd, vice president of marketing for Edwards Garment. Look to high-end labels, too; designers such as Stella McCartney are changing the traditional style by tailoring a blouse to have a high-low cut, while others have cinched the waist of the shirt to give it more shape.  

Lloyd suggests giving employees more choice in color selection. “White is a mainstay for any image apparel program,” she says. “However, the trend now is to offer people a choice in how they dress, so oftentimes they provide the white shirt and the same style of shirt in a different color that stays within their branding identification.” 

Certain markets may require a specific type of white shirt. “For example a button-down, short-sleeve shirt is often worn at theme parks or arenas for a casual style,” Lloyd says. “A more corporate look is a button-down or point collar long-sleeve oxford shirt that provides a crisp, clean, polished look.” The environment you're working in will determine the style that should be considered. For instance, a classic white T-shirt with a brand name decoration, while casual, is more appropriate for workers on the move, such as athletic companies. 

Dress it up or dress it down, a classic white shirt always works. 



Embrace The Past With Vintage Tees

Soft tees with vintage imprint are great for organizations with a relaxed image.  Groups and occasions, such as farm-to-table agriculture; family reunions; collegiate or high school fan war and alumni fundraising are perfect for vintage imprinted T-shirts. Classic car and motorcycle clubs or any casual gathering that’s a bit nostalgic is also a great scenario for this classic look.  Thank of soft tees as a compliment to any lifestyle that embraces the past, as well as savors the moment. 

Trend Alert: Summer Outerwear

Summer and outerwear usually aren’t two words you’d put together. Summer is when we ditch the jackets and finally pull out our tank tops. However, summer outerwear has a different meaning than winter outerwear. Picture more light vests and jackets for a breezy night at the beach. Or a much-needed rain jacket when summer storms roll in. As much as we’d love for it to stay hot all day long, cool nights do sneak in, and wearers must always be prepared.

One of the trendiest things to wear in the summer right now is a jeans vest, or even the latest thing being a vest trench coat. These are stylish ways to add a layer without fully committing to a jacket. Of course, if your customers are looking for a light jacket or windbreaker, there are stylish choices for both men and women. “We manufacture a beautiful spring/summer/fall 3-layer soft shell that is lightweight, has all the technical properties such as being wind/water resistant but the fabric is very soft with lots of stretch,” says Shurli Allinott, president of Brandwear. Wind- and water-resistant jackets are perfect for outdoors, such as the hiking and boating markets; they are popular activities in the warmer seasons, particularly in areas with fluctuating temperatures. Allinott also says of their popular jacket, “It’s a perfect travelling fabric as it can roll up to be very small with no bulk, and the wrinkles fall out when you wear it.” It’s a huge bonus with all the traveling done in the summer.

There are certain things to consider when promoting summer outerwear over winter outerwear. Naturally, lighter material is better, whether it’s for active people or just hanging out outside – no one wants bulk in the summer. Having bright colors as options helps as well, since they feel more seasonally appropriate. Nautical is also always associated with warmer seasons and can make for stylish anoraks and blazers. While summer outerwear can be tricky, it’s important to keep the end user in mind and what their needs are, no matter the temperature outside.