Totes Sure To Get Attention

Tote bags offer clients an attractive apparel accessory that is sure to be used and get attention.

One of the most popular and convenient items to carry and use as an apparel accessory is a tote bag. It can be used for shopping, the beach, traveling, or as a general purse or carry-all. Its versatility is part of its charm and what makes it desirable for a variety of markets and promotional campaigns. The unadorned bags given out at the grocery store are being replaced by sophisticated, bring-with-you-everywhere styles.

Fashion experts at publications like GQ and Harper’s Bazaar have seen more stylish tote bags come into play recently. So is the trend being noticed in the promotional product industry as well? “Fashion defines our totes,” says Melinda Gorentz, category manager for Polyconcept North America, parent company of Leed’s. “You’ll find fashion integrated at every price point – from laminated nonwoven totes with a chevron pattern to our branded Guess and Kenneth Cole totes.”

It’s no longer about just putting a brand name on a bag, but incorporating fashion into it as well. When you bring together fashion and durability, you’re more likely to connect with a variety of markets. “There are two key styles gaining traction right now – utility and cotton totes,” says Gorentz. “Cotton, natural materials and colors are becoming more and more popular as seen in our Alternative line. We are also seeing a rise in utility totes that are all about efficiency.”

Because tote bags are so convenient, people will store whatever they can in them and use them multiple times, thus gaining valuable impressions for advertisers. Gorentz has even noticed the medical industry using tote bags more.

“Given the nature of the job,” she says, “totes are very popular and useful when it comes to carrying necessary gear for the day. Stethoscopes, charts, lunch – you name it – it’ll fit in a tote.” The practicality of these bags is noticeable, and it’s not just women using them. Gorentz saw more men than women with totes on a recent trip to Tokyo.

Your tote bag should make a statement; have some fun and get creative with them. Gorentz says, “Picking a bag is an art form, which is why making them fashionable is truly a science.”


Stay Warm In A Fashionable Winter Jacket

For workers who toil outside year round, warmth is paramount in the chilly winter months.  Stave off the cold with the men’s Crystal Mountain Jacket from Cutter & Buck.  This fashionable insulated quilted jacket is made from 100% Polyamide ripstop fabric, is water resistant and features a mock neck.  Zippered pockets and elastic cuffs and waist provide comfort and functionality.  Add in other accessories that provide additional comfort when out in the weather’s elements.

Find Casual Cool With Lightweight Hoodies

The original hoodie was a mean hunk of cotton that was designed to protect athletes and laborers working outside in the coldest conditions. While that style still persists, today the hoodie has multiplied and divided to fit just about every style and climate. Thus, the lightweight hoodie. It looks like a sweatshirt and feels like a T-shirt. It can be worn anytime (even on the hottest of days) and by anyone – skaters and sightseers, C++ programmers and CEOs. Layered under a jacket or over a tee, it offers a relaxed vibe that suggests the wearer “gets it,” no matter his or her station in life. 

Feeling Drab? Try a polka dotted ... anything!

Really...Shirt, tie, sun- glasses – doesn’t matter, the pattern itself is the whole point. It identifies the wearer as someone who is probably the first to be invited to parties, and the last to leave. In short, polka dots signify fun. And though they may be considered feminine, a spotted-and-dotted accessory can enhance even the most masculine of ensembles. They defy boring norms and insist that irrepressible personalities are not to be confined by timid expectations. Experiment with polka dots to add a special pop to any wearable or accessory that needs to loosen up and just have a good time.

Looking for visually exciting apparel? Give tie-dye a whirl.

The psychedelic swirls of tie-dye apparel are no longer reserved for '60s throwbacks. This mainstay of music festivals and DIY enthusiasts has seeped into high fashion, and the trend was especially evident for Spring 2016, with designers like BCBG Max Azria and Raquel Allegra incorporating tie-dye looks onto the runways of New York Fashion Week. The promotional appeal of tie-dye can't be denied, either.

"Everyone is into the nostalgia of tie-dye. It spans generations: baby boomers, younger kids and everyone in between are fans," says Margo Scavone, director of marketing and creative services at Bodek and Rhodes. Matching the trend to the appropriate event is still very important, she adds. Think outdoor concerts, camps and family reunions.

Tie-dye is particularly well received in the tourist market, especially at beaches and theme parks, due to its fun and whimsical nature, says Laura Turner, vice president of marketing at alphabroder. Make sure the logo going on the apparel won't be overshadowed by the boldness of the tie-dye, however. "High-energy, youth-focused, trendy brands work well with tie-dye, and logos can really pop off the bright backgrounds if they are simple, but bold," Turner adds.

The next time you're looking for a fun, visually exciting apparel trend, give tie-dye a whirl.

What’s New With Tech Accessories?

There’s more to tech accessories than gloves and bags. “Tech accessories are hot items overall, and wearable technology is the latest trend,” says Viktorya Kooistra, director of marketing & communications at Toddy Gear. “We are seeing the popularity of wearable accessories on the rise for everything from smart-watches, fitness trackers and devices that help you find your keys to portable devices and wearables that charge your smartphone.”

Picking up on the trend, Toddy Gear offers a full menu of items that help care for and energize electronic devices. “Our portfolio ranges from the original Smart
Cloth Premium Microfiber Cloth to the one-of-a-kind to microfiber pouches that offer a double-drawstring closure or zip closure, cinch packs and more,” Kooistra says. “All of our premium microfiber products are dual-purpose.” The Wedge, for example, not only offers a plush and silky side to clean and polish screens, respectively, but it also operates as a mobile device stand and as a screen cleaner.


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.