CO-BRANDING

GEMPIRE does it on both sides!

Most of our products afford the opportunity to decorate the back or second side. Everyone should take advantage of the benefits.

Allow your company to share the marketing with one of their vendor partners. There are countless ways to utilize our products with the back side; the greatest of which is co-branding.

For example, take our custom metal key tag or zipper pull bottle opener. One side can have the local restaurant, and the other side can have a local micro-brewery.

Or how about our wildly popular custom divot tool with ball marker? The ball marker can be two sided; one for the sponsor and one for the charity. We can also put the sponsor logo on the handle of the divot tool.

Ditto for our custom ornaments, metal collar stays, coins, lapel pins, and so on.

And for the limited times maybe a second side will not be feasible, how about a custom message or romance card?

With Floral Promotions, the paper is always two sided. Use them both!

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Helping us overcome the disconnect

Quite often, due to our industry model, the ultimate purchaser of our product is working with one of our authorized distributors.  As a result, there may be some critical information that is overlooked in the process.  It may seem inconsequential, however it may make the difference between a happy customer and a rejected product.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of expectations.  What does the purchaser really want?  Maybe they have purchased something similar in the past.  Maybe they have a gift given to them by others.  Maybe one of their family members received an item and they expect the same.  Maybe they receive a catalog mailing and like one of those items.  Let’s really drill down to make sure all of the parties are on the same page.

In working with the layout of the client art, we are too far removed from the initial discussions. Please make sure that all instructions are shared with us.  We cannot guess at colors, position, layout, sizing, etc.  If there are brand guidelines, please share them upfront.

How will the product be used?  How will it be distributed?  Who is the intended audience?  What is the real in hand date?  And let’s not overlook the budget!  Each of these questions should be answered at the beginning.  We might be able to recommend alternatives or better ways or even some adjustment to the final product.

Let’s partner together and fix the disconnect on day one before it is too late.

KNOW YOUR SUPPLIER AND THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Regardless of your position in the S/D/E model, please make sure that you know your supplier. In this column I will share tips for you with direct importing.

You see our website and recognize us primarily as an importer of emblematic jewelry. Would it surprise you to know that in the last ninety days we have worked successfully on large quantities of wine corkscrews, detachable plastic pill boxes, and wooden bird feeders? With our forty year relationship with many overseas companies and trading partners, we can provide “More than just lapel pins.”

There are many risks associated with unknown vendors. Just because you find them online, that does not mean they are reputable or reliable. And as you are required to prepay, good luck in resolving non shipment of goods, product quality, product safety, etc. Trust someone you know.

Our knowledge and expertise can assist in a variety of ways –

1) Communications – English is not the primary language overseas, nor are our idioms or business practices customary.
2) Customs/duties and product clearance – There are many bumps along the road.
3) Scheduling production time and balancing holidays.
4) Product safety.
5) Financial leverage.
6) Those three dreaded letters in our language – MOQ!
7) Can’t means won’t overseas.
8) And sometimes, China is not the best or only source of product.

When you work with a company such as ours, you get us on your side. We are flexible enough to advise and be creative throughout the process. Let us know how we may be of assistance.

Pin Points – BEWARE BAIT AND SWITCH or IMITATIONS

We have noticed a recent trend, and it is very disturbing to those of us who believe in full disclosure. And ultimately, our client may be negatively impacted.

The topic is quoting a less expensive manufacturing process in order to confuse the buyer. Here are a few different concrete examples.

Die struck enamel (underlying metal brass alloy) and die struck enamel (underlying metal iron). Both can be plated and color filled similarly. However, iron is softer and more porous. As a result, the raised metal that is plated can have multiple imperfections, although barely noticeable to the naked eye. The price difference can be more than $0.50 per pin.  Iron enamel offers benefits, and it can be used properly.  Understand it when you quote it.

Laser fired cloisonne and a printed pin. Both may look very similar. If the printed pin is made with thicker metal and has a border on the front, it can feel the same as well. The price difference can be more than $1.00 per pin.

Gold plated vs. brass plated pins. You may ask for gold plating, which carries a price surcharge, however you may be receiving brass plated, which does not require a surcharge.

I can raise other examples, but these remind all of us to work with full disclosure, offer options, and protect the client’s brand.

And do not overlook product safety.  It is critical in today’s environment.

Ask us for random samples to show the client.  Let them decide as educated buyers.

CASE HISTORIES

GEMPIRE

MANUFACTURING
RIP CHIP – Client produces large cables, and they are wrapped in spools. Then the cable is shrink wrapped. Installers would use a box cutter to open the shrink wrap, and too often they would cut some of the cable. Distributor asked us how we could assist. We suggested our PVC product with a hole near the top. We tested our product by lifting a bucket with twenty pounds weight to make sure it would not tear. Our tests were successful. The end of the cable could have some exposed wire, and the wire would tie through the hole in our PVC disc. When the spool was shrink wrapped, our disc was partially exposed. The installer pulls on the disc, and the cable tears the shrink wrap.

FUND RAISING
DIRECT MAIL WITH INSERT – The Ronald McDonald House wanted something to send to their data base of names. Sort of a thank you and a request for more funds. They held a contest for the children who were there at the time to draw their vision of the House. Once it was provided to us, we created a printed card along with a holiday ornament. The cover of the card was the drawing. On the inside cover panel, we imprinted information about the House. On the inside back cover, we glued the ornament. And on the back cover we imprinted information about the young lady who drew the picture. They mailed it along with a donation response card and envelope. They surpassed their goals. The project can be done with lapel pins instead of an ornament. And as an option we can die cut the card to have the pin show through the cover.

GOLF EVENTS
CUSTOM DIVOT TOOL WITH COPY CHANGES FOR BALL MARKERS – A bank wanted a hand out for various golf events it sponsored as well as gifts for corporate customers and prospects. We designed our stock divot tool with the bank name and logo permanently engraved in the handle of the tool. Then we produced two sided ball markers. One side has the bank logo. The other side was a copy change for each charity event they sponsored. The golfer at the event recognizes that the bank is a good corporate citizen, partnering with their favorite charities. And as you (distributor) own the artwork, we will not sell this piece to another distributor with that bank logo on the handle, unless the bank requires us to do so. And if that happens, we protect you as our premium rep.

EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION – A large grocery store chain uses the key pin series to reward their employees for extra service given to their customers. A customer may have commented to the manager about the good service of a particular employee or they may have filled out a customer comment card. Also the store manager may have noticed the extra service to a customer himself. The first lapel pin with a blue key is presented to the employee with a printed card. The employee then proudly wears the lapel pin which often promotes conversation between customers and the employee and further encourages the employee to continue to provide an extra level of service. After the employee has received all five keys on the silver level, then he or she will receive the gold level lapel pin with one key and so on. As long as that employee continues to provide an extra measure of service he or she can proceed through the various levels.

SALES INCENTIVE TRIPS – Ideal for companies that plan trips for awards. In one case we produced throw beads with PVC medallions. They are safer to throw, as they cannot hurt someone when it hits them. We can also embed a metal bottle opener inside the medallion. Then instead of a charm loop, we can use a zipper pull finding. The person who gets the throw bead can remove the PVC medallion and use it as a zipper pull. Or we can design a custom PVC luggage tag for the same event. On the business card insert we can include a message card.

RETAIL
EARRING AND NAVEL DANGLER SETS – A large high end Italian producer of hair products wanted to promote their new hair color. They ordered 7000 sets of earrings and navel danglers to spotlight their new color called Color Lover. They sent the sets of earrings and navel danglers to 600 top notch salons and asked the employees at those salons to wear these items while they were working. They were asked to take pictures of themselves wearing the product. They could take pictures of themselves each day if they wanted to. The two individuals who sent in the most pictures of themselves were awarded a trip to Italy for a week.

FLORAL PROMOTIONS

EDUCATIONAL
CUSTOM CHILD DESIGNED CARDS – A water company was interested in a unique product that they could use with an informational packet that not only stressed the importance of water conservation, but also kept the recipient’s attention longer than it took to read it. The idea of a seeded postcard that could be planted and grown was an ideal solution. (It can also be a holiday card.) The artwork for the postcard became a statewide contest among middle school students and the grand prize winner’s art would be the showcased on the front of the postcard. The contest added another element to the campaign by reaching out to children throughout the state, the future stewards of our rivers, streams, lakes, and watersheds. The postcard was a standard size and shape, but we have the ability to provide custom shaped products that further enhance a company’s campaign.

Pin Points – Collaborative Effort

Quite often we are asked to design a lapel pin, coin, or other item. It has to be a collaborative effort. It requires input from both the distributor and end buyer.

The most important input deals with the buyer’s expectations. We can look at their logo and their art. We can advise on a number of concepts only after receiving input.

What are their expectations? Have they purchased this product in the past? Are there very specific brand style guidelines that must be followed? Can they be modified in any way? (Remember, our product size is smaller than many other items.) Does their art fit into a pin size they want or would wear? Do they have an example of an item that they like? What is their budget? How about their event date? Have they considered how they will distribute the item?

Without this critical information, all of us run the risk of spinning wheels, wasting valuable time, and eventually losing opportunities, orders, and ultimately revenue. All too often we are told “It is the wrong size” or “We wanted a different type of pin” or “The colors are not our colors”.

Why is there never enough time to do it right but always enough time to do it twice?

PIN POINTS – Understanding the Metric system

PIN POINTS – Understanding the Metric system

It is critical that we all understand the Metric system. It is the universal system for measuring length, weight, and volume. Our only concern for our product is the dimension (or length).

We have grown accustomed to using inches (remember, these are lapel pins, coins, ornaments, etc.). Anything that is imported is generally referenced in millimeters (mm) and centimeters (cm). Oh, if only I had a dollar for each time a customer has asked me to convert mm to inches.

Our domestic educational system may have failed at bringing us into the world’s standards, but that does not mean you cannot navigate through the process.

Here are two very simple ways to do the conversion. Pay close attention to the second way!

1) Each inch has 25.4mm or 2.54cm. If you divide the mm by 25.4 or the cm by 2.54, you will get the fractional measure in inches. Conversely, you can multiply the fractional inches by 25.4 to get millimeters or by 2.54 to get centimeters.
2) Here is a simple webpage that can do many on line calculations for you – http://www.worldwidemetric.com/measurements.html The third chart covers length. You can find others, but this works well.

Good luck.