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What Is That Bag Made Of?

13 Oct

15476 - Eco Non-Woven Tote

Here is a nice primer on bag materials from our friends at Norwood. For sustainable options I like recycled content (keeps water bottles out of the landfills) and most types of cotton bags (cotton is a natural fiber that will break down over time).  Enjoy. 

The hottest sellers in bags are non-woven and cinch bags – usually due to affordability.  But let’s take it a step further.  Do you know what the difference is between non-woven and poly?  And just what is PET? Here’s a quick list of the most commonly used bag fabrics and their definitions…

1)  Non-woven — is a fabric-like material made from long fibers, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment.  Often, non-woven materials include a certain percentage of recycled fabrics.  And some non-wovens can then also be recycled after use.  Non-woven fabrics are engineered specifically for specific functions including, absorbancy, liquid repellence, resiliance, stretch, cushioning, etc.

2)  Polyester — a synthetic, durable fabric (often also blended in with other fibers).  While synthetic cloth is in general perceived as having a less natural feel compared to fabrics woven from natural fibers (such as cotton and wool), there are advantages.  Improved wrinkle resistance, durability and color retention are benefits of synthetic fabrics.  Polyester fibers can also create materials with superior water, wind and environmental resistance compared to plant-derived fibers.

3)  Nylon — silky-smooth, highly resiliant material, originally intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk.  It often lines a high-end bag, but can have many other applications such as roping and seatbelts.

4)  Microfiber — synthetic fibers measuring less than one denier that can be woven together into fabric.  Microfiber is used to make non-woven, woven and knitted textiles.  The shape, sizes and combinations of fibers are selected for specific characteristics including:  softness, durability, absorption, wicking, water repellance, etc.

5)  Neoprene — synthetic rubbers that have a good chemical stability, maintaining flexibility over a wide temperature range.  Foamed neoprene is used in insulation material such as wetsuits, beverage coolers and computer accessories.

6)  Recycled PET — PET stands for post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate.  It is made of post-consumer recycled plastics and essentially a form of polyester fabric.  The recycled material is spun into thread or yarn and can be used alone or blended with other fibers to make a wide variety of fabrics.  Most often, this fabric is used to create strong, durable products such as jackets, shoes, bags, hats and accessories.

7)  Canvas — Modern canvas is usually made of cotton or linen, although historically it was made from hemp. Canvas comes in two basic types: plain and duck.  Treated with a waterproofing substance, canvas is used for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications.  Very commonly used in making backpacks, tote bags, shoes, auto covers, tents, sails, etc.  It is sturdy and has the ability to stretch.

8 )  Cotton Duck Cloth — organic, heavy, plain woven cotton fabric.  It is versatile and can be machine washed and dried and is easy to dye, waterproof and sew.  Unlike synthetic cancases, cotton duck cloth breathes, allowing air and moisture to pass through easily.  Cotton duck is available in a number od different weights.  The lighter weights make good shoes, shower curtains, laundry bags and tote bags. Heavier weights are used to make hammocks, boat covers, tents, etc.

9)  Jute — Long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads.  It is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses. Jute has gained an advantage as being an eco-friendly option instead of poly and paper bags. Formerly primarily used in home textiles (such as floor covering) and to make ropes and sacks, it is also used for making fashion & promotional bags.

If you are an ASI distributor D’Anna Zimmer is the contact to talk to at Norwood about their bags. If you are interested in bags to promote your own business, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information, pricing, and samples.

Why Calendars? (repost)

17 May

{Our friends at Norwood sent us this bit of information on the power of calendars that we wanted to re-post. Regardless if you are going the traditional route or the sustainable materials (printing) route, the marketing appeal of calendars remains the same. See blog post Calendars, Calendars, Calendars.} 

goingreen® Contractor | Triumph Calendars

goingreen® Contractor | Triumph Calendars

Need a reason to order Calendars EARLY this year? How about 5!

Check it out!  PPB put together a great analysis of wall calendars as ideal promotional products.

All that being said, why should you order your calendars from Norwood by July 1, 2011?

1)  Save Money – take advantage of early order pricing

2)  Best Selection – the styles and themes you want are guaranteed to be in stock

3)  Free Storage – we’ll store your orders until Fall – FREE of charge

4)  Peace of Mind – your calendars will be ready for distribution when you are (and isn’t it nice to cross things off your list?)

5)  Be First – get your calendars on your customers’ walls first!

If you are an ASI distributor Jim Munkittrick is the contact to talk to at Norwood about calendars. If you are interested in goingreen® products to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Updating The Gym Bag

28 Jan
 A Step Ahead Messenger

A Step Ahead Messenger, Made from Recycled Content

Starting a marketing campaign to green your club, gym or spa? Already got rid of the bottled water for reusable bottles and water stations? Already moved gym apparel to more eco-friendly alternatives? Already given out a few shower timers to remind folks to save water?


Now let’s talk about what Norwood can do for your gym bags.

In 2011 Norwood is releasing a number of new recycled content totes as part of their goingreen line (all lowercase) to include the A Step Ahead Messenger and Center Court Duffel, two bags that I think will work great  for gym promotions. Neither is exactly large (for that I suggest the traditional Kodiak Eclipse Large Duffel), but both have more of that urban design that seems to appeal to the 20 and 30 somethings that tend to be the main target for gym recruitment.

The AP3200ECO A Step Ahead Messenger is the more basic of the two options, but also likely to appeal to the most folks as messenger style bags work well in lots of different applications, from the gym, to office, to travel bag.

The A Step Ahead Messenger features a velcro closure on front flap and main compartment, a must have organizer panel and headphone port (great for all those iPods), a mesh water bottle pocket to hold the water bottles you already handed out, and an adjustable shoulder strap.

As a Norwood goingreen item the A Step Ahead Messenger also features the goingreen leaf label and informational hangtag, which explains that the body fabric of this product is made from 45% post-consumer material. The bag is also available with full four-color process imprinting and part of Norwood 24hr service program, so a great go-to item in a time crunch.

Recycled Content Center Court Duffel

The AP6810ECO Center Court Duffel is a larger bag – 18″w x 10-1/2″h x 9″d vs. the 13-1/2″w x 12-1/4″h x 3-1/4″d of the messenger – but comes in the same 45% Recycled PET material as the messenger and also the same Grass, Onyx, and Rain color options.

This makes the two bags great companion pieces for any give-away event. Sign up for a year get the messenger, three years and the duffel is all yours, but from a marketing point of view the same artwork, layout, etc., will work on both units, which helps with that all important brand consistency.

The Center Court Duffel features the same leaf label and hang-tag as the A Step Ahead Messenger. Other attributes are a zippered main compartment, full front slip pocket for that water bottle, and an easy to adjust shoulder strap with fabric wrapped carrying handles.

Both the terms eco-friendly and heathclub have a good for you impression with the general public, regardless if they are making it to the gym each morning or sorting their paper and plastic curb side. For those marketing to the same public, eco-friendly options like the A Step Ahead Messenger and the Center Court Duffel are a nice way to bring those ideas together, good for the planet, good for the person, and hopefully great for your marketing efforts.

If you are an ASI distributor D’Anna Zimmer is the contact to talk to at Norwood about their full line of totes. If you are interested in these bags to promote your own business, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information, pricing, and samples.

Price Of Cotton Totes Is Going Up

11 Nov

Organic Cotton Barrel Duffe

Have you seen the news stories on the rising price of cotton (more)?

And unfortunately, from anecdotal evidence we are seeing at our office, it seems to be hitting organic cotton prices hardest. Some organic cotton items we carried in 2010 are simply not being offered in 2011.

Case in point, let us look at Norwood.

The Organic Cotton Barrel Duffel from Norwood is an organic cotton take on a classic duffel design. The Organic Cotton Barrel Duffel offers a spacious main compartment, simple barrel design with zip closure, and an adjustable/removable shoulder strap.

This is a good size duffel at 18-3/4″w x 15″h x 9″d, Handle: 1-1/2”w x 41-1/4”l (adjustable). The imprint area is 6-1/2″w x 6-1/2″h with full 4 color process imprinting offered, and very cool bonus, this unit is printed only with Eco Ink which Norwood defines as “an all natural environment friendly ink, which is biodegradable and not harmful to the environment. Eco Ink does not contain Phthalates and is soy based”.

In addition the 100% organic cotton duck Organic Cotton Barrel Duffel is on the 24hr free service program from Norwood, which means an order needing no art proof, with one color imprint, can normally be ordered one day and shipped out the next. Not something we see offered on a lot of organic totes.

But that is it in the Norwood 2011 organic line up. The Norwood Organic Cotton Bargain Bag, the Organic Wide Handle Tote, and the Organic Drawstring Backpack are all going away in 2011. I do not know if these bags are being replaced with new items, but right now none will be available in 2011.

Same thing happens when we make calls to some of the other leaders in the industry like Leeds and Gemline, many organic cotton items are going away in 2011, at least for the first half of the year. Indeed my favorite organic cotton cap from Vitronic, just introduced in 2008, is gone for 2011.

So if you have your eye on organic cotton items, whether apparel, totes, or caps, you may want to use some of your year end funds to stock up now.

If you are an ASI distributor D’Anna Zimmer is the contact to talk to at Norwood about the changes to their organic cotton lineup. If you are interested in the Organic Cotton Barrel Duffel to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

AIGM Special: Organic Drawstring Backpack

10 Nov

You may have heard that cotton prices are soaring. This means a lot of organic and standard cotton items we offered in 2010 will not be around in 2011. Weird thing is when items get discontinued their price drops, so you actually pay less. Case in point is this great deal on the Organic Drawstring Backpack. It should be $7.71, but is only $3.05 (one color imprint, plus setup). We have about 2500 in stock. Want some, email us at

Organic Drawstring Backpack


Calendars, Calendars, Calendars

28 Sep

Looking to run eco-friendly calendars in 2011? Well you better get a move on as most calendar orders really need to be in to your local promotional items vendor by mid-October for best pricing and selections.

It is a funny thing about the promotions industry, August is normally slow, then BANG end of September everything hits: Fall golf tournaments, events like Breast Cancer Awareness and Halloween for October, holiday cards for November and December, and end-of-year employee and client gifts. The last quarter of the year is a busy time, so plan ahead.

goingreen custom wall calendar

Ok, back to calendars. The calendar offerings in the goingreen® line from Norwood continue to expand, and for those companies looking for eco-friendly calendar options, Norwood is an excellent place to start.

Why calendars? Even though it is an “old” medium, the statistics for calendars as a branding vehicle continue to impress. Take just one point used in this Norwood sales video aimed at people in my industry. If a calendar is glanced at in an office only 12 times a day, at 365 days per year, that is your brand in front of your audience/client 4,380 times in a year, at a cost of only $0.0005 per viewing, or less than one penny per view.

Yes, that math favors the industry, and yes I am drinking the Kool-Aid. But cut the number in half if you wish and that is still a heck of a lot of “face time” with your audience for very little money. For organizations like Sierra Club, Forest Action Network, and National Arbor Day Foundation – basically any organization or company that can supply their own photos to be added to stock calendars (yes they do that) – an eco-friendly calendar is a simple home run, physically displaying your organization’s green credentials as well as unique photos and brand.

So what stands out in green calendars. I have three examples from Norwood worth a look.

goingreen pocket calendar

The goingreen® Monthly Pocket Planner really starts the line. Pocket planners are great because clients keep them with them at all time. So that keeps your brand and message in front of your client at all times. Again, that is the trick of calendars, they are useful to your audience every day. The 3-1/2″w x 6″h (closed) goingreen® Monthly Pocket Planner comes in standard cover coloring of Espresso, Green Tea, Kohl, Wheat, printed with soy based inks, and is run with a  minimum of 30% recycled content paper (a percentage I would like to see raised). Each page carries a simple going green message, with your decoration added to the outside cover.

For those coming late to the party, the standard goingreen® wall calendar from Norwood is actually part of their guaranteed inventory program, which guarantees inventory in stock on a number of traditional and eco calendars up to an order date of Dec 31st 2010. Additionally the goingreen® wall calendar features easy to use templates for custom monthly and cover artwork, plus 12 additional pre-printed insert pages Norwood refers to as Insights Backmount Selections offering information on themes from First Aid to Identity Theft. This is your standard wall calendar with plenty of added bells and whistles.

If you’re going green and going big, the goingreen® Contractor is a good match for firms working in green construction (video). This huge calendar runs 18″w x 25″h and is printed on 100% recycled paper. Pages show how many days remain in each year, and how many days have passed, and other practical planning tools for construction projects.

If you are an ASI distributor Jim Munkittrick is the contact to talk to at Norwood about calendars. If you are interested in goingreen® products to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing. And hurry, the year is almost over.

Mighty Leaf Tea Company

22 Aug

Tea Lovers Gift Set

In 2010 the Norwood Going Green line added eco-friendly gift sets featuring products from the Mighty Leaf Tea Company. These sets work great for holiday giving (this is the time most companies start to think about holiday gifts) as well as a creative substitute for more traditional employee awards and recognition items.

Mighty Leaf Tea Company started on Fillmore Street in San Francisco in 1996, as a shared vision of husband-and-wife team Gary Shinner and Jill Portman. The idea was simple, locate and source the “most incredible handcrafted tea blends found anywhere”.

The Norwood Going Green line includes three promotional ideas: Tea Lovers Gift Set, a sampler of 30 Mighty Leaf selections, Relax Gift Set with tea and bath pouches works great in a spa setting, and Au Chocolate Tea Box, which wickedly pairs teas with fine chocolates. All gift boxes are handmade by artisans using tree-free eco-friendly abaca made from wild cogon grass and abaca leaves.

All sets are available on Norwood’s fabulous 24hr service and packaging can be printed with full four-color process artwork. Price ranges from $57-65 per unit based on kit and quantity ordered.

Au Chocolate Tea Box

Ok, the packaging and presentation on these units is stunning, but as with other food items like coffee and candy, the real test rests with the tea itself. Why give Might Leaf tea? The short answer is the tea is very good, and the tea selection includes both great takes on the traditional flavors, as well as specialty flavors associated with the Mighty Leaf brand.

In addition Might Leaf has created handcrafted tea pouches designed to get the most flavor possible from each brewing. The attributes of the total gift – aroma, presentation, taste –  are what tea fanciers dream of, the Norwood sets do not disappoint.

If you are an ASI distributor D’Anna Zimmer is the contact to talk to at Norwood about Mighty Leaf products. I would also encourage looking around the Mighty Leaf website to learn more about the company. If you are interested in Mighty Leaf products to promote your own business, as employee awards, or for holiday giving, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

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