Archive | Retailing RSS feed for this section

“A place to start is to look at what you give out”

17 Nov

A note from SproutWorld

Line Rygaard Christiansen, Marketing Coordinator at Formpipe

“The plantable pencils were a good place to start. We believe that changing small things to more sustainable solutions will make an impact in the long run. Being a sustainable business is a must if you want to be relevant now and in the future.” Line Rygaard Christiansen

We’re sharing another example of how one of our customers uses our plantable pencils.

Line Rygaard Christiansen works as a Marketing Coordinator at Formpipe, a software company that’s listed on the Scandinavian stock exchange.

Formpipe helps over 5,000 clients globally with digitalization and automation of business processes.

We asked Line how Formpipe uses SproutWorld pencils and why sustainability is an important message.

Hi Line – we are curious to know what you use the pencils for?

We mainly use SproutWorld pencils for 3 things…

1. Giveaways for events like a recent conference about the good digital life

2. Giveaways at fairs

3. As part of the Formpipe welcome bag for new colleagues

Why are SproutWorld pencils ideal for giveaways?

We acknowledge that being a sustainable, socially responsible organization is a process and journey as much as it is a goal.

Therefore, we started to change all our merchandize and giveaways into more sustainable solutions – the SproutWorld pencils were a perfect match for us.

It’s both a fun giveaway and a way for us to tell our customers and employees that we’re moving in a more environmental way, and we take responsibility for the things we can influence right now.

It makes sense for us to give away gifts that will last for a long time and keep reminding people of who we are.

What has the feedback been?

Everybody loves the pencils. The idea of giving our customers and new employees something sustainable and unique that they can use and plant afterwards makes so much sense.

We can’t wait to see all the new “forget-me-not”-flowers in our customers’ and employees’ homes and offices.

Do the pencils underline your work with sustainability?

A high priority for us is responsible procurement. We have an impact when purchasing from our suppliers: We maintain a practice for all resources our employees need to use for events, meetings, and fairs.

We want to buy locally produced or organic groceries, environmentally friendly cleaning products and office supplies, and products with recyclable packaging.


If you are interested in these products to promote your own business, or if you wish to see some samples, email for information and pricing.

And as always, if you really want to do something sustainable, do not buy promotional products. All products are consumption at one level or another. So if you must buy, 1) Buy local (i.e. made in USA), 2) Buy useful, long lasting items, 3) Buy sustainable/recycled/recyclable products if possible.

Proud Path from PCNA

26 Apr

PCNA is going all in (nearly) on sustainable, renewable, and climate friendly products available to the promotional products market through their new company wide program called ProudPath.

From the PCNA website, ” Introducing ProudPath™, a new platform that will make it even easier to deliver for your customers’ environmental and social responsibility objectives. Whether you want retail brands that give to great causes, need products made with eco-friendly materials or would like to support a small business, ProudPath™ is designed to empower you with the right solution, making it easier to create gifts people can feel good about. ProudPath™ also represents a call to action for our industry. This is an opportunity to reimagine the present while shaping a future that will make us all proud.”

The program is worth a look. PCNA seems to have organized and centralized those parts of their business related to sustainability. And then add a number of new products, and announced continuing support for a number of environmentally focus organizations, including 1% For the Planet, Well Aware, and ONETREEPLANTED.

Used for bottles and containers, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most commonly recycled plastic in the world.
Pre-consumer is salvaged from the manufacturing of cotton goods, while post-consumer is from used tees and towels.
Recycled plastic, organic cotton, FSC®-certified bamboo and more. Our eco-friendly products are made with a variety of materials — all of them better for the planet.

Taken as a whole, the ProudPath initiative is rather expansive, especially for a promo company, and certainly worth taking a look at for idea for your next marketing campaign.

If you are interested in this product to promote your own business, or if you wish to see some samples, email for information and pricing.

And as always, if you really want to do something sustainable, do not buy promotional products. All products are consumption at one level or another. So if you must buy, 1) Buy local (i.e. made in USA), 2) Buy useful, long lasting items, 3) Buy sustainable/recycled/recyclable products if possible.

Sustainability Is Here to Stay

15 Mar

{Originally Published by Koozie Group}

The buzzwords are everywhere – go green, eco-conscious, environmentally friendly – and with good reason. A survey conducted ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference revealed that sustainability is an important purchase criterion for 61% of US consumers, with more than a third of people willing to pay a premium for such products or services. (1) Generation Z and Millennials are leading the charge, and what may have been just trendy practices several years ago are quickly becoming the norm.

The promo products industry needs to take note. A 2020 survey reported that 46% of recipients have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser who gives them environmentally friendly swag. (2)  How do you help your customers choose the right product? There are no clear-cut rules about what constitutes a “sustainable” product, and items with a green stance can fall into several buckets. Using the tried-and-true framework of the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – provides one way to explore Earth-friendly features of some common promotional products.


Reducing environmental impact is one key component of sustainability. There are several ways to achieve this goal, including choosing products made of raw materials that have a smaller eco-footprint.

The Cork Yoga Mat Item #41207 provides a cushiony and nonslip surface for doing daily downward dogs.

Some raw materials are inherently “green.” Take cork, for example, which comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. Harvesting does not harm the tree, and actually allows it to absorb more carbon dioxide. Cork forests are biodiverse places, providing a home to more species per square meter than even the Amazon rainforest. Add in the fact that almost all cork items can be recycled, and this durable material rates near the top on the sustainability scale. (3) Other good contenders for low-impact natural components include jute and bamboo.

Sometimes it’s not the raw material itself but the way it’s processed that raises environmental concerns. Paper, for example, is made from a renewable source. However, harvesting practices can make its production unsustainable. In these cases, it’s not uncommon for independent organizations to step in and administer a certification process that identifies responsibly produced materials. With the legwork done, buyers can be assured that an item and/or its components were produced in a responsible way. 

Certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) or Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is the gold standard in the forestry industry. Three Koozie Group facilities earned these designations in 2021, and we’ve upgraded to either SFI®- or FSC®-certified source stock paper in most of our calendars along with our Souvenir® Sticky Note™ pads and Souvenir® scratch pad products. It’s our way of making sure it’s easy to find products with a recognized sustainability stance.


Another simple way to reduce consumption and waste is to replace disposable products with a reusable equivalent. Some longstanding best sellers in the promo industry check this box. It’s worth pointing out their potential benefits to customers who are searching for eco-friendly choices.


Americans use an estimated 120 billion disposable cups every year, and most single-use cups are made of hard-to-recycle materials. One person using a reusable mug or tumbler for a year’s worth of morning joe could save up to 281 gallons of water, 16 pounds of solid waste, and 1 tree from being chopped down. (4) If end users need further convincing, tumblers with double-wall insulation will keep both hot and cold brews at just the right temperature for hours. That’s a win-win solution.

Drinkware Case Study

A local coffee shop wanted to phase out the use of disposable cups. They purchased the Koozie® Triple Vacuum Tumbler in both the 13 oz. and 16 oz. sizes to add to their retail offerings. Customers received 50¢ off their order every time they brought in their Triple; loaner tumblers were available, with a deposit, for when customers showed up empty-handed. By placing messaging about the environmental impact of single-use cups around the store, participation in the program steadily grew. The coffeehouse now has a goal of eliminating all disposables by the end of the year.

As a side benefit, customers fell in love with the versatility of the Koozie® Triple Vacuum Tumbler. They loved its 3-in-1 design, which means it can function as a cup, tumbler, or bottle/can cooler. Word got around, and the coffee shop saw sales of the tumbler to non-regulars grow by 20%.


On average, a single American uses one plastic bag each day of the year. This habit has several devastating effects on the environment. In fact, experts predict that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 without changes to current behavior. (5)

Jute Grocery Tote Item #15655
Make a trip to the grocery store or farmers market easier with this tote that features shoulder-length cotton handles.

Before the pandemic, a growing number of states and municipalities were passing bans on single-use plastic bags. Some of those efforts were put on hold over the past two years, but action around eliminating throwaway bags is heating up again. (6) These laws are likely to spur additional demand for reusable bags both as promotional merch and giveaways. Taking it one step further, choosing totes and market-sized coolers made of either natural fibers or recycled materials can up the sustainability factor.


The word recycle resonates with many consumers looking to lessen their environmental impact. When it comes to paper, recycling has been around for longer than one might realize. The first paper mill in the United States opened in 1690 and used recycled linen and cotton rags in its production process. (7) Today, paper is one of the most recycled materials, with experts estimating that consumers recycle up to 70% of this everyday commodity. (8)

goingreen™ 5″ x 7″ Notebook Item #15940
Both the cover and pages of this handy journal include a minimum of 30% recycled material.

Two types of recycled paper fiber make it into new products. Pre-consumer materials are by-products of the manufacturing process but never reach an end user. Post-consumer content comes from materials collected from office and curbside recycling programs. From a sustainability standpoint, paper that contains post-consumer content is the preferred choice.

Newer to the recycled material scene is recycled PET (RPET). A growing number of companies, including iconic brands like Converse, now use this material to craft everything from high tops to swimwear to tees. The polyester fabric, made from recycled plastic containers, is equivalent in quality to polyester made from virgin material and takes 59% less energy to create. (9) A growing number of promotional products made from RPET are hitting the market, including these bags, coolers, tech gear, and writing instruments in the Koozie Group lineup. 

KAPSTON® Willow Recycled Backpack Item # 16193
Made from 71% post-consumer RPET 600D polyester that contains the equivalent of 17 (14 oz.) water bottles, this stylish backpack has a spot for all your daily essentials.

It’s time to plan your strategy for bringing eco-conscious products to your customers. Use Earth Day (April 22) to get the conversation started; then, head on over to and use the 3 Rs to find the perfect products to lessen your environmental impact.

If you are interested in this product to promote your own business, or if you wish to see some samples, email for information and pricing.

And as always, if you really want to do something sustainable, do not buy promotional products. All products are consumption at one level or another. So if you must buy, 1) Buy local (i.e. made in USA), 2) Buy useful, long lasting items, 3) Buy sustainable/recycled/recyclable products if possible.

Why Cork?

25 Mar

Spring is starting here in Texas. As is planning for a number of Texas wine events. So I thought this was a good time to post this information on cork and the cork coasters from Americanna.


1) Sustainably Harvested Cork

Careful forest management not only provides for the continued extraction of the cork oak but helps to create the conditions for a diverse range of other products that are harvested from the woodlands. A harmonious balance is maintained, where local people can provide for their needs without damaging the ecosystem or threatening the long-term sustainability of their most important natural resource. The cork oak is a slow growing tree that may live for 200 years, which allows it, on average, to be stripped 16 times during its lifetime. The first stripping only takes place after 25 years, when the trunk of the tree has a circumference of 70 cm.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

2) Biodiversity Hotspot

Cork oak trees help to conserve soil by providing protection against wind erosion and increasing the rate at which rainwater infiltrates and recharges groundwater. Cork oak landscapes cover approximately 2.7 million hectares of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. As well as providing a vital source of income for more than 100,000 people, these landscapes also support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats, including globally endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Iberian Imperial Eagle and the Barbary Deer. The Mediterranean is one of the 25 global ‘hot spots’ characterized by a high level of species diversity. It has 13,000 endemic plant species, the second highest number in the world after the tropical Andes. In cork oak landscapes, plant diversity can reach a level of 135 species per square metre, and may of these species have aromatic, culinary or medicinal uses.

3) Naturally Sequesters Carbon

In comparison to the aluminium and plastic closures, the cork stopper is the best alternative in terms of non-renewable energy consumption, emission of greenhouse effect gases, contribution to atmospheric acidification, contribution to the formation of photochemical oxidants, contribution to the eutrophication of surface water and total production of solid waste. The capture of carbon by the cork oaks during the photosynthesis process results in plant growth and transforms atmospheric CO2 into O2 and, in the case of organic matter, into cellulose. For this reason the forest is considered to be an important carbon sink.

4) Biodegradable and Recyclable

Cork is a truly sustainable product – it is renewable and biodegradable. Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. The bark renews itself ready for the next harvesting. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, cork is an inherently sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees, which can live 170 to 250 years on average.

5) Preserves Local Livelihoods

Without the demand for cork, economic pressures could force farmers to abandon the active management of cork forests, which may lead to rural exodus as well as unbalance the ecosystems that preserve the biodiversity of these regions. The increase in the market share of alternative wine stoppers, specifically plastic stoppers and screw-tops, could reduce the economic value of cork lands, therefore leading to conversion to other uses, abandonment, degradation, and finally loss of one of the best and most valuable examples of a human-nature balanced system. Because the forests have an economic value to local communities, people care for the forests. Cork oak woodlands provide employment and guarantee the survival of local communities. More than 100,000 people in the seven Mediterranean cork-producing countries depend directly and indirectly on cork economies. Cork is a vital source of regional rural employment. Over 15 billion cork stoppers are produced every year and sold worldwide to the wine industry. These stoppers are processed from bark harvested from cork oak woodlands that have existed in the Western Mediterranean for thousands of years. Cork for bottle stoppers accounts for almost 70% of the total value of the cork market. The wine industry thus plays a vital role in maintaining the economic value of cork and the cork oak forests.


Source: 100% Cork –

If you are an ASI member Michelle Stiles is the contact to talk to at Americanna. If you are interested in their cork products to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing

Reusable Classic Party Tumbler

21 Jan

The Works exclusive reusable party tumbler inspires nostalgia for the weekend while proudly displaying your brand.

The Works exclusive reusable party tumbler inspires nostalgia for the weekend while proudly displaying your brand.

The plastic 16 oz. red tumbler is ubiquitous. Any tailgate party, any fraternity bash, any office sendoff, there they are, the red plastic cups, and after, there they go, right into the trashcan.

I guess The Works took that fact as a starting point to develop a reusable item that everyone already uses, The Works reusable 16 oz. Party Tumbler. This is a 16 oz.double wall insulated reusable BPA free acrylic tumbler that look just like the classic party cup.

The Works Party Tumbler also boasts the neat trick of a matted area on the base on which your party goers can write their name. The Works Party Tumbler comes with an easy to use thumb open lid, and works well for both hot or cold drinks.

The Party Tumbler has a large imprint area, with a possible full wrap of imprint size of 3″ W x 6.75″ Wrap.

From a marketing perspective what we have in The Works Party Tumbler is an instant souvenir of that tailgating party, that company pool part, that 25th anniversary football game between the big school rivals.

Available in red, blue, black, and yellow, this reusable 16 oz. party tumbler is likely to become as popular as its disposable relative.

If you are ASI contact  Customer Services at The Works to learn more. If you are interested in The Works reusable 16 oz. Party Tumbler for your marketing needs, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Gemline Now Carries Bobble

12 Nov

1 filter = 300 water bottles

From the Bobble website, “The mere fact of bottled water is itself a funny thing. Clean, serviceable tap water flows directly into the majority of the world’s homes in industrialized nations. While of varying quality, it is free and widely available. Yet this resource goes largely untapped”.

From this simple statement,  Bobble has moved forward since 2008 to built a worldwide retail brand that is recognized for both quality and style. Starting in their 2013 line, and ready right now for holiday orders, Gemline is now offering exclusively for our industry, branded BPA-FREE Bobble bottle reusable drinkware.

Available in eight colors, the Bobble 18.5 oz Filtered Water Bottle from Gemline offers a standard black or white ink only imprint on the band of 1.25in x 1in.

These are exactly the same bottles that are sold in their retail line except with the added vantage of your company’s message or logo. The Bobble replaceable carbon filter easily removes chlorine & organic contaminants from municipal tap water, with one filter good for 300 refills.

When thinking about reusable drinkware Bobble is a great name for marketing because it is a global brand with a strong sustainable reputation, and also the end-user can take your bottle with your brand message and simply replace the filter online or at any one of hundreds of retail establishments carrying the Bobble line. This ease of replacing the filter means the bottle will last longer in the hands of your target audience, which translates to your brand also lasting longer in the hands for your target audience.

So the end result is a long-lasting bottle, with the great sustainability reputation, that is constantly promoting your brand to your target audience. The Bobble bottle is a slam dunk for programs targeting schools, spas, fitness centers, or health care. And because of the retail brand appeal it is a great idea for programs promoting active life-styles in the 20-40 age bracket.

If you are ASI and wish to learn more about branding the Bobble line contact Andrea Catalano at Gemline. If you are interested in Bobble bottles to promote your own business, or as end of year gift idea, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

100% Recycled 7-in-1 Jacket

13 Aug

Flame Red w/Light Grey

The 88142 MEN’S RECYCLED POLYESTER 7-IN-1 WIND JACKET WITH REVERSIBLE LINER from the Ash City e.c.o collection  is a 100% recycled content jacket that is 100% serious for cold weather (it has been over 100 degrees here in Dallas for the past week and I am dreaming of snow).

Look at the stats:

  • Outer Shell: 100% recycled polyester with water resistant finish. 2.9 oz./yd2/100 gsm. Full polyester taffeta lining.
  • Liner-woven side: 100% recycled polyester with water resistant finish.
  • Liner-reverse fleece side: 100% recycled polyester anti-pill brushed fleece. 4.3 oz./yd2/145 gsm.

Plus this is a jacket from Ash City, so regardless of materials used, you can expect all the extra perks, like flat reflective safety piping and reverse coil zippers on the jacket’s front and lower pockets.

The 88142 comes in four dramatic color choices, Captain’s Blue w/Light Grey, Flame Red w/Light Grey, Black w/Light Grey and Classic Navy w/Light Grey. The jacket also makes use of the Ash City Ezaway System® making for an easy conversion from jacket to vest (sleeves zipper off of the jacket, and 100% recycled material fleece lining is removable as fleece jacket).

The Ash City 88142 is a great option for staff jackets for any organization that has a commitment to sustainability, especially hotels and resorts that wanting to make a physical, visual, statements in their staff apparel that reflects their larger sustainable commitment.

Ash City does both screen printing and embroidery in-house, which means they know all the tricks to get the best look out of your artwork on their clothing. And since Ash City specializes in corporate apparel programs, adding the 88142 and other items of the e.c.o. collection into your existing apparel program is a snap. (Perhaps a recycled content performance polo makes more sense for the current heat).

For more information on the complete Ash City e.c.o. collection contact Chris Clark at Ash City USA. If you are looking to purchase Ash City e.c.o items for your own business contact your local promotional items distributor or email for samples and pricing.

Folding Water Bottles at ASI Dallas

18 Feb

HydroPouch!™ 24 oz. Soccer Ball Collapsible Water Bottle – Patent Pending

Folding water bottles were everywhere at ASI Dallas this year. Bullet had them. Jetline had them (some shaped like sport balls).  Numo had them. Maybe another two or three folks.

Why? Because they are a good idea. It is much easier to pack a foldable BPA-free bottle into a purse, glove compartment, or backpack than a solid water bottle. And when needed these empty bottles can much more easily – and for less cost – be mailed.

Yes, these are not going to hold up to the same punishment as a h2go-v volt style stainless steel bottle, but so what, the stainless steel bottle is 3x the cost and targeted at a different audience.

Where would I suggest using the new folding bottles? Airports. Anything to do with marketing to folks getting on planes. This is a super lightweight item they can place in their carry on. Once they are through security, fill the bottle up at the nearest water fountain and board the flight. Simple.

Frequent travelers would hold on to these forever, all the while getting your brand into that business networking club that is the first class cabin. (Yes I can see these in first class, water is water people, and those tiny little glasses up there just do not cut it on a 16hr business trip to Asia from the US).

Where else? School and clubs. Same idea, sort of. Play up the easy to store idea. Use them for a long trip, when you are done fold up and toss in child’s backpack. Simple.

Going the other direction we actually pitched these to a Dallas bar know for a signature Margarita. The idea was to serve the Margarita in a freezer-safe, custom shaped HydroPouch from Jetline, which would be great out on the bar’s porch in the Dallas Spring and Summer. Be creative.

Here I am at ASI with the Bullet Hermosa Water Bag With Carabiner.


I would say expect more pouch bottle designs as 2012 continues. So pick your bottle. Pick your ASI contact,  Kim Gasparini at Numo Manufacturing, Alex Skorupsky at Jetline, Mary Beach at Leeds, or contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

BIC® Ecolutions® Gets Better

23 May

BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic®

When I first wrote about the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic®, the pre-consumer recycled plastic version of the ubiquitous  BIC®  Round Stic®, the recycled content clocked in at 67%.

The new 2011 flyer from BIC® that the office just received has that count up to 74%. So that is better, good job BIC®, where can you go from here? I know, make the pen part of your Buy One Get One Free second quarter promotion. Oh wait, you already have. Brilliant.

Like many other companies in our industry BIC® is taking some of the designs that have made them famous and offering those items from more sustainable materials. Look at the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® in terms of a very easy win to making a small change to a more sustainable collateral materials mix.

Simply put. It is a BIC® Round Stic®. You already know it. Heck you likely have one sitting around the office. These things are everywhere and the public trusts them. That is huge. This is not just another recycled content pen, it is a recycled BIC® and for conservative industries that buy a huge amount of writing instruments, like banks, mortgage lenders, realtors, schools and colleges, being able to offer a known brand that is eco friendly, helps a lot in making the pitch to move to eco friendly collateral.

BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® comes in a white barrel with black, forest green, navy, and red trims. Ink colors offered are black and blue in a medium point with the BIC® Easy-Glide System® Fine Point available at an additional cost. Again, it is the same Round Stic® you have known for years, except, you know… different.

So save some money, save some plastic bottles from the landfill, and go buy a handfull of BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® pens. With the Buy One Get One Free deal now running you really don’t have anything to lose in finally trying out a recycled pen for the bank’s lobby. And your customers will likely appreciate the change.


If you are looking for more information on BIC® sustainable products options send a quick email to Pam Cote at BIC®. If you are interested in the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Video: Total Branding Solution

3 Nov

Trying to knock it out the park the holiday season with a reusable drinkware promotion? Go total branding with express line. Drinkware, packaging, insert, one design ties it all together.


If you are an ASI distributor Nicki Russo is the contact to talk to at express line about their total branding solutions as seen in this video. If you are interested in the Total Branding Solution for your business, event, or holiday giving, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

%d bloggers like this: