Survive & Thrive
What you can do: Sign up for alerts from the CPSC, said Whitney, and read literature from major testing laboratories. Also, make sure the information is passed down through to all levels of your company.
Spend a little more.
Price point can no longer be a deciding factor in our industry. With tighter specifications that may require the use of more expensive materials as well as increased costs for product screening and testing, suppliers are spending more than ever to remain compliant, Whitney maintained. And because items must be tested each year, it adds up. “I have some item that’s been in my catalog for three years running, by the time it’s the fourth year, I could spend six, seven, eight thousand dollars on it,” Soep said. Unfortunately, these costs must somehow be offset.
What you can do: Recognize the need for the industry to push forward in a responsible way. Work with your supplier partners to determine the most cost-effective steps to tailor a program to an end-user’s budget (particularly in this climate), and be aware that their investment in safety helps you, too.
Though the road is long and the challenges somewhat daunting, when all is said and done, “improving the public’s confidence around the safety and quality of promotional products can only be good for our business,” Nicholson said. “Ultimately, this is a critical issue for our industry to ensure promotional products remain a safe and trusted means of advertising.”
“I think what’s happening is you’re seeing the pendulum swing right now,” said Steven Soep, quality control supervisor at Gordon Industries, New Hyde Park, N.Y. “And, as with all new initiatives, the pendulum tends to swing to the high side and then it comes back down and finds some sort of equilibrium.”