It's like coach always said: "Be smart!" Strength and skill can take you far, but when it comes to winning the hardest contests, intelligence is all that matters. You can be as strong as you want, you can offer the best products and lowest prices and most fantastic customer service, but if you're not thinking through what you're doing, taking time to really understand your products and considering ways to market for your client most effectively, you still risk face-planting right before the finish line.
Fan and spirit is a category that covers a wide stretch of products, from children's plushes and noisemakers to expensive memorabilia for adults. There are unique safety concerns, clever marketing tactics and legal quirks very much distinctive to the genre. Below is a short list of 10 items to put you on your way to selling fan items smarter, better and most like a champion as possible.
1. Fireproof Your Foam
Foam items like the popular #1 fingers and oversized headgear are flammable. Or they can be, if you don't seek out fire-resistant foam that is. "We're very conscious of all the safety regulations these days," said Scott Denny, vice president of sales and marketing for Garyline, Bronx, N.Y. "We buy only flame-resistant foam that meets CPSIA and other flame guidelines."
2. No Dirty Mouths
A surprising amount of cheering items require contact with a user's mouth. Accordingly, you want to keep such items as lip-friendly as possible. Any items that are pressed to a person's mouth to make noise should be made from food-safe plastic or an equivalent material. This food-safeness goes doubly for items like plastic megaphones, where a common sports fundraising tactic is to fill them with popcorn and sell them in the concessions area. Dan Taylor, president of BamBams LLC, Woodbridge, Va., also suggested being mindful of such items' packaging, keeping inflatables and other items destined for mouth contact packed in polyurethane or something similar to keep them clean before use.