Charles Plyter

Charles Plyter
Fashion, Fun & Function

Inspiration? "We look everywhere," said Andrew Spellman, CAS, vice president of corporate market sales for St. Louis-based TRG Group. It's a great answer and luckily for distributors this represents the sentiments of many suppliers.

The Perfect Pitch

There's something in the air, and unfortunately it's not the sound of music or the homey aroma of cookies baking in the oven. It's stress blowing down the streets and wafting freely from room to room.

Become a fan of the Environmental Protection Agency

APRIL, THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a simple but effective initiative called “Pick 5 for the Environment.” The program provides a list of 10 simple actions anyone can take to move themselves along the road of personal environmental responsibility. The EPA is asking the public to pick five of the 10 actions listed, and then to share their own thoughts by using a variety of social media sites.

It’s in the Bag

LET THE DOMINOES fall. Gas prices are pushing up everything from FedEx and transportation costs to product development and customer service. Companies have begun taking a hard look at even the most constant elements of their budgets to squeeze a little more juice out of the dollar. In a slowing economy, one where promotional products are often seen as perks, there is always the urge to take the road more traveled when it comes to providing items for company meetings and events. Buffet-style eating and bare-bones provisions are held up as the quick fix to saving a few dollars without hurting performance or image,

Put On Your Inking Cap

THE OLD ADAGE, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,” definitely applies to choosing inks and new special effects for garment imprinting. With literally hundreds of choices and thousands of effects, it can be tempting for distributors to offer end-users a promotion with the latest bit of adornment, simply because they can. However, jumping to use the latest or most novel embellishing method may not lead to the perfect match for a promotion. That is the advice of 20-plus year industry expert Tom Vann, president and CEO of Target Graphics. “Doing special effects for the sake of doing special effects

Slow Economy? Simply Slam-dunk Sales

THE CULTURE OF sport is everywhere. In the boardroom, managers are quarterbacking projects while employees take care of basic blocking and tackling. Good political speeches are home runs and off the field, everyone knows the terms “chip shot” and “gimme.” In light of this, Promo Marketing talked to three industry experts about the state of selling team and sport products with special emphasis on how distributors can continue to prosper with an economy that has lost a step or two. CONTROL THE PACE OF THE GAME Whether it’s grinding out a nine-minute drive before halftime in football or putting pressure on the ball

Spruce Up Your Space

Tired of boring black staplers? So are we. Tired of institutional white walls? So are we. Tired of spending your days in a real-life version of The Office (or Office Space, take your pick)? Of course you are. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends more time working—8.2 hours a day*—than doing anything else, including sleeping, caring for children, participating in leisure activities and doing household chores. With so much time spent on the job, why does it seem there is rarely an effort to make the space in which we work more inhabitable? In addition,

The State of Real Estate

ACCORDING TO THE U.S. Department of Commerce, for the month of March 2008, the median sale price of a U.S. home was down 13.3 percent from March 2007. For the same month, sales of new homes dropped to the lowest level since October 1991. Regionally, the Northeast was hardest hit with sales down almost 20 percent when compared to the same month the previous year. The news is not rosy, and while experts differ in their opinion on how bad the housing crisis will get, there is no denying the housing industry slowdown is having and will continue to have a ripple effect on

Golf Wear for The New Millennium

Among the original 13 rules of golf are antiquated statements (and spellings) such as, “If your ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball ...,” and “You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club, for the sake of playing your ball,” (What’s a break club?). While, of course, the original Scottish sounds foreign to the modern ear, the language alone illustrates how far the game has come in just a couple hundred years. Clubs and balls might be making warp-speed advances, but the innovations aren’t all technological. On the clothing side, fabrics

The Perfect Golf SWING

PERHAPS ONLY NASCAR surpasses golf, the grand old game, as king of sponsorships. Cars seem to be held together more by decals than rivets. Blessedly, though, golf approaches sponsorships with a softer touch than racing. Dale Earnhardt (Junior, to most) may turn laps at Bristol Speedway in his Hendrick Motorsports National Guard/Amp Energy Chevy, but Tiger Woods doesn’t tee off from the 18th at Augusta with his Buick-sponsored Nike Driver brought to you by Gillette. When on a golf course or watching a tournament, one would be hard-pressed to find anything not branded, but the brand somehow always yields to the game. For distributors,


SOME SAY IT was sheer coincidence when presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s poll numbers soared in Iowa and New Hampshire a mere few weeks after Chuck Norris-endorsed, “Huck and Chuck” campaign gear was released on his Web site. Others will say it was inevitable and simply demonstrates the power of a quality promotional product. What can’t be argued, though, is the fact that promotional products go with politics like peas go with carrots. Fittingly, the first political product actually coincided with the first President of the United States, George Washington, who wore a political button during his inauguration on April 30, 1789 in Manhattan. His

Clip It. Snap It. Pin It. Flash It.

IS THERE ANYTHING more American than baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet? Yes. And promotional products distributors will be glad to learn the item just might be the promotional button. Yes, that’s right, the promotional button. From the time of Abraham Lincoln and before, people have used it to tout causes from the fronts of their lapels. It’s a staple of both politicians and protesters, and more recently, its popularity as restaurant “flair” seems to be on the rise. No one will forget “I Like Ike,” or the more current button reference, “Potter Stinks!” Now though, with improved printing processes, customers can get their buttons

Go Green (or Go Home)!

DON'T LOOK NOW, but—POOF!—the promotional products industry just went green. Green meaning, of course, eco-friendly—not violently seasick, uncontrollably jealous or oddly monochromatic. No longer is saving the earth simply a topic for college campuses and backstreet beat coffee shops. The environmental sloganeering has been replaced by actual conversation—which, it should be pointed out, never would have happened without the sloganeering—as big businesses wake up to the natural world around them. Suppliers and distributors are singing a new tune that is friendly to everyone’s ears. More importantly, end-users are purchasing environmentally responsible products and supporting conservational business practices. Even if they don’t realize it, or