Helen Stromberg

Few things in life sell themselves. Ice cream, holiday cards for mom and maybe movies about mopey adolescent vampires. But in general, to sell a product you need a sales pitch. You need an angle. You need an idea.

Say you want to sell umbrellas. Great products, considering they keep you dry, can be imprinted beautifully in dozens of different ways and generally have a high perceived value. You can't take that information alone to a client however, and expect a sale. "Hey, check out this umbrella! It's neat and, uh, umbrellas! They stop rain!" isn't exactly going to have product flying off the shelves.

DURING THE TIMES of pharaohs and pyramids, umbrellas were a convenience reserved only for the upper-echelon of society. However, 21st- century umbrellas have much more to do than shield royalty from rain and shine. They are one of the few ad specialty products deserving of the title, “walking billboard.” With new imprinting techniques and equally modern designs, umbrellas are expanding their scope as viable promotional products. Helen Stromberg, president of Hudson Valley Umbrella/StrombergBrand, Peekskill, N.Y., said, “Umbrellas really started taking off when the imprinting technology started advancing ten years ago.” Now, with a wide selection of printing methods available—digital printing, heat transfer and sublimation, for example—vibrant,

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