Can Koozies-Advertising that gets Around!

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One of my favorite promotional products has to be can koozies! They are graphic, affordable and most of all people love them! Here in Minnesota it is boating/camping/cabin season and you can never have enough koozies to keep your favorite beverage cold! They come in a regular size can, taller monster style size and of course zippered bottle holders.

This particular koozie also has a great feature, printing on the bottom. Summer special includes one set up for all three locations and your choice of koozie color and imprint color!

Think outside the box and advertise your message at the lake or cabin today!

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Fundraising Shirts

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Shirts are a great way to show your support for your favorite cause or charity. Not only do they unify your group but they share your message in a clear and concise way. I have had the privilege of helping various groups and organizations with shirts for diabetes, ms and cancer. Each time it is an honor to help spread the message!

Dye Sublimated Jerseys

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This is one of my favorite decoration methods.  You can go high buck and have the material printed and then sewn into a jersey which is a great option for a totally custom look.  This option is quicker, less expensive and carries most of the impact the other does!  The process is pretty simple, a design is made and approved, shirts are ordered and printed and all of that in under 3 weeks!  This option is great for volleyball teams, softball and baseball, landscaping and lawn care companies.

These are super affordable and the shirts are uv 30 and moisture wicking!



Dog Tags

The history of the dog tag is an interesting one.

During the American Civil War of 1861–1865, some soldiers pinned paper noteswith their name and home address to the backs of their coats. Other soldiers stenciled identification on their knapsacks or scratched it in the soft lead backing of the army belt buckle.

Manufacturers of identification badges recognized a market and began advertising in periodicals. Their pins were usually shaped to suggest a branch of service and engraved with the soldier’s name and unit. Machine-stamped tags were also made of brass or lead with a hole and usually had (on one side) an eagle or shield and such phrases as “War for the Union” or “Liberty, Union, and Equality”. The other side had the soldier’s name and unit and sometimes a list of battles in which he had participated.

Since then dog tags have become standard military issue and in some arenas a fashion statement.  They are a sure fire fun way to promote an event!

Custom Embroidered Patches

I have had a few clients recently with intricate logos.  When this happens and they want to keep the integrity of their logo for embroidery, oftentimes a patch is the way to go.  With an embroidered patch on hats and jackets and even on work shirts you can get the look of your logo without the heavy stitch count that makes standard embroidery curl.

High quality workmanship and design combined with twill backing and the highest quality thread make these patches the very best available on the market. The pricing structure is designed to offer the very best product at the lowest possible price without compromising quality.

  • Up to 8 colors included in our prices
  • Polyester fade resistant thread
  • Safe dry clean and machine washable materials
  • Rapid lead time of 8-10 business days after proof approval
  • Design assistance upon request
  • Free set up

Embroidered Patches

These patches can be ironed on or sewn on.  At $2-8 a patch, this is a nice option for a complicated logo!

New Business Set Up Charges

MB900427604Are you frustrated with unnecessary charges? I received a call yesterday from a new client.  He explained that one of my competitors in town was going to charge him over $100 in set up charges just to get his logo set up for various forms of decorating such as embroidery and screenprinting.  This was an upfront cost and didn’t include any actual decoration or garments.  Wow!  Why can’t I get more calls like this!

Set up charges are a normal part of the promotions industry.  My philosophy as a small business owner is to always treat my client like I want to be treated.  For example, if the art they give me isn’t something I can work with and I can fix it, I do that for no charge.  If it does need some high tech changes, I try and work with less expensive sources so my client isn’t paying through the roof for something that usually isn’t their fault in the first place.  A lesson here for you and your graphic designer, when paying for a logo design, always get a universal high res logo file called an EPS.  That way you won’t run into problems down the road.

When you start doing specialty products such as applique, you will have some set up charges involved for the expertise it takes to set up the laser.  Same goes for hard promotional products like pens or mugs where the plant charges a set up charge for their plant production.

What I ended up doing with this particular client, is meeting with him to show him the different products I can offer, reviewed his logo for all types of promotional uses and reassured him that I didn’t have minimums for his small two person company.  He will end up spending about $40 for a one time conversion for his logo to embroidery and then the cost of the decorated apparel.  I also laid out business cards and magnets for him as he is a contractor.

My business practices stem from experiences I have had and the desire to always help my clients businesses grow.  I would rather have them spend money on items that will advertise your company and help you earn more!

Share with me below your experiences when it comes to working with promotional shops, what has worked for you and what hasn’t? What makes you feel worthwhile and invested in?


Decorating with Screenprinting

Screenprinting.  This is the most often used apparel decoration for shirts.  One color or multiple colors are no problem for this process.  Depending on the shop, four colors are usual but gradients can be used and I used up to 8 colors.  A graphic design is created, screens are made and the ink is actually spread over the screen onto the shirt.  Each color is done seperately and this is quite a stinky process!

Alternative locations such as collars, sleeves, shoulders and around on the sides are now being printed with this process using multiple screens.

This process is the most economical way to decorate shirts when you are talking quantities.  While I make it sound fairly simple, don’t be fooled.   I never advise putting a design out there without having an expert look it over.  Size, colors and make up all make a difference in a nicely screened shirt and one that isn’t.  In this particular photo, we screened the poly shirts for a ball team and then heat pressed the two color numbers on the back.  The advantage of heat pressing the numbers (to be covered soon!) is that we can select from a variety of fonts and colors.  If you chose to screen those, most printers only do stencil versions.

What shirt do you wear all the time that has been screenprinted?  Share it here!

Embroidery Decoration

I am constantly amazed at how many ways apparel can be decorated.  I will cover them in the next few posts:

First, embroidery.  Embroidery is the most recognized and is perhaps the simplest to explain.  Thread sewn in a pattern to create an artistic design, plain text or a company logo.  Embroidery can be combined with the other types of decoration to give a garment a unique feel.  Embroidery is most often used on corporate apparel such as jackets, polos and hats.  It can also be used on giveaways such as bags, coolers and scarves.

Today I saw a jacket back embroidered with a logo and then they used foam under part of the stitches to create a 3D banana with a flap that represented the peel hanging off the back.  You can also combine embroidery with screen or heat prints for a distressed or vintage look.  Not all elements of logos convert into embroidery well so it is always best to consult with a professional decorator if you are creating or redesigning your logo.  There are different ways also that embroidery can be used such as sewing on applique (a twill material to enlarge designs), and reverse applique which I will cover later.


Our portfolio does have examples of most of these processes so be sure to visit and let me know if you have questions I can help answer!

Please comment on your favorite apparel decoration method.

Visibility Marketing

I find it interesting to describe what it is that I do when people ask. I have used, and come across in my industry, several canned responses. Promotional products. Embroidery and Screenprinting. Advertising Specialties. You name it, I have heard it. We also have individuals in our industry who present themselves as campaign managers of sorts and will work with you to develop a whole advertising campaign. A good end user example of this is banks and enrollment gifts that they offer. Coolers, golf tees, bags etc.

So I was very intrigued when I sat down and listened to an Action Coach presentation by Alan Hill who talked about a strategy called PAR.  Problem, Action, Results.   As it happened I attended this with a client of mine who does outdoor work. The premise is what problem can you identify that you can help your client with, what are the actions you can take to help solve the issue and what are the results.   As we worked through this role play it became very clear that I help people with VISIBILITY MARKETING.

Allow me to explain. I had done coats and sweatshirts for this client with full front and back appliques of their companies logo and name.  Her problem turned out to be that she didn’t have a ton of money or time to spend on marketing efforts especially those that didn’t provide many results. Studies show that on direct mail campaigns a 1-2 percent return is typical and on paper advertising you need to run your ad every week for a very long time to gain the trust and visibility people need to do business with you.

This is where Visibility Marketing comes in. She was wearing one of her decorated coats on a job in an industrial park and her clients neighbor saw her in this jacket. They came out, talked with her and needed her service. Don’t we all wish for this, just doing our thing and having a new client approach us and we land a huge account as a result?

The actions we took was to completely jazz up her companies image and be consistent with their branding by using Visibility Marketing on some key garments.

The result? A brand new client with no effort and no monies put out in standard advertising dollars for my client and BONUS! a huge advocate for me who understands the POWER OF Visibility Marketing!  In addition, she swears that by wearing nicely embroidered shirts that are professional and match her personality her clients spend more time seeking her out and talking to her resulting in client relationship, trust and loyalty.  All great benefits!

VISIBILITY MARKETING-It works! If you would like to land new business without the cold calls and the standard forms of marketing, consider using this highly effective form of advertising.

Share your story below in regards to visibility marketing and how it has worked for you.

Screenprinting is not all equal.

I have been fortunate to not learn this one the hard way!  I have trusted relationships for all sorts of promotional products and today I want to talk about screenprinting!

I was approached by a new client wanting to bid black t shirts for some very high color, high detail graphic art that had been created for her. While it is super easy to “shop around” for the best price and think you are comparing apples to apples, you also have to know you get what you pay for.

In this instance I was able to get within .30 – $1 per shirt of what she had been quoted by another screenprinter that she went direct to. I do believe in educating people whether they become my clients or not so I shared with her the difference of what a standard screenprinting process might produce compared to one that has been perfected by a knowledgeable supplier!   The way screenprinting is engineered in the design process can make all the difference in the world!  Some printers only print up to four colors while others do double that. Screenprinting is really an art.  The style and make of the garment also makes a huge difference in your end result.  Always ask if you have an unusual garment if they have done a similar job before and ask for info on it.

These shirts are stellar examples of how good art can look!  My idea center also has several examples.

The next time you have art to go on shirts, be sure to give us the opportunity to show you how we can make you shine!  We want to be your  partner and not just your screenprinter!





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