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2023 Product Award Winners

This year’s BPMA Product Awards were expanded to include the entire promotional merchandise industry to celebrate the exceptional innovation, expertise and quality available in the market today.All entrants were asked to answer key questions around price, product and sustainable credentials together with supporting evidence complement their entries. Judging took place across two rounds, involving senior industry distributors, guest judges including Made In Britain, PPAI, APPA, PPPC, Sourcing City and Sourcing Machine plus catalogue heads who met to agree final winners in each category in December 2022. A new Award has also been introduced, the Product Award Grand Prix, awarded by our final panel and this coveted prize was revealed at the BPMA Annual Awards Dinner in January 2023.In a hard-fought competition, the panels of judges were impressed with the wide array and quality of entries. The results were announced live on 4th January to mark the occasion with trophies to be delivered in person to winners at Merchandise World.    Stationery Product of the Year   Wellness Journal Notebook   Cafeco A5 Wellness Journal in a range of contemporary pastel colours. The journal developed to encourage users to catalogue wellness. An easy-to-use tool for encouraging emotional and physical wellbeing and balance between work and home life. The foreword by Karin Blak, a wellness coach, suggests strategies for work/life balance, stress management and healthy living,  emphasisising how physical and mental health are interlinked. The journal offers a light touch to managing personal goals whilst offering plenty of pages for notes and idea     Apparel Product of the Year   Rab Downpour Eco Waterproof Promotional Jacket    Built from recycled 2.5-layer Pertex® Revolve fabric with a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment, the Rab Downpour Eco Jacket is Rab's first ever mono-polymer waterproof jacket. It uses a polyester outer and membrane, which means that, in addition to being 100% recycled, it also has the future potential to be fully recycled at the end of its life. Available in an array of corporate colours, it's an excellent, sustainably made piece to co-brand. Waterproof to 20,000 HH with an MVTR breathability rating of 20,000g, it features a pair of zipped handwarmer pockets large enough for a map. To help tailor the fit to the conditions, it uses an adjustable hem and cuffs, plus a two-way adjustable hood with polymer peak. Lightweight and packable, it also comes with a pair of deep-venting pit zips to keep you fresh and in control when the pace, the trail or the temperature climbs.      Award & Gifting Product of the Year   Oak Column Award with Metal Wrap   Solid real oak wood award with printed aluminium wrap. Made in the UK from sustainably sourced wood supplies. Hand-finished with satin wood oil & wax. Each of the hardwood species worked with holds the highest G5 SECURE conservation status (source NatureServe). Wood is inherently renewable and sustainable if properly managed and sourced. Only wood from fully certified suppliers to stringent international standards for the sustainability of the hardwoods they provide is used.   Bag & Folder Product of the Year   Ninga Recycled PET (rPET) Recron® GreenGold Tote Bag   In troducing the trailblazing Ninga Recycled PET Recron® GreenGold Tote Bag made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles. A stylish, robust and eco-friendly shopper, each bag is embedded with tracer technology for forward and backward traceability, providing full product transparency. The Ninga has an extensive list of eco-credentials that sets it apart from standard rPET bags. Plastic bottles are shredded, transformed into yarn and woven into beautiful and versatile tote bags. Completely free of harmful chemicals and made using renewable energy - c.90% of the water used in the production process is recycled. The manufacturing process is tracked using GreenGold tracers to verify each bag has been made by Reliance Industries at one of their rPET conversion manufacturing plants. Complete peace of mind for businesses when choosing the recycled Ninga tote bag. Available in white, black and Navy. GRS certified.   Drinkware Product of the Year   H2O Active® Eco Tempo 700ml Flip Lid Sport Bottle   A single-wall sports bottle featuring an ergonomic design, made from Prevented Ocean Plastic. Plastic is collected within 50km of an ocean coastline or major waterway that feeds into the ocean. Then sorted and transformed into high-quality and food-safe recycled plastic. Features a spill-proof lid with flip top, available in multiple colours. The black lid is made from in-house pre-consumer recycled plastic. Volume capacity is 700 ml. Mix and match colours to create the perfect bottle. Made in the UK. Packed in a home-compostable bag.   Food & Drink Product of the Year   Canvas Cake   12 portion cake, handmade with full coverage icing print. Print applied on all faces, including top and sides. Each cake is packaged in a presentation gift box, designed to be sent via Royal Mail or Courier. Provided as a visually appealing cake, great value-for-money large cake option. Clients have been able to enhance their celebrations with customers and staff with the help of Canvas Cakes. Canvas Cake offers a solution that can be sent to addresses at a low cost. Royal Mail delivery is available from just £3.99, making it an affordable way to engage with staff and customers.   Health & Travel Product of the Year   The Little Brown Wellbeing Kit A handy, relaxing wellbeing kit in a cardboard tube, including sleep balm, sleep mask, roll on pulse point and natural relaxing foam bath. The perfect set to help people through the challenges of the last 2 years as we all battled the  affects COVID had on working and personal lives.   Innovative Product of the Year   Direct to Paper - DTP Transfers by tranSMART "Direct to Paper" or DTP is the latest technology to heat applied transfers and used to personalise almost any item with either a vibrant, photorealistic image, or a simple company logo. Requiring a heat press to begin embellishing. DTP has tremendous added benefits, with FSC certified paper as a waste product, rather than the more commonly used plastic film, boosting eco-credentials, reduces carbon footprint and reduces the production cost dramatically. Ultimately, this makes the product cheaper to buy for the customer whilst also being of the highest quality. Packaged in a clear biodegradable bag, equipped with a test pack and tranSMART booklet for each and every customer. The transfer market is only continuing to grow, a sustainable and eco-friendly method of creating transfers was until now, sorely lacking.   Sustainable Product Innovation of the Year   Impact AWARE™ rPET Lightweight Rolltop Backpack   No greenwashing, but telling a true story about sustainability! The Impact 300D RPET rolltop backpack, made with AWARE™ tracer. With AWARE™, the use of genuine recycled fabric materials and water reduction impact claims are guaranteed, by using the AWARE disruptive physical tracer and blockchain technology. Save water and use genuine recycled fabrics. With focus on water 2% of proceeds of each Impact product sold donated to Water.org. Keep it simple and stylish with the rolltop backpack. A perfect size for all essentials. The backpack has reused 11,6 500ml PETbottles and saved 6,92 litres of water. Water savings are based on figures when compared to conventional fibre. The calculated indication based on reliable LCA data as published by Textile Exchange in Material Snapshots 2016.    Sustainable Product of the Year   rHIPS.b Product Range   rHIPS.b, a revolutionary new material developed by CHX Products. The material tested to ISO 15985 and ASTM B5511 certification. This Is plastic – but not as you know it: no virgin material used. No deforestation needed to grow ‘eco’ materials. Fully Biodegradeable: Unlike other popular bioplastics the material does not require extremely particular conditions to biodegrade.  rHIPS.b polymer is broken down by over 600 naturally occurring microbes. Naturally biodegrading in home compost, marine, and landfill faster than standard plastic. No Microplastics, just rich biomass: biodegredation occurs by friendly microbes fully digesting the polymer. No microplastics. All that is left is rich biomass and water. New Colourways Inspired By Nature: Colourways inspired by the manufacturers location, Cornwall. Reminders of recycled history are visible – much like newspaper pulp in egg cartons, the flecks seen in rHIPS.b are flecks from recycled products used to create it. Design and manufactured In the UK: rHIPS.b products are made from waste materials sourced from the UK, or from manufacturer waste created at CHX. All designed, manufactured, and distributed from Cornwall to wherever it needs to go. Meaning no air miles and more smiles.   Technology Product of the Year   MR BIO FAST Charge Cable   NEW and uniquely useful FAST charge cable made from recycled plastic / RPET - supplied in 1M length makeing charging easy for any device whether in the office, car, hotel or while travelling. Capable of charging up to 60W (regular cables go to 20W) allows for this latest MR BIO cable to charge Macs, laptops, tablets and phones. With great branding options to 4 col process (two sides) and supplied in FSC card packaging (which can be bespoke printed from 50 pcs) this latest in the award winning range of Xoopar MR BIO tech is the perfect choice for promotional technology gifting / promotions. Patented dual input power plug allows for either USB-C (Fast) or traditional USB-A charging. Output connectors support USB-C and Apple lightning allowing phones to be charged at over 4 x times faster than a standard charge cable when used in conjunction with a 20W fast charge AC plug. Also supports data transfer meaning great for use in the car to work with the latest CarPlay software. A truly the next generation charging cable.    UK Made Product of the Year   Miyo Lunch Box   The MIYO lunch box you can truly make it your own! A practical lunch box ideal for school, work or picnics anywhere. With one or two 700 ml capacity bases, ideal for fruit, salads, sandwiches and much more. Follow simple steps to choose your base colours, lid colour and recycled PET band. Even add a spork or inner compartment as an optional extra. Microwave safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free and fully recyclable. Made in the UK and packed in a home compostable bag.     Work & Play Product of the Year   D-Base speaker   The D-Base speaker. A retail quality Bluetooth speaker designed with wide reaching appeal and providing a high end corporate gift or merchandise product, both practical and highly desirable. The D-Base, suitable for both gifts and rewards and merchandising schemes - retail quality working well in web shops.The D-Base has two aluminium passive radiators (top and bottom) which provide an ideal platform for engraving with the option for dual branding. The 10W output ensures good quality, clear sound with strong base. Bluetooth range is up to 10m and is ideal for both indoor use, for work and leisure and outdoors. At 100mm in height the D-Base is convenient for travel and easy to transport. IPX7 waterproof rating means the D-Base will carry on playing even if dropped in water and is a robust gadget. Playback time is an impressive 20 hours. The D-Base has a stand out, contemporary design with simple functionality for easy pairing and song selection. The moderndesign combined with the retail gift box increases the perceived value making it ideal for merchandising. CE, RoHS, IPX7 certification and MSDS reports all provide distributors with confidence they are supplying quality electronics.   Writing Instrument Product of the Year   Karst® 5-pack 2B Woodless Graphite Pencils   A set of 5 solid graphite Woodless Pencils. Made of 100% pure graphite with 2B hardness, the best lead grade for Karst paper products. With matte coating to keep fingers clean.     Read More
Bologna

Premier bag the Briman Award

25th January 2023. The British Promotional Merchandise Association annual awards.   Not only did Premier come runner up for Distributor Of The Year, we also bagged the Briman Award in recognition of our support for British manufactured promotional products.   Yeah, Ryan looks smug AF, but other than him, and maybe his mum, who actually cares?! And more importantly, what does it mean for our customers?   Premier have long been advocates of British manufacturing. Not least because it meant we could combine factory visits with wine-fuelled evenings out with their proprietors. But the benefits of British made merch are more salient now than ever. Additionally, those relationships forged in the early hours, secure the best service, the best prices and the most favours for our customers.   British manufacturing represents the pinnacle of quality, speed, flexibility, sustainability and reliability across the merchandise world. By championing these products we can offer our customers unique, innovative ideas, slash lead-times and reduce minimums whilst supporting the economy to boot.   When you have witnessed the glint in the eye of a hair-brained inventor or listened intently to a factory owner talk passionately, and at great length, about their vision, promoting them and their range becomes easy. Every order placed with them prompts a little, tiny dance of joy. Because each one signifies a vote for the products that have cost them blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights.   So, dear reader, our relentless banging of the British drum will continue loud and proud, because sharing these benefits with our customers allow them to look good and do good. And if we pick up the odd award along the way then all the better!              Read More
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A deep dive in to WEEE...

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is a piece of European Union legislation that aims to reduce the amount of electronic waste produced by encouraging the recycling and proper disposal of electronic equipment. This legislation applies to all companies that produce, sell, or import electronic equipment in the UK and Europe, and it also affects the promotional merchandise industry. Promotional merchandise items that fall under the WEEE Directive include electronic devices such as power banks, USB drives, and Bluetooth speakers. These items are often used as promotional products and are given away to customers, employees, or potential clients as a way to promote a brand. Promotional merchandise distributors must comply with the WEEE Directive by ensuring that the electronic equipment they produce, sell, or import is properly recycled or disposed of at the end of its life. This can be done by participating in a producer compliance scheme, which is an organization that is approved by the government to collect and recycle electronic waste on behalf of producers. Compliance with the WEEE Directive is important for a few reasons. First and foremost, it helps to reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills, which can be harmful to the environment. It also helps to conserve natural resources by encouraging the recycling of electronic materials. Furthermore, failing to comply with the WEEE Directive can result in significant fines and penalties for companies. In addition, non-compliance can damage a company's reputation, as consumers and stakeholders are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues and expect companies to act responsibly. In conclusion, the WEEE Directive is an important piece of legislation that affects the promotional merchandise industry. Companies in this industry must comply with the directive by ensuring that electronic equipment is properly recycled or disposed of at the end of its life. Compliance is not only important for the environment but also for the reputation of the company. By taking the necessary steps to comply with the WEEE Directive, companies in the promotional merchandise industry can demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility and protect their bottom line. Premier is a registered distributor of WEEE with the Environment Agency and a member of the Producer Compliance Scheme mannaged by Clarity Environmental Ltd. (clarity.eu.com) Our registration number is WEE/BC0782SR. Our obligation as a distributor means we accept back any WEEE that we have supplied at the end of its life, free of charge, for proper recycling and disposal. Any items featuring the crossed-out wheelie bin logo are classified as Electrical and Electronic Equipment and as such should not be disposed of in regular waste. Instead it should be disposed of to a certified WEEE recycling centre. Most local authorities offer a kerbside collection facilty for recyclable materials including WEEE. Read More
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#PremierGives

2022 has been quite a year. A real challenge for a lot of people.   Despite these challenges, Premier have been successful in many ways.   We are firm believers in karma. So much so it forms one of our 3 values. Every interaction we make, good or bad, creates ripples.   We have spent 2022 making as many good ripples as we can. And the only reason that has been possible is because of the amazing support of our customers and suppliers.   In the early part of the year we made multiple donations of food to homeless charities, our part in trying to eradicate homelessness in the UK.   We donated some IT equipment and a printer to the organisers of Clacton Pride.   We were proud to open and operate a donation hub in support of Ukrainian families when the war took hold. Eventually we were able to supply 16 pallets of necessities to a consignment bound for Poland.   We sponsored, cast vote and supplied the prizes for a bake-off competition in aid of Autism Anglia. A very tasty chore!     Premier also entered a sponsored mud run in aid of the same charity. The video needs to be seen to be believed - Click Here   During the summer heatwave not only did we donate many hundreds of bottles of water for rough sleepers, we threw open the doors at Premier HQ’s airconditioned office for local vulnerable people to get some respite from the heat.   Over the year team Premier have donated many days of time to aid charitable causes including volunteering and pro bono work.   Come September Premier donated a vast amount of stationery, PPE and sanitising equipment to local schools, organisations and charities.   In October we arranged for 15 local disadvantaged children to attend a circus especially presented for people with special needs.     As the year went on and the weather began to turn Premier donated enough warm clothing to local homeless charities to see them through until spring. One of our proudest achievements.     Premier also supported The Feering Community Lounge with donations of cups and mugs. We also produced 2500 leaflets to advertise it and hand delivered them to every house in the surrounding villages.     When the inevitable calls for Christmas charity-raffle prizes came, Premier were able to donate multiple pairs of VIP tickets to events at The O2. Collectively the prizes raised multiple thousands of pounds for the organisations.   Finally, as thoughts shifted to giving at Xmas time, Premier pledged to match the number of gifts given to their customers and suppliers with care packages to further support rough sleepers and provide bags of goodies to local Ukrainian refugee children.   Premier’s mission statement of “Look good, do good” compels us to drive success which, in turn, means we can do more good. We are excited by what 2023 brings and look forward to creating more of those good ripples.       For more information:   See our Mission & Values   Learn about Refugee Action Colchester   Warm Hearts for Cold Hands     Cool To Be Kind       Read More
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Bologna

It's not easy bein' GREEN.

Back in the 70’s Kermit the Frog sung those immortal words and fifty years later they have never been so apt.   In a world of sustainable, fake-news, plant-based, bunny-hugging, green-washed, biodegradable eco-activism actually knowing if the choices we make are actually “green” can be tricky.   Lots of “green” words are bandied around and even more opinions about what’s best are vocalised in marketing, media and social networks. Every brand suddenly has super-sustainable, zero-carbon, earth-friendly products made entirely from the fluff found down the back of their sofa and that weird juice lurking at the bottom of your food recycling bin.   To be able to confidently talk about our range and to interpret what our supply chain are selling to us firstly we needed to understand it all. Separate the wheat from the chaff to coin an appropriate phrase.   By sharing our findings, warts and all, and by being transparent, we can not only offer a comprehensive range of eco promotional merchandise but also help to educate our customers and ultimately the wider audience. Allowing them to make informed decisions about how they do their bit.   Let’s delve into some terminology and look at the pros, cons and ambiguity of the most common claims:       Our interpretation of what “Sustainable” means: According to Wikipedia sustainability means that a process or state can be maintained at a certain level for as long as is wanted. Think perpetual motion. There are often 3 pillars referred to – People, Planet and Profit. For something to be sustainable it needs to provide an environmental, social or economic benefit.   From a promotional merchandise perspective a sustainable product would be something that has been contentiously manufactured and delivered, by a factory that protects its workforce and its surroundings, that has a decent useful lifespan and limits the impact on the environment at the end of its life. That’s a lot of boxes to tick. The fact is there is no magic solution. Everything has an impact.   Our interpretation of what “Eco Friendly”, “Green”, “Eco” and “environmentally friendly” actually mean: In a nutshell they are broad terms for something that claims to be better for the environment than an alternative. Note the words “better for”. Not necessarily “good for”. Whilst, generally speaking, that is the case, it’s all about point of reference and a little bit about opinion.   Understanding Waste Management: Global Recycling Standard The waste pyramid demonstrates responsible waste management and can be used to make decisions on purchasing. For example the ideal use of plastic is to make a reusable product (such as a sports bottle rather than a single use disposable bottle). At the end of its life all plastic should be recycled, currently in the UK only about 40% of material can be recycled (and nowhere near this figure is actually reaching the correct place). The next band of the pyramid is widely miss understood- recovery. Technology currently exists to incinerate plastic waste which can’t be recycled generating electricity from the energy generated. These processes filter out all dangerous waste and are totally carbon neutral. There is basically no reason why plastic should enter landfill!       How we’re doing our bit: We are only too aware that historically promotional merchandise has been perceived as cheap plastic from China. But the landscape has changed. Premier is an ISO14001 certified organisation, which means we have an environmental management system to control the impact of our operations on the environment. Alongside our product offering we employ a variety of practices to reduce our impact. Such as:   -        All our cleaning materials are plant based. -        The boss drives an electric vehicle. -        Our office waste is segmented and recycled with ZERO waste going to landfill. -        We are a paperless office. -        We use LED low-energy lighting. -        We use recycled consumables (like loo paper!) -        Our milk is delivered in glass, reusable bottles. -        Our marketing materials and packaging are recycled and/or recyclable.   But that’s just the start. Our energy contract is moving over to renewable sources. Our courier is rolling out a carbon-offset service. We are working with the local community on various initiatives to benefit our surroundings and the environment. Nobody is perfect. But we genuinely care. And we’re always looking for ways to better ourselves.   To summarise:   Do something. Something is better than nothing. Be open minded.   Do you research, ask questions, consult our professionals, don’t be green-washed, don’t make snap decisions based on current media scaremongering.    Consider the entire life of the item from raw-material to disposal.   Ask yourself is a short-life “eco” product flown in from China really better than something infinitely reusable, made of plastic, in Birmingham? We think not.   It all comes back to knowing your stuff and most importantly knowing what’s best for you and your objectives.      Read More
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Value for Money

Does “value” still come from high volume, low cost? Or do sustainable, considered products work harder for your money?   We know in today’s world that budgets are tighter than ever and that value for money is key.   Whilst there’ll always be a place for them, cheap promotional items are not the only way to get the best value.   Now more than ever there is incredible value in how your business is perceived when you switch to eco branded products.   Cost effective printed items may mean higher volumes and sometimes a reprint is the easy option - but coming over to the “green” side can result in greater impressions, longer “shelf-life” and greater respect from the audience.   Making the switch to sustainable promotional products doesn't mean you need to invest in water-powered clocks, solar-powered torches or socks made from reclaimed fishing nets (which, by the way, are all available!). Simply swapping to a recycled pen next time you need to reorder is an easy way to start your journey towards being a certified bunny-hugger.   Because in a world of plastic pens, an eco version with a definitive purpose and story will have a much greater impression on its user than its throwaway doppelganger.   Recently, there has been a huge increase in companies that are pledging to meet eco friendly targets; being an environmentally friendly company has many long term advantages. Including an ‘eco brief’ in your marketing strategy shows that you have made a conscience decision to become more environmentally aware.   An example of this is global travel company Thomas Cook. They had a pledge towards a more sustainable future with their #NoPlaceForPlastic campaign. To protect beach holiday destinations by reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean, Thomas Cook pledged to:    Remove 70 million single use plastic items across the business. Substitute disposable items with those made from recycled plastic, biodegradable or compostable options. Ensure when plastic is used it is recycled, where possible and to improve recycling and waste capabilities across travel destinations. Use their size to influence customers, employees, suppliers and the wider travel industry to raise awareness on this issue. Premier Print & Promotions are often asked by our customers for eco alternatives for some of the most popular promotional products on the market.   We can help you get more out of your budget by suggesting products from our budget “Pop” range, as well as talk you through the huge variety of eco we have available from “Great & Green”. Our sales team are the experts in delivering the best options for you and your customers.   The Senator Super Hit Polished Ballpen is the budget twin of the Senator Super Hit Bio. The Super Hit Polished is great if you’re looking for printed pens on an express delivery service, it’s stylish and available in a variety of colours to meet your needs. The Senator Super Hit Bio is the eco-friendly version, made from 100% biodegradable material. Using sugarcane in the production process means they are 100% compostable according to EN 13432. Great for making a real eco statement for your business or brand.   The classic Americano travel mug is rigid, leak proof, looks great and is available in a huge range of colours, it offers a large branding area and is made in the UK. Looking at the eco equivalent of this we see that products made from bamboo fibre are a new trend in the market. Naturally organic bamboo fibre is one of the most sustainable and environmentally responsible materials on the market today due to its fast growth and use of minimal resources. Bamboo products are biodegradable, when you are finished with the product it could be placed in the ground and naturally break down in the soil. Premier Print & Promotions offer a wide range of branded bamboo products that can be both cost effective and are increasingly on trend.   Does anybody really use CD’s anymore? One great eco-friendly alternative to a standard pencil is recycled CD case pencils. They are available in a huge variety of colours, are UK made and can be delivered on an express service. Standard Pencils give great bang for buck, are available on an express delivery service and slightly cheaper than their eco counterparts.   Cost vs Conscience. If cost is king and volume is key we’ve got your back. Similarly, if you need a hand to hold whilst taking the first step on the eco ladder then we’re ready for you! Read More
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Think inside the box.

It’s no coincidence that since workers have been confined to home, merch suppliers have invented ways to get their goodies through a letterbox.   That’s not to say we’ve all gone a bit “Amazon” though. These boxes are crafted and curated for some very special purposes.    The perfect storm of the global pandemic, lockdown and working from home has meant wellness, mental health and engagement is tougher than ever to maintain.   And whilst the term “reaching-out” is about as sickening as “retching-out” it’s actually pretty apt. Right now even the strongest, most positive people may need some light relief or 5 minutes break from all the crazy.    So let’s look at our 10 why’s and how’s of maintaining that all important contact.   Send a text or email. It’s free. You might get some honesty from behind the keyboard. But it’s pretty lame. You can probably do better than that. Hand write and post a note or letter. The personal touch speaks volumes. It’s low cost. But a time drain.  So the saying goes “the way to a man’s heart is through his belly”…. But the the same applies to the fairer sex too. Food and drink by post is deep rooted corporate gifting. There is nothing better to break the monotony than a mouthful of delicious chocolate! We’ve got almost a year’s practice of working from home. But that’s not to say some new headphones, a USB hub or a webcam not from circa 1990 would be appreciated.  The breakfast meeting. Albeit easier now you can do it in Pjs from the waist down, why not deliver a breakfast box to each member to nibble while on mute! The personal touch goes a long way. Branded candles, homeware, reasons to keep active… all perfect as a “just because” gift to an appreciated customer or employee. Make a date. Get the team together for a virtual social. Gin tasting, party games, muder mystery, dress up - all good ways to unwind, relax and reconnect.  National days make a perfect reason to treat people. Valentine's flowers, pancake competition, Easter egg hunt, staycation survival kit.. Individually personalised sets of stationery or drinkware feel infinitely more valuable than a mass-mailed whojamaflip. Treat the long suffering partners instead. Whilst mum or dad are beavering away locked in the spare bedroom their significant other could be juggling kids, home school, a job, the cooking, cleaning and shopping… who’s the real hero? And how lost would you be without their full attention all day. Spa in a box. Massage kit. Bath bombs. Ear plugs, Valium. All gratefully received by the homemaker.    Let’s not forget the box itself. You can go stealth mode to surprise the recipient once they break it open or go all-out Rupaul style with exciting theatre, ribbons and bows.   Bottom line, people like to be remembered. People need interaction. People need a break. Whatever you choose to do, do something. If you want help with that, slip in to our DMs. If not, at least slip into theirs.   Read More
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Bamboo

The Jekyll and Hyde of materials.   In a world of sustainable, fake-news, plant-based, bunny-hugging, green-washing, biodegradable eco-activism actually knowing if the choices we make are genuinely “green” can be tricky. Lots of “green” words are bandied around and even more opinions about what’s best are vocalised in marketing, media and social networks. Every brand suddenly has super-sustainable, zero-carbon, earth-friendly products bragging about being made entirely from the fluff found down the back of their sofa and that weird juice that collects at the bottom of your food recycling bin.  To be able to confidently talk about our range and to interpret what our supply chain are selling to us firstly we needed to understand it all. Separate the wheat from the chaff to coin an appropriate phrase.  By sharing our findings, warts and all, and by being transparent, we can not only offer a comprehensive range of eco promotional merchandise but also help to educate our customers and ultimately the wider audience. Allowing them to make informed decisions about how they do their bit. Bamboo has just hit the headlines harder than Kim Kardashian divorce proceedings. Suppliers are pulling from the shelves faster than you can say non-compliance. Let’s put bamboo under the microscope…      Bamboo is a grass. When you harvest bamboo you aren’t killing a plant, you’re basically just mowing the lawn. Bamboo grows really fast. Some bamboo plants can grow 1 meter in a day.   Bamboo takes two forms… Natural wood and chemically processed fabric.   Bamboo as a fabric:   Rayon: The general term for regenerated cellulose fibers. Rayon is considered a semi-synthetic material as the cellulose fibers are natural but always broken down using chemicals. Viscose: Regenerated cellulose fiber made from wood pulp or plants using the viscose process. The wood pulp is treated with chemicals, filtered, and then spun into thread Modal: A stronger version of viscose. Modal is often blended with other textiles, such as cotton and spandex, to make it even stronger. Lyocell: Similar to viscose and modal, but it is made using a different solvent. Lyocell is produced in a solvent-spinning technique called dry jet-wet spinning. TENCEL: The branded version of lyocell and modal. TENCEL is often considered the most sustainable way to produce cellulose fiber-based fabrics. It focuses on closed-loop production and using less resource-intensive processes.   Unprocessed = Good.   Bamboo absorbs 2x more carbon dioxide than trees, which is why they are known to act as carbon sinks. It also generates a vast amount of oxygen, totalling up to 30% more than most plants and trees.   Bamboo only takes 3-5 years to reach a point where it can be harvested, and as long as you harvest properly you can harvest it forever. This is much faster and more sustainable than trees which take years and years to grow to maturity.   Wood made from bamboo will biodegrade once thrown out. One thing to note is that artificial aspects such as finishes or paint will not be biodegradable.   Bamboo as a plant is naturally pest resistant, 100% biodegradable, antifungal and antibacterial. Processed = bad.   Just because it is a “natural” material doesn’t mean it does not have a negative impact on the ecosystem and environment where it was made/grown.   Bamboo products are mostly imported. Which has a negative impact on the environment from transport. Flying bamboo in from China is very eco unfriendly.   Bamboo has been deemed by the EU to be unsafe to come in direct contact with food. Essentially it’s not food safe.    Many bamboo products are made with adhesives that contain formaldehyde, which can emit some toxic gasses.   Similar to other types of natural materials, bamboo wood needs to be transported. This causes pollutants to be put into the environment as a result of the shipping and transportation processes.   The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has announced that the bamboo fabric takes too long to break down after disposal and therefore cannot be classed as biodegradable. Lastly, why would you want to deprive a panda of its lunch? Read More
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Why is British Made merch is best?

It’s 1990.   You’re sat in your bedroom playing MarioKart on the SNES. Pogs litter the carpet, a Tamagotchi is dying not-so quietly next to you and a Magna-doodle gathers dust. A shell suit hangs on a hook by a tatty poster of New Kids On The Block.   ‘Made in China’ adorns just about everything you can see.   Once a symbol of progression, value and quality its reputation slowly deteriorated. Increased competition, rising labour costs and growing regulation all lead to ‘product fade’. A phenomenon where quality declines over time to maintain a price point.   Soon flimsy, poorly made products of questionable conformity, ‘Chinglish’ instruction manuals and dreadfully photoshopped packaging were becoming the norm.   Sourcing moved further and further inland and into other far-flung 3rd world countries to chase price. Leadtime, communication, reliability, consistency, quality and compliance all suffered. As did the consumer.   Over time, we started to get clued up. Mr Attenborough and Miss Thunberg dominated the headlines. The G7 became the G8 and then the G7 again. Brexit became a word. COVID became another word. Suddenly the UK was out on its own. Castaway like Tom Hanks screaming “Wiiillllllsson’.   The forgotten factories of our great nation took the spotlight. With manufacturing in their genes and tea in their mugs they lit the kilns, sharpened their tools and rolled up their sleeves once more. So to speak.   In actuality, these factories and their custodians never left. They just waited patiently for their day to return, honing their skills and creating wonderful products to boot.   Today the breadth of homegrown products and ingenuity is truly awe-inspiring. Across almost every category in the promotional industry there is a British solution. But it’s not just product. Science, technology and evolution all play a part in bringing cutting edge, useful, clever products to the market.   So why is British Made Merch Best?   Because it’s flexible. Case in point, within 7 weeks a UK supplier launched a product to help in the fight against Covid-19.   Because it’s complaint. You can be assured the products are made to some of the highest standards in the world.   Because it’s more sustainable. No air miles, low land miles, low impact, state of the art factories, British compliance. More renewable energy.   Because it supports the economy, provides jobs and retains traditional skills and crafts that might otherwise be lost.   Because its faster. When you’re really in a bind, who’s there to save the day? British merch. Some products can be branded and delivered next-day!   Because it commands lower minimum volumes. In today’s uncertain world, nobody wants shelves full of redundant stock. British factories manufacture from just 1 piece in some cases. Meaning you don’t tie up ever-shrinking budget.   Because it’s reliable. No port delays. No getting stuck in a queue for the Suez Canal. Countless times has a superstar supplier thrown product in the boot and delivered it personally to make a deadline.   Because it’s transparent. No surprise fees. No shock import duty. No back-hander boarder bribes.   Because it’s adaptive. Specifications can be adjusted to fit a brief or budget. Even the packaging evolves to reduce waste and single use plastic.   Because it’s dynamic. It works in parallel to the market, pivoting to provide suitable products to suit demand. For example, an umbrella factory using its sewing machines for facemasks instead. Or a confectioner introducing home delivery postal packs during lockdown.   But most of all British made merch is best because the people that make it are our friends. Our family. Our colleagues. Our acquaintances. Brothers, sisters, mates, even ex’s!     As they help our brands to flourish, our customers to engage, our staff to excel and our message to be delivered loud and clear to its audience, they flourish too.     British Merch Bites.   Hey! Pots. Perfectly imperfect and every one unique. Small concrete pots to house a variety of plants or even a candle. Once you’ve forgotten to water the plant and it`s died you can use it as a pen pot or to hold your odds and sods. Even the packaging is well thought out and mail safe. With a choice of stony colours and a laser engraving of your branding this lovely little pot makes the perfect addition to a desk or windowsill.   Leathergoods. From a second generation family owned factory in Northampton the E-leather range is a UK made recycled leather that can be made in to a variety of promotional merch. Most notably the Recyco Notebook is 100% post consumer wate and recyclable.   Brummy Bottles. Plastic is not the devil. Made into something indefinitely reusable and ultimately recyclable it makes an ideal material for sports bottles. Add the combination of full-colour, full wrap around printing they make great, useful, promotional give aways.   We got wood. Take wood, machine it into something beautiful, decorate with aluminium if required, branded by laser or direct digital print, even add an individual name and the result is a unique, sustainable and attractive promotional item. Be it a coaster, desk tidy, award or vase the natural look and feel will deliver the right message to your audience. Read More
Bologna

Desk Drop 2.0

Desk Drop /dɛsk/ /drɒp/ verb - To place a piece of promotional merchandise on the desk of each of your employees or customers to communicate a message.   As dust accumulates on empty desks from Dundee to Dartmoor the traditional desk drop may be a thing of the past, at least for now. But that’s not to say you can’t deliver goodies directly to any doorstep, kitchen table or study of your remote team.   Here are a few tips and tricks for making your direct mailing campaign run as smoothly as a cashmere codpiece.    Size matters. Basically the bigger or heavier it is, the more it will cost to send. Obvious right? But sometimes, couriers charge per consignment rather than weight.  Bear in mind Royal Mail has some size brackets for parcels. Meaning you may be able to send more for very little extra cost. Adversely, slimming down a bit might save you a pretty penny. Data is key. Consistent, accurate addresses separated into separate fields in a CSV will mean much more successful and timely deliveries. GDPR. Don’t fall down on data protection. Seek advice. Don’t expect perfection. Couriers will inevitably put deliveries in a safe place. Like in a wheelie bin. Or under the cat. Or perhaps just run out of time, say they attempted delivery, then try again tomorrow. Have a contingency.  Select products that will suit the message, the situation and the recipient. Ask the experts! Use individual names to give that added personal touch.  Including a leaflet or note to reinforce your message or brand adds little cost and great exposure. Be eco. Packaging soon adds up. Single use plastic is not cool.   So, don’t let today’s world stop you from engaging with your customers or boosting the wellbeing of your team. Follow these simple steps and boss your next campaign. Read More
Bologna

Wellbeing.

The topic that’s on everybody’s lips right now.   But why is promoting well being in your organisation important and how can you do it?   Here’s 7 reasons why: Wellbeing improves staff health behaviors. In other words, if you feel good, you’re more inclined to look after yourself. Eat well, work out, chill out.  Wellbeing reduces health risks. Similarly, if you’re looking after yourself, you’re less likely to get ill. Simples.  As a result of the above, Healthcare costs and impact on the NHS are reduced. Healthcare and life policies are lower.  Wellbeing improves productivity. It’s proven that poor life choices such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise significantly reduces productivity. Absence is reduced by improved wellbeing. If you’re feeling rubbish about yourself or you’re stressed to the eyeballs you are more likely to go sick, bunk off or play hooky! Wellbeing is infectious. Recruitment and retention are both easier with a happy team.  Wellbeing builds and maintains good morale, creativity, problem solving and spontaneity.   And here’s some ways you can promote wellbeing: Practice and promote selfcare. Healthy body, healthy mind. Prevention is better than cure. Chill Winston. Take breaks. Destress. Maintain work-life balance. Working from home makes it easy to pop on the laptop or scroll yourself into a linkedin coma.  Communicate. Zoom, Whatsapp, letter, a walk round the block, a public outpouring of emotion on Facebook. Whatever it takes. It’s good to talk.  Employee support. Professional help is out there. Some of it is even free. If you need help, ask for it. Don’t suffer in silence.  Practice mindfulness. It is scientifically proven to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and ease anxiety.   Lastly, here’s our tips on things you can give to promote wellbeing:   Colouring books for adults are proven to release tension and stress. They can be supplied with generic colouring patterns or customised to your industry or theme. They can be made with as few or many pages as required to achieve your budget. We can supply them with pencils or pens for colouring. The books can also include corporate messages, tips or details on wellbeing. They are also a perfect size for posting.   Our bullet journal is packed with pages to document your life, thoughts and feelings. Journalling is the new big thing and recording your thoughts is a method used in CBT for mindfulness. The covers and pages can be personalised. We can also include special pages with your custom information. They can also be made in recycled material. Made in the UK.   The handy can. Wrapper can be completely personalised according to your design. The intrigue of popping the lid for the first time to reveal the hand picked content is very exciting. The content can be branded if required or supplied plain to reduce cost. Choose from a huge range of content options or even provide your own product to pack inside. Once used, the can makes a handy desk pen tidy. Adding a calendar to the design makes it year-long useful and maximises budget.   Sometimes a touch of luxury and ten minutes away is just what the doctor ordered. And doing it with a steaming cup of hot chocolate takes the prize. This wooden spoon encased in chocolate and topped with marshmallows stirred in to hot milk makes an indulgent smooth chocolate drink. The header card can be printed with your message and the spoon is useful for fishing out warm soggy marshmallows!   Made in the UK. The mental health essentials kit is a little brown tube with an eco feel packed with goodies to help stress melt away. The tube and content can be branded. The kit includes a sleep balm and sleep mask, relaxing foam bath and pulse point roll-on. The content can also be pick and mixed or adapted according to your audience. A miniature bottle of Gordons Gin can also be includes for that extra special bonus! hic!   Growing plants is not only satisfying but also a great way to de-stress! These eco friendly pots are supplied with a soil pellet ready for rehydration and a pack of seeds, from a huge choice including edibles, herbs or flowers. They are delivered with a card wrapper including instructions that can be branded in full colour with your design. Small packets of seeds and seed-stix are also available at a lower price point.   Made in the UK from sustainably sourced timber this range of beautifully crafted wooden items can be laser engraved or printed with your message. Products include vases, coasters, clocks, desk tidies and message cubes. They feature natural grain and are polished to a high quality, tactile finish. Make your next give-away something memorable, sustainable and support British manufacturing at the same time. Read More
Bologna

"Reboarding"

Reboarding is the new onboarding.   With each jab we are inching closer and closer to some semblance of normality.   Hugs have resumed. A cold glass in a pub garden is a thing again. Gyms are dusting-off the machines. People have even mentioned the “exhibition” word…    Reboarding is the new buzz word…. that I just made up.   Welcoming staff back to the office and getting back in the groove is not as easy as unlocking the door and opening the floodgates.    Safety comes first. Steps and policies must be put into place to maintain the health and safety of employees. New sanitising protocols may be necessary. Workstations may need adapting. PPE may be required when once it was not.    Strategies will need to be put in place to manage who returns and when. Headcounts may need to be kept low temporarily to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Guidance for customer facing staff will be required for traveling and face-to-face meetings.   Most importantly employee wellbeing and safeguarding mental health must be priority. Even the best laid plans will fail without buy in from all concerned. Sensitivity is key. Some may be reluctant to return and others may be eager to see the end of working from home.   Concessions must be made to help employees re-acclimatise to office working. That may include a temporary hours change or shift in their physical workspace.    Staff must be reassured and comfortable that management are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of the workforce. Communication is invaluable.    To “reboard” your team means to welcome them back to the office. That may include a desk drop of gifts, merchandise or stationery. It can be company branded and used to convey a specific message. It may include items to support the new way of working - pocket hand sanitiser or device wipes for example.   Reboarding might also include training or refreshers on office hygiene, new policies or systems. Merchandise can be used to support that with reminders or tips on their new, old life.   Reboarding could include team building and icebreakers. After 18 months of near solitary confinement people might need coaxing into socialising and cooperation again. Staff apparel and team branding is an ideal way to help bond a group.   Reboarding may include a reward for the commitment during so much time out of the work environment. Or reassurance their role is secure and they are appreciated.    Lastly reboarding is staying in touch with staff. Having an open flow of conversation on how the reintroduction is going. Reinforcing messages and ensuring wellbeing is in check.    Reboarding doesn't need to cost the earth either. A stress ball or pack of sweets with the right message or sentiment can be as valuable to an employee as a seriously instagramable goody box overflowing with the latest tech. But equally the excitement and theatre of a beautifully crafted and considered selection of useful gifts can really light up eyes and blow minds. Read More