10 Ways to Increases Sales AND Create Good Business Karma

Distributor Rick Tidd has helped raise $750,000 for charity and local organizations during his 35-year career—and wants to hit a cool million before he retires.

“My primary goal is to help people, so that’s why I get involved in charitable efforts,” says Tidd, owner of Findlay, OH-based Mad Hatter Promotions. “But it also tends to help my business, since people invariably end up asking what I do and then want to work with me.”

Michelle Long, CEO of Glen Burnie, MD-based Hullabaloo Promos, agrees. “As a community, we need to work together,” she says. “If you have the capability to assist a neighboring company or school, it just seems like the right thing to do.”
But how do you get started when you’re busy running a business? “Evaluating your options is simple— don’t take on anything that will cause your business to lose money,” says Long, who advises that processing orders at a discount, at cost or as a donation for advertising is best. “It’s a balance, though. Remember to leave time for your regular clients.”

There are lots of charitable organizations, many with branches in your area, that would love your help. When you support a nonprofit that aligns with your firm’s values, you’ll also attract like-minded customers. One idea: Tidd recommends choosing a charity that you want to affiliate with—and offering up a few hundred tote bags free or at End Quantity Pricing, if they’re hosting an event. “You get to add your logo as a sponsor,” he says. “You can even ask one of your clients to sponsor the bags or other items for the charity, and put both of your logos on it. It makes everyone happy.”

Tidd has repeated this charitable model in one form or another over and over, helping to raise three-quarters of a million dollars for his local community. For a Kentucky Derby-themed gala to raise money for his local senior center, Tidd produces a printed whiskey glass or stemless wine glass each year. “We’ve gotten our customers to sponsor the glasses,” Tidd says. “And we all get our logos on the drinkware.” For his local Honor Flight Network veterans program, Tidd sources “challenge” coins, “good conduct” medal pins and celluloid pins at cost. “We’ve saved the group more than $2,000 vs. a retail cost,” he says. 

Read on to learn more about how generous distributors have gotten involved in their local communities—and been paid back in dividends. Plus, get some great ideas on how you can get involved.

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5 Innovative Pop-Up Shop Ideas Your Brand Can Emulate

Have you noticed how pop-up shops have literally been “popping” up everywhere? According to research by Storefront, a marketplace for short-term retail spaces, the temporary retail (i.e. pop-up) industry is expected to generate $80 billion per year.

From streetwear brands to influencer collaborations, pop-up events provide an exciting way for online retailers to connect with customers face-to-face. Additionally, they allow you to test out new markets and receive direct feedback to make any necessary changes with inventory moving forward.

That said, if you’re going to do it—do it right. A pop-up shop is the perfect opportunity to find an Instagrammable moment for your audience, which can catapult social and word of mouth awareness. From concept to creation, they require a significant time commitment and a decent amount of upfront costs, however, the return will be well worth it. Businesses have consistently found that pop-up shops are cost-effective in the end, and way less expensive than a traditional brick-and-mortar location.  

Here are five innovative ideas your brand can emulate, once you have a little revenue in the bank:

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Picking the Right Water-Resistant Jacket

Spring and summer showers are not only good for the flowers, but for your rainwear sales as well. Whether commuting or hiking, it’s not enough for customers to simply tout around an umbrella, especially for those who frequent the great outdoors. Now is the time when many people are searching for jackets that are breathable, stylish and resilient.

Customers want protective materials that allow them to enjoy their active outdoor adventures or strolls through the city without getting soaked from head-to-toe. In fact, an important piece of criteria that many people use to evaluate the best suitable lightweight jacket is water-resistance.  

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

In picking the right outerwear jacket for a customer, it’s important to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant.

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Dime MTL: How Teenagers Built a Legendary Brand

In today’s retail landscape, online storefronts and strong brand social followings reign supreme. One of the most exciting aspects about the rise of the online retail experience is that success is available to anyone with a real vision, knack for identifying trends, and strong ambition.

Never has there been a better time for mom-and-pop shops and small team brands to make it big. For some true underdog inspiration, look no further than Dime MTL, a Montreal based skate-streetwear giant. The story of how a group of teens came together to create a streetwear staple shows the power of community and niche markets.

The Dime legacy

The origin of Dime began in 2005, when teenagers Antoine Asselin, Phil Lavoie, Bob Lasalle, Hugo Balek, Charles Rivard, Eric Riedl and Alexis Lacroix began posting collections of silly (but impressive) skate videos to the backdrop of nostalgic 90s hip-hop beats. Within a few years, they had gained a small cult following in Canada and decided to make their first batch of 100 t-shirts at a local print shop under the original moniker, “Dimestore Crew.”

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Why Alternative’s “Go-To Collection” Was Made For You.

Every distributor has their list of favorite brands to use for those simple, everyday orders on a budget, and Alternative is ready to be one of them, with their new “Go-To Collection.” So, why should you be excited about this? Because, it was created specifically for YOU, the distributor.

Lower Prices? Tell Me More.

“The Go-To Collection was developed as a response to growing customer requests for lower pricing and more colors in their favorite, best-selling styles,” says Kevin Miles, Sr. Marketing Manager at Alternative Apparel. “With the buying power of our parent company, Hanes, we were able to negotiate lower prices with our vendors, without changing anything about the garments. The best part is that Alternative is giving that savings directly back to the customer, through the Go-To Collection. Everything in the collection is still the same quality and softness.

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4 Ways To Take Your Business to New Heights w/ Hybrid Marketing

Brandon Levy first opened his storefront after moving his decorated-apparel business out of his garage. At that time, he offered his local community a one-week-only coupon for one free monogram on any item they brought to his shop. The Denver, NC-based business ended up having a great turnout, in part because Levy used Facebook’s paid ads to promote his offer. “People loved the idea of something free—who doesn’t, right—and the majority of people who came in for their monograms also purchased another product or service,” says Levy, president and owner of Digitize4u.

Levy’s strategy was a great example of what’s often called hybrid marketing. This marriage of online and offline marketing allows marketers and business owners to combine two effective concepts, into one streamlined campaign. Plus, with the power behind hybrid marketing, you’re more likely to see better ROI on your advertising dollars, via better conversion or expanded market reach. “It’s a bricks-and-clicks approach,” says Luke Webster, a digital marketing analyst with San Diego, CA-based Miva. “Your company most likely already has some type of physical location, along with a digital presence.”

Focus Is Key

In the current multichannel browsing-and-buying climate, you can’t just focus on one or two marketing channels to get your message out to prospects and customers. Instead, it’s vital that your company crafts a marketing strategy using varied platforms and mediums to connect with the appropriate audience. 

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The Trend: Crops are on Top

Madonna, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls—what do all these pop stars have in common? Besides making catchy tunes, they were all queens of the crop top in the ‘90s and early 2000s—a belly-baring, controversial fashion statement touting tan bodies and solid abs. Cue the “Hit Me Baby One More Time” music video.

While the trend took a brief hiatus, crop tops have grown to be a major sensation once again. You can hardly walk into any retail store or scroll through social media without seeing some variation of the midriff-baring item. Here’s a quick fashion flashback into one of the hottest trends on the market.

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4 Strategies to Gain Customer Reviews for Your Business

When deciding whether or not to buy a product from a brand online, do you take their boasting statements seriously? Or, do you sift through online reviews from fellow peers and ask friends about their experience before making a decision?

Chances are, you chose the latter option, and statistics agree.
Since consumers’ trust in brands is diminishing, they’re turning to family members, friends and peers to help them make purchasing decisions. In fact, a recent study by Bright Local found 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, with that number jumping to 95 percent for those ages 18-34. And, people read an average of 10 online reviews before deciding to trust a local business. So, what does all this mean? Consumers now have more power than ever to decide the fate of your business—and in today’s digitally savvy world, that means consumer reviews can make or break you.
Not only do 86% of consumers read #reviews for local #businesses, they also read an average of 10 online reviews BEFORE deciding to trust them. Click To Tweet

To push past the competition, get in consumers’ good graces and grow your company, we’ve rounded up four strategies to help you gain some solid reviews!

1. Be Where Your Customers Are  

Before customers can leave reviews or form an opinion, they have to be able to find your business. However, we want them to find you without having to go to your actual website. You need to show up on sites, where people can recommend your services, like Yelp, Google and Facebook.

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The Marketing Strategy Your Brand Shouldn’t Ignore

As consumer trust of brands continues to plummet, shoppers look toward recommendations from friends, family and peers—leading more companies to invest in influencer marketing on social media.

More than just a marketing buzzword, the digital age has allowed businesses of all sizes to partner with trusted online leaders (or “influencers”) to drive a brand message to a dedicated audience—opening the door for smaller brands and budgets.

From fashionistas to hypebeasts to techies, there’s an influencer niche for pretty much every market. Yes, even “kidfluencers” exist.

Brands looking to partner with kidfluencers (influencers under the age of 13) must be extremely cautious. Sometimes known as “spawn con”, there are a lot of ethical debates concerning companies who partner with kids and their behind-the-scenes parents for social media marketing.

Currently, there aren’t any definitive laws protecting insta-famous children and their ad earnings like the Coogan Law does for child actors.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to start a kids’ streetwear line and want to work with kidfluencers, we recommend reading this article by Adweek for tips on how to ethically engage partnerships.

If you’re not ready to work with the complexities of child influencers, there are plenty of older influencers out there to help spread your brand’s message! Read on for how to build a brand partnership with influencers.

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The “Preuxfessional” Has Arrived.

As the years have gone by, when it comes to fashion in the workplace, each generation of workers has become more and more relaxed. No longer is the suit and tie, or traditional dresses the norm for people to wear at the office. Dress codes have become much more casual, to the point where even athleisure fashion has found its way into the workplace.

Along with this relaxation in dress codes, comes a need for a more versatile wardrobe. Today’s young generation of workers prefer a modern fit, a little more color, and something they can feel comfortable using at the office, on the green, and during a night out on the town. However, because many companies are filled with employees from old generations and new, it can be challenging to find a suitable uniform that everyone can feel good about wearing.

Enter Prim + Preux. A new brand ready to tackle this exact problem, with a line of apparel made to satisfy the tastes of young workers and help the older generation look a little more modern in something they can feel comfortable wearing. Here’s a quick look at what the collection has to offer.

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