Become a Business Gifting Guru for Your Clients

Fall is nearly here, which means the holidays are right around the corner! Get ready for decked halls, celebratory countdowns and of course, gifting. When it comes to the merry season, your clients aren’t just looking to gift to friends and family, but also customers or employees. In fact, a recent study by Knack shows the corporate gifting market is worth a staggering $125 billion. A thriving market to tap into, now’s the time to channel your inner Santa and become your clients’ business gifting guru. 

Before giving you the inside scoop to steer them in the right direction, let’s go over some important guidelines.

Business Gifting Guidelines

Businesses can use corporate gifting to show appreciation and loyalty, build goodwill and express the value of their relationships. However, before you start shopping, think about these three things:

  • The Relationship: Think about the recipient of the gift to determine an appropriate type of present, regarding the relationship at hand. 
  • The Budget: Check company gifting policies for any budget limits that may be in place. According to the same study above, the sweet spot for many businesses is between $50 to $150. 
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How Do You Say ‘Success’ in Italian, Luca Benini?

Slam Jam: It’s the name behind some of the most notable streetwear collaborations and brands in the industry. So much of what the company does is under the radar, working closely with industry powerhouses, such as Stüssy and Carhartt WIP. But, that’s exactly how Slam Jam’s founder — Luca Benini — likes it. Among many things, the Italian native is known for pioneering streetwear culture in Europe. 

As Slam Jam celebrates 30 years of success, we’re taking a look at one of the most iconic influences in streetwear, the legendary man behind it all and our takeaways for sustaining a successful business based on Benini’s achievements.

Slam Jam and Luca Benini: Celebrating 30 Years of Success 

When Benini was growing up he had two specific dreams: to be a DJ and to sell clothing. In the end, he found a way to do both. 

The Birth and Evolution of Slam Jam

Back in the ‘80s, Benini’s main business became DJing, which fueled his passion for clothing. He quit school to work as a shop assistant, where he would print flyers of his gigs on tees — an early intersection of culture and fashion. 

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4 Ways to Manage Workplace Tension

Tension in personal situations is awkward enough, but apply that to the workplace and it can be downright uncomfortable. As a business owner, managing tension and conflict between employees is an inevitable part of the job — and if not handled promptly can put a huge dent in your bottom line. 

In 2017, Inc. cited a landmark study on workplace conflict that found U.S. employees spend 2.8 hours a week dealing with conflict. This equates to an estimated $359 billion in paid company hours. 

Fortunately, there are effective ways to manage tension among your team to help maintain a positive work atmosphere and company culture. 

1. Acknowledge the Conflict Immediately

Don’t sit back and hope your employees will work the situation out on their own, allowing the tension to build. This can lead to negative consequences for your business, such as poor productivity and low office morale. Acknowledge the conflict between the involved parties immediately, and respectfully uncover the nature of the issue along with the facts. 

2. Decide How You Want to Meet with the Employees Involved  

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Turn Challenging Customers Into Loyal Clients

A decorator was in a bind: His customer’s event was the next day, and the PMS colors in the art file didn’t match the ones listed on the purchase order. To make matters worse, the decorator couldn’t reach his client, so his team had a 50/50 chance of choosing the correct color. Unfortunately, they chose wrong, and the client was unhappy with the order.

Customer expectations are more demanding than ever before and the need to ‘get it right’ each time is extremely high. Marshall Atkinson, a Phoenix-based decorated-apparel success coach who offers hands-on training via his Shirt Lab events, concurs and cites this statistic below as a reason why decorators and distributors need to take this seriously.

According to Microsoft, 54% of global consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago. In addition, 52% of people worldwide believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers.

To keep up with these dynamic requests, customer service and problem solving must be a priority in your decorated-apparel firm. “Business today doesn’t work the way it did in 1987,” Atkinson says. “You have to continuously evolve your customers’ experience. That’s on you. You have to teach your new hires how to work with all types of customers.”

4 Challenging Customer Archetypes

Here are four types of challenging customer situations—and how you can turn them into opportunities.

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The Top Seven Color Trends Predicted by Pantone for Winter 2019

Each season, Pantone Color Institute graces us with their Fashion Color Trend Report based on the stunning pieces flaunted down the runway by top designers at both New York and London Fashion Week. The Fall/Winter 2019/2020 report includes a radiant display of bold and classic colors, proving that this year is all about individuality and expression

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the collections as ranging from, “easy and sophisticated to strikingly different and unique.” 

As high fashion always seems to trickle down to the mainstream, it serves as a valuable piece of information to help make guided decisions for your upcoming inventory for the colder months ahead. 

Of the total 32 colors chosen as inspirational highlights (16 for New York Fashion Week, 16 for London Fashion Week), we chose the top seven most wearable hues you can expect to see in every shade this winter—along with a few products in similar color options. 

Pantone’s Top Seven Color Trends for Winter 2019

1. Chili Pepper: Pantone 19-1557 

A spicier cousin to Pantone’s spring ‘Fiesta’ shade, Chili Pepper is listed as the leading color for fall and winter this year. Incorporate a touch of the hue for added drama within your designs by selecting tees with statement sleeves, or showing some flavor with an all-red fabric and simple embroidered logo. 

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Bobby Hundreds Turned His Passion for Art Into a Streetwear Brand

The man, the myth, the legend: Bobby Kim, better known as “Bobby Hundreds” in the industry, is one of the most coveted names in streetwear. But it wasn’t a straight shot to success. In fact, in an interview with GQ, Kim said his failures were the greatest lessons that fueled his ambition to think more creatively—and that he did. 

To understand how Kim cultivated a successful streetwear brand, just look to his undeniable passion for art.

From Art to Successful Streetwear Brand

“You’ll never make money off your art.” 

From an early age, Kim’s obsession with art was impossible to miss. As a child, he could spend hours quietly doodling to keep himself entertained. However, as he grew older, his parents made it clear he should pursue other paths. While they appreciated the arts, they never thought it was a viable career and told him he’d never make money that way. 

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The Fair Use Defense: What is it and How does it Apply to Businesses?

The proliferation of appropriation art—or art that intentionally copies another person’s work and alters it in some way—has been at the forefront of a series of copyright infringement cases over the last few decades. A common defense used in this age-old strategy is “fair use” under U.S. copyright law. This claim has provoked a longstanding debate among the industry. 

To some, the ability to claim “fair use” opens up the possibility to creatively expand upon existing visual works. However, others fear it opens up their material to exploitation at the hands of well-known artists and companies who make minor “cosmetic upgrades” and then take credit for the work as their own.

Of the 64 percent of professional photographers who had their work stolen in 2016, commercial businesses were responsible for 28 percent of the theft. 

As a business owner and decorator, it’s important to thoroughly understand the difference between “fair use” and copyright infringement to avoid costly lawsuits. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. 

*Please note, this article should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult with your personal legal advisor before relying upon the information provided. 

The Fair Use Defense 

What is Fair Use?

“Fair use” is outlined in a set of guidelines found in Title 17, Section 107 of the U.S. copyright act. It allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the owner in specific cases. Essentially, the guidelines give people the ability to build upon the work of another so long as it doesn’t deprive the original artist of the right to “control and benefit from their works.” 

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6 Steps to Find (and Keep) Your Dream Employees

Employees who love their jobs perform better and stay with their companies longer. However, according to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are truly engaged in their current roles. Put another way, this year, 52% of U.S. workers plan to hunt for a new job, and of those, 54% landed their current job less than a year ago, Adtaxi reports.

That speaks to a larger trend of smart business owners creating cultures that appeal to workers’ needs, like a work-life balance or flex time. But first, you need to find, train and retain the right employees.

“The most difficult aspect of hiring and training employees is finding the right match for the employee and your company,” says Linda Gadwood, owner of Omaha, NE-based LogoLinda LLC.. “From the company side, [that means finding] someone who’ll show up and be fully engaged with my business. From the employee side, [they’re looking for] a company that allows them to use their talents.”

We asked four industry business owners and experts to weigh in on six key areas for finding and retaining the best employees.

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5 Keys to Transform Your Business into a Lifestyle Brand

In today’s digital era, anyone can have an idea and start a business. Only a few, however, can truly become lifestyle brands with a devoted customer base. Great lifestyle brands have personality, influence behavior and create a strong connection with their audience. 

Here are five keys that will transform your business into one of the greats by building customer retention, brand loyalty and overall profit growth.

1. Understand Your Audience 

Integral to all facets of a business, you need to thoroughly understand your audience. The best way to do this is by creating buyer personas—or semi-fictional characters who represent your optimal consumers based on detailed market research. 

The most important things to include when developing these personas are:

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4 Ideas for Mini-Me Matching Themes

In light of the “mini-me” fashion craze, we’re seeing everything from parent-child tees to dresses to hats pop up in the market. In fact, if you search the hashtag #minime on Instagram, you’ll find over seven million results

High-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé are no strangers to the style, as they are often seen flaunting matching outfits with their kids. So, why are we so obsessed with looking like our children and having them look like us? Let’s dive in. 

The Mini-Me Craze

If we travel back to the 1960s, mothers used to make clothing for themselves and their children using the same fabric. However, back then these matching styles were usually considered outdated. If only they knew how the style would be highly popularized today. 

Conversely, elegant mini-me matching has long been popular in Russia and the Middle-East. Only in the last couple of years have we seen an uptick in trendiness in the U.S., due in large part to celebrities and social media influencers. 

According to Carolyn Mair, author of The Psychology of Fashion, family members want to dress similarly because it creates a sense of belonging and show of good-standing. Mair explains, “It makes a positive statement about the family to observers, as it’s doubtful that a family or couple who were not in a good place emotionally would dress the same.” 

Not to mention, it pulls at the heartstrings. All in all, the trend is well-received globally by parents and kids alike and offers an opportunity for brands to expand their product offerings. 

The luxury market may be leading the charge, but that’s not stopping retailers from throwing their hats in the ring, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

We’ve rounded up four fun ideas for mini-me matching themes below.

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