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Whether you are attending the Awards and Personalization Association's International Awards & Personalization Expo in Las Vegas this month, sitting in the comfort of your store and browsing through industry suppliers' new catalogs, or enjoying a visit from an industry sales representative, one thing is certain–your excitement level is increasing as you view all of the new products available for 2017.

Clothes make the man, as the saying goes, but clothes can also help make the business, as some awards and personalization retailers have learned.

All the sublimation terms you need to know—and a few you may not even have known existed.

Just rain.” That’s what the local meteorologists said. No hurricane. No tropical storm. Not even a tropical depression in sight. When the forecast is “just rain” in south Louisiana, it means you might have to postpone mowing your lawn for a day. You can probably skip watering the flower beds. You take a rain poncho with you to the LSU football game. You wear old shoes to play golf. But you do not purchase extra canned food or bottled water. You do not rush to the station to fill your vehicle with gasoline. You do not take extra money out of the ATM in case power is lost for an extended period. You do not check the generators. And you certainly do not waste 1 minute worrying about rain in an area of the United States that gets more than 60 inches of rain in a typical year.

At Champion Awards & Apparel, “we do a lot of stuff to make a living,” summarizes President and CEO Mike Bowen. Champion comprises nine divisions in 40,000 sq ft in Memphis, TN, with $4.5 million in gross sales each year.
Over the years, we have all made decisions about our businesses that have allowed us to be more competitive. We have taken our brick and mortar stores online, allowing us to win customers on a much larger stage. We have gone from traditional marketing strategies like direct mail to social media marketing. We have transitioned from trophy dealers to personalization retailers.

Money talks. The question is what your money is saying to you. For most of us, it says, “Use me to grow the business,” or “Invest me for a more secure future.” But sometimes, in spite of your best intentions, it seems that your hard-earned cash is saying, “Bye-bye!” and being spent almost as quickly as it is made. Been there?

The green movement that was so en vogue in the 1990s and early 2000s took a backseat to the Great Recession. Companies struggling to keep their doors open had bigger problems than their environmental impact. Today, we’re working hard to get back to business as usual. It’s in this environment that buyers are motivated to seek eco-friendly products and spend with green businesses. Promoting the earth promotes profits, but you need to be armed with green products and knowledge.
Well, now it is official. I am old. I have come to this conclusion because in the last year phrases like “back when I was young,” “time goes by so fast,” and “the young people today” have rolled out of my mouth. This realization presented itself in full last month when I wrote “Build a Door” and used “the evolving profile of customers” as an example for reaching goals. That’s when it hit me that some of my friends now have grandchildren and many are looking forward to retirement. As my mother used to say, “Where has the time gone?” I used to roll my eyes when she said it (behind her back, of course), but now I understand.
Do you have your eye on a new piece of equipment for your shop—or have dreams of starting your own business—but have no idea how you’ll pay for it? Lease financing may be your answer.
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Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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