BIC Graphic (asi/40480) announced that it has already surpassed its 2015 goal of raising $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, bringing total proceeds through May to $110,012. The company has also raised an extra $20,000 through an internal employee fundraising drive. In addition, the company will continue to donate $2 for each order of select products through 2015.


Industry Suppliers Stop Sales Of Confederate Flags
Flag makers in the promotional products industry have decided to stop selling Confederate flags in the wake of the recent mass shooting at a church in Charleston, SC. Quinn Flags (asi/80228), Eder Flag Manufacturing Co. (asi/51678), Valley Forge Flag Co. (asi/93250) and Annin Flagmakers (asi/36256) are among the companies that have pulled Confederate flags from their stocks.
“It’s morally and ethically appropriate to make this announcement showing that the historical symbolism of this flag needs to be just that – history,” Matthew Quinn, president of Hanover, PA-based Quinn Flags, said in a statement. “The time has come to make a stand and end the feelings of hate and racism that many feel when they see the Confederate flag.”

For Valley Forge, the tragedy in Charleston hit close to home. The Wyomissing, PA-based supplier has four manufacturing and distribution plants in and around Charleston. Christopher Binner, vice president of sales and marketing, said that approximately 75% of the employees in those plants are African-American. “We would never want to make a product that offends people, including our own employee base, and this flag does offend people,” said Binner. “The decision was an easy one and unanimous among the executive level. Unfortunately, it took a horrific tragedy to bring this to the forefront. “

Oak Creek, WI-based Eder Flag expressed similar sentiments in a statement that read in part: “Eugene Eder, the company’s former long-time owner, fought in World War II against the forces of bigotry, hatred and tyranny. Mr. Eder’s primary reason to own and operate Eder Flag after serving in the U.S. Navy was to produce American flags, a symbol of freedom and opportunity. The recent events in Charleston, SC, and motivating factors behind those events, coupled with Mr. Eder’s legacy, led to our decision to no longer manufacture or sell these types of flags.”

Mary Repke, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Annin Flagmakers, said that the Roseland, NJ-based company has halted all sales of the Confederate Battle and Confederate Field Artillery flags in all sizes and materials. “Flags are very powerful symbols, and these flags have come to represent a very negative aspect of our nation’s past,” she said.

The decision by these manufacturers to stop selling Confederate flags has drawn a mixed response from customers and the public, with some applauding the move and others criticizing it. “We’ve had an equal amount positive and negative reaction,” said Repke. “Some of our customers told us they would have done the same thing, and others have not been happy. Everyone has a right to their opinion. But we have the right to manufacture or not manufacture particular flags.”

Overall, Confederate flags were a small portion of industry flag makers’ business. “We sell about 1,000 out of the total 10 million flags we do,” said Repke, noting the flags typically were purchased by historical reenactment groups. Quinn’s customers were predominantly historical associations, said General Manager Ryan Halvorsen. “The sales were fairly seasonal, usually around spring and summer holidays like Memorial Day and Fourth of July,” Halvorsen said.

Outside the promo industry, major retailers that include Sears, Walmart, eBay and Amazon have nixed sales of Confederate merchandise. This includes everything from T-shirts and folding knives to belt buckles, jewelry and more.

Confederate symbols have been at the center of heated debates since accused murderer Dylann Roof, 21, allegedly killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church – one of America’s oldest black churches – in Charleston on June 17. Roof reportedly targeted the church and its congregants for racial reasons. Images later emerged of Roof holding a gun and waving a Confederate flag. Following the murders, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley asked the state legislature to remove Confederate flags from the state capitol.


The opposite of networking is not working. 

What is the most important networking tool, your business card. It is amazing to me how many people still neglect to have a nice, unique, interesting, and memorable card. What do you think when someone hands you a card they printed on their own ink jet printer then tore it out of the pre perforated sheet? I know what I think and it’s not good. Is that the impression you want to leave with a potential client? Of course not, so I am going to give you some good tips. In today’s world of technology you don’t need to cram your card with tons of information. Drop your address and just put the city your located in or where your from. People will see that and ask about it, ice breaker. White space, looks classy, professional and clean, make sure you have plenty. Unique shapes work great, I have a 2.5 inch round card and everyone I hand it to makes a comment about how cool that is. My ultimate goal is to be remembered, not cram information down people’s throats. Believe me, if they want to know exactly where your located they will Google it. Another one is the use of numbers, your fax number does not need to be on your cards, not many people use the fax anymore and if they need it then they can call and get it. Multiple phone numbers, just use one number, if you don’t want people to call you directly don’t give them a card to begin with. Self portrait is very important for real estate, customer service and anyone that wants you to put a name with a face. So I hope some of this has helped you make the desision to change your card and stand out from the crowd. At cool ideas marketing I can help your cards stand out and be remembered, visit for more information about standing out. Thanks so much! Brian Coolbaugh


American Apparel Gets Restraining Order Against Charney


A judge this week granted Counselor Top 40 supplier American Apparel (asi/35297) a temporary restraining order against ousted CEO and founder Dov Charney. Charney is now barred from criticizing the company and its employees and seeking to replace directors ahead of its annual meeting on July 18, according to a filing in Delaware Chancery Court.

Charney was initially suspended as CEO last June, after which he teamed up with hedge fund Standard General to buy additional shares of the company in an attempted comeback. As part of a standstill deal between both companies, Charney stepped down as a board member and agreed to a number of other conditions. His comeback attempt failed, and Charney was fired in December by American Apparel’s board of directors for alleged misconduct and violations of company policy. In May, American Apparel sued Charney for violating terms of the standstill agreement.

Stephen Brauerman, a Delaware lawyer representing Charney, said his client plans to comply with the court’s order fully. “The court’s order is preliminary and based on pleadings we have not had an opportunity to fully challenge at this stage of the proceedings,” according to a written statement Brauerman released. “We do not believe this decision has any effect on the other litigation he has filed against the company.”

Charney has been seeking millions of dollars in damages in a series of defamation lawsuits against American Apparel and Standard General. In one suit, Charney claims an internal investigation directed by American Apparel’s board was intended to “manufacture” reasons to fire him.

American Apparel, though struggling overall, is still seeing year-over-year increases in the North American ad specialties space, reporting to Counselor that its 2014 promo products sales were $105 million, 6% higher than in 2013. Counselor currently ranks the company as the 14th largest supplier in the industry.

Disney Bans Selfie Sticks On Rides

Visitors to Disney World and Disneyland can officially no longer use selfie sticks on rides, with a park spokesperson saying the items present a threat to safety. Signs announcing the ban have been posted outside Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain after recent rides had to be stopped because too many people were using the picture-taking device.

The signs are “just a continuation of our communication efforts at a few key attractions,” Disney wrote in an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel.

Disney has recently been urging its ride workers to remind visitors that any selfie sticks should be stowed before beginning a ride. Complaints about selfie sticks on rides have grown in recent months, with people using social media to send out pictures of the item extending three feet away from a locked seat. Disney is now stressing it will allow selfie sticks in its theme parks, but is asking visitors to simply put them away before they go on rides.

The selfie stick, which can be logoed, has been increasingly banned at popular events and places in 2015. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum have outlawed the device, as have music festivals Coachella and Lollapalooza. Major sporting events like Wimbledon and the Kentucky Derby have prohibited the selfie stick, as well.

Selfie sticks have been around for decades, but have become popular with advances in technology. The newest sticks have built-in Bluetooth shutters on their handles and sturdier frames to keep heavier devices likes GoPros from falling. While selfie sticks have been banned at various venues, they remain top sellers in many tourist hotspots, especially on the streets of Europe.