Accessory Appreciation

What 2016 Holds For The Promotional Extras That Garnish Your Life

Accessories such as caps, headbands, neckwear, footwear and aprons are some of the items that help make up the wearables category, the largest selling category in the promotional products industry at nearly 31 percent of total sales, according to PPAI’s 2014 Estimate of Distributor Sales. Bags came in fourth in that report, at 7.45 percent of total distributor sales. So at nearly 40 percent of the total promotional products market, wearable accessories and bags are a popular promotional investment.

When you’re recommending accessories to your clients, it helps to know what’s trending in the market. Trends to be aware of in 2016 include products that are made in the U.S. and products that are eco-friendly and manufactured by socially conscious companies.

“Made in the USA always sees a surge in sales in presidential election years,” says David Bronson, Unionwear (UPIC: MADEINUS) director of national accounts. He believes that in 2016 over a billion dollars could be spent on branded merchandise promoting candidates who do not want to be associated with ‘Made in China.’

“Buying goods made in the U.S. means that the workers who produce the goods benefit from the same labor and social compliance standards as the consumer who buys them,” Bronson adds. Unionwear is committed to product responsibility; every Unionwear product is both union-made and American-made, he says.

Another bonus of using products made in the U.S. is that they don’t have to be shipped from overseas, and many are less harmful to the environment. Eco-friendly companies, such as those that offer upcycled products are becoming more popular in the industry, partly because of the Millennial effect. According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials took over as the largest generation of the U.S. labor force in 2015 and they now comprise 46 percent of B2B buyers. Buying from companies that give back to society (such as by saving landfill space through upcycling and recycling) is important to 75 percent of Millennials.

Jamie Allen, marketing director for Head To Toe (UPIC: HTTH0002), says, “We have calls daily asking about our recycled products. With so much awareness in our world today about recycling products, more and more people are in search of products that are sustainable.” For example, products made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET), are becoming more prevalent in the industry.

“With today’s technology, using RPET in apparel is more affordable and available to everyone. HTT continues to grow with RPET products,” Allen adds.

Try These Made-In-The-USA Products On For Size

Unionwear Hat web

Lowstyle Baseball Cap This cotton-spandex baseball cap with closed back and khaki buttons and eyelets, has a pancake bill and is 100-percent made in the USA and 100-percent union-made by Workers United.

Unionwear/Konvex UPIC: MADEINUS

Aprons web

Aprons Eco-friendly and USA-made of 65-percent recycled polyester/35-percent organic cotton, these aprons are available in custom sizes and 25 colors.

Aprons Etc. UPIC: APRONS

Cowboy Hat web

Cowboy Hat This 24-inch novelty foam hat is sure to bring smiles at any event. Choose from 13 spirited colors.

Spirit Industries UPIC: SPIRIT

RF-700 Pink

Slap-Wrap Combo A necessity for every runner, this product trio includes a slap-wrap wrist reflector, zipper pull and lace-tags, all made of reflective material to keep wearers visible at night.

Reflectix UPIC: 2reflect

Add These Accessories To Your Arsenal


HTT Bag web copy

Recycled Tote Bag Good looking and good for the environment, these bags made from recycled plastic bottles come in a variety of colors and sizes and look great customized with your logo or branding.

Head To Toe UPIC: HTTH0002

Guess Sunglasses webHarley Davidson Sunglasses web

Fashion Eyewear Both Guess and Harley-Davidson are iconic brands offering stylish glasses that will have your clients on the cutting edge of fashion.

Hirsch Gift, Inc. UPIC: HIRGIFT

BIC futuristic digital watch web

Futuristic Digital Watch This digital watch has a pressable face to display numbers with three modes: time, date and seconds. It has a power-saving LED and will turn off after three seconds of non-use. Full-color logos are possible with britePix® imprint capability. Choose from five colors.


Sweatshirt bottle opener web

J America Huzu Tailgate Hoody This clever sweatshirt has two accessories built right in—a Neoprene beverage cooler/holder and a bottle/can opener. Made from nine-ounce, 60-percent ring-spun cotton and 40-percent polyester, it has a jersey-lined hood with metal grommets, a matching draw cord and set-in sleeves. Available in sizes S-3X in black, charcoal heather, navy and oxford.

Heritage Sportswear UPIC: HERI0002

Wowline sunglasses web2

Iconic Style Sunglasses These high-quality sunglasses have UV400 protection and look great with any outfit. Choose from black, red, blue or white. One size fits most adults.

Wow Line UPIC: MANY0002

mens custom watch

Customized Watch Create a custom watch with your company’s logos and colors and/or special engraving for any occasion.

Logomark UPIC: logomark www.logomark

Clip-All web

Clip-All Attach this patent-pending, strong silicone magnetic clip to your shirt or tie and never lose your glasses again. Choose from black, red, royal blue, white, lime green and pink.

Nationwide Promotions UPIC: colormag

Flag purse web

Suede Flag Handbag Offer this stylish purse with studded stars and leather trim as a premium gift, incentive, award or as part of a promotion. The large main compartment has a top zip closure, interior zip pocket and organizing pockets, and the cross body leather shoulder strap is removable and adjustable.

Scully Inc. UPIC: S174962

Scarf web

Bundle-up Scarf Stay warm all winter with this oversized 50-percent polyester/50-percent rayon scarf. Colors available include ash heather, dirty heather and oatmeal heather. One size fits all.

McCreary’s Tees UPIC: mcts

towel web

Velour Sport Towel Don’t sweat your perspiration with this handy towel featuring velour on one side and terry loop on other. Crafted of 100-percent cotton, it’s a great choice for golf shops, country clubs, gyms and fitness centers, as well as bars and restaurants. Both light and dark colors are available.

Prime Resources Corp. UPIC: PRIME

Soak Up These Self-Promo Ideas

Selco Switch Watch web

Selco (UPIC: SELCO) offers an interchangeable custom-designed watch system, Switch, with modules that can be “switched” out among five different colored straps. To introduce the line, Selco created a self-promo campaign that was honored with a 2015 PPAI Pyramid Award. “The goal of the campaign was to engage distributors prior to meeting with them at upcoming shows,” says Selco President Mark Abels, MAS.

“A couple of weeks before each show, we mailed one of the brightly colored straps to each distributor with a note requesting they bring the strap to their meeting with us. About 75 percent of distributors remembered to bring their strap.” At the meeting, Selco presented each distributor with a fully-customized module embellished with the distributor’s company logo. “Distributors raved about their logoed watches and most put them on immediately and wore them throughout the show,” Abels adds.

Upcycled Mittens web

McCabe Promotional Advertising, Inc. (UPIC: MCCA0001) went retro and bought a 1967 Ford Falcon van to use at client and community events and as part of its social media messaging while launching a new motto this year: “Get Away From The Ordinary.” As a self-promo holiday gift, the distributor chose to partner with Canadian supplier Redwood Classics and give McCabe clients upcycled mittens made from ugly holiday sweaters destined for the landfill. “These ugly mittens fit into our story right now,” says Michelle Merrifield, McCabe’s VP of operations. “The promotion gets us away from the ordinary, and the fact that each mitten is unique and retro—all of that fits with our theme.” The mittens include a logoed woven label and are packaged in eco-friendly craft paper with a company-created hangtag.


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