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Category: News

The Pen Warehouse adds 360° laser engraving

Thanks to investment in cutting-edge technology, The Pen Warehouse now offers 360° laser engraving on 118 of its products with a five-day standard lead time.

Traditionally, the laser engraving process has only been able to mark a restricted area on a cylindrical pen. It only has line-of-sight of one side of the barrel and cannot engrave around it. This means it is typically limited to an engraving height of between 6mm and 10mm.

However, technological advances mean the machine can now also engrave around the circumference of the pen at the same time, making the entire 360° of the barrel available for branding.

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Factory visits offer hands-on experience

The bpma education programme factory visits were a real success for the summer and autumn seasons and prove to be a highlight of the learning journey. The factory visits have been created to complement the course content for the Trained in Promotional Merchandise (TPM) level qualification, allowing learners to engage with suppliers, see theory in practice and gain hands-on production experience.

Commenting on the benefi ts of a factory visit, Listawood’s sales director Sim Shalom reports: “It’s useful to be able to spend time helping learners to gain a better understanding of the many printing and production processes involved in the accurate branding and manufacturing of a wide range of ceramic products and other best-selling items.”

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Blended learning approach underpins bpma education growth

The bpma education programme continues to grow, with over 120 active learners on the programme. Daniela Arena, professional development manager at the bpma, comments: “We now offer a blended learning approach on the education programme. Learners can attend an introductory seminar, held in London, and are encouraged to attend a supplier factory visit organised by the bpma. They can also attend a credit-weighted boot camp or similar event.

“The majority of the learning is still delivered online, allowing people to study at a time and place to suit them. To enhance the online learning, we are launching new content within the 14 subject categories into the programme four times a year. New content will be relevant and written specifically for our industry by experts of the fi eld within the industry.”

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Matt’s marathon effort Stateside

Matt Franks, CEO of Fluid Branding and chairman of the bpma, was preparing to run the New York Marathon as Product Media was going to press.

He is raising money for Pancreatic Cancer UK and, although he was running the marathon on November 1, you can still donate via

Matt (pictured) said: “Earlier this year I entered the New York Marathon on a whim, not dreaming of actually getting a place.  I got lucky through the ballot – first time – and so the hard work began.”

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Rugby World Cup pride for Touch of Ginger

Medals handed out at the end of the Rugby World Cup were the result of months of development in secret by design company Touch of Ginger.

They were briefed to produce three different sets of medals: for the World Cup finalists and winners of the third and fourth place play-off; for the remaining 17 teams; and for the helpers.

Touch of Ginger director Adam Cash said: “The helpers’ gifts are for everyone involved in helping to put together what is a huge logistical challenge, so they have something to say thank you to them.”

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Bags exempt from plastic bag tax

The Government’s tax levy on plastic bags in larger retailers has come into force but what polythene bags are exempt from the tax?

The levy is applied to retailers with 250 employees or more and only for bags that are 70 microns thick or less, with handles, and not having been previously used. Polythene bags that are exempt are returnable multiple reuse bags that must be:

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Wage revelation over Corbyn T-shirts

T-shirts that raised £100,000 for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to be Labour Party leader were made by workers earning just 49p per hour, according to an investigation by The Mail on Sunday.

The T-shirts cost supporters £10 each, with additional postage at £3.50, but the workers from Nicaragua were paid just 49p per hour for them. In Nicaragua, workers are paid £101 a month for shifts that keep some workers on the factory site for more than 12 hours a day, with breaks.

Some of the T-shirts were made in Haiti where workers are paid a piece rate depending on how many shirts they make, which means some earn as little as 39p an hour.

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Something to Shout about

Hertfordshire-based distributor Shout Promotional Merchandise delivered another great showcase event at the beautiful Chartered Accountants Hall in the City of London. 

The event was supported by 21 suppliers and three speakers including Gordon Glenister, director general of the bpma, and had over 225 pre-registered visitors.

Managing director Carrie Benn commented: “We are absolutely overwhelmed by the visitor feedback from the day.”

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Impamark celebrates 40 years

Impamark Prestige Branded Merchandise is celebrating 40 years as a family-run promotional merchandise business.

Throughout this time, it has been located in the sleepy backwater town of Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, initially at Dammerwick Farm before moving operations into the town in 1975. They have since been provided services to a wide-ranging client list, including the University of St Andrews, Harrow School, RAF Rugby Union and Rolls Royce.

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USB2U joins the Gilt Edged Group

Two successful Midlands businesses, both well-established names in the promotional products industry, have merged.

Gilt Edged Promotions and USB2U will be working under one roof in Moulton Park in Northampton with the aim of becoming the UK’s leading promotional products supplier.

Together they will generate a combined annual revenue of £8.5m. Gilt Edged and USB2U will continue to trade under their well-known individual brand names, and the team of over 60 people are excited by the opportunities that their shared skill-sets and strengths will bring.

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Company removed from bpma membership

The bpma has removed Blindside Marketing, a merchandise sourcing house, from its membership due to an unresolved complaint and a contravention of the bpma Code of Conduct.

Fellow bpma member Mosaic Marketing tried to source some bespoke tea towels through Blindside Marketing. Unfortunately, the resulting order process was a catalogue of disasters and poor communication back to Mosaic.

As with all complaints, a number of attempts were made to Blindside to respond to the complaint, all of which were ignored.

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‘Owlsee’ wins bpma Student Design Award

A design for flat-pack binoculars called “Owlsee”, has won the the bpma Student Design Competition for design students from universities across the UK.

Entries were whittled down to a final few with students then invited to champion their designs at a judging session in June at the Museum of Brands in London.

The finalists were from Nottingham Trent and Brunel Universities. Each student had five minutes to pitch their idea to the five judges: Gordon Glenister of the bpma, Maz Ali of Innovation 1st, Jean-Francois Chodecki of Corporate Creations, Angus Montgomery, editor of Design Week, and Bilal Hussain of Alvastone.

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Standardisation at last?

Matt Pluckrose, managing director of Desktop Ideas, on the new USB-C ports.

We have all got used to changes in the cables and connectors that power and connect our devices to power and our data hosts. Just when they seemed
to make sense to us, all the major tech companies have found a new standard which hopefully can bring standardisation over time. This new standard is known as USB-C and its design features reversible, symmetrical ends so there is no longer a wrong way to insert a cable into a port. But the significance of this is far more significant than that for laptops, tablet and smartphone users. The new connector technology means we should see quicker charging of gadgets, faster transfer of data and, as the design is somewhat smaller than its ancestors, slimmer devices.

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Government funding for PSI exhibitors

After a six-month bidding process through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the bpma has secured funding status which enables it to offer individual grants of £1,500 for UK promotional merchandise industry companies exhibiting at the PSI show in Dusseldorf in January 2016.

The grants can be set against the cost of exhibition space, stand costs including design, construction and stand dressing and relevant marketing collateral.

Through the UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme fund (TAP), the bpma has been able to distribute more than 60 grants to suppliers looking to either export or to grow their export sales who have exhibited at PSI since 2011.

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SPS strengthens European sales team

SPS has welcomed Rebecca Hilton to its European sales team in a move that will further strengthen the company’s European operations. In the last 12 months, SPS has taken massive strides across Europe with the launches of SPS France, SPS Deutschland and SPS Holland.

Rebecca joins the company as European development co-ordinator, based in Blackpool, and brings a wealth of experience from working in the European Parliament in Brussels for six years as well as living in France, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark. Fluent in French, Italian, Spanish and Danish, she is also learning Hebrew.

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Well-known face joins Evolve Branding

Lui Notarnicola, a well-known figure in the promotional products industry, has joined the sales team of Evolve Branding as national account manager.

He previously worked at Doves Clothing, Booth Bros, and Fairway Identity, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise spanning over 24 years.

An authority in all aspects of decorated garments and accessories, Lui will be responsible for developing the future growth of Evolve Branding where managing director, Harvey Jeal, has recently invested in additional improved printing resources.

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Goldstar recruits new fields sales manager

Rachel Ross has joined Goldstar Europe as fields sales manager, responsible for sales management and revenue growth in the north and west of the UK.

She brings years of industry experience and strong relationships within the UK promotional customer base. She previously worked for Senator Pens, Bic Graphic, PF Concept and, for a short while, as a multi-line agent.

Goldstar general manager Colin Loughran said: “It is important for us to find the right person to support the Goldstar ethos. The list of attributes included experience and hardworking but more importantly we wanted someone that is liked and respected in the industry. We’re thrilled to have Rachel as part of the team.”

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Senator ‘bags’ Cherylee from fashion world

Senator’s newest recruit, account manager Cherylee Green, comes from the world of sexy fashion accessories – cool UK-designed leather handbags to be precise.

As the UK & Ireland sales manager for fast-growing outfit Smith & Canova for the past 10 years, she has a significant amount of experience when it comes to channel marketing.  “This is something we consider essential,” said Senator managing director, Andrew Hill.

“Our customers deserve the best, and Cherylee certainly knows what she’s doing, having played a pivotal role in helping drive Smith & Canova through a substantial growth period.”

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Substances added to rules on hazardous substances

Four phthalate plasticisers have been classified as Priority 1 Substances and added to the existing six substances restricted by EU Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).

The four phthalates are Bis (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP), Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP), Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) and Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP). They join lead, mercury, cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE).

RoHS limits these substances to 0.1% or 1,000ppm (except for cadmium, which is limited to 0.01% or 100ppm) by weight of homogenous material. Restrictions on the four new substances will be phased in from July 22, 2019.

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