I’m in love again – oh, not with a girl, I’ve been happily married for 43 years. I’m in love with the potential of the new Condé Binders. They call them “Binder Notebooks” but they are really more like portfolios.
They are nicely made with inside pockets just like the expensive leather ones you can buy at Staples or on Amazon but these have an imprintable front cloth cover you can sublimate. And they do sublimate well. They are also priced right.
If you’re not familiar with these, they come in 3 sizes. The large one holds a letter size legal pad. The middle size holds a 6×8” legal type pad and the small comes with 3×4” note pad (starter pads are included in all three sizes). They have slots for pens, but those are not included.
There are a bunch of markets for these products: Students to be sure but also professionals who need to carry a small note pad in their pocket and business people of all kinds who attend meetings, classes or conferences and need something to take notes on. Nurses usually carry a notepad to record vitals on as might doctors. I can even see executives having a different one for each project they are working on – kind of like huge file folders they can keep notes and papers in and always know which binder is for which project because it can be printed right on the front!
For mom’s purse, the small one is the perfect size. It can show off the kids, grandkids, and pets or in desperation, even her husband.
Any of them can be made super functional by including a calendar, charts, phone lists or whatever else one might need to do their job or enjoy their hobby.
The products are priced right to make money. The BDR35 (3×5”) is a touch over $5. The BDR79 (7×9”) is $5.50 and the BDR912 (9×12”) is $8.75. If you check out Amazon, you will find that even the cheapest, plain Jane 9×12” is $13 and a decent one is $20. A personalized one is $60 and that just includes a hot stamped name which will wear off in a few months. This gives us lots of room to compete, especially if we factor in the added value of the imprinted front. Here’s what I plan to sell mine for on my website:
3×5” $20 each or 2/$30
7×9” $25.95 each or 2/$45.00
9×12” $34.95 each or 2/$60.00 or 6/$150
You can, of course, charge whatever you want for yours.
Condé offers two styles of baby bibs. The most popular (with my daughter and her children at least) is the SDL07 Vapor brand fleece bib with Velcro closure. It covers a larger area, is easier to get off and on and doesn’t have strings that might cause safety problems (strings and babies are always a concern).
This bib is very soft and washes well. It makes a great gift for most any reason: holidays, baby showers, mother’s day, baby’s birthday, etc. It is also inexpensive both to buy and to make and it works best (my opinion) if the background is left white and the images are done in vivid colors. It also uses less ink that way. Justifying the pricing we charge for the bib has to be based on the imprint. People can buy similar bibs for anywhere from $4 to $10 just about everywhere so for us to get the price we want and to sell the bib at all, will require we push the added value of custom imprinting.
With a base price of $3.35 each for the bibs, plus $10 to $15 profit for our time and trouble, this little bib has to total out at about $20 to be worth the trouble – a little pricey perhaps. Still, I offer the custom bib for $19.95 or two for $24.95.
A much better way to market this product however, is to package it. There are several ways to do this and several price ranges you can create. One is to offer a package of seven bibs imprinted with the child’s name and “Monday” through “Sunday” with something imprinted on each one such as “Monday’s child is…”. This bears a cost of about $23 and can easily sell for $49.95. Another series might focus on whatever they call their grandparents. These names are often hard to find on the open market since they vary so much from “PaPaw” to “Paw Paw” to “Popie” to “Pap Paw” and “Nannie” to “Nana”, “grandma” and “grandpaw” – well, you get the idea. People won’t pay for generics but you touch a nerve when you imprint whatever the child calls them and spell it correctly to boot. That’s the “added value” that will sell this product for a handsome profit.
Another way to group this product is to put it with the matching burp cloth (SLD02) and blanket (SDL01). A matching set with the same imprint on all three pieces is just what the doctor ordered for that special baby shower or for no special reason at all. Of course, you will have to be a little creative with the blanket if you want to imprint it in-house since it is 29×39”. I suggest you print two opposite corners at a 45 degree angle. This looks really nice, is easy to press and doesn’t look like a quick fix. Your other option is to let Condé print it for you but this takes time and many customers are impatient enough without asking them to wait a week for their gift.
Pricing the three piece set starts with an investment of about $15 plus ink and paper. Perceived value tells me nothing less than $49.95 will do and since the set is going to use the same artwork on each piece, that price just seems right to me. You can, of course, go after a bit more but I’m going to be happy with a $30 profit on this item – not as much as I often look for but it might make the difference between an easy sale and not making the sale at all. Quantity discount if they want to buy two sets? I don’t think so but I might throw in an extra bib to sweeten the deal!
Just made my first sample of this new apron and I’m very impressed. The color is good and the apron is well made so it should hold up to the beating it is likely to get. I think these will be good sellers but they won’t sell themselves.
With many of the sublimation products, I won’t even bother talking to managers of the big chain stores. They just aren’t allowed to do much in the way of in-house promotion but I think this will be the exception to the rule. Most, well at least many, of the restaurant chains are actually privately owned so the franchise owners have some latitude as to what they can and cannot do. This is true with most Shoney’s/Big Boy’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, etc. In many cases, the franchise owners have the liberty to decorate the way they want to and have some liberty with the wait staff uniforms. Things like name badges and aprons should fall within that area.
As for privately owned eateries, they can do anything they want and in spite of what it may seem, there are still hundreds of thousands of mom and pop restaurants, bars and grills across the country. Many are small and have limited funds and small wait staffs but that just works to our advantage since they can’t afford and don’t need a large quantity of custom printed aprons. They might need only six or even fewer.
But to sell these, we will need a “pitch”. Why should they pay $20 for an apron? They can probably buy a blank one for $3 or $4. And that is exactly why they should pay $20. These aren’t blank. Not only can they have their name on it, they can also have a picture and that picture should be of some special dish they serve or perhaps a scrumptious dessert. Make the aprons sell something – something that pushes up sales. In an Outback for instance, use a picture of their Blooming Onion. Everyone loves those but how many swear they aren’t going to order one when they go in because it isn’t good for them or they are trying to cut back. We are never weaker than when we are hungry – most of us will buy everything we see when we are hungry. For a Shoney’s, it has to be the pies. For Olive Garden, it could be a desert or an appetizer. The same is true for Applebees.
As for mom and pop type eateries, take a picture of whatever they want to sell more of. For bars and taverns, feature a special drink such as a Margarita or an appetizer, if they serve them. Challenge the owner to keep track of his sales and see if the bottom line doesn’t increase because of the aprons.
I have been wearing mine around my engraving shop. The pockets are a great place to carry the ruler I always have to hunt for, my phone, a pen and paper for notes and even a screwdriver or two. The best thing about wearing one around the shop is customers see it! Consider imprinting your company name and something like, “We Make Custom Aprons”. Be sure to include a brightly colored graphic.
As for pricing, I set my prices in small quantities. I find this works best with small business owners. I charge $22.95 for a single apron (they cost us $5.50), $19.95 each for two, and $15.95 each for six or more. You can set your own pricing of course. Some dealers charge less per apron and charge a setup fee. I find that confusing and just build the setup into the price. That way, I can promote, “No minimum, no setup fee” for full-color imprint.
Laundry bag – that’s pretty cut and dried. Not much to say about that product – either you want one or you don’t – right?
Actually, I can see some opportunity here. Like you, I see a great product for the college crowd but I also see an opportunity for summer campers. There are all kinds of camps in both the summer and winter. Soccer camps, cheerleading camps, gymnastic camps, football camps, music camps, church camps, basketball camps, programs for kids to such as doing missionary work, special interest camps and study groups. Most of these camps last a week or more and guess what these kids will have a lot of? Dirty clothes of course!
Kids going off to college will also be looking for a laundry bag to either tote their clothes to the Laundromat or home to mom to wash. And this brings up the interesting question of how do you sell two laundry bags to the same person? Well, if little Johnny is going off to college but doesn’t live too far from home, chances are mom will be doing his laundry. Two bags will allow Johnny to keep a bag for dirty clothes at school and then trade it for a bag of clean clothes every weekend when he goes home for a home cooked meal. I remember when my brother was away at college, he used to mail his dirty clothes home for washing! Nothing has changed since then.
These sewn and finished bags are fairly expensive at about $7.50 each but they drop almost a dollar to $6.70 in lots of six. This is about what an unprinted bag might cost from Amazon.com so the selling point is the imprinting we can do.
What this says to me is, if we want to sell very many of these, we are going to have to have some pre-designed bags ready to show the customer. Of course the customer will want their bag personalized with the student’s name but what will interest the student will be the design – it has to be something that strikes a chord and makes it really unique and special.
This can run the gamut from comical to serious. Of course, it must be legal to print – stay away from college logos and sports logos such as NFL or NASCAR logos. Unless you have a license, these are strictly illegal and will get you in a lot of trouble. Clipart from Corel and some text is always a good way to decorate a bag with things like “John’s Personal Contamination Zone” or “Danger! Dirty Underwear” or “Open at your own risk” or something with various sports images on it or various cars, hot rods, etc. You don’t need to make samples of these, just a drawing is adequate.
This laundry bag can be imprinted on both sides so rather than offer it for two prices, I offer it for $19.95 and then add $5 to imprint the second side. Clearly, this isn’t going to be your biggest money maker but they are easy to print and don’t take long so a 300+% profit isn’t bad. If someone wants two, I would cut the price as low as $15.95 each.
Here’s a tip: If you encourage your customer and make your designs so they have a white background, the product will not only look better (my opinion) but save money in ink. It will also make it easier to imprint this with a small printer like the Ricoh SG 3110dn since you can actually print two or three transfers and imprint them either one at a time or all at once, depending on the size of your press.
You won’t hear me say this very often but this is a product you should give away. What? I will repeat that: This is a product you should give away! I’m talking about the Jar Opener J0516 – Let me explain.
There aren’t many products I would encourage this with but this is definitely one of them. Make this a promotional product for your own company. Then, encourage other companies to do the same. In a quantity of 30, this product costs 43¢. How can you justify selling these one at a time? I try to work in about $15 for the first of anything to cover setup time (computer time setting up a product is usually our biggest expense in making the product). That means I would have to sell these for $15.95 each in single quantities. I might sell a few but it’s going to be very few at that price. What we need to do is sell them by the dozen so we can absorb the setup cost and still make some serious money.
But before I get ahead of myself, let me go back to “giving them away”. This is the perfect product for us to hand out as a promotional piece. There is a lot of room for imprinting our company logo, phone number, description of what we do (“Make Photo-Gifts”), and even instructions on how to use this funny looking little critter. After all, if someone gave you one of these and you didn’t know what it was, what would you think it might be? Imprint its uses on the face of the item: Remove warm light bulbs, open lids, etc. My wife uses hers as a mousepad for her laptop! Print up 30 of them for yourself and give them to your customers or potential customers. Choose who you give them to – don’t give them to people who you know will never buy anything – make them work for you. When an organization comes to you and asks for give-a-ways, here is something you can give them that people really will appreciate. At 43¢ plus ink, 30 of these probably costs less than $15 to make but their retail value might be as high as $5 each – that’s a $150 donation!
More important than our using these as promotional items, is getting other companies to do the same. That’s where we make money. There is an endless list of companies that could benefit from these little gadgets. Anyone related with food or cooking to be sure but hundreds of other companies can benefit as well. Because they will likely end up in the kitchen, one would suppose they are meant for the lady of the house but even that isn’t necessarily true. How often have you men gone in the kitchen and struggled to get a jar open? And who changes the light bulbs in your house? So, you see, this is a promotional item that will reach everyone and every time someone picks it up, whether they actually use it or not, they see your advertising.
As for pricing, you can set your price anyway you like. I am working with these numbers: 1 item is $15.95. 2 for $17.95. 6 for $19.95. 25 for $62.50 ($2.50 ea) and 50 for $75.00 ($1.50 ea). My objective is to get people to buy 25 or 50 at a time. Those numbers keep things manageable and profits reasonable. Make them too cheap and they don’t maintain their value in the eyes of the buyer. Make them too expensive and they will opt for something from a promotional products dealer (which I am). By the way, a promotional products version of this jar opener sells for $1.08 each in a quantity of 250 pieces plus setup but that includes only one color of ink. Makes our jar opener look pretty good doesn’t it? They afford smaller quantities, full-color, faster production and customization.