Since June 2019 cyber-Wear invites viewers live to its CG Live Talk every Wednesday at 10am. With its new format the promotional products specialist thus enables viewers midweek to start their day well informed about all the latest news. In a crisp and compact quarter of an hour the cyber team and its partner suppliers will keep their industry up to date on the most interesting current information relating to promotional articles.
Every week CEO Steven Baumgärtner meets with selected partner suppliers and chats live with them about the latest products and current topics affecting the world of promotional products. Here suppliers and customers receive in-depth information not only about product highlights, but also about development, quality, regulations and standards in the industry. Those participating in the discussions are a varied mix of companies from the promotional goods industry and prominent manufacturers.
The format offers the opportunity to present products and news in a completely new setting. The informal atmosphere, the live broadcast and the personal interaction make CG Live Talk so authentic and special.
29.03.2021 | Sportpabst
28.06.2021 | MYRIX - PODCAST
Interesting topics relating to promotional materials were discussed on a relaxed cycling tour, past fallen trees and excavators that are finally bringing digitalisation in the form of fibre optic networks to the Oberbergisches region.
myrix is our specialist when it comes to high-quality and individual notebooks and, since this year, calendars as well. All products are fully customised and production is primarily based in central Europe, which in most cases enables carbon-neutral manufacturing. At first glance both notebooks and calendars seem rather "old school" in today's digitalised society. However, Patrick Döring emphasises that notebooks are still very popular today and can clearly stand out from digital versions, especially in terms of feel, cover and content. Above all, the topic of individualisation is more important today than ever before, as more and more customers are giving much more thought to material and quality, which enables the products to stand out with a range of individual features. The quality of the notebooks is also very high, as the cover is made of carbon, leather or upcycling materials, for example, depending on the customer's wishes. Simply a perfect match!
Since the beginning of the year myrix has also integrated calendars into its range, which extends from diaries to wall planners, desktop planners and desk pads. Here, too, the question arises: why do you need a calendar when everything can now be done digitally? Patrick Döring emphasises that in spite of some difficulties the market for calendars is still there, and that they are well received by customers even though digital options are available. Here, too, the touch and feel of high-quality products is one step ahead of digitalisation. For myrix the inclusion of calendars in its own range is a "logical addition" and provides an option for building up another mainstay, says Patrick Döring.
At the end of the pleasant cycle ride the subject of trade fairs, which for many months have not been feasible in the current situation, is brought up. Here Patrick Döring emphasises that the promotional products industry lives from the tactile nature of its products, and it therefore simply doesn't work without trade fairs. Even digital versions have been unable to replace this, as products simply can't be presented via camera in the same way as live, and digitally the focus of the participants on products is often much lower than on site at a trade fair. At the moment it is probably still very difficult for anyone to determine which trade fairs will return and when, but enthusiasm about the possibility of live presentations again sometime in the future outweighs this.
15.09.2021 | PERFECT GIVINGS
When Timon Feld had previously canoed with the cyber-Wear team on the Alster the almost 100-year-old Barmeier boathouse made a powerful impression, and so the team decided to record the live talk with Timon there.
The owner of the boathouse agreed to the filming at short notice, which otherwise - due to the popularity of the location as a setting - has to be requested several weeks in advance.
PERFECT GIVINGS, founded at the beginning of this year by managing director Timon Feld, supports companies with employee and customer appreciation, rewards and motivation. For this purpose the team develops individual reward shops in the customer's design. No wish is left unfulfilled when it comes to individualisation: the layout of the shop, the company's URL, the product range and the complete technology can be adapted to the customer's wishes and needs. Companies can select products for their reward shop from a pool of more than 6,000 products, or display the complete range right away. In addition, other desired products that are not included in the range can also be integrated: for example, existing merchandising collections or vouchers can be easily linked.
The PERFECT GIVINGS shop system was developed by our own IT team and can easily be adapted to a variety of customer requirements.
There are very special tax advantages for companies that want to provide their employees with a reward shop: by means of the tax-free payment in kind, employers can provide each employee with up to € 44 in the shop every month and the sum is received by the employee in full, as no taxes or social security contributions are levied on this sum. From 2022 this monthly sum will even be increased to € 50. Here too, PERFECT GIVINGS has simplified the process for the customer and the employee to the maximum. The employee can spend the sum immediately on a desired product, save it up or make an additional payment via PayPal, direct debit or credit card.
A points system in the shop is also an option: in this way every company can easily start a reward system for customer loyalty, and reward its customers for sales made or contracts concluded.
At PERFECT GIVINGS every shop has a fixed contact person, "because there's nothing worse than hanging around in hotlines for ages," says Timon Feld. This person then takes care of all the shop user's requirements.
With the PERFECT GIVINGS reward shops the customer receives an easy-to-use premium tool with all required processing functions that can be used for any business.
15.09.2021 | PERFECT GIVINGS - PODCAST
This still young agency focuses on the topics of rewards and incentives - making it easy to show employees that they are valued. During the interview on the water Timon Feld describes the development of the concept, which had previously existed as the brand of a Hamburg agency, but which his team developed into an independent company.
Motivating and showing appreciation for their employees makes companies more successful in the long run. Timon Feld recognised the market potential of the reward system, and saw it as the basis for his long-cherished dream of starting his own company. Doubts are an inevitable part of such a new start-up, but he has not regretted the decision for a single day. There are dreams that simply have to be realised.
What Timon sees as particularly positive in his first few months in charge of his own company is the opportunity to make his own decisions, to change direction if necessary, and to be surrounded by an equally enthusiastic team. On the other hand it can sometimes involves a lot of worrying, but as Steven Baumgärtner confirms, that doesn't change even after 25 years of running your own business.
With his own team Timon Feld relies on open communication and flexible working. Even though they often have their own full service, his customers appreciate PERFECT GIVINGS with its customised solutions as the perfect complement. The agency provides them with a cool instrument for employee appreciation, including uncomplicated processing and cutting-edge, high-quality reward ideas from which employees can choose exactly what they like best. Timon's personal favourite reward is currently a tablet with its owner's name engraved on it.
The partners in the conversation paddled and chatted for almost three quarters of an hour without even getting out of breath. Thanks for the interesting insights, Timon!
22.09.2021 | Rathert Creativ
In line with the principle of "talking to each other instead of about each other", they discussed the industry in general and in detail.
Once the CG Live Talk had been recorded with the guys from Rathert Creativ we simply wanted to "chat" a bit more and made ourselves comfortable in the Rathert recliners for this purpose. Life could be worse than lying in the sun in mid-September with a view of Hamburg's fish market.
As a city north of the Elbe, Hamburg has the typical incomparable flair of the far North. In keeping with their Hanseatic reputation, people here approach everything in a somewhat more restrained manner. However, once the ice is broken it's friendship for life.
One major topic of the podcast was the question of how the industry will develop and where the trend is heading. In this respect the Rathert team sees the future in the full-service sector. In future the larger full-service agencies will settle the competition among themselves, and those who can't keep up will simply be eliminated. But everyone agrees that the cake is big enough, and if everyone does their job properly and professionally, they can all have a slice of it. Of course there are also the online agencies, but they are a market of their own and don't really get in the way of the guys from Rathert and us from cyber-Wear. There is definitely enough room in the industry for all those who do their job efficiently and conscientiously. True to the maxim of talking to each other instead of about each other, the guys from Rathert Creativ told us about the large network called Kreativteam, which includes them and another 15 distributors. Here they can jointly collect ideas and benefit from one another. This promotes shared action, which is still sometimes neglected in the industry.
The friendly chat was accompanied here and there by quiet or even fairly loud background noises, which however transported the Hamburg flair directly to the listeners at home. First the test siren for the flood alarm went off, and shortly before the end of the podcast a harbour tour ship approached, disembarking hundreds of tourists right in front of our noses. So it became evident to everyone that we were right there in the heart of the port of Hamburg. It was great to be able to talk about the industry together. You can find the entire podcast at https://bit.ly/Podcast_mit_Rathert_Creativ
04.10.2021 | Rathert Creativ - PODCAST
In line with the principle of "talking to each other instead of about each other", they discussed the industry in general and in detail. Once the CG Live Talk had been recorded with the guys from Rathert Creativ we simply wanted to "chat" a bit more and made ourselves comfortable in the Rathert recliners for this purpose. Life could be worse than lying in the sun in mid-September with a view of Hamburg's fish market.
As a city north of the Elbe, Hamburg has the typical incomparable flair of the far North. In keeping with their Hanseatic reputation, people here approach everything in a somewhat more restrained manner. However, once the ice is broken it's friendship for life.
One major topic of the podcast was the question of how the industry will develop and where the trend is heading. In this respect the Rathert team sees the future in the full-service sector. In future the larger full-service agencies will settle the competition among themselves, and those who can't keep up will simply be eliminated. But everyone agrees that the cake is big enough, and if everyone does their job properly and professionally, they can all have a slice of it. Of course there are also the online agencies, but they are a market of their own and don't really get in the way of the guys from Rathert and us from cyber-Wear. There is definitely enough room in the industry for all those who do their job efficiently and conscientiously. True to the maxim of talking to each other instead of about each other, the guys from Rathert Creativ told us about the large network called Kreativteam, which includes them and another 15 distributors. Here they can jointly collect ideas and benefit from one another. This promotes shared action, which is still sometimes neglected in the industry.
The friendly chat was accompanied here and there by quiet or even fairly loud background noises, which however transported the Hamburg flair directly to the listeners at home. First the test siren for the flood alarm went off, and shortly before the end of the podcast a harbour tour ship approached, disembarking hundreds of tourists right in front of our noses. So it became evident to everyone that we were right there in the heart of the port of Hamburg. It was great to be able to talk about the industry together.
You can find the entire podcast at https://bit.ly/Podcast_mit_Rathert_Creativ
04.10.2021 | CRIMEX - PODCAST
In our fourth podcast, Steven Baumgärtner meets up with Claus Roeting, CEO of Crimex, an expert in his field, who has spent more than 20 years coming up with unusual and unorthodox ideas for promotional materials. Failing to stay true to the theme of our podcast "On the move", this time we will be completely immobile and chilled in a garden in Hamburg. Yet in terms of mental activity, we'll be even more active than usual - as we have grown accustomed to and expect with these two individuals. What, you mean he's talking to the competition? No, to a colleague, and it's better to talk to them than to talk about one another!
We don't want to call him a cheeky rascal from the north of Germany, but he is very well known in the promotional materials sector as being at least rather provocative. Whether he's thinking up names like "Shake yourself one" for an app, stomping through the PSI trade fair dressed as a toilet technician in blue overalls, giving out QR codes for job ads, or almost getting thrown out of the trade fair because the music he plays is too loud. Claus Roeting and Crimex have a reputation for always being a bit different. We hear the story of how the two CEOs first met in Italy – one strongly focused on an online approach, the other more oriented towards full service; they are in fact hardly competitors. Still today, they get on well and treat one another like colleagues.
With the introduction of Fullmex, however, Crimex are expanding their area of business to include their own full service option, one which certainly earns respect in terms of its complexity, as Roeting admits. For this reason, he doesn't operate worldwide, but prefers to stay within Europe. The agency has, however, established that more and more customers from industry prefer to cut down on staff and to outsource warehousing, shop solutions, logistics, etc. Crimex has invested an amount that now runs into six figures and has employed two programmers who have been working for two years now to develop a tool that doesn't have to draw on the heterogenous data of suppliers but can instead extract the right article data itself using matching technology in order to produce consistently perfect results for the customer. In the future, young customers will perhaps be able to configure their products themselves, although the really big orders and special production runs will continue to come in verbally or via the telephone.
At some point, the conversation of course turns to the mountain of a million pennies that Claus Roeting is hoarding in his cellar. There are plans for them to be transformed into euros one day; the entrepreneur has for some time now been looking for a taker who would like to turn his treasure trove into a small fortune by using it for an unusual advertising idea. Not completely crazy, but certainly pretty wacky, as might be expected of him. Roeting doesn't have any issues with sharing the idea; after all who else has a mountain of coins like that in their cellar to copy him?
Alongside supposedly crazy ideas, however, Crimex remains flexible and at least keep their finger on the pulse, in fact they often tend to be ahead of the game. Although the trend in the sector is moving towards full service, internationalisation and consolidation, the company is concentrating on the best possible search engine optimisation and bold investments so they can continue to stay ahead of the competition.
Roeting is also proud of the fact that, in these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, he still employs 75 people and has managed to keep his company in the black. This was made possible by various measures, including the closure of all their offices, with all employees being provided with the facilities to work from home at very short notice. Despite their provocative image, which is apparently intentional, the company is on a firm footing; the founder's own son is ready in the starting blocks to take over as his successor. In future, Claus Roeting plans to focus on his hobbyhorses IT and Marketing, and the Sales Division has a new head of department as of this year in the shape of Stephan Voepel.
In general, the entrepreneur is in favour of working from home. Even though he admits that not all his employees are able to work effectively from home, he nevertheless sees major advantages in the concept, for example the savings in terms of travelling time. In particular young people, who have a completely different approach to the online world, will apparently need much less personal contact in the office in the future, he has established, not completely without concern.
An issue that he gets extremely worked up about is the slow rate of progress of digitalisation in Germany. Having grown up in South America, he gets quite irritated by the often staid and arrogant manner of the Germans. Roeting fears that if you rest on your laurels, you run into danger of missing new developments and of being overtaken by neighbours who, in his opinion, are often underestimated. When he is in other countries, Roeting is regularly asked what German politicians are actually doing when it comes to digitalisation, with a network that fails to stand up to comparison with any of its European neighbours. And he refuses to even touch on the subject of organic labels in the conversation.
Very exciting, listening to these two very different characters, who are however both very successful with their concept and their approach and who both pursue a clear vision. Why should we be seen as taking something away from one another? There's enough cake to go round after all... isn't there? Have a listen!
13.10.2021 | Earebel Creative - PODCAST
As Didi tells us herself, Earebel Creative comes from the far south of Germany, near Kempten in the Allgäu region. Basically, they started out as a traditional creative graphic design agency who soon realised that they didn't just want to offer services but were also keen to create their own products. They went on to invent a product that combines two worlds: headwear and audio. Earebel beanies have an integrated set of headphones that make it much easier to listen to music whilst you are on the phone, doing sport, or simply out and about.
How did Steven and Didi meet? At the ISPO 2016, Steven almost walked past their stand, but then stopped after all to look at the banner with their "Cave of the Lions" logo. Even after a conversation with Linda from Earebel, Steven still wasn't entirely convinced. Nevertheless, Linda gave Steven one of their beanies as a present and suggested he try it out. Great idea Linda – after testing it out at home, Steven was completely won over.
But where does the name "Earebel" come from? It's actually quite simple, because back then when they designed the product, there was no alternative; they were the only ones on the market and it was like a kind of revolution. So they named it "Rebolution" and from this they derived the name Earebel.
In their collaboration with cyber-Wear, Earebel want to be more creative again, to pretty much go back to their origins, after having focused for a very long time on the Earebel products. Because they enjoy being creative just as much. Now with two pillars, our Design department and Earebel Creative, we can push ahead with joint campaigns and they can benefit from one another's input and make use of synergies. As our Creative business unit, Earebel will deliberately detach themselves from our everyday business, bring in new ways of thinking and have more freedom to be creative.
Earebel bring with them experience in the areas of B2C and B2B merchandise and have also managed small projects every now and then, "but we have never been able to do things as professionally as you have been doing for years and, for this reason alone, the areas of overlap and the different perspectives of the products will be very exciting for the customers," Didi explains.
As well as experience in the area of merchandise, Earebel also has an impressive record when it comes to creativity. A clear example of this is the design of their communications, i.e. the development of new ideas and the design of their campaigns, right through to the realisation of the campaigns on social media. The team is made up of employees who focus on motion design, film and photography, as well as specialists in Amazon E-commerce. They have already run through the whole thing once with Earebel, lots of things have been improved and reworked and this process has meant that the professional creative side of things has been move forward dramatically.
It's fascinating to hear about their very first orders – it was the same with cyber-Wear. Earebel had managed to secure a large order from Korea but at that time all the beanies were still sewn by hand by the mother of the founder, Manuel. She managed to sew an unbelievable 3,000 beanies by hand to send to Korea.
Passion and lifeblood – these are the key common denominators that unite Earebel Creative and cyberWear. This soon becomes clear in the course of the conversation, she's 100 percent committed to what she does and they just love it. Every issue is dealt with to perfection and with passion. Day after day.
15.10.2021 | reflects
REFLECTS is one of the partners that have regularly accompanied cyber-Wear for a long time. Together we have not only been involved in many orders and projects, but also in one or two of our Live Talks. Starting with the interviews at the PSI, in the CG Live Talks REFLECTS has already presented its new products in an attractive and varied way.
The multi-specialist in promotional products has not only been successful on the market for over 30 years, but also completely reinvented itself only two years ago. At that time both the logo and, above all, the product segments were completely revised and more clearly differentiated. This reorganisation reflected the continuously increasing demand for professional product development. The designs were to become even more sophisticated, the presentation more lovingly created and the finishes of ever higher quality.
As early as 2018 REFLECTS presented us with the first steps in this development with its watch line. At that time a collection of 30 new watches was to be created, but during the process this turned into a whopping 350 models. The collection was not only characterised by its diversity, but also by its remarkably favourable price ranges. A high degree of individualisation combined with low minimum quantities and a new procurement policy made this possible. Even at this stage REFLECTS watches were much more than just promotional items - in fact they were very much on a retail level.
The following year this segment was then spun off as planned under the umbrella of the REFLECTS House of Quality as an individual brand. With RETIME, REFLECTS is continuing to pursue its approach of constantly optimising the watch collection in terms of quality and quantity and positioning it prominently on the market. Each of the six brands created in this way is managed individually and accompanied by its own customer service. The RETIME brand combines quality, design, technology and finishing options to create classic, timeless and high-quality promotional items.
To further explore this exciting topic, the current CG Live Talk was held on site in Cologne. The discussion provides the stage for all the customisation possibilities offered by RETIME. How does a watch idea actually come about and ultimately become one of the impact-making merchandise products that the partners present to their customers? Using the very concrete project of expanding the range of the stylish Mustang Gold Edition as an example, Steven Baumgärtner and his discussion partners Viktoria Brauckmann and Arvid Gareis document the development from design to component specification to sampling and, finally, to the live launch in the Ford Shop.
The first step was a joint brainstorming session by email and an exchange of ideas about the right model for the striking Gold Edition of the Ford Lifestyle Collection, and the first design approaches were quickly found - you can see how the process developed in our Talk on Wednesday!
04.11.2020 | Stabilo
For this week's CG Live Talk we moved the video shoot to STABILO's colourful Cube building, which is packed full of creativity and inspiration. STABILO is the brand that appears on the outside market, but it belongs to the Schwan STABILO Group. This has three divisions: firstly, writing instruments, which many of you are probably familiar with, and then cosmetic products and the outdoor area. We visited the section where the highlighter, which you probably know as a text marker, is produced. The STABILO Boss pen, which everyone knows, will namely turn 50 next year. "The pen for reading, not writing" is used extensively everywhere. Of these 110 million are produced - in both the pastel and highlighter segments! This means that every three seconds a box of 10 highlighters is sold and goes into the country's offices. And rightly so, because such a STABILO highlighter has a service life for more than 7 years. The reason for this is the use of premium materials and ink of excellent quality. The ink neither discolours when exposed to light nor can it leak out of the pen, because STABILO has taken great care to develop a test to check the pen's sealing.
When it comes to quality management, the company attaches great importance to checking the quality of its processes. "In other words, every machine is equipped in such a way that from the beginning to the end it actually monitors every stage of assembly and production," says Harry Saffer. The subject of automation has also taken a big step forward at STABILO, especially in the packaging area. What previously had to be done by a large number of employees in laborious manual work is now done by a single machine.
In spite of these massive production figures, sustainability is also a major concern at STABILO. The entire plant runs on green electricity, and the waste heat generated in the production is in turn used to heat the offices. Great care is taken to ensure that very little, if anything, is wasted here. All employees are committed to sustainability and motivated to make the pens more environmentally friendly and use less electricity and resources. The STABILO Boss pen is recycled to a level of 83% - but why not 100%? The answer is quite simple: as a rule, what is classed as recycling should proven. In production a number of plastic or injection-moulded parts, currently up to 150 tonnes, regranulated and integrated into the product process once more. This can't be proven externally, which is why this element is not mentioned.
In terms of plastics, too, attention has to be paid to high recycling quality. The suppliers of plastics need to be aware of the fact that the purchasing department is always applying greater demands on plastic quality. For the STABILO GREEN BOSS, for example, the caps of Coca-Cola bottles are used. On the one hand these are food-compatible and on the other they are of a very high quality. As a result, high production speeds can be guaranteed.
For the future, STABILO has decided to become CO2 neutral - a path the company has deliberately aims to take. The goal is to be genuinely carbon neutral by 2025, in other words by its own efforts and without buying additional certificates.
28.10.2020 | Senator
Senator has always been deeply invested in the topic of sustainability. They have taken a big step forward in the area of recycled materials in particular. They have made a conscious decision in favour of ABS Recycling, meaning that they remain in the identical materials category. The material in question is a hard plastic that Senator obtains from third-party industrial recycling partners – in other words, it really is genuine recycling waste! Furthermore, the company pays great attention to quality control – Made in Germany is the keyword here. Because here in Germany everything can be monitored properly, plus the delivery routes are simply safer, especially in times of corona, as Mr Jeschonowski, Managing Director of Senator, tells us.
Ultimately, however, longevity and recyclability are the most important aspects to ensure long-term sustainability. The company is certain that the time of disposable products has come to an end. You can see how this trend started with drinking straws and has now expanded to inflatable balloons. For this reason, Senator has not introduced any non-reusable new products in the past two years – in other words, the end customer now has the option of replacing the ink reservoir in Senator pens with a refill unit. The team at Senator has come up with a great solution to the question of how to operate this replacement service. Senator has created a webshop where customers can select the required pen or refill unit, and then the matching refill is shipped to them free of charge. “Our goal is to ensure that the end customer can reorder refills free of charge in real-time today,” says Daniel Jeschonowksi. That way, a great writing instrument can remain in use even after it has run out of ink.
Of course, we were also very curious to know which new project Senator will be working on next year. And the answer was: NFC. Senator is taking the next step into the world of digitalisation. This NFC technology can be seamlessly added to an existing product, i.e. it can be used in recycled pens, bio-based plastic writing utensils or even in an antibacterial surface for use as a writing instrument. The concept also passed the “grandmother test”, as Daniel Jeschonowski put it so succinctly – so there’s nothing standing in the way of this innovative project!
21.10.2020 | Daiber
The hill was pretty steep on the last part of our journey to Albstadt on the Swabian Alps. Right up at the top, as if they were sitting on a throne, we found clothing supplier and finisher Daiber with their huge production and warehouse halls. With their own brands, JAMES & NICHOLSON (high quality corporate wear and functional clothing) and myrtle beach (headgear and accessories), they are revolutionising the market for top-class corporate fashion and now have a broad customer base.
When Kai Gminder, CEO and a member of the fourth generation to run the company, started working at Daiber after gaining his degree, all the company's products were still being sold under the umbrella brand, Daiber. After a number of visits to in-house exhibitions and specialist trade fairs, it quickly became clear to him that retailers were increasingly looking for brand names, so he developed the brands James & Nicholson and myrtle beach, which are still today a success on the market. As a brand, James & Nicholson is synonymous with functional sportswear for almost any kind of sport and fashionable leisurewear and jackets, but is equally well known for classic business wear and robust workwear. James & Nicholson has just the right clothing for any everyday situation, for men and women and in almost 40 colours and plus sizes up to size 6XL. And if you are looking for fashionable and functional headgear and on-trend accessories that look great worn with the James & Nicholson collection – that's where myrtle beach comes in. Their wide range of different cap shapes, colours and types of hat is quite unique and at the same time highly innovative. As well as headgear, the collection also includes a range of stylish scarves and gloves.
Despite the difficult situation this year, Daiber has managed to bring out 50 new products and a new catalogue. And they have done this with a clear aim and quite deliberately in order to send out a message that they are still there, driving ahead with full power. They also want to send a signal to their partners that their fighting spirit is still intact and to stimulate new business and new ideas with their latest innovations. Digitalisation has also played a major and important role in this year's happenings – Daiber have made a point of addressing the subject of 'Fear of digitalisation in commerce' with a series of webinars. Already today, 70 – 80% of Daiber's orders come directly into their warehouse and can leave the building the same day. And the trend is on the rise!
The coronavirus pandemic has not put paid to sustainability. In the promotional materials industry, and at Daiber too, sustainability remains a top priority. As a clothing manufacturer, Daiber's collections are increasingly moving towards the use of organic cotton and no longer use normal polyester, but rather recycled polyester. Yet that's not enough for Kai Gminder. He is reworking all the company's production processes and analysing the various steps in production. This can soon lead to savings in water and electricity consumption, for example, or a reduction in the use of chemicals.
Daiber is especially strong in the workwear sector – it may well be that this area was responsible for seeing the company through the crisis. This product group covers an enormous range. "Quality starts with the right work clothing. It has to be functionally suited to the type of work in question and should be comfortable and provide optimal protection. At the same time, it also needs to be fashionable and has to fit each person's figure perfectly. James & Nicholson offers polo-shirts, T-shirts, sleeveless jackets, fleece jackets, softshell jackets, trousers, Bermuda shorts, caps, beanies and many other workwear items. Outfits with, for example, padded knees, jackets with reinforced shoulder or arm sections or jackets and trousers with extra pockets all ensure that the wearer is perfectly kitted out for a hard day's work. Take a look for yourself!
14.10.2020 | UMA
In our most recent CG Live Talk we were guests of uma in the beautiful Black Forest. Before everything began the sun was shining so beautifully that we decided to do some filming outside. Not only because of the wonderful scenery in the middle of the Black Forest, but also because we are at the heart of uma!
This personal closeness to nature is also reflected within the company. uma is not the traditional kind of company that locates somewhere practical and cheap - on the contrary, the company lives in close contact with the town, and the town lives from and with uma. 90 percent of the employees, which currently means 170 people, live in Fischerbach and therefore have extremely short commuting distances. Alexander Ullmann puts it in a nutshell: "If you live and at the same time work here, you should also be able to enjoy the surroundings". This idea also makes it easier for employees to combine work and family. The location has its own supermarket, kindergarten and primary school directly on site. The long commute to work is therefore eliminated and the staff enjoy spending their time in and around the company - a win-win situation!
But now to the essentials: the uma products. This time things went a bit differently at our talk, because instead of a large quantity Alexander Ullmann just brought a handful of his brand new Recycled Pet Pen Pro Antibacterial pens. Less to look at, but much more time to talk about the product in depth and in detail.
A ballpoint pen that is both produced in a sustainable way and complies with current hygiene measures? uma has made it possible!
Covid-19 and the resulting strict hygiene measures have undermined the cause of sustainability in many respects, especially with regard to ballpoint pens. In order to comply with these hygiene regulations, ballpoint pens may only be used once or have to be packed in plastic. uma took a close look at this topic and in response developed the perfect pen that combines both important features: protection against Covid-19 and sustainability. uma has given its recycled pens an antibacterial upgrade. After all, this year it is more important than ever not to neglect the topic of sustainability, which took so long to establish itself within the industry in the first place. The recycled PET material from which the uma pens are produced makes it possible to give the plastic a second, third or even fourth life. Alexander Ullmann makes it clear in our talk that it is not only important to regard plastic as a critical raw material, but also to consider how it can be re-used.
But how does the antibacterial component get into or onto the ballpoint pens? It's actually quite simple: silver ions are added to the recycled PET material. This means that the solution is inside the plastic and remains there for its lifetime - in other words, the pen remains permanently antibacterial. A further advantage is that this additive process does not reduce the recyclability of the material - it is completely harmless for humans and nature.
Have we aroused your curiosity? Learn more about it in our CG Live Talk video at uma and don't forget the video of the production facility!
30.09.2020 | Intraco
Jacques Nieuwkamp from Intraco brought some of the company’s cool gadgets with him last Wednesday, when he was our guest for the CG Live Talk. With the brands Philips, Blaupunkt, Moyoo, Visto, Xoopar, TCL and Zens, Intraco has a varied, high quality brand portfolio. Intraco’s own brand d-vice Promote also delights with its variety of products.
But let’s get down to business: Have you already seen the Mr. Bio Speaker? Mr. Bio is a sustainable Bluetooth speaker, produced from 20% wheat straw and 80% biologically degradable plastic. If you’re thinking that won’t pack much of a punch, you’ll be blown away by the powerful 3W speaker. Small, but woah! Thanks to its magnetic arms, Mr. Bio can be attached to all manner of metal surfaces, meaning you can enjoy your favourite music wherever you are. And the icing on the cake: You can even use the speaker to trigger selfies from your smartphone.
We already know the classic Mr. Bio charging cable from our Live Talk with the British partner company Desktop Ideas. This is in the form of a person, and offers Micro USB, USB-C and Lightning connectors. This too is made from biodegradable plastic, with the flexible arms and legs being made from DuPont paper. Thanks to its cute design and perfect decorative feature in the form of its head, it’s one of Intraco’s most popular multifunction cables.
A brand new product, and an absolute highlight in Intraco’s range, is the new Bluetooth technology LE-Audio. LE-Audio offers a new high-quality audio codec and low power requirements. In plain English, that means a better listening experience and at the same time lower power usage. The second advantage of this new Bluetooth innovation is that it’s possible to connect multiple devices, instead of just one, as was previously the case. So, for example, you can connect a pair of 100 Xoopar Boy Minis to your smartphone, whereas before you could only connect one.
Bottle cooler, mood lamp and Bluetooth speaker all in one? Yes, Intraco has made it possible! The stylish CoolLux is an indispensable accessory for the home, garden or holiday home. As a bottle cooler, it offers plenty of space for enough ice to keep your drinks cool. And the integrated warm white light provides the perfect mood for warm summer nights. Last but not least, the CoolLux can also play your favourite music. What more could you ask for? Two coupled devices also provide a great stereo effect for your next party.
23.09.2020 | SND
For the CG Live Talk we once again chose a very special location. On this last wonderfully warm, sunny summer's day it simply made sense to drive to the Zeulenrodaer lake, not far from the SND production location. The former drinking water reservoir now serves as a local recreation area, and its waters lapped gently in the background during the talk.
Silke Eckstein founded the SND PorzellanManufaktur together with her father more than 20 years ago. At the time everything was on a small scale, but they have grown steadily and today they refine porcelain to absolute perfection. SND stands for premium quality - produced and refined along the Thuringian Porcelain Route. They constantly get more and more out of their workshops: the latest machinery and sophisticated systems ensure that no innovation passes them by. When it comes to elaborate finishing they by no means rely solely on the work of modern machines. An impressive number of production steps are carried out by the hands of experienced craftsmen, who are always able to see more, create more detail and are more flexible. "Machines could never offer this level of flexibility," says Silke Eckstein. This combination of manual craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology makes the work and ultimately the result unique. In addition, all finishings are "Made in Germany", which is a significant advantage. The porcelain blanks are procured from Germany and the Czech Republic, which also means that transport distances are very short.
In the behind-the-scenes footage we shot after the talk you can see the different production steps. From graphic design, pre-pressing, mixing the individual colour to the finishing. When it comes to finishing technologies, SND is broadly based and there is hardly any customer request that they can't fulfil. For example, they offer refinements from aggressively priced direct printing with super-fast delivery times to elaborate refinement combinations with nano gloss, hydro varnish, engraving, soft or colour touch, personalisation and much more.
But now to the products: brand new in the range is the stylish retro mug in three different sizes. Everybody knows the old enamelled mugs made of sheet metal, which bring back fond memories of bygone days. Now there is a new version of these: the mug is made of 100% porcelain and is therefore much more durable and resistant. And the coffee is guaranteed to taste better from a chic porcelain mug with an engraved logo. Whether as a style accessory in the office, as a companion on the road or as a classic for outdoor adventures, this retro mug can be used everywhere. The mug can be refined, for example, along the top edge with a matching decoration underneath in the colour of your choice.
For those who love their coffee, cappuccino, cocoa or tea in large quantities, SND now has two large new models in its range. The Alexandria mug has a strong presence thanks to its column shape and is often refined with a simple design - the perfect combination. The Monte Carlo mug is perfect for men who really want to get a grip on something. The very masculine shape of the mug, inspired by motor sports, is impressive with its distinctive and symmetrical shape: striking, bulky and equipped with an unusual handle, just right for real men's hands.
16.09.2020 | mbw
In the last CG Live Talk, we were guests of mbw in the far north, close to the border with Denmark. Since their launch in 1980 in Wanderup, near Flensburg, there’s been a whole lot more to mbw than cuddly toys alone; they also offer mega-cute squeaky ducks in all versions and representing all occupations, alongside the anti-stress and hand training figure known as Herr Bert, which is likewise available for all professional groups, and various accessories and little attention-grabbers. All these are produced by the mbw team with incredible attention to detail and lots of love, which is why everything is developed in-house and with trademark protection. Quality is the be-all and end-all, and there are no compromises. Items are subjected to a complete battery of tests and can only be sold once they have passed all of them 100%.
During the tour of mbw’s new premises — which, by the way, is always a major challenge for Melina and Michael behind the camera — Jan Breuer tells us all about the enormously high quality demands on his products and shows just how much manual work is still involved in making the products.
But let’s start with Herr Bert. This smiley figure is now available clad in the garb of over 50 different occupations. As well as the classic firefighter and policeman, you now also have Bert as a clown, Busy Bert, Wellness Bert and Santa Bert. The latter being Bert after he has swallowed a ball, as Jan Breuer puts it. The reason behind the form of the “friendly fat man” is that you want to have something in your hand that you can actually squeeze, and no “tent peg” is going to give you that. A relatively new addition to the family is Berta, who comes in forms as diverse as Nurse Berta, Berta the farmer’s wife, Berta the cook, Berta in a dirndl, and many more besides.
Our arrival in the packing area coincided with the boxing up of squeaky disco ducks dusted with lots of glitter. All products are individually packaged for their protection, and mbw has broken new ground here too, since the classic plastic polythene bags have been replaced by bags made of paper and corn starch.
At mbw, every single product is individually finished and customised. Be it using pad printing on Herr Bert, lasering on the ducks or screen printing on the accessories that come with the cuddly toys. With the ducks, self-adhesive individual stickers can also be attached. Also possible is the use of doming on the cuddly toys and label printing for the MiniFeet range.
At the next workstation, cuddly toys were being put together. Many of the cuddly toys also come with the highest possible level of certification, the OEKO-TEX® standard seal, which also testifies to the absence of harmful substances in clothing, textiles, yarns, fabrics and accessories. Accessories, mini T-shirts and scarves must also meet the OEKO-TEX® requirements 100%. This is very important for mbw, because if children or babies are going to put the textiles in their mouths, they must be 100% free of any pollutants. This also applies to textile printing, the ink used in which must also meet this standard.
In the next step, the cuddly toys were dressed by hand in their selected and customised accessories. As accessories, mbw offers a lot of cute clothes such as dungarees, dirndls, surgical clothing, football strips and much more besides. As the cuddly toys are being dressed, the product undergoes a final check to establish whether, among other things, it has been correctly printed and the seams on the cuddly toy are sound. At mbw, everyone is sure to find their favourite cuddly toy, given that there is a huge range of more than 300 different models.
We then arrived in the print shop in time to witness the printing of T-shirts and Schmoozies labels. Here, as long as the print dimensions allow, customers can give free rein to their creativity. The soft little Schmoozies aren’t just super-cute — they can do loads more besides: With their microfibre undersides, they are perfect for cleaning smooth surfaces, such as mobile displays or screens.
Like us, mbw has fairly recently started using the AutoStore warehousing system. Thanks to AutoStore, stock items can be stored efficiently to take up the absolute minimum of space and can be picked for orders in just a few seconds. To get down to specifics: at mbw, eight robots move around 13,000 standard-sized crates, which in turn store a total of around 700 – 800 pallets of goods.
One floor further up, we had a great view of the entire hall and AutoStore. It is here that a banner proclaiming the well-known #westaystrong project is also hanging. Under the slogan “#westaystrong – 100 Days for Heroes”, mbw has initiated a campaign to say “thank you” for the superhuman achievements of all those people who have devoted themselves to the needs of others in these difficult times. You can visit the website to nominate your personal hero and tell their heroic story — and, as a token of mbw’s appreciation, this hero or heroine will receive a cute little cuddly toy.
09.09.2020 | Vonmählen
Vonmählen, a relatively young company with a passion for minimalist design and excellent quality, develops, designs, produces and markets tech accessories for every smartphone requirement. Their aim is to simplify everyday digital life for everyone and to incorporate every customer need as well as they can. Their products are characterised by a unique combination of technical functionality and elegant design. With their accessories from the categories Grip, Connect, Power and Sound, they provide maximum freedom, comfort and style for everyday digital life.
Although Vonmählen is only five years young, almost everyone knows this product already: the allroundo multifunctional cable. The allroundo was Vonmählen’s first product and was very successful straightaway. allroundo is the epitome of Vonmählen, one more reason why this product mustn’t disappear from product ranges, despite the fast-moving nature of the tech industry. As a consequence, allroundo was further developed into two new products: allroundo Boost and allroundo Power. The allroundo Boost – with its up to 120 cm long charging and data cable – always provides the right connection when you’re travelling, in the office or during your leisure time. From now on, the cable is protected by a water-resistant nylon case and thus gets an extra dash of design. The allroundo Power is, as the name suggests, the proud owner of a 4,000 mAh powerbank. The allroundo Power is now available with a stylish Gucci nylon case too for even more durability and style, and the connectors are now made of aluminium.
“Every single person at Vonmählen works everyday with determination, passion, team spirit and transparency”, the website says, and this is exactly what we were convinced of straightaway on site. Professionally and with dedication, the entire value chain (except for the production of course) works together closely (in a young team averaging 27.5 years of age) at its Lüneburg location in the areas of purchasing, product design, IT, marketing, legal, quality management and sales. With its joint venture in China, production takes place under the highest quality standards.
In the development of all its products, Vonmählen always follows the concept of a collection. The collections are characterised by the use of recurring colours, materials and designs. The products in their portfolio, which have been thought through down to the smallest detail, can be combined individually and complement each other perfectly through their uniform and Nordic design language. The signature colours rosé gold, black and silver emphasise this collection concept.
In the area of co-branding, Vonmählen develops products on which logos can be applied perfectly and always clearly visibly. In addition to a minimalist design, Vonmählen also attaches great importance to functionality, i.e. “real use in everyday life”, says Alexander Nolte. Furthermore, all products are protected by patents.
Just like the allroundo, the Backflip has also been visually and functionally optimised. The silicone ring has been reinstalled with the plate for greater wearing comfort and offers more freedom thanks to 360-degree mobility and, above all, it can now be used by left and right-handed people. Of course all the well-known features – such as the dot as a holder and the tripod function – have naturally been retained. To go with the popular and convenient inductive smartphone charging, the ring can be easily removed via a click system, meaning smartphones can be charged quickly and easily.
Brand new in the range are the universal Infinity mobile phone chain, which can be attached to any smartphone, and Aura, the wireless charging pad. Ultra-flat, stylish and made from top materials, it also charges really fast.
08.07.2020 | Wellnuss
Exceptional snacks from wellnuss
wellnuss doesn't do run-of-the-mill articles. Whether it's nut varieties, combinations of sweets or unusual spices, with wellnuss one thing is always certain: there will be no preservatives, no colourings, no artificial flavours, no genetic engineering.
Finally something tasty to enjoy again in the CG Live Talk. Timon Feld from wellnuss is our guest and presents new and unusual products. For Steven Baumgärtner it's important to underline the difference between wellnuss and other suppliers of snacks and sweets. At wellnuss, quality and natural compositions are always the highest priority, together with healthy ingredients. All snacks share the wellnuss purity law: no preservatives, no colourings, no artificial flavours, no genetic engineering. The products are all refined and packed in Germany, while the raw materials are sourced from the best production areas worldwide. These products are presented in attractive, appealing packaging in line with the principle of "making a good impression on the customer".
In addition to quality, wellnuss also stands for unusual mixtures and varieties that ignite genuine taste explosions. In October last year wellnuss presented its products for the first time in our CG Live Talk and we got to know its super-delicious oven roasted cashews in the BBQ rub. At first you might think that they don't go together at all, but in a taste test they convinced us of the absolute opposite. Really unique and really delicious, so we ordered the cashews for our own promotional activities at PSI 2020, where they were received with enthusiasm.
Christmas is no longer so far away and it's already worth thinking about suitable presents. Advent calendars are always popular at wellnuss, because here the topic of sustainability takes top priority, as it does with all the company's other products. The cute Advent calendars can be produced in different sizes and in full customer design from 500 pieces, while the desk calendar can be set up perfectly thanks to the fold-out base on the back. Delivery time is approx. 20 days. The deep-drawn section of the calendar is compostable, while the cardboard used is FSC-certified. And a further absolutely sustainable feature is that the treats in the Advent calendar are not individually wrapped once more, but are placed loosely inside it. The same sustainable materials are used for the Premium Advent Calendar. This is optionally filled with either lucky charms or lucky balls. Behind the lucky charms are truffle almonds covered with chocolate and cocoa. The lucky balls are crunchy hazelnuts with Belgian chocolate and a light hint of cinnamon.
However, at wellnuss sustainability doesn't just play a role with regard to the products - instead it is very much part of the company's overall philosophy. This begins with production in Germany via, among other things, bicycles with which employees can ride to work, and then continues into the actual products.
A somewhat different but very special and above all delicious Advent calendar is the birchwood box filled with four different spices - one for each Advent Sunday. The gourmet spices - pink crystal salt from Pakistan, Tellicherry pepper from India, Jalapeno chili from Mexico and Jamaican jerk BBQ rub - not only sound great, they also taste fantastic. The high-quality birchwood box is available with two, three or four jars. After the spices are used up the box is ideal for storing jewellery, business cards, keys, tea and much more. The box itself and the jars can be individually designed from 50 pieces, whether for Christmas or in the customer's own design - and all this without plastic packaging. wellnuss also takes care of the individual shipping with a personal greeting card!
The spices are available to suit every budget: starting with portion bags for one euro via individual jars for three euros right across to boxes or large cardboard displays.
The classics at wellnuss are without doubt its folding boxes filled with lots of delicious varieties. From cranberries & gourmet nuts, coffee beans covered in dark chocolate and oven roasted almonds with a light smoky note to walnut kernels, banana chips & sour cherries, almond kernels with green Matcha tea and white chocolate - the range is full of fabulous treats. The folding boxes can be finished individually with a pretty label and with 4 or 8 snacks in the birchwood box, which can be refined with an individual logo or a cool motif.
01.07.2020 | Spranz
Exceptional gadgets and practical everyday helpers in the CG Live Talk
A sustainable overall concept, re-usable and durable products, innovations and the efficient eradication of germs at home or in the office were the topics of the most recent talk with Spranz.
The firm of Spranz was founded in 1965 by Reinhardt Spranz with only one employee for the production of driving licence holders and key cases. To the present day it is a family business in constant expansion, with a team of over 90 employees producing a wide range of innovations and a design-oriented portfolio of over 800 articles. The focus has always been on the development of extraordinary products that support and help people in their everyday lives. In the promotional goods industry exceptional products are essential, because standard products are boring and don't stand out.
Managing Director Lorne Spranz doesn't particularly wish to focus on the Covid-19 issue, but nevertheless the team at Spranz have thought about how they can tackle the problem and what will probably be indispensable in the future. Lorne Spranz presents the idea in a very amusing and graphic way, quoting studies which state that the bacterial contamination on smartphones is 10 times higher than on a toilet seat. Terrifying but true, and we don't hold the toilet seat up to our faces. But in the case of the smartphone this is quite normal. External cleaning with alcohol or glass cleaner destroys the surface of the smartphone in the long run, but there is a contactless solution from the industrial sector: UV-C light. in a certain nanometre range UV-C light, a component of natural sunlight, has a germicidal effect and is already used for disinfection in hospitals. As the active mechanism of UV-C is physically based and there is no chemistry, toxic compounds or formation of resistance involved, undesirable micro-organisms are neutralised in an environmentally friendly and effective manner, and without any contact. Using this method the Metmaxx MobileCleaner, the Metmaxx CleanStation and the Metmaxx Charge&CleanStation clean and disinfect smartphones, keys, masks, coins, wallets and all the other things that we often hold in our hands. Whether at home, in the office or on the road, the risk of spreading germs and infection is significantly reduced. The devices can be promotionally enhanced over a large area with a high visibility level on the front.
Spranz understands sustainability to mean above all the overall concept. For example, all the company's shipping is carbon-neutral. Spranz also invests in the projects of myclimate, an international initiative of voluntary CO2 offsetting measures which, for example, replaces fossil energy sources with renewable energies and implements local reforestation measures with small farmers. The Franz green concept also includes the electricity the company uses. This is obtained from LichtBlick, Germany's leading green electricity provider, which has saved several thousand hectares of rainforest over the past 15 years.
When it comes to products, Spranz follows the principles of re-usability and durability. For Spranz a product is sustainable if it becomes a favourite with customers, is used with enjoyment and simplifies and supports their everyday lives. The prerequisites for this are sophisticated technology, modern design and innovation. The cross-section of a coffee mug, for example, shows that it is not just a simple mug and there is much more behind it. The coffee mug is double-walled for long-lasting warmth and enjoyment. In addition it is made of food-safe steel and copper vapour-plated. All cups are leak-proof, which is a matter of course for Lorne Spranz.
In addition to coffee mugs and similar innovations, Spranz also specialises in the field of torches and in particular those models which are fully sustainable in that they are easy to recharge. The torches feature extremely powerful LEDs, very low power consumption and offer lots of practical functions such as a COB floodlight, magnets, warning lights and flashing lights. The use of rechargeable flashlights or head torches saves mountains of batteries. Sustainability also works in the same way with the company's lighters, because they can also be recharged and therefore don't burn gas.
Based on a wealth of experience Spranz has developed and established a well thought-out concept over the years. The brand logo reflects this concept perfectly. On the one hand it stand for the ecological aspect, which includes recycling and climate neutrality, and on the other product safety, certifications, quality and of course social compliance.
24.06.2020 | Desktop Ideas
British attention to detail in the CG Live Talk
"A comprehensive range of premium-quality, innovative promotional merchandise," is the distinguishing feature of Desktop Ideas, and it was precisely these top-class items that Matt Pluckrose presented in the most recent Talk. Earbuds, Mr. Bio, a Smartphone Umbrella and a lot more!
Even though other topics have taken centre stage in recent weeks and months, the issue of sustainability continues to play an important role in the promotional goods industry, and Desktop Ideas is no exception. According to Matt Pluckrose, many items such as T-shirts, pens etc. can be sustainable, but due to their quality and functionality the long-term use of technical gadgets, for example, is also absolutely sustainable.
Desktop Ideas stands for premium and innovative promotional products. The best example of this was introduced right at the start in the form of Bluetooth headphones from MOYOO. High-quality materials and careful devotion to detail make these wireless headphones a real favourite. The battery provides up to 10 hours of music enjoyment. In keeping with the current times when many people are working from their home office, Desktop Ideas offers a variety of docking stations and USB hubs for the most popular Apple, Micro-USB or USB Type C devices.
The high-quality Earbuds are absolutely trend-setting, because the future is cable-free. Whether at home in the home office, for leisure activities, for video calls or on the go, they are always at hand and due to their size can be easily stowed away in any bag. In a stylish wooden look they are also an irresistible eye-catcher.
Both partners to the discussion agreed that consumption, sustainability and also merchandising articles have been the subject of increased discussion in recent months. In terms of sustainability, for example, Desktop Ideas offers a wireless charging power bank made of wheat straw. The ultra-compact powerbank, made from a mix of biodegradable plastic and wheat fibres, fits perfectly in your pocket and is an energy-rich companion. With the help of the strong suction pads it can be easily attached to the smartphone and therefore charges reliably.
By the way, from a single piece onwards all Desktop Ideas products can be individually enhanced with the customer's logo.
But who or what is Mr. Bio? Mr. Bio is one of the most popular articles available from Desktop Ideas. It's the latest multi-charging cable for charging all standard devices and... it's so ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY! Mr. Bio combines great performance, modern design and environmentally friendly materials. The body is made of biodegradable plastic and the flexible cables consist of DuPont paper. In combination with the powerbank made of wheat straw it's a cool set and a great "Welcome back to your desk" item. Another Mister and new to the range is the little Buddy. Buddy is reliable, useful and always ready for action! Almost like a good friend, Buddy is always there when you need him. The twisted cable can also be used as a key fob! By the way, Buddy too is made of recycled material and also comes in an airplane shape. In this context we should mention an equally cute gadget that will definitely put a smile on its new owner's face: Jelly. Jelly, the little jellyfish with goggle eyes, offers four different cables and the head can also be used as a stress ball.
Sustainability also plays an important role in the packaging. At Desktop Ideas they make sure that sustainable materials like FSC paper are used or that they are reusable. For example, only an individualised insert is placed in the small bag, with a note on what it could be used for afterwards. For cosmetics, valuables or identity cards, for example.
17.06.2020 | BrandCharger
Once again it's time for technology in the CG Live Talk. And technology does not only mean the classic charging and audio products, no at BrandCharger technology means much more.
One thing is for sure: he comes "loaded" with creativity and expertise. BrandCharger is the leading manufacturer of tech gadgets in the promotional products industry. Incredible as it may sound, the global company has already won 20 industry awards. These include the Hongkong Smart Design Award several times, and the SAGE Rating Award for several years in succession. Also included are the ASI "Best in Technology", ASI "Most Staying Power" and ASI "Most Unique Product" awards. The list is a long one... In only seven years BrandCharger has become a serious player in the promotional gifts industry and has regularly demonstrated its prowess.
But what is the recipe for this success? The BrandCharger team is adept at combining brand identity with modern urban style - minimalist, reduced to the essential, and elegant with white logos on silver housings. Design excellence, functionality and quality go hand in hand.
The range of products includes powerful Bluetooth speakers, smart waterproof backpacks and lens sets to enhance smartphone and tablet photography. With its gadgets BrandCharger goes deep into detail and also offers a high level of robustness.
BrandCharger is represented by dealers in over 100 countries worldwide. The headquarter is located in Hongkong. James and Ethan Ung, brothers and founders, were born and grew up in the Netherlands. Her parents immigrated to the Netherlands from Hongkong. Today everyone lives in Hongkong again. Apart from the highest quality standards, BrandCharger also offers excellent customer service. What more can we ask for? Will BrandCharger electrify us? We look forward to the experience!
03.06.2020 | Master Italia
In the latest CG Live Talk, Master Italia's Federico Pasini presents a range of new, sustainable headwear and lots of other caps with very special features.
Next year Federico Pasini will be celebrating his 20th anniversary with Master Italia. He is Brand & Sales Director and, together with his team, passionately pursues the goal of making headwear our absolute favourite piece of clothing. After all, a cap is not just a cap. There are almost thousands of possibilities for designing and refining a cap. In the last digital CG Live Talk he presented his company's new products and cool styles to us.
In our minds we are still on board ship in Venice, because the talk was actually supposed to take place there on a boat against a beautiful Italian backdrop. But postponed is not cancelled, because Federico has some cool new products ready for which we don't want to wait any longer.
Atlantis is the umbrella brand of Master Italia. It offers more than 200 different styles in more than 1,500 colours. Around 4 million products are stored in a warehouse near Venice. These can be customised in a variety of ways according to the customer's wishes, for example by printing, embroidery or sublimation. From a quantity of 144 pieces, special products can be individually designed and produced directly in the Far East.
Sustainability continues to be a very important concern for Master Italia. Two years ago the company embarked on its self-proclaimed journey towards sustainability with recycled polyester and organic cotton. This year the journey is really taking off, as the number of sustainable products has been doubled and - SPOILER ALARM - from next year all Master Italia products will be sustainable. But do sustainable caps really look just as stylish? Yes, definitely! Italian passion combined with a flair for fashion and special design continue to flow into the development process, so that we humans will hardly notice any difference. But nature will!
Here come the sustainable products: the Recy Three is the ultimate recycled cap. The front is made of 100% recycled cotton and the back of 100% recycled polyester. The fastener and sweatband are also recycled. A real hit! The Recy Feel makes an impact with similar features. Above all it feels incredibly good, hence the name. It's made of recycled microfibre polyester and is very comfortable to wear, making it ideal for sports activities.
For the next winter season Master Italia has developed two new beanies. The Recy Beanie is the result of a perfect combination of softness and sustainability, thanks to the recovery and recycling of around 14 plastic bottles per kg of yarn. The Eco Beanie is made of acrylic yarn in line with OEKO TEX® standards.
In addition to the aspect of sustainability, Master Italia also attaches great importance to transparency in the production of its caps and beanies for end consumers. People need know when their new favourite article of headwear was made, where it was made, what materials were used and the distance it has travelled within our continent. Here consumers can follow exactly when, for example, quality control was carried out, when the products were loaded, when they were shipped, how they were transported within the country and then finally arrived at the Master Italia warehouse. In other words: 100% transparency. Impressive!
For 3 years now Master Italia has been working more and more with special finishes and new technologies in the high-performance sector, because consumers are now attaching great importance not only to fashion but also to functionality. The new Quick&Dry function of the sweatband makes the caps perfectly suitable for sports and outdoor activities. The sweatband and the brand new rubber velcro fastener are elastic and flexible for really comfortable wear. A special refinement that we have implemented for one of our customers is the unique so-called "toothbrush process". The finish feels very soft and pleasant, while the unique structure provides a great 3D and colour effect.
Last but not least, Master Italia has managed to embed small microchips in the screen of the cap, which can be read quickly and easily with a smartphone. The technology is called NFC and offers the possibility of linking a website, a PDF, an image, a video or the like to the cap, which all makes the product even more tangible and exciting.
27.05.2020 | reflects
REFLECTS is repositioning itself on the market and presenting its three strong brands RETIME, RETUMBLER and REEVES, which are all grouped under the REFLECTS umbrella brand.
Since last summer REFLECTS has undergone a "rejuvenation cure", as Meinhard Mombauer described it in our talk. Since the company was founded at the end of the Eighties, it has accumulated experience with almost all of the world's promotional products. But what does REFLECTS actually represent? That was the main subject. The company now wishes to establish itself more strongly and concentrate on individual product groups and brands. REFLECTS itself is to be expanded and established as an umbrella brand, under which there are now the three strong brands of RETIME, RETUMBLER and REEVES. These brands stand for professional concepts covering watches, sustainable high-quality drinking containers and modern electronic promotional items.
The REFLECTS standards in terms of professional product development and product design have risen continuously. The aim within the three brands is therefore to bundle strong products with cool messages and lots of style in order to offer the best possible concepts and services.
But what are the concrete products behind these concepts? For example there is the Bayamo mug, which is already well known and highly popular. The mug can be individualised to the customer's requirements to a level of 99%. It is available ex stock in the three basic colours of white, silver and black. However, at its Cologne location REFLECTS can quickly and easily customise the cup as desired with 16 different colours for the body and 16 different colours for the ring. In addition, the company name or logo can be enhanced using pad or digital printing and laser engraving. This makes the mug an absolute champion of individuality, offering a wealth of variations. We can already look forward to a new product from this field, which will be launched before the summer! The configurator, with which customers can put together their preferred design, is also a great feature.
In addition to the Bayamo mug, the RETUMBLER brand includes a range of other stylish beakers, bottles and thermo mugs, because sustainable drinking bottles are currently very much in fashion.
RETIME stands for high-quality wristwatches. As with the Bayamo mug, customers have access to an almost inexhaustible number of variations for creating their own favourite watch. Whether it's a smartwatch, digital watch or chronograph, REFLECTS offers them all. They can be sporty, elegant or playful, made from colourful plastic or heavy stainless steel. There are also hardly any limits to the finish. Even the most unusual variation is possible. A printed dial, a fine engraving or a special strap transform every wristwatch into a real gem.
Electronic promotional products have become an indispensable part of the promotional world. For example, the REEVES brand includes modern pocket calculators, power banks, USB sticks, wireless charging products, headphones and a great deal more.
Last but not least, REFLECTS has a practical new little gadget in store. My Key Distance, the play on words already says it all, enables us to keep a key length's distance from surfaces that are touched a lot. It can be used like an eleventh finger, e.g. for cashpoints, for buttons in the elevator or to open doors. Due to its compact size it fits perfectly on a bunch of keys and is therefore always at hand. My Key Distance comes in a total of 14 different colours!
20.05.2020 | Myrix
During our last talk Myrix presented a unique new coating for notebooks that reduces bacteria and germs by up to 99.5%.
This has never been seen before in a CG Live Talk: an absolute world premiere. When Steven Baumgärtner told Patrick Döring about the Welcome Back to Desk packages that cyber-Wear is currently putting together, he asked for a coating for notebooks that’s effective against germs and bacteria. At the time, there was no such product available. Patrick Döring researched, experimented, analysed and finally succeeded.
Germs can be found on all kinds of surfaces and of course also on printed matter such as notebooks, and can survive there for longer than we might think. Everything that passes through different hands and is touched frequently potentially serves as a "carrier" for germs such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. These can include germs that can cause serious illness. The reason for their extended survival is the moisture and nutrients that people repeatedly transfer to the surfaces. The longer a notebook is used, the rougher its surface becomes and the more its bacterial contamination increases. With every touch we leave tiny residues of our skin such as skin fats. Especially in the current situation we are all highly aware of the need for disinfection and hygiene, and such coated notebooks can be used for protection in almost all sectors and help to slow down the spread of viruses.
The special anti-microbial coating of the notebooks is unique worldwide and its effect has been clinically tested and confirmed by the Fraunhofer Institute. An efficient germ reduction of up to 99.5% is possible. The coating works under the influence of light, which releases a certain amount of oxygen that combats bacteria, fungi and viruses. This coating consists of a type of varnish which in itself can be neither seen nor felt. As a result the notebook does not change its appearance at all, and all the usual finishes can be applied. In terms of price an increase of about 0.30 - 0.40 € can be expected.
The antimicrobial notebook is not only available in a soft cover - it of course also comes in a hard-cover version with pen loop. According to Steven Baumgärtner, the idea behind it is to offer the book and an anti-bacterial pen from Stabilo as a set. The minimum order quantity for the set is 500 pieces.
The striking black book shows what can be done with a notebook. For example, designs can be applied from the cover across the book block, resulting in a superb all-over print that looks great.
Another important subject for Patrick Döring is sustainability. Here he presents a notebook that is made of genuine recycled materials, has Blue Angel certification and is pure white. As an additional highlight, the recycled paper can also be coated with the antimicrobial varnish, so that the topic of sustainability is not forgotten even in times dominated by the coronavirus.
Other special features include a cocktail book, a children's colouring book and a notebook with a disposable camera. The latter is a neat idea for events and other activities, enabling users to capture memorable moments with the disposable camera and then write a few words about them.
13.05.2020 | René Rast
DTM driver René Rast drives an online race during the talk
Under normal circumstances this weekend would have been the occasion of the race at the Lausitzring, but at the moment everything is very different. René invites us to accompany him in his current main field of activity or, as he also calls it, developing his second career. New circumstances require new solutions, so e-racing is currently very popular with almost all racing drivers. The professionals compete in virtual races with state-of-the-art equipment consisting of a high-end racing steering wheel, pedals, a sports seat, huge headphones and several wide screens. Because the races are all streamed, the special highlight is that the fans can participate live and ask their idol questions. Via the Twitch platform, one of the largest platforms for gaming streams, René started his online racing career over a month ago. The seriousness of this should not be underestimated: René tells us that everything runs according to a strict schedule and, because there is huge demand and interest on the part of his fans, he has drawn up a fixed plan for his streaming times. So he races at fixed times and - if occasionally he is late - the fans are already waiting impatiently.
Speaking of the demand from the fans: together with René Rast we had actually planned something big for this year, but due to the current coronavirus crisis this has had to be put on the back burner. BUT: when one door closes, another one generally opens. It soon became clear that online streaming would open up completely new possibilities: the items in the collection worn by René are highly sought after by the fans, and the demand is great. Today, too, he is wearing his brand new black cap with his name in a stylish twisted design and a black hoodie with red-and-white highlights - and of course with the iconic RR33 on his chest. Both articles are already in production and will be available soon, together with - surprise, surprise - a cool t-shirt!
When asked how the racing simulator can be compared with the real thing, René doesn't really need to answer: the expression on his face says it all. But René still tries to put it into words, stating that the simulator is very static and of course such things like the "seat-of-the-pants feel", the G-forces and the adrenalin are missing. In order to get to know the circuits, endless training is necessary so that the driver knows when the car will skid, because this can only be seen and not felt. There are of course simulators that simulate these movements, but for René that's a little over the top!
What creates further motivation for the drivers is that unlike in reality the strategies, pit stops and choice of tyres have to be planned by the drivers themselves. René's current race performances are also impressive. For example, he says that in the online DTM championships of four races he has already made it onto the podium three or four times. Of course he admits that he is still far away from his actual achievements, but his performance is still pretty good!
Whether there will still be real races this year remains questionable. The provisional starting date for the next race would be mid-July, but then without spectators. It remains to be seen whether or not things will stay that way. For René and his team the desire for a normal race weekend is probably just as strong as it is among the fans! His new car, which was built with passion and commitment, is sitting ready to start in the garage, where it is slowly gathering dust. So everyone is waiting eagerly for the starting signal - let's hope it won't take too long!
Keep calm and trust in Rast! https://www.rene-rast.shop/
06.05.2020 | ALTA SETA
An entire promotional campaign for sustainability, with the theme of the beach woven into a high-quality all-round towel: not possible? In the current CG Live Talk Patrick Polaniok from Alta Seta tells us why it's entirely possible.
Travel and sustainability - perfectly combined in the Ocean Towel
The Ocean Towel is available for the beach, the Turkish bath or as a classic all-round towel. There's virtually no type of towel that isn't also available as an Ocean Towel. But in addition Alta Seta offers a variety of multifunctional and innovative variations. One distinctive Ocean Towel line is the Kids line, which offers three products in one. It's a children's poncho, a towel of course, and can even be folded into a bag with straps. The versatility makes it a real eye-catcher and of course it looks cute on the little ones!
Another variation is the Ocean Towel Lifestyle. This can be folded into a bag in the trendy Boho style, with the drawstring bag directly integrated into the towel. Of course it's also super quick-drying! After all, when you have used the towel, you will want to put your things back into the bag.
Ocean plastic - in my bath towel? You need real professionals to achieve this!
Fortunately, Alta Seta is an expert when it comes to producing high-quality and really attractive textile products. This is because they originally made ties, handkerchiefs and all kinds of silk accessories. So if anyone can bring style to the production of towels, it is Alta Seta. With the fine jacquard weave, the promotional message is aesthetically integrated into the fabric at the highest level - and, of course, with the greatest advertising impact. In the process of making and weaving the ocean plastic into really fine yarn, attention is paid to the highest level of cleanliness and quality. And because it's simply not soft without cotton, recycled or organic cotton fibre is also used, so that the fabric is already soft even when unwashed - why unwashed? Alta Seta also has sustainability in mind here. The cloths are shipped unwashed, because the customer washes them again anyway. If desired, they can of course also be pre-washed to make them even more cuddly.
A real promotional wave
As Patrick Polaniok shows us, a complete sustainability campaign is also literally woven into each individual towel. The towel he shows us has the production chain delicately and highly professionally woven into the pictograms. For the raw material Alta Seta works together with Germany's One Earth - One Ocean association. There are no vague promises here. Just as on the towel, everything is clearly spelled out. One Earth - One Ocean has ships in different sizes and with witty names, with which they operate a kind of maritime garbage collection and fish the plastic waste from the oceans. It all started with the "Sea hamster" on rivers. Since then, the "Manatee" and the "Sea elephant" have also been added. The "Sea elephant" can even recycle plastic on board the ship. Plastic granulate is obtained from the garbage that is filtered from the oceans. This is then transformed into a kind of paste and Alta Seta makes yarn out of it! Patrick Polaniok has illustrative material for us at every step.
We wish to express our thanks for this refreshing visit, and hope that Alta Seta will soon see another fashion wave in the direction of their beloved ties - but please keep on making these wonderful towels, we like them!
29.04.2020 | MAGNA sweets
Christmas in April
That's right, Christmas in April: It sounds a bit absurd, but it’s never too early to start planning gifts and awareness etc. So, Steven Baumgärtner and Mario Siebig from MAGNA sweets met for the Live Talk, in order to speak about the latest Christmas products. At the same time, MAGNA sweets has been able to design its packaging to be almost free of plastics. From now on, almost all products are available in FSC-certified packaging materials.
Especially important for us were of course the special hygiene and protective measures required due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. The two interlocutors sat opposite each other, maintaining the appropriate two-metre distance, and as far as possible, products were touched only once. Michael the cameraman wore his cyber-Wear mask the whole time.
Mario Siebig presents two quite special Advent calendars of a rather unique kind. The flat Advent calendar is about the size of a bar of chocolate. It should be opened every Sunday during Advent, delighting the recipient with delicious chocolates. You have a choice of either Ritter Sport Cubes or Lindt Hello chocolates. The candles begin to burn when you open the little door.
The Advent candle is also intended to be associated with the Sundays in Advent. It is designed like a candle. Candles are often lit during Advent, becoming ever smaller, and so it is with the Advent calendar. Every Sunday, you remove the relevant number in the form of a cube, and are surprised by a delicious Lindor ball, in a choice of either milk or dark chocolate. What a lovely idea!
Last year, in July’s CG Live Talk, Mario Siebig presented the so-called Advent Dispenser. This interactive Advent calendar releases something sweet when you press the opening at the side. The Advent Dispenser has now been reworked, offering for St Nicholas Day or Christmas Eve, for example, a voucher instead of chocolate.
And for the first talk since the lockdown, the learnings from the Corona crisis were also discussed. What conclusions were MAGNA sweets able to draw from the experience? Mario Siebig wants to manufacture almost exclusively in Germany, as far as possible. Regional and local businesses must support one another, and so MAGNA sweets is working together with lots of businesses in the region around their location in southern Germany. At the same time, the company wants to keep CO₂ emissions from transport as low as possible.
Last but not least: Packaging. Even before the Corona crisis, MAGNA sweets was tackling this subject intensively. Although this presented the company with great challenges, especially relating to Advent calendar functionality and the products’ shelf life and quality requirements, they managed it. They were able to switch the greatest amount of products possible to FSC-certified packaging materials. The solution for the products is recycled, FSC-certified paper with a PE coating, which guarantees the products’ shelf life and quality requirements.
04.03.2020 | Mahlwerck
Seamless quality through genuine human expertise
How are cups manufactured? Very simple (we might think): the raw material goes into one end of the machine and a cup comes out at the other end. Far from it! With the exception of a few steps, such as the paint finish, every single step is high-quality manual work and this is where Mahlwerck has found the ideal location in the Czech Republic: like Germany, the Czech Republic has a very long porcelain tradition. The country possesses the high level of manual craftsmanship which is essential to the manufacturing process.
A centuries-old concept - trendy and enduring!
With its robustness and high visual, tactile and ultimately emotional value, Mahlwerck is reviving porcelain today as a sustainable alternative. Sick of paper cups? Why not go back to porcelain? In addition to typical tableware products, Mahlwerck naturally offers the ubiquitous to-go cup in all colours, shapes and sizes and - particularly practical and logical: water bottles that also fit the usual Soda-stream machines. The cups are available in dishwasher-safe and dishwasher-resistant versions, i.e. with the kind of extra sturdiness which is indispensable for the catering trade. Such a high-quality cup can last forever and if it is chosen as our favourite piece, we'll take all the better care of it!
Top brands on fine porcelain
This sums up exactly what Mahlwerck aims to achieve: making favourite cups. Today it has almost been forgotten that porcelain can be finished much more precisely and elegantly than an aluminium cup, for example. With fine engraving the brand identity is stylishly and subtly accentuated. And if every cup can be made as an absolutely unique piece, there is a good chance that it will become THE favourite cup that is used every day. After all, with stylish branding that expresses additional individuality through the cup, a very special intrinsic value can be created for the user, which then places the brand directly on the user's desk during lunchtime and coffee breaks. Mahlwerck can paint the cups individually in all Pantone colours. As a result individuality is created on several levels: for the brand - and for the end user.
Quality = manual craftsmanship + high-end technology
Only a few steps in the production of Mahlwerck are not carried out by trained and skilled human hands. The glaze according to customer-specific Pantone values is applied by a robot - as in the automotive industry. This is because the correct application of paint is particularly important for dishwasher resistance. The robot ensures the required thickness of the glaze with absolute precision. To do this, it is programmed individually for each cup shape. For each of the different cup types, the robot is given special points which it covers its way across the shape of the cup. For absolute perfection, however, an employee takes a final look at the result.
The CG Live Talk on the go
A video about the production process or a conversation containing the relevant information? We thought: why not combine the two? During a casual but well-planned walk with several interesting stop-off points, Steven Baumgärtner and Tobias Köckert explained the production process while it was actively running in the background and the whole thing became easy to grasp. We also got even more out of our CG Live Talk with the combination of manual craftsmanship and technology. Cameraman Michael moved the camera backwards through the factory in one go. New camera technology helped with judder-free movement. In this way we were able to combine our two interests: we want to talk about products. But we also want to show them and their production and make it possible to experience them visually. This CG Live Talk is yet another benchmark for us.
Like pizza with all the toppings!
Of course, such a shoot is even more fun with a partner like Mahlwerck. Mahlwerck really strives to create the perfect brand ambassador in its products: an individual feel and individual appearance can be achieved through up to eight working steps with several glazes and firing processes, and above all through a lot of manual input. There is then a different glaze on the inside than on the outside, with multi-colours, styling, branding and engraving. We have had many of these "all-in-one cups" produced by Mahlwerck. Here's to further great projects! To the continued pursuit of perfection!
26.02.2020 | Halfar
In our talks nobody can avoid the topic of sustainability. When is a product in fact sustainable? At HALFAR there is no single answer to this question. Apart from the materials the bags are made of, many other factors play an important role.
A sustainable basis
Starting with the design of the bags, HALFAR puts a special focus on functionality, efficiency and durability. After all, in the final analysis the bags and backpacks will only be truly sustainable if they are used and enjoyed for a long time. For this reason, the company attaches great importance to the materials used. Natural fibres such as cotton or jute are constantly monitored. The Fairtrade cotton seal, for example, stands for fairly cultivated and traded raw cotton, which can be directly traced through all phases of production and is processed separately from non-Fairtrade cotton.
Sustainability in practice
As an instance, the LOOM series is the result of the two important factors of material and durability. It consists of a high proportion of cotton, is wonderfully tactile and of high quality, and therefore appears very robust. The natural sand tone makes the bag stand out and reflects sustainability. The smart thing about this multifunctional bag is the closure solutions: all-round straps that become shoulder straps or handles. As a result everyone can choose whether they want a bag, backpack or pouch.
At the PSI we had the bag finished with various Paris motifs, which again shows the options available for finishing. Our customers were enthusiastic and even after the fair they were still enquiring about the bag.
Sustainability has to be stylish
A bag made of recycled cotton waste? Processed waste from the clothing industry? Initially this doesn't sound like an attractive prospect, but HALFAR's PLANET series immediately convinces us of the opposite. Pretty bags in a mottled look suggest sustainability and style at the same time. Simple but chic, they impress with their natural colour, and the best thing is that they pay tribute to the renewable resource of cotton twice over. The otherwise discarded cuttings are reprocessed and spun into new yarn so they can be used once more. Sometimes it can be so simple!
Bags with two lives
The history of these bags is fascinating, because in their first life they were one or rather several PET bottles. These PET bottles were then turned into stylish, robust bags that radiate functionality. As a shoulder bag, courier backpack or shopper, there is something for everyone and all the bags offer many different functions.
17 years of cooperation with the Lebenshilfe charity
Social responsibility has a special value at HALFAR and is an important part of its corporate culture. In addition to cooperation with schools and universities, the awarding of a scholarship, health promotion and mobility offers, HALFAR has for 17 years been working successfully and closely with Lebenshilfe. Prosigno, the organisation for integrating disadvantaged people, which was founded for this purpose, employs disabled workers who finish bags with screen printing at the Halfar production facility.
Problems in the supply chain? Overnight instead of overseas
After the Live Talk we were able to visit the huge new HALFAR logistics centre. More than four million articles are stored here on over 7,000 square metres. This means that HALFAR is no longer dependent on shipping from the Far East and can do without long delivery times and high transport costs. The articles are available immediately and can be dispatched within 24 hours. This is a great advantage, especially at present due to the corona virus in China.
After the talk we shot anothe video about the new logistics centre, the production facility and the new headquarters.
19.02.2020 | Lediberg
Ursula Will or "Usch", as she is better known in the industry, will be Steven's discussion partner in the CG Live Talk on Wednesday. Who better to inform us about the latest topics and products from Lediberg? That's right, nobody can do it in such a charming and endearing way, so we're already very excited.
You're probably thinking: "Not sustainability again as the main focus of the Live Talk! Can't we talk about something else for a change?" Not really. In recent talks the latest innovations and product highlights have always been in the spotlight, but the topic of sustainability is particularly important and must be taken seriously, especially in relation to promotional items that used to be referred to as "disposable items". It is well known we haven't been putting any disposable articles into circulation for a long time now, but we must aim much more to ensure individual articles have the longest possible service life, are made of resource-saving materials and are at the same time produced in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. This responsibility is an integral part of our corporate strategy and vision, and that's why it is so important to keep it in the foreground.
Lediberg is also aware of this responsibility and uses apple waste to make its notebooks, for example. Sounds strange, but it works. The apple peel and cores, which usually end up in the garbage, are dried and then ground up. This is then used to make not only notebooks but also ecological artificial leather products. But I don't want to give too much away. You'll find out more about the so-called "Appeel Collection" on Wednesday.
In addition to notebooks, which are more in demand than ever, Lediberg also produces calendars of all kinds. Whether practical desk calendars, professional timers, weekly calendars or the book calendar with lots of specials, at Lediberg everyone gets their money's worth. With a wide range of advertising options such as blind embossing or gel doming and coloured highlights, e.g. on the body of the book and rubber band, every individual idea can be realised.
For us, too, the subject of calendars is more topical than ever, because the calendar continues to be highly popular. Remaining firmly in the awareness of customers 365 days a year - that's what it's all about. Find out more about our new business unit soon. Stay tuned!
12.02.2020 | Elasto
Hans-Jürgen Hammer from Elasto joined us in the CG Live Talk and of course sustainability was once more the theme. This time the focus was on why not all plastics are the same, and why they can often actually be the better alternative.
Last year in particular, plastics were heavily criticised in Germany. From many quarters it was said that plastics are harmful, not sustainable and "evil" in general. Hans-Jürgen Hammer from elasto deals decisively with these preconceptions, stating that there are important and correct reasons why plastic is often the most sustainable option.
But first to the company: elasto is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and is therefore a German company with a long tradition. Hans-Jürgen Hammer has also been part of it for 20 years now. It all started back in the day with softballs in Gerhard Sperber's garage. Today production takes place in Sulzbach-Rosenberg with a workforce of approx. 240. The product range includes about 1,500 products.
And what else does "Made in Germany" offer, besides quality? Quite naturally: shorter transport distance and high energy efficiency. The energy footprint is therefore positive. And wherever energy is saved, this also ticks the sustainability box.
Here it is clear that we are dealing with premium quality. And this is the first aspect in which plastic is clearly underestimated: it is not a question of a disposable product if there is quality behind it and the products are functional rather than consumable - in other words when they are used again and again. The company's boxes, bowls and bottles are robust, thick-walled and produced to the highest food standards.
And on top of it all, they're attractive to look at! The products come in a high-quality and sustainable look, which is based on natural products: cornflower, apricot mint, lilac, slate and hazelnut are the new colours. If this does not suit the customer's individual colour palette, the boxes and bowls can be adapted from a certain number of pieces, and from a quantity of 500 photo-realistic printing is possible.
But these products don't just look organic, there's organic material in there too! The plastic for the products consists partly of the original plastic polypropylene and partly of bio-carbon chains, for example from sugar cane. And the trend towards increasing the organic proportion is increasing! Since plastic is no longer being demonised so much in the area of sustainability, organic plastic is making great strides.
But elasto can also do more than just plastic: for about a year now, they have also been producing bottles made of Tritan, and this also in Germany. Thanks to finishing using the Premio Touch process, the bottle can also be printed with raised lettering all around. This means that the brand can also be experienced in a tactile way on the product. It is of course also ideal if the logo is three-dimensional.
For over 35 years, elasto has been producing and refining promotional items, advertising materials and POS materials in Germany. From in-house toolmaking and pre-press to injection molding and printing, they are the specialist for promotional items, premiums and POS, especially for large orders. They guarantee flexibility, reliability, speed and cost-effective processes!
05.02.2020 | Nestler-matho
With just one and a half years' experience in the field sales force, Danilo Linoria could be said to be a newcomer to the promotional materials sector. Nestler-matho, on the other hand, has been around since 1965 and is a company with a long tradition in the field. From the very beginning, the company has focused exclusively on promotional materials and they offer a fully comprehensive service in this area. This is a company that provides discerning customers with everything they need, and "all from under one roof". Their company slogan is "Hi-tech meets design" and their product range extends from technical products, such as radios, loudspeakers and fans, through to lunch boxes, drinks bottles and beakers.
Sustainability through CO2 offsetting and the use of wheat straw
The company's current product portfolio is completely aligned with the theme of sustainability. In their Live Talk, Dalino Linoria explains how Nestler-matho manage to offset the CO2 from transporting their goods from the Far East through their collaboration with natureOffice, and how they make great efforts during the actual manufacturing process to use as little energy as possible and to make use of a number of renewable raw materials. Wheat straw, for example, is a waste product that plays a key role in the manufacture of their lunchboxes.
The lunchboxes are also equipped with various practical and clever features. For example, one has a lock that can also be used as a smartphone holder to provide the user with some entertainment during their lunch break. And, even with all this versatility and sustainability, the product is nevertheless of a high quality and very robust.
A highlight of the collection for all coffee lovers is without doubt the mobile coffee machine, which allows you to make freshly ground coffee even when you are out and about. After all, everyone knows that freshly ground tastes best. Danilo Linoria showed us how it all works in a little spontaneous behind-the-scenes demonstration.
The DAB Radio and the Hidden Champion
Danilo Linoria also brought along some high-tech products with him. As well as cutting edge, sustainably-designed Bluetooth loud speakers, he also presented a new DAB radio. Danilo was particularly keen to tell us about a new Wi-Fi plug: this hidden champion is probably the first smarthome article on the market for promotional materials – it can be controlled via a free app and is also compatible for use with Alexa and Google Home. We found this item so exciting that we also made a short behind-the-scenes film about it.
Premiere in the Social Media Team
On a personal note, the CG Live Talk with Nestler-matho was the first I had experienced and took place on my third day in the job. This made it even more exciting that I was immediately allowed to get involved in the whole set-up. I held one of the cameras and even took responsibility for the filming of the two unrehearsed behind-the-scenes clips.
29.01.2020 | JUNG - Behind the scenes
After the fascinating CG Live Talk in JUNG's unique confectionery museum in Vaihingen an der Enz, we were given a look behind the scenes in the course of a tour of the sweet factory. The participants were Arne Paul Bender, Managing Director, Joachim Roth, Production Manager, Steven Baumgärtner, Michael and I, Melina, from the Social Media Team.
Before we were allowed to enter the production facility we had to observe strict hygiene regulations. These included, for example, putting on white overalls and hairnets. After that our hands were disinfected and we finally entered the production area. The first thing I noticed apart from the large, noisy machines was the delicious sweet candy smell.
With his many years of experience Joachim Roth explained every single step to us beginners simply but very clearly. Every sweet begins with the ingredients of sugar, water and glucose syrup, which are stored and kept warm in large tanks. Glucose is produced from maize, potato or wheat starch and has the property of breaking down sugar. It is this process that gives sweets their plasticity.
The various ingredients are then added and mixed in a large stainless steel container. The mixture of sugar, water and glucose syrup is also referred to as "goo". It is lukewarm and no particular taste can be defined yet. This mixture is then conveyed to the cooking station via large pipes and a pump. In a large copper kettle the mixture is cooked at 142 degrees Celsius. It is then poured into a transport wagon and taken to the aroma station, where the flavour is added for the first time. The required aromas are added and then the sweet mass is kneaded. It has to be kneaded because it is tough after cooking and needs to have greater plasticity. During this process the mass is also cooled to 80 degrees on a large plate. After kneading the sweet mass runs over two conveyor belts and is rolled beforehand so that the air can escape.
A funnel-shaped special roller is used to form the mass into a strand the width of a thumb. It is now only hand-warm. The strand runs through a stamping head, which stamps the sweets into the desired shape. Next the individual sweets are hardened on a cooling line. They are then sealed or wrapped in the required sales packaging.
It may look simple, but it takes a lot of experience to produce sweets. It's not for nothing that JUNG is one of the oldest sweet factories in Germany. JUNG made its first attempts to discover the secret of sweetmaking as long ago as 1828. Since then the company has established itself as a sweet manufacturer and now even has its own confectionery museum. In fact, it is the only museum of its kind in Germany.
22.01.2020 | Prodir - Behind the Scenes
Our visit to Pagani Pens in Switzerland resulted in more than just the CG Live Talk: during the guided tour of the production facilities we filmed the individual manufacturing stages to show the world that this is not just a simple writing instrument.
During our visit to Pagani Pens in Switzerland in December 2019 we had the opportunity to visit all three production sites and were given a detailed explanation of the components that make up a ballpoint pen, how they are assembled and how and in what order all this takes place. We were greatly impressed, because we didn't know that a ballpoint pen consists of so many individual parts and that Pagani Pens also manufactures everything itself. Probably because of this enthusiasm and curiosity I filmed all the production steps and processes. Everywhere there was something moving: machines turned ballpoint pens, assembled them, polished them and then finished them with the appropriate company logo. There was so much care and dedication behind all this that I wanted to capture it all.
The whole process begins with mixing the plastic granulate in the desired colour. This is then heated, melted and moulded into the required shape by machines. This creates the housing, the clip, the push button, the ring in the push button and the tip. For the inside of the pen, other machines first produce a transparent tube into which the ink is later injected. And even the ink itself is also produced by Pagani Pens in different colours. It is hard to believe, even the production of the tiny cartridge is done in house. The polish and the surface finish are of particular importance to ensure that the writing process is as perfect as possible. Machines cut pieces of metal in the appropriate sizes from meter-long wire rolls for the cartridges and the tips, and then press them into the correct shape. Precision is required if the customer wants a polished or matt metal surface.
During the entire production process, some employees are only concerned with quality assurance, checking the individual components, the ink and its writing performance, and then the entire product. Every detail is checked using large magnifying glasses, miles of writing tests and colour matching to ensure that genuine Swiss quality is supplied.
A very impressive production process, which has given me a whole new perspective on pens!
15.01.2020 | TROIKA
In the first CG Lounge Talk since the PSI, brand ambassador Ursula Kindlein takes the opportunity to present a range of products and explain their many well thought-out, practical details.
Since 1992 TROIKA has been developing gift ideas in Germany and selling them worldwide. Its highly diverse products combine surprising innovations, practical functions and fresh design. Currently TROIKA is also promoting the slogan of "Travelling with organisation". Every detail is important, especially when we are on the move. The brand therefore develops and presents robust travel companions and selected products for journeys in order to facilitate mobility. TROIKA stands for design and functionality, so that its products in the mobile field are just as impressive at first sight as they are at a second glance. The brand is well known from the retail sector, but at the same time its products are also ideal as promotional items.
Uschi Kindlein herself has been working at the company for nearly thirty years. It started in 1992 with the brand TROIKA and has since grown to a team of 46 in the Westerwald region. Since its very traditional beginnings, TROIKA has developed into a specialist for a well-organised everyday life. Today the product range represents long-lasting quality as well as strong design appeal with wit and attention to detail.
In the talk Ursula Kindlein introduces, among other things, the "Saftsack" (juice bag), a bag that holds all the items required for the perfectly prepared business meeting in a well-organised manner. The extra compartment for a power bank not only provides electronic devices with their "juice", but also gives the bag or rucksack its name. In addition to attention to detail and technical perfection, TROIKA attaches great importance to attractive, easy-to-understand packaging, since this is the first thing customers hold in their hands.
A further "man's gift" - at the risk of stereotyping - is the alternative to the handbag: a practical organiser for today's mobile man, in which he can store all the articles that might otherwise be distributed across various trouser pockets and pieces of luggage. This mobile office in textile form can even be attached to a DIN A5 notebook or trolley. Just as practical is the Crossbag, which not only offers storage space for everything necessary, but can also be worn easily at the front, back or on the sides.
One of the company's current top articles is the "Construction" writing instrument, which is now available in 20 colours. The ballpoint pen has a touch pen for tablets at its opposite end. In addition, a ruler indicating centimetres and inches, a cross-head screwdriver and a spirit level are integrated.
An absolute classic from TROIKA is the PATENT key ring, which probably every child knows today. The patented article holds six keys, which can be removed individually and easily as needed. In a nice anecdote Ursula Kindlein talked about an enthusiastic customer who had been using his key ring for no less than 27 years and now wanted to order a second one. That's real sustainability.
08.01.2020 | PSI / ReedExpo
A stylish lounge that warmly welcomed guests; a sensational evening event that will be remembered by all involved for a long time; a media buzz during the entire course of the fair - with its appearance at the PSI the cyber team made an impact with a masterly performance full of organisation, professionalism and commitment.
A "champagne atmosphere", completely in the style of the "Roaring Twenties" and of course plenty of "crazy" ideas: it was a great start to the "Golden Twenties", which was marked by this year's PSI, where 720 exhibitors presented the latest innovations and trends. In the PSI association's anniversary year, it thus impressively underscored its role as the most important forum and international network in Europe for the industry worldwide. Even though the numbers were slightly below the previous year's level, the organisers Reed Exhibitions counted a total of 16,367 visitors from 81 nations (last year: 17,602).
However, this did not detract from the overall success of the PSI, as Steven Baumgärtner, CEO of cyber-Wear emphasised: "The PSI is the only global trade fair with this format and the only platform where this industry can demonstrate what it can really do. Companies invest large sums of money to present their new products, their trends and themselves here, and do so at a level of quality that I have never seen before in this form. The PSI is becoming increasingly international, which is really impressive and underlines the relevance and significance of this trade fair for the industry, also in a global context."[i]
It's not only the PSI network that is celebrating a birthday, its 60th, this year. We as a company have also been involved in the industry for 25 years. It is fascinating to see what both have developed into. But above all our shared development makes it clear that growth is always an option for those who want it. A nostalgic look in the rear-view mirror is permitted, because it connects the generations and acts as an emotional lubricant. However, it should not become the factor that determines our actions. We must be open to new developments and to whatever the future brings", is Steven Baumgärtner's conviction. After all, both our industry and the entire global economy are in a state of upheaval, requiring new ways of thinking, new approaches and new visions, and this means unity and respect - with and for each other.
Michael Freter welcomed the visitors on the first day of the fair and gave a brief review of the development of the association over the past 60 years. In his speech to visitors, colleagues and media representatives, Steven Baumgärtner also emphasised the indispensable role of the PSI as the leading trade fair for the promotional products industry. In the stylish cyber Lounge in Hall 12 the two "industry veterans" were able to go into detail, away from the hustle and bustle of the fair during the CG Lounge Talk on the second day, the first talk of this year. At the same time the marketing team of cyber-Wear was out and about again during the fair and at the evening event to capture voices, trends and innovations.
With the cyber-Lounge this year cyber-Wear whisked its guests off to Paris. Framed by an illuminated back wall with the Eiffel Tower in focus, the team created a classy lounge ambience in gold, petrol and countless special details, such as hand-sprayed labels on the deliberately "raw" chipboard of the stand construction. The feel-good highlights were the comfortable velvet couches and armchairs, as well as the excellent 3-course set meal and the professional barista with a portafilter coffee machine that was specially painted tone-in-tone.
A topic of conversation that even overtook the BeachCup in popularity was the Cybergroup evening event on the first day of the fair. In the Paris Club on the 17th floor of the 25hours Hotel with its spectacular view over Düsseldorf, Cybergroup invited guests to an exclusive, sensational art exhibition. More than 40 works of art designed by the partner suppliers, a total of 190 guests consisting of colleagues, friends and business partners, excellent catering and an exuberant atmosphere made the evening unforgettable for all participants. In line with the slogan "Good art does good" all the artworks will be auctioned off following the show, and the resulting proceeds will be donated to one of the long-standing social Cybergroup initiatives - the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.
During the weeks of preparation, but especially during these three days in Düsseldorf, the cyber team made an impact with a masterly performance full of organisation, professionalism and commitment. All in all a highly eventful and successful trade fair participation, of which the whole team can be proud.
18.12.2019 | Prodir
The 20th and therefore final Lounge Talk this year can hardly be beaten as a highlight. At the magnificent Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland, with a snow-white mountain backdrop, Steven Baumgärtner and Dr Eckhard Sohns, managing director of Pagani Pens, talked about brand-new innovations, sustainability and the Prodir brand.
An early morning start was required for the entire Lounge Talk team, with an early journey to the airport. The weather above the clouds looked promising, and remained cloud-free and sunny during the talk. But before the talk, the team was able to visit all three Pagani Pens production sites, and everyone was totally fascinated and astonished by how many components a ballpoint pen comprises, and that Pagani Pens are 100% made in Switzerland. A perfect preparation for the Lounge Talk:
Against the wonderful backdrop of Lake Lugano, the team constructed the setup directly on the edge of lake. As they were doing so, the tiny waves rippled at the banks and a pair of ducks swam into scene, just as if pre-arranged.
Pagani Pens manufactures at three production facilities in Switzerland. The company is proud of being a 100% vertical manufacturer, producing the very highest quality. This level of quality can only be achieved and maintained thanks to the high level of vertical integration, according to Dr Eckhard Sohns. Steven Baumgärtner too was surprised and impressed that everything from the refill to the ink and right up to the housing is 100% made in Switzerland. Sometimes it seemed to him as if they were no longer talking about writing implements, but rocket research, because the topic is so complex, with workers there working and researching with so much passion.
Pagani Pens began in 1961, initially with the nibs. The nib is an extremely small, finely machined element which requires enormous precision in order to produce a qualitatively high-grade writing implement. Under the brand name Premec, various components, such as the nib, refill and ball point, are manufactured for various writing systems.
What’s special about Pagani Pens is the knowhow and the experienced workers, who research and develop day in, day out, in order to design writing implements that are ever-better and more innovative. At the same time, they know how to deal with the writing requirements of different countries such as China, Russia or America and implement them accordingly. This knowhow of course also applies to manufacturing techniques, quality standards and certifications, which are firmly established in the business.
New in the product range, and an absolute must-have, is the QS Stone, a product which in terms of its materials, weight and look differs considerably from other writing implements. They are made from a special material enriched with minerals, which reduces the plastic content of each individual housing by a sustainable 60%. At the same time, it is 50% heavier, which greatly increases its perceived value. It fits in the hand better and feels as if it is of better quality, which increases the desire to keep the product.
The QS Stone, but also all other writing implements produced by Prodir, are made to last a long time. Without a long service life there can be no sustainability. Prodir is the first manufacturer in the promotional items market to decide upon only offering ballpoint pens with replaceable refills. Because only a long useful life can guarantee effective conservation of resources and at the same time ensure that brand messages can reach people over a long period.
But the absolute world-first, which cyber-Wear was permitted to present in the Lounge Talk, is the QS40 Air. The QS40 Air’s surface is perforated, with a honeycomb look, therefore showing the interior of the writing implement. And in this case too, 60% less plastic is required, resulting in the product being very light. The product has a high surprise factor for lots of people, due to its completely new, innovative look. This item demonstrates perfectly how important product design is to Prodir, and how precisely it has been developed. With the QS40 Air, the customer can choose from various housing colours and refill colours, resulting in a totally individual look.
11.12.2019 | JUNG since 1828
At JUNG's Bonbon Museum Arne Bender and Steven Baumgärtner talk about the history of JUNG as well as the history of sweets, together with more than 40 new products. In an exciting setting we learn, among other things, what the original use of the large tin of sweets was. In Vaihingen an der Enz there are extraordinary things to see and experience: here visitors will find the only sweets museum in Germany. In JUNG's Gummi-Bären-Land (factory outlet), the yummy history of sweets is presented in an entertaining, interesting permanent exhibition. Anyone who has ever wanted to know where sweets actually come from, who ate them first, how they were produced and sold in the past, why they help against coughs and since when they have been given away in promotional wrappings has come to the right place at the Bonbon Museum. Here sweets, sweet tins, production machinery and old advertising materials are presented in a humorous cultural-historical exhibition covering 300 square metres.
The first attempts to discover the tasty secret of making sweets were made by JUNG as early as 1828. What started out as a small confectioner's developed over time into a company with a wide and innovative range of products. Former managing director Walter Kühlbrey took the first steps towards the classic promotional sweets. With his idea of offering sweets in individually printed wrapping paper he set the tradition-rich company on the right course. However, the company's product range has gone well beyond promotional sweets. Today sweets, snacks and the like are an integral part of the promotional world. In addition to extensive seasonal Christmas and Easter articles, customers can also find protein bars, apple cubes and dextrose as well as classic products such as herbal sweets, fruit gums and pretzels. Sustainable, vegan and sugar-free articles complete the diverse assortment, so that every customer wish can be fulfilled.
New in the snacks area are various delicious nut varieties in a cool tin. There are also cheese chips and bread chips from Germany, and pizza snacks from Italy. Of course, the popular Pretzel Balls from Roland in the eye-catching pyramid packaging are also available. The apple cubes are a healthy but above all crunchy and fruity addition. These highly popular dried apple pieces are now available in new cool packaging. Steven Baumgärtner tasted many different samples and enjoyed one taste experience after the other. "Quality is in the taste, and it's very important to us that people should be able to experience this in our products. We don't use cheap raw materials and always make sure that we have the best". Accordingly there are many branded products such as Powerbar, Trolli, Skittles, Mars, Bahlsen, Lindt and many more in the company's product range.
The Slim Box Mini contains what are probably the smallest sweets in the world. It offers enough space for the advertising message and for the sweets, but is still small enough to fit in your trouser pocket. Thanks to its click closure, it can be opened and closed quickly. It is now also possible to fill the small box with Skittles or M&M's for when you are out and about. A Powerbar in a stylish promotional slipcase is the ideal solution for the next company run, for sports enthusiasts and for nutrition junkies. Handy, small and tasty, it provides the right energy supply before and after a workout.
The super cool Advent calendar in truck form is also guaranteed to attract attention. The generous promotional space can be printed individually on all sides and there are tasty Ritter SPORT chocolate bars hidden behind the doors. It consists of fully recyclable materials and 100 % carbon-neutral production.
The nostalgic mini sweet jar conveys a crystal-clear advertising message. It can be filled with sweets of various flavours as required. As the icing on the cake, the closure can be individualised with doming.
JUNG has two beehives of its own on the roof and produces honey sweets from them. In addition, the company supports the "nearBees" project. This stands for environmental protection and sustainability, as well as local and responsible consumption. The nearBees project radically simplifies the marketing of honey for beekeepers and also provides convenient access to local honey.
In the authentic replica of the 1893 shop where sweets and chemicals used to be sold, Arne Bender solved the mystery of what the large sweet tin was originally used for. It was welded shut and attached to both sides of those learning to swim in order to provide sufficient buoyancy and prevent them from sinking.
New in the area of sustainability is foil that can be composted in the garden and is filled with Trolli fruit gums with fruit pieces or their vegan variant. For Arne Bender the most ecologically sensible version is the perforated card filled with sweets. The product is eaten and there is little waste.
27.11.2019 | uma Schreibgeräte
Writing instruments are a topic firmly rooted in the DNA of the company uma. Managing director Alexander Ullmann presents new developments and trends. Uma is a proud family business. The short film revisits the history and the company’s success story. Founder Fritz Ullmann himself almost seems astonished as he recounts the anecdote of how 87 million ballpoint pens were sold last year – his reaction: That means virtually every German owns an uma ballpoint pen!
Together with his brother and father, Alexander Ullmann now runs the business in the third generation in Fischerbach in southern Germany, where the company is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It was then that the grandfather came up with the idea of offering his writing instruments as promotional products, an idea that has prevailed until this day. Today, the small town of Fischerbach stands for the company – and vice versa – its regional identity is one of uma’s core values. And so the three managing directors aren’t the only ones to bear the name Ullmann: a school, a nursery and a street all share the same name.
The portfolio is extensive and meets every customer’s individual needs. Currently, a total of 350 models with a wide variety of different versions, materials and surface finishes set the uma brand apart from the competition. The key products are plastic ballpoint pens, markers and highlighters. In addition to the standard colours offered, special colours can be implemented as required. While a ballpoint pen may seem like a very basic promotional giveaway, it’s actually an extremely versatile product with almost infinite potential for new developments in terms of material, texture and colours. As Ullmann puts it with a smile, “the ink always has to be dressed in new clothes”.
Alexander Ullmann calls the twist ballpoint pen “CORAL” his PSI pen. In addition to the usual high quality of writing, the pen stands out due to its solid rubber coating on the housing and clip. Like all of uma’s writing instruments, this one is also “Made in Germany”. The model “BRUSH GUM” translates the same variety of colours and the rubberised surface onto a metal ballpoint pen. The high-quality pen with a special soft touch will also be used in the cyber-Lounge this year. uma is making an exception and creating an exclusive version in white, a tricky design to maintain. Sets in all ranges feature the various writing techniques of ballpoint pens, rollerballs, fountain pens etc. – all tailored to the customer’s wishes. This further expands the product range, now also including the cartridge roller.
By manufacturing its pens in Germany, uma is staking a clear claim to sustainable production. Another important aspect is the choice of materials. One of the company’s key focuses in this respect is its use of recycled PET bottles. The bottles are shredded, converted into granulate and brought back to life as ballpoint pens. A single 0.5 litre bottle is all it takes to create a brand new casing. That means that this casing consists of 100% recycled material and can be returned to the cycle as a closed chain. Each pen also bears the “climate-neutral” label. To offset CO2 emissions, uma reinvests in the region, for example in reforestation projects in the Black Forest. The cycle is completed by sustainable ballpoint pens, produced climate-neutrally on site and made from Black Forest beech wood. The constantly increasing demand represents an attitude shift in the promotional products industry, both on the part of the suppliers and of the customers. The trend is moving towards smaller quantities in favour of higher-quality, more sustainable products.
20.11.2019 | FARE
The weather in the hilly region was appropriate for the fascinating topic of umbrellas: specialist FARE presented the complexity of umbrellas, the technology that goes into them, their design possibilities and a number of new products.
This time it wasn't cyber-Wear that issued the invitation, but the supplier. cyber-Wear's long-time partner and supplier FARE welcomed the whole film team to its new building in Remscheid.
In line with the local weather CEO Steven Baumgärtner and Volker Griesel, Managing Director of FARE, explored the topic of umbrellas. Many may think that umbrellas are boring, but this is far from being the case. cyber-Wear and FARE have been working together for a long time now, and have implemented a range of exciting projects. No two umbrellas are the same. So what can the umbrella do? What are its design possibilities? What technology goes into them?
FARE was founded in 1955 but didn't start with umbrellas at the time. At first they sold tools all around the world. Thanks to a chance encounter they then started to import parts for the European umbrella industry. In the 80s and 90s the company switched completely to promotional umbrellas.
A technically complex pocket umbrella has around 150 individual parts, which are assembled manually in the Far East. For many years FARE has had certified partners there to take care of the production. All partners are amfori BCSI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) certified. In this way FARE obliges its partners to comply with the amfori code of conduct and thus promotes responsible business operations and better working conditions. Thanks to its individual parts as well as the craftsmanship and the finishing options available, the umbrella can be designed with great individuality.
FARE offers almost 100 different models in a variety of colours, which are available for immediately delivery ex stock. In addition, there are numerous custom-made umbrellas that go far beyond simply minor refinements and the implementation of a small logo. For example, it produces full-surface special designs featuring many individual details. The trend is very much towards individualisation, because at FARE these custom-made products currently account for around 40 per cent. Accordingly, customers need to plan for long delivery times of 14-16 weeks right from the start, and are happy to accept them. The length of the delivery times is due to the fact that the Far East does not refine standard goods, but instead manufactures and processes special parts and then finishes them. In addition, the ship needs approx. 30 days to reach a European seaport such as Hamburg.
The FARE sample umbrella shows what finishes are possible. In connection with the finishing of the logo a variety of colours and colour combinations are possible. This goes not only for the outside of the umbrella, but also for the inside. Theoretically, each individual section of the umbrella can be individualised. For the promotional application various techniques are available, including transfer printing, screen printing for the cover and laser engraving and doming for the handle. Colormagic printing is an excellent way of giving the dreary grey of rainy days a cheerful side. As soon as the surface gets wet, the print becomes transparent and the underlying colour becomes visible. However, creativity is not limited to the sections of the umbrella - the handle, the fastening strap and the protective sleeves can also be designed in a variety of ways.
The issue of sustainability is very important at FARE. In the ÖkoBrella programme, for example, FARE uses a bamboo handle and cover material made of recycled PET bottles. In addition, FARE is now saving an enormous amount of energy and, above all, water in the manufacture of its umbrellas. The classic dyeing process for woven fabrics requires large amounts of fresh water, chemicals and energy. The new FARE waterSAVE technology is a "dry" process and completely eliminates the energy-intensive cleaning and treatment of the water. FARE will completely change over to this process next year with some of its top sellers.
An absolute novelty is the enhancement of the shaft of the pocket umbrella. In the past this was not possible because the shaft is pulled apart when it is opened and closed, and would be scratched if painted in the classic way. By inserting patented parts into the shaft it can now also be individually coloured.
Another new feature - contrary to the trend that everything has to be light and small - is the FARE Steel. In this robust umbrella the handle, push button, top and frame are made of steel elements that give the umbrella a corresponding weight. For many customers this weight is important, because they like to "have something solid in their hand".
13.11.2019 | PROMOWOLSCH
From the very beginning PROMOWOLSCH has specialised in the production of
high-quality plastic products for the advertising and sales promotion sector.
The entire range is manufactured in Europe, mainly in Germany. Well-qualified employees, high-quality raw materials and value for money are backed by fast and reliable delivery times and top quality at budget-friendly prices.
The product range comprises the promotional product sector with, for example, frisbees, ice scrapers, bottle openers, fly swatters, rulers, sharpeners, note boxes, money trays, buckets, shoehorns, thermo cups, parking discs and much more.
A new product highlighted in the CG Lounge Talk is the 2K Alpenrambo ice scraper. The designer ice scraper with its brass blade looks particularly stylish and is especially popular in the higher-priced range of promotional items. Numerous imitations by competitors and as many successful cease-and-desist orders testify to the popularity of this bestseller.
Since October 2018 PROMOWOLSCH has taken over the products of Gustav Selter GmbH, as Selter wants to concentrate more on its core business. The PROMOWOLSCH product range now includes new products such as screwdrivers, multitools, cutters, letter openers and calipers, which are mainly sold to the promotional products trade via the import company CONDEDI GmbH belonging to the owner's son.
06.11.2019 | PSI Journal
The PSI Journal takes a look behind the scenes of the CG Lounge Talks
This time the shoe is on the other foot: in the CG Lounge Talk last Wednesday Ursula Geppert from the PSI Journal asked Steven Baumgärtner the questions. The questions were mainly about supplier selection, preparation for the talk and the idea for the format itself.
This was already the 14th CG Lounge Talk led by CEO Steven Baumgärtner. Normally he asks partner suppliers questions about current topics and new products. This time, however, it was the other way round: Ursula Geppert from the PSI Journal spontaneously got involved in an interview after visiting the new headquarters, as she was interested not only in the new building but also in the brand new format presented by Cybergroup, which is unique in the industry.
How did you come up with the idea for this new format?
"The idea behind it was to do something new, something different. How can we present ourselves and the industry differently and what new formats are available? We have already shot lots of 'making of' videos, both with suppliers and for customers, as well as videos introducing and describing new products. We have a great setup, consisting of three team members and the technical equipment, without which everything would not be possible anyway. For example, at the PSI we shoot live interviews that are immediately processed and streamed. During the move to the new building, a marketing meeting came up with the idea of having a live talk with suppliers and their new products à la breakfast television. The first three live talks were so well received that we decided to continue this format".
Do you focus on specific topics?
"The topics are always supplier-specific, because the supplier should be in the foreground. We want to use the format to inform, show new products and trends, but at the same time the main focus of this platform is on suppliers and their way of working, and to demonstrate their advantages over the competition. In the beginning this was a bit difficult, especially when it came to public relations. We like to make our contribution here, because we have staff who are responsible for marketing and public relations and who are supposed to support and promote the suppliers in this way.
Roughly speaking, there are always five topics to talk about with each supplier. First of all we introduce the supplier and then, depending on the supplier, there are four areas around new products, current topics, special features or production techniques. That's normally enough anyway, because the 15 minutes of talk are over very quickly."
Are the suppliers selected according to specific criteria or do they apply to you themselves?
"In the beginning, we actually approached our main suppliers, whom we knew would definitely participate and with whom we had already shot videos. But we have also received requests to participate in the talk: for example Timon Feld von Wellnuss, when he was a guest in Mannheim, heard about the talk and wanted to use this opportunity for his company. The talk has now received relatively high coverage within the industry, everyone knows the talk and it is widely discussed. Many people watch the talk and then wish to take part as guests themselves.
Do your suppliers bring products with them?
"The example of mbw and its cuddly toys and squeaky ducks shows that suppliers always bring a selection of products and innovations to present their company in the best possible way. In the case of mbw there were a lot of products on show, but sometimes fewer products are presented in order to focus on techniques and manufacturing processes by means of close-ups. At the end of the day the aim is for our suppliers to show what identifies them, what they do better than the competition and in what areas they are different".
What role does the supplier play for you?
"Without our suppliers we are nothing. Without them, we don't produce a single product. We can import stuff, but then we lack their extensive knowledge. Even when it comes to issues that are occupying our industry, such as sustainability and the environment, we can only make a mark together with our suppliers."
What is the procedure relating to the talk?
"Everyone arrives the evening before and there is a technical check and a briefing on the talk and the topics to be discussed. This takes care of any initial questions and nervousness. Over dinner afterwards, final questions and "fears" can then be cleared up again and topics such as the PSI, in-house exhibitions and of course private matters are discussed, which would otherwise not be possible due to time constraints. The next morning there is a short briefing and technical instruction and then we begin the talk. All this contributes strongly to the commitment of the partners and has always been worthwhile."
How has the response to the talk been so far?
"The response is excellent. After the talk, we get WhatsApp messages from major customers, for example, who have integrated the talk into a meeting or have all watched it together. Customers often raise the subject during appointments. It also ensures that new customers become aware of us, get to know us and talk to us. Many people, whether they are customers, suppliers, competitors or simply interested parties, already know the talk and that counts in our favour".
30.10.2019 | MYRIX
On the same day the new cyber notebooks from MYRIX were delivered, the optimal basis for discussing the individual product developments of the notebook manufacturer.
The company's high-quality notebooks and book calendars are individual and always special. It is the many small details that matter in this respect. These details, the processing in product and logo printing, the quality, the individuality and the incredible variety of different decoration possibilities make MYRIX articles ideal brand ambassadors. For MYRIX, production in Germany and Europe is an important factor. This means not only short distances, but also fast delivery times. For customers with lower budgets, MYRIX can also offer products from the Far East via its own office in Hong Kong.
A notebook may be a classic promotional product, but even here individual solutions are needed. The new cyber notebook was also produced in an uncomplicated way in a small edition. On the one hand, this is made possible by regularly available stocks which can be printed on at short notice, including on the spine, embossed or otherwise finished - and then delivered immediately. Advertising leaflets, for example, can even be inserted at a later date.
However, the main business in which MYRIX specialises is printing to customer specifications. The interior design can be individually adapted from as little as 250 pieces. Countless surface finishes, materials and colours are available for the cover. For the Camo Collection of the Ford Lifestyle Collection, for example, such unusual surfaces as well as textile covers were created jointly. The elaborate design was faithfully applied to a Setalux material and even continued in detail on the spine.
In general customers opt for the standard range, but the wide range of variations is ideal for presenting a brand in a progressive way. The company's own cyber book, too, is rich in individual details. In another cooperation, the current hardcover will be followed by a softcover notebook. In this context Patrick Döring also discusses the topic of sustainability. As far as paper is concerned, sustainability can be implemented using raw materials such as grass-based or recycled paper. Customer perceptions are also changing, and today products must not only look sustainable, they can also cost a little more. In addition to this new willingness to pay more for sustainability, the products themselves no longer look "eco", but are available in colours which are no less brilliant than in those produced conventionally. Their appearance is so good that their sustainable features have to be highlighted on the products to make them clear.
Another current topic in the talk is that order quantities are constantly falling, but at the same time more and more individuality is required. MYRIX is responding to this with its new MyCollection concept, which can basically be broken down to individually produced one-off items such as soft or hard covers, printed in four colours - and even individual pages of a book such as a personalised foreword can be printed in a different type, and all this in a maximum of three to four weeks! This concept in particular shows how versatile even a supposed classic of promotional materials can be.
23.10.2019 | mbw
At mbw Lutz Franke is a certified expert for toy safety and, as quality manager, is responsible for product safety. mbw's products fall into the category of baby toys, i.e. for children under 36 months, and must therefore meet strict quality requirements. For mbw, this quality starts with the manufacturing process. Producers are carefully selected and regularly audited. At the same time, mbw has an employee in Shanghai who is responsible for quality at the production sites themselves. She checks the quality either during production or before shipping, in order to ensure that faulty or defective articles are not even shipped in the first place. In addition, the eyes and seams of the stuffed animals, for example, are randomly inspected and compared with a reference sample for factors such as size and symmetry. The DIN EN 71 standard plays an important and mandatory role in this, as the products must meet not only chemical requirements but also specific mechanical and physical properties. For example, the strength of the eyes is tested by pulling them for 10 seconds with the aid of a 9 kg tensile tester. In addition, all seams must be clean and tightly sewn.
Under these conditions mbw produces really cute soft toys, squeaky ducks and many other little gifts in different versions. To start with the smallest ones, the Schmoozies® have a high-quality microfibre surface on their underside, with which the displays of smartphones and tablets can be cleaned easily, quickly and without streaks. With a diameter of 7 cm, the small, soft Schmoozies® are perfect to hold and are a distinctive eye-catcher on the desk because they look simply irresistible.
The cuddly toy selection leaves nothing to be desired, with the mbw range offering a wide variety of choice. From lions, hedgehogs and rhinos via classical bears right across to the panda, moose and elephant. The MiniFeet® brand offers cuddly toys of all different sizes, shapes and colours, but in one respect they are all the same: they're cuddly soft.
The Schnabels® brand includes all the squeaky ducks that mbw offers in every possible variation. Here you will find a mechanic with a matching cap, a football fan with football and flag, a brewer with a beer barrel and even a unicorn. This product group covers an enormous range, and even Dracula, Grandma Duck and the Carnival Prince are represented. There is also a duck in giant proportions and different colours.
In addition to the huge selection of standard articles, custom-made products are also possible. But here, too, quality and adherence to all the applicable standards and regulations come before design. All the articles to be manufactured must first be individually checked for these factors.
16.10.2019 | wellnuss Premium Snacks
That's why Steven Baumgaertner once again welcomed his current guest in the cyber kitchen in Mannheim. As its name indicates, the guest company wellnuss Premium Snacks is all about high-quality nut mixes. However the brand has a lot more to offer, as interview partner Malte Wietbrauk explains during the CG Lounge talk.
The Key Account Manager has been working for three years at wellnuss Premium Snacks, which itself has been on the market for eight years now. Today's colleagues got to know each other in the wellnuss Racing Team, because the company's managing director is a passionate marathon runner. The brand is committed to the belief that the quality of a promotional product fully reflects the appreciation of the giver for the recipient. For this reason the team puts all its dedication and passion into the development of lasting gift ideas.
In fact, from the outset wellnuss has concentrated its high-quality offer on industrial customers and not, as some people might suspect, on food retailing. It all started with the Snackboard, conceived for conference catering as an alternative to the same old plate of cookies on the conference table. At the same time the idea of developing high-quality promotional articles was born. wellnuss was the first to design an appealing folding carton, which has been continuously developed and regularly used ever since. In conversation, Malte Wietbrauk describes this folding carton as the customer's shop window, as it is precisely here that individualisation can be applied. It is also important to the sustainably oriented company that the box is not a composite material, but that the individual components can be removed and disposed of separately.
Currently the range offers 16 different snacks made from sweet, savoury and natural ingredients. All the snacks, however, are united by the wellnuss purity law: no preservatives, no colourings, no artificial flavours, no genetic engineering. All products are processed and packaged in Germany, while wellnuss obtains its raw materials from the best growing regions worldwide. The BBQ Rubs, for example, were developed by the owner himself while barbecuing.
The company offers a wide variety of packaging sizes, ranging from three to 60 grams to suit every budget. Of course, this also determines the quantities purchased, which nevertheless start at only 250 pieces for the second-largest unit. wellnuss offers the folding cartons in attractive gift boxes, optionally even in birch wood. This high-quality wooden box can be individualised with a brand stamp from just 50 pieces. Especially for Christmas there are not only new varieties, but also attractive presentation variants, most of which can be delivered from stock in the shortest possible time.
Of course, wellnuss has also thought about something for the summer, namely delicious ice cream. Together with a Hamburg ice-cream parlour the company has developed an ice-cream powder, also without additives, from which the best ice-cream can be made in the home refrigerator in no time at all. The fine powder is available in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and Christmas chocolate cinnamon. Each variety is available with a practical mixing glass, which accurately displays the mixing ratios.
11.09.2019 | Roemer Praesente
There’s a first time for everything: at the last CG Lounge Talk on 11 September 2019, the boss himself put on the apron for a live cooking show. Of course he wasn’t alone: Sebastian Römer from Römer Präsente joined him to present products revolving around cooking, gifts and Christmas. The entire Lounge Talk equipment was set up in the cyber’s Kitchen to create a completely unique event.
Steven Baumgärtner and Sebastian Römer felt right at home behind the large kitchen island showcasing many delicious products. The large pot filled with tasty tomato tagliolini was bubbling and olives and ciabatta were waiting to be snacked on. Enough to make anyone’s mouth water. And when the Sangiovese di Toscana red wine was finally uncorked, the Italian dream was perfect. The pasta was served either with authentic Italian pesto genovese or sugo pomodoro e basilico. And all of these extra-special culinary delights are available as ‘ready-to-eat’ gift sets directly from the Römer family business.
The premium gift set ‘Pasta basta’ contains the red wine, pasta, pesto and tomato sauce in a natural-coloured corrugated carton with decorative material. The olives were served in pretty Rominix ceramic bowls on an elegant slate board. Toothpicks were used as skewers, presented in true style in a Rominox toothpick dispenser. The Rominox bread cutting set including a bread knife is perfect for cutting ciabatta. The bamboo board has a crumb tray so the crumbs don’t end up on the floor, and the knife can be stored in a recessed compartment at the top. To go with the ciabatta, but of course also suitable for salads and other dishes, Römer offers a 4-piece kitchen set with a selection of premium vinegars and oils. The set features four 100 ml decorative bottles with aceto balsamico, white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and walnut oil. The four gourmet varieties are packaged side by side in a sliding gift box with a decorative lid. The lid can be individually customised. The vinegar and oil dispenser with cork stoppers are ideal for serving salads. The elegant design perfectly complements the bamboo tray used to serve the two dispensers. The Rominox cooking spoon made of the finest olive wood can be used to stir pasta or tomato sauce and can be set aside on the matching tray. Once the pasta is al dente and the sauce is hot, it’s ready to serve. The birch wood trivet is a useful space-saving gadget that can be halved in size as required. With the electric spice mill, seasoning is something to look forward to. The elegant spice mill with a customisable surface on the lid has an automatic ceramic grinding mechanism that can be operated with just one hand thanks to an innovative tilt sensor.
All products from Römer Präsente are ideal as Christmas presents and come in particularly pretty and appealing box sets. For example, the pasta set consists of Christmas tree-shaped pasta and festive sugo in holiday-themed packaging. What’s more, the Römer product range also features classic Christmas products. These include the Lindt Surprise in a festive Christmas tin. When you open the tin, you’ll find a Lindt Father Christmas, Lindor truffles and a Christmas card. The Christmas range also includes a sparkling bottle of chocolate. The elegant champagne bottle contains Lindor truffles in all flavours and is packaged in a black tube box.
Römer Präsente is the perfect partner for last-minute Christmas shopping, because the Christmas presents are packed very early on to make sure they can be delivered on time for the big day, even for orders placed on 23 December.
The table is set, the plates are filled and the team can join the feast. Buon appetito!
17.07.2019 | Xindao
The aim of the live talk from the beach in Holland was to spread the holiday mood before the CG Lounge Talk takes a short summer break until the end of August. In bright sunshine and with the beach empty of people, the Lounge Talk team dragged all the equipment what felt like 100 steps up the dune and 100 steps down again to the Zuiderduin Beachclub in Zoutelande.
The Zuiderduin Beachclub, part of the Fletcher Zuiderduin Beachhotel, is situated in an exceptional location, directly behind the dunes of Zeeland on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Netherlands. Surrounded by comfortable deckchairs, sun loungers and beautiful terraces, Steven Baumgärtner and Han van Houten, XINDAO's Marketing Manager for many years, talked about the latest products and trends.
The Dutch partner supplier attaches great importance to sustainable components in its products. As a result, among other things, the company has created a complete range from the rapidly renewable raw material of bamboo. As far as sustainability is concerned, both parties agreed that there needs to be a step-by-step rethink in the industry. In addition to the large selection of sustainable products, van Houten presented a wide range of outdoor articles.
The two backpacks on display were a perfect match for the bright sunshine and the setting. The fully equipped "party backpack", as van Houten calls it with a twinkle in his eye, includes an integrated, removable Bluetooth speaker that can be effectfully illuminated. The backpack is suitable for the beach thanks to its water-repellent surface and is even available as a cool bag. A further backpack for urban users features a detachable 7-watt solar panel that can charge a smartphone, for example, in 3-4 hours. The product shows the technical combinations possible in promotional gifts and features the clean, modern and unique look of XINDAO's proprietary XD design.
Certainly just as innovative are the sunglasses made of wheat straw, a raw material that is otherwise burned but can now be used in a new form. Upcycling can be a trend-setting approach not only in the promotional products industry. In the same vein, cork is also popular for its versatility and soft feel. XINDAO uses the material as a highlight on attractive, reusable bottles and cups. The high-quality thermal containers keep beverages warm or cold for hours.
Added value, design and 'story behind' generally make sustainable products even more successful. This also applies to the drinking straw made of bamboo, the fast-growing, less thirsty material that is currently becoming increasingly popular. The sustainable straw not only replaces plastic straws, but also looks cool with summer drinks. XINDAO offers a set in the same look as to-go cutlery. According to van Houten, smart design and innovative products don't have to be expensive.
XINDAO presents further articles in its catalogue of more than 1,200 products, offering a wide range of colours and stock available at almost any time. In the cooperation between Cybergroup and XINDAO these are the ideal prerequisites for implementing projects at short notice. The fantastic Zuiderduin Beach Club and its team also offered equally good conditions for the CG Lounge Talk, many thanks!