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Oliver's Blog

In Case You Hadn't Noticed

August 08, 2011

School is about to open again in a few short weeks, and though we are still looking for relief from the summer heat by jumping in a lake or running through the sprinkler, now is the time to think of ways to welcome kids (and their parents) back!

In case you hadn't noticed, our Home Page features a number of things for kids for your back-to-school promotion, but there are other ideas in our Not Just for Kids category, as well as Writing ... but our Quarterly Specials category has over a hundred items on sale through the end of September and through the end of the year!

If you would like to see suggestions not shown here on our website, allow us to email our Back to School color brochure to you.  Email: and we will email it back to you!



July 12, 2011

Ahhh!  Vacation.  Relaxation.  Vaca-laxation!  I just returned from mine, spent on a beautiful Michigan lake which flows into Lake Michigan.  Weather?  Perfect.  Lake water temperature?  Could get in without screaming.  Bugs?  Minimal.  New sport?  Stand Up Paddle Boarding. 

I hope you are enjoying the summer so far!  In the Midwest, it took a while for summer to arrive, and before you know it, it will be time to get ready for school.

We have added some new things to our Quarterly Sales category for a total of 126 items at the end-quantity or below the end-quantity price!  We also have a couple of BOGOs (Buy One, Get One free) such as the Bic Round Stic Pen and Bic Sticky Notes.

My favorite item of the summer so far?  Flyers.  Three sizes, many colors, and really ... how perfect and fun for any event or promotion.  Pass them out like life savers!

Why Calendars?

June 07, 2011

The year is almost half over, and now is the ideal time to order calendars for 2012.   Calendar companies cannot print all orders in the last quarter of the year (what would they do the first nine months?) so "early bird" prices are offered to encourage early orders, which are produced over the summer and held for shipment when you want them!

But why are calendars a good idea?  Calendars offer premium exposure at a great value!  Consider:

A person looks at a calendar 12 times a day, 84 times a week; so your name and message leave an impression 4,380 times;

83% of customers purchase the products or serivces from the advertiser who supplied them with the calendar;

98% of all homes and virtually 100% of all businesses use at least one calendar ... households use an average of four calendars per home, while the average business person has an average 2.5 calendars in the immediate work area;

Calendars are visually appealing, and considered thoughtful, personal gifts ... thanking your customers for their business;

Calendars beat high-cost newspaper ads, ads in trade publications, radio and tv ads, and internet ads ... your name and brand are seen 365 days of the year!

Please take a look at the small sampling of calendars we have, but if you have a theme, size or format in mind which is not shown here, let us help you by showing you more!


Know Thy Customer

May 05, 2011

I recently had an exchange by email with a customer of several years who is a bank marketing officer. 

The conversation pertained to my blog of April 15th and was about his feeling (and mine) that knowing your customer is becoming more and more important.  While it was once almost "one size fits all," now the challenge is satisfying multiple generations, all with their preferred methods of doing things, and various likes and dislikes. 

There is, for example, a member of my family who hasn't written a check in years, preferring to pay everything online.  Then, there is someone like me, who enjoys the ritual of making deposits and balancing checkbooks.

I had to chuckle toward the end of last year one day when I offered different types of calendars to two people.  One exclaimed that everything was done on his computer, so he didn't need one (but came back to me at the end of January to ask if I had "any of those wall calendars left," which now hangs in his office).  The other person turned down an appointment book for herself but asked if she could have one for her mother.

So, do I need to make the point?  Just because you keep your appointments on Outlook Express doesn't mean I do or my mother does ... and my mother just might be one of your biggest customers!  Now is a great time to consider calendars for 2012, with early bird prices in effect through July 1st! 

Speaking of "likes," here is an item I really like and use!  Summer outdoor entertaining is coming and this little wine pourer  is a great little souvenir to give to people who are attending your next event, festival, fair, or for patrons of your wine store or winery!


Reading at Lunch

April 15, 2011

I just finished a most interesting blog while enjoying a best-ever tuna dill sandwich from Mary's Kitchen Port, Traverse City, MI.  The article was about the new technology of the smart phones supposedly making nine items obsolete.  For example, alarm clocks (because there is an alarm on the smart phone), and wristwatches (because the time is on the smart phone).  Video cameras, flip cameras, and any camera.  Tape recorders, land line phones, GPS systems, MP3 players, and of all things, flashlights.

What was interesting to me was the 14 pages of comments, most of which disputed the above claim.  Yes, the smart phone has an alarm, but you have to keep your phone on all night.  Wristwatches make a statement about you, your personality, in addition to telling time (I believe the watch my stylish younger brother wears does a bit more).  The camera on the smart phone does not have the resolution of a stand alone camera.  One person made the comment that two things the smart phone has made absolute necessities are electrical outlets and chargers.

This blog was followed up by a story about the flip camera being discontinued (didn't I just buy one a year or so ago?), and that we are giving up quality in favor of quantity in an all-in-one device.

My problem with the new technology, quite frankly, is my eyesight.  Sure, I could wear trifocals 24/7 for any eventuality, including the self-checkout at the supermarket. But I prefer to live large, with large devices, with a single purpose!

Anyway, my thoughts for the noon hour.  But to tie it all together, here is a great little L.E.D. flashlight  which will shine more light than the one on your phone!

What Spring Break?

April 01, 2011

This is the last day of spring break in Michigan and the first day I feel ridiculous still wearing my puffy coat!  The building is empty ... people having gone to Mexico or Southern beaches, or Colorado for spring skiing.

Travel is on the rise again after people opted for "staycations" for a couple of years.  I recently read that hotels no longer offer free amenities like body lotion and sewing kits.  You may still see things like shampoo and soap in your room, but you may have to pay for other things at the front desk.

A great way to put your business name into the hands of your customers and prospects is by giving them something for their travel adventures!  The spring/summer vacation season is upon us, so here are some suggestions:

The Travel First Aid Kit is perfect for travel bag, beach bag or glove compartment. Hand Sanitizers aren't just for flu season!  Think of all the things handled during the course of a day of travel. 

The Micro Fiber cleaner in a case is great for glasses, sunglasses, laptaps and cellphones. 

Lip Balms with SPF 15 are inexpensive and totally appreciated, especially with the new flavors of peach or watermelon!

See the other things we have in under Amenities!  And then, see our new sunglasses ... now these are a necessity!

Everyone Outside!

March 15, 2011

Spring arrives in less than a week, and everyone is going outside!

Earth Day is celebrated this year on April 22nd.  A great way to show you care about the earth is to encourage the use of recyclable materials, and biking, and walking!

Put your business or organization's name on a recyclable grocery tote such as our P.E.T. Tote made of 85% recycled plastic bottles and 15% pre-consumer industrial products.  We have a number of other bags too, including our totally Biodegradable Die-Cut Handle Bags

Coloring/Activity Books are great for kids and we have one which shows ways to Keep Our World Beautiful

For April showers, we like the Barrister Umbrella or the Pro Am Golf Umbrella, which are both on sale through the end of April, in a minimum of 12 and no set-up charge!  See also our Rain Gauges and Thermometers under Needful Things, including our new Flower Thermometer!


The Guy Next Door

March 01, 2011

There is a guy in the office next door to mine who is in the business of providing ecologically safe cleaning products to restaurants, medical offices, hospitals, hotels, and so on.  I occasionally ask him for his ideas, or thoughts on a particular product I am adding to the website.  He knocked on my door today to show me a tumbler he received from a trade show he recently attended.  As he was handing it to me, exclaiming how "cool" it was, I was reaching for the same one from my sample shelf.  

What does he like about the Acrylic Varsity Tumbler?  He said it was perfect for someone like him who is in the "green" business because he is not using paper cups.  But besides!  He is on the road frequently, sometimes all day, and stops at gas station stores, party stores, little sandwich shops, or fast food restaurants for breaks.  He brings his tumbler in with him and, where he doesn't dispense the beverage himself from a machine, the counter person is happy to fill it for him.

I thought about how often I leave half of a tall paper cup of iced tea when I go to my favorite spot for lunch.  By the time I need to leave, the paper cup is so sodden, it almost caves in on itself! 

This tumbler is indeed pretty cool!  Saves paper, says you care about the ecology, it fits in most cup holders, and you can finish your beverage - all of it - on your way back to the office!