Whether I’m learning a new procedure for order processing, acclimating to a new software system, or learning where our products come from, I would safely say I learn 10 plus new things a day (if not more) in the promotional products industry. Once you feel as though you have mastered something, it changes. Whenever I meet other product distributors or suppliers, we joke that the only thing constant in this industry is CHANGE! Last week we participated in Promotional Products Work! Week. Jacob, our intern and I, went to two factory tours. Personally, I have never been in a factory. The first supplier, Webb Company, was located in Eagan, MN and is well-known for creating their own lip balm in-house. We saw the process items go through to be labeled. They have several print machines that range from less to more manual attention. This company was very unique, and said they would even do creative items they don’t even have. If we come to them with an idea, they will attempt to make it happen! One example of this is round (EOS style) lip balms. Since they create the lip balm container, a customer asked if they would be able to make whisky ice molds. The company said they would give it a try, and ended up making a larger version of the lip balm container with a custom design inside the silicone container. The company logo can be seen imprinted on the container AND on the ice! They are so cool!
Our next stop was at Storm Creek in Hastings, MN. Their building is fun! It used to be owned by an interior decoration or home furnishing company. When Storm Creek bought the building, they just left everything the way it was. Free decoration? Why not! The carpet is different in every room. The light fixtures are different ALL OVER. Walls are painted different colors. There is a even a horse shoe shaped bar where they hold their meetings! The creative and design team presented the process it takes to create a single jacket. Currently, they are working on ideas for fall 2018. I found it strange that fashion is based in the past. It’s being decided in 2017 what will appeal to me in 2018. So if you think about, what you’re already wearing is outdated as soon as you buy it. Storm Creek really has a good thing going. They don’t want to make an article of clothing just because they can. They make a limited selection of items because they pay very close attention to detail and they WANT their customers to wear their clothes. You know that shirt that you only wear when you feel like you can handle being uncomfortable all day? I have one. The fabric doesn’t stretch around the top of my shoulders, so that when I lean forward or put my arms out like I’m driving, I get stuck. When they get a new item they wear and test it and try it out in different positions to make sure the fit is just right. They also pay very close attention to the fabric and fill (insulation for coats) they use. They said their clothing is similar to Patagonia, but more affordable. I believe it. The image below is of their award winning, ladies jacket. The Executive. It really is a work of art!