Wicking Fabrics Help People Stay Cool in the Heat
Wick – verb [trans.] absorb or draw off (liquid) by capillary action: this shirt wicks away the sweat making me feel cooler on this sweltering day.
I stumbled upon the benefits of fabrics that wick perspiration away from the body quite accidentally.
About 10 years ago, I was cross-country skiing in New Hampshire. I wore three layers of wicking fleece tops, mainly for warmth.
After skiing, the curls at the back of my neck were drenched with sweat. My very own sweat; sweat that had been wicked through three layers of clothing. Yet my skin, and the wicking shirts, were bone dry. The sweat was clinging to the non-wicking flannel lining of my windbreaker, instead of my skin.
Now, all of my workout clothing wicks, which helps me feel much cooler in the summer and stay dry in the winter.
So when Deb Vey wanted matching shirts for her family reunion/golf tournament I suggested wicking shirts. It was a bit like herding cats for her to get them all to agree, so she tabled the idea.
A few days before the tournament, which was forecast to be in the high ‘90s and humid, I gave her a sample wicking golf shirt to try out.
“When I got there, my cousin was already soaked before we even started, so I gave it to him,” Deb said. “He didn’t sweat the rest of the day.”
Actually he probably continued to sweat profusely. Because the shirt wicked the moisture away his shirt stayed dry and he felt cooler.
The following year, she ordered wicking shirts for everyone (see photo above). They had a cool, dry trip around 18 holes of golf in blazing heat.
Wicking fabrics are beneficial year round. Unlike regular polyester, they are specially constructed in ways more technical than I’m qualified to write about.
In the summer, they wick moisture away from your skin so you feel cooler. By wicking the moisture in cold weather, perspiration can’t cool off on your skin. Perspiration on skin in the winter can chill you very quickly. Without wicking, you could potentially develop hypothermia.
Since my skiing experience, the marketplace has exploded with wicking fabrics. There are countless types—polo shirts, tee-shirts, jackets, etc. Anyone who works or spends any amount of time outside—especially in extreme temperatures—would benefit from wearing them.
The main thing is that they keep you comfortable—no matter what the season—and they are not your grandmother’s polyester.
Years ago, the only way to purchase imprinted promotional products was through select distributors like Jeanie Communications. The Internet has changed that, and many distributors were/are fearful of the impact on their business. I have always said that companies that sell exclusively online are not my competitors.
I built my company on the foundation of impeccable customer service and high quality products at fair, competitive prices. Yes, sometimes the prices of online companies are lower, though the people who care only about price are not generally my customers.
Recently I fulfilled orders for a cooler bag and multiple items to put in it for a long-time customer’s annual golf event.
The first step of the process was to talk about some general ideas. Next, I emailed him proposals with specific items and prices. Then I ordered samples of the things he liked so he could see the actual pieces.
Whenever possible, I provide samples before placing the order because I want to see the quality myself, and I want my customer to be sure it’s exactly what they want. Sure, I spend more time on the front end, before “closing the deal.” That’s because my mantra is that I never want to hear someone say, “this isn’t what I expected.”
This year, I worked directly with Callico’s marketing manager, who has been with the company a couple of year. Unbeknownst to me, Jim was (emphasis on “was”) someone who always bought online.
This is what he wrote following the golf event:
Our gift bags for our annual golf event really accentuate our brand and were a hit with our customers. Once again, you’ve provided reliable service and you’ve saved us money in the process. I used to purchase promotional items online thinking I was saving money but often something would go wrong with my order or the quality didn’t always meet expectations. You’ve saved me so much time and mitigated the problems. You’ve become our favorite visitor here at Callico. Thank you for exceptional service and for making me look good! I look forward to working with you soon.
Jim Wagner, Marketing Manager
The “problems” he referred to is that the day before the bottle cozies were to ship, the vendor said they only had 100 pieces for my 200-piece order. My first response was, “Why am I’m just hearing about this now?” The rep read off the litany of other colors available for the balance of the order. This was a waste of time, because Callico’s colors are black and white. End of story. And I told her that.
The rep checked with production, and turns out, had enough stock after all. The next day, the day they were supposed to ship, I got a voice mail message after hours saying, “Oops! They used some of your stock to complete the order before yours.” Then repeated the litany of colors available—apparently thinking my customer’s logo colors may have changed overnight.
First thing Monday morning I contacted another supplier that could fulfill the order in time for the event. I called the “Oops” people and said I can get the rest of them done elsewhere, and don’t need the ones they printed.
To which she replied, “Well, you’ll have to pay a cancellation fee.” I was astounded. They goofed, and were expecting me (or worse, my customer) pay for it. The fact that they printed 100 then ran out of stock is not my problem, and most definitely is not my customer’s problem. She kept saying she’d have to check with her supervisor, to which I said, “Fine, though there’s no way I’m paying for your mistake.”
The second company fulfilled the order, a day earlier than promised.
The irony is that the original company is a large, multi-line supplier that bills itself as one of the best in the industry. I’ve not been “wowed” by them in the past, and now will use them only as a last resort.
If this seems like a long drawn out process, imagine if you were my customer dealing with this issue with some nameless, faceless company.
A colleague once said that the true test of a company is not how they handle things when they go well, but rather what they do when things go wrong. Although I hate having things go wrong, when something does go wrong it is affirming that I am true to my mission of providing the best possible quality and service to my customers. My job is to make their job easier and to make them look good.
I have built excellent working relationships with my favorite suppliers, and continue to work with them because I have faith and confidence that they will complete the orders accurately and on time. When I search for products, I restrict my search to companies that have high ratings. I cannot possibly provide the quality and service my customers deserve if I’m dealing with poorly-rated suppliers. Sure, there may be times I could get a similar product for a bit less money. It is not worth the hassle to take a chance and hope that the order goes smoothly. Because even though my customers’ logos are on the products I deliver, my reputation is riding on the line with them.
Because their logo is a very bright green and yellow, they figured their only choice was to get white shirts with the two-color logo.
I suggested going with either a green or a yellow shirt, and ordered samples, so they could see the colors in person. In addition to showing them samples for color, I also provided varied sizes so they could make sure they got the fit they wanted.
Once I saw the colors—luscious light green and pale yellow, like cool, delicious sherbet on a hot summer day—I knew the solution. Like a kid who can’t decide which flavor to order, I suggested get some of each; five green and five yellow, and do tone-on-tone embroidering. Tone-on-tone is embroidering with thread to match the garment, giving it a subtle, elegant look they would want to wear afterward.
When they saw the samples, they decided to order extra for one of the women, who frequently delivers proposals and quotes to clients.
Kris wrote the day after the event, “This being our first time participating in this event, we needed to look good and make our presence known in this fun competition. As you can see by our photo, we all look proud, and our shirts look fantastic! Thanks so much for your suggestions; they really made our look ‘above and beyond’. Our team actually won 3rd place for best Team Spirit, and I’m sure our shirts played a part in that.”
How one promotional product opened a very large door
Several years ago, my favorite promotional pen was discontinued. I began the search for a replacement, using the same criteria I use researching products for clients. Good price point, adequate imprint area, high quality, comfort, color, and so on.
I ordered numerous sample pens from several suppliers, and “test-drove” them all. Some were eliminated from contention right away. Others stayed on my desk for further comparison.
Although I really wanted a purple pen to match my logo, none of those samples made the cut. Either the grip was uncomfortable, the color wasn’t just right, or it didn’t write well. I kept coming back to one particular pen. It felt great in my hand, had a comfortable rubber grip, wrote well, and cost substantially less than many other pens in its category.
But it was silver. Although it wasn’t purple, I could do a purple imprint. I was sold. And, fortunately, so have many of my colleagues and clients.
In addition to selling the very same pen to numerous clients in a variety of colors, the pen became my entrée to what has become a very good client.
I always go to networking events heavily armed with a supply of pens. While others are passing business cards around, I give out pens. People love receiving gifts, no matter how large or small. In addition to giving something useful that people can continue to use long after the event ends, it helps me stand out. Plus, it’s another way to illustrate the effectiveness of promotional products.
So, there I was at a networking luncheon, all set to pass pens around the table while I do my 30-second “elevator” pitch. One of my colleagues interrupted me saying, “I have one of those pens, and I love it. People in my office are always trying to take it.”
Unsolicited third-party endorsement. You can’t pay for advertising with that kind of impact.
And it gets better. About two weeks later, that same colleague called me and told me to call the head of human resources at her company. She had already passed my name along, because the company buys very nice gifts every year for its seven hundred (yes 700) employees!
After that, it was up to me to build the relationship, which I did. However, I would never have had the opportunity to cross the client’s threshold if not for that one pen.
Want to find a way to help get you in the door? Contact Jeanie Communications and we’ll create a plan.
A long-time client called about gifts for volunteers at their annual appreciation luncheon. Their budget is fairly small, and the challenge is to find something newer and better each year, while staying within their price range.
Someone on her staff had suggested hand sanitizers with a neoprene sleeve around the bottle and a carabiner hook to latch onto belt loops or purse hooks. This could have been a slam-dunk order; simply find one at or below the price her staff found on-line (500 @$1.89), and bingo, I’d have a sale and could move on to the next one.
I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of hand sanitizers. The luncheon is a fairly formal event, with linen napkins and tablecloths, and held at a nice function facility. Hand sanitizers are great in a variety of settings; this wasn’t one of them.
I offered to do some research to find something that might be better. I found pocket-sized photo albums, which hold 24 photos; perfect “brag books” for this group of grand- and great-grand parents .
Not only were the albums a more appropriate gift, they cost less, saving my client almost $200.00! And I threw in the tagline: “Our Volunteers are Picture Perfect!” for free.
In the end, I made less money on the sale, and put in a lot more time than if I had simply placed the order for the hand sanitizers. For some people, that would have been “good enough.”
I don’t believe in “good enough.” Because I am a resource and consultant, and not simply an order-taker, placing an order for the sanitizers would not have been “good enough.”
A client needed some items to give away at a senior health event, and she needed them quickly, as the fair was a week away.
I asked the usual questions: who will be attending the event, how many do you need, and how much do you want to spend?
She was going to be out of the office, and gave me carte blanche to come up with an idea and order them.
I found a neat nylon tote bag that folds up into its own pocket, and the logo shows on the outside when the tote is opened.
The totes were a huge hit; some people came back asking if they could have one for their “friend.”
A few days later, the event coordinator called my client telling her that her own mother was at the event. When the coordinator asked her mother how she liked the event, which featured distinguished physicians making informative presentations, the mother replied, “It was great; I love those totes.”
Does your next event need this kind of recognition and exposure?