Archive for April, 2010

Translink cycling patch kits and bands

April 29, 2010

Last year Fairware responded to a request from Translink (the organization responsible for regional transit cycling and commuting options in Metro Vancouver) for products to help promote their alternative transportation campaigns – particularly their focus on encouraging cycling as a complement to public transit.

We came up with some inexpensive & useful products – the bike tube patch kits and reflective bands pictured above. Each patch kit featured a dozen glueless patches, all contained in a pocket-sized metal tin. The reflective bands were made in Canada and featured highly reflective tape on an adjustable Velcro strap.

Did you know that in Vancouver you can take your bike on almost any bus, the Skytrain, Seabus and Westcoast Express commuter trains?

Are you contemplating a Bike to Work week campaign? Or do you want to promote your efforts to get people out of cars and onto bikes? We carry a full range of bicycle accessories, apparel, bags and more. View the full selection HERE.

Read more about Translink’s cycling initiatives HERE.

10 Tips for Setting up a Merchandise Program for your NGO

April 21, 2010


We often get calls from non-profits wanting to get branded products (“merchandise”) to sell as fundraisers. It’s a great idea in theory, but like most things in life, reality can be cruel. We’ve crafted a list of 10 things to consider before launching into a merchandise program to help smooth the bumps along the way.

These points are designed for organizations considering merchandise sales – either directed at end consumers (retail style sales) or directed at internal buyers (e.g. setting up a bulk purchasing program for your different chapters or departments).

You might not have all the answers to the questions posed below – BUT between your organization and the merchandising partner you choose, make sure you  have all the answers or you’re bound to hit a few hurdles along the way.

1. Define the Purpose of the Program

  • Identify the primary and secondary purpose of the program. For example, is the program designed to generate revenue, build brand awareness, build your contact list, or to consolidate purchasing to pass on savings to your end buyers?
  • Caution: Many organizations start out with visions of their merchandise program being a significant revenue generator for their organization – and are often disappointed at the results. Some good planning will help set realistic targets and ID secondary benefits at the outset so you can meet the outcomes you set.

2. Create a Business Case

  • Do the math. Sounds simple but it’s a critical step that many people miss. If you purchase a t-shirt for $8.00 and sell it for $20.00 you make $12.00, right? Actually, no, you don’t. You need to account for the time put into setting up the program, design time for graphics, time or $ spent ‘picking and packing’ (getting a product packed and shipped), hosting fees if the store is online, etc. Understand that the time for a return on investment may be longer than expected.
  • Assess your systems. Do you have an online merchant account to accept payment? Do you know the tax laws as they relate to selling merchandise or accepting donations on a website? Think through the details, sweat the small stuff.


A Rocker for Street Soccer

April 20, 2010

a collection of re-purposed Fairware sample shirts


When the Portland FC, a street soccer team based out of shelters in the Downtown Eastside, approached Fairware for a donation of t-shirts for an upcoming fundraiser, we had just the thing.

Carolyn Askew & Nick Louie at the Rocker for Street Soccer

It was time for a little spring cleaning at Fairware. We had a bunch of t-shirt samples acquired over the past few years that no longer matched the stock our suppliers currently offer. It was a real mix bag of sizes, colours and styles, but all great quality (most with organic content).

The team needed the shirts for their upcoming Rocker for Street Soccer, a fundraiser held to raise money for the team. Portland FC competes in the Vancouver Street Soccer League and the fundraiser was held to raise money for uniforms, equipment, as well as travel expenses. The team is pairing up with Street Soccer Canada to send some players to the 2010 Homeless World Cup in Rio, Brazil.

celebration shot

So we dug into the sample stock. Once we sorted through, we were able to pull together a full size curve of 65 tees in a rainbow of colours. Printed with fantastic artwork supplied by Portland FC, each shirt was completely unique.

Checkout some shots of the tees on our Flickr site.

Bike to Work Week

April 13, 2010

Flickr / neotint

Bike to Work Week is fast approaching. At Fairware we’re almost ready to go. Half of us have our bikes out for the season and a couple colleagues will be pulling theirs out in the coming weeks. Fairware is well set-up for cycling staff. We have a shower in the bathroom, adequate bike storage, a casual dress code and central Vancouver location. Plus, we love bikes and the passion is contagious.

There are many benefits to businesses that encourage staff to commute by active transportation including better employee retention, less sick days, improved morale, productivity and more. From an employee perspective, it feels good to get a little exercise before and after work and it’s a nice break from public transit. Plus it’s fun!

Here in Vancouver, the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition manages Bike to Work Week – and helps mobilize workplaces across the Vancouver Region to get staff out of their cars.

Is your workplace ready for the fair weather bike season? If you’re looking for direction, we found some great online guides for helping offices become more bike-friendly. We’ve included a list of our favourite links at the end of this post.

Check out this excellent article in Momentum Magazine which outlines some of the more innovative cash and tax incentives being offered in places like San Francisco, Oregon, the UK, and Australia. Pretty exciting stuff!

How is your office preparing for Bike to Work Week? Leave a comment below.

And stay tuned, we’re in the process of adding more products to the Bike to Work section on our website. It’s filled with useful products to promote your commitment to active lifestyles and sustainable transportation.

Guides to help your office become cycle-friendly:

Employer’s Commuting Guide: Is promoting bike commuting right for you? – San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Be a Bike Friendly Workplace – Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition

The Cycle-Friendly Workplace: Your step-by-step guide – Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Department of Health and Ageing

A Guide for Employers: Getting your workplace cycle-friendly – London Cycling Campaign

Employer Guide to Bicycle Commuting – Baltimore Metropolitan Council and Baltimore Regional Transportation Board

New Contest: hold music playlist picks

April 5, 2010

Flickr / Seattle Municipal Archives

We have a fun little project on the go and we’re inviting your input. Lately its come to our attention that the Fairware hold music is a little stale…so we’re re-modeling, choosing a completely new set of jams.  We’d like to know what you want to hear!

We don’t put people on hold often, and when we do it’s not for long, which is why every song on the list must be top quality. In the rare occasion that folks are put on hold, we want to ensure the experience is enjoyable.

So far there are only two rules: no muzak and no heavy metal.

And for those of you who’s suggestions we include in the final playlist, we’ll send you one of our fabulous “Product with Purpose” ceramic travel mugs. They’re styled after the MoMA “I am not a paper cup” reusable mugs and are super cool!

Make a recommendation through the comment box below, or tweet us your recommendation by starting your Twitter message with @fairwarepromo.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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