FAIRWARE CRUSH: Nature Conservancy of Canada

December 29, 2012 by
Jacket

These jackets are made in Canada–and are Bluesign-approved.

 

Talk about a true force of nature! For an astonishing 50 years, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has been breaking ground in the conservation of areas of natural diversity across the country.

Launched by a group of naturalists in 1962 in an effort to protect natural spaces, the NCC has since blossomed into one of the country’s most cherished not-for-profits—and one of Fairware’s major crushes.

Since its inception, the NCC has gathered innovative conservation-science professionals to help manage land and waters for their natural value in a non-confrontational manner that promotes nature’s own processes. Over their 50 years of hard work, the NCC has helped protect nearly 2.6 million acres of ecologically significant land.

From the start, their mission has been driven by the belief that we Canadians owe it to our society and our country to do create something great in the present—and conserve what we have for the future.

We love when we hear stories of passionate people looking to make a difference—and truly make their mark. From its grassroots beginnings, the NCC has been a shining example of how Canadians have historically seen the value and the cultural importance of guarding our natural spaces.

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, we not only donated $9,000 to their continued efforts, but were proud to be the source of their commemorative jackets marking this amazing milestone. Made in Canada, the jackets are made primarily of recycled polyester—a Bluesign-approved fabric that meets the most stringent environmental, health, and safety standards.  We were so stoked to work with this amazing organization, and we look forward to 50 more years of their crucial work.

For more on the Nature Conservancy of Canada and to read up on their remarkable 50-year history, check out their website.

The best way to get mobbed up.

December 16, 2012 by
Fairware loves Vanctiy Good Money Mobs.

Fairware loves VancityGood Money Mobs.

Fairware has clients anyone would be proud to work with. It’s one of the great things about the kind of work we do. We’re particularly proud to work with Vancity. Vancity is not just Canada’s largest credit union; it’s an organization committed to sustainability, responsibility, and accountability—and to investing in its community.

We’re Vancity’s promotional product supplier, and we’re particularly in love with their Good Money Mobs. It’s one of the ways in which they live their marketing motto: “We make you good money by putting money to good.” Good Money Mobs involve encouraging a group of people to visit a Vancity-member business together and spend a modest amount of money there, thereby giving a local business a boost. For each Mob, Vancity selects a few of their small-business members, then chooses which business to “mob” via Facebook vote. The latest choice was Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro, which was mobbed on November 2nd. Previous Good Money Mobs occurred at another bistro, East of Main, and at CocoaNymph Chocolates and ConfectionsFairware sourced things like the buttons and t-shirts.

Vancity is involved in and supports a lot of other awesome things. If you live in the Vancouver area, their events calendar is a great resource for discovering interesting, worthwhile community activities.

Good Money Mobs are an idea that needs to spread far and wide. And unlike flashmobs, there is absolutely no choreography involved.  :-)

The Social Venture Network Hall of Fame

December 14, 2012 by

SVN

The Social Venture Network celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. SVN was started, in the words of co-founder Josh Mailman, “to build a new paradigm: one in which business operates to add value to society — without compromising the well-being of future generations.” SVN helps entrepreneurs who want to build businesses that are sustainable and responsible as well as successful.

On November 13th, Fairware founders Denise Taschereau and Sarah White attended SVN’s Hall of Fame Impact Awards dinner in New York City. This event, which celebrated, in SVN’s words, “25 of the most innovative and influential leaders of the socially responsible business movement,” benefited SVN’s Bridge Project. Denise and Sarah’s feelings about the night? “We were honoured to be amongst world-changing peers, clients, and heroes, and to be a part of creating such an awesome and inspiring event.”

Among those honoured were Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s, and Drew and Myra Goodman of Earthbound Farm; a number of Fairware clients were similarly honoured. Fairware is proud to be a member of SVN, and even prouder to be the source of the gorgeous awards themselves, which were made in northern California from recycled glass.

Expo West 2013 is coming!

December 12, 2012 by
Nature's Path at Expo West 2012.

Nature’s Path at Expo West 2012.

Natural Products Expo West is the world’s largest natural and organic products tradeshow. In 2013, it will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, from March 8th to 10th, with education and events beginning on the 7th.

A number of Fairware clients — Stonyfield FarmNature’s PathDaiya Foods — are in the natural food and products business, so planning for Expo West has become a big part of our own seasonal calendar. Leanne Stasiuk, Fairware’s Natural Product Category Account Manager, worked with Nature’s Path for six years, and is a five-time veteran of Expo West. She’s shared this list of tips and ideas that should prove invaluable to anyone planning to exhibit at the show.

General Planning Tips

  • Hold a pre-show booth audit and meeting. If you haven’t pulled out or reviewed your booth since your last trip to Expo West, make sure you give it the once-over to ensure that it’s in good working order and that you have what you need; also, confirm that it has any new brand elements you’ll need for this year. Meet with the team you’ll be bringing to the show, and make sure that everyone is briefed on the expectations for the team and the goals for the booth.
  • Get sizes for all team members working the show. This will speed things up when you order apparel.
  • Pre-make kits for sampling areas. Make kits that contain all you’ll need to offer a range of samples of your product in one box, and send them to each location ahead of time. Here’s a sample kit we put together for Nature’s Path.
  • Find out the last advance-shipping date for the show. You’ll need to have everything ready to go on that day; if you miss that date, you’ll have to ship to your hotel or bring things in your own luggage!
  • Keep your giveaways small. Pretty much everyone is travelling to this show, and they’ll all be picking up samples along the way. So if you’re giving something away, make sure it will fit in carry-on luggage.
  • Do a post-show audit. Get together with your team to review what worked, what they liked, what didn’t fly. Keep the list handy for future booth design, apparel, handouts, etc.
Merchandise and Promotional Product Tips

  • Call Fairware at 1.866.606.3247. We’ll talk you through the process of selecting promotional products. A great way to supplement your catalogue, for instance, is with USB memory drives. Did you know that the Expo West media centre is paper-free? If you want to leave a media kit, it’s best done on a USB drive. As well, you can use different colours of USB drives to provide information to different target audiences – marketing, sales, etc. Instead of the usual trade memos, put videos of product use or supply chain stories on these drives.
  • If you feature a bag, make sure it’s THE bag. If you go this route, it’ll be worth your while to invest in doing a truly great bag, as there will be a lot of competition on this front at the show. You need to offer the bag everyone wants – one that’s large, with great graphics, and long straps for over-the-shoulder carrying.
  • Consider table runners. If you can’t afford table cloths or want to change things up, try runners instead.
  • Give thought to staff apparel. Create a mix of apparel — button-downs, polos or tees —and let team members know if you want them to wear certain items on certain days. Have fun with your staff apparel.  Wear apparel that your consumers want to wear (hint: the typical left-chest logo is SO 1986). Make sure that your team members are comfortable — consider bamboo shawls or an organic scarf. If you prefer, you can avoid custom shirts by doing custom aprons, and just specifying a colour or style of shirt for staff to wear.
  • If you’re going with sample cups or spoons, make sure to order well ahead of time. This is especially so if you’re customizing; that requires a pretty long lead time.
  • Try water bottles on which you can write your name. All staff in your booth can have the same bottle, with each team member writing his or her name on it.
  • You’re sure to be popular with portable chargers. Someone’s gadget is always running out of power — a laptop, a phone, an iPad, etc. If you do a pre-show sales and marketing meeting, for example, gift each team member with a solar charger.
  • We still use paper, so consider padfolios or notebooks for everyone.These will offer a hard, stable surface on which to write, and they can easily be carried around the booth for taking notes.  Get one for each staff member, for the outdoor sampling stations, the main booth, and the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace.
  • You’ll never go wrong with everyday items. There is a reason why pens, Post-It notes, magnets, notebooks, and stickers are the top-selling catagories of product. We use these items every day – and they thus make a HUGE logo impression. You might want to create an FSC-paper grocery-list notepad; feature your product on the first line of each page, or include a coupon with the top sheet.
  • Thought of cutting boards? These make a great brand impression as people pick up samples. Keep them light and easy-to-clean with Chop Chop boards, or light and antimicrobial with cork boards.
  • Got a limited budget?  Give less-expensive items away to the general public, and make up 50 specially branded items or gift packages for those “special” folks – buyers, media, etc.
  • Use a press-show teaser. Send a postcard with, say, some organic herb seeds attached to it to prompt people to visit your booth; let them know in advance that they should book a time for a visit, or that there is an incentive or gift if they visit.


Keep this list handy, and have a smooth and fruitful Expo 2013!

Give–and you give again.

December 11, 2012 by
One here, one there.

One yellow schoolbag full of supplies here, one there–it makes a difference.

Gifts that are useful and delightful are great. What’s even greater? Gifts that are useful, delightful—and helpful to others. Fairware loves Schoolbags for Kids’ “One here, one there” campaign, which offers the perfect way to give a cool gift that gives again.

Schoolbags for Kids (SfK), like Fairware, is a certified B Corporation company, and it’s dedicated to getting school supplies into the hands of children in the developing world who need them. These young ones often face obstacles to formal education that we in wealthier countries can hardly imagine—including struggles to obtain even basic school supplies.

India

Children from Homes of Hope Orphanage, Secunderabad, India, with their bright yellow schoolbags.

How does SfK help? That’s where you come in. Every time you purchase one of their funky, kid-friendly backpacks—a great gift for any child—SfK donates a school bag full of supplies to a child in Thailand, Belize, or India. The donated bags are made of water-resistant, 600-denier polyester, and are bright yellow to keep the children who wear them highly visible. As these kids must often walk miles along very busy roads to get to school, this feature helps keep them just that much safer.

But this great idea isn’t just for people with kids on their gift lists. Looking for meaningful gifts for the adults in your life? What better gift for a client or colleague than a card saying you’ve made a donation to Schoolbags for Kids on their behalf? Contact Fairware (contact@fairware.com) and let us set up a great program of schoolbag donations for you this holiday season.

As the saying goes, “It’s all win!”

Write for Rights–and keep your noggin bright

December 7, 2012 by

The holidays are a jumble of deadlines—we’re all rushing to get gifts, attend parties, and travel to see loved ones. Before you dive into the season, consider a deadline that can be met by sitting down and picking up a pen: December 10th. That’s Human Rights Day, and Amnesty International is encouraging people to get involved by joining their Write for Rights campaign.

Amnesty’s Write for Rights is a tribute to the power of the written word. According to Amnesty, it’s also the biggest human-rights event of the year. There’s still time to participate—sign up online to write cards and letters in support of human rights, either on your own or as part of a group. You can also register a Write for Rights event, or join one—such as the Comox Valley Action Circle’s Write for Rights in Comox, B.C., or Southminster United Church’s event in Ottawa, Ont. Amnesty will provide instructions on how to write the letters, and a host kit for those organizing events. It’s the sort of thing that everyone can get involved in, and we think it’s a great way to start the season.

Among the cases on which this year’s write-a-thon will focus are:

-The torture and assault of members of the youth-group Girifna in Sudan

-The imprisonment of Narges Mohammadi, a women’s rights activist in Iran

-The devastation of the village of Bodo in Nigeria due to a leaking Shell Oil pipeline

To complement Write for Rights, December 10th is also a day to wear the colour yellow. Amnesty’s yellow banner and logo are iconic—the organization uses yellow because it conveys urgency and stands out. They encourage everyone who wants to show support for human rights to include a shot of brightness on the 10th—and throughout the year.

One way you can do this is by wearing Amnesty’s yellow toque—it’s a great gift, it’ll keep you warm during the long winter, and its purchase supports Amnesty’s fundraising efforts. We sourced this union-made toque from a manufacturing facility on the east coast of the U.S., and we’re proud that it’s part of Amnesty’s yellow movement.

Many things lay claim to our attention at this time of year; it’s easy to get stressed and distracted. Amnesty’s yellow toques offer an easy and ethical way to look after some of your gift list, and just a few words on a card let you Write for Rights. What better way to launch the holidays?

Fairware Supplier Crush – ETS Express Line

December 6, 2012 by
ETS water bottles

Ever wonder how your artwork gets printed onto drinkware? I mean really, how do you get a logo on a curved surface?

ETS Express Line, our fabulous drink-ware supplier, takes us on a tour of their production offices with this great video introduction on their exceptional products and in-house screen printing capabilities. It’s like magic.

They’re our supplier crush of the month – we adore them because:

  •  They focus on providing innovative and fashion forward products, which keeps them at the forefront of the drink-ware industry.
  •  Their printing quality is exceptional, we’ve seen some of the most complex logos reproduced with precision on their products.
  •  They have a great team! From JB (our stellar sales rep) to Mike Williams (VP of Sales) to the beloved Leeton Lee (who works tirelessly to ensure global standards are met for quality, safety; social responsibility; supply-chain security; and environmental stewardship, they’re stars.

Ok, now check out how the magic happens… and then call us 1.866.606.3247 or email contact@fairware.com.

GREEN AMENDMENTS: A Look at the Long-Awaited Revisions to the FTC’s Green Guide

December 2, 2012 by

 

 Guidelines on green marketing have gotten a lot clearer. Picture via Michael Caven

Guidelines on green marketing have gotten a lot clearer. Picture via Michael Caven

 

Green? Eco-friendly? Earth smart?

Marketers have been throwing these terms around freely for the past decade as consumers have taken more notice of the environmental impact their purchases can make. Until recently, these terms have had little restrictions placed on them—and advertisers have gotten away with misleading buyers through a scheme called “greenwashing.”

After five long years of deliberations, the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide has been revised for the first time since 1998 to ensure that marketers’ green claims are truthful and accurate.

We talked a little bit about greenwashing a few weeks ago in our post exploring the proper disposal of sustainable alternatives to plastic. Put simply, greenwashing is exactly what it sounds like: stretching the truth about how sustainable or environmentally friendly a product really is.  Sometimes, the truth hasn’t only been stretched—but fully manufactured.

The Green Guide sets the rules on how marketers can promote the eco benefits of their products. As demand for these products continues to boom, these new revisions couldn’t have come sooner. After all, the Green Guide was written in 1992 at a time when “green” and “eco-friendly” weren’t exactly on buyers’ radar.

The most striking of the revisions made to the guide is the cautioning of marketers against the use of these terms in general, as they are “broad and unqualified.” To consumers, terms like “green” and “eco-friendly” suggest that the product has specific or far-reaching environmental benefits. According to the FTC: “Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from these claims.” Up until now, any slight changes made to a product that could be construed as beneficial for the environment has given marketers just cause to label a product “green.”

The newly updated Green Guide also requires that claims of a product’s degradability be backed up by evidence that the entire product does actually break down naturally and return to nature over the course of one year.

And we are happy to report that the guide calls for clearer labelling of how products can be disposed of—whether they are compostable, recyclable, or safe for landfills.

You can read more about the revisions to the FTC’s Green Guide here. We are stoked about these revisions not only because of what they mean for our industry, but also because it really shows a strong push towards growing the market for products that are accurately labeled.

Fairware Holiday Better Gift Guide

November 1, 2012 by

With a little effort, you can avoid holiday gifting pitfalls.

The holiday season is fast approaching—and along with the cheer comes that annual shopping stress. For business owners, this can also mean finding the perfect way to thank clients and employees for their support and hard work. We think it’s important to give fun and unique gifts that align with a company’s values. All of Fairware’s products come with an option to personalize—but we know that not everyone is keen on logos. That’s why we’ve got lots of options for great gifts (another option is to use the standard imprint area of a product to send a non-branded message like ‘thanks’ . We’ve complied a handy list of some of our favourite gifts to give, and gifts to get.

When buying for clients, we like to focus on enjoyable gifts that tread a little more on the side of enjoyment, rather than work. These gifts are all beautifully crafted by sustainable manufacturers, making them good for the giving, and good for the planet.

Holiday purchasing doesn’t have to feel or look like a rushed job. Planning early and setting aside time for gift distribution is a great way to start—and we’re here to help you along the way. Contact us with any questions regarding gift giving or to discuss the many more options we have to offer. We’ll be happy to help you fill your office with cheer!

Fairware Innovators Ranked Among Top Women Canadian Entrepreneurs

October 23, 2012 by

Denise Taschereau and Sarah White in their Vancouver office.

The co-founders of Fairware – a growing BC company based in Vancouver – are being recognized as two of Canada’s most successful, creative and business-savvy women entrepreneurs.

On October 1, Fairware’s Chief Executive Officer Denise Taschereau and Chief Operating Officer Sarah White were named 81st on PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 Ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs. The 14th annual W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs is produced by PROFIT Magazine and Chatelaine. The ranking profiles the country’s most successful women business owners, and is based on a composite score based on the size, growth and rate of profitability of business. Fairware’s ranking will be published in the November issues of PROFIT and Chatelaine Magazines and online at www.PROFITguide.com.

“The women of the W100 offer 100 shining examples of Canadian entrepreneurship,” said Ian Portsmouth, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of PROFIT. “They have achieved their elite status by creating valued products and services, applying deft management skills and exercising the determination required to succeed in today’s business environment.”

The duo were also named finalists today for a 2012 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award (CWEA), which recognizes women entrepreneurs from across Canada who make impressive contributions to local, Canadian or global economies. Fairware is being considered in the TPH Sustainability Award category, which honours women-led businesses dedicated to incorporating environmentally conscious initiatives and leading social change. Winners of the RBC award will be announced in Toronto November 28.

The company is also a finalist in the Better Business Bureau of Mainland BC Torch Awards Green Award category, which recognizes forward-thinking, sustainable business practices or contributions toward positive social change. Winners will be announced October 25 in Vancouver. “When we made the decision back in 2005 to found our company, Fairware operated out of my garage, and wasn’t much more than a phone and a computer,” said Sarah White. “Fast forward seven years: we now have a team of 10, a healthy annual profit, and national recognition alongside some of Canada’s most successful women entrepreneurs. It’s gratifying to know that all of our hard work and vision to change the world for the better is paying off.”

“All along, we’ve committed to being change-makers by thinking outside of the box, and being recognized on a national level is a reflection of that commitment,” said Denise Taschereau. “We believe that we can all change the world with the simple act of buying and clearly, supporting sustainability can be good for our environment and a great way to do business.”Fairware is a Vancouver-based company that creates a wide variety of unique, ethically sourced custom products made with environmentally preferred materials.

Fairware sources custom promotional items that say something about who the client is and what they believe in, successfully marrying sustainability and style with creative vision and profitability. Fairware’s clients include Vancity, Nature’s Path Foods, Mountain Equipment Co-op, AVEDA, Patagonia, Stonyfield Farms, Aspen Skiing Company, Canadian Federation of Students and the David Suzuki Foundation.

Taschereau and White said that building their business, founded in 2005, wasn’t easy, as they navigated their way through the worst global recession in over 20 years, managed rapid growth and the challenge of recruiting and retaining staff. Fairware has emerged as one of the fastest growing distributors in the promotional products industry, with growth of 117 per cent in the last three years and revenues of over $2 million in 2011. Earlier this year, Fairware was named one of the top ten fastest growing promotional products companies in North America, and the fastest growing in Canada, by ASI Counselor Magazine.

 


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