Roger Wasson from Elite Promotions in Springfield, MO won our trip to NUMO contest. His visit was awesome. Here’s his official report:
Earlier this summer I entered a contest to be an honorary Numonian. I had no idea what a Numonian was, or what Numonian did, but I wanted to find out. My entry was just like me: Half serious – Half joke. And come to find out that’s exactly what a Numonian is as well.
Chief Numonian Jim picked me up at the airport, and we stared the trek to the Numo plant. We could have gotten there sooner if Jim didn’t take so many wrong turns (you’d think the Chief would know how to get to his plant). Eventually, we ended up in beautiful Kaufman.
The Numo plant is huge. I couldn’t believe how big it was, how many machines they had, how much material they had…and no employees working. It appeared we arrived right during break time. And a Numonian break isn’t like most breaks. People were taking part in a work out class; others were playing volleyball or walking around a makeshift track in the warehouse. And the weird part is everyone had a smile on their face.
Of all the things I learned about Numo I was most surprised but how much everyone loves their job. I was lucky enough to try a couple of different jobs on the plant floor and everyone that showed me their job was so excited. I got to cut some coolies (sorry if your order was 5 short) – I got to screen print some bank bags (sorry if your order was 11 short) – I got to wash some art screens (sorry if you have another setup charge) – I got to put on some full color decals on some ceramic drinkware (only screwed up one of those). I feel like I got to do a little bit of everything while I was there. Besides accounting. They never let menear accounting.
Jim, Misty, Mike, Chris, Kaci and everyone else I talked to throughout my 48 hours as a Numonian couldn’t have been nicer. Earlier I said Numo was like me – Half Serious, Half Joke. Numo is a great place with hundreds of employees that do their jobs amazingly well. And what I like is they don’t take themselves too serious. Yes, they produce an amazing line of products (and you should send more business your way) – but through it all they have such a laid-back and fun attitude.
I plan to visitNumo again in the future…if they will have me. Kaufman, Texas, is off the beaten path, but I highly suggest you make an effort to get out there and see what the Numonians are doing. (Just don’t ask Jim for directions)
PS: A sincere THANK YOU to everyone at Numo. I have visiting numerous plants and manufacturing facilities but this is the first time I’ve actually wanted to work at the facility. I am humbled and honored that Numo chose me to tour their plant. This letter doesn’t even begin to describe all the stuff I learned – and all the fun I had.
When we bring a new customer over to the NUMO-side, we dance a little jig (at least in our heads).
More and more, we’re bringing on new business thanks to virtual samples that our creatives do. We do them at no charge. Our artists are awesome, and they see lots of creative ways to use products in our line that a distributor might know of.
Funny enough, we rarely do only one set of virtuals for a distributor. Usually, we do one set, and he or she keeps coming back for more.
Sometimes it’s hard to get someone to try it the first time, but once they start, they don’t stop. Maybe they can’t stop? Regardless, we’re there to feed the monkey.
The first one’s free. So is the next one, and each one thereafter.
Try it. You’ll like it.
A couple of years ago, we released our 492 single wall ceramic tumbler with a neoprene sleeve. We believe that is a better tumbler. There are more color options than a standard ceramic tumbler (white, cobalt, black). It functions better with an insulator on it. And, it’s priced right. Good design all the way around.
We now have our Van Metro water bottle that ticks those same boxes. When we’ve been at shows or talking with customers, people look at it and say nice bottle. Then they hold it, and they get it.
First off, we designed the bottle ourselves on our lovely Makerbot specifically to integrate with a sleeve. When selecting the plastic we were going to use, we knew we wanted the best squeeze-ability and durability. That meant no cheap PET, PP, or HDPE. The only option was LDPE. The bottle feels great in your hand.
Next up, we knew we needed the sleeve needed Kolorstitch plus trim and bias and four color process. After all, if promotional products are a branding opportunity, why would an end user want to limit his / her color palette?
We think 3,472 is a large color palette.
Admittedly, the item has started slowly, but lately the Van Metro has been the little engine that could. As people have held one and used samples we’ve sent out, orders have started coming in.
So, here’s the deal. Comment on the post below. We’ll send you one to try. Let us know what you think.
Trust me. Not everyone gets it. But then again, all of these options aren’t for everyone either. Order takers need not apply.
So, we’ve had Kolorstitch and our Kolorstitch plus out for a few months now. Thus far, the response has been great. Quite a few orders have been shipped using the technique. We thought we’d dust off the old blog and talk Kolorstitch.
We think it is powerful. We do have a slight bias here, but we are the unquestioned global can holder experts. In an industry filled with order takers, a can holder is a can holder is a can holder. Except, when it isn’t.
In the trade show booth, it takes a few seconds for us to explain the power of Kolorstitch plus, but once the light bulb turns on, then distributors “get it.” So, we hope these pictures are worth 1,000 words.
3,472 combinations. There are seven colors of bias, 16 colors of thread, and 31 colors of neoprene. Mix and match to your heart’s content.
Also, we can add Kolorstitch plus to virtually anything in our line that has thread and bias. Tablet sleeves, water bottles, lunch bags anyone?
Did we mention Kolortstitch plus is free?
Still struggling with what all this means to you and your customer? Send us the art. We’ll send you back a virtual that will knock your socks off.
Or you can have a can holder.
You may have noticed we’ve been developing many of our own products lately. We’ve always been thinking along these lines, and we’ve certainly had our share of items we’ve brought to market. I’m thinking it’s about time to put our design philosophy into words. (Although “design philosophy” sounds like more than it really is, to us. We just think it’s common sense.)
As human beings, we see places in our own lives as opportunities to have useful items. So, any item we develop would need to be useful to a real group of real people. Since the business of imprinted promotional items is very dear to us, we want to make items with an imprint area in mind. If an item is actually useful, all the more likely that the imprint on it will be seen, right?
That doesn’t mean we just slap an imprint area onto something. It’s gotta all work together. The imprint area needs to genuinely be a part of the item, without compromising that item’s utility.
With the focus on utility, there are things we come up with that probably only fit a very narrow demographic of people. That’s OK. Numo is in a unique position to be able to provide items for our customers’ clients that would be pretty tough for other industry suppliers to handle. The upside is that the end recipients can get a uniquely memorable item that they’ll use repeatedly (or continually), so utility will further solidify the imprinted message.
But probably the biggest reason we do this is because we like to. We dig it. Numo is a manufacturer at heart, so we like to make stuff.
I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some ideas for some imprints we’ve tried lately. Some internal projects we’ve done, and some customer work we’ve handled has produced some nice results.
If you have clients looking for something a little different than the standard fare, maybe these ideas will get your brainstorming started?
One thing I’ve seen working well is a tone-on-tone imprint. In this, the imprint color is the same as the material color, except just a little lighter or darker. In other words, you might print forest green ink onto a kelly green item. Or perhaps a charcoal gray ink onto our aluminum or stainless steel items. This can work as a primary imprint, or as a sort of background pattern where logos or icons are repeated like a wallpaper pattern. Then, over the pattern, the main imprint could shown in a more contrasting color from the background. Or not. Maybe the pattern is all you need?
If you’ve seen the Coolies we’ve been giving away at some of the industry trade shows this year, you’ve seen an example of this.
Also, black ceramic mugs look pretty classy with a charcoal gray one-color imprint.
In a similar groove, we’ve long offered a “mock-etch” print. This is a satin-finish, semi-clear ink we print onto glass drinkware, making it look like the logo has been etched into the glass – at a fraction of the cost of actual etching.
This same concept can be applied to our Four-Color Process Sublimation items. One advantage here, though, is that the imprint can go all the way to the edges of the item, and into the seams as well. You can try “ghosting” a large version of your client’s logo behind the main imprint. Consider making it so large that some of it gets cropped off by the physical boundaries of the item. This can add some perceived depth to the art, and even make the main imprint jump out that much more. To make things a little more dynamic, try tilting the ghosted logo a bit.
It may sound odd that reducing the contrast of your client’s logo so that it almost blends in the background is something that can actually enhance the overall message, but in many cases, it does. While all the “normal” stuff has become just noise, sometimes subtlety can be the best way to get noticed. The loudest whisper.