Back to School Spirit

Back to School Spirit

The middle of September means the majority of college students have started classes, attended their first couple football games and, for the “of-age” students, discovered their favorite watering holes. When I attended Michigan State University from 2007-2011, one of my favorite parts of the whole college experience was heading back to school every year and outfitting my dorm room or apartment exactly how I wanted it and not following my parents every word about how my room should look. Now that I am a few years removed from school and officially “merchandise savvy”, here are some recommendations for products that I wish I had during my time in East Lansing.

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World Cup Fever

World Cup Fever

Approximately 3.2 billion people, or just under one-third of the world’s population, park themselves in front of the television to watch the world’s greatest soccer players battle against one another for the Cup title. The 2014 FIFA World Cup, hosted in Brazil, marks another year of monumental soccer matches.

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Spring for the Green

Spring for the Green

Happy Spring! Wait…is it really Spring already? For all of our readers in New England, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t feel that way yet. Despite the persistently frigid temperatures (18 degrees this morning!), we are starting to see a little more sunlight in the day and a little less snow on the ground. Now that we can all start coming out of hibernation, it’s time to gear up with some fresh new products. If you haven’t already gone green, it’s better late than never.  Sustainable goods are growing in popularity, known for being environmentally and socially conscious from start to finish. What better way to show your care for Mother Nature than with a fashionable, sustainable cotton canvas messenger bag? Not only is this a great looking bag with excellent durability, but you can feel good about using it too. Organic products are made naturally and are great option for staying eco-friendly. This USB drive may have all of the necessary electronics buried inside to store your data, but it is surrounded by a bamboo shell, made from natural bamboo. One of the best ways to help the environment out is to save energy. Eton manufactures a plethora of products that run strictly off of solar power or hand powered energy. Take this new Rugged Rukus speaker for example – it has all of the quality of a great Bluetooth speaker, but gathers all of its energy to play your favorite tunes from the sun for up to 8 hours of listening after dark. With a fairly small build, this item is perfect for travel! Eton’s FRX1 radio is... Read more
A Gift that Goes Places: Luggage

A Gift that Goes Places: Luggage

This time of year travel is on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s taking off for some place sunny and 75° to avoid the snow or hitting the road to be with family at the holidays, people everywhere are on the move. It’s no surprise, then, that luggage is consistently ranked among the top three categories of merchandise that people hope to receive in incentive and reward programs. In a recent article in Premium Incentive Products, readers got a deep dive into the luggage category and a look at the key trends and players in the field. Weight is not just a number. Weight has become one of the number one factors when shopping for luggage. A major cause of this is rising airline fees for overweight packs, as well as checking bags. People are looking for lightweight options, preferably that can fit in those coveted overhead compartments to avoid any additional costs. Manufacturers are taking note of this demand – the average piece of luggage today is almost 35% lighter than its equivalent three years ago. Size is of course a factor as well, with carry on-sized luggage being the most popular style at retail. Let the good times roll. We’ve all been there – frantically trying to get through a crowded airport to make to it the gate before takeoff, Home Alone 2 style, and at every turn your bulky, unwieldy duffle bag is bumping into something or someone, inevitably delaying your mad dash. Savvy consumers are avoiding this problem with four-wheel spinner systems. Luggage giant, Samsonite notes that in the past five years the four-wheel models have jumped... Read more
Planting the Gifting Seed

Planting the Gifting Seed

Sometimes people forget that gifts are not exclusive to the month of December. Gifting situations come up year-round, be it for an employee recognition initiative, a consumer loyalty program or the culmination of a sales contest. This is why we’ve put together a guide of the hottest gifts and latest trends, just like we did last holiday season. Because we know that finding the perfect gift can be just a tricky in the spring, even without the distraction of holiday songs playing on a loop in your head. Check out our complete catalog here: Lapine Spring Gift Guide. This season’s guide introduces some of the great new brands and products we have at Lapine. New electronics include the Rugged Rukus from Etón. The 2013 version of a favorite of ours from last year, the Rugged Rukus offers the same great solar Bluetooth speaker technology as before, but also touts a rubberized, splash-proof exterior, making it more durable and resistant to the elements. Also featured in the guide is new headphone brand, Jaybird. Be sure to check out their great line of Bluetooth headphones presented in the Gift Guide. Available at a range of prices, they’re an excellent option for any music lover. Finally, don’t miss this season’s trend features. Highlighting some of the trends we called out in our 2013 Style Guide, such as jewel tones and Americana, the features offer great ideas for on-trend promotional items like aviator style sunglasses or rainbow-colored USB car chargers. Another shows off our themed Weber product bundles. As the sun comes out and the weather finally warms up, spending time outside and... Read more
High Time for Play Time

High Time for Play Time

Sometimes it’s important to embrace your inner child. Which is exactly what I did last week when we received samples from one of the new brands we represent, Melissa & Doug. Putting together the playful wooden puppet theater from the children’s toy company took me back to the days of hunting for Beanie Babies and getting far more excited about a new game than I do now about the latest app. Toys have been on our mind a lot recently, because back in February the Lapine team visited the Toy Industry Association’s American International Toy Fair in NYC. There they saw some of the latest and greatest in toys for everyone from infants to adults. According to the Toy Industry Association there are a few big trends to look for in the toy market this year. Return of the Classics Nostalgia is a major player in toys this year with many retro throwbacks making a comeback. Products that have had a steady presence throughout the years are really coming to the forefront. For instance, iconic items like the Retro Tricycle and All-Terrain Tire Wagon from Classic Flyer will be very popular this year. Products like classic board games and childhood staples such as puzzles and Marbles are also predicted to be in demand. Material is also a factor in this nostalgia trend. While bright plastics and flashing lights were major selling point for children’s toys in the past, the toy market is seeing a return to more retro styling and colors, with hand-crafted gear being extremely popular. Wooden toys like those from Melissa & Doug are on the rise... Read more