Zockets in Your Pockets

No, it’s not a Dr. Seuss book, it’s what our favorite apparel company, Vantage, calls their embroidery pockets – Zockets!

What are embroidery pockets? They are a feature usually specific to apparel that is made to decorate. It’s a hidden zippered pocket, usually found on items such as jackets which have a lining. In order to embroider a jacket without going through the lining, and having the backing show, the Zocket allows the embroiderer to open the lining.
After the embroidery is completed, zipping the pocket hides the embroidery backing, leaving nothing showing but the lining.
In addition, Vantage’s Zocket also doubles as a functional inside pocket – a feature most other brands don’t have. (Usually the embroidery pocket is just an opening to lining, allowing anything you put in it to fall to the bottom.)
When ordering apparel such as jackets that have lining, it’s always good to check on how the embroidery will look on the inside of the jacket. If the jacket does not have a lining or it does, but no embroidery pocket, you will see the backing of the embroidery. The only other option is to have the embroiderer rip out the lining seam, then sew it back up – which can be costly and create the possibility of damaging the apparel.

Laser Etching – Decorating Methods #1

Since there’s so many decorating methods for apparel, in addition to the standard embroidery and screenprinting, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about some of them.

One of our favorite decorating methods is laser etching. Instead of adding something to the apparel, like stitching with embroidery or ink with screenprinting, laser etching actually changes the fabric’s surface. The result differs depending on the type of fabric it’s applied.
For a quick little video showing a fleece being etched, click here.
On most laser etching, you’ll want to stay away from fabrics that are really dark in color, like black or navy, as the effect will not show up well on those colors, since the imprint takes on a tone-on-tone look for most applications.
Fleece fabric probably creates the most dramatic effect since the laser actually etches part of the top layer away. This leaves a 3 dimensional effect for the imprint. It can be really dramatic when used as a full imprint on a blanket or the back of a fleece jacket or pullover.
On wovens or knits, the effect is more subtle, usually darkening the fabric color a bit to create a tone-on-tone look. Since it is a more subtle effect, it offers the ability to be more creative with placement and sizing as the imprint can then become part of the design of the apparel. One example would be to take a graphic element from a logo, enlarge it, and position it possibly at the bottom of a shirt, overlapping a zipper, or extending off the item. View some of the out-of-the-box etching placements here.
Denim creates a whole different look since the laser removes the pigment, leaving a lighter-colored imprint. This would be a very affordable way to imprint the full back of a jean jacket.
Laser etching tends to be very cost effective too. Set ups range from $0 to $32 and run charges are right in the range of embroidery, but usually don’t vary based on size. We have some items which can be ordered at just 1 piece with no set up charge — a great idea for gifts or thank you’s.
And, we offer laser etching in our online webstore – no set ups, no additional run charges, no minimums. Check it out here. Items which can be lasered include blankets, awards, glassware, sportswear, jackets and more.

The Wicking Myth – Performance Fabrics

What are “performance fabrics?” These are fabrics which are engineered to offer some special feature, usually moisture-wicking capabilities.

Most moisture wicking fabrics are comprised of dual layers, usually an inner layer which wicks the moisture from the skin and an outer layer which allows the moisture to evaporate quickly.
This helps to keep the wearer drier and more comfortable, especially during activities such as golf or running.


There is a wide variety of performance fabrics in the industry and not all of them perform equally. One of our favorite brands, Vantage, tests every lot of their fabrics to make sure they meet their standards for moisture management. We really recommend their apparel not only for their quality standards, but also for their great style and price points for every budget. View them all here: Vantage Performance Apparel
Here’s a great little video they’ve put together which explains the wicking process: Wicking Test Video

Our customers who have purchased these products have responded enthusiastically about how well these shirts work at keeping them comfortable and dry, even when working outside most of the day.
Here’s our happy customers from Bellevue University at a recent golf outing, wearing their Vantage polos. All smiles!!

My First Memorable Promo Product

A family from Florida moved into the vacant unit of our duplex. They were exotic to me because they came from a land filled with swamps and alligators. Their daughters wowed us with stories of their past life in Florida. I must have been 8 or 9.

Their dad had a job doing something nobody else’s daddy did. He was working for a hamburger place that was going to be everywhere. It was 1968 or 1969 and we just didn’t have a clue yet.

One special sunny day, Mr. T (I wish I could disclose his name) took us to a field at 49th and “L” Street. I was really tickled because the field was adjacent to a best friend’s yard. Mr. T was showing my father, who was also in retail, where the construction was to begin on a restaurant he was involved with. I remember standing there, listening and wondering what the heck they were jabbering about. Then Mr. T reached into his pocket and pulled out a round wooden object. He asked me and my sister “Did you get around to it?” Of course, I didn’t know how to answer him so I asked, “What do you mean?” He repeated himself, carefully hiding the object in his hand “Did you get around to it?” I was not able to answer him. He then took my hand and placed the wooden coin in it. On it were the words “A ROUND TUIT.” On the flip side was a “coupon” stating that it was good for ONE FREE WHOPPER.

What in the world was a WHOPPER? A couple of months later, the first location opened at 90th & Center. My family made the “Grand Opening”, armed with our ROUND TUITS. I feel lucky to have witnessed the birth of a fast food giant in Omaha… I hope you have guessed by now that it was BURGER KING!

Mr. T and his family later moved from our duplex into something palatial and then to places beyond and out of our lives.

A few weeks ago, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I drove through the Burger King 49th and “L” and this memory came alive within me and it made me smile. What a clever use of a promo product. I don’t recall anything else in the past 50 years that I’ve seen that has rivaled it.

Media, Music and Merchandise

Those people that know me, know that I am a music head. I love to listen to all sorts of music. I love to play music and weirdly enough, can tell you names of songs, lyrics and artists from the 60’s-90’s.

Over the weekend, I was listening to a radio show. The discussion was regarding artists that used the internet as their new distribution model to distribute their songs for free. The group Radiohead has used this model for it’s online sales of “In Rainbows,” a 2007 record album. This distribution model challenges the music industry’s traditional distribution and sales model by allowing consumers to determine the price they are willing to pay for the album. Consumers
simply download at the band’s album for their official site.

Hmmm… So, how much do you think the average consumer was willing to pay?
The grand total is $6.00. Not bad!
It turns out that the artist makes their money with out the record label.

Now, lets think of how we find our news. Is it from the Daily Show?
No longer do journalists “rip and read” the day’s headlines off an apwire to broadcast it to us via the radio or TV. National readership of newspapers is on the decline. Both the Denver Post and the SunPost from Miami closed it’s doors, and these are only two out of many. Consumers now demand short bits of information.

I hear so many people say that they don’t have the time to read and those that do source out information. They find it via twitter or blog and not the non bias reporter.

Again, a change in the distribution model. Is it better? Are people willing to pay for news as they do for music entertainment?

And lastly, let’s focus on merchandise.

For the last 15 years, I have been the provider of solutions by finding unique brand building gifts and giveaways. My clients range from banks to public utility companies to veterinary supply companies. With the current economic times, people find themselves having many more responsibilities in the work environment but maintaining the same pay. Often times, a person takes on those responsibilities of a position that has been eliminated.

I am happy to say that the distribution model for promotional products has not changed. During the “dot com” boom, there were many online distributors, but as the “dot com” came to a bust, clients realized they missed the one-on-one attention of a sales consultant.

In this world of change and chaos, breath in and know that your consultant at The Creative J will be here. Just give us a ring.