Awards & Engraving

June '16

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34 • A&E JUNE 2016 By Cassie Green T here's something alluring to wood products. Maybe it's the natural beauty of the grain, or it could be the unique characteristics different wood items offer. Or maybe it's the durability— when most people think of a wood jew- elry box or plaque, images of a sturdy gift that will last a lifetime come to mind. Most likely, the attraction is all of these things combined. This all-around appeal is what makes wood products so desirable in the awards and engraving industry. Wood substrates, such as traditional plaques, are timeless items that many customers seek. But working with wood goes beyond tradi- tional. In fact, there are many ways in which wood has been reinvented, in both its physical presentation and the methods it can be decorated. LAWS OF ATTRACTION Before we explore ways to think outside of the box with wood substrates, let's discuss the reasons why awards retailers should be carrying these products. First, why do cus- tomers seek wood products? "Wood reflects great amounts of detail and contrast," Josh Stephens, Trotec Laser, points out. "It is also a versatile (substrate) because it can be shaped with temperature, moisture and mechanical methods." Going hand-in-hand with its versatility is its natural appeal. "Every piece is unique and offers a natural beauty," Gerald Barta, Big Sky Woodcrafters, offers. For example, when comparing a walnut piece to some- thing made from cherry, the color, grain and overall appearance differs, giving each product a one-of-a-kind appeal before it's even been decorated. That beauty traces back to nature itself. "As people from all walks of life look for a green but affordable substrates, wood is what they keep coming back to," Amy Mikal, The Gavel Company, emphasizes. "Customers love products that are earthy and organic, and wood is the original green product." Pair that with its dura- bility, and wood becomes a top-seller for any awards retailer. Perhaps the popularity argument isn't enough to prove that wood products should be a part of every awards retailer's business. If that's the case, take a look at the profit that can be made from offering them to your customers. "Wood products are affordable, high quality and easily dec- orated; the easy decoration cuts down on labor costs and time," says Mikal. Stephens couldn't agree more, though he emphasizes that the situation must be right in order to turn maximum profit. "The profit a wood piece is able to deliver depends on the end product," he states. For example, a 4-by-12-inch sheet of alder wood can go for just under $5. This sheet can produce about four Christmas orna- ments. Each ornament can sell for $2 to $5 each, or $15+ if photo engraved. This one sheet of alder wood can reward a retailer with a $3 to $15+ profit. Wood plaques continue to be popular among customers due to their natural beauty and durability. There are many unique wood items now available to decorate. IMAGE COURTESY MARCO AWARDS GROUP IMAGE COURTESY TROTEC LASER Working with Wood A NATURAL CHOICE

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