Kermit Highfield – Impact of Covid-19 and Stay at home orders on the Snack Industry in America

Impact of Covid-19 and Stay at home orders on the Snack Industry in America – a summary and analysis by Kermit Highfield of Southern Food & Snacks

Kermit Highfield of Southern Food & Snacks was asked to analyze the major impacts of the Covid Crisis to the American Snacks Industry.  A summary and analysis follows.  

The year 2020 was like none other in nearly a generation, if not longer.   Over the past decade more and more Americans were both increasing their daily mobility while also planning and preparing less and less meals at home.  Most people in America simply grabbed meals, snacks, and even beverages on an as needed basis from restaurants (including QSR), delis, c-stores, and even groceries.  Just about the time most snack producers began to ramp production of small sized and single serve snacks portions the world changed virtually overnight.  

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In mid-March 2020 the Covid-19 Crisis hit the United States and most or all countries across the globe.  The initial governmental reaction was to ask people to stay at home, and in many cases order citizens to stay at home.  The initial belief across the country was that this requirement would last a week, maybe two.  Several weeks in it became apparent that people would be restricted to their homes for a few months.  Restaurants closed.  Grocery stores were hit with an unforeseen rush.  People adapted to stay at home not only during their time off work, but were told not to come to work – the office – the plant – whatever.  

Americans quickly fell into place and found ways and means to stay home for both work and play.  No more visits to restaurants unless it was for carry-out to bring home.  No more athletic competitions on to go watch nor even watch on the television.  No movie theaters.  People were forced to live, work, and play at home.  In a few weeks this resulted in a spike in almost all groceries. 

As people were forced to “play” at home snack foods quickly became in high demand.  Cable TV spiked, Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services saw a huge uptick.  What follows?  Snacks!  The likes of chips, pretzels, crackers, nuts, and of course popcorn all spiked.  These all grew in demand overnight with no foreseen warning.  The result, shortages in supply.  

For Microwave Popcorn as an example people love the age old thought of fresh and hot popcorn.  If you cannot go to a movie and buy a tub of popcorn why not pop corn in the microwave.  As this trend began producers of microwave popcorn such as ourselves not only saw a huge rise in demand, we also saw a firm tightening of both ingredients and packaging.  Corn supply tightened.  Palm oil supply was already tight and became even tighter (specifically as many other snacks require Palm Oil and other vegetable oils – such as chips, crackers, and more).   Stating the obvious and mentioned is the same has happened with ingredients to other snacks (potato supply tightened / nut supply tightened / etc.).

Note: summary of raw ingredients and packaging price increases as experienced by Southern Food & Snacks, per Kermit Highfield.

This brings us to packaging.  As the demand for not only snacks grows so does the demand for basically all foods in a grocery store.  Well, all foods come in some type of packaging.  So, as demand for ingredients such as corn, potatoes, and vegetable has spiked so has the demand for the printed plastic, paper, and cardboard packaging they come in.  You can even add in the demand for transport to get these materials to manufacturing facilities and then onto grocery stores.   Basically, all pieces to the puzzle have faced nearly a year of unprecedented demand coupled with supreme internal supply pressures. 

In conclusion, this pandemic has created a need for people to stay at home for both work and recreation.  That quickly results in the need for people to buy more groceries including snacks.  Supply of all materials and also line time to produce snacks has faced record demand.  As people stay at home these demands and hence supply pressures will continue.    

A main question for now is for how long?

-Submitted January 2021 by Kermit Highfield of Southern Food & Snacks.

Small Business Marketing Strategies That Will Help You Sleep Better

business thank you cards

Many entrepreneurs experience stress while starting and running a business. Marketing is no small source of frustration, as small business owners who work alone or with a small staff usually end up wearing many hats. Taking a pragmatic approach to managing promotions by automating customer databases for use in online and offline marketing and pursuing powerful and mostly passive strategies such as sending business thank you cards can lighten your workload and provide peace of mind.

1. De-stress By Automating Some Stages of Your Marketing Workflow

Running a small business requires access to accurate and current customer contact information in addition to secure financial data. At minimum, a customer database should include full names, email addresses and mailing addresses. Most business software suites have automation tools that eliminate the need to manually enter any of this important data.

Automation sounds more difficult that it may end up being when a business uses the right operational and customer relationship management software. Third-party integration solutions can also provide access to complete and correct information across platforms.

The ready availability of information for use in marketing and planning reduces stress at every stage of operations, from keeping records to making data-driven plans. This is particularly the case when you factor in the frequency of errors in data that has been keyed in. A minor transcription mistake could previously cause a business to lose touch with potential repeat customers.

2. Show Gratitude and Give Back By Sending Business Thank You Cards

Expressing gratitude is an effective way to demonstrate appreciation for customers and forge lasting relationships. Business owners who are unsure of the best way to reach out to supporters should consider sending out thank you cards. After designing bulk cards, the design is printed and can be mailed with a minimal level of ongoing involvement on the part of owners or staff.

Ordering cards in bulk reduces the cost of each card as the quantity of cards in an order grows. A business owner and stakeholders can increase the peace of mind that comes with touching base with likely repeat customers by sending cards that also benefit charity. Select a registered tax-exempt charity to receive 20% of the cost of a card order with the option to include a charity line inside each card.

Business owners and stakeholders can choose to support any cause. Depending on the industry, selecting a relevant charitable organization or a group that is likely to appeal to the customer base of an operation are both good options.

3. Go Above and Beyond In Providing Goods and Services To Customers

Both of the preceding marketing methods can go a long way toward raising levels of customer satisfaction. A business should take measures to allow customers to consent to email or direct mail contact, and may even see better results by allowing customers to identify their preferred modes of contact.

When a customer makes a first-time or repeat purchase, business owners should always express appreciation. Customers who feel that a brand is willing to go the extra mile to keep their business are more likely to reward a business with loyalty and positive reviews or testimonials.

Reducing the number of tasks that a small business owner must take on alone or delegate to a small staff goes a long way towards promoting peace of mind. While startups and small businesses can be notoriously stressful work environments, these marketing strategies have the potential to make these enterprises run more efficiently while promoting customer loyalty. These three tips also dovetail together, as a business needs accurate contact information to send business thank you cards and take other measures to enhance customer experience.

Sleeping with Socks On: Benefits, Risks, and More

custom socks

You may or may not have an opinion about wearing socks to bed. Some people have resolute thoughts about this subject, while others can go either way. However, did you know there are proven physiological benefits of wearing socks to bed?

The Benefits of Sleeping in Your Socks

Whether you choose fuzzy socks, everyday socks or a pair of custom socks, science tells us the key to being well-rested starts with warm feet.

Sleep Better

You may be restless at night due to an unexpected culprit, cold feet. When your feet are chilly, the blood vessels constrict, causing decreased circulation. Taking steps to ensure warm feet will:

Increase blood circulation throughout your body: Cold feet have more inadequate blood circulation and more significant heat loss than warm feet. Wearing socks while sleeping improves your blood flow and helps your body relax.

Tell your brain now is the time to rest: Warming your feet increases vasodilation. This blood dilation process is vital to temperature regulation. Maintaining a lower overall body temperature prepares your brain for sleep.

Decrease the time required to fall asleep: Once your body is at the right temperature, you will fall asleep quickly.

Help you sleep longer: Successful temperature regulation not only enables you to fall asleep faster but helps you stay asleep as well.

Prevent Dry Skin

Apply lotion or other moisturizers to your feet at night and then cover with a pair of custom socks while you sleep to prevent your heels from drying out in style. This overnight method is the best way to soften and smooth the cracks and calluses of hard-working feet.

Improve Circulation

Wearing socks to bed keeps your blood circulating properly, decreasing your chances of circulation problems or illnesses such as Raynaud’s disease. Thermoregulation is the way your body regulates its temperature. One way to ensure consistent blood flow is by preventing your feet from getting cold. Cold feet allow heat to escape from your body resulting in fluctuating temperatures.

Maintain an Even Temperature

Sleeping in your socks keeps your core body temperature at a consistent temperature. Heat loss through the skin resulting from cold feet can cause higher body temperatures, night sweats and hot flashes. While it may seem counterintuitive, wearing socks keeps your body cooler by regulating your core temperature and preventing overheating.

The Risks of Wearing Socks to Bed

There can be some undesirable effects of keeping your socks on through the night, mostly stemming from choosing the wrong material.

Poor Hygiene

Sometimes, staying in your socks can cause hygiene issues. If your socks do not allow for sufficient airflow or are not clean, you could increase your risk of bacteria growth, infections or odors. Changing into a clean pair of socks made of a breathable material such as cashmere, bamboo, wool or cotton can prevent this concern.

Overheating

Socks made of non-breathable materials can also cause you to become too hot as you sleep. While the right pair will maintain your core temperature, the wrong socks may have you sweating through the night.

Decreased Circulation

Tight or restrictive socks can cause reduced blood flow. The right pair of socks increases your circulation and improves your sleep, but the wrong choice can create problems instead. Do not wear compression socks to bed unless your doctor has directed you to do so.

Personal Preference

While some people find socks warm and cozy while sleeping, others feel they are uncomfortable and restrictive. For this reason, you may decide to keep your socks off and forego the scientific benefits.

Warming your feet before sleep can shorten the time it takes to nod off, increase the duration and quality of your rest and make you feel cozy, too. Design a pair of custom socks to sleep in for a restful night’s sleep that looks and feels good.

Stylish Outfits to Wear With Athletic Socks

custom printed socks

Everyone has run into a situation where he or she looks into the closet and feels quite disappointed by what is revealed. Whether you’re someone who invests in a ton of clothing or you only have a few staple outfits you rotate between, feeling stagnant with your wardrobe can weigh on you. How a person decides to dress is one of the defining ways that he or she expresses style, personality, and status. If you don’t know what to wear, you can start to feel like you aren’t being true to who you are within.

Thankfully, there’s always a solution when it comes to fashion. From learning how to use custom printed socks in clever ways to accessorizing from a new perspective, a little bit of inspiration can go a long way when it comes to your look.

Assess What You Already Own

When you’re unhappy with what’s in your wardrobe, you may feel inclined to rush out and buy a ton of new outfits. While this can be fun, it is also incredibly expensive. Plus, you can do a lot with what you already have in your possession. Most people get stuck in patterns when it comes to fashion. They will wear outfits in the same combinations and get into a rut when they can’t see each article beyond how it has already been used. Taking a step back and offer a bit more context.

Assess what is already in your closet. Take note of all the different pieces you have and think about how you tend to wear each article. Start to put together the outfits in different ways on your bed to see if any new color or style combinations start to jump out at you. Rummaging through your closet might even reveal something you bought years ago and never figured out when to wear. Building new looks around pieces you’ve never worn can help you find a style that you absolutely adore without spending a fortune.

Personalize Your Accessories 

In many cases, you may feel stuck with your current wardrobe because everything feels like a “uniform.” Fashion follows trends and countless people adopt these fads at the same time. When you’re wearing an outfit that you see a dozen other people wear on any given day, it can make you feel like your clothing game is not doing justice to your personality. A simple and fun way out of this funk is toying around with the idea of personalized accessories. Custom pieces are an effective way of infusing your wardrobe with some new life.

One great option available to you is custom printed socks. By building your own socks using the resources available at Socks Rock, you can create a unique and bold fashion statement with minimal effort. Whether you select unique color combinations, use a favorite image, or add a specific message, there are a number of exciting ways to give your socks an edge that only you could think up. Athletic socks can be worn in dozens of ways, which means you will be able to get constant life out of your investment.

Take to the Internet

There are few resources as vast and all-encompassing as the internet. If you’re not sure what to wear, all you need to do is hop online and you can come across endless sources of inspiration. Naturally, you may also struggle to hone your search. If you just start looking at pictures of people wearing cool outfits that you don’t own, you’re just going to fall into a hole where you feel tempted to buy everything you see. Again, these moments require restraint for the sake of your budget.

Instead of using a general search for fashion inspiration, focus your efforts around a particular piece. When it comes to personalized socks, for example, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover how many combinations you can consider with wearing these accessories out and about. Take a look in your closet, piece out a piece like your custom athletic socks, and see how other people are using these accessories, Whether you copy someone else or put your own spin on a look, this is a fantastic way to feel motivated about your look.

Consider the Event Itself

One of the easiest ways to make your life easier when it comes to putting together a new look is by framing your effort around the event in question. More often than not, you’re getting dressed for a reason. Whether you’re going out with friends, running errands on a Saturday, or attending a fundraiser, you want to be sure your outfit matches the occasion. Attending an event that requires semi-formal attire will place different fashion demands on you than a gathering with business-casual requirements, after all.

You also can make a statement by defying some conventions with your outfit. If you’re going to a formal athletic event, for example, you may be expected to wear something nice. Since the event is centered around sports, however, you can add a layer of fun to your look by wearing customized athletic socks in a front-and-center way. This helps you still keep in line with the dress code while also expressing your love of the game through your outfit.

Get Some Feedback

The mirror is the worst when it comes to delivering answers. No matter how confident you are in your own skin, it isn’t always easy to know if a look is coming together the way that you want it to. This is where feedback can be crucial. If you’re unsure about how your outfit is coming across, take a moment to send a picture of yourself to a friend or relative. Be sure to ask a person who understands your fashion sense, as some people may not offer you input that you deem useful if they don’t have similar sensibilities.

Feeling like you made the right decision with an outfit really comes down to what makes you feel best personally. If you can trust in your own gut feeling when you scope your outfit out in the mirror, go with that. If you’re someone who requires insight to finalize your opinion, contact someone you trust. Taking direct action in one way or another will always help you cut through a setback and come to a conclusion you feel satisfied with.

Find the Right Fit for You

In order for you to feel like you can walk out the door and face whatever the day brings your way, you want to be sure that your outfits are always on point. Give yourself time to revitalize your wardrobe with simple, unique pieces like custom printed socks and see how a small change can make a huge difference. Explore the resources at Socks Rock to get started and redefine how you feel when you look in your closet.

Body Lift Procedure – What Is It, And Does Insurance Cover It

Losing large amounts of weight can feel very refreshing. Your body feels great after losing excess weight, and you can enjoy better body mobility. However, the loose skin left after losing a lot of weight can affect your appearance. It is especially noticeable on specific parts of your body like your abdomen and sides, thighs and buttocks, etc. But there is a quick and effective solution to make your body look flawless. Undergoing body lift surgery in NJ is the best way to get rid of excess loose skin. 

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A body lift surgery can instantly improve your body’s shape by removing the excess sagging fat and skin. Body contouring is performed for additional toning of your body’s underlying tissues to support a flawless appearance. You can consider getting a full body or lower body lift after a comprehensive consultation with an expert plastic surgeon in Paramus, NJ. 

What is the body lift procedure?

Body lift is a surgical plastic surgery procedure used to remove the excess fat from the body involving extensive incisions. This procedure is widely recommended for people who have lost weight rapidly. For example, people who go through gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, or have loose, hanging skin due to aging or multiple pregnancies. After bypass surgery, the skin loses its elasticity, and thus, it gets extremely difficult to eliminate the excess skin. Getting a body lift is an effective way to get rid of that excess fat skin. Similarly, people who are determined to lose weight and manage to lose excessive weight in a small amount of time may need a body lift plastic surgery. 

The body lift procedure usually involves a combination of surgeries according to the patient’s unique requirements. Some patients need full body weight lift, while others may only need a lower body lift. Lower body lift surgery in Paramus, NJ, is one of the most commonly performed plastic surgeries. It is so, as the lower body is more affected by the rapid weight loss. A lower body lift usually comprises a combination of a tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty), thigh & sides lift, and buttock lift. The results of a body lift procedure are immediately visible. But the scars from incisions can take over a year to fade away. The plastic surgeons in NJ use advanced incision techniques to strategically place incisions in the areas easily covered by any clothing. Your doctor may also offer treatment for accelerating the scar healing.

How much time does it take for body lift surgery?

Body lift surgery is not a one-time surgery as it involves a series of surgeries. Some patients choose to get all surgeries at once. Other patients can choose to get the body lift surgery in stages. This means you can choose to have the full procedure in a particular time period that is convenient for you. Therefore, the period of surgeries varies for every patient.

What would be the recovery period?

The recovery period varies for different patients, as each patient may need different sets of body lift surgeries. It is different for each patient, as some patients choose to get the procedure done in stages. Therefore, for some patients, the recovery period can be as short as a few days, and for some, it can be weeks. If you get a full-body lift at once, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days for better recovery. If you choose to take the procedure in stages, you might not need any hospital stay. However, the recovery period can take up to 2 weeks or more. But your doctor may recommend you refrain from doing any intense tasks or exercising for over 6-8 weeks.

Does insurance cover body lift procedure?

As mentioned above, the body lift is a combination of surgeries; therefore, the insurance might cover some procedures. But the insurance cannot fully cover the cost of all body lift surgeries. For example, let’s say you need a lower body lift involving abdominoplasty, thighs, and buttocks lifts. In that case, your insurance might cover some of the costs for abdominoplasty but may not cover the cost of thighs and buttock lifts. Therefore, you might have to consider third-party financing options to cover the remaining cost. You can calculate the exact cost after a consultation with a plastic surgery expert surgeon in Paramus, NJ. Your doctor will guide you on which plastic surgery procedures will be needed for your body lift and the cost involved.

If you have more questions about body lifts or want to learn more about the procedure, cost, and explore your financing options, please leave us your queries or book a consultation online. 

Finding the Perfect Land to Build (on) Your Dream Home On

survey equipment

Building your own home gives you the opportunity to craft each room to fit your personal desires. Whether you’ve always dreamed of designing a home or are simply tired of viewing houses that aren’t the right fit, take the first step to your dream property today. Find out how survey equipment, a team of professionals and the right designs can all transform your chosen property into your dream home.

Select a Geographical Area

It’s all about location, so take your time in finding property in your ideal location. Just like existing homes, empty lots and land are going to vary dramatically in price depending on where you’re searching. There are different features to consider in different geographical areas. Check out the main considerations for rural, suburban and urban land. If you’re purchasing land in a different zip code, research the local climate and other seasonal factors.

Rural land is typically the most affordable. Unless you’re planning on purchasing acres of arable land, property away from the hustle and bustle of the big city is going to be more affordable. Rural land may require you to dig your own well and install your own septic system, so have your property inspected to see if it’s capable of these improvements.

Suburban land is also very affordable. You may not find more than a single or double lot, but it’s easy to find a quiet corner of a subdivision or side street away from busy traffic. The suburbs can be a great place to find friendly neighbors and a reasonable commuting distance to work and cultural activities. See if your chosen suburb is part of a homeowners association or has its own ordinances you’ll need to follow. Unless it’s a new development, ask your realtor if they know any current residents who are willing to talk about the advantages of their neighborhood.

Urban property is typically the most expense and comes with the most regulations. You’ll usually have higher taxes, more zoning regulations and more ordinances to follow in designing, constructing and living in your new home. There are, however, many perks to being right in the middle of your favorite city. Urban property makes walking or cycling to work a convenient possibility.

Set Your Lot Budget

Plan your land purchase just like a home purchase. Set a budget and identify your list of must-have features. Be willing to be flexible on either the price or some of the features if you can’t find an open lot that fits all your goals. Most lots and land are listed on the MLS, so work with a trusted real estate agent to find a piece that fits your dreams.

Look for Red Flags

Empty land may be a red flag. Unless you’ve found an opportunity to purchase a lot in a recent development, there may be a reason that your favorite piece of land hasn’t been built on. Work carefully with your real estate agent, the local building department and other professionals to inspect every aspect of your property. Here are some potential red flags to avoid:

  • Crime in the neighborhood
  • Poor drainage and flooding risks
  • Proximity to an airport or train tracks
  • Long commute
  • Zoning issues

Perform Necessary Inspections and Surveys

Schedule a survey of your property before you purchase it. Professional survey equipment can help you identify your property lines and look at potential elevation issues. These inspections can find any drainage issues or other factors that need to be addressed in the construction process. A property without the right slope isn’t a deal breaker, but it can increase the time and cost of the excavation and lot preparation process.

Work With an Architect To Pair Your Dream Home and Land

An architect and civil engineer can help you pair your dream home design and your chosen lot. Some home designs need to be slightly altered to accommodate property specifics. Get the most out of your views by melding your home design and property. There’s nothing worse than missing out on stunning sunsets and other views because your home design doesn’t have appropriate windows.

Apply for Required Permits

Once you find your ideal property, you’ll need to apply for building permits. Your general contractor covers the application and approval process, but be aware that new constructions require more permits than remodeling or other tasks. Some empty land is zoned as commercial or multi-family, so you’ll need to petition to change it to single family property before starting your building process.

Stake Out Your Property With Professional Equipment

Use your own survey equipment to get a sense of the size of your home and the space available for your yard. Shop for a magnetic locator at Engineer Supply to find lot lines and stake out your home, porch, storage shed and other features in your property. Enjoy a successful and stress-free home building project with the right tools, the right professionals and these steps.

Outfit Ideas How To Wear Athleisure Style Outside the Gym

soccer socks

Athleisure is one of the most popular styles of clothing. The widespread availability of high-tech performance textiles has inspired many clothing brands and fashion designers to make workout garb and gear with luxe materials for a fashion-forward take on gym and yoga studio mainstays. Casual clothing is also being made of materials that originated in activewear. From garments that wick away moisture to colorful and breathable soccer socks, here are some ways to wear athleisure outside of the gym.

Layer Athletic Pieces

Activewear makes a comfortable base layer for nearly any outfit. A casual or formal look may include one or more athletic pieces. Many athleisure styles such as undershirts, sports bras, bike shorts, leggings, tights and socks can be worn underneath other layers of clothing of similar or different styles. In many cases, putting on performance gear makes clothing and footwear more comfortable.

Bold colorways and eye-catching silhouettes make athleisure clothing and accessories worthy of notice. These items can match or contrast with other garments or outerwear while adding elements of form-fitting flair or casual comfort to any look.

Women might try wearing a sports bra or crop top under a blazer. Wearing more than one tank top or tunic may create color combinations or layered strap looks. Leggings can be worn alone or paired with garments such as oversized shirts. Bodysuits are also some of the trendiest layering pieces.

Put On Accessories

Athleisure looks more personalized when worn with jewelry, sunglasses, a hat or custom socks. Active clothing is often colorful, but tends to have relatively simple designs. Add detail and texture with earrings, a necklace, bracelet or rings.

High-tech accessories such as smartwatches and fitness trackers can monitor the number of steps you take, your heart rate or other information about activity levels. This combined approach to jewelry and technology illustrates the multi-functionality of athleisure garments and gear.

Carrying a bag can also determine whether you look like you are rocking street style or are on your way to or from the gym. A designer purse or stylish work bag dresses up an athleisure look for a busy day that combines work and exercise. A backpack or fanny pack may be preferable for school or casual excursions. The accessories you wear can make an outfit that includes athleisure elements more or less practical for physical activity.

Sport Performance Socks

Show off team pride or add a burst of color to any outfit by designing custom soccer socks. Choose from a large assortment of colors and patterns. Depending on the style of sock you choose to customize, you may have the option to add a logo or lettering.

Sock lengths range from below-knee to mid-calf down to ankle level. The height of a pair of socks will determine the most comfortable and eye-catching way to wear these accessories with shorts, pants or other articles of clothing. There is no better way to make an athleisure look more personalized and unique from head to toe than to order and wear custom socks.

Garments such as shorts, knickers, capris, skirts and dresses can show off socks and accentuate lower legs and feet. You can also roll up ankle-length pants or jeans to expose socks. Performance sport socks can increase your comfort whenever you plan to walk, run or engage in other activities.

Breathable, moisture-wicking socks made out of 100% nylon can also add a colorful and personalized touch to professional or formal outfits while keeping feet dry, cushioned and comfortable all day long. The right pair of custom athletic socks is just as suitable for training and games on the field as daily wear to school or work.

Combine Different Styles

Sportswear makes a comfortable and visually interesting pairing for other styles of clothing. Athleisure styles tend to come in a range of everyday neutrals as well as bright color options. If there is a brand or style of clothing that you find particularly comfortable or flattering, you may want to invest in getting your favorite pieces in several shades.

An outfit built around active basics should be comfortable and versatile. In some cases, you may prefer to showcase an eye-catching piece of athletic garb or gear as part of an otherwise casual or formal look. Depending on the occasion, you may want to draw more or less attention to a mix of athletic and other clothing and accessory styles. For formal or professional dress, athletic articles can ensure you stay cool or warm, depending on the season.

Athleisure is also starting to overlap more with casual clothing styles, particularly when worn as layers. Depending on the color or design of a shirt or pair of leggings, these garments may not actually look like activewear when worn in other contexts.

Try On Activewear-Inspired Casual Styles

A growing number of athleisure clothing brands are making styles intended for casual or formal wear in addition to specialized sports clothing and accessories. These garments tend to be made of high-tech performance fabrics and come in more conventional colors and cuts for wearing everyday or on special occasions.

Styles that have athletic elements but are not designed for wear during intense physical activity may not be as versatile as dedicated sports clothing and equipment. Depending on how and when you plan to wear athleisure styles, you may prefer to focus on functional pieces that can be layered, dressed up or dressed down or showcase pieces to add a sporty element to any outfit. The right balance of comfort, durability and flexibility is essential if you plan to wear the same garments for activities and relaxation.


These are just a few ways to incorporate athletic clothing into stylish looks. If you are just starting to experiment with adding athleisure to your wardrobe, look for comfortable basics to dress up or down, layer or wear as accent pieces. T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, leggings and soccer socks can all be fashionable features of outfits that are just as comfortable for physical exertion as for relaxation. Athleisure clothing and accessories make it possible to prioritize both fashion and functionality.

Cleaning and Storing Sports Gear

custom socks

If you love outdoor activities and a certified sporty person, for sure you have a lot of sports gear that you always enjoy. You see these gears your treasured possessions that’s why you always want them to be taken care of, and one way to do that is to clean and properly store it. And just like the other things, improper management of sports gear can result in costly repairs or worse, replacement.

Here are tips to get the most out of those sports gears you have to ensure that they are always ready to be used and enjoyed.

Getting rid of the bad smell on your sports gear.

The not-so-good smell from your sports equipment comes from bromidrosis, a derivative from the natural bacteria of the body from the sweat and other body secretions. Unfortunately, bacteria and other infections can be attained if this bad smell will be left unattended.

To avoid this, you can:

Remove the gear from the bag after each use and remove the debris and let the air dry it out.

Spray it using odor eliminator sprays.

Put some dehumidifier on your sports gear.

Sometimes, allow the gears to be exposed to the sun (depending on the material type)

Wear inner clothing before putting the equipment to keep the sweat to be directly exposed to the gear.

You can also use disinfectant sprays suitable for the sports items.

For smaller and foldable things like shoes and some pads, you can put them in Ziploc bags, seal it, and freeze them for 48 hours. This can help to get rid of the bacteria and the smell as well.

Washing the equipment in the washing machine

There is sports gear that can be washed both by hands and washing machines, but with safety precautions. Pants and chest protectors can be hand-washed to avoid getting destroyed in the washing machine’s agitator. Meanwhile, things like the hockey pads, goalie gloves, and blockers are not recommended to be machine washed. Generally, check the labels and tags in the equipment if you are unsure.

To wash using the washing machine:

For most of the equipment, wash using the cool water setting. For extra disinfecting, you can do that setting it on a higher temperature provided that the item can shrink.

Remove the pads in the hockey pants before washing them. Wash the pads with a brush, mild detergent, and warm water without full submerging. Avoid using fabric conditioner and other bleaching products. Hang the item or place it to a dry area and let it dry completely. Jersey shirts and custom socks should be washed inside and out.

Storing the Sports Equipment

Now that your sports gear is properly cleaned and sanitated, storing these items should also be done correctly to avoid breakage and malformation. Cover your sports gear to keep it clean and free from dust and molds. Clean your storage area before putting your sports items. Ensure that the storage area like garage and shed are free from rodents and other pests that can destroy it. Smaller items should be arranged in see-through containers for easy transport and easier to find those materials. You can install shelves and racks to ensure the better safe keeping of your items.

4 Best Products for The Future Corporate Office Design

custom window treatments denver

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our world in ways that no one could have predicted. With new cases still on the rise across the United States and other countries globally, companies have had to make several changes to their office policies and designs to keep their employees and customers safe.

The open floor plan, which was among the most praised office design trends used by companies from various industries, no longer works in our current world. Today, because of how easily the virus can spread, the best office designs are the ones that optimize isolation and ensure social distancing practices.

Luckily, to adhere to these new safety measures, you do not have to change your office design completely. Instead, you can check out these products and choose the ones that best fit your needs and budget.

Panels

Separation panels are some of the most common options in terms of cost-efficiency and availability. Companies with small and large spaces widely use them as they are quite versatile. You can find the perfect fit for your current workstation needs with various shapes, sizes, and styles from which to choose.

Panels are usually easy to install/uninstall. They can also be attached to furniture, thus facilitating the creation of individual desk barriers. Some manufacturers make enclosure pieces with strong materials such as PETG, felt PET, making them durable and easy to clean.

Additionally, there is the option of choosing panel shields that can create a wrap-around look for increased privacy and safety. With several color choices available, you’ll be sure to find the perfect style for your office’s design.

Room Dividers

Room dividers and screens are great for collaborative spaces. They can be up to 24 inches long and offer an excellent option for places such as work lounges and other open areas.

Like panels, they optimize functionality, flexibility, and privacy. Dividers come in various types, including roll-up dividers, folding dividers, and even acoustic room dividers for sound dampening.

Colors and styles are also not a problem with room dividers, as various choices are available. Finally, you can create individual office stations similar to cubicles using partitions.

Cubicles

For those with a higher budget and much larger space, cubicles are the perfect option.

Although many people still dread the idea of working in a cubicle, the coronavirus has now made them one of the safest ways to operate in an office area. Luckily, modern cubicles are nothing like the traditional ones.

While the purpose is the same, many cubicles are now designed in ways not just to optimize focus and privacy, but also aesthetics, style, and comfort.

Depending on your needs, you can find cubicles from a variety of sizes and styles. Standard cubicle sizes can be 6′ × 6′, 6′ × 8′, or 8′ × 8′, but many companies offer custom sizes. Modern cubicles include curved layouts, sit-stand desks, U-shaped designs, and many other configurations.

Airtight Pods and Booths

Although these are more expensive office design products, pods and booths benefit from fully isolating your worker(s).

These soundproof box offices are ideal for conferences, teams, and individual work that requires a quiet environment. They maximize privacy and focus and allow the worker to concentrate on the task at hand efficiently.

In particular, some meeting pods are designed with germ-shields and divider panels, allowing for more protection against the virus spread. In the world of COVID-19, acoustic pods are the ultimate way to keep everyone safe.

Another option: Home offices

While some companies have been slowly reopening their office space for workers, most are still using remote work to ensure both employees and customers’ safety.

For those working at home, the choices are much more straightforward. There is no need to invest in fancy panels or cubicles, let alone in a pod. All that’s needed is the perfect home office desk, the right chair, and some custom window treatments in Denver for light and privacy optimization. You can also reach out to creative interior designers to help bring it together and create a beautiful home office design.

Summary

With no concrete information about when things will truly settle down, both businesses and individuals must adapt to this new way of living. Whether it is by using panels and room dividers, or investing in cubicles and pods, or even setting up a new home office design, the right choice depends on one’s needs and situations.

So take the time to check your budget, office size, and the overall style and vibe you wish to create. Either way, one thing is certain: “normal” as we used to know it is now a thing of the past.

Create a Trendy and Iconic Home Office

construction tools

Your home office should be a comfortable, convenient space to complete all your paperwork. If you dread a stuffy cubicle or bland office space at work, be sure your home office avoids common design issues that arise in a corporate environment. Find out how to create a personalized, trendy office that leaves you room for paperwork, meetings and storage space for your construction tools and important work documents.

Find the Ideal Space

Do you need a secluded office space or do you need to keep an eye on your surroundings while you work? For some professionals, an office tucked away in an upstairs room is perfect for isolation and concentration. Other professionals may need to supervise children or perform other tasks while at work, so a more central work space is essential.

Either way, when you’re looking for an ideal space you need to be sure you have all the features included. Here are common must-haves for an office space:

  • Quiet atmosphere
  • Ample desk and storage space
  • Well-lit area
  • Room for a meeting
  • Personalized design

Think practically in terms of your existing home. You may have plenty of space in your garage, basement or laundry room, for example, but these atmospheres may not be the most convenient or comfortable for year-round office work.

Take a look at each of these factors and rank them based on your goals. If you only have a small space, you’ll need to think creatively about storage and meeting space. For an office in a central location in your home, think about a convertible desk or an office space that can easily be rolled into a corner and kept out of the way.

Keep It Comfortable

Don’t let your home office feel too sterile. While your office may be a place of work, it should also feel like home. Take time to make it a comfortable place that you enjoy spending your time in. This is particularly important if you work full days from your home office.

Focus on the Essentials

At minimum, a home office needs a desk, chair and computer. Some professionals don’t need paperwork or other tools for their work and can conveniently work with a minimalist desk design. Keep your work in mind as you design your office.

Consider splurging on the essentials. Most desks are between 28 and 30 inches high. Depending on the amount of space you have, you can consider an adjustable-height desk to stretch your legs and enjoy work while standing.

Your chair should be ergonomic and comfortable. Consider any equipment additions that will make your life easier, like a Bluetooth mouse, noise-cancelling headphones or an upgraded keyboard. These little features can go a long way in increasing your productivity. If you’re self-employed and working from home, slight increases in productivity translate into more income for the same amount of time.

Create Sleek Storage Spaces

Most home offices have paperwork. Architects require a range of digital devices and paper blueprints for their job. Other contractors send out paper invoices and receive checks, so all this paperwork needs to be safely stored and accurately organized. Some contractors need home storage for their construction tools.

Storage is another area that deserves your attention. Without a clear organizational system, you’ll spend unnecessary time and energy sorting, storing and searching for important papers and checks. Look for bookshelves, file cabinets and other storage solutions that fit your precise office needs.

Consider ordering or creating custom shelving for your paperwork. If you’ve been working from home for some time, you have an idea of the necessary storage needed to keep your workflow steady.

Make a Meeting Area

Some home offices are a secluded den away from the public and coworkers, while others are a hub for coworkers, clients and customers to interact with your business. Consider the type of office you want or need. If you have other professionals coming to meet you, you need to create a convenient meeting area.

Look for ways to incorporate an additional chair or two in your home office. Some meetings require everyone involved to look over an important document, while others are more of an informal conversation. Either way, incorporate the meeting atmosphere into your home space to make it convenient for individuals to stop by your home and join you in your home office.

Look for Lighting Inspiration

One of the biggest complaints of large office buildings is poor lighting. Don’t make the same mistake in your home office. Find an office space that has lots of natural light. Consider glare on especially sunny days and try to avoid direct glare on your computer or your eyes.

If you can’t find natural light, include ceiling lighting, floor lamps and even a desk lamp to prevent eye strain and to avoid shadows on your desk. Consider full-spectrum light bulbs for lighting that looks and feels light natural daylight.

Ideally, you’ll have a great window to face with a view. If this isn’t possible, look for a piece of artwork or other focal point. Focusing on your computer for hours on end can cause eyestrain, so find a pleasant object or view to look at as you daydream.

Balance Breaks and Productivity

There’s a reason companies offer 15-minute breaks. Most individuals actually perform better with scheduled breaks. If you’re in charge of your schedule at home it can be tempting to try to power through the day without any breaks. This may actually reduce your overall productivity.

Schedule breaks that work for you. A break gives you the opportunity to stretch, drink some water and spend time on a musical instrument, with a good book or with your family.

Make It Your Own

Just like the rest of your home, your home office should reflect your personality, values and sense of comfort. Whether you’re working with a designer or gathering your construction tools to remodel your own home office, look for the tools and equipment you need at Engineer Supply. Browse our furniture and tools today to prepare for a productive, relaxing and personalized home office.

Business Card Etiquette that You Shouldn’t Forget

business thank you cards

Despite the advances brought by the Internet and various high-tech communication tools, the marketing potential of every business has grown wider and can be strengthened as well. While some people think old-school methods of communication can never be used in this modern era of social media and digital marketing, some of these traditional marketing tools still have an important role in helping businesses survive and thrive. One of these conventional tools is the business thank you cards.

Business Cards: What is it & its Importance

 A business card is a small card that contains essential information about a business or a business representative. This is a concrete way to introduce your business and start forming a positive first impression in the minds of potential investors and customers. This is one of the reasons why business cards are still effective and practical marketing tools for any industry.

These are other reasons why a business card is still important in any business venture:

  • 1. There are still those who do not prefer to use smartphones.

Although the majority of people around the world have their cellphones, there are still business owners who do not prefer to have one. You can still build a network with them by giving them your business cards.

  • 2. Business cards prove your legitimacy in the industry.

Consumers and stockholders always want to make sure that the venture they are dealing with is genuine and authentic, and business cards help them achieve that goal. Aside from proving that your business is existing, it is also a clear indication that you are professional and are serious in your field. 

  • 3. Business cards help businesses establish human connections.

Digital communication always guarantees a faster and less stressful way of building networks, even from different parts of the globe. However, it lacks essential matters that must be recognized — human connections like small chit-chats, handshakes and other physical impressions.

With a business card, we can have that kind of personal and intimate connection. It can be an opportunity to start and even continue the conversation, especially with people who are interested in your venture. 

  • 4. Business cards are one of the best ways to build awareness of your brand.

One of the important aspects of every business is its brand. This will serve as the face and identity of the business, and this is the thing that everyone will remember. 

The business card will also convey the branding of your business through its overall aesthetics. The branding and the business card can both acquire and retain customers and even investors. These are all important details that can play a part in bringing success to your venture.

  • 5. Business cards create an identity for your brand.

With so much to offer, digital marketing can make or break your business, but there is still something that only the business card can do and that is to give a tangible face to your brand. Business cards communicate what your business is all about along with the values that your company embraces.

Business Card Etiquette Tips

Business cards are just like greeting cards in that they need to be presentable and appealing, from creating up to handling it to clients and stakeholders.

Here are some of the business card etiquette tips that you must do to ensure the effectiveness of this marketing tool in bringing success to your venture.

  • 1. Always go for the best professional design.

In choosing the overall design of your business card, remember that it must reflect your personality and the identity of your venture. Also, it must look consistent with the other materials you have. It will help your card to always blend to the public and not be awkward for you to present.

  • 2. Readability matters more than creativity.

Decorative designs in a business card will just make it look non-professional and fancy, unlike in greeting cards. Always choose simple fonts, colors, and designs. Just make sure it will be readable to potential clients.

  • 3. Consider its overall layout.

The standard size of a business card is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. Odd shapes are not recommended and will only make the card unpresentable. Moreover, if you consider writing something on the back, make sure that it is essential.

  • 4. Do not use bright or loud colors.

Although Dazzling colors will make your business card stand out, they will only ruin its presentability. In choosing colors, make sure that they will not contrast or distract the company logo and the information contained in the card.

  • 5. Include all of your contact details. 

A business card should contain all your information: name, address, title, contact number, and signature. If there’s still enough space, you can put the company name, logo, and website. These are the essential details that should be included in the card, making it simple yet professional.

  • 6. Ensure that there are no errors in the information.

Before printing your cards, make sure the details are correct and updated. Misspelled words will bring a bad reputation to you and your venture. Also, avoid writing something on the back just because you want to save a few dollars. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the things to remember in giving your business cards:

  • 1. Always have your business cards with you.

Do not forget to bring your business cards wherever you are. Put some on your bag, car, or your desk, and place them in a presentable holder. Whether you are in a client meeting, business conference, or going out casually, always bring it. Potential clients and business partners are always around the corner.

  • 2. There is proper timing in giving your business card.

When you present your card too early in a conversation, it will create an impression that you are too pushy. However, giving it too late (or forgetting altogether) will make you look irresponsible and unreliable. Before giving your card, you must build your rapport first, and wait for a natural point in the conversation to exchange contact information. When you give someone your card, hand it to them with the information in their direction. And when they give their card to you, show interest in it before putting it away.