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Christmas | Gifts | December holidays
November 2015

Stock up for Xmas

and the holiday rush

December is traditionally the mega-shopping period when consumers spend their bonuses on Christmas gifts or new gear for the annual holiday, and companies treat their customers with corporate gifts. Sport and outdoor stores can join in the shopping bonanza by stocking up on interesting games and gadgets as well as innovative gifts that will delight and intrigue. We offer a few suggestions for gift items to stock in order to lure new customers to your store

While general retailers eagerly look forward to the ringing of cash tills over the end of year holiday period, sports retailers have not always shared in this bonanza. With schools and universities closing and most sports clubs winding down activities due to the holidays, December is traditionally not a bumper month for sports retailers.

This is supported by import statistics that show that over the past five years there had been little increase in the value of sporting goods imported in the fourth quarter when compared to the third quarter. The big growth in sports equipment imports is between the second and third quater when the value of sporting goods imports had grown 23-45% per year between 2009-2014.

But, sport retailers need not lose out on sharing in the Christmas spirit. By introducing interesting and fun gift items that will be popular during the holidays, they can keep attracting customers.

Outdoor retailers, on the other hand, have always benefited from all the consumers enjoying the warmer weather in the outdoors, whether at home or in the bush or at the coast. Several suppliers are catering for the needs of gift-seeking holidaymaking customers.

Family games for training fun

Brand ID provides, for example, the perfect solution for parents with restless children over the holidays with their Sticky Wicky and Swingball bat-and-ball games. They not only provide hours of fun, but also help improve the youngsters’ cricket and tennis skills.

Sticky Wicky is a fun, cricket game that is great for the beach or backyard during the holidays. The ball sticks to the wicket when they connect, and the Velcro stumps therefore become the ultimate umpire that players can’t argue against: if the ball sticks against the stumps, the batsman is out.

The backstop helps to capture inaccurate bowling, so no more broken windows or running into the road to retrieve balls.

The portable game is new in South Africa and promises hours of fun, while teaching children real cricket skills. It can also be used for physical education lessons by schools, as well as by after school care centres as an engaging and entertaining activity for groups of children.

It sets up in minutes and the full kit comes with a backstop, bat and Sticky Wicky ball, which all fit in a bag for easy storage (3-ball packs are also available). It only requires two to play, or even by yourself as you can practice your accuracy throwing at the wicket.

Swingball is a great way to introduce children to tennis, train their hand-eye-coordination, and to work on improving their hitting skills — all while they are having fun as well.

Developed in the 1960’s, Swingball has stood the test of time with several generations growing up with fond memories of playing with the product. It practically sells itself, says Steve Gallienne of Brand ID.

Not only has the product been around for more than 50 years, it is also made locally.

Being an outdoor game, the South African climate suits it well. Parents will not only be happy to see their children playing outside during the holidays, but can also join in the fun — there is no age limit.

It’s also a robust product: the balls will take about 20 000-30 000 hits before deteriorating and the moulded bats, which are not too heavy and not too light, are made with high quality plastics that won’t be damaged by UV rays. The bats can also get wet, so they can be used for other bat-and-ball games as well, or used on the beach, for example.

If something does happen to the product, spares for the ball and trace are readily available. Even if you, the retailer, don’t stock Swingball itself, the spares themselves are also nice to stock options as people might be looking for them.

For indoor games

For those days when the weather does not permit outside play, the Dunlop table tennis sets from Brand ID will provide indoor entertainment for the whole family.

Whether the requirement is control, power, or a combination of the two, Dunlop offers a range of table tennis bats to suit a variety of players, from elite to club level or families seeking home entertainment .

Although the entry level G-Force Oblivion is aimed at beginners and casual players, it has good spin capabilities. It features a flared handle and a 1.5mm cellular rubber as well as a pimpled outer rubber.

All the G-Force bats such as the Blaster, Pulsar, Predator and Oblivion feature a 5-ply construction and 6mm blade thickness.

The Blaster and Pulsar models offer a balance between power and control, and are suitable for club players. They feature Reverse outer rubber as well as 1.5mm cellular rubber. The 78g Blaster also features a flared handle.

The G-Force Predator has enhanced power specification that increases ball velocity, making it the ideal option for the offensive player who wants to deliver fast blows. It also has a 1.8mm rubber thickness.

The Blackstorm Nitro and Nemesis are the bats of choice for club players who demand combined power and control.

Venom Series, which includes the Control, Spin and Power, will appeal to the top end players. The 5-ply blades are 6mm thick.

The Control is best for defensive elite players who want a combination of control, touch and feel. It has a 1.2mm rubber thickness and weighs 82g.

The Spin is recommended for accomplished players and features an aerodynamically designed outer blade that enables faster swing speeds and enhanced power. It has a 4D braided construction that increases stiffness and stability for greater control over the ball, and power ports in its flared handle help increase swing weight.

The ITTF approved Power is engineered to deliver maximum power capabilities and suitable for elite offensive players. It features reverse outer rubber, 2.0mm cellular rubber and a conical handle.

Local invention to please braaiers

The Original Tonglite was the ultimate braai tool for many customers … but this year they can surprise the braaiers in the family with the gift of a braai tool in overdrive: the Tonglite 2 bbq multi-tool.

It is clear that South African designer Marc Ager of Ramrod has given a lot of thought to providing a solution to all the needs of the outdoor cook in one super multi-tool.

Many of the design features of the Original Tonglite that won it the 2015 Plus X award for Innovation, Functionality and Ergonomics, as well as Best Product at the recent spoga+gafa garden trade fair in Cologne, Germany, have been retained in the Tonglite 2 — for example, the removable warm white LED that shows the natural colour of meat.

But, a spatula, knife, bottle opener and grid scraper have been added to create the first multi-tool for braaiers. The tool can be used as a spatula by retracting the tong — or the two can be used together as a tong. In addition, a clip-on attachable BBQ stainless steel cleaning brush and scouring pad brush are included in the packaging — which significantly reduces the number of trips the braaier needs to make to the kitchen to collect forgotten utensils.

Like the original Tonglite, the multi-tool is dishwasher friendly, has a comfortable ergonomic reinforced nylon handle and has a long reach to enable the braaier to keep a safe distance from the fire.

Waterproof foldable solar

Another innovation from UltraTec that should appeal to your customers enjoying the outdoors during the holidays is their new Silicone LED Solar (SLS) lantern: it is light enough to carry in a backpack (200g), waterproof —and can therefore be used while fishing — and because it is unbreakable, will withstand the hardiest camping conditions. What’s more, it can be folded for easy storage when not in use.

The lantern has a 12-hour run time on High mode and 5 hours on Turbo. The LED itself will last for over 50 000 hours. It can be recharged with solar light or through USB with the supplied cable, and goes from zero to full in 3-6 hours. UltraTec is a brand developed locally by Lite-Optec.

A sharp gift option

Customers who are looking for a Christmas gift for the men in their lives who enjoy the outdoors will find much to like about the Ken Onion Edition Work Sharp knife and tool sharpener: it sharpens gut hooks, serrated edges, hunting, kitchen and pocket knives, scissors, tools … pretty much everything needing a cutting edge.

What’s more, with the name Ken Onion attached, its performance is assured. The award-winning American knife legend was the top designer for Kershaw Knives and developed their SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism. Now, he has collaborated with Work Sharp to create a home sharpener that uses the same technology as the professional sharpeners he uses.

His industrial design and Work Sharp’s engineering expertise have been combined to produce a sharpener that will be appreciated by all who need a sharp tool or knife … and that includes cooks. It is easy to use, produces consistent results in no time, and requires very little skill to use.

The fully adjustable sharpening guide produces precise edge bevels from 15° to 30°, while the top quality flexible abrasive belts deliver a long-lasting razor-sharp edge. It also has a variable speed motor that adjusts to every task.

Work Sharp is locally distributed by Cutlery Distributing Group.

South Africa | Manufacturing | Showing growthCape Union Mart recently introduced all the corporate and consumer gift options they offer at a Media Day in Cape Town. Right: Ryan Weidemann was one of the many staff members on hand to tell the visitors more about their K-Way clothing range.

End of year company gift ideas

The end of the year does not only ring in Christmas gifts for family members — it is also the time that companies select corporate gifts for their clients, or start planning their corporate clothing and event needs for the next year.

Cape Union Mart takes pleasure in introducing their newly expanded corporate order department. Their group now offers discounted prices based on order value to their customers and have assembled a cross section of carefully chosen best-seller K-Way garments, gifting items and outdoor accessories.

Delivered to your door nationally either unbranded or with company logos included as a service, their turnaround times are 2-3 weeks depending on the product and order quantities.

70% of their apparel is now produced locally at their K-Way factory that recently won the Productivity SA Gold award.

This gives them a tremendous opportunity to add your company, or client’s, logo to a proudly South African product, produced in their expanded state-of-the-art facility in Cape Town.

Their flexibility has allowed them to nurture working relationships with SME’s, resellers and replenishment lines for SA’s biggest Blue Chip companies.

Interacting with the procurement, marketing, events and incentive departments, they have implemented an incentive store card program, which will give corporate customers quick access to their 88 outlets in an easy three-step process.

They provide digital mock-ups of their apparel, with company logos included into a condensed and locally produced range of their best-seller styles.

Their distribution hub also offers logistical elements, where they collate products into designated packing lists, for example a corporate trip to Kilimanjaro, or a tropical island incentive tour.

This gives their clients access to listings where product stocked in their stores, or on their website, are packed into a cabin bag, thus covering luggage, apparel, optics, torches, footwear and headwear all the way to sunglasses and sunblock or mosquito spray.

Their strengths:

  • Men’s and ladies’ styles are available in all clothing products.
  • Full custom branding and colouration elements available on request, based on a minimum order quantity.
  • Branded digital mockups and corresponding detailed quotations on a 48-hour turnaround.
  • Quick response corporate replenishment ranges possible on their top quality apparel and corporate gifting items, working off their retail success story.

They are hosting factory tours as well as corporate evenings and product tutorials at regional outlets. Here, company employees will be treated to light snacks and refreshments and taken through the various options and relevant sizing across their diverse range.

Alternatively, they can present product options at your offices nationally, presented by Guy Joubert their corporate department sales manager, who is assisted by his team and product specialists.

They will be attending Markex 2016 and invite you to visit them on their stand B13 at the Sandton Convention centre 6-7 July, 2016.

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