B-BAM Flight Bag Contest

Bag

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This is the new hot thing in the B-BAM offices. A vintage weekend bag, the B-BAM Flight Bag is designed a la Pan Am. It has two end pockets, and a big zip-up front pocket. With two hand straps and one shoulder strap, it’s very versatile.

And. It’s free.

All you have to do is become a fan on facebook and recommend a friend to become a fan as well. Then tell us who you recommended, and we’ll put your name in the hat! On Tuesday, March 13th at noon, we will pick our two winners!

Allison and Bag

That could be you. Sittin’ all smug, lookin’ at your new bag.

So do it! Find us at www.facebook.com/bbaminc and click the like button. You know you want to. Or, here. Let me put one riiiiight here. Just for you.

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The Silver Lining

On the way to work this morning, I heard this story on NPR (yeah, yeah I was drinking fair trade coffee at the time as well). It describes the movement of American manufacturing from mass production to more specialized niches. The author pretty much states that China has cornered the market on cheap and identical, so American manufacturing has responded by moving its production towards expensive and custom. The story highlights an all natural beef jerky company in Brooklyn. It’s small, it’s specific, but it has a dedicated client base and the company is doing quite well.

I find it interesting that the locally produced, high quality, and higher priced market is booming even in the midst of a recession. Like this story from Detroit, Michigan. Detroit, possibly the hardest hit city in the country, has a staggering unemployment rate of around 20%, and yet the craft food industry seems to be doing remarkable well. In fact, at the end of the article she says, “It’s a great time to start a business [in Detroit].”

…Seriously? Because I was under the impression it was a great time to get shot in Detroit.

Why is a recession a great time to start a business? Well according to Brad Sugars, it’s due to several reasons. Property values drop, there are many highly-skilled unemployed people looking for work, and there are lots of great deals on business loans. Another factor is the high unemployment rate itself. Getting laid off from a company tends to give you a lot of time to devote to, well, anything you’d like. And a lot of people, it seems, have been deciding to do something with their time other than find a job: they’ve been creating their own.

Whether it’s craft food or a small clothing boutique, it seems that’s where manufacturing is headed in American cities. Many people have jumped onto this train already to start their own brand. Would you do it?

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iDiot

A big part of my job is researching new promotional products and getting samples. I go through all the new stuff and all the new printing methods and find things that I think are cool. But sometimes I find things that are inexplicable.

This is one of those things.

ball1

It’s an iPhone stand. “One of the most unique tablet/smartphone/MP3 stands you’ll ever see. Your full color artwork in center of top. Suction cup firmly grabs the back of any smooth plastic or metal surface, enabling you to prop it upright on your desk. Leaves your hands free to enjoy a movie, photos and phone-calls. Holds other devices as well.”

I mean, I have at least four items on my desk at any one time that can hold up my phone (not including my hands, which I always have on me). So it’s a moderately useful phone stand, whatever.

But do you know what else you can do with it?

ball2

ball3

And you can do it for hours.

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Brand Loyalty

Starbucks logo

As local Seattleites- we’re all too familiar with this logo. There is usually one in our direct line of sight- possibly even two or three. We see it swirling around in crowds on paper cups, hanging above doorways, and all over the news.

“Frappucino” is a part of English language and, embarrassingly enough, it’s part of our daily life. We decide to go back every week (day, hour…etc) to get another drink because it’s reliable.

However, when it was announced that a small Starbucks in my neighborhood (Ballard) was going to be moving to a much bigger location next door, there was a huge uproar. And while I found it inspiring when a small neighborhood in Kansas City boycotted a Starbucks that moved and and it eventually closed, Starbucks is so big because we keep buying their delicious sugary drinks.

So though would absolutely prefer a local bookstore or maybe a funky boutique to a Starbucks, we really only have ourselves to blame. If we, as Ballardites, decide the enough of us want Starbucks out of the prime real estate of 22nd and Market, all we have to do is follow in Kansas City’s footsteps. There are about a dozen independent cafes within a six block radius (Cafe Besalu, Tall Grass Bakery, Java Bean, Miro Tea, Fiore, Firehouse, (soon to be) Ballard Coffee Works) where we could get our coffee instead.

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The Siri of Coffee Makers

Check out this machine that is the most advanced coffee maker to maybe ever hit the market.

An you can control it from you iPhone. At night, just set your shapely, double-walled acrylic mug on the machine, and when your alarm goes off in the morning tell Siri to make you a damned cup of coffee.

The price isn’t posted yet, which I assume means it’s at least six hundred thousand dollars.

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Strongly Ambivalent

With new products being introduced what seems like daily, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. There are new pens, new notebooks, new candy, new gum…it’s really endless.

But a few weeks ago, this product caught my eye.

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And I couldn’t really decide if I liked it. It’s totally reminiscent of old-timey milk bottles, and I like the vacuum seal cap, but it’s just so…so…weird.

And in case you were wondering, no they aren’t waterproof. Found that one out the hard way. Or, rather, my bag did.

I ordered samples of these and I’ve been pointing them out to customers…who also don’t know what they feel about it. It seems like a cool idea, right?

Our very own samples

Those are our samples (I like how the mannequin is delicately sandwiched in between two colossal water bottles).

What are your thoughts on the bottles? Do you think they would make for a good branded bottle? What sort of company would like these? For some reason, I think Stumptown would like them. Or perhaps they would think the bottles were as solidly mediocre as everyone else thinks. Whomp.

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“Forget love- I’d rather fall in chocolate!”

It’s fall. It’s the best time of year. After a summer of intense heat, you get to sit outside your favorite cafe and sip cider while wearing your coziest sweater. It’s perfect weather for bundling up and going to your local farmer’s market. Seriously, every season should be fall. Think about how many pumpkin spiced lattes there would be. Innumerable pumpkin spiced lattes.

Fall is when everyone starts thinking about these things. Thinking about the holidays, falling leaves, snow…But us? We’re thinking about chocolate.

Back in May, we came up with the idea of making a BBAM chocolate bar as a giveaway. After coming up with it, we obviously wanted to get them printed ASAP so that we could mail them off to our lovely clients and fans. However, with everything heating up in the summer, we needed to wait for the temperature to drop so we could safely ship them without melting. Well, now it’s fall. And the temperature is consistently below 70 degrees. So, what are we thinking about? Well, we’re thinking about chocolate.

Specifically, 500 bars of chocolate.

Boxes o' Chocolate

They arrived at 11:21AM this morning. And they are a gift from the heavens.

We have two designs. We have our BBAM bar featuring our favorite monster…

BBAM Bar

And our lovely Heart bar…

Heart Bar

So, that is why B-BAM is stoked for fall! If you have an order with us, when we send our thank you note, you may get a BBAM chocolate bar with it. Who knows.

Okay. And full disclosure, it’s down to 498 chocolate bars.

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Politi-swag

We’ve all been hearing more and more about the 2012 presidential race. The primaries are going to pick up soon, and then we’ll really be kicking into full gear. And you know what political races mean? Lots and lots of promotional items. Just truckloads. Filling every lawn, rally, and bumper.

So I decided to do some research on the early stages of the swag developments. And this is what I found.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS

Michelle Bachmann:

Putting aside the fact that I’m 98% sure she’s a robot sent from the future to end life as we know it, she’s on the forefront of presidential swag. I mean, she has a whole store set up on her website. She’s got the $35 t-shirts, the lawn sign (a personal fave), the buttons, and even a nice coffee mug. See below for the all-American store.

Michelle Bachman Swag

Doesn’t it just make you wanna vote?

Rick Perry

This guy has NO swag. I mean none even at all. No stickers, no lawn signs. Just a lot of conservative values and a countdown to something that I don’t really understand. Something about ObamaCare. Anyway, he is not coming to the plate.

Mitt Romney

Now Mitt has a store (with a cute shopping cart icon) and is by far the trendiest of the Repubs. You can even buy sets of products if you want a t-shirt, a few buttons, and a sticker, but are on a budget. There’s even a neighborhood package if you’re really trying to make some friends.

Mitt romney Swag

I think this is my favorite image from his website. This could be from L.L. Bean. Hell, photoshop a puppy in there and it IS L.L. Bean.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS

Barack Obama

So Obama, true to form, is staying hip. His site is super sleek and he has all sorts of surprising items. My favorite? The “Made in USA” mug. Birth certificates have never been so funny.

Made in the USA Mug

I mean, he has a freaking MASON JAR in his online store.

Obama Swag

Though, to be honest, I don’t think the jar is included with the pins. In my opinion, if I’m shelling out $450 for a bucket of pins, I better get a goddamn mason jar.

So he’s on the swag bandwagon. But can we say that for the only other declared Democratic candidate?

Randall Terry

So Randall here doesn’t have any promotional gear on his website. He does, however, have some racist songs.

His tagline is “A democratic primary for President- to bring America face to face with aborted babies.” So, that’s pretty uplifting.

And that’s it for the swag of right now. Perhaps once the primaries begin in earnest I’ll have some new things to show you guys, but until then, you’re stuck with Bachmann key chains and racist hymns.

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The Wheels on the Bus

B-BAM would like to welcome everyone back from summer vacation and wish all the students and teachers a happy school year! In honor of this, I would like to share a story of my first day of 3rd grade.

When I was eight, my mom and I moved to York, Maine. Because she anticipated moving again very soon (we were renting) she put me in a private school. An academy, actually. No joke- there was actually a proposal by the PTA that would require all the elementary students be required to wear blazers. 8 year-olds. In blazers.

I had to take an hour-long bus ride to this school, and my first day was horrifying. As I saw the bus crest the hill, I noticed it didn’t have a front hood like every other school bus. It had a flat front, which made it look a bit like a prison vehicle. I thought about this for about two seconds before thinking my next paralyzing thought: I didn’t have any friends (except my diverse group of Beanie Babies), and I was about to embark on an hour-long bus ride. To make matters worse, I would have to sit three to a seat with devastatingly popular middle school girls. They were all, obviously, best friends. And I had a bowl cut.

I spent the entire bus ride with my backpack on my lap trying to make myself as small as possible to avoid, oh the horror, accidentally touching my neighbor’s leg. When we got to school I’m about 80% sure I had pulled the emergency lever in an attempt to get out as soon as goddamn possible.

The day was blur. The only thing that sticks out was meeting our third-grade homeroom teacher. Her name was Mrs. Quinthibidou, which was quite a name for people who haven’t quite nailed down the pronunciation of “animal.” We knew her as Mrs. Q-T.

So the bell rang at the end of the day and we all went outside to the armada of school buses waiting. I spotted the one with the flat front, climbed in, and immediately glued myself to the wall.

Twenty minutes later, the bus was starting to empty out. Students were getting off, one by one, and I didn’t recognize any of the streets we were on. (Does anyone see where this is going?)

Eventually, it was just a handful of kids on the bus. The last one got off, and the bus driver changed the radio station to some classic rock and was loudly singing along. I realized that I made an egregious error.

After spending probably ten minutes thinking of all the ways I could get out of the situation without talking to the bus driver (and not coming up with a single one), I walked up to him and say, “Excuse me, sir.”

He jumped in his seat and says, “Wha- did you miss your stop?”

I shook my head and said, “I don’t know.”

He sighed as if this happened every day (which it probably did) and took out his cell phone. “What’s your phone number?”

Now, I had moved into my new house literally one week ago. I probably wasn’t even 100% certain we HAD a phone much less that there was a number attached to it.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, ‘you don’t know’?”

“…I’m eight.”

He eventually drove me back to school (another hour alone with the bus driver) and someone called my mom, who picked me up after another hour.

And that was my first day of school in 3rd grade. I didn’t make many friends, but I did get to spend a lot of quality time with my Bean Babies. And isn’t that really what it’s all about?

And here is a wacky product that I found this week while looking for backpacks.

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I don’t really know what this is. The description literally just says, “School bus bag made of 600 denier polyester with six clear windows on the side, one big clear window on the front, carrying handle, two zipper closure on top.” So…I think it’s like a suitcase? I’m not even 100% sure how big it is. It could be two feet tall or five inches tall; I’m really just not certain.

Enjoy!

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Dedication to SIFF and The Uptown!

I love movies. No, like. I LOVE. Movies.

Seattle is somewhat of a mecca for independent films and theaters. I live a few blocks from Ballard’s Majestic Bay Theater, and I gotta say that there is nothing better than going to a movie and not seeing an ad for AT&T that’s also peddling Coke.

So, when The Uptown Theater closed late last year, Queen Anne lost one of its oldest theaters and a big part of the Seattle indie film scene. Even back then there were rumblings of SIFF possibly taking over the space and expanding from their downstairs location in Seattle Center.

Well, SIFF has announced that it is going to reopen The Uptown Theater! It’s exciting news for Seattle, and we’re all stoked that SIFF is going to have a brand new (sort of) space to show their films!

In honor of this, B-BAM is running a product special.

Movie Tin

In honor of the Uptown Theater’s reopening, we are offering a special product discount on a 7-way Snack Film Reel Snack Tin. We are offering a $500 discount for quantities of 250 and above AND offering FREE setups!

Congratulations to SIFF and the Uptown Theater!

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