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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Marching Bands

Using mostly percussion and wind instruments, marching bands originally served the military by providing communication and music in the field as troops marched from one locale to another. Broader instrumentation was eventually added for parades, ceremonies, and review, especially after brass instrument valves were patented in 1818, which allowed a bigger "outdoor" sound to be projected before crowds.

The brass band first became important in America during the Civil War. Union Army Bandmaster Patrick S. Gilmore's band instrumentation is still the model for the concert band. It was John Philip Sousa (1854–1932), however, who took this music to its zenith. After twelve years as the leader of the U.S. Marine Band, he formed his own "Sousa's Band" in 1892 and began touring the United States and Europe. His marches are considered a distinctively American music, and his "Stars and Stripes Forever," written in 1896, is his most popular piece. As professional touring bands began to disappear in the early twentieth century, American schools filled the void. Beginning with the bandmaster A. A. Harding at the University of Illinois, school bands across the country conducted by both former professional band directors and academically trained teachers participated in nationwide playing and marching contests. Municipal and military bands continued, but colleges and universities clearly had gained the spotlight. In the mid-twentieth century, band music finally received the attention of world class European and American composers such as Robert Russell Bennett, Morton Gould, Vincent Persichetti, and William Schuman.

With this special holiday fastly approaching let us all be proud of not only our United States of America, but the part we all play in celebrating its heritage and birthday!

Hope you all have a great 4th,

Bob Howard
Heartland Trim


Tue, June 30, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, June 22, 2009

Embroidered Emblems are Back

In 1986, OshKosh B' Gosh of Appleton, Wisconsin began purchasing their trade name appliques from Nancy and I as Heartland Trim, Inc., and thus the beginning of our Company. As we grew and added more and more customers, our base became very diversified. Because of my extensive work in the garment industry, we sold fashion design houses as well as uniform manufacturers and shipped our emblems all over the world as the garment industry shifted to overseas factories.
Then we added the Girl Scouts and outdoor organizations such as In Fisherman & B.A.S.S.. As our business grew nationwide we were asked for embellishment of garments, and expanded into screenprinting and contract embroidery services. While our company continued to grow, the garment industry continued to shrink with all manufacturing gradually going off shore. This pushed me into a more aggressive travel schedule at Weber & Sons and less time helping Nancy at Heartland. In 2000 we decided to sell off the screenprinting, embroidery, and emblem portion of our business to a more manageable enterprise with less employees.

Heartland Trim is proud to annouce we are back in the embroidered emblem business as noted in our "Products" section of this website. As times have changed and I am now back at Heartland full-time, along with the expiration of our non-compete clause, we are offering our customers embroidered emblems once again. These are a perfect fit for our industry, and even though many of you do your own embroidery, you order emblems from time to time as required by your customers, especially with the Drum & Bugle Corps.

As you all move into this tight manufacturing and shipping part of your season, don't hesitate to give us a try in partnering for your success. Our quality, service, and prices are excellent as always, and as with everything you purchase from Heartland Trim, we are personally involved every step of the way. And don't forget, we offer a full line of thread, embroidery backing, films and fusing to help you save more money with your in-house embroidery shop.

We are working to become the "Premier Supplier" to the Band Uniform Industry, and your continued support is making our dream a reality. We thank you all for that!

Have a great week,

Bob Howard
Heartland Trim

Mon, June 22, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Shutdown, Yes or No
Business is at a fast pace prior to midyear factory shut downs, and I wasn’t sure they would still take place after the late start this spring. Some companies are leaving a skeleton crew to receive deliveries, and some are working specific departments all in an effort to ship their orders by the end of August. The current economic conditions put an element of indecision in everybody’s thought process, and now we must all work to catch up. It appears that most of you who are closing will use dates from June 19th through July 10th either one or two weeks. If you are shipping or expecting a shipment, make sure to check for special open hours.

For those of you who purchase our Shako Hat buttons with split prong backs, it won’t be long now and we will start shipping our new replacement. The excitement is building as we near completion of this revolutionary die that will produce a “one piece” back. This will help control costs as well as reduce required components. This die will also be much larger with more cavities allowing us to manufacture more pieces per stamping and speeding up delivery times as much as 50%! Once this changeover is in place, you will no longer be able to buy either of our old configurations (Welded or Non-Welded). This one piece back construction will be stronger than anything else available to our Industry and available right here at Heartland Trim, Inc. Those of you who purchase from us will have a competitive edge over those who don’t!

We are already working on our new product line for 2010, and will be adding several new products to our current inventory. Basic Hat Ornaments, Visor Bands, Front Straps, Chin Straps, and Shoulder Cords. We will only carry those styles and colors used regularly and in high demand.  By adding these items, our customers will be able to order “just in time” saving them unnecessary inventory costs. Oh, and you will save additional money on these products as well, because they all will be priced very competitive.

Have you all noticed how our Industry is going high fashion with everyone hiring designers and making band uniforms more unique and different? We have, and if any of you need help keeping up with the Jones’s, just give us a call. We can help you design accessories to meet your needs or ideas. Take a look at our product line catalog here on this website. You will see we offer fancy buttons, nailheads, broaches and more. Also, our in-house graphic artist is looking forward to helping you. So give us a call and don’t be left behind!

Until next week,

Bob Howard
Heartland Trim
Tue, June 16, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, June 8, 2009

What will 2009 bring?
Lots of sample orders! Economic downturn! Late start to the season! Where are we all going with sales this year? That’s what we are all wondering. Even though we here at Heartland Trim supply a majority of you with a diversified product line, it is still hard for us to predict or even gage how the season may end up.

Some manufacturers make the conventional uniform, some the wash & wear, and some the jazzed up models. Some make accessories like Shakos, gloves and shoes.  Everyone seems to be in the same boat of uncertainty. Will our customers follow through with their sample requests and place orders? Will schools follow their budgets they already have approved? Will we as suppliers be able to meet our commitments before the season ends? We all have many questions with very few answers.

It appears the overall Band Uniform market is currently down about 25% from last year, but that number is obviously skewed because of our late start. However, profit margins on basic construction components like we handle here at Heartland are off substantially. In most cases there has been no price increases, and some decreases have occurred due to strong competition and price cutting. Therefore, any increased costs occurred have not been passed on. Our basic program is to try and keep any price increases initiated between seasons. This allows you folks to hold your prices while maintaining your profit margins at desired levels.

Bottom line; expect a survivable season, but little carry over revenue to see us through until February or March 2010. We must continue to find ways to cut costs and become more efficient at what we do. That’s why Heartland is always looking to create new and innovative products to better serve its customers and this industry. That’s why we also call ourselves “Heartland Business Solutions”. We would be happy to visit your facilities and review your needs with no cost or obligation. Some of our customers are saving tens of thousands of dollars yearly since joining this program.

Until next week,

Bob Howard
Heartland Trim
Mon, June 8, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, June 1, 2009

Quality Matters
Hello Everyone 

As this season begins to heat up, I thought it would be good to remind everyone that your sales staff may utilize this website to show the different button styles and products that are available to them. They can even take their laptops with them into see their customers as well, and use us to demonstrate the many accessories you can provide. As our product line expands to encompass more variety and options, our site can be a helpful tool for you and your entire staff to build sales.

Also, to clarify the prices listed at “Shop Online” ordering, these are for very small orders and DO NOT REFLECT the actual prices our manufacturing customers pay. Please refer to “Wholesale Info” pricing navigator bar. This venue allows us the ability to show individual products up close for better review!

Soldered Back Uniform Buttons: Many folks ask me why they should buy soldered back uniform buttons instead of the conventional swaged back loop that most of you use. My answer is usually the same, because I love to sleep at night! Even though we hear very few complaints about our regular blazer loop (RBL) backs, there is always a possibility they can be abused enough by the schools and their musicians that a back can be destroyed. The soldered loop back, both regular (RBL) and extra high (XHL), are soldered with a generous supply of silver solder to basically create a one piece back. If this back gets destroyed, the whole button is destroyed. One of our nations leading manufacturers uses only Heartland Trim soldered back buttons, and in the last 3 years have not had a single complaint. That is what I mean when I say “I can sleep at night’!

Speaking of our product in comparison to our competitors, this is probably a good time to talk about all of our metal Band Uniform & Police/Fire Department buttons and why they are superior.

First, our buttons are all constructed of 85/15 Brass, the best! It has just the right ratio of Copper and Zinc content. This is the best brass for detail in die stamping, rust resistance, tarnish resistance and luster. Second, as in Shako buttons, if additional components such as the prongs are required, only the highest quality stainless steel is used to guarantee rust proof and strong flexibility. Finally, as you all know, I have been in this industry a long time as many of you have. Sometime in the course of manufacturing of a product, there is going to be a problem. Murphy’s Law always applies! It is how that problem is resolved that is important. How problems are handled separates the average company or salesman from the one you want and should do business with. Heartland Trim stands on its reputation of 36 years, and offers our professionalism with every product we sell and ship to every one of you.

National Die & Button Mould has reopened and began shipments as of last Thursday May 28th. They had been closed for a short period of time due to facility issues that have now been rectified. Because of this unscheduled closure, they are working extra hours to catch up with all backorders and also plan on working straight through their normal “shutdown period” which usually takes place the first week of June or July. Their owner and my friend Louis Eisen, has asked me to thank all of you for your patience and understanding during this difficult period. As noted above, everyone has a problem from time to time, but it’s how they handle them that matters! We have all worked together to help each other out during this difficult time, and I am very proud to call you my friends.

SPECIAL CLOSEOUT: We currently have approximately 1600 linear yards of our “Thermal Stick” product in a 10.5” width and on 100 yard rolls. This item was cut special for someone and we need to move it out. It will be sold on a first come first serve basis at $.40 per linear yard F.O.B. shipping point. This is a savings of $.12 per LYD. You must purchase by the roll, buy one or all.

Until next time, thank you all so very much, it’s great to have customers who are also your friends.

Bob Howard
Heartland Trim
Mon, June 1, 2009 | link          Comments

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