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An Update from Lori Brooks about XLDesign4U

XLDesign4U had a very eventful & enjoyable first and second quarter of 2017. From big jobs to little, our team has persevered while continuously striving for excellence. Here’s a brief run-down of what we’ve been up to & what’s going on currently.

Las Vegas PPAI Expo- In January Lori & Bre got the chance to make their way over to Nevada to experience & learn all of what the PPAI Expo had to offer. There were more than 12,267 promotional product distributors in attendance during this 5-day annual event. Featuring 1,251 exhibiting supplier companies in 3,144 booths, including 157 first-time exhibitors, the Expo showcased thousands of new and exciting products, education and events in one million square feet at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The amount of available knowledge was immense & captivating. This was the first time ever that XL made an appearance at the Vegas show, it was also undeniably beneficial.  Numerous boxes of unique product samples were sent back to Richmond and the educational sessions that Lori and Bre attended at the Expo provided many new industry insights with an opportunity to learn a variety of new skills.  The result of attending this annual event opened additional opportunities to better serve our clients with more variety of product types and competitive new supplier relationships.  Additionally, the ability to share experiences with other promotional product distributors from all over the country proved to enhance our confidence about how we currently EXCEL and new ways to improve our services.

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Shawn’s Departure from XL- 

A member of the XLDesign4U family since May of 2016, Shawn Holt one of our creative specialist is taking his career elsewhere to expand his knowledge & experience in the creative field. We appreciate his contribution to XL over the past months & are excited to see where this journey takes him.  Also - great news! Shawn will be a new dad soon!
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XLDesign4U and EWI Richmond- 

Lori is enjoyably serving her second year as secretary of EWI Richmond.  
The Richmond Chapter of Executive Women International is celebrating its Fiftieth year in 2017! 
This national organization comprised of more than 1,400 member companies and 1,600 representatives continue to thrive and has grown to nearly 45 Chapters located in major cities in the United States and Canada. EWI is a premier organization for connecting, building community and developing both professionally and personally for today’s business professionals and their firms. EWI Richmond is currently comprised of 35 local professional member firms with 41 firm representatives.  XLDesign4U is proud to be an active member firm in the Richmond chapter of Executive Women International. During May and July 2017, EWI Richmond will be awarding educational scholarships (EWISP) to local high school seniors based on their scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, good citizenship and extra-curricular activities. Scholarship Awards range between $1,000 and $5,000. In July, the ASIST scholarship will be awarded to local adults facing economic, social, or physical challenges, who are looking to improve their situation through educational opportunities. Local Chapters partner with educational providers and social services agencies to identify potential candidates. Chapter-level winners are submitted to the EWI corporate level for the opportunity to be selected for one of 13 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

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Bre Marvel’s Tenure celebrating three years as a team member with XLDesign4U in July 2017– 

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Bre continues to grow as an integral part of the “XL Team”.  She has developed an excellent level of industry knowledge and exerts an uncanny capability to find qualitative products for our clients.  Her focus on detail and traffic management couples extremely well with her ability to provide genuine customer service and to assist Lori with project management.  XLDesign4U is very fortunate to benefit from Bre’s team efforts through inside customer service and her ability to provide an organized system to share delivery updates, product satisfaction inquiries and new project research.  Bre works closely with Lori to assist with accomplishing right-sized budget constraints for clients and on-time / as promised production scheduling.

Distributor Connect in Florida- 

Lori is making her way down south for the Distributor Connect  event at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The goal of this venture is to make new connections in the printing and promotional products industries.  Created for the industry’s elite, Distributor Connect Meetings are by invitation only and is an exclusive relationship-building event. The conference format features pre-scheduled, one-on-one sessions between distributors and suppliers.  Each meeting session is held in an exclusive supplier suite, securing privacy and improving business opportunities. Lori will have an opportunity to meet suppliers she has communicated with through emails and phone conversations over many years as well as being in an environment to meet new suppliers and learn what they can provide for accomplishing client goals and solution-oriented project tasks.
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                          Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, FL 
                          Distributor Connect May 10-May 12, 2017

After the conference, Lori will visit suppliers, friends and family in the state of Florida before heading home to Richmond. She'll make a surprise visit to her mother on Mother's Day in the Daytona area too!

19 Years of EXCELLENCE-
 
In August of this year XLDesign4U will be celebrating its 19th year in operation. The company has survived through floppy disc, QR codes, 4 presidencies, the birth of social media sites, & so much more. Through it all XLDesign4U has & will continue to excel for all our wonderful clients. Old or new, we appreciate you all for being a part of our legacy & look forward to what the future has to offer.

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Until our next update, always know that our team of EXCELLENCE will continue to provide the best possible service levels with the best possible value.  Best Regards from the XLDesign4U Team  

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Let's Have a Barbecue That Sizzles

 

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Warm weather, good music, hamburgers on the grill – it’s that time of year again.
It’s barbecue time!

As the month of June awakens, we begin to get a glimpse of that warm summer heat. Summertime is often a time to kick back, relax and have a little fun. Pools and water parks are opening and beaches will become packed as people begin to enjoy summer vacation. For some, the first getaway of the summer is right in their own backyard or even a local park. Individuals and companies alike enjoy a good barbeque during the warm summer months. At home, it is a great way to enjoy the company of family and friends over a nice meal. For businesses, hosting a company picnic is a relaxing way to bring employees together to socialize without the daily stress and pressures of work. It is a great morale booster.  Customer appreciation picnic events are a great way to build service relationships too - a great way to bring out that "down to earth / real people" connections. 

But, hosting a barbecue event has even more to offer than just great food. Part of what makes a picnic outing great are the social activities and interactions among the crowd. Need some ideas to bring your team together this summer at your company picnic?

Set a theme: People love party themes. It makes the event more fun and allows people to get into character. One popular summer picnic theme is a luau, complete with tiki lanterns and grass skirts. Also, one of the great things about hosting a luau is that it is often hosted at or near water so that your attendees can enjoy a nice cool dip during the party. Whatever theme you choose, go all out with decorations to really create the illusion you seek. Send personalized invitations to your employees. A direct invitation sent via the mail makes a larger impact because it makes them feel special. Don’t forget that special touch. Encourage people to dress up to support your theme, making the event that much more of a success.  Incorporate barbecue event products that sizzle!

Scavenger Hunt: Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

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It is one of the best ways to get your party people engaged. Start the event out with a scavenger hunt. Eliminate the awkward social moments when people first arrive at an event. Hand out cards to send them on the hunt as soon as they arrive. Your attendees will immediately become engaged and you will find that participating in a scavenger hunt will create great team building skills for your employees while encouraging some healthy competition. It will also give your cooks plenty of time to finish grilling your delicious food without anyone hovering over them.

Party favors & prizes: Everyone loves free prizes. You will want to reward the winner of your scavenger hunt with some cool prizes. Pre-planning some picnic games for your guests to enjoy can be fun too.  Plus it builds friendly team competition.  Maybe a teamed water balloon toss with increasing distance between partners’ tossing.  Have fun giveaway items linked to your party theme available for all attendees. Giveaway ideas can be anything from fun sunglasses, water bottles, water toys to glow in the dark necklaces; the list is endless. In addition to providing your game winners with prizes, you’ll want to have small party favors for everyone who attends. For example, if it’s a luau, maybe give everyone who attends a lei to support your theme. Have fun with it. Personalized candy is fun as well, because who doesn’t like sweets? Hand out chocolate bars personalized to your theme and company. People will love it!  If your event is a company picnic or customer appreciation event, don’t forget branded recognition gifts for your employees and/or customers.

Provide a diverse menu. Everyone loves a good barbeque, but remain sensitive to the fact that everyone does not eat hot dogs and hamburgers. As our nation becomes more health conscious, more people are becoming vegetarian. Offer some diverse menu options to meet the tastes of everyone attending.  Pot-luck food assignments are fun too!  Segregate the assignments by categories such as a side dish, a dessert, beverages, etc.  The host can be in charge of the main course and festive plates, napkins, utensils and the like. A surprise mixture of other dishes that you’ve assigned arriving with each guest will add a bit of fun, and will encourage all of the guests to be a part of the event’s success. 

Summertime is here so dust off those grills and get ready
for summer barbecuing and picnic fun!

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© Scavenger Hunt Image Credit: http://www.davidokeefe.com/blogs/post/2010/08/05/Website-Scavenger-Hunt-Today-Giving-Away-Free-Art.aspx

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