Exciting news about our Air Freshener material!

Posted by OakCourt on Oct 1, 2011 in Miscellaneous News, New Products |

I have some VERY exciting news to share with you all!

In the very near future – most likely within the next few weeks – we will be switching to a different, even BETTER version of our AromaArt® Air Freshener material for our pre-cut shapes and sheets. Our former supplier was no longer capable of producing our desired level of quality, and was going to raise the price even though the quality of the paper had been going steadily downhill each time we purchased it. Sadly, they were not receptive to our requests to improve their quality control, and pretty much told us we would just have to “deal with it”.

That wasn’t a satisfactory answer, so we did an exhaustive search for another supplier willing and able to produce a high quality product at a competitive price. We immediately rejected the ones that would have required raising the prices substantially, and those not willing to guarantee consistency in the surface texture, thickness, and color from one order to the next. We finally found a company that is committed to shipping only the highest quality product, while keeping prices reasonable. The minimum order quantity was larger than we could have possibly dreamed of needing when we started this business, but we are committed to this product – so we took the plunge and ordered a TRUCKLOAD. (And no, I’m not exaggerating! LOL)

Why is this such exciting news? Here are some of the reasons:

1) It’s smoother… no lumps, bumps or wrinkles that are challenging for those of you who like to heat transfer and rubber stamp on your air fresheners. It also means that you can SCREEN PRINT on the air fresheners to do custom logos and lettering! We tested it with a Yudu CardShop machine – and while we don’t recommend that particular machine, the printing process worked like a charm. It took only a few seconds per air freshener to actually do the printing, and the screenprinting ink stood up to several different FO’s we tested on it. Rubber stamps make clean, crisp imprints on the new material that are easy to reproduce consistently. It’s also much easier to color on the smoother surface with markers, colored pencils and crayons.

2) It’s thinner… only about 2/3 as thick as the current material. That makes it lighter weight, meaning less expensive to ship and easier to cut. 8″ x 12″ sheets can now be cut in several popular home diecutting machines that won’t cut the old material because it’s too thick! We tested it in a Big Shot and several other machines retailing for under $200 at a trade show this summer, and it cut beautifully. Being thinner also means that it can be EMBOSSED using machines like Spellbinders’ Wizard and other similar machines that have the capability to emboss using brass stencils or embossing jackets. And even though it’s thinner, it will hold just as much fragrance as the current material! I had a blast testing it at a trade show I attended this summer, and several of the designers who were demonstrating the machines were excited about the cute air fresheners they made with it in a matter of seconds. One left a basic shape white, ran it through with an allover texture plate with funky 60’s retro circles of all sizes, and came up with a very cute two-sided air freshener with raised circles on one side, and sunken impressions of the circles on the other side. Another embossed a cowboy boot with a scroll pattern that made it look like western stitching on the boot, and used an ink pad to highlight the raised portions with tan ink. The result looked like a distressed, well-worn cowboy boot, and it took her just over a minute to emboss and ink it.

3) It’s whiter… meaning those of you who heat transfer and rubber stamp on it will really see the difference in the colors when you apply them. They really pop against the snow-white background! And as long as you select fragrance oils carefully, shapes like snowflakes and snowmen will stay considerably whiter than with the old material.

4) It’s still very affordable… we were not able to completely avoid a small price increase, but it will be more than offset by the huge difference in quality! We have not raised prices on the air freshener products in at least four years, choosing to absorb several price increases from our suppliers and shipping providers. The increase will only be about 10% on most items, which is less than the 4%-5% per year that would be expected from normal inflation.

5) It’s very consistent in quality… every single sheet is exactly the same thickness, color, and surface texture as the next one. The current material varied widely from one pallet to the next, and even from one sheet to the next. So you can be confident that every time you order, the product will look and perform exactly the same.

Are there any downsides to the new paper? I really don’t think so. We asked a number of trusted customers and friends, who do a variety of different things with the shapes, to test their decorating methods using the new material. The general consensus was that it performs just as well, if not better, than the current material – and they were all very excited about the new possibilities for decorating that were not available with our current material, like the screenprinting and embossing.

The ones who paint their shapes did notice that it took longer for the fragrance oil to soak in. The paint tends to stay as a layer on TOP of the paper, rather than soaking into it, so the fragrance has to penetrate that paint layer first. They reported that thinning the paint with water seemed to help, and that they simply had to plan for additional time for the scent to penetrate the paint and be absorbed by the shape. One tester also commented that the paint colors seemed brighter and truer with the new material, which she liked very much.

And the ones who do heat transfers reported no difference when applying the transfers with a heat press. Those using a home iron commented that they had to change their technique – instead of moving the iron all over the transfer constantly, they needed to hold the iron perfectly still so the transfer didn’t slide on the smoother surface. They had to experiment with their individual irons on the first one to find the “perfect” amount of time for the transfer to adhere completely, and had to lift the iron and reposition the steam holes so those areas were heated for the second portion of the transfer time. One stated that she used a “dry iron” (no steam holes, available online for about $30), and that it worked fine once she established the time needed to adhere properly. She also commented that if she was going to make more than a couple, she would definitely invest in an inexpensive heat press.

I’ve mentioned the upcoming change to a few customers I’ve spoken with recently when they called to place an order, and many of them have asked how we were going to handle the switchover. We have plenty of shapes cut from the new material already in-house, and we are working now to inspect and count all of the remaining inventory of shapes in the old material. Once we’ve done that, we will set up two separate pages for the pre-cut shapes. One will be for the old material, and those will be sold at a discounted price while supplies last. There are only a few that are almost sold out. The new ones will be on a separate page, with new item codes, and the new pricing will be shown on those pages. We are almost out of 8″ x 12″ sheets of the old material, and if any remain when we switch the shapes over, they will be shown on the same page with the sheets from the new material. For the short term, until we are completely out of the old material, you will be able to choose between the two. And we will do our best to make sure the cart inventory quantities are correct, but keep in mind that we are human. (g)

When you place an order, if you’d like a sample of the new material, just mention that when you checkout. There’s a spot to click to add notes or comments to your order, and if you give us a couple of choices of shapes, we’ll try to make sure to put one of those in your order. If you are not ordering soon, you can request a sample by sending us a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a list of a few shapes you are interested in (limit one per address).

I hope you’ll be as excited about the new material as we are! I’m looking forward to hearing from those of you who are among the first to try it, because I know you’ll come up with some great new things to do with it.

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