25 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes it only takes a small act of kindness to make a big difference. At IRON ON STICKER, people create custom shirts for so many fun and important life events. But we particularly love when gear is customized for doing some good. This got us thinking—how can we do something good, too? It can be as simple as saying thank you or as heartfelt as buying a stranger a coffee. Or if you have a cause you want to support, check out Custom Ink Fundraising. It’s easy to sell custom tees, collect donations, and make a difference. World Kindness Day is November 13. If you want to take part, below are some of our favorite random acts of kindness to inspire you.

Write someone a letter
We know it’s 2017 and all but, sometimes it’s nice to still receive a handwritten letter in lieu of that group text. Maybe you want to tell a friend you were thinking about them, or send a family member some positive words to get them through a tough time. No matter how short, a letter written by you shows you care and is sure to make someone’s day.

Pay it forward at the coffee shop
This is kind of the random act of kindness that started it all, so we had to mention it! You’ve probably heard about people paying for the person’s coffee in the drive-thru or line behind them. Then, that person is supposed to pay for the person behind them, and so on. If you’re not the face-to-face type, this is the perfect act of kindness to get you started. You never know how meaningful it might be to that person behind you to have you pay for their drink.

Say thank you
People don’t say thank you enough. And sometimes being thanked is all someone really needs. Thank your kid’s teacher for working so hard to educate them. Thank you mailman for braving the cold to get you your letters. Thank the cashier at the grocery store for being so patient. Or even thank a family member or friend for always having your back. Two little words can mean a lot to someone who hasn’t heard them in a while!

Run an errand for a busy friend
Everyone is busy at one point or another, but when you’re not, consider helping someone out who is. A friend who’s getting married? A new mom? A colleague who is on a tight deadline? If you’re headed to the store or coffee shop, ask that busy person in your life if you can get them some things, too. Picking up some milk and bread for a busy mom could give her a few extra minutes she needs to get her day on track.

Donate supplies to a school
Nowadays, teachers provide supplies for their classrooms themselves—pens, paper, glue, tissues. It’s a lot of extra planning on top of teaching our future generations! Help out by putting together a bag of supplies and dropping it at your local school to share with their classrooms. We’re sure the teachers and the kids will be thankful!

Shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway
Deep snow and ice are obstacles for anyone, but especially for the elderly. Have an older couple in your neighborhood? Think of them when it snows or the weather gets grim and lend a hand. Shovel their walkway or bring over your snow blower for their driveway. Not only will this save them a lot of time and the risk of getting hurt, but it shows your neighborly love.

Set a kind reminder in a loved one’s phone
It might be hard to take a break from our phones and social media, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be put to good use! Use the reminder or calendar app in your significant other’s, friend’s, or family member’s phone to leave them an encouraging message for a later time. “You’re doing great!” during their sports game or “you’ve got this!” before their big meeting. It’s a quick gesture that just might make their day.

Leave quarters by the vending machine
We’ve all been there—walking by the vending machine to see your FAVORITE treat. Maybe it’s Oreos, maybe it’s Starburst. But you don’t always have change on you, so you walk away in defeat. You can change this fate for someone else! Leave a stack of quarters on a vending machine, or tape a dollar to the front. We’re sure that person who spots their favorite treat will be psyched to see your kind gift so that they can indulge.

Post motivational sticky notes
For this one all you need is a pen and a pad of sticky notes! Leave motivational notes around your house for loved ones like “you are beautiful” on the mirror or “you’re the best cook ever” on the fridge. Take your kind messages out into the world and leave nice messages for strangers like “you are the best” on a mailbox or “drive safe” on a car.

Tell a mom she’s doing great
Being a mom ain’t always easy. And don’t get us started on all the mom shaming. Next time you see a mom with her toddler throwing a tantrum, or newborn crying at the airport, let her know she’s doing great. It can be as simple as “you’re such a good mom,” telling them how great they are, and or asking if they need a hand.

Offer a cold drink
Not everyone gets to spend their days working in a temperature controlled office. On those summer scorchers, think about the police officers or crossing guards that are braving the heat to keep you safe. Pick up some cold water bottles or sports drinks and hand them out to these people you see working hard.

Leave a generous tip
While we’re sitting enjoying our celebratory brunches or date night dinners, servers are working hard! If you have a particularly awesome waiter or waitress, or know one who always goes above and beyond, leave them something extra when you can. Whether it’s $20 on a $5 coffee order or $100 on lunch around the holidays, giving that little extra shows your appreciation and could really help someone out.

Leave a note in an old book
Whether it’s a school book or leisure reading book, leave a message for the next reader! Just got done with your tough nursing or law school tests? Leave a note in the first page of your study book like “Hi, I was where you are right now, and you’ll get through this! You’ll crush this test and it will all be worth it!” In the stress of it all, that could just be the message that keeps them going.

Ask the new kid/guy to lunch
It’s not easy being the new guy. So if you see someone new at school or work, ask them to sit with you at lunch, or go grab lunch together! It could take such a weight off of his or her shoulders to not have to figure it out on their own. And you could even make a great new friend!

Send a care package
Care packages aren’t a new concept but they’re still just as fun to get! Maybe you’re far from family or a friend and they need a little pick me up. Fill a box with some of their favorite things and include a heartfelt card. It’ll make their day when they receive the unexpected package.

Support a local business
Go local! Sure, the Targets and Starbucks of the world are great, but local businesses are great, too. If you have the chance, go to the local coffee shop or the family-run store in your town. Even giving them your business a few times a year, or around the holidays, could make a big difference! Take it a step further and if you love them, give them a great review online so others check them out as well.

Keep a waiting dog company
We’ve all seen that pup waiting for his or her owner outside the store or coffee shop. Give them some company while they wait! Do make sure the dog is friendly, and don’t touch it unless it comes to you, but just standing there and saying “hi!” and letting it know you’re there can make the time pass more quickly for fido.

Send a supportive tweet
There’s a lot of cyberbullying out there, but you can work to stop it. If you see someone being bullied online, or someone who might just need a little support, send a thoughtful tweet their way! Even if it’s just to tell them their blog post was great, or to tell them not to listen to the haters, your kind words will be appreciated.

Put extra money in the parking meter
Finding parking in a busy area? Ugh! Paying for said parking? Double ugh! Make someone’s day and pay for their sweet parking spot. When you leave the spot you were parked in, put some more money in the meter for whoever arrives next! They’ll be so excited to get the spot for free.

Give yourself a compliment
You should be kind to yourself, too! We can be our own harshest critics, so sometimes it’s important to remember self love. Having a hard day or feeling down on yourself? Look in the mirror and say something positive. Or write yourself encouraging notes. You can even take our post-it note idea and do it for yourself! Leave motivational notes around your house to remind yourself that you’ve got this!

Smile at a stranger
Life moves fast when we’re running errands, commuting to work, or grabbing lunch. Look up from your phone or to do list and take a second to smile at someone. Maybe it’s the cashier or the barista, but taking a second to be friendly puts a positive spin on everyone’s day.

Give away your Christmas tree
Not everyone can afford a Christmas tree. Traveling for the holidays and won’t be able to put your tree to its best use? Put it on the curb with a “free tree!” sign, or post it on Craigslist for a family who might be in need. It could make someone’s holiday to be able to give their kids a tree when they otherwise might not have been able to.

Bring your “person” a treat
We all have them. A shoe guy, an eyebrow girl, your dry cleaning woman. They keep your shoes shiny, your brows on fleek, and your shirts crisp. We often forget how much these little services add up so that we have more time in our lives. Show your appreciation for how much they really do with a coffee, a muffin, or even a flower. It’ll be a nice break in their day of getting things done for the rest of us!

Buy a nurse a coffee
Nurses work hard and don’t always get the glory. Stop by your local hospital and drop off some coffee gift cards at the nurses station with a note to thank them for all their hard work. Nurses work long shifts and a complimentary coffee is sure to put a little more pep in their step!

Bring toys to the animal shelter
While shelter animals are looking for their furever homes, they need to play, too! Shelter animals get a lot of hand me down toys and blankets, so make them feel like a million bucks with some new gear. No matter how much or little you can give them, a shiny new toy or soft new bed will make that shelter dog or cat’s day.

Is your great idea copyrightable?

With entrepreneurship at an all time high, people are buzzing about with ideas. Inventors, idea-makers (custom iron on sticker for personalized t shirts), programmers and artists all have different means of expressing their concepts for a new company, new product, new clothing design and even new software. But, which of these concepts are actually protected under Copyright law?
So much of the time it can feel like you need a decoder book just to figure out what Copyright law is saying. And, when you are bursting at the seams with an idea you really want to protect, the last thing you want to do is wait. Everyone has heard about those terrible lawsuits between giant companies that spend tons of money trying to establish who was first to copyright an idea. Do you want to look back on the early days and lament that you waited too long because you didn’t know if your idea or work was something you should have protected? Of course not.

So let’s take a moment and figure this out.

Copyright Basics
A copyright protects an idea that is fixed or tangible. If you have ever gone onto the uspto.gov website, you have certainly read that portion of the law that reads: Copyright law protects an “original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” Ok, wait, before you start wondering if that applies to your idea, let’s translate it.

You don’t actually need to be a literal book author to qualify – although books do qualify. An original work of authorship is a work that a person creates that is not verbatim copied from something else and it can include books but it can also include a dramatic or comedic play, a musical work, a sculpture, a painting, a photograph, or even a choreographed dance piece. These however are just some of the more traditional categories of copyright.

The part of the law that seems to confuse and bewilder so many of us is portion that reads “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” All this portion means is that you have to put your idea down in a tangible way which includes writing it down on paper, filming a scene you wrote or filming a dance you choreographed, or even creating language for your software.

Copyrights do not protect ideas

Unfortunately, copyright protection does not extend to a basic idea. In other words, if you are looking to write a love song about a lost love, you cannot prevent another person from writing a love song about lost love. What you protect when you write the song is the particular words, phrases and the musical notes you use to convey your ideas in your music.

Or what about that film idea you had about the tragic death of your favorite singer? Well, copyright does not protect the underlying facts of your favorite singer’s death. It is the unique way you express the narrative either in a screenplay or on film that is protected.

Some things you may not know about protecting your copyright from infringement
Authors, and yes even if you are a painter or songwriter this includes you, don’t realize that a work is protected the minute you put it into a fixed medium of tangible expression. You own the rights to that piece. In fact, you own the right to copy it, distribute it to friends or anyone else, change it or create derivate form of that work and even display it or broadcast it.

Filing the copyright with the federal government however let’s you actually sue if someone uses your work without your permission. Yes, that means that you cannot file a lawsuit to stop the copying or infringement in federal court without that basic copyright registration.

Protected Works You Might Not Have Considered

What many people don’t understand is that nowadays, copyright extends beyond just traditional forms of authorship to new forms of expression like video games, CD-Roms and even software.
More and more young entrepreneurs are embarking on cool new projects in the field of computer software coding and design, yet so many do not know that a copyright might be available to them. Yes, that means your computer’s RAM is just like the novel your neighbor has been slaving over for the last five years. Or what about that video game you just programmed for cell phone use – have you made sure it is protected under Copyright? Before you go taking that meeting with one of the big names in that field you will want to make certain your cool new concept is written down and registered with the USPTO.

Another cool area of copyright protection that you may not have considered is textile design. You may have heard about designers starting to sue copycat clothing companies to prevent them from using replicas of textile designs or artwork screened on clothing. Again, you cannot prevent another company from making a T-shirt out of soft cotton like you have been doing for years but you may prevent them from taking that fabric pattern you just designed for throw pillows and producing an exact replica to use on dresses, furniture, or other accessories without your permission.

What can you do if copyright doesn’t apply to your idea?
Even if a copyrights doesn’t apply to your exact idea, you may want to take a look at other forms of protection like trademarks or design patents. A trademark can protect everything from that cool company logo or company name you just whipped up for your new eBay store to the catchy tagline you use began using to brand your new products on your hang tags. On the other hand, a design patent may be helpful in protecting a particular process in software that you just thought up and started programming or even an improvement you originated that may not qualify under copyright.

Going through a small business Audit

There are a lot of myths about what is a tax write off and what is not. I just got done being audited so I thought I would write a small article of my experience in the hopes to help others (MOQ, custom t shirt iron on transfers).

When I received the letter from the IRS I knew I had a lot of work to do to prepare. There are 2 different type of audits. The first is the one where they send you a list of items they would like to see, and you send them in, they then review them. The second type is the one I received. It is a very detailed audit. They send you several pages of items they would like to see, and you have to bring all of them in person. They then scheduled 4 hours for our audit, to review every little thing, and decide whether the deductions were acceptable or not.

Now I want to say here, do not ever try to get out of an audit. It doesn’t work and only makes them pay closer attention to your case. We were scheduled for our audit to be held quite a distance from our house, so we requested a closer location. This was denied and we moved on to prepare.

We went through all of our records till we felt we had everything in order and headed down with our tax attorney to our appt.. Now I had thought there were rules that had to be followed and that your deductions fit into the categories and those rules are followed. This is not really the case. It is up to each auditor to decide what is expectable or not. If they do not feel that a deduction is ok, they will deny it. Then your tax attorney will negotiate an amount that is acceptable to the agent.

This is pretty much how each record is gone through, with negotiations back and forth, till a some what common ground it met. I will list some things that I thought were perfectly legitimate, that I found were not.

I had written off a portion of my rent, since I am a home based business. The auditor accepted part of that deduction but not all of it. He advised that if I would have taken pictured of my space I was using, he would have given my the full amount I had written off. But because I did not and I was no longer at that location, he would only give me a small portion of that deduction. I only got the lower amount because my attorney negotiated to get it.

So tip #1 : Take pictured of your work space, all of your equipment and all of your stock.

Another one that was not fully excepted ( and I read about this issue on a regular basis in the forum) is charitable donation. I donate items on a regular basis to charities. I will be honest and say that I didn’t keep the best records of this, but I felt by showing receipts of things purchased and receipt from the person I was donating to, I would have no problem proving this. Long story short, unless my donations were made to a registered non profit, with a receipt showing their registration number, a signature from the person running that org. and a detailed list and value, they were not tax deductible. I had receipts from non profits that were not signed so they were denied.

Tip #2: Always when making a donation, make sure it is a registered non-profit org, with registration number. and you get a detailed receipt showing what you donated, what the value was and make sure it has a signature from a representative of that organization (professional t shirt iron on transfer shop).

Then we moved on to utilities. Most of what I wrote off for utilities was accepted, except a portion of the phone bill. If you use your business phone for any calls that do not have to do with business, they can choose to not accept that write off. Another negotiation by my attorney got me a portion of the phone bill deduction. The reason he reduced the amount was that while my daughter was on vacation, she had called my business phone and talked to me, and the IRS agent caught these calls, because they do look at all of your phone bills and the calls that are made, and asked why they were on my business phone.

Tip #3 Try to keep all business calls on business phones, and personal calls on personal phones. It really would have made it less complicated for me if I had done this.

With my business mileage, I was good I got the complete deduction on this one. There are 2 different ways you can write off your gas. One is to keep all gas receipts and then they give you a portion of what you put in gas. The other is to keep track of your mileage per day, and log where you drive. I did the second method as it is just easier for me to log it each day. This was very important that I had this info for the agent.

Tip #4 Log all travel expense with a mileage and destination.

Also I thought my lease for my vehicle was totally deductible but according to my IRS agent, only a percentage was acceptable, again my attorney negotiated that amount. But that was fine.

All of my business supplies were accepted as I had kept detailed records of every little thing I had bought for my business. So I had no problem there.

Every deduction that was reduced was done by a percentage, like if it 100%, he would reduce it to 20% or 30%. He never reduced a deduction by an actual dollar value, only by percentage.

So in the end, I ended up owing $4305.00 above what I had filed on my taxes. Now I had the right to appeal this decision and was told that it would not be a problem if I did not agree with it. I was then told that if I appealed it, they had the choice also to request my last seven years to also be audited. Now this is where I what I stated above comes into play, If you appeal it, then they will apply the rules as they are written, but do you want to go through seven more years? My outcome? I just paid them and it was over with I have no doubt that I would not have a problem with doing the seven years, but the time it would take would be too much for me.

What I can say after this experience is that to always make sure you have detailed records. In fact you cannot be too detailed as far I am concerned. Make sure when you are taking a deduction that it can be backed up 100%.

When I left my appointment and we were done, I was told to expect to see them again within the next couple of years. The reason for this is that audits are being increased where small business is concerned, and that it will be increased more within the next couple of years. They said that if you are a small business, you can be expected to be audited every 2 to 5 years.

I was not audited for any reason, its like a lottery the way it works. The way it works now is that their system randomly selects audits every certain amounts of filings. So it was the luck of the draw that I was picked. There was no trigger that called me to their attention. It just works the way it does, randomly So be prepared every year as it will protect you.

5 Steps To Safely Buy Apparel From Bangladesh Suppliers

Bangladesh is the 2nd largest apparel & textiles exporter in the world, second to China. And the trend is growing, mainly because of how cheap the wages are in Bangladesh. Another trend that got the big western brands moving away their main production facilities to Bangladesh is the commitment to quality. Bangladesh government and the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association) have been investing heavily since 2007 to compete with quality and cost at the same time ( tee shirt iron on transfer).

Here are 5 steps that will save you time and money by making sure you get the right product with the right quality:

1. Find Authentic Suppliers

This is probably the toughest part. Your options are limited to trade fairs, online directories or hiring a specialist agency that takes care of this part. Which ever you go for, it is important to verify the identity and the credentials of the suppliers.

2. Clearly Define Expectations

This includes quality and testing metrics, production lead time, worker & workplace ethics, shipment date, payment terms and as much detailed as you can possibly get. This will help you make your case if incase something goes wrong. These expectations should be well documented before transactions begin (canada iron on transfer).

3. Making Sure Terms Are Being Followed

It’s not always possible to go and monitor the factories by yourself or your team. A trusted supplier wouldn’t normally need monitoring. However, if you’re working with a supplier for the first time, it’s best to set perimeters. One such way is to hire 3rd party inspectors such as Asia Inspection to make sure the agreed expectations are being met. More than just quality.

4. Negotiate Sensible Payment Terms

If you’re working on T/T (telegraphic transfer), basically wire transfers, the industry standard term are 30% to 50% payment has to be made on advance to cover material and accessories cost because these are bought from either international or local suppliers by the factory. Keep the advance payment % as low as possible to minimize your risk.

If you’re working on L/C (letter of credit), usually used for large orders, the bank will make sure that the supplier ships your products because the supplier would have to submit the bill of lading to the bank in order to withdraw their payment.

5. Formalize & Documentize Everything

Have a contract with your supplier before you get into business. This contract should clearly state all previous 4 points and additional clauses that your brand / organization may require such as liability, intellectual property rights to your designs, consequences if terms are not met etc.

Choosing the Correct Vinyl for Your Jersey

Selecting the material that will be the best fit for your jersey is very important to ensure a great look, and durability.

There are a few factors that you need to consider

Fabric content of the jersey
Does it need to be stretchable?
Is the decoration 1-color or multi-color?

Most jerseys will be Poly, Nylon, or a Blend.  Nylon typically requires a different adhesive than a material that you may commonly use for your cotton or cotton/poly blend t-shirts.  Be sure to confirm the material you may have stocked will be compatible on a Nylon!

Not all materials will be ideal for decoration on a jersey that needs stretchability, like a dance uniform or volleyball jersey.  Be sure to choose a material that will adhere to the content of the jersey, and also offer the stretchability that you’ll need.  Our ® Perform Cut is a great option!

Multi-color decoration can be time consuming if you use the wrong Heat Transfer Vinyl.  Choosing one of our TST (Two Second Tack) materials saves you valuable time.

Once you confirm that the material that you choose will be the best to use for the jersey, you’ll feel confident in offering your customers a jersey featuring a quality and durable decoration.

Interested in learning more about decorating jerseys? Enter your email below to receive our new, free eBook “7 Tips for Decorating Jerseys Confidently”.