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from Patio and Hearth Products Report

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Not In My Backyard™ Insect Repellent Products are Ideal Accessories

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-18-02-amEven customers who have the best outdoor cooking and leisure features can have their good time ruined by too many bugs. Savvy retailers can capitalize with the right insect repellent products on hand. The Not In My Backyard™ collection has several different sales-boosting options.

Insect repellent products are a natural accessory, but proper marketing is essential. Patio & Hearth Products Report sat down with officials at The Companion Group to get a better sense of how retailers can succeed with these products.

Patio & Hearth Products Report: How can retailers maximize the sales of these kinds of accessories?

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-18-23-amThe Companion Group: We love this line because it’s easy to cross-merchandise. The products can be displayed in a garden center, in a camping area, or in a grilling section. They could be in any of these areas.

The wearables (like the silicone band and the fabric band) could also be displayed by check-out because they’re priced and packaged for last-minute purchase. Retailers would also benefit from sharing the whole brand with customers since these products really complement each other. Customers could purchase the tabletop diffuser and place it on their porch table, while also wearing one of the bands to increase repelling power. There are so many ways to merchandise these products and boost sales across categories.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-19-26-amP&HPR: What is the biggest misconception (if one exists) about selling/marketing insect repellents?

The Companion Group: Many customers believe the only way to repel insects is by using sticky sprays or sprays containing DEET. That’s simply not true. We have a proprietary mix of geraniol, citronella, and peppermint oils that fights bugs in an all-natural way—and without coming into contact with your skin. For the wearable bands and the silicone clips, the essential oils are included in an insert that can be placed inside the band or clip. It’s one of the safest ways to protect yourself and your family from bug bites.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-19-05-amAnother thing we noticed while developing these products was that customers are used to buying bulky insect-repellent products. There are plenty of large, clunky insect-repellent candles out there. We wanted to offer something that gets the job done first and foremost, but also fits into the environment where it’s being used. Our tabletop diffusers come in a range of appealing colors and enhance whatever outdoor space they’re placed in.

P&HPR: You mention a virtual reality experience “around the brand.” What is that?

The Companion Group: Innovation really runs in our blood, and we believe in innovating in every aspect of the business, including how we promote our products. We’ve had our eye on virtual reality and discovered that it’s perfect for promoting an outdoor line like Not In My Backyard™.

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-19-52-amFor our trade shows, we will be offering a VR experience to anyone who’s interested in learning more about Not In My Backyard™. The experience will give people a sense of what you’ll get out of using the products as compared to venturing outdoors without any bug protection. We don’t want to give too much more away, but if you’re at HPBExpo, the International Home and Housewares Show or the National Hardware Show, please stop by and see for yourself!

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-8-18-39-amProducts under the Not In My Backyard™ banner are:

  • Travel Handheld Folding Bug Zapper with Protective Cover
  • Tabletop Diffuser Lantern with Essential Oil Inserts
  • Citronella Sticks / 15 pack
  • Filled Galvanized Pails with Essential Oils / 2 pack
  • Outdoor Tealights with Essential Oils / 20 pack
  • Silicone Wristband with 6 Refills
  • Go Anywhere Silicone Clip with 6 Refills
  • Silicone Wristband and Go Anywhere Silicone Clip with 6 Refills
  • Fabric Wearable Band with 6 Refills
  • 6-Pack Essential Oil Insert Refills
  • 12-Pack Essential Oil Insert Refills
  • 6-Pack Essential Oil Slow-Release Insert Refills
  • Silicone Wearable Band and 12 pc Refill Pack (Shelf Display)


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How to Design the Perfect Fireplace Surround

Choosing the perfect fireplace is only half the battle.  Like a painting without a frame, a beautiful fire without a fully considered fireplace surround can look incomplete.  A well-designed surround is your opportunity to let your personal style shine through.

First things first, you may be asking yourself: what is a fireplace surround?

A fireplace surround is an architectural element(s) that quite literally surrounds your fireplace adding aesthetic style and safety to your installation.  In this article we will look at three styles of fireplace surrounds: Traditional, Minimalist, and Contemporary.


Picture a stone hearth, the mantle is lined with family photos, and large flames are dancing to the sound of Christmas carols.  Many of us have a nostalgic memory of a fireplace similar to this (or at least you saw one on TV!).  Perhaps you love the look of a traditional hearth but want to take advantage of the ease and efficiency of a gas fireplace.  Look no further!


Humanity has been building beautiful things out of stone even longer than we’ve been building fires.  The designer for this project decided to combine the ageless beauty of natural stone with a modern three-sided gas fireplace for a cozy feel in this luxury Northwoods cabin.


Gas Stones is a great product because it can be easily placed in an existing wood-burning fireplace cavity.  DYI idea: add a crown molding mantle and a coat of white paint over your old bricks to give your space a new clean take on traditional.


With an uninterrupted viewing area, realistic log set, and the use of anti-reflective glass, this modern gas fireplace is the perfect fit for a traditional surround.  Here a simple white mantle is added to give the surround a touch of added elegance.


Minimalism was an artistic and architectural movement born in the 1950s but it has persisted in interior design because of the inherent beauty and sense of calm this style evokes.  Like all things in life, with fireplace surrounds, sometimes less is more.


Subtle grays and whites make for the perfect minimalist surround for this customizable gas burner.


This 8’ long linear gas fireplace creates a dramatic horizontal, hole-in-the-wall effect.  Equilibrium is achieved by two symmetric black panels running vertically on either side.


Contemporary design is always changing, however the design of today no doubt draws from the clean lines of minimalism and ads in lush materials and textures to create truly dynamic spaces.  With the development of new materials, the possibilities for your fireplace surround are endless.  Just take a look at these three contemporary examples.


In this urban loft, raw materials like brick and exposed metal give the space a contemporary industrial feel.  This modern peninsula fireplace is surrounded by panels that may look like patina aged steel but are actually printed ceramic tiles.


Vision is the only example on this list that comes with its own optional surround.  These surrounds are available in many different colors and materials.  It is pictured here with a clean and contemporary stainless finish which transitions nicely into a muted grey stone wall tile.


These textured tiles are sure to turn some heads.  The choice of a geometric pattern is particularly interesting when paired next to something as organic and natural as fire.






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The Live-Fire Cooking Trend is on Fire

posterWhat do you call an innovative fire-pit and mobile camp-fire cooker in one? Kevin Dusold calls it OPENFIRE.

In large part the OPENFIRE product line is the answer to a larger US trend evidenced by the following:

-Bon Apetit Magazine named Live-Fire Cooking the technique of the year 2015

-Francis Mallmann is fast becoming a household name in American culinary circles after the release of Chef’s Table on Netflix in 2015 (he is a Live Fire chef and one of the biggest food stars in South America)

– Man Fire Food is one of the highest rated shows on the Food Channel

– and it is focused on Live-Fire cooking methods.

of-roasting-hotdog-copyThis trend has becoming quickly embraced by the American public who celebrate it through the aforementioned magazines and television shows. However, until the OPENFIRE line of products there has been no practical product that is both affordable and quality that allows admirers’ of the trend to become participants. OPENFIRE allows participation.

OPENFIRE is also the answer to an American barbeque industry that is becoming hyper focused on technology and convenience. These two things have all but stripped the beauty from original grilling technique and any cathartic process that makes being outside and cooking so enjoyable.

of-cooker-product-pic-copyThe OPENFIRE Pit’s origins are an integral part of its appeal. Central Europe is celebrated for its deep metal working and blacksmith roots. Following this tradition, the OPENFIRE Pit is hand-crafted and manufactured with a strong focus on detail and keen sense for design.

The OPENFIRE Pit is made from industrial grade alloy steel. The fire pit/bowl is ¼ inch thick, and able to accommodate many years of fire and inclement weather.

The OPENFIRE Pit is finished with a double coat of black paint that resists temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The paint is applied using Electrophoresis. This method is used for two reasons: to produce an even, sleek, and modern esthetic, and to evenly protect the entire product.

rajc-making-ofThe OPENFIRE Pit’s recommended fuel source is wood, however, charcoal is often a sufficient substitute (if the single objective is cooking).

OPENFIRE is steadfast in its philosophy to make great products by never compromising quality and longevity. This product was designed with a structural integrity that is becoming less prominent in the marketplace. The quality in which the OPENFIRE products are made is fast becoming their identifying characteristic. In the development process, the first step was to establish a substantial foundation giving the product a remarkable lifespan. The process of innovative design began shortly thereafter.

camp-fire-fun-copyThe OPENFIRE Pit was designed to provide the customer with an experience of their choice. Other products dictate what the customer’s experience should be (e.g.: fryer’s are made just for frying, smoker’s just for smoking, and so on). This product has discretely manufactured, optional features to be used if and when desired.

The sheer amount of features relative to the OPENFIRE Pit’s size and esthetic is incredible. All features have been designed into the unit, so it maintains a compact display, while keeping its supreme versatility.

Kevin Dusold of Bimex Corp. has exclusive US importing rights to all OPENFIRE products. For wholesale and retail opportunities please contact him directly at his office: (570) 992-4418