Full Version: Are Trophies for Kids?

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1]
 22 Sep 2005

There are trophies and then there are awards. I draw a distinction between the two.

Evidently, so do some of the recipients.

This evening, I was having dinner at a restaurant. On the other side of a divider, a Bowling Team was having an awards dinner.

I couldn't help but notice, when the people received their trophies, all were very excited, as they should be, but when the hoopla died down, they looked at the trophies, (which were all plastic, except for a marble base and stood about a foot tall) as if they were clearly underwhelmed.

One person's trophy had a female bowling figure on top. No problem, except the recipient was a man!

Someone at the table said, "Who cares! Where will the trophy end up anyhow? Out in the garage, in a box, with your other trophies!"

Someone else said, "Maybe next year, we should nix the trophies and give cash."

It was all I could do, not to interject.

I felt like walking over and saying, "Looks like you folks could use some real awards."

My opinion is, if trophies are given to grown-ups, they should be made from quality materials, like onyx, crystal, exotic woods etc.

Size should be small enough, to where a person would actually display their trophy.

I say, reserve the tall glitzy, plastic trophies for kids.

What do you say?

From: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#2]
 22 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1] 23 Sep 2005

I say I would agree.
Even then I think that for kids the "trophy" must have some value and be of the best quality available.... the problem I am seeing, as you mentioned in another post is that people are not willing to "pay" for the quality for something like a bowling league...and that in my opinion is a pity.
It's America. American "values" have changed..but that is another topic.....
In the meanwhile how the heck are you?

 23 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1] 23 Sep 2005

I would agree, but find that people looking for trophies don't have the kind of budget you would need for the materials you are suggesting.....I guess it depends on what you are using the award for. This is why recognition awards that are driven by business are typicaly higher end products compared to bowling or boy scout trophies.

Brian G.

From: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#4]
 23 Sep 2005
To: RALLYGUY (RALLYGUY1) [#3] 23 Sep 2005


You just mentioned the two most price-conscious groups in my market. I have nothing against them, but I don't even bother to provide quotes for them anymore.

EDITED: 23 Sep 2005 by DATAKES

 23 Sep 2005
To: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#4] 23 Sep 2005

I hear ya loud n clear ;) 

Brian G.

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#6]
 23 Sep 2005
To: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#2] 23 Sep 2005


I'm fine, thanks. Nice to see you posting again.

As others have pointed out, bowling leagues are extremely price-conscious.

Here's an example:

When a person I used to work for, first bought his trophy shop, a bowling league came by for a quote.

They were talking regular business, with a decent number of awards.

My friend worked up a quote, which was summarily shot down.

He wanted the business, so he sharpened his pencil and lowered the price. "That should get it." he said to himself.

The league said, "Nope! Still too rich for our blood."

That's when my friend got the picture. As an experiment, he figured his exact cost for the components that make up the award. Zero profit at all!

He slid that number over the counter.

(You're probably getting ahead of me. If so, your guess was right.)


That's when my friend said to himself, "That's it! No more bidding on bowling league trophies!"

What I don't understand, the people I was observing, said out loud, the trophies would end up in a box in a garage. Why not use a small plaque, instead of a trophy?

At least a plaque might find a spot on a wall, as opposed to collecting dust in the garage.

From: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#7]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#6] 23 Sep 2005


I would add that plaques will stack more nicely in the garage, therefore taking up less space and requiring less dusting.

From: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#8]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#6] 23 Sep 2005

One of the things you said about your friend and the pricing and the bowling league really torks my jaw.
Why is it that people do not value other peoples work? It happens all the time in the upholstery business as well. Its that high? How come it's so much? I'm not going to pay that?
We finally got to the point of saying well, then you will have to go elsewhere, or if they said I can getting cheaper down the road we told them to do so.....
Yet this phenomenon seems to happen only in the crafts and the trades.....people complain but don't balk at alleged "professional" fees, those of doctors, lawyers etc...... it really makes me mad that those same folk don't view us a professional......grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.......I'm gonna go smack someone.........

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#9]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#7] 23 Sep 2005


Maybe the family could make a project of removing the plates and creating kindling for a fireplace, which would also stack well next to a fire place. :-) 

From: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#10]
 23 Sep 2005
To: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#8] 23 Sep 2005


I don't have the answer to your question, but I've often asked it myself.

People rarely try to negotiate at the super market check-out stand, or any number of other businesses.

I think it's because they're conditioned to the price structure of mass-produced items. I call it the Costco mentality.

From: Ken D. (KDEVORY) [#11]
 23 Sep 2005
To: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#8] 23 Sep 2005


I've been guilty of trying to get a better price. Sometimes it works. If the person holds firm, I didn't loose anything for trying. I know their quality and that's why I was talking with them in the first place.

If I do walk away its either because I feel I can get the same quality for less elsewhere, or I don't need that quality and was just trying to get more for the same money. (And the savings of going elsewhere is worth the extra effort.)

In many cases you can substitute the word "feature" for the word "quality" above.

It's all part of shopping, there's nothing personal about it. Sometimes I go to Walmart, for a gift, other times Hallmark. I get most doorknobs from Home Depot, I've gotten a few special ones from Bullet Lock.

I don't complain about the fees doctors put on the invoice because nobody pays that amount. They need a high number because the insurance companies will always disallow a large percentage. If I didn't have insurance I'd talk with the doctor; I think many are willing to work with patients who don't have insurance. (and they save by not having to deal with the insurance's bureaucratic overhead.)

From: rich (SPYDER62) [#12]
 23 Sep 2005

You hit it right on most trophies end up in the closet or trash . When I was racing it got to the point I did not even pick mine up, they were all the same did not matter what club gave them out.

When I did the awards for the Corvair national convention this year I got them to do a black marble plaque on which I engraved the winners name along with a photo of his car. Had many tell me how much they liked them over what had been given out over the years.

Then the local club's Hillclimp had a $6 awards budget, what they had been doing in the past was a wood plaque with a photo of the winning car.

After talking with them I ended up doing a 1/8" thick plexi award that had the info reverse engraved and filled for $8 each. I did 27 of them in a little over an hour and only spent about 15 minutes on the design.

EDITED: 23 Sep 2005 by DATAKES

From: Dixie2 [#13]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Stunt Engraver (DGL) [#1] 23 Sep 2005


Seems like everyone else has touched on the subject, so I thought I would give my 3 cents worth..

One of my biggest customers is the local bowling center. We have a very good arrangement.. They come in, tell me how much they want to spend, and I make something that they will like.

Most of the time they get an 8x10 plaque with a clock mounted in it.. with some nice engraving.. 7x9 for 2nd place... and a regular 6x8 for third place.

We also use a lot of the resin type awards for the adults.. they really like them. PDU's oval resin has been a big hit, as well. There was a kids tournament that we sold bobbleheads to.. and we put them on a cup base (Similar to your chili cook-off trophy) that were a BIG hit!

We very rarely sell trophies to adult bowling leagues.. but some actually request it. I will say this.. We will not put a bowling figure (M or F) at the top unless I know for sure that's who is getting the award.

Another reason I don't make trophies for the adult leagues.. I'm in an adult bowling league, and I can just imagine looking at trophies all day, to come home and dust some of my own!

I have enough to dust as it is!

Hope everyone has a great Friday.. and a wonderful weekend!


From: Cindy (CINDYM) [#14]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Dixie2 [#13] 24 Sep 2005

Here is my two cents -
To be treated like a professional - we all need to act in a professional manner. When someone keeps the bidding going back & forth, I don't see that as very professional. For example - when your doctor tells you it will be $75 for an office visit, you don't say that amount is too much and he needs to come down on his price. Either you pay the $75, or go somewhere less expensive. Sometimes the less expensive option works out, sometimes you find a scalpel still in you after the surgery:) This is at times where you hear the phrase "you get what you pay for".

We call all our awards "Awards" - never trophies, although that is really what those items are with figures & columns. We supply awards for golf tournament, adult tournaments and our awards are made of quality materials at all levels. They are also packaged for our client nicely and each award is always delivered dust free.

I've seen some of my competitors shops around the country, and it doesn't surprise me that our customers want to make a deal with some shops. Take a look at how you present your showroom items, and yourself each day. How professional do you take yourself?? If you don't value what you do, no one else will. If you are not willing to stand by your prices and risk losing some business, then you will always have this dilemma of customers offering what they think your product is worth. Its up to you whether or not you play that game.

Off my soapbox. Just for the record - I quote, but never bid.

Cindy M

From: LaZerDude (C_BURKE) [#15]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Cindy (CINDYM) [#14] 26 Sep 2005

Just for the record - I quote, but never bid.


From: Rodney Gold (RODNEY_GOLD) [#16]
 23 Sep 2005
To: Cindy (CINDYM) [#1] 26 Sep 2005

Trophies and awards are my main line of business and we supply right across the range. A lot of the cases ppl here talk about are the result of trophies being "debased". What do I mean by that , well a lot of orgs and clubs award trophies to just about every competitor or participant instead of the winners and the value of the award is no longer related to an achievement. They now become the expectation of participants and considering they arent linked to achievement the requirement IS for the cheapest piece of impressive drek. Big is not always better in my eyes , but in the trophy industry , weight and size for these types of "lets hand out a zillion of em" awards is paramount.
there are a lot of schools of thought re this (I mean mass awards) some think like me , that it makes winning mean nothing when all get awards and others think it encourages folk to participate.
I NEVER ask how much first when determining what my customers NEED (not want)
My first question is to whom the award goes , my second is for what and my 3rd is where will it be displayed and my 4th is how many and my 5th is whats the budget.
The answers to those questions will determine the direction one should take with an award.
We have had clubs that have changed to cash awards , but this literally goes down the toilet and they are soon back for something or other , $50 wont proive to your pals you won the event , a trophy will , neither will it have any lasting impact.

I hate the PDU type stuff , poles and figures , the range is really boring and there is nothing unique about it so we import our components from europe and the east and can put together far more classy stuff at the same price. The industry in my country differs from the USA in that there are not one or 2 big distributors whom everyone buys from , most of us do import ourselves and thus stuff varies and there isnt a situation where 3 or 4 cos are bidding for the same job using the same stuff.

I would suggest some of you look to other sources of supply , the profits are huge. For example We import a 3" x 3" x 6" black marble obelisk type award/paperweight from China , lands here at about $1 and we price it with its engraved plate at about $30 and "grudgingly" reduce the price to $25 - no one else has it so there is no "bidding" involved. Doing this sets you apart from the crowd , but does require an investment in stock and a little more difficulty in sourcing , but it's really worth it. Margins are often 500% plus. One can get wreaths similar to the PDU stuff , as good a quality , some even better etc at a fraction of the cost , different poles and bases as well as very cheap figurines and one CAN win the bidding wars with these and still make real good money.
Just an example , a 2" x 2" x 1" marble base , drilled , countersunk in black marble or travertine lands here at about 15c us , a metal wreath about 15 cm high comes in at about 30c and at those prices , surely one can undercut the competition big time and supply a really high quality product with no plastic at all - its got a nice solid weight to it as well. We sell these in volume at about $5-6.
Plastic stuff from india is also good quality and very very cheap , some of the italian and spanish stuff is also excellently priced.Brazil does marvellous glass and the multicoloured resin stuff from china is really outstanding value As I say , we import from all over

When we are faced with "bidders" like for stock items like medals and they want the cheapest item we can make , and start getting agressive re our pricing and threatening to go elsewhere , we tell em "We can take a nickle and drill a hole in it , thread a ribbon and then the guy you give it to will know the exact value you put on his winning" or something like that.

But then on the other hand , we do bid on the big quantities , some events like road races can involve 10 000 medals and there is a price problem as they collect X amount from competitors and need to cover all sorts of things with that including a medal , so its not a case that they are lowballing you , there is just not enough money for the top of the range stuff. Orders like that , albeit not that profitable in tems of percentages are in terms of the actual money and so are the league type stuff that comes in every month - bread and butter stuff. It's great when one has carte blanche to design etc and the customer trusts what you can do - we often have events where the promotor comes in and says "I have $xyz for 6 sets of 1st , 2nd and 3rd - do something nice".

At the end of it all , we can't only sell what we like and as trophy and award suppliers , should be able to cover the whole spectrum. We need to minimise our input costs and supply the customer the best they can get for their money - and more important than price for most award type stuff is the ability to deliver on time , that is our prime concern cos if an event is on Friday , its meaningless to deliver on Saturday.

Have a look at my site http://www.tokerbros.co.za to see the range we carry , we have added a whole lot of new stuff which is not yet on the site however.

From: Rolf (RJB2108) [#17]
 25 Sep 2005
To: Rodney Gold (RODNEY_GOLD) [#16] 25 Sep 2005

I'm gettting ready to have another custom Resin done.
I was wondering if any of the companies that you order from, China, India or other foreign places, offer to make custom resins. Here is another question. I have been looking for some sources to buy directly from some of the big companies that are selling trophy components. Would you share some information with me and others on this forum?
I'm working on a project that would require to have different components than just the regular PDU stuff.
I would appreciate any leads.
Thank you for your help!

From: Doug (JDOUG5170) [#18]
 27 Sep 2005

I don't know that ALL adults throw their bowling trophey's away....

I live full time in a RV in a RV park. Noticed the other night that my neighbor had bowling trophey's in the window (had never seen them before) and that he had a date over.....

Next day the date is gone and the trophey's were gone....guess the time to impress had passed!


Message 2004.19 was deleted

From: Dixie2 [#20]
 27 Sep 2005
To: Doug (JDOUG5170) [#18] 27 Sep 2005


Thanks for making me laugh today!!

I've actually heard of people buying trophies at yard sales for that purpose..


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