Monday, May 18, 2015

Top five reasons the print catalog is not going away

In our industry (Lab Supplies and Science Education), we've seen an ongoing debate as to the future of the print catalog.  I clearly see the trend in the research/industrial lab markets where the customers are primarily purchasing from their distributor's websites and not the print catalog.

In what may be shocking to some, my research tells me that the print catalog is still the primary tool in the science education market.  Let's take a look and see why:

5.  It's convenient.  Teachers have always used catalogs and its easy to keep doing things the same way if it works.

4.  Some catalogs have very useful information besides offering products for sale such as as safety tips, experiments, chemical properties, etc that enable the print catalog to be a valuable tool in the classroom.

3.  It's a great way to see new products typically all in one spot as opposed to having to find them on a website.

2.  It's easy for the distributors to see their investment in a catalog pay off.  We've seen drops in sales from our distributors that do not print a catalog any more while seeing in increase with competitors.  The market isn't shrinking, market share is simply changing.

1.  Let's face it, its fun and exciting to look through a new catalog when they arrive in the mail.  It's a great place to see complimentary products that help in putting lessons together.  It's a great place to see teacher designed kits/experiments.  And of course.....who doesn't want to be reminded to purchase a tie dye lab coat!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

NSTA 2014 Review

I was pretty hard on my review of Pittcon 2014 this year, and rightfully so....poor job all around by the folks at Pittcon!

Last week, I attended the National Science Teachers Association show in Boston.  What a departure from what Pittcon was!  It was nice to see full aisles of teachers walking the floor of the show.  We found many great innovative products being demonstrated and it seems that vendors have once again started spending money on this show.

All of the large Sci Ed dealers had a significant presence both with personnel and booth space.  As a manufacturer's rep, its always great to have a collection of key decision makers in our industry all together under one roof.

All of the workshops seemed to be very well attended and the buzz surrounding many of them was greater than usual.  I was able to reconnect with a lot of old friends at the show.

Finally, I think a tip of the cap to the city of Boston is necessary.  Hospitality was fantastic.  My only gripe is that bus service was not running all day between the hotels and the convention center.  The hotels chosen gave attendees a wide variety of choices and I was very pleased with my hotel near Chinatown (Doubletree).

As a bonus, having the show in Boston allows me to visit some local dealers as well.  I had a great week in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Sadly for us, the show is in Chicago next year.....early mornings and late nights for me it appears!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pittcon 2014 Review

2014 is the year I celebrated attending my 10th Pittcon.  Pittcon this year was held in Chicago.  Last year the show was in Philly.  If the goal of Pittcon organizers is to kill the show, they are doing a fine job!  Attendance and number of booths was way down again.  I have not seen the official numbers from this year, but the eye test made this an easy conclusion.

Pittcon was in Chicago a few years back and in case anyone forgot what happened then....snow and winter weather caused fits for our international travelers and in our case specifically, we had to hodge podge a booth together with whatever samples we had on hand as our overseas manufacturer could not get a flight out to Chicago as most were cancelled due to weather.

I know it may come to a shock to some, but it snows in Chicago.  This year in particular, it snows a lot.  Even the local commuters, such as myself, had to endure 2-3 hour drives into the show each morning as weather essentially shut down traffic.

I implore those in charge of choosing locations to keep the show in warmer weather locations.  I understand that the next two are finally back where they belong (New Orleans and Atlanta), but then its back to Chicago, Philly, and Chicago again the following 3/4 years.

As far as the show goes, traffic at the booths were extremely low and exactly what I expected due to the winter weather that everyone seen coming.  Science Week had to go on without one of its top presenters due to a cancelled flight.

Let's hope the show goes better next year in New Orleans!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

CAST show and how to find good employees

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As has become tradition, United Scientific exhibited at the CAST show in Houston, TX a couple of weeks back.  Once again, Frank Butcher and his team knocked it out of the park.

The venue was perfectly sized and connected to the "host hotel".  We had a great booth position and welcomed approximately 7000 Texas Science Teachers.  United debuted its new look with a brand new booth setup complete with enough boards to show all four of their top selling genetics kits:  Mitosis Manipulatives, Recombinant DNA Manipulatives, Meiosis Manipulatives, and Protein Synthesis Manipulatives.

We also showed the new STEM series of Chemistry Kits.  First kits we showed were Chromatography, Science of Invisible Inks, and pH Indicators and Dyes.  We received excellent feedback.  I believe next year we'll do some workshops with this series of kits.

It was great to see our dealers at the show in full force too.  Lots of good times with great people.

On a closing note, as many of you know, I am a coach and on the board of our local youth wrestling team and found a great article you may find interesting as you look to hire new employees:

Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You Want STEM? We Got STEM!

United Scientific is proud to announce the first in its series of STEM Chemistry Kits!

Our pH, Indicators & Dyes kit includes 4 primary activities, each accommodating up to 40 students. This STEM kit contains structured investigations to make inquiry based learning affordable and fun!  Students will get to make their own pH paper and test it along side regular pH Paper.  Designed by a gentleman who is an icon in the Science Education Kit Business!

For pennies per experiment, your students have access to digital PDF content such as:
  • Individual activities
  • Background information including content tables and concept animations
  • Power point concept presentation
  • Comprehensive Glossary

Student activity PDFs have a special Typewriter functionality allowing them to take notes, record experimental data, and answer analysis questions. They simply e-mail their worksheets back to you!


Up Next will Be Invisible Ink and Chromatography!

Please contact me for dealer pricing, images, etc.  Kits are in stock now and ready to ship from United Scientific!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Late Summer New Product updates!

We're very excited to announce that our principal, United Scientific, now has a full line of research grade porcelain ware in stock and ready for delivery.  State of the Art packaging and quality highlight this line which features Spatulas, Crucibles, Buchner Funnels, Hirsch Funnels, etc.  Contact me for more details at!