Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Learning about social media for small businesses

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Any small business has a lot to gain by utilizing the appropriate social media channels.  However, all small businesses have limited time to spend posting and communicated through social media.  We all want to maximize our reach and exposure, while minimizing the time spent on social media outlets.

Recently, a website called Constant Contact was linked to by the New York Times here.  They had held a webinar on social media marketting for small businesses.  500 people participated.  After the webinar, the website compiled the 8 most frequently asked questions.  They ran a blog post detailing these questions.  You can see the original post here.  It is a very educational list.

I thought the most interesting thing was the chart they created with recommended frequency of utilization of different social media platforms.  You can see this graphic on the original page linked above.  I know I will be using this chart to see if this frequency works to help FlexForm Technologies increase our marketing presence in Social Media.


Another interesting thing they discussed was the type of content to put on each platform.  Again, they provided a handy chart.

Content types

This will be a great idea generator.

All in all, I think this post represents a great primer in social media marketing for those of us who do not have departments dedicated to this necessary function.  I hope it helps others, and I look forward to seeing if putting these ideas into effect is helpful.

I am surprised that they don’t include YouTube in their social media platforms.  I will be checking back to see if they include advice for utilizing this platform in the future.


Recent Article Discusses Growing Hemp in the United States

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Article review by Anna Boone

A recent article found on Salon, entitled “Can hemp save the economy”  details the issue of how hemp contributes to our economy and how that contribution could increase if industrial hemp cultivation was legal in the United States.  Sales of hemp products amount to $450 million, and all of the hemp used to make these sales is imported.  Availability of domestic hemp could drive down the cost of this raw material and make the market more competitive.

How can this industry be improved?  Well, start off with a domestic fiber source.  The article informs us of a new bill currently in our US House of Representatives.  From the article:  “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, introduced in the House on February 6 by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), would… amend federal drug law to legalize growing cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. ”  This bill, if passed, along with a companion bill in the Senate would enable industrial hemp plants to be grown in the United States.  This link from Project Vote Smart details the Senate Bill.  Passage of these bills into law would be great news for FlexForm Technologies.  Development of a domestic natural fiber supply could cut costs for the raw material necessary to make our products.

Jute Fiber

As the article mentions, because of the criminalization of cultivation of Industrial Hemp, there is no infrastructure to process the plant available in our country.  Even if the plant was legalized, it would take some time to develop the facilities and knowledge base to refine the raw plant into usable components for manufacture.  However, you have to start somewhere!  It is great to see this issue getting some attention.


Our company is mentioned in the article “One new product is car-door liners. Manufacturers such as Flexform Technologies in Elkhart, Indiana, and Johnson Controls’ German plant take felt-like mats of non-woven hemp fibers, spray them with resin, and then press them into the appropriate shape. BMW and Ford use the light, strong material in their cars’ doors”  We always appreciate seeing our company and products promoted in the press, but here the author got a few things incorrect.  First thing is that FlexForm uses a variety of bast fibers for our mats, not limited to hemp fiber.  Secondly, and more importantly, we do not use any resins in the process to product mat for automotive interiors.  Resin is not necessary for these applications.  We create a non-woven mat with a blend of bast fiber and polymer fiber.  This mat is then heated and molded to shape.  Once cool, the shape and strength are such that the part can be installed into an automobile.


Car Door


All in all, a great article and nice to see some media coverage of this important issue.

Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is Promoting Bio-Based Manufacturing

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

On February 21, 2112, an article on Mlive, Michigan’s main news webpage, reported “Sen. Debbie Stabenow promotes bio-based manfacturing initiatives at Kettering University”.

The article informs us, “FLINT, Michigan — Grow it here, build it here, keep the jobs here.  That’s the idea behind U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s plans to beef up the nation’s bio-based manufacturing sector…The initiative creates a new tax credit — up to 30 percent — for companies that manufacture bio-based products in America or buy equipment to begin to manufacture those products.  Her Senate bill was first introduced in October.”

How can I certify my product low VOC in a cost effective way?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at FlexForm is whether our product is GreenGuard certified.  GreenGuard is clearly the industry standard for certifying low VOC’s, however we have found that it is prohibitively expensive.  I found a link that I felt was interesting in attempting to map out a standard way to certify without using GreenGuard.

You can click through here to be taken to a PDF written by Berkeley Analytical.  They detail in a very step by step fashion the best ways to go about independent certification.

Going to GreenBuild 2011!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I am excited to start planning my GreenBuild 2011 trip.  The yearly conference of sustainable technology is being held in Toronto.  I love it when they have these conferences within driving distance.  This conference is not free, so a lot of planning has to go into setting up your schedule.  There are two buildings of exhibitors.  There will be a lot of walking.

I am excited to see BASF’s space.  Last year, they included FlexForm material in their booth.  I am looking forward to learning more about Fiberweb.  They are a large company doing non-woven fabrics.  The Fiberweb Geosynthetics will be exhibiting.  Another interesting exhibitor is Greenfiber.  They make green insulation products.  These include a product with Borate added for a fire-retardent.  Nova Advanced Composites Solutions, or NACSI, is a company making composite insulation panels using jute fibers.

These are just a few highlights of my growing schedule.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to network in the green manufacturing economy.

Government issues warning over cancer risk from formaldehyde and styrene

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Read More:

“In a report prepared for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), scientists warned that people with higher exposure to formaldehyde were more at risk for certain types of rare cancers, including in the upper part of the throat behind the nose.”

Currently, California is the only state with restrictions on added formaldehyde in fiberglass for office furniture systems.  Many manufacturers are voluntarily moving towards formaldehyde free products.  Wonderphyll from FlexForm Technologies offers a natural alternative with no added formaldehyde.

Here’s a book for fiber geeks!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Jute and Empire: The Calcutta Jute Wallahs and the Landscapes of Empire (Studies in Imperialism)

By Gordon T. Stewart, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University

Amazon Link:

From Amazon: Based on fascinating primary research in India, England, and Scotland, this book represents a new departure in the writing of imperial history. JUTE AND EMPIRE follows the intriguing story of the rivalry between Calcutta, India, and Dundee, Scotland, from the 1830s to the 1950, as these two cities competed in the world jute trade…


Unfortunately, the price on Amazon is almost $300.  I believe they have a copy at MSU’s library.  I am going to check it out!