Swag Connection Blog 
Friday, 30 October 2009

I recently read the results of a study done by ASI (the Advertising Specialty Institute) that says 93% of promotional product buyers use catalogs to generate swag ideas.

Frankly, that percentage surprised me because we very seldom get requests to mail out catalogs here at Swag Connection. But, as I read the 'fine print' it started to make more sense - their study defined "catalogs" as including both traditional paper catalogs and online catalogs. 

Personally, I think online catalogs are the way of the future for the promotional product industry. Online catalogs have a TON of advantages over paper ones:

  • Online catalogs can be accessed anywhere, any time
  • Online catalogs are easier to share if your swag decisions are made by committee
  • Unlike paper catalogs, they're easily searched by keyword or price point
  • They make it easier to price-shop and compare similar items
  • You never need to worry about online catalog prices being out of date
  • The product selection of online catalogs is always current
  • Online catalogs often offer special deals on discontinued items
  • They're much more eco-responsible, saving trees and other resources
  • No postage required!

We have two websites with searchable promotional product databases - Swag Connection.com for 'traditional' promotional products and Ecoswag.com for eco-responsible promotional products. The sites function as our company's "online catalogs" and they are both a great resource for anyone who is searching online for swag ideas.

Even so, I got to wondering if I could deliver an even better tool to help people who are looking for swag ideas online. At the same time, I wanted to take the blog in a a new direction because it seems to be getting a bit stale. So here's my great idea: Let's build an Online Catalog Library with links to the online catalogs of our favorite product lines!

So, you ask - how would this be different from our current searchable product websites?

To answer this question, you need to know how the promotional product industry is structured. Basically there are two types of players: Distributors (like Swag Connection) and Suppliers (which are the companies we Distributors source our imprinted promotional products from).

When you, as a promo buyer, start looking for swag ideas online you're most likely going to wind up on DISTRIBUTOR websites like Swag Connection, Branders.com, 4Imprint, Promopeddler, etc. You'll quickly see that all of these sites are quite similar, and that each offers a varied & seemingly endless selection of product choices. The one thing these sites all have in common is that they're all just collections of products that come from the Suppliers in our industry. If you ever thought we all pretty much have the same stuff on our sites, you're exactly right. All of us distributors just pick the products we like from various suppliers and put them on our websites. No wonder they all look like "the same thing only different"!!

What I'm planning to do is build you an online library of SUPPLIER catalogs. As a promotinal product professional, these are the catalogs that I go to when I'm looking for swag ideas for my clients. The cool thing about supplier catalogs is that many of them specialize in one particular area - for example, we have one supplier who just sells stress toys and has every shape and size you can imagine. So if you're looking for stress toys, it is much easier to go to that supplier website instead of visiting all of those sites above and searching each one for stress toys. Hope you're with me so far.

The other part of it is a change in the blog focus. Instead of being PRODUCT focused, I'm planning to become more SUPPLIER focused. Essentially, as I add new catalogs to the online library I will also write a "review" about that supplier on the blog to introduce you to their product line. I'll let you know what our company's experience with them has been, point out favorite products, tell you what I like about their product line, tell you where their products come from and where they ship out of... and whatever else I think is interesting.

Best of all - any swag idea you find - from ANY catalog in the library - can be purchased through Swag Connection at the prices shown.

Next week we'll create the link to the Catalog Library on Swagqueen.com and feature our first supplier reviews... stay tuned!

Diane Nudelman
The Swag Queen


Posted by: Diane Nudelman AT 02:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Looking for a tasteful, customized holiday business gift that's appropriate for EVERYONE?

of premium Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar:

Custom Labeled Olive Oil

If you're the person in charge of deciding on your company's holiday gifts, you know how hard it can be to find something that's appropriate for everyone on your list. Wine is a popular gift, but problematic because some people don't drink for personal or religious reasons. Plus it can be a real hassle to ship due to state liquor laws. Since people's taste in wine varys greatly, even a very expensive bottle may not be appreciated by everyone who receives it.

Nuts, popcorn, candies and gift baskets of food are other popular choices, but they can be a problem for diabetics, folks on sodium-restricted diets (or those who are simply watching their weight). Also, the sheer popularity of food gifts makes it likely yours will be one of several your recipients will get this holiday season, which makes it hard to stand out from the crowd.

That's why I really like this new swag idea I came across recently - CUSTOM ETCHED bottles of premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for the holidays. These quality, all-purpose condiments come with your choice of a custom-printed label as shown above, or a deep-etched bottle like this:

Custom Etched Balsamic Vinegar

Both olive oil and balsamic vinegar are natural, healthful, all-purpose gifts that are different enough to stand out from the crowd. The custom-etched bottles have a high-end look and feel, as well as plenty of room for your logo or artwork. Olive oil and vinegar are also consumed over time compared to snack-type gifts, which keeps your logo around long after the holiday season is over.

These custom etched bottles are from Etching Wines and Spirits, and sold exclusively through promotional products companies like Swag Connection. The minimum order quantity is a low 12 bottles, with prices in the $30-$40 range. To see a PDF with more information and pricing, click here.

For an extra-special touch, laser-branded wooden gift crates are a beautiful way to package your gift and make a lasting impression:

Custom Label Bottle in Matching Gift Crate

These custom-etched bottles could also be delivered in a reusable wine tote, like this inexpensive one from Ecoswag.com.

While this is a great swag idea for the holidays, it's also good for other times of year as well. These would be nice gifts to reward clients, donors or employees in nearly any type of business!


Simply contact us with questions or to get started on your project:
Toll Free: 866-247-4320

Thanks for reading & keep coming back for more timely & appropriate swag ideas!


Posted by: Diane Nudelman AT 03:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, 15 October 2009

Shhh... Can You Keep a Secret??

Some big companies are still spending plenty of money on swag and event sponsorships... but they don't want anyone to know about it. Here's a new concept for you - Stealth Swag!

Don't look now, but swag is going "underground" as certain companies do everything they can to stay out of the promotional limelight. This trend is being seen in the pharma industry, as well as in financial services (especially TARP funds recipients), as firms that used to spend lavishly and openly face increased public scrutiny and government regulation.

These big companies aren't forgoing their VIP receptions, corporate sponsorships and industry conferences... but they're going to great lengths now to do these things without being noticed. This "stealth spending" was recently reported on by Leslie Wayne of the New York Times and apparently it's a growing trend.

In addition to keeping their names off their sponsored events, these companies are also keeping their logo off their swag giveaway items. In fact, some of these 'stealth' events are so well disguised that even the event organizers don't know who the sponsoring company is! So where can you find 'stealth swag' for your under-the-radar events? Right here at Swag Connection!

Most people don't realize that nearly every item we offer can also be purchased BLANK, with no custom logo imprinting. In fact, you'll typically pay less for blank goods and receive them much faster since most of the turnaround time in our industry is due to the time it takes to custom-imprint the merchandise. Orders for blank goods typically ship out within a day or two, and minimum order requirements are usually waived as well.

If you should find yourself sponsoring a 'stealth' event, contact Swag Connection for  "no-logo" stealth swag ideas. And don't worry, we can keep a secret!

Posted by: Diane Nudelman AT 06:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, 09 October 2009

Associate your brand with safety & protection this flu season with these timely swag ideas:


Hand sanitizers are by far the TOP-SELLING swag item right now, and with good reason. The swine flu is all over the news worldwide and sanitizer usage is at an all-time high as people in all walks of life take steps to protect themselves from germs.

In a business conference or tradeshow environment where people are shaking hands and exchanging business cards, providing custom-label hand santizers is good for both public health and your company branding. After all, associating your company name with health and safety is never a bad thing, no matter what line of business you happen to be in.

When we recommend promotional hand santizers as a swag idea, our favorite supplier is The Humphrey Line, which is based here in Portland OR. Not only do they have the widest selection of styles of hand sanitizer in the promotional products industry, they also manufacture right here in the USA. Choosing their products helps support US jobs and reduces carbon emissions compared to imported sanitizers that come from overseas.

If you're interested in learning more about Humphrey Line hand sanitizers, click the You Tube logo below to view a video about this USA-made product line:

The entire line is available through Swag Connection, of course! Simply call or email us for more information or to get an order started. Good idea to plan ahead if you like this swag idea however, these are such a popular item that orders are taking 3-4 weeks right now.


These handy kits are specially designed for the flu season

This is one of the newest kits from Ready4Kits, the industry leader in sports and safety kits for over 10 years. This custom-logo zip pouch comes packed with flu season essentials as shown. These are not only an appropriate (and appreciated) swag idea for conferences and trade shows this fall, they are also an excellent item to distribute to your employees internally.

Swag Connection proudly carries the entire Ready4Kits line, which includes the option to create your company's own uniquely customized kit if you wish. Any of the items you see on their website are available through us with your custom logo imprint.

OTHER SWAG IDEAS FOR FLU SEASON include custom-label tissue packs, logo-printed digital thermometers, logo-embroidered fleece blankets and nice big ceramic soup mugs with your company logo.

Please contact us for more information and ideas in this product category:
PHONE: 866-247-4320
EMAIL: Sales@Swagconnection.com

Thanks for reading & keep coming back for more great swag ideas!

Posted by: Diane Nudelman AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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Powell, OH - Portland, OR - Grand Rapids, MI
Toll Free: 866-247-4320

Email: sales@barefootswag.com