5 Swag Ideas for Races and Marathons

I participated in a local 5K/10K run this last weekend. Don’t get excited- I wasn’t running. My job was manning one of the water stations along the 10K course.  I’m not gonna lie, the fact there was a free beverage for the runners and volunteers after might have been a motivating factor in me volunteering as it was being held at one of my favorite breweries.  But still, the dedication to training and running the participants displayed truly amazed me.

After months of training, runners take pride in completing races and marathons and love to show off their success and participation.  As a race planner, one of the more challenging tasks you face is planning (and filling) the race swag bag.  At Barefoot Swag, we work with a lot of non-profits, charities and other entities on their races and marathons.  We will add your race or marathon logo to promotional items or give you options that sponsors can use for the race day swag bags.

We put together our top 5 items to get you started in your planning:

  1. T-shirts.  Race T’s (or tanks) for runners and volunteers top the list of most popular items.  Using a great brand of T will ensure that the shirts are worn frequently, increasing the visibility of your cause as well as bringing more ROI to sponsors.

  2. Lip Balm.  Hands down one of my favorite promo items.  Bees wax or all natural lip balm is economical, light weight and offers a great imprint area on the label.  Available in a wide variety of flavors (or even custom flavors), custom lip balm is perfect for sponsors to add to race swag bags.

  3. First Aid Kits–  kits that contain items the runners may have left behind or might need such as bandaids, sunblock and muscle gel are handy and very much appreciated.   Don’t forget to arm the volunteers along the course with a few kits for runners in need.

  4. Cooling headbands- Cooling headbands are a must have for warm weather races.  They not only wick moisture and offer sun protection, but they can be wet before the race starts to help keep runners cool longer.

  5. Runners Belts (or fitness belts) are a sleek alternative to the fanny pack and allow runners to keep keys, cell phone and other necessities comfortably with them during the race as well as when they are training.

For additional ideas specific to your race or marathon that fit your needs and budget call or email us at Barefoot Swag.

Sales@barefootswag.com    866-247-4320



Let Your Uniqueness Shine

It was a beautiful spring weekend at our Barefoot Swag office here in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  It has been a busy, hectic and, often, overwhelming month of  getting our clients set up with the perfect swag.  We set lofty goals for the year and are well on the way to achieving them and that means long hours, spending hours catching up on work on the weekends and just generally trying to make sure we don’t let anything fall through the cracks.

I needed some time to regroup, and this weekend was perfect for that.  Burnout is real folks, no matter how much you love what you do.   I spent Friday and Saturday painting (because when work comes first, second and third, there is no time to do anything other than the basics at home).   But I still took time out on Friday (while waiting for paint to dry) to take a nice hike with a friend.  Nature has always been my happy place.  Being outside, especially in the woods, is peaceful, calming and grounds me in a way nothing else does.

Sunday’s weather was perfect for an afternoon in the gardens at Biltmore Estates (if you haven’t visited The Biltmore in Asheville, go. It is amazing and the grounds are beautiful).  The gardens are always vibrant with color and and the seasonal blooming flowers are meticulously maintained.  The tulips in the spring are striking, with beds planted in solid colors or colors that are striking together (purple and red tulips with white daffodils was one of my favorites).  When I got back and looked at the pictures I was impressed with my photography skills (the fact the pictures weren’t blurry was a big deal).  But one picture really stood out.

First, I really liked it because I love yellow flowers, which is odd because I don’t like the color yellow in anything else (I’ve never owned a yellow garment in my life. Ever).  But nature does yellow in a way that cannot be replicated.  But then, when I looked at it again, I saw it.  In a field of beautiful, bright yellow blooms, there was that one single tulip that wasn’t.  It wasn’t solid yellow, it wasn’t just like the other, it was right there in the middle, shining in its uniqueness- stripes of bright red in sharp contrast to the surrounding sea of yellow.

yellow tulips.jpg

As I stared at the picture, it reminded me that we all need to embrace our uniqueness, to let it shine, not hide it away.  Both in our personal lives and in our businesses.  Society, other business owners, teachers, customers and even TV try to tell us that standing out isn’t good.  We need to blend in, do business the way our competitors do.  While that may be the case with some of the basics, don’t be afraid to step out of the box, be a little unique, even it if is a little scary.  Don’t just push the boundaries, move them.

How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?  In our industry (and probably many others), the standard answer is “our customer service.”  Well, if that is your answer as well as the answer of 75% of your competitors, that isn’t your unique attribute.  Keep in mind that your uniqueness can be emphasized in many different ways.   You could shine in how you get your product to market, your social media “voice”, the experience you give your customers at trade shows.

What is unique about your brand, your product or your company?  How are you marketing that?

What are you going to do this week to show your bright red stripes, to fly your freak flag, to embrace the unique that is you, to not hide behind a sea of yellow, but to shine in everything that you (and your brand) are?

At Barefoot Swag we can help you stand out from your competitor with creative marketing ideas.  Just email or call to discuss creative ideas to fit any budget.

http://www.barefootswag.com      866-247-4320




Planning Ahead For April Promotions

Spring is upon us (even though the weather seems to be confused across most of the country).  Now is the time to look ahead to what marketing opportunities are coming up in April that offer tie-in opportunities.

The month of April is:

Keep America Beautiful Month (an inexpensive tie in would be auto litter bags )

Stress Awareness Month (check out this relaxing lotion)

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (key ring light with emergency whistle)

National Cannabis Awareness Month (several ideas here)

Garden Month (seed packets are perfect for direct mail)


Fun days to plan promotions around are:

April Fool’s Day

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

Easter Sunday

National Walk to Work Day

 National Beer Day

National Coffee Day

Golfer’s Day

Volunteer Recognition Day

420 Day

National Pet Day

Earth Day

Make Lunch Count Day

Administrative Professionals’ Day

Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day

Arbor Day

Call or email us for ideas on ways to tie your brand and logo into these event with creative promotional products.

http://www.barefootswag.com     866-247-4320




Changing & Adapting

Last week I had the opportunity to make a trip back to Ohio to meet with some clients.  I took advantage of the opportunity to have a couple extra days to see my friends.  There were lunches, drinks, impromptu get togethers, more drinks.  It was a fantastic time and much needed on my part.  However, the same topic came up with almost every friend I talked to. Change. Specifically change related to technology.

At lunch my first day we talked about how different it is for kids today than when we were young (although we are all childless).  Parents have to be much more diligent about keeping track of where their kids and are what they are doing than ever before.  

Later I met another friend and her boyfriend where we got on the topic of aging parents and what technology has brought us to help us understand and be better equipped to help them.

The following day I stopped by my old neighborhood at an open house my Realtor was holding.  We were talking about Alexa and my Realtor made a comment that at some point she’s just going to be done with new technology and just be content with what she knows now.

It made me think, how much change is enough?  Or it is ever enough?  Personally, I love learning new things, trying new technology, taking advantage of ways to make tasks easier.  But I also see that with those changes it brings a new level of expectations, urgency and “need it now” mentality.  Sometimes that can be exhausting.

For me, about the only thing I can imagine that I don’t want any part of (at this point, anyway) is self driving cars.  No, thank you.  But I’m excited to see what advances we make in technology.  It’s already difficult to fathom what else there could be or how much more advanced we can get, but I know there is more to come and it is exciting.  From a business perspective I’ve always felt that if you resist change, then you are setting your business up to fail. Change is going to happen and if you are not constantly on the edge and learning new technology, new ways of doing business and keeping up with your clients needs, someone else will.  And you are going to be sitting in your office wondering why the fax machine isn’t spitting out orders any more.

Just in the promo industry alone the advances are great- digital printing has changed the game for adding logos to items.  Only a few short years ago printing a full color logo was practically impossible, or at least so expensive that it didn’t make sense for most companies.  Today it is easy to get a full color logo onto just about any swag you want at a reasonable price.

Bluetooth is everywhere and can be incorporated into a lot of tech swag items.  Speakers, headphones, even coolers and patio umbrellas with built in bluetooth speakers get your brand out in a tech-savy way.

Adding interactive elements to giveaways is gaining popularity as well.  QR codes that can be scanned and go straight to a website or augmented reality added to product labels, coasters or other items increase interaction with your product or brand.

Where are you with technology?  Are you still holding tight to your flip phone or do you embrace new technology with wide open arms?

Give us a call or email today to see how new technology can be worked into your marketing plan or added to your swag items.

http://www.barefootswag.com    866-247-4320