New Spring Colors for Cross Pens

Spring has sprung, and AT Cross has
come out with BRAND NEW colors
for their classic pens.

Be among the very first to put YOUR company logo on the fresh crop of Cross pens – these make a fantastic, higher-end business gift for important clients, key employees, referral sources or other people who are valuable to your organization. Priced at $45.50/ea. with a minimum order of 12 pieces (this includes laser engraving & a Cross gift box).

As an authorized distributor of AT Cross products, we can help with any Cross items you are looking for!

Straddle-Bag



Here’s a great Summer item I came across today – it’s called the ‘Ship-Shore Straddle Bag’ and I thought the design was ingenious! It carries all the stuff you need for the beach or the pool, and it hangs over a lounge chair (as you see in the photo) and keeps all your stuff like suntan lotion, cell phone, beverage and sunglasses within easy reach and out of the sand.

These sell at retail for $34.95/ea. but we can get our clients better pricing with a minimum order of 24 pieces – they run between $17 & $28 depending on the quantity ordered and whether they’re ordered blank or with a custom logo. Great idea for country clubs, resorts, travel agents, spa or patio furniture retailers… they’d be a great ‘gift with purchase’ item for retailers.

To see more information on this item, you can visit: www.straddlebag.com/shipshore.htm. Like everything else on my blog, this item can be ordered through Advance Promotions for the same prices you see online.

Custom Post-It Notes in Teensy Quantities

I network with a lot of small business owners – there are something like 40,000 businesses in Portland with 5 or fewer employees – and one of their frustrations is the high minimum order quantities for some of the ‘basics’ like custom logo’d pens, post-it notes, etc.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to learn this morning that one of our suppliers – Carlson Craft – offers custom-printed Post-it brand pads in VERY small quantities. The minimum order is something like 10 pads, so this is a great resource we can now offer our small business clients.

If you’d like to visit the Carlson Craft site and take a look, here’s the link to the section with the custom Post-it notes: http://www.ccbusinesssolutions.com/Page.cfm?intMenuItemID=11199&blnReload=0&intSiteID=114

Advance Promotions is a Carlson Craft dealer, so you can order anything you see on their site though us at the same price you see on their site.

Another line we work with – Elram – offers EVERYTHING in their catalog at a minimum order quantity of 12 pieces. I’ll be the first to admit that on a per-item basis, the pricing isn’t what you’d call great… but if you only need a dozen of something, it is a good resource. To check out their site: www.elramcorp.com.


Here’s a VERY creative use of promotional advertising:

Early this month, Hotels.nl, a Dutch online reservations company, began outfitting SHEEP in royal blue blankets imprinted with their company logo, at a cost of €1, or $1.23, a day per sheep.

About 144 sheep in flocks throughout the Netherlands are now sponsored by the company. But the idea of commercially branded sheep has prompted a bit of a backlash. The town of Skarsterlan began fining Hotels.nl €1,000 a day for sheep that wear the branded blankets.

Livestock advertising violates the town’s ban on advertising along the highways. “My first reaction was a smile; it is very creative,” said the town’s mayor, Bert Kuiper. “My second reaction is that we have to stop this. If we start with sheep, then next it’s the cows and horses.”

Hotels.nl is poised to pay the fines, but it plans to fight the ban on sheep shirt advertising in court. Since the advertising started, Hotels.nl’s sales are up 15 percent and so are visits to the company’s Web site. They are already planning on expanding, hunting for locations where there are a lot of traffic jams

The ‘Sandvertiser’


This is one of those items where a photo really can’t do it justice – you have to see it and play with it yourself to appreciate how cool it is.

That being said, here’s a picture of it – it’s called the ‘Sandvertiser’ and it’s a totally unique promotional item I recently stumbled across. The thing is filled with colored sand, and in the middle there are two custom-cut plates that the sand falls through. A layer of sand stays on the solid parts of the plate so the logo or message that’s cut into the plate becomes visible.

They’re not what you’d call ‘cheap’, so this is one of those things that’s only going to make sense for folks with a serious promo budget – a minimum order of 250 will run about $2,900 with setup charges included… but they’re pretty reasonable once you’re into the 1,000+ quantities.

Especially cool – on orders of 500 or more, you can have the plastic band and the sand in whatever PMS color you want for no extra charge! They come from overseas (of course) so it’s about an 8 week production time for these puppies.

Bottom line: This is a super-cool, totally customizable item with incredible message impact that is virtually guaranteed to create BUZZ. Even though I’m very jaded when it comes to swag (having seen it all), I have to admit I could not put this thing down once I started playing with it.
I just ordered several samples of these for my showroom. If you have a serious interest in this item, let me know and I’ll send you a sample – and I guarantee you’ll love it!

Fun Phone Mints!


Call me silly, but I get just as excited about the swag I order to promote MY OWN business as I do the stuff my clients order.

Case in point – today my new ‘cell phone mint tins’ arrived, and they are COOL! Here’s a photo of what they look like, and the tin’s exactly the same shape and size as a cell phone. I like these because they’re fun, new & different – something not everyone has seen before. They’re full of ‘altoid type’ mints, which is one of the many fill options available.

What’s really fun is that I also ordered something to go with them – the ‘Sir Holdzalot’ desktop cellphone caddy from Quikey Manufacturing. There are many styles of these cellphone holders out there, but most of them are translucent frosted plastic. Mine are shiny, glossy opaque BLACK with a white ‘Got Swag?’ imprint on the front. Here’s a photo of what the holders look like in general (mine were shipped but haven’t arrived yet).

The idea is to present the two items together to showcase my creativity and drive home the idea that I’m the girl to call when you need SWAG. I’ll be handing these out at the East Portland Chamber of Commerce meeting I’m hosting on 5/3 (at Hollywood Wine & Espresso), and also at the OAME Trade Show at the Oregon Convention Center on 5/11.

Being in this business, I think my company’s swag just has to be a ‘cut above’ in terms of creativity. Sort of like a hair stylist ought to have a great hairdo… it just inspires confidence in what they can do for you. So that’s my latest self-promotional brainstorm, for what it’s worth. If you’d like to put my creative promotional brain to work on YOUR company’s projects, just e-mail me: diane@swagqueen.com.

Company Shirts

Summer’s coming, and for us in the swagbiz that means it’s SHIRT SEASON. We’ve been doing a ton of business in screen-printed and embroidered shirts this past month, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on that subject and some of my favorite picks.

Unlike some of our competitors here in Portland, we outsource all of our embroidery and screenprinting instead of doing it in-house. As the owner of the company, that’s great for me – I don’t have to spend my time wrapped up in the production end of things, which leaves me free to develop more business and pay more attention to my clients.

I think it’s a good arrangement for our clients, too, because outsourcing the decorating gives us more options and flexibility. For example, we had a client call last week who needed a couple hundred t-shirts printed up in a hurry for a Cinco de Mayo event. Our usual screenprinter is running at about 3 weeks production, but we know of another local screener that charges just a bit more but can do the job in 5 days… so we were able to send the order there and get the shirts done with time to spare, without rush charges. The shirts came out looking great, too!

Another interesting call came in yesterday – a woman was referred to us by a good client of ours and she needed moisture-wicking shirts for a rowing team, with a colorful logo, and had a price limit of $15 per shirt. Did a little searching around and was able to source them from a supplier in Colorado (www.coloradotimberline.com) and offer her several different styles to choose from that will be within her price range, with no setup charges.

Colorado Timberline has a ‘Kornit’ machine, which sublimates 4-color process artwork directly onto their Poly-Dri moisture-wicking shirts, at a price that is MUCH less than 4 color screen printing ($2 per shirt for imprinting, no setup charge!). And they offer 3-5 day production! Colorado Timberline only works through promotional distributors (such as my company, Advance Promotions), so if you’re reading this and are curious about getting some shirts done, just call me at 866-247-4320 and I can help you out.

Other than that, the big thing has been GOLF SHIRTS! We’re selling TONS of the Port Authority style K420 right now, which is a nice shirt at a great price that comes in a ton of colors. See it on SanMar’s website: www.sanmar.com. Also comes in a ladies’ cut, which pretty much looks like the same shirt, but is cut smaller through the armholes and is not as long in the torso. I’m always glad to see companies get shirts in a ladies’ cut for their female employees – nothing looks worse than a huge, man’s style shirt hanging off some poor woman at a trade show! It doesn’t cost any extra to order shirts for women that actually fit… and it looks SO much more professional!

Well, it’s 3pm on Friday afternoon here in sunny Portland. I’m such a good boss, I’m taking my staff to see Cirque de Soleil this afternoon as a company ‘thank you’ for an absolutely stellar first quarter – our sales were more than double Q1 last year. Signing off for this week, hope everyone has a great weeknd – Swagqueen Di