You may or may not know that 4Couture has a specialist division dedicated to sourcing and supplying creative promotional merchandise. Headed up by my lovely colleague Jess Hadley, 4Merchandise has been going from strength to strength these past 3 years and 2018 looks to be no different...
Whilst we supply the full range of standard ‘store cupboard’ merchandise such as branded pens, notebooks, mugs and lanyards probably THE most popular request is for ‘something different’. Understandably every client is individual and wants their promotional merchandise to be unique and impactful whilst representing their brand or campaign.....sometimes it’s quite a challenge!
So when Jess suggested earlier this year that we widen our search, I didn’t hesitate to agree and so we set off for a European road trip in search of the best promotional merch we could find for 2018.
Now if you know me then you’ll already know what massive foodie I am so after suitable fuelling up in some wonderful local bakeries, we set off in earnest (I often wonder if I’d have been better suited to a career as a food blogger :) )
One of the first trends we spotted was in the electronics department, branded earphones, speakers, USB’s and charging devices are still popular but the overall quality and availability of retail inspired items has really stepped up a gear. We met with a number of manufacturers who are already supplying to retail arms such as John Lewis in the UK and now they’re offering the same products, in smaller numbers for the corporate market.
We loved the range of colours available in these Bluetooth speakers and the packaging is divine, we also loved the flat, soft touch 'old school' radio style speakers as the colours were super cool and of course, we were drawn to the pink which would be perfect in our studio!
This desk lamp with wireless charging would look great in my workspace and although it’s been a staple retail item for 2017, it’s now available as a corporate giveaway with branding options and bespoke packaging.
Charging devices are always a popular giveaway and one brand in particular has partnered with award winning designers and design students and have come up with this very funky looking travel charger, it’s completely bendy (!) and would be perfect for chucking in your backpack or carry, super super cool.
Talking of travel, we were impressed with this really nifty idea of branded suitcase carriers – an easy way to display your branding whilst also enabling the individual to quickly recognise their case on the carousel but, it also has a QR code on the cover which allows you to track your case in the event it gets lost – a great example of practical promotional merchandise. (and another product that’s available in smaller numbers)
Footwear is something we’ve been delivering for over a decade and it was great to meet up with a relatively new Spanish company who are specialising in bespoke sneakers, fully customisable and based upon minimum quantities of 40 pairs – ideal as part of your staff wardrobe but also, what a great customer giveaway. Obviously the guys at Google have already designed their fully bespoke pair which the Spanish team were keen to show off.
If you’re interested in more budget friendly footwear then we also met up with the SG team who have launched branded converse style sneakers for 2018 available from as little as a single pair, read Jess’ detailed blog on those here.
With the increasing focus on the war on plastic, reusable water bottles are a timely giveaway and it’s not just the standard sports bottles on offer any more, these HIP bottles are stylish and available in a range of trend led colours.
Finally, in amongst our discoveries for new merchandise we also found an incredibly innovative supplier of hospitality aprons – taking inspiration from key fashion trends, offering denim, buckles and canvas but also a reptile inspired material (faux of course) but debosssed to give a brilliant textured finish.
Exhausted after 3 days sourcing, interspersed with several food stops and a couple of essential retail (research) visits, we headed home, loaded up with some of the best promotional merchandise for 2018 and buzzing with ideas.
So the next time you’re looking for ‘something different’ or ‘something new’ in terms of promotional merchandise, stress no more as Jess and the fab 4Merchandise team have got you covered.
PS to add to our list of all things ‘new’ we also happened upon the Unicorn hot chocolate, not for the faint hearted!