Trends We're Seeing:  React + Adapt

Trends We're Seeing: React + Adapt

Circumstances change – sometimes by chance, sometimes by choice. These products are designed to adapt to any conditions, whether it’s a surprise rainstorm, delay at the airport or travel adventure on the other side of the world.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing: Revival

Trends We're Seeing: Revival

Old school styles inspire fond memories. But it’s not enough to recycle those classic looks from the ’70s and ’80s – they’ve got to be reinvented with function and performance for the modern world.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Imagination

Trends We're Seeing: Imagination

Creativity can be expressed in lots of ways – from colorful prints and bold patterns to high-tech innovations. No matter how that creativity comes to life, it all begins with the imagination to envision something different.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Athleisure

Trends We're Seeing: Athleisure

The word “Athleisure” was officially added to the dictionary in 2016.  Athleisure has become a well known term and fashion trend in the retail market.  It’s a unique hybrid blend of everyday business casual wear with athletic inspiration and functionality.  Combining the durability of sportswear and versatility of business casual, it attracts a wide range of consumers.  Universal use for the office, gym, social engagements, and weekend activities are an important element to the athleisure movement.  There is a larger focus on health and wellness, which means more and more people are looking to “digitally unplug” and create an active lifestyle.  It’s important our product fits within our culture and trends. 

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Many believe athleisure is here to stay and is more of an evolution rather than a fad. In 2016 the U.S. market reported a 16% growth in the athleisure sector, increasing to $44 billion in sales.  Experts are predicting a 30% growth by 2020 in Asia & the U.S.  Analysts at Morgan Stanley believe global sales will rise over $350 billion by 2020.  While this evolution has had the biggest impact in the apparel market, we are seeing a heavy influence take shape in other product categories.  Here are some of the trends and products we see fitting into this growing need.

Content compliments of Sweda USA. Check out their athleisure products for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.swedausa.com/

Unique Trend Techniques:  HXD Decoration

Unique Trend Techniques: HXD Decoration

Introducing HXD, a unique branding method that creates a subtle pop from the product surface to give your logo a whole new dimension. If you’re looking for what’s trendy in retail, this is it.

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From Backpacks To Polos

Available on everything from coolers, totes and backpacks to most of our apparel, HXD combines the best attributes of two methods – the surface interest and high perceived value of embroidery, and the exceptional detail, unlimited color and location versatility of transfer.

And HXD is remarkably durable, as well. The adhesives have been tested to withstand everyday wear and tear, washing machines and dry cleaning.

A Lot Of Products. A Lot Of Locations.

HXD is versatile – it can be applied to a lot of products in a lot of locations. Along with high-visibility locations on bags, it’s particularly well-suited for both traditional and accent locations on wovens, baseball caps, softshell jackets, polos and journalbooks.

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Unique Finishes

With HXD, you can choose a standard finish, a metallic finish or even a combination of the two.

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Freestanding And Mounting

Some logos present challenges, like small icons with tight spacing or think lettering. Our HXD designers assess those details, then create a solution. Minimal thickness and sufficient spacing are essential for a freestanding reproduction of small elements.

If a solution can’t be achieved by upsizing or subtle modification, we can mount the logo in one of three ways – contouring it, defining it or cresting it.

Dimensioning

The dimensioning process prepares your art for reproduction in HXD. Combining artistic design expertise and high-tech mechanical processes, there are three steps. Dimensioning is done by skilled designers who've been trained in the process, and there is an associated fee.

Content compliments of PCNA. Check out this patented manufacturing process for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.pcna.com/pcnacontents/en-us/content/hxd#UniqueFinishes

Trends We're Seeing: #SquadGoals

Trends We're Seeing: #SquadGoals

Consumers today have shifted their priority from purchasing things to creating experiences and developing connections with their “squads.” Equally important to the #squadtime are the bragging rights earned by posting pics on social media of their squads in matching swag.

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More than half of Millennials now travel for destination pre-wedding parties, making the
fling-before-the-ring trip an important rite of passage. 

• Today’s wedding parties are willing to pay for elevated #squadgear.
• Travel-friendly swag is expected at destination events.

 

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Community outreach projects have become important social events for many squads, with animal adoption as a favorite.

• Squads proudly post pics in their personalized gear on their social networks.
• Graphics are key when making memories with your squad.

 

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The U.S. outdoor recreation economy is at an all-time high as people seek relief from digital fatigue.

• Kidult camps offer fun for nostalgic adults wanting to unplug.
• Cherished vintage styles and products are trending.

 

Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the Squad style for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork/squadgoals

Building Your Brand: What Your Social Media Says About You

Building Your Brand: What Your Social Media Says About You

If you're branding and you know it clap your hands. If you're branding and you know it clap your hands. If you're branding and you know it then your words and actions should show it. If you're branding and you know it, clap your hands! 

Ok. So my song was pretty lame, but the topic is not. Personal branding. Whether you know it or not, and most people don't know it, you are always adding layers to your personal brand with the things you do and say both in person and online.  Don't believe me?  Get a piece of paper and pen, or use your phone.  I'm going to give you some words, and I want you to immediately write down the name of the first person to come to your mind. Ready?    

  • Dog lover
  • Loves wine 
  • World traveler 
  • Sunshine and positivity
  • Foodie
  • Would you just stop with the political posts already
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Loves cars
  • Negative, whiny, downer 
  • Craft beer drinker
  • When I think of anything related to music I think of

If you came up with at least one name for every one of these words or phrases. This is the essence of branding. 

According to Unmarketing, "A brand is not a logo. A brand is what you think and feel when you see a logo."  Therefore, what you think and feel is dictated by the story a brand tells. When it comes to people, everything we do, or sometimes don't do, and say, tells a story about us and plays a part in building our personal brand.  When people see us or our name, they immediately think and feel something about us based off of the interactions they have had with our "brand."

If you think about the exercise above, you realize you had a person for each one of those words.  If you think about it a little more you realize that because of the brand you have built for yourself, there is a group of words that people would also impulsively associate with you as well.  Have you ever given thought to what these words might be? 

As an example, at one point in time, I was a prolific coffee drinker. For my birthday people on Facebook very generously sent/messaged me $5.00 gift cards.  At the end of the day, I had quite a few trips to make to Starbucks. $500 worth in fact!  When people thought of me, they immediately thought coffee.  For the last two years, I've been drinking a specialty tea, and rarely post about coffee anymore, but guess what I still get for my birthday each year from people that know me on social media?  

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Content compliments of Peerless Umbrella. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Natural Serenity

Trends We're Seeing: Natural Serenity

Escape the noise with materials and silhouettes taken from nature. These products have a timeless quality that extends their utility, disrupting a cycle of disposing and replacing that can’t be sustained.

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Content compliments of PCNA. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

A Promo Without a Purpose?

A Promo Without a Purpose?

In a recent post online someone was asking for some sourcing ideas for a particular type of company. We had a dollar amount and industry type, so that was a start. In order to offer up the best suggestions possible I asked for the purpose of the campaign. This person replied, “There is no purpose. It’s just a giveaway.”

Wait.  There is no purpose?

If there is no purpose or desired effect, then why is this company even bothering to spend the money?  Answer: They aren’t.  Or at least they shouldn’t be. Forgive me for speaking boldly when I say the distributor failing to ask what the products would be used for is doing their client a huge disservice.  In fact, I would even be willing to say that this type of failure to assess purpose before sourcing product is the number one reason that many business owners say they see no value in using promotional products to promote their business. This is also a large part of the reason the race to the bottom on price exists. Distributors often times answer the phone and take an order from a client without bothering to find out the why behind the buy. The good news is, there’s a fix! Clients tend to think they know what they want, but don’t actually know what they need.  

As professionals, it’s our job to show them the difference!

As an industry we tout that branded goods are the number one way for a business to solicit to,  bring in,  and retain customers. When the right product is paired with the right marketing message, this is 100% true and the return on spend is easily quantifiable.  However, when little or no thought is given to the purpose behind the promo, it can be a monumental waste of an end-buyer’s time and money.

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So how do you find the right product and create the right marketing message? You do this by
first determining the purpose of the campaign. If your client doesn’t know what they want the product to do, don’t let them move fo­­rward until they figure it out. If they say,  “I want a pen with my logo on it” don’t be afraid to ask them why they want a pen and challenge them to think deeper about their purpose behind requesting that item. Asking these types of questions makes you far more valuable to your clients. They know you are here to truly take care of their needs and help their business grow. Remember my statement above? People are willing to pay more for goods and services that they feel are valuable! Take the time to help your client determine who they are trying to reach and what message they are trying to send. Whatever product(s) you choose, make sure your client has a well thought out purpose for doing so!

Remember:  Every promo needs to have a purpose and ever so valuable is the distributor that helps their client figure out what it is!

Content compliments of Peerless Umbrella. Check out their products for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Breaking the Standard in Menswear

Trends We're Seeing: Breaking the Standard in Menswear

As office styles become more casual, there’s a shift in the way menswear is being worn. Core items and the looks you already love are taking on a new life and being elevated by the way they are styled.

Styling today is changing the way woven shirts are worn. Pair a grid check shirt with a sport blazer and a patterned or textured tie. For striped shirts, go casual and wear it under a denim jacket.

Knits are hitting the mark when it comes to modern styling. Minimalist polos are being worn buttoned up to the neck and tees are being worn underneath a blazer or a suitcoat. These uncommon pairings and updated performance features are bringing new life to these iconic wardrobe staples.

Workwear and utility looks are important trends that feel both urban and industrial at the same time. When styled with ties, dress shirts or suit jackets, core shirts evolve into completely new looks.

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Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the latest Menswear for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork/newstandard

Pantone's Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

Pantone's Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

A dramatically provocative and thoughtful color that communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

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PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

 

Content from Pantone website: https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2018

Trends We're Seeing:  Mixed Patterns

Trends We're Seeing: Mixed Patterns

Patterns, colors and styles are being mashed up in joyful, fun and creative ways. Match wardrobe building blocks like t-shirts and hoodies with a suit or skirt to create a look that’s surprisingly ageless, comfortable and of-the-moment. Mix floral, plaid and camo patterns for a fresh, fun, personalized look for her.

Don’t be afraid to mix patterns – keep one or two colors in common to create a look that is fun but not overwhelming. Add empowering embroidered messages or graphics to truly make the style your own.

Some unlikely style allies are being inspired by ‘90s sport and street looks. Oversized hoodies, unexpected graphic placements, surprising pops of color, do-it-yourself decoration “doodles” and high-shine metallics challenge the status quo in all the right ways.  

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Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the latest Active Wear for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork

Gift giving season in the corporate world

Gift giving season in the corporate world

As the economy improves, businesses are spending more on corporate gifts (up to 27.4% from 20.6%) and giving them on more occasions (up nearly 37%) comparing 2016 data to 2015*. We predict 2017 will continue that trend, and support the growth of higher value gifts (though we believe companies are being a bit more discriminating about who receives them).

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Content compliments of BIC. Check out the latest Corporate gifts for your next promotion by clicking here.

Trends We're Seeing:  Activewear in Real Life

Trends We're Seeing: Activewear in Real Life

Life moves quickly and these days our clothes need to move with us. Whether we’re at the office, at play or on the road, the fabrics, performance features and designs are adapting to fit our lives in real ways.

There's nothing more ideal than feeling comfortable in your own clothes while maintaining your own sense of style. PromoShop now carries all the best quality and many popular brands in active wear. Contact your Account Executive today for more athleisure ideas!

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Content compliments of SanMar. Check out the latest Active Wear for your next promotion by clicking here: https://www.sanmar.com/resources/trends/stylenetwork

Trend Forecast: NY Fashion Week Spring 2018

Trend Forecast: NY Fashion Week Spring 2018

Each season the team at the Pantone Color Institute creates the PANTONE Fashion Color Trend Report; a color overview highlighting the top colors fashion designers showing at NY Fashion Week will be featuring in their collections for the upcoming season. Color on the catwalk is a key indicator of the color stories we can expect to see showing up across all areas of design.

The Spring 2018 palette encourages a sense of fun and playful release. With an air of complexity and distinctiveness, we find ourselves in a sanctuary of color that is ideal for some more unique and dramatic color mixing.

  PANTONE 13-0646  Meadowlark

PANTONE 13-0646
Meadowlark

  PANTONE 17-1563  Cherry Tomato

PANTONE 17-1563
Cherry Tomato

  PANTONE 16-4132  Little Boy Blue

PANTONE 16-4132
Little Boy Blue

  PANTONE 18-1440  Chili Oil

PANTONE 18-1440
Chili Oil

  PANTONE 14-3207  Pink Lavender

PANTONE 14-3207
Pink Lavender

  PANTONE 15-1520  Blooming Dahlia

PANTONE 15-1520
Blooming Dahlia

  PANTONE 16-5533  Arcadia

PANTONE 16-5533
Arcadia

  PANTONE 18-3838  Ultra Violet

PANTONE 18-3838
Ultra Violet

  PANTONE 18-1028  Emperador

PANTONE 18-1028
Emperador

  PANTONE 12-2103  Almost Mauve

PANTONE 12-2103
Almost Mauve

  PANTONE 17-3020  Spring Crocus

PANTONE 17-3020
Spring Crocus

  PANTONE 13-0550  Lime Punch

PANTONE 13-0550
Lime Punch

For many consumers, classic color is the mainstay of the wardrobe and the foundational core upon which they start building their own personal style. The core classic shades play a critical role in any wardrobe, and we wanted to highlight the nuance of these classic colors for the spring 2018 season.

  PANTONE 19-4034  Sailor Blue

PANTONE 19-4034
Sailor Blue

  PANTONE 14-4202  Harbor Mist

PANTONE 14-4202
Harbor Mist

  PANTONE 15-1214  Warm Sand

PANTONE 15-1214
Warm Sand

  PANTONE 11-0608  Coconut Milk

PANTONE 11-0608
Coconut Milk

More information can be found on Pantone's website: http://www.pantone.com/fashion-color-trend-report-new-york-spring-2018

Step to Your Own Beat with SoulKix

Step to Your Own Beat with SoulKix

With SoulKix, you become the designer. Promo has just taken another huge step forward with the ability to create your own custom kix. In fact, it's an industry first. Because you are the designer, the shoes you ultimately design are yours and yours only. Pretty cool right?

3 Ways to Customize

Before anything else you will choose the color of your SoulKix.  The material options are Black, White, and Black/White. Next up, how will you print your logo or artwork?  See below for inspiration on how to customize:

  1. Single Images:  If you select this option your artwork is printed identically onto each shoe

1. Single Images: If you select this option your artwork is printed identically onto each shoe

  2. Split-Screen:  On the second option your artwork will be printed across both shoes.

2. Split-Screen: On the second option your artwork will be printed across both shoes.

  3. Separate Images:  Last, but not least, you can choose to have different pieces of artwork printed on each shoe.

3. Separate Images: Last, but not least, you can choose to have different pieces of artwork printed on each shoe.

SoulKix Review

“I was working with the bank on an upcoming tradeshow.  They do polo shirts for their team every year. This year I suggested they wear the same shirts they had last year and this year add the SoulKix.  The SoulKix were a bit more than the Nike Polos they had done in the past but The SoulKix would be something “Different”.  Something that would set them apart from their competition.  They loved it!!!” 


Content compliments of Snugz USA. View a sampling of USA Made Ideas HERE

Backpacks 101: Keys To Picking The Perfect Bag

Backpacks 101: Keys To Picking The Perfect Bag

Choosing the right backpack can be a challenge – the features, colors and sizes are endless. So our experts put their heads together and selected the top 5 things to consider when buying a new bag. Count on this list to guide you in the right direction – whether you're spending a weekend in the woods or commuting to the office.

  The versatile   Elevate Tangent 15" Computer Backpack   is durable enough for any commute – no matter how you get to work.

The versatile Elevate Tangent 15" Computer Backpack is durable enough for any commute – no matter how you get to work.

1. Destination

Where are you going? Is it on a hike, on a business trip, or maybe both? Knowing where you’ll travel with the bag can be helpful when it comes to determining what you may want to purchase. Something lightweight is perfect for a hike, or maybe you’d choose a sturdier bag with lots of extra protection if you’re taking it on a plane. You may also want to consider materials here – leather makes for a classic office look, but durable ripstop is perfect for a bike ride.


  The   Campus Deluxe Backpack   has a spacious main compartment for all your gear.

The Campus Deluxe Backpack has a spacious main compartment for all your gear.

2. Length of Stay

How long will you be away? A few nights will obviously require more gear and technology than just a day trip. Carefully consider the duration of your average trip and choose a bag that can get you where you’re going. If you’re a chronic over-packer, you may want to consider a chest strap to help you lift the load. Not sure what size you’d need? Lay everything out you’d typically take on a trip to help you decide.


  With dedicated space for your laptop and all your tech accessories, the   Tranzip 15" Commuter Backpack   will keep you connected.

With dedicated space for your laptop and all your tech accessories, the Tranzip 15" Commuter Backpack will keep you connected.

3. Technology Needs

Are you tech-obsessed? If so, you’ll want a bag that has dedicated pockets for all of your gadgets. It may be important to consider the size of your laptop, as well. Some TSA checkpoint friendly and laptop-dedicated compartments only fit certain sizes, such as 15 or 17 inch computers. Added padding or molded pockets could also be an important consideration – especially if you carry an expensive camera, smartphone or new headphones.


  The   Kenneth Cole® Pack Book 17" Computer Backpack   has a modern professional look and plenty of features.

The Kenneth Cole® Pack Book 17" Computer Backpack has a modern professional look and plenty of features.

4. Style

Maybe fashion is more your thing. A retail brand can be eye-catching and functional. You can rely on rugged brands like High Sierra®, or bags from Kenneth Cole Reaction® for a great office look.


  The TSA-friendly   elleven™ Pack-Flat 17" Computer Backpack   features and RFID pocket to keep your information safe.

The TSA-friendly elleven™ Pack-Flat 17" Computer Backpack features and RFID pocket to keep your information safe.

5. Security

Is security important to you? Think about interlocking zippers, dog clips or an RFID pocket for your passport and credit cards. If you find yourself at the airport frequently, these features might be something you really want to consider before buying.


Content compliments of Polyconcept North America. View a sampling of USA Made Ideas HERE

Made in the USA

Made in the USA

People often ask: “What’s the next trend?” The simple answer is USA Made promotional products, because quality isn’t a mere fad. Products made in the USA will stand the test of time.  Check out some awesome USA Made promos below:

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Traverse Leather Goods

Distinctive leather goods designed and hand-crafted in the USA.  Each piece contains refined style and details that set it apart from the pack. Rugged hand-sewn construction so it lasts and lasts. You’ll find everything from beautiful Journals to the legendary Dopp Kit Bag - Choose from 5 domestic, USA Made, leather colors and customize to match your company logo with 11 Irish waxed linen accent stitching colors to create something truly unique.
 

Personal Care

Summer is right around the corner and with that excitement, it’s easy to forget about that inevitable and dreaded first burn. We’re not talking about that insult from the bully in 7th grade that you finally have a comeback for. Think more along the lines of an ugly and red full body sun tattoo. Ouch! Remembering the pain yet?          

In this day in age, it has become paramount to have a keen awareness of what is going on our skin and into our bodies. Our sunscreen formula and ingredients are always kept up to date with FDA compliance standards. Rest assured, you can count on us to deliver a sunscreen product that is safe, PABA free, and USA Made in an FDA Registered facility that will protect from harmful UV rays.

Besides sunscreen, we have many other Personal Care items as well including: lip balm, aloe, lotion, sanitizer, and spa products. You can count on these Personal Care promo products that are always kept up to standard.
 

Lanyards

A lanyard isn’t “just a lanyard”. Many of our lanyards are manufactured and assembled right here, in the United States.  A lot of factors go into choosing the right lanyard for your event.  Some of those can be the right type of decoration that best expresses your brand, material type (durability), attachments, badges and variable data, or a custom design.

Watch a great video here to find your perfect solution.

Content compliments of Snugz USA. View a sampling of USA Made Ideas HERE

Road Trip Ready

Road Trip Ready

Summer vacation is coming up fast and it is the perfect time to plan a road trip. Whether a family of four heading to the Grand Canyon or a couple getting away for a weekend at the beach, there are always a few things one needs in the car to make the going easier.

Summer Road Trip Essentials

Do you serve the automotive market? Are your customers: dealerships, auto repair shops, AAA branches or car rental companies? Maybe you're looking for an interesting giveaway for an insurance company. Consider the following ideas and offer their end users something handy for the road trips ahead.

Content compliments of BIC Graphic. View road trip essentials HERE

Trends We're Seeing: Retail Drinkware

Trends We're Seeing: Retail Drinkware

With brands like S’well, bkr, Hydroflask, Thermos, and Yeti dominating the drinkware industry, most companies will often look for and desire similar features in their promotional drinkware. From stylish glass bottles with silicone sleeves (like bkr) and travel coffee tumblers (like Thermos), to double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles (like Hydroflask, S’well, and Yeti), you can walk into any retail store such as Target, Starbucks, or REI, and find entire aisles devoted to drinkware sales. But, these retail brands can be pricey and not unique to the brand you are trying to promote, since they do not have your logo.

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Thankfully, you can get these same styles and quality for far less!  Even after they are customized with your logo, these items will still cost significantly less than anything you could ever buy in a retail store.  Drinkware gives you an amazing return on your investment, as most people take their favorite water bottle everywhere. Most importantly, the large imprint areas that many of these bottles have, give you endless options of creating something stylish to help your brand stand out!!!

Content compliments of ETS Express. View the products inspired by this new trend: here