You’ve secured your investors, you’ve figured out your business model and created a logo.
Obviously the next pressing issue is getting some swag.
Swag has become a staple for venture-backed companies, and it can be helpful for getting attention. Swag makes for great promotional pieces for your company whether it’s at a recruiting event or walking around SF. It’s a sweet perk for employees. And swag can make great gifts for your customers and your leads.
Want a free swag tip? (see what we did there) Consider your target. Whom do you want to notice and/or wear the swag you give them? Select your product with them in mind.
A review of startup swag in 2016:
Check out these companies that will help you make your company the freshest and illest, most swagged out startup in the valley or the alley.
For stickers, magnets and buttons
Think of Sticker Mule as the best way to create a physical version of your logo. That is flat. And will stick to things.
Ok, that is an unfairly boring description of Sticker Mule, which we think is an awesome company. Sticker Mule makes it possible for startups to create custom stickers any shape or size that makes for the best presentation of their logo. Sticker Mule stickers can make custom bumper stickers, wall graphics, floor graphics, and even window stickers. Sticker Mule also covers magnets, buttons, and mailers.
There are a couple other reasons we really like Sticker Mule. One is that custom stickers are an affordable way for startups with tight budgets to get in on the swag game and attend events with a handful of delightful, branded stickers to give away. Sticker Mule also allows startups to get a sample before they buy a full set - specifically a collection of 9 stickers for $1; if you’re worried your grand sticker vision might not play out well in reality, this is a really helpful option.
Sticker Mule specializes in stickers, giving you a wide variety of options for your customization. You can make stickers of all shapes, sizes, and thickness - whether they’re for different shaped stickers, bumper stickers, labels, and wall graphics.
You upload your image that you would like to be made into a sticker and choose the size and quantity to be mailed to you.
Sticker Mule also lets you make customized magnets for your startup.
You can also order buttons from Sticker Mule. However, they do not offer too many customization options for their buttons. Currently, they only sell circle shaped buttons in 1”, 1.25”. 1.5” and 2.25” If you were looking for very customizable pins, it would be worth it to check out our next tool.
For high-quality pins
Get Lapel Pins creates high quality, personalized pins based on designs you send them. They break it down into three steps:
These are a step up from the normal circle buttons and pins you’re used to seeing at events. Personalized pins from Get Lapel Pins will have people remembering and wearing your brand.
Lumi is an amazing choice for startups that need branded packaging. It might be because they ship physical products as part of their model. But startups might also want to ship gifts to partners at the holidays or provide a gift back at an event. Packaging is an important, powerful and simple way to spread your brand.
For startups that ship swag, Lumi is an amazing choice to look at. You can order mailer boxes, branded tape, bags, and note cards. And, even if you’re not mailing much, you should still check out Lumi to make a custom paper embosser or a stamp for your startup.
What says “swag” more than having your own branded stamp? Not much. Definitely cooler than a pair of Yeezy's.
You can upload your own logo or design or work with any of the artwork contributed to the site.
If you want your brand to stand out, consider tattooing your brand on your face. It shows commitment. Everyone will hear about your company and ask you about it wherever you go.
If you didn’t want to do something that intense… it’s ok; that’s probably a good sign. Luckily, Tattly lets you create customized temporary tattoos! You can create different designs for your logo or your brand and wear them around or hand them out to others.
If you’re interested in getting custom tattoos from Tattly, email them at [email protected] to find out how to get customized tattoos.
Capbeast specializes in customizable hats of all shapes and sizes. You can order beanies, snapbacks, fitted, truckers and more from their site. All of them personalized with your brand.
After customizing your hat, just put in the quantity you need and Capbeast will ship them all out to you.
To get pricing and more details, contact Capbeast for a quote.
For mostly everything
Startup Threads is a popular tool many startups use for their swag. You can design t-shirts, and also make Custom Swag Packs where you can order things like stickers and notebooks individually or create a Pack.
When designing custom t-shirts and hoodies, you can choose from their variety of shirt options and colors, upload your designs and logos and then see a rendition of it after it gets approved. If you don’t have a design to upload, Startup Threads will help you create a custom design for $500 with two rounds of edits.
With packs, you make a goody box of different types of swag from custom t-shirts, moleskins, water bottles, buttons and mugs, and a bunch of more stuff. The amount of variety you can include in a Pack is insane. Although, each add-on is extra, they do have Marketing Packs and Shirt Packs for bundle deals.
You never deal with shipping. You can sell through giveaways, Shopify, through their API or automation through Zapier.
It’s a great service to take away the logistics of shipping shirts to customers, leads, and new employees. Their automation features make it super easy to delight your customers with top quality swag.
For mostly t-shirts
CustomInk clearly has its roots in t-shirts but has expanded to offer other products, like backpacks, custom hoodies, and water bottles.
What makes CustomInk different from other swag players is their design lab, which makes it easy to upload, customize and edit your design based on the product you choose. You can use CustomInk to upload your designs to create custom swag, or you can design your items using their design dashboard that lets you add text and images to your items. CustomInk is the only swag “shop” that has the drag and drop design functionality.
All the shirts are shipped to one location, and then you do that on your own.
For mostly everything
Printful lets you order bulk quantities of everything ranging from t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, socks, phone cases, tote bags, hats, posters and more. Printful offers mostly apparel stuff - so no stickers, pins or notebooks.
Printful provides a number of different options for customizing swag and products. They have different templates that you use to make sure your designs fit correctly on their products, as well as a mockup generator that will show you what it looks like.
Printful is great for ordering bulk amounts of clothing and items, and they integrate very well with different e-commerce platforms and handle all the shipping/printing for you. So, those 50 hoodies you want shipped to your 50 most valuable customers? Printful will take care of that. It’s very helpful for any e-commerce stores or anyone looking to start a t-shirt or apparel business quickly.
Zazzle is one of the oldest and most well-known companies in the space of “create your own ” products. They have a diverse and plentiful catalog of products that you can customize and order in bulk. If you’re looking for a site where you can make your personalized lighters, laptop sleeves, business cards, cufflinks, and usual swag offerings of t-shirts and tote bags, then check out Zazzle.
In short, you should be able to find what you want at Zazzle.
You can upload your images and also use their design tool to add text and create a mockup of your design.
Zazzle does not do any shipping on your behalf; you order the amount of product you want and then it is shipped to you, so it isn’t like Printful or Startup Threads regarding automated shipments to recipients.
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Now you can dress yourself (and your customer) head to toe in your brand! If you’ve used any of these products or there are any you think we should know about, feel free to email us at [email protected].