Bags of Ideas

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2019

eco bags uk

Eco Bags for the UK: Why Reusable is the Future

Eco Bags for UK Why Reusable is the Future Posted on June 6, 2019 at 3:30 PM The pressure for your business to go green is huge, and only getting bigger. Whether it’s reusable shopping bags for the weekly trolley dash or reducing the amount of stuff we chuck out to end up in landfill, it’s clear that an eco-lifestyle is essential. We’ve already examined green shopping, and how we still need to do more to reduce plastic consumption, even with the UK’s bag tax on plastic carriers. But there’s more to eco bags, than simply using an eco-friendly jute bag instead of a plastic patch handle. Today we’re looking beyond the confines of a Bag for Life to examine at the definition of an eco-bag and the materials that we can use, as well as killing off some of the myths around products that claim to be “eco-friendly”. Everything you do, own, or use has a carbon footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in its manufacture or use. So, to be truly “eco-friendly”, the longevity (or reusability) of a product must outweigh the environmental impact of its manufacture and delivery to the consumer. Using plastic bags as an example, their creation alone involves the collection of raw materials, manufacture and distribution. When you consider their actual life span – measured in hundreds if not thousands of years – they are the very opposite of “eco-friendly”. A study by finance info site Market Watch calculated how many times an eco-friendly reusable bag had to be re-used to beat the disposable alternatives and found that even with the increased manufacturing process required it took just 100 cycles for them to be “better for the environment”. So, if being environmentally-friendly is important to your brand values – and it should be – you must look at the potential longevity of the product you are supplying – even if it’s just the tote bag in which your customers carry off your actual products. And if you’re using bags as a giveaway simply to promote your brand, perhaps at a conference or event, there’s even more reason to make sure they’re “green”. As well as longevity, there’s also biodegradability. Petro-chemical plastic bags are certainly not biodegradable. An alarming number of printed carriers end up in landfill, in hedgerows, fields, beaches and even rivers, seas and oceans, shredding down and eventually becoming micro-plastics that lodge in the guts of birds and wildlife and sealife. Recently, a plastic bag was even found at the bottom of the deepest ocean on the planet. We all owe it to our children and grandchildren – and every other creature on the planet – to eliminate plastic from our lives, and some consumers are already trying to live a life without plastics at all. If your company uses plastic, consumers like them will cease to be customers before long. The decision process The bottom line with longevity of promotional merchandise is build quality. It doesn’t matter how pretty the print on your gift bag, if its handles aren’t strong enough, or the cotton is too thin, it won’t last and will end up in a tip somewhere, along with the masses of plastic carrier bags, defeating the object entirely. In choosing the right tote you need to look at the following aspects; material weight (thickness), seams and handles. All three of these boxes must be ticked to ensure you’re supplying a potential eco branded bag. For example, an increasingly common choice for merchandising your brand is promotional jute bags. Jute is a natural material of high strength and durability, with the added benefit that it is completely biodegradable at end of life. Eco jute bags are seen more and more as part of the groceries shop, or as a tote for school or business, where they act as a constant reminder of your business brand. On BagsofIdeas.co.uk we’ve created a zoom function on each of our products so you can see how each bag is made, but here we’re going to give an example of what you should be looking for as regards the handles. This cotton bag has a folded seam on the top, into which the handles are sewn, not only around the edges, but also through the middle in an X shape, ensuring durability and longevity. As for the bag’s seams, unless there’s a gusset, ensure the bag is only sewn at the sides (not the bottom). A bag is only sewn along the sides, there’s no seam at the bottom because it’s one piece of cotton or canvas folded. This makes the bag stronger. As a rule of thumb, the fewer sewn seams the better. For gusseted bags, make sure the seams are strong. Samples, Samples, Samples Bags of Ideas provides free bag samples to improve your experience and help you decide which combination works for your brand. Simply order a selection of bags to test at your business. Non-woven polypropylene bags offer a great low-cost option for eco branding, but they are not always built to last. One thing to look for is that the handles sewn into the bag. There is a wide range of options with polypropylene, including versions with handles heat sealed into the body of the bag. Avoid them though because it makes the handles weaker and shortens their longevity. Saying You Can’t Be Green is Rot As a final note, if you really have to use plastic carrier bags – perhaps because of the need for very large quantities at low cost per unit – you can still retain your green principles by choosing a biodegradable option. We offer a range of promotional carriers in biodegradable materials, all meeting current EU standards. Check our Plastic Bags page (all punch and patch handles are biodegredable) These take around two months to degrade in an ordinary compost bin. This is a huge improvement on standard carrier bags, which can take anything from 10-1000 years. Even better, they take about two-thirds of

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notes about totes

Notes about Totes: What’s your Bag?

Notes about Totes: What’s your Bag? Posted on July 26, 2019 at 11:30 PM What’s in a name? As far as bags go, quite a bit. This blog is going to try to cut through the confusion over the many different types of bags on offer at Bags of Ideas and help you to make a better informed choice for your next promotional giveaway. Just few weeks ago in an article on promotional conference bags, we highlighted the many variations of the names for the same promotional article, among them “messenger bag”, “document wallet” and “conference folder”. This diversity can cause confusion. You may know, or may not, that one of the UK’s biggest selling promotional carrier is the “cotton shopper”, but what does that actually mean? You may know it as a cotton shoulder bag, a “bag for life” or even a canvas tote, and the variations don’t end there. What would you expect for the country’s most popular printed promotional product? So we’re going to delve deep into the bag for life, clear out the unnecessary technical jargon, and make sure that whatever branded bag is over your shoulder, you’re confident about its name. Plus, we will look into why this style of bag is so popular, from small-scale projects, to mass marketing. Tot-ally Awesome Let’s start with the “tote”. The textbook description of a promotional tote is that it is an open top bag, with parallel handles, generally made from cloth/canvas material – most commonly associated with the reusable shopping bag. Its purpose, says the definition, is to carry “a ton of stuff”. Tote is actually a 17th word for “carry”, but the design first came to prominence in 40s America where outdoors store L.L. Bean introduced an “ice carrier” looking remarkably similar to the modern Tote. By the 50s, the iconic design had become a mainstay for housewives going about their daily chores, including the shopping. In the 1960s, L.L. Bean revisited their “ice carrier” and released a canvas fashion bag which they called the “Boat Bag”, and it’s still being produced today with its distinctive colour trim. The bottom line here is, there are numerous bags, all similar in purpose, with differing names. Understanding this diversity can help you find the right bag for your next promotional campaign. Making your Bag-for-Life Easier At Bags of Ideas, we understand that one person’s cotton shopper, is another’s shoulder tote – and for this reason, we have developed an intelligent product category structure, allowing buyers to find what they are looking for regardless of the name they know it by. We use multiple categories with product overlap. Take for example our Paka Cotton Shopper which can be found in our Cotton and Canvas, Eco and Shoppers and Totes sections. So no matter what you call it, you can find it. Shopping Wisely Now we all understand that totes are no different to shoppers, let’s look at what bags we should sling over our shoulders and why. Shoppers work for every budget, whether it’s high-quality, heavy-duty canvas, or strong, but lightweight and low cost non-woven polypropylene, we can get a bag worth of your brand! Previously we’ve focused on the uses of shoppers and totes as promotional marketing tools. This time we’ll focus on the budget elements, the idea being to showcase a range of products that can work to promote your company, despite financial constraints. Bags on a Budget To kick things off let’s look at a select few satchels that are well within even the smallest of marketing budgets. As a result of their popularity as promotional tools, stock items are mass-produced, leading to economies of scale – a good product for a low price, without the need to purchase large quantities. The bags featured here have numerous benefits; the first being a low price per unit, and a large, pantone matched screen print. On top of that, all are available with low MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities) of 50 to 100. The icing on the cake is the huge range of available colours for each bag from stock. In short, you can have your logo printed on to one of these stock totes with a complimentary base colour, delivered to your event in as little as 5 days. Non-Woven Tote Non-Woven Tote Value Non-Woven Shopper These can be described as simple, or basic shopper bags – long handles, large print area, and a durable material. The next step up in the range are similar in design, but have improvements such as heavier canvas, the addition of a gusset, or eco-friendly jute being used as the core material. Considering a “tote” by definition, these will hold more, and in some cases last for longer because of the more hardwearing materials used. The bags below also benefit from low MOQs but as a promo have more perceived value if given away, or guarantee a higher retail price if sold. 10oz Canvas Shopper Rainham Tote Bag Market Jute Shopper If you want to make a bigger impression, there are better featured styles which are still more than affordable but will promote an image of quality and luxury to the consumer. Our examples have that extra flare sought by the fashion-consciou, such as coloured handles or trims, side pockets, and more comfortable straps. The combination of canvas and jute is not only on-trend, but also hardwearing, guaranteeing re-use, and increasing brand visibility. Kuku Cotton Shopper Bag Funo Jute Shopper Bag Choroa Non-woven Shopper Bag All the bags in this blog are “off the shelf” tote bags, shoppers, bags for life. Different names aside, this style of bag has to be one of the most affordable branded marketing tools there is; whether you choose a mini tote, or a large canvas shoulder bag for your next trade show, what is guaranteed is value for money within this range. There is always a canvas or non-woven shopper bag that fits within your budget, and also passes on value to the end recipients far in excess of the cost.

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laptop rucksack

Why a Laptop Rucksack is More Than Back to Basics

Why Laptop Rucksacks Are More Than Back to Basics Posted on July 16, 2019 at 2:30 PM Almost everyone has a laptop these days, so it’s no surprise that demand for suitable luggage has soared. Whether printed with a logo or plain, a good bag is essential to hold what is for the majority of us, their most valuable piece of tech, securely and comfortably. Whether it’s commuting to work, going to study, or travelling for the weekend, the personal computer tends to go with us. Historically, people have tended to use the shoulder style bag, made from water-resistant material and able to house a 15.6 inch laptop, plus essential accessories. Though a messenger-style branded laptop bag still has its place, consumer needs have changed a bit, and at Bags of Ideas we’ve noticed an uptick in demand for larger carriers, such as rucksacks and backpacks designed for laptops. While the appearance of a laptop bag is important – especially for a promotional product – comfort is also extremely important. And looks aren’t always skin deep: how tempting does it look to would-be thieves? We’re going to look at the reasons for the shift in demand towards rucksacks. We’ll also highlight some of the benefits of a larger backpack style, whether you’re supplying as a gift to your staff or pupils. Plus we’ll also delve into some of the features that now make rucksacks most people’s carrier of choice. From one Strap to Two Over time, not only are more and more people carrying a laptop around every day, they are carrying more and more personal items too, from cosmetics and comfort items to usb leads, chargers and accessories. Studies show that heavy single-strap shoulder style bags can cause physical damage to muscles and tendons, resulting in aches and pains and it’s clear this is one of the biggest reasons for the shift – especially for business travel. Backpack rucksacks are the logical alternative, allowing a safer balance and distribution of weight across both shoulders. For occasional use, a cross-body shoulder strap may not be an issue but for those regularly commuting with a heavy load, an ergonomic rucksack with adjustable padded straps and support ensures they remain without pain. Space requirements More items need more space. With business travel sometimes taking days at a time, the traditional shoulder laptop bag simply doesn’t have the necessary room for all your stuff. Laptop rucksacks are built with this in mind. The latest promotional backpacks not allow for a laptop, but also a laptop tablet such as an iPad pro, folders and clothes. The outside may also feature front pocket or a pouch for a water bottle to keep hydrated. “ If you really wanted to push the boat out with luxury features, some hi-spec rucksack laptop bags now come with built in power banks featuring usb charging ports for keeping phones topped up, and even built-in tablet bags. Below we’ve picked out some popular laptop backpack examples from our range, highlighting the features available. Berlin Rucksack Macau Laptop Bag Jaunt 15.6 Safety is Key Another reason for the shift to rucksacks is security. We’ve all heard the stories of someone having their phone taken while on public transport, despite it being zipped away. With many of the branded laptop carriers now available, feature anti-theft security as the norm, allowing peace of mind while squeezed on to busy trains or buses. From zipped pockets to hidden pouches – as well as anti-slash material – the possibilities are almost endless. We focused on secure bags in a previous blog, and listed bags that ensured contents are secure, whether on a busy Tube train, or at your local coffee shop, and below we’ve picked out a couple of our favourite laptop cases that ensure your belongings are safe. Milano Rucksack Bobby Ant-Theft i-Stay Rucksack Advertising Potential When branding any type of bag, one key objective is visibility. We believe that the impact of a rucksack – whether as a gift to top customers, students or employees – will be greater than any messenger-style bag, simply because of the way it’s worn. Messenger bags almost always display the brand on the side, at waist height. In some cases, if the bag is the wrong way round, it probably wouldn’t be visible at all. A laptop rucksack guarantees visibility at all times, and at around eye level. This makes the amount of impressions and brand awareness much higher than cross body options. Longevity Our research also shows that, despite build quality on the shoulder style bags being as good as rucksacks, their lifespan tends to be shorter. This is because of the way they’re worn, and the load distribution. Where a backpack has two straps to divide the weight, and has very little movement while in use, the cross-body bag bears all the weight on the single strap. Plus while being used, the shoulder bag itself suffers from movement – at a brisk walking pace the bag tends to swing, and bang against the user, putting increased stress on the seams. Of course, the value of any promotional product is directly connected to the life of the item. If it wears out, or if it creates a bad user experience, it’s days are numbered. Staff Research shows first impressions are everything when it comes to sales. For this reason many organisations now use branded laptop rucksacks as a sales tool for their marketing staff. A high-quality feature-packed backpack, bearing your company logo, sends strong signals to prospective clients. It suggests financial stability, sure, but it also stresses the importance of your brand image. There’s also the benefit of your brand travelling in high visibility, wherever your staff go. Advertising aside, it also promotes staff moral. Investing in your staff creates trust between employer and employee. That boosts morale and productivity. As a promotional Tool So what are the benefits of using a laptop rucksack as a marketing tool. Promotional bags rightly have the image of being a low-cost

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Cooler Bags are a Hot Item at the Festival

Cooler Bags are a Hot Item at the Festival

Cooler Bags are a Hot Item at the Festival Posted on July 10, 2019 at 12:30 PM With the summer season in full swing , we thought we should highlight a promotional product that will help you keep your cool. We’ve covered summer bags before and while cooler bags may seem to have seasonal restrictions, they can still effectively promote your brand all year round. Insulated cooler bags differ from a lot of promotional carriers in the way that they offer opportunity. Where a standard shopper might be given away at trade fairs and shows, cooler bags lend themselves to other forms of distribution. At your next trade show, why not hand out a branded cool bag with a shoulder strap to customers and prospects, and maybe throw in a printed bottle opener. . A soft cooler bag is best used for “in-the-moment” marketing – giving the customer an insulated lunch cooler bag, when and where they need it. If you’re a festival organiser, or even a retailer at a festival bar or ice cream stand, there is huge opportunity. Why not add a tote cooler bag bearing your logo to your festival kit, in place of the normal cotton or canvas shopper bag. This way festival-goers not only get a bag to help them keep their stuff together through the day, they also have somewhere to keep their food and drink cool in the heat of the day. The perceived value of such a gift – and thereby the boost to the visibility your brand – is huge. A Multi-Purpose Giveaway And when it’s all over, you can then benefit from the hundreds or thousands of people leaving the site with your cooler bag in hand carrying your brand far and wide. Not only will the festival-goer feel they have been given a great gift, others will think the same: “What a great idea – a free cool bag at a festival?” It’s also worth remembering that while we’re talking about cooler bags, what we actually mean are insulated lunch bags – they can be used to keep hot food warm too The If budget doesn’t allow for handing out cooler bags to all and sundry, why not incentivise attendees by offering a free bag with the purchase of a festival program? This way, the cost of the programme could cover the cool bag too. The festival-goer will reckon they’ve bagged a great deal, you won’t overspend your marketing budget, and your message gets a boost. Alternatively, you could offer something like a wine cooler bag when someone buys a certain number of drinks at the bar. For example, purchase six beers, get a free promotional cooler bag. If you’re selling your drinks in cans, this will go down particularly well because it means they can keep their purchases cooler for that bit longer. Especially important if there’s a hefty queue for the next round. Ultimately, you can simply sell branded cooler bags to attendees alongside other branded goods, perhaps featuring more elaborate high quality full colour designs, for customers to use on the day and take away as a souvenir. At Bags of Ideas, we have dozens of styles of insulated bags, of different styles, qualities and specifications. Some will keep wine cool for after-work picnics in the park, or keep sausages safe for breakfast on day three of the family camping trip to the New Forest. Meeting all Requirements There’s also size. We range from the “I need a lunch box that will keep my pie warm until midday” to the “I want all our beers to be cold at midnight on day one of the festival”. Not least is the question of comfort. Will it be carried a long way? And is it comfortable to carry fully loaded? We have a range of styles for that too. All these features have cost implications, which you need to consider. As always, our expert customer service team are here to help. Why not drop us a line to discuss your requirements? Away from the festival sites, there are still plenty of opportunities to utilise promo cooler bags in your marketing campaigns, such as branded cooler tote bags, which almost everyone has to enable them to bring frozen food back from the local supermarket.Why not offer a free branded cooler with a purchase of chilled or frozen foods such as bottled water, ice creams or pizza. For example, an end-of-isle stack of your product – lets say soft drinks – announces that buying 12 cans gets the customer a free cooler bag. This not only encourages an above-average purchase, but also add value to your brand as you’re being seen to offer a useful item to the consumer. As a general retailer you might extend the offer beyond a single product, perhaps giving an insulated shopping bag to customers who spend above a certain threshold. You might ever do it in tiers – £50 gets a small 6 can leak-proof cooler, £100 gets a large 12 can cooler, £150 gets a massive 50 can cooler. Bags like this are used all year round for the weekly shop. Going further still, you could add the incentive to your customer loyalty scheme. Budget Non-Woven Cooler Bag Rainham 12 Can Cooler Bag 50 Can Cooler Bag A Wider Offering An offer like this doesn’t have to be limited to food retail either – there’s no reason why high street stores couldn’t encourage consumer spending by offering a free branded cooler bag. The gift will be well received, and is perfect for use on a sunny day for picnics in the country or trips to the beach, all the time promoting your company. Offering branded lunch coolers, or picnic kits as gifts to customers can go far in maintaining customer loyalty. Firstly, a gift like this helps your organization to be remembered. Secondly, the usefulness and value of the product ensures you’re seen in good sun light. The bottom line is, though cooler bags are a

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Why are UK businesses drawn to Drawstring Bags?

Why are UK businesses drawn to Drawstring Bags?

Why UK businesses drawn to Drawstring Bags? Posted on July 2, 2019 at 2:30 PM At Bags of Ideas we pride ourselves on our expertise and knowledge Our blogs aim to provide customers and readers with up-to-date information to make sure they choose the right branded tote. But the other day, it dawned on us that while seeking to focus on the latest market trends, we’ve neglected the timeless classics that are guaranteed winners at trade shows and beyond and, hands down, still remain the most popular promotional items. So today we’re looking at a sure fire promo merch winner – cheap drawstring bags. Why are drawstring backpacks still one of the best-selling designs, year after year? And why do so many brands opt for them over other bags such as canvas totes? We’ll also show how the product has evolved over time, from a simple, low cost and very effective polyester plastic drawstring bags to a more feature-packed package, including eco-friendly and bespoke options. In most cases, promotional drawstring bags are simple rucksack with cord or string shoulder straps which also double up as the closing mechanism at the top. The simple reason for their popularity is practicality and versatility, which stretches beyond the use as a promo giveaway. Walk into any sports or luggage shop and you’ll see tons of them on the racks, just like 25 years ago. The simple design and construction makes them cheap compared to other promo items, and very popular for large advertising campaigns, where huge numbers of printed backpacks are required. The flat construction, with a large promotional blank area also makes them perfect for printing, allowing big, bold designs with great results. The polyester construction also allows for great colour choice with little or no difference in unit price, meaning that you can match your brand Pantone with relative ease. More importantly, they can be used effectively in lots of situations and industries. Where a beach bag might have its limitations, the drawstring rucksack does not. Whether you are in the education or construction industry, it is a bag that can be utilised. We thought the best way to show the wide range of uses is to give examples of where they’re employed, and how they’re used in each case. Charities Charities are among the biggest uses of drawstring rucksacks, particularly at large open-air events such as sponsored runs, festivals, sporting events, and the rest. Of course, cost is a major factor for charities and drawstring rucksacks always allow non-profits to stay within their budgets. On top of that, they are ideal to hold other promotional products like travel mugs without spillage. But the biggest benefit is mobility: in a 5K run or half marathon participants can run with the bag on the back as though it wasn’t there, whether it is holding a sweat towel, or a bottle of water. Rucksacks are unobtrusive, carrying the essentials – as well as your brand. Schools Many schools now enhance their local image with branding beyond uniforms. Drawstring rucksacks are great for this. For primary school kids, they can hold all that’s needed for the school day, while in secondary schools they are a great choice as a gym bag or a lunch carrier. Trade shows We’ve looked at trade shows in earlier blogs, where we drew conclusions regarding the bag of choice (large, strong shoppers). Essentially, everyone at a trade show is vying to have the best bag for the day, so at the very least it goes home with the consumer and is reused. But this competition is based on consumers only using their hands. The printed drawstring bag is the exception to this rule. Offering a drawstring rucksack can prove to be a winner; as on the day, it can be worn with ease, and if you have provided a high quality printed bag, it will certainly be taken home. Trade shows are actually one of the places where polyester backpacks with their large print area are not widely used, so it could be a tactical advantage to improve visibility on the day as well as beyond. Construction/Onsite Another area where drawstring bags have proven popular is construction or warehouses, where they are employed by staff to carry personal items and lunch. All these scenarios have the added benefit of usage away from the workplace: they get used in day-to-day life, be it as a canvas drawstring gym sack, or a tote bag for a day at the park, raising your brand visibility. Product Evolution Over time, the drawstring rucksack has evolved in many ways, ensuring its popularity in the promotional market remains. Today the options available stretch further than choice of colour, to the material – for example cotton canvas or the better quality 100 cotton. In the case of a bag, size can be important, as can the eco credentials and the branding possibilities. Below we’ve selected some product variations to highlight why this drawstring rucksacks remain one of the best selling promotional bags out there. Eco-Drawstring In previous blogs we have looked at why businesses need to make the shift away from disposable plastic bags, wholesale. To meet a growing demand from Eco-conscious organisations, the classic cotton drawstring bag is an obvious and ideal choice. Punda Cotton Drawstring Bag Rpet Drawstring Backpack Increased Practicallity Times change, so do demands. The simple plastic drawstring may still be effective but some marketing campaigns need that little bit extra. The addition of extra features like pockets & pouches, multi-colour designs and transparent materials has increased appeal. With more on-trend designs now readily available “off the shelf” you main now have to go down the bespoke route to find the perfect option. The way they’re made has also advanced in such a way that 100% full colour design can achieved without having to venture to the Far East, and that means you don’t have to plan six to nine months to be as creative as you want. Shoop Draw String Peek Drawstring Rucksack Daffy Non-Woven

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Conference Bags can be a talking point all of their own

Conference Bags can be a talking point all of their own

Conference Bags can be a talking point all of their own Posted on June 19, 2019 at 12:30 PM Summer’s here, so why are talking about conference season? We’re looking at promotional conference bags because it takes time to plan for a trade show. Though the next few months may promise to be heady days of music and arts festivals, September’s not so far away. The corporate season will be back in full swing before you know it, so now’s the time to make sure you’re be prepared with the right tote for the job. What is a “conference bag”, anyway? And what use are they? Are there any alternatives, and what else can branded document and conference folders be used for? Conference bags – including document cases, or document wallets – are usually given away at gatherings of like-minded professionals, generally to hold supporting literature from the day’s events. They are also commonplace at lectures ans seminars, be they academic or business. Conference-goers get a branded conference handed to them at the entrance or found waiting at their seat, chock-a-block with information on the event and additional promotional items. Size and design are important factors in helping you come up with the right conference bag ideas. Dimensions are informed by the paper sizes of documents (generally A3, A4 or A5). Most have a handle and a flap closure. Some document wallets also have additional pockets or holders for power banks, pens, flash drives and other accessories. Materials vary, from low cost polypropylene “popper wallets” to more upmarket options made from nylon and even neoprene. Some folders can now even accommodate a laptop, as well as documents and literature, and often feature lightweight shoulder straps as well as carry handles. But perhaps conference folders’ real USP is the promotional aspect: clear branding helps to promote brand recognition, and ensures attendees won’t forget the event. And brand awareness lives on as delegates head home with their swag bags, displaying your logo far beyond the confines of the conference hall. Of course, branded conference bags work best as a promotional tool in situations where there is a single host. As they are the only material received, the resulting “goodie bag” clearly associates good times with your conference bags. UK trade shows – which are generally larger – present a different challenge, as we explained in our blog about how to choose the right business bag. The competitive scenario of a big trade fair calls for bolder and brasher designs. Packed and Prepared So how do you choose the right bag for your conference? Consider the variables. So you’re probably thinking “budget”, but there are other important factors too. What’s going inside? Will it just be holding literature from the day, or will there be a promotional product pack too? Everything has to fit, so at Bags of Ideas we always suggest trying out a sample gift bag or two to test how well it all fits. The actual promotional style is important too: conference gift bags are not always the easiest items to brand. Think about the required area for the design, the complexity and colourfulness of the logo, as well as the style. Do you want a sleek embroidered design, or an impactful full-colour print? There might also be an event sponsor’s logo, meaning additional designs need to be fitted in. If so, a bag with a large print area is essential. Last but not least, consider your audience. Who’s attending the conference, and what is the event focus? If there’s a green slant to proceedings – say a talk on improving environmental practices for business – shouldn’t you consider, for example, a jute conference bag with an impeccable eco pedigree. On the other hand, if delegates are “tech savvy” then a more feature-packed tote with pockets galore may go down well. Here are just some suggestions from our extensive collection, complete with examples of their use. • A jute bag, ideal for an environmentally-focused event • Kansas document bag, full off additional features, ideal for a tech crowd • Philadelphia Conference bag. Ideal for an event with additional, bulky giveaways, such as travel mugs Beyond the Conference Hall One of the biggest trends Bags of Ideas has seen in recent years is the take-up of standard printed conference bags by the educational sector, particularly academy schools. For a school focused on public image, branded folders are the ideal solution to transporting the day’s required reading to and from the campus. This increases public visibility of the school name and its crest, which can be hugely beneficial to local image and reputation. Conference-style bags are now widely adopted by UK educational institutions, from major secondary school through to the local infants class, or even nursery. There’s no limit Some may argue that the event-focus of a conference bag reduces its reach as tool for brand awareness. What guarantee that it will survive beyond the day of the show? Conference bags have their uses, but if their principal objective is to raise your business profile, you need them to be used again and again. If you have a conference coming up, think “outside the bag” when it comes to choosing your next giveaway. Instead of a “traditional style” carrier, how about a large shoulder tote instead? It might then be used as a work or school tote, or as a shopping bag. Not only will the user have an improved perception of your organisation, your brand will seen further afield. 10oz Canvas Shopper Halfar Modern Classic Shopper Pimbi Canvas Document Bag And remember, just because you’re hosting a conference, you don’t have to use a “conference bag”. Without increasing your budget you could provide a bag suitable for event attendees’ requirements, which could also be reused again and again, for the trip to the local Tesco or the daily commute or trip to the gym.   Bags of Ideas has a range of great ideas for shopper and shoulder bags. The right choice will guarantee a

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Choosing the right shopper for the job

Choosing the right shopper for the job

Choosing the right shopper for the job Posted on May 28, 2019 at 12:30 PM In part one of this two-part article, we covered the key benefits of choosing bags as a promotional item and why, year after year, they’re still the most popular and effective promo giveaway, beating power banks, bottle openers and travel mugs into a cocked hat. But with so many bags to choose from, and so many differing business needs and varying budgets, how do you choose the right one? This blog aims to help you make that decision, and ensure your brand gets the most prominence. Of course, as you’ll no doubt already have seen on the Bags of Ideas website, there’s a huge range of branded bags online to choose from and we don’t have the room to cover them all here, so we’re going to focus on the UK’s most common reason for buying promotional material – giveaways. And as a giveaway doesn’t generate a direct income, choosing the right product is vital to justify the expenditure. Free! Free! Free! The BOI definition of a ‘giveaway’ is a branded bag; literally given away (generally) in high quantities at an event such as a university fair, trade show or festival. The purpose is to increase awareness of your brand on the day of the show, and beyond. If purchased in bulk – orders of over 100k are out of the ordinary, and if you shop correctly they can be a low cost item. Several charities use a branded reusable bag as a thank you for a donation, even for quite small sums. But your ultimate selection depends on how you intend to hand them out and to whom. I know what you are thinking – surely it is the budget that will ultimately determine what bag will be used. You wouldn’t be wrong. But in this blog, our focus is on making the right decision based on your business needs. Understanding how promotional bag marketing works could even lead you to reconsider your plans, and even rejig the budget. There are two obvious scenarios which dictate the right branded freebie: we can call them “Competitive” and “Non-competitive”. • Competitive describes a situation such as an event where you are one of many organisations – perhaps in direct competition – such as a trade show. • Non-Competitive scenarios might include an event you are running – a conference, or a music festival – so you’re the only source of promotional product.   A competitive scenario forces you to choose something that paints the right picture of your brand, but still ensures that your bag is the must-have of the day. At a trade show your potential customers spend their day going from stand to stand, picking up some sort of promotional ‘freebie’ at each one. Most of these come with a printed shopping bag – containing catalogues and smaller promotional items – and they soon build up. Loaded down with goodies, most show-goers choose one printed carrier bag from their collection to store everything else in, and some cases some promotional conference bags will be disposed of in the process. You have to be the business providing those essential branded tote bags that survive the cull. Your bag needs to be big – with a gusset so it can hold all of the other stuff – and it should be strong and comfortable to carry. If you can, opt for a dual-handled branded canvas bag, the ultimate bonus feature (long and short) is ideal, meaning it can be used as a tote or a shoulder bag. In these Eco-conscious times, Branded plastic bags are simply out of the question, and not just because plastic carrier bags are still ending up in landfill in huge quantities. Choosing branded reusable bags that last long after the day of a trade show, ensures your brand’s visibility goes home with the attendees, and is used long after for the weekly shop or even the daily commute. On the other hand, a non-competitive scenario gives you complete freedom. Lets use a festival as the example – on entry, festival-goers get a programme, food and drink tokens, lanyards and other essential items, all safely coddled in a branded promotional bag. Seems straightforward, but have you given each reveller a printed bag they value enough to hold on to all day and take home as a souvenir of their experience. Hand out a bag with no “sex appeal” and it’s unlikely to travel further than the bin at the burger bar. An ideal festival solution is a rucksack of sorts – perhaps a drawstring bag – which allows the user to walk around hands free. And Festival weather being what it is, a water resistant style is a winner. No matter what the situation, to get the best out of your investment, you need it to be the popular choice so that it is re-used as much as possible, and if the user finds it impractical on the day, chances are it will go nowhere. The Big Decision 1 – Printing Requirements Brand communication is obviously key to promo giveaways, and simple logo design with spot/solid colours gives you the largest choice, simply because it can be printed anywhere. But as the complexity increases, that choice decreases, so it’s always worth asking: should we simplify the design in exchange for a more useful bag? If your design is complex – perhaps multi- or even full-colour – your bag choice should be complimentary. A white bag always brings out the best in full-colour printing, and non-woven polypropylene gives the cleanest result, although cotton bags are also a good choice for a more sophisticated result. As a rule of thumb, if you’ve been thinking about an eco-friendly woven bag – such as Jute – make sure your design is simple. Because of Jute’s coarse nature, screen-printing is advised. Avoid thin detail and complexity, such as fine text and multiple overlapping colours. Full colour prints on

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Lets Benefit from Branded Bags

Lets Benefit from Branded Bags

Lets Benefit from Branded Bags Posted on May 3, 2019 at 2:30 PM Bags of Ideas very purpose is to help businesses find the promotional or branded bags they need, not only by offering the best range of products, but also providing the most accurate and relevant information to ensure customers make the right choice. In this, the first of a two-part blog, we’re going back to the basics of branding and promotional product marketing. We want to show why bags really are the most effective promotional product, and how to get the best out of your marketing investment, no matter what budget you’re working to, or what industry you’re in. We actually touched on this topic in an earlier blog, but this time we thought we’d delve even deeper. Historically, bags have always been one of the best-selling promotional products. In 2015, businesses spent £103million on branded bags in theUK, relegating the next biggest selling item – promotional pens – to a poor second place, by a clear £40 million. Four years on, the promotional product market has grown rapidly, but bags are still far and away the number one product with an estimated expenditure of £140million, or just under 15% of the total market. At Bags of Ideas – the most clued-up suppliers of branded bags online – we believe there is one simple reason for these impressive figures: branded bags are just the most effective promotional product, offering the highest impression rate and the widest geographical spread for brand awareness. In addition, bags don’t suffer from shifting consumer tastes to the same extent of other products, nor are they a seasonal offering. So, what is a branded/promotional bag? Simply put, it can be any type of bag that has been personalised, be it a company logo, a sports crest or any other form of imagery, representing an organisation, society or institution. Bag styles – and branding methods – vary greatly, from screen-printed supermarket plastic carrier bags and branded tote bags and conference bags, to engraved or de-bossed specialist laptop or hiking bags, and everything in between. Bags of Ideas can meet all of your needs, however niche. So let’s first look at the reasons why promotional bags are used, whether they be branded freebies given away at trade shows or university fairs, or a retail product sold on the high street. Brand Awareness Loyalty and Confidence One directly-related benefit to using bags as a marketing tool is customer loyalty and brand strength. Because branded reusable bags are long-lasting – offering continuous function – they stay with the recipients for a long time. Customers see a reliable and durable giveaway as having value, and suggesting strength in an organisation. In turn this promotes loyalty. This also applies to prospective customers; a long lasting, practical tote can encourage inquiries by helping to put out a strong perceived image of your brand. An added benefit is consumer confidence. Pens, for example, are known as a low-cost promotional product. With bags however, companies offering a well-made range of printed bags with desirable designs suggest financial strength, reassuring not only customers but also new prospects of your stability. Brand Identity Versatility is yet another strong selling point. Perhaps you need to promote a new concept or logo that is more than just a single-colour print. Because bags offer a larger print area, they allow for more creativity. A vast range of material options – including jute, cotton, or non-woven – means that even the most complex or intricate designs can be printed with vibrant colour and without compromise. Edge-to-edge, high-resolution full-colour printing means designs can be achieved easily and efficiently. And the longevity of the printed design is much higher than other alternatives. Most other promotional products tend to lose print with normal use – a pen being held, clothing going in the washing machine, a bottle opener on the key ring. Gift bags don’t suffer from this issue: they’re carried over the shoulder or in the hand and any wear is inside the bag, leaving the exterior in better condition. A print that stays intact maintains brand value, as opposed to a print that starts to fade, wear or chip. So how can you the strengths of a promotional bag in your marketing efforts? In part 2 of this blog, we’ll look at a range of bags, strategies and solutions – from low cost giveaways, to retail and for staff usage and motivation. A key factor for investing in any promo item is maintaining or boosting brand awareness. Practically speaking, it doesn’t matter if your business is B2B or B2C, a pen in a pocket, or a bag in the hand will ensure your message is not forgotten, and increases visibility and awareness to potential customers. But the exact level of impact depends more on the choice of product. For starters, to gain the best exposure for your brand or message your chosen vehicle should be practical and reusable. Pens are certainly practical: every desk has a pen on it, and almost everyone carries one in a pocket or a … bag. And they also get re-used until they run out of ink. But how far do they travel? And if you received a branded pen, how many other people would be exposed to the brand it bears if it’s hidden away in a shirt pocket? On the other hand, bags tick all the boxes – using your promo pen, perhaps? Bags are undeniably practical and re-usable, but they also travel as far and wide as their owner, and in plain sight too. Choose the right bag, and the potential visibility can be huge. Imagine the scenario; your company hands out free printed cotton tote bags at their next event, and all 1,000 are eagerly snapped up. That means 1,000 branded conference bags travelling around the event all day, and then on hundreds of different routes home as delegates leave the location at the end of the day. That means 1,000 portable brand ambassadors advertising your message on public transport and in

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Green groceries: Shopping the eco-friendly way

Green groceries: Shopping the eco-friendly way

Green groceries: Shopping the eco-friendly way Posted on April 18, 2019 at 7:30 AM Last time, we saw how the UK’s bag tax was actually working and concluded that despite efforts to cut the use of plastic bags, the increased usage of heavy-gauge plastic bags-for-life was actually failing the environment. The bag tax wasn’t meant to stop people using bags, only the plastic they’re made from. Pollution, wildlife damage and finite resources are forcing us to find alternatives, yet the current bag tax is not leading to the use of greener materials. So what alternative promotional bags are available to replace the cheap carrier bags lining our shores, stuffing landfill sites and drain our precious natural resources? There are many alternatives to the printed carrier bags found at supermarkets and high street stores. But the choice of replacement depends on the context. In some cases, switching from low-cost plastic shopping bags to eco-friendly alternatives may not be viable, so we also aim to provide solutions for smaller businesses. As we saw last time, a big issue is the low value that consumers place on 10p bags-for-life, which is why so many end up in the bin. Increasing the tax this wouldn’t cut the manufacture of plastic carrier bags, but studies show fabric shopping bags – including Cotton, Canvas or Jute – aren’t used as bin liners, and are actually seen as an “asset”. The design and the material of such a bag contributes to the amount of re-use; the most-used bags feature custom prints, with the rate of re-use goes up in line with the attractiveness of the design, not only for shopping trips, but day-to-day. So, what factors improve re-use? Below we outline eco friendly solutions to the generic branded carrier bags available in your local supermarket, restaurant or clothing store. Whatever your need Bags of Ideas has custom carrier bags ready to print. Jute Bags The first eco-friendly material is jute, a heavy-duty material that is a popular choice to replace the single use bag. This style – with a rigid structure, and strong build – is particularly suited to supermarket shopping, allowing for easy packing and assurance with heavy loads. Jute bags are readily available in supermarkets, normally at a minimal cost to the consumer, but are rarely sold in retail without a custom design and print. A well thought out, on-trend and appealing design often leads to high demand. An example is gift bags with branding for charities such as Help for Heroes or Comic Relief. Plus, as the consumer is paying for the bag, the likelihood of re-use is greatly increased. By simply switching from plastic to a natural fabric there is little chance of the bag being used to collect and dispose of rubbish. As a retailer trying to encourage consumers to go green, never neglect attractiveness: simply printing your company logo may not be enough. Bespoke options being endless, there’s already a wide range of jute bags on the market. Trying to push an eco product based on profit margins may backfire – think more about the intended use. Cotton Bags “Cotton shoppers” is a generic term for bags made out of cotton or canvas – simply a heavier duty cotton). In some ways they are even more attractive than Jute, including the obvious fact Cotton is softer, lending themselves more to clothing retail than food. Jute still wins on strength and robustness, but Cotton is better for printed carrier bags used in clothing retail where the alternative is a printed plastic bag. One noticeable difference between Cotton and Jute is the pattern of re-use. Jute bags are mostly linked to supermarket shopping whereas Cotton appeals more for trips to the office or gym, high street shopping or as a school bag. It’s also worth pointing out that end-user cost is a consideration. Compared to Jute, the wholesale price of Cotton bags is lower, yet they usually bear a higher retail price tag. Yet the biggest source of reuse comes from giveaways at trade shows and education fairs, suggesting the high price tags adopted by retailers may not the right direction to go. Unlike supermarkets, high-street retailers often feature eco bags as part of their brand, and they are sold as a fashion item at consistent prices. The comparison below shows a jute bag-for-life, from a supermarket, against a canvas bag for sale on the high street, alongside the purchase price for similar bags. Retail Price £18 (H&M) Canvas Shopper Bag Under £5 (Bags of Ideas) Retail Price from £3-5 (M&S, Tesco) Market Jute Shopper £1.70 (Bags of Ideas) The price difference is huge, and no doubt discourages investment. Maybe if high street retailers took the same view as supermarkets, there would be more commitment to the use of eco-friendly bags-for-life. Smaller Businesses Promoting eco-friendly shopping may be riskier for smaller business. Investing in eco bags for direct sale to customers to re-use at your shop may not be financially viable in the medium to long term. One option might be to incentivise your customer to return with your old plastic bags, offering a discount for those who bring their own. Such a strategy, if it became popular, could significantly reduce your requirements for plastic carriers. Clearly, the current bag tax is not having enough impact and consumers can be encouraged to switch if the alternative is attractive enough proposition. Small adjustments from retailers could have a big impact on the way we shop.

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Bags for Life UK: The Reusable Bag Movement

Bags for Life UK: The Reusable Bag Movement Posted on March 29, 2019 at 4:30 PM No-one can escape the fact that the planet’s resources are running out – and have been for a long time. There’s more and more pressure to “go-green” every day. Yet by making small adjustments here and there, using recycling bins, using more efficient vehicles, car-sharing or shopping responsibly, we can all make a difference. The Bag Tax was introduced in England on October 5, 2015, the last of the home nations to do so. It was among the most visible moves by government to get us to switch from flimsy throwaway plastic bags to more heavy duty, reusable, eco-friendly carrier bags. Official figures show the numbers of single-use bags by the seven biggest supermarket chains has declined by more than 86% since the charge was introduced. And the total number of single-use plastic carriers sold by all 249 UK retailers who reported in 2017-18 was 1.75 billion – down from 7.6 billion in 2014. On the surface all this seems positive but recent data paints a different picture. Currently, supermarket shoppers pay 5p per single use plastic bag, or 10p for a Bag-for-Life: generally made from more heavy duty types of plastic, creating a bag with a much longer life span. Paper bags are not affected by the tax. As a result, the UK is has seen a huge increase in the sale of plastic Bags-for-Life – at least 1.18 billion. In reality, because of their generally larger size, and thicker profile, these are actually estimated to contain at least twice the amount of plastic contained in the old single use throwaways. It would be great if these purchases lead to more eco-friendly usage, such as re-use at the weekly supermarket shop. However, new research shows that although consumers buy Bags-for-Life with good intentions, they generally end up by using them in the same way as the old single use plastic bags. The statistics make grim reading: more and more 10p Bag-for-Life are ending up in landfill – despite clear indications to consumers that they can be recycled. A lot simply end up as bin liners. What’s worse is that the heavier duty Bags-for-Life are tougher than the single use bags they were meant to replace, and make take even longer to degrade. Some critics suggest that the Bag Tax concept needs an adjustment to have any real impact on the vast amounts of plastic still ending up in our streets and hedgerows and rivers, and choking sea life. At Bags of Ideas, we believe there are real solutions. If the widely-available alternative to single-use bags was a material other than plastic – such as a cotton or jute bag complete with your company brand – we might really help to save the planet. Eco-friendly natural-material Bag-for-Life designs also offer perceived value to the customer. Heavy duty, practical and memorable, a reusable shopping bag is much more likely to end up back at the check-out week after week. Britain’s supermarkets and high street stores do offer a wide range of real eco Bags-for-Life. They range from tote bags and printed shoulder bags, to larger jute shopping bags and cotton bags, but it’s clear that the use of this style of branded Bag-for-Life needs to be encouraged. Bags of Ideas sees many potential strategies to increase the use of eco-bags, reducing the use of plastic and enhancing brand recognition and public image through the increased visibility of personalised Bags-for-Life. Our custom bag company specialises in finding great solutions to particular problems. We believe we’ve identified several opportunities – other than selling directly to consumers – that utilise branded reusable shopping printed Bags-for-Life. All are made from alternatives to plastic, which not only reduce single bag usage but, at the same time, improve your Brand’s public image and increase public awareness. Customer loyalty is the foundation of two clear opportunities to increase the usage of printed plastic-free Bags-for-Life. Many retailers already run loyalty schemes where customers exchange collected points for in-store discounts or special offers. Why not allow customers to exchange some of their points for eco-friendly shopper bags made from natural fibres? This concept is attractive to company and consumer alike: on the one hand, the shopper “pays” nothing for the gift of the bag, and on the other the retailer retains the customer’s loyalty through repeat custom. In practice, point accumulation easily offsets the cost of manufacture of a custom-designed bag, plus there’s the added benefit of increased brand awareness. Design you Bag-for-Life correctly, and consumers will not only use it for the weekly shop, but for everyday use. Alternatively, a free Bag-for-Life could be offered to customers based on in-store expenditure. Spend X and get one free grocery bag, spend Y and receive two, and so on. To encourage repeat custom retailers might also offer a discount for customers returning to shop with the company-branded bags. But suppose your company does not sell physical products. What benefit might a custom tote Bag-for-Life bring? Bags of Ideas believes your company promotional profile would also benefit from incorporating this style of bag. Whether you attend trade shows or university fairs, handing out an eco-friendly, reusable Bag-for-Life will almost certainly improve the reach of your promotion. Choose the right custom bag company branding, and it will be re-used over and over, not only reducing cost per impression, but also ensuring potential clients see your brand. Inevitably, approaching this topic from the right angle, can bring your custom promotional bags wholesale increases in visibility. And these benefits outweigh the costs because their reach extends beyond your direct customer. Not only are your helping the planet, you’re helping your brand.

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