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Let's Start At The Very Beginning

It's a very good place to start.

17 years ago, we embarked on a entrepreneurial journey, incorporating Promotional Partners, as a woman-owned company back in May of 2007. While seventeen years is a long stretch of time, it's part of a journey we love that started back in 1440; yep, WAY BACK.

Let's take a look at the roots of our industry- a bit before our time.

In 1440 Johannes Gutenburg invented the first mechanical printing press. If you've ever been to Colonial Williamsburg you've seen first hand the "power of the press"- aka, the physical work to transfer the inked letters, numbers & symbols to the page. Then in 1789, commemorative buttons were made to celebrate the inauguration of George Washington. Going a bit more modern, jump ahead to 1852 when Adolphus Busch gave away corkscrews imprinted with the Anheuser-Busch company logo; beer was sold with a corkscrew gift.

It was Jasper Meek, who was name the “Father of Promotional Products” for his promotional burlap bags for small businesses in 1887. The story passed along relates that he kept seeing kids drop their school books in the dirt & mud. In an effort to increase profits, keeping his newspaper business printing more than once a day, he promoted to the local general store that their business would grow by giving out burlap bags with their store name for the kids to carry their books.

Products like political buttons, coins, even key tags were among the first branded products and then in 1900 Coca- Cola took branding to an entirely new level with franchising and brand consistency. Everyone knows Coca- Cola red when they see it or the iconic font, right?

In 1935 pens, still a go to item, followed by bumper stickers in 1946 became low cost ways to promote your business that are still popular today. However, did you know that the first logoed towel, call the Terrible Towel, was created by the late Pittsburg Steelers broadcast Myron Cope? For the 1975 playoff game, Cope encouraged attendees to bring a yellow dish towel to cheer on the Steelers- from there, the birthplace of the rally towel that defined the 80's.

In the 1990s, promotional t-shirts became the " go to" promotional item, popular for advertising everything from brand names to bands, and movies alike.

In the early 2000s, floppy discs were replaced by USBs - still used today.

In 2004, it was the Livestrong bracelets - yep, silicone bracelets are still being used for all types of awareness campaigns & unity. During COVID they were a clever way to let folks know your level of comfort with social distancing. Did you jump into the fidget spinners craze created in 1993 by Catherine Hettinger? These toys were used as a health benefit to children with anxiety and/or ADHD.

In 2020, the pandemic put a spotlight on personal protection equipment and we printed a lot of masks, gloves, gaiters and such. The point of this time line is to remind you that our newsletters and blog are excellent access points to the trends you should be following for your brand. Promotional items are only "stuff" not making an impression or working effectively as a marketing & advertising tool without a knowledgeable partner.

One of many trends we discussed earlier in the year was the popularity of Stanley brand and how the shape was defining the landscape of promotional drinkware. True to our education roots, we share key aspects of what to look for in comparing this type of product, guided you to some affordable options, and of course how we merge our graphic talents & our marketing expertise to use the surface of products as a canvas for your message.

If you follow our newsletter, this month has some special perks for you. If you follow our socials, then you will see today's "Stanley" challenge start to play out. Keep following for the results.

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