The true origins of the word swag are unknown. Swag means a few different things, but in the corporate world it typically refers to promotional products. You know, that stuff you get handed when you walk around the expo hall at conferences.

All those pens, flash drives, stickers, and cheap sunglasses are used as giveaways with the hopes of promoting the company’s brand. The question becomes, do those types of goods provide value? Or do most of those items end up in the trash can at the exit door? Truthfully it’s the latter.

So why do companies spend so much time and money on promotional products nobody wants or uses? In a whopping $40 billion industry one would think there’s a solution that offers a simple way to purchase high quality swag. That’s where co-founders Jeremy Parker and Joshua Orbach saw their opportunity, and swag.com was born.

Focus on Quality over Quantity

Here’s the bottom line. When your swag is premium, your brand is premium. Conversely, poor quality swag sends a bad message to not only the public but also your team. Unless you’re a household name like Nike or Apple, there’s a slim chance someone is going to stick your company logo on the back of their laptop. Pens? Flash drives? Who uses flash drives anymore? The point is, low quality swag is not only harmful to your brand but it also to your bank account.

Think of swag as you’d think of your own products or services. In consumer software, companies are laser focused on iterating their products to fit customer preferences. They build things that people want to use. Same should go for your swag. Purchase branded items that people will use and want to keep. The longer the item is used, the more exposure for your brand.

Building the Better Platform

The platform is simple. Create the easiest way for brands to customize high quality products.

“We’ve streamlined the entire buyer experience, making it really easy to find what you are looking for, design and buy it, in a matter of seconds.” Parker explains.

He also mentions, “swag.com curates the best of what’s out there. Over 95% of the products we tested didn’t make the cut.”

Quality starts from within and Parker and Orbach strive to practice what they preach. The platform offers exclusive products like Knomo London, Bellroy, and Incase and have patent-pending color detection software that not only detects the number of colors when you upload your logo, but the closest Pantone matches.

The company was founded in 2016 and has seen a massive 300% growth year over year since then. They’ve inked deals with thousands of customers including the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google, WeWork, Netflix, and more. The startup is also backed by Uncommon Denominator, the same investors behind Dollar Shave Club and Boxed. Needless to say, they are surely making a dent in the industry.

What’s Next?

While they have sustained amazing success so far, co-founders Orbach and Parker have their work cut out for them. Competitors like CustomInk have dominated the promotional products space for quite some time. It can be very tough to compete in a market where your competition can “out-market” you at every corner.

That said, Parker and Orbach are confident that they have the better solution, not only in terms of their platform and the products that they offer but their vision altogether. The two don’t plan to slow down anytime soon and will continue to chip away at the $40 billion promotional product industry one piece of swag at a time.

Deanna Ritchie

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content development.