By Jason Terry, talking about company branded tchotchkes for client gifts and networking events.
I love giving gifts to people. It’s a fun and unexpected moment for the recipient, and it just feels good to make someone’s day. I’ve carried that practice into the business for years in the form of Blue Gurus Tchotchkes.
I’m not sure where I developed the passion for branding. When I thought about it, the first thing that popped into my head was being proud of my high school. I had a letter jacket and lots of things with the Wichita Northwest High School grizzly paw stamped or embroidered on them. Binders, hats, and my gym bag. Then I went to college at Kansas State University, and my wardrobe quickly became predominantly purple, along with a bunch of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.
I think the reason I love branding is that it shows how passionate I am about the groups I’m actively involved in, and the teams or organizations I love to support. I’m proud of the work we do at Blue Gurus. Add my passion for gift giving and tchotchkes is built into our DNA. When you see Mic and I around the city, you can be sure the logo is on our shirts and in our bags, and we usually have something ready to hand out.
Tchotchke: a small bauble or miscellaneous item. The word may also refer to free promotional items dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and similar commercial events. They can also be sold as cheap souvenirs in tourist areas, which are sometimes called “tchotchke shops”. (Pronounced “chotch-key”)
The very first tchotchke I ordered with the Blue Gurus logo on it was pens from PensRUs.com. I started giving them out at LinkedIn training classes for attendees to take notes. And I left them at the ATM at banks and at the table at restaurants… and saw them in circulation over time.
The idea wasn’t all about spreading the brand, even though that’s a nice result. People that come to our training classes don’t always have paper and pen to take notes. So I took care of that. When I went to the bank to deposit a check, I was always searching for a pen. So I solved that for myself and the person following me. And I noticed that waiters and waitresses struggle to keep working pens handy, because patrons accidentally take them with them after signing the credit card receipt when paying for their meal. So I started the habit of leaving Blue Gurus pens at restaurants.
Over the years since that first pen order, I’ve bought lots of different things with the Blue Gurus logo on them. Coffee mugs, stadium cups, small and large umbrellas, stainless steel mugs, coolers, backpacks, and even USB fans. (The USB fans are always a hit, they plug into a laptop USB port and create a surprisingly strong breeze. Really useful when you find yourself working in a hot office or in the middle of summer.)
Recently, I’ve ordered super light travel backpacks, better quality pens, embossed leather note folios, magnetic chip clips and ice scrapers, all with the Blue Gurus logo. (I know, I know, ice scrapers in April? They were on sale…) These items will end up being gifts for clients, family and friends.
Just about all of our shirts (polos, dress shirts, T-shirts) were sourced and embroidered by Keith’s company. He has also embroidered lots of items like our coats and laptop bags. Last year, he gave me the idea of Blue Gurus bottle openers. They were a big hit.
One of the things I love most about Keith is that he always has great ideas when I ask him for new gift ideas. And he’s amazingly easy to work with. If you need help, give Keith a call.
I hope you found this story helpful! Let me know if you have any creative tchotchke ideas for me… always looking for fun new things. Have a great week!