The Most Fun I've Ever Had With Swag

  • Jul 25, 2022

My love affair with swag began when I had to buy it.  While working as a marketing manager in NYC I was in charge of events.  Pulling off successful corporate events isn't easy, and a lot of it isn't fun.  But the swag always was!  Choosing swag was always my favorite part.   And although our booth was always stocked with pens, I never had only pens.  Pens are awesome, everyone uses them, and you get a great return on investment.  But they don't create buzz.  No "hey what booth did you get THAT at"?

My company won several awards for best show giveaway and we always had a highly-trafficked booth.  So I suppose it was only natural that eventually, I decided to go into the swag business and do what I love full time.

And it's been a ride.  When I first started out I went to local networking events, and one of the groups I joined, a BNI, became my favorite and a large part of my life for several years in the 2010's.  I made connections I am still in contact with, and more importantly, real friends whom I still socialize with.  The group met in Garden City on Long Island, and many of our events were in and around the Roosevelt Field mall, especially at Ruth's Chris steakhouse there.   I planned most of the events, actually, I pretty much planned all of them, and they called me the party girl.  Sure, some of that was because of my penchant for the blood orange martinis Ruth's Chris served, but most of it was because I'm just good at planning events. 

Two of the iconic stories from that networking group I will never forget. The first one was the night of a very successful and large event at Ruth's Chris, when I wore my favorite dark brown suede skirt.  It's a legendary skirt really.  But I had gained a few pounds that particular month of holiday parties, and was probably ill-advised to wear it.  I got the zipper up but it was snug.  After a couple of blood orange martinis I went to the ladies room and then made the fatal error of unzipping the skirt to fix my top...and when I went to get it back up it split.  The zipper broke.  It's a wrap skirt and the zipper is the entire closure.   So there I was, two martinis in, with a skirt I had to hold around me if I didn't want to walk through the restaurant in my underwear.  Amazingly, the manager happened to come into the ladies room.  She found me standing there with a stunned and panicked look on my face.

"Let me see that," she commanded.  And she did command.  This is not a woman who is unsure of herself.  She got stuff done, period.  And she got my zipper back together.  I never forgot her and we would laugh about it every time I went back. 

The other incident was when one of the members, a personal injury attorney, came up and asked me if I could get imprinted vibrators.  Well, I didn't even know they made those, but hey, I'm sex-positive, so I promised him I would find out.  Then he told me he had bought some for a Las Vegas event a few years ago, but "they were too small."

I lost it.  I couldn't hold it together at that point.  I had to tell everyone else why I was laughing so hard, and then we were all cracking up.  Kenny took it well, he's a good sport.  Plus, he never cared what people were saying as long as they were talking about him.  He never lived his complaint about too-small vibrators down though. 

Since then, my company grew, and I've been all over the country attending new product expos, and at big shows my clients were doing.   My clients' largest shows tend to be in Vegas and Nashville, but also NYC. 

One of them was last year, and I stayed at the Wynn with them in Vegas.  I got a room on a lower floor, but they had a suite on the 50th, and I had to go up and down 50 floors on that damn elevator all week.  Not my favorite thing, but I did it, smiling, and that's all that matters.  

At another client show, in LA this time, I was helping in the booth, when we realized that someone kept sneaking in and stealing the gorgeous stainless steel water bottles we did.  I mean, I won't say it's strictly one per person, but when you come back 7 and 8 times, that's not cool.  Of course, I was flattered they liked the bottles so much since I had designed the wrap-around art. 

And then of course, there is MJ Bizcon, the large cannabis show in Vegas.

I was walking the floor and giving out such awesome swag that people kept trying to get me to come outside and smoke as a thank you.  I have enough problems without being high while working thank you!   No judgement, but for myself, I can't handle that.  The results would be hilarious but also stunningly unprofessional I am sure.  And imagine if I had a problem with my skirt!

There was the time in 2019 we shot these across the room at an event.  That was a fun night. 

The outdoor event this June were we set these up and gave these to the winners. 

The time pieces were missing from a booth setup and I attached it using the bunjee cords I always carry with me, and people started calling me Lady MacGyver. 

So many events, so much fun, so much amazing swag.  

The fun stopped in 2020 of course, and swag became about staying in touch with clients and boosting employee morale with individually drop-shipped swag boxes.  And that was a learning experience and I developed skills that will last a lifetime.  So no complaints, but now the fun is back in 2022.  And I love that for us. 


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