To Swag or not to Swag

TREND WHISPERER:  A blog by Sherri Scheck-Merrill

Goodie bag, gift bag, party favor. Turn-down gift.  To one degree or another, many of us have been fortunate enough to receive one, whether at an event, conference or party.  Now, the latest trend in gifting your guests is swag_turndownthe “you-never-know-what-your going-to-get” swag bag.

The surprise element of a swag bag will delight any recipient as it’s not filled with traditional giveaways but rather creative, off-the-wall, never-before-seen products. The swags we read about contain multiple over-the-top gifts, but for the everyday recipient (corporate or personal), mixing and matching three to five unique giveaways will do wonders to impress any guest.

swag_nicebagsPulling off a memorable bag of swag requires constant sourcing of offbeat and new products and an amazingly unique bag or box which is a gift in itself.  Try to refrain from using the predictable and all-too-common silk drawstring bags, or even a traditional gift bag filled with tissue.

Swag Bags can be themed –  spa products that pamper, locally sourced edibles and beverages, seasonal items (think fun-in-the-sun products), his, her and kid themed bags or a mixture of unrelated products.swag_bubblebath

After a recent role creating the green room space at a popular gift lounge during the Oscar festivities, I was the fortunate recipient of a press-worthy swag bag . Let’s just say I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  It was the same bag that wowed a few of the nominees who attended the gifting suite and although the swanky and luxurious getaways, motor scooters and elaborate gifts the celebs received were pulled from my bag, the products were geniously creative and something I’ll never forget.  The contents included:


       Swag_snacks  –Midnight snacks in a wooden cigar box

         –Complimentary coupons at local establishments (spa’s & restaurants)

         –Cozy his & her socksswag_socks

         –Bubble bath kit for kids

         –A variety of rubber ducks themed for each season

         –Power stick portable charger

         –A bracelet device to take better selfies

        swag_penlightsCaviar wax beads (in lieu of candles)


         –Metallic pens

         –Stainless steel pen with a flashlight

         –Abalone coaster

         –Keychain flashlight

         –Flip flopsswag_suntan

         –Boxed vs. plastic bottled water

         –Rhinestone encrusted Band-Aids

        swag_braintonicFragrance samples

         –Metal handled toothbrush with brush cover

         –Brownie chips

      Remember, when it comes to the ultimate swag bag, it’s all about offering the most unexpected and quirky products you can source and presenting them in an equally unique bag or box.

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DSC01025Sherri Scheck-Merrill is a hospitality industry professional with a passion for excellent hotels and resorts. She is passionate about hotels, interior design, fashion, and beauty. As Vice President of Amenity Services Inc., she focuses on hotel business development and guestroom product design. She distinguishes herself by researching, teaching and reporting U.S. trends for her own fashion and export business. She is a three-time nominee for Businesswoman of the Year by California’s Orange County Business Journal. A UNLV student-athlete/Harvard Executive Education Consumer Marketing graduate, she licenses popular retail brands for hotel guestrooms.  After spending several years on a tennis court, followed by the role of head buyer at the largest West Coast-based sporting goods and fashion apparel export company, Sherri’s knack for predicting trends landed her a columnist position at Orange Coast Magazine. She is also the author of the biannual trend-forecasting report for a major retailer in Osaka, Japan, and writes a popular blog about trends for Hotels – the magazine of the worldwide hotel industry.
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