11 Stellar Startup Giveaways: Your Ultimate Schwag Inspiration Guide

Startup Schwag. It’s the perfect symbiosis.  You give person X something necessary to his/her life, person X gives you free advertising.  Unfortunately, this practice has become such common practice, that (like all marketing) entrepreneurs must now discover new and creative ways to fill the gaps of our lives.  Sorry to say it, but t-shirts, sunglasses, and stickers just aren’t going to do it.

That’s why the below highlights 11 examples of original startup schwag – creative items that have helped startups stand out from the pack – to serve as inspiration for you to do the same.

1) Chapstick

Startup: Suitey

Story: “Everyone in our office loves chapstick and we were sitting around trying to decide what Suitey giveaway we wanted to make when my co-founder Phil realized that 2 of the 4 people he was talking to were putting on chapstick as they were brainstorming. The lightbulb went off! Our team loves it and everyone that comes by our office is happy to grab one.”

2) Koozies

Startup: Tikly

Story: “We sell tickets to live events of all sizes & koozies come in handy at most of these (festivals, rock shows, art fests) – plus, everyone loves a koozie!”

tikly koozie

3) Coupon Code $100 Bills

Startup: Staff.com

Story: “Whenever we go to a conference we walk around with a wad of 100 dollar bills in our lapel pockets. I don’t even ask, people just grab. It’s a great conversation starter.”

4) Flasks

Startup: Enplug


5) Shoelaces

Startup: SweatGuru

Story: “We figure there are only a few things every fitness enthusiast needs – one being bright shoelaces to inspire them to run farther, push harder, go faster, and do more!”

SweatGuru Shoelaces

6) Bow-tie Keychain

Startup: WeDeliver

7) Hybrid iPhone Case / Credit Card Holder

Startup: Speek

Story: “Who doesn’t want an iPhone case that can also carry a credit card??”

8) Ping Pong Balls

Startup: Jebbit

Jebbit ping pong balls

9) Coffee Mugs

Startup: The Gabriel Institute, home of Teamability

Story: “To fund product enhancements, we launched a crowdfunding campaign. The campaign featured entrepreneur-friendly schwag including original designs for “I Crowdfund” mug set. (Note to ‘treps: The campaign was a success, raising $40k in 40 days)”

coffee mug

10) Stuffed Felt Toy Logo

Startup: MightyYeti

Story: “People have loved our logo character since its debut, and to have a stuffed felt toy version of it as a giveaway is something both kids and adults love. Its hand made in eastern Europe by a woman we met through an online marketplace. It has a great handmade made feel and brings a smiles to people’s faces.”


11) Condoms

Startup: FringeSport

Story: “At FringeSport, we make strength and conditioning equipment for the CrossFit movement. One of the common bits of slang in CrossFit is “AMRAP” – As Many Repetitions As Possible. We thought it would be funny to put that on a condom wrapper and hand out at the CrossFit Games. They were a big hit- the only problem was that they were so colorful that a lot of kids at the event were just as interested as their parents. And it was also funny- we have a some pretty girl employees that were handing them out and a few guys told them ‘No thanks, I don’t use condoms!'”

What are some other creative giveaways you’ve seen?  Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:
When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.
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