Thursday, July 20, 2006

You Got Schwag!

What is schwag? I first heard this word used back in 2001 -- and coming from this particular marketing person -- having her say "Schwag" is like someone trying to be hip by saying "Cool Beings" all the time. Didn't fit.

At the time, I understood the word to mean low grade or cheap marijuana. Not exactly a word to use in a public conversation.

"You got any free schwag?"

"No, I don't have any crap weed."

"What is Woo talking about?"

These days since we are living in Web 2.0 world, schwag has come to mean "trinkets that often used as give aways" or "low grade or cheap giveaways or crap stuff". Like calendars that real estate agents give out.

Fortunately not all schwag is low grade stuff. Having been in the record business and with Mrs. WonderDawg still involved on the Christian music side, we get our fair share of trinkets. The nice stuff comes from tech companies, visiting trade shows or if you are a donor to a high brow organization, the quality is much better. Like gift cards. Books. Logos etched in glass. Polo shirts.

I like getting schwag. But I don't frame anything, display it necessary or even put it away to cherish at a later day. It just gets push off to a corner of the desk or in a drawer. For example, stuff that just happened to be around:

(Promo DVD, luggage tags, mints, pens, light up stuff, notepads, giftcard, disposable cameras... I've got boxes of this stuff all over the house accumulated over the past thirty years.)

I recently cleared out some extras of buttons for a recent photo contest on this blog:

As you can tell, I've been hanging on to these items since 1979 and was thrilled to put them to good use.

If you like trinkets and want to have a constant source of modern Web 2.0 schwag, there's a new startup company called ValleySchwag.

Their website says: "Out here in the Valley (Silicon Valley, that is) we're well known for cookin' up a mean tech company. But our real legacy is our schwag--the t-shirts, ballcaps, notepads, stickers, keychains, and other booty blaring the slogans that create new industries."

ValleySchwag goes out and finds the best Silicon Valley giveaways and for a modest monthly fee of $14.95, they'll ship a different selection of "t-shirts, ballcaps, notepads, stickers, keychains, and other booty" to your door. Now entering its fourth month, ValleySchwag has already reached over 1500 subscriptions.

Like any startup, they're going through some growth pains, limited inventory to spread around, shipping and billing cycles not syncing up, unmet expectations and with customers posting their booty of stuff on Flickr, some other customers are feeling shortchanged. To ValleySchwag's credit, they are very responsive on their Chronicles of ValleySchwag blog and are striving to improve the process of "spreading the schwag love" around in a way that pleases everybody.

My first batch arrived in a burlap bag...

and included the following items:

The T-Shirt was ok, and the rest were stickers and some cards. Not very compelling stuff. Like PeeWee Herman said, "I've seen better heads on boils."

The second shipment came last week and it was much better:

I got a JumpCut T-Shirt, more stickers, a pen, a poster advertising a ValleySchwag Hoedown and Superman cookies which was awesome!

ValleySchwag promises a T-Shirt each month in the size you specify when you sign up and at $14.95 I just look at my investment as a monthly T-Shirt club with stuff thrown in. If you relish placing stickers all over your laptop, then you'll love ValleySchwag.

I like to see them succeed, so I'm going to stick with them for the long haul. I encourage you to check them out as well by subscribing. Getting something fun in your mailbox each month is worth the small price!


1 comment:

Sam Davidson said...

I thought about signing up with ValleySchwag. Thanks for the review.