New Additions and Old Classics in Promotional Drinkware
Look around you right now. Chances are there’s at least one piece of drinkware within arm’s reach. The chances are even higher that there’s a logo on it. Be it a coffee mug from your trip to San Antonio, your water bottle you got for free when you signed up for the gym, or a branded pint glass with your favorite brewery’s name on it that you “took to go” after finishing your drink, promotional drinkware is everywhere.
So, if you’re not already looking at branded drinkware as options for your clients, well, what are you waiting for? We spoke to Susan Lewandowski, general manager for Bel Promo, Miami; and Parker Melvin, Midwest regional sales manager for Goldstar, San Diego, about how even with a constant flow of new innovations in the drinkware market that appeal to end-buyers, you sometimes can’t beat the classics. We also got into decoration, how drinkware items are like pens and more.
For Bel Promo, adding new products is standard operating procedure.
“We introduce new products almost every two weeks,” Lewandowski said. “Our website has a ‘new arrivals’ page, and those products are the new arrivals that have been launched in the last, say, 90 days. But, we’re adding new products almost every two weeks onto that page. Drinkware is always one of the ones we’re adding onto.”
Lewandowski said this helps Bel Promo meet end-buyers’ ever-changing needs.
“It gives us the opportunity to go to distributors and give them new products on an ongoing basis,” she explained. “If I’m looking at my drinkware line, I can go under glassware, I can go under ceramics or any of them, and know that I have something new when they’re looking for it.”
What are some of these new innovations in drinkware? What are the hot new trends people are looking for? Lewandowski said double-wall insulated tumblers and stemless wine glasses have continued growing in popularity, while Melvin added that lots of buyers are now looking for drinkware that allows them to adjust or control the temperature of their beverages.
Newer Isn’t Always Better, Though
While it’s easy to just shop for the “next big thing,” the key staples of the drinkware market are the classics, the ones you see everywhere: coffee mugs, pint glasses, water bottles, etc. “We’ve had a ceramic mug in two sizes for years, and it’s one of the top-selling items in our entire catalog outside of our writing instruments,” said Melvin.
Lewandowski said that her company has had similar success with ceramic mugs.
“Coffee mugs still sell. It’s amazing,” she said. “With all the different [choices], it’s still one of our No. 1 sellers. The Campfire Mug is our No. 1 seller right now. It’s a ceramic mug, which is crazy when you think about it. Coffee still sells. You can’t beat the classics, and they’re still there. The coffee mugs, the pint glasses, the standard water bottle. They’re always going to be reorders. Anybody doing an event right now is going to have some type of drinkware attached to it.”
She’s right. Her prime example of this is a souvenir shop. Think of the most recent time you were in a souvenir shop in a city or airport. There are always coffee mugs, shot glasses, beer steins and water bottles. Those are always in demand, so for a distributor, they become reorders.
Both Lewandowski and Melvin compared drinkware to their company’s writing instrument offerings in their usefulness and wide reach.
“Start with what sells, what’s most popular,” Melvin said. “The most popular styles tend to be the more economical, but certainly reusable. I do the same thing with writing instruments. If people really don’t do much with writing instruments, I don’t send them a link to our entire website. I’ll say, ‘Hey, how about the top three to five sellers in each category?’ Start with that with your clients, and branch out from there.”
“[Drinkware] is an easy point of entry for any business,” said Lewandowski. “It’s like the pen. You’re always going to want to use it, whether you’re a large corporation to a small company with maybe just a few employees, or a school fundraiser. Water bottles
are something that are, to me, just a standard.”
Spice It Up
What isn’t standard is decoration. Melvin said that one of the things that makes his company successful with selling drinkware is the capability of full color and full wrap decoration, which he said is much more versatile than some distributors might initially think.
“The beauty of a full wrap is that you’ve got the entire surface of the drinkware piece to work with, but you don’t have to,” he said. “It’s funny how our minds work sometimes. I’ll tell distributors, ‘Hey, it’s full-color, full-wrap.’ And once in a while I’ll get a comment. ‘Well, you know, their artwork is not that big. They usually do a smaller logo on one side and contact info on the other.’ And I say, ‘Well, great! We’ll do that!’ Just because you’ve got the space doesn’t mean you have to fill it.”
He added that noticing things like a colorful banner on customers’ social media profiles or websites can translate into imprints on drinkware if you’re savvy enough to see the opportunity. And the opportunities in drinkware are there for the taking. It’s not a new wave you need to capitalize on quickly. It’s about as safe and stable as they come. New prospects within the drinkware world are popping up constantly, like the current trend of craft microbreweries.
“If you can get yourself into some of those areas, those points of entry ... there are a lot of things that are happening in the drinkware category,” Lewandowski said.