Trashing Bad Swag & Shifting the Gift at the 2012 MA Conference for Women

Earlier this fall, we shared the staggering statistic that the corporate promotional gifts industry is a staggering $17 billion market in the US alone (again, putting that in context, that is more than we spend on trips to coffee shops, the dry-cleaners or the movies!).

Ever since, we’ve been wondering: “what if just 0.1% of the money spent on corporate, event and fundraising gifts was used on products that make a difference in the world?” 

Instead of wasting resources and marketing opportunities, companies could be seriously impacting the situation in places like Haiti while also more successfully achieving their brand awareness goals. Imagine the difference 1.7 million dollars would make for the women we work with from Haiti, Iraq and Burma? It’s incredible what this simple shift could accomplish.

This got us thinking about how we could use our candle products to disrupt the corporate and event gifting world on behalf of our women entrepreneurs and help spur a movement towards sustainable swag.

In 2013 we will spearhead a movement with like-minded fair trade product organizations to encourage the corporate and event planning communities to commit to moving a percentage of their promotional spending to socially and environmentally responsible products . . . to Shift the Gift!

We’ve been sharing this campaign with our network over the past few weeks – first at the SVN 2012 Conference, and just this past week at the 2012 Massachusetts Conference for Women.

The response has been resoundingly positive. In fact, a number of MA Conference for Women attendees were so in support of our campaign that they trashed swag they received that very day in solidarity!

These pictures are clear proof that there’s no benefit to giving out more of the same old tired swag, when it’s just getting left behind or thrown out! We’ve never seen someone receive one of our candles and leave it behind at an event. Plus we can’t emphasize enough the impact on the lives of our women entrepreneurs – supporting their businesses creates the opportunity for true prosperity, agency and ultimate triumph over poverty!

Please let us know if there are ways you want to be involved, whether as a company wanting to purchase a socially responsible swag product, as a fair trade organization wanting to join the campaign, as a media professional who wants to help us spread the word, or as an individual who wants to share the message!

Together we can shift the gift and infuse gifting with purpose into this $17 billion industry!

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