Cinching up Sales
Science, mad, evil and otherwise, is full of failed hybridizations. Human flies, station wagons, minotaurs, the list of cursed things man has wrought on himself by combining things that shouldn't be is almost endless. Yet, in spite of the many failures, there are a few glowing successes. The Chipwich. Public Enemy and Anthrax's genre-bending crossover hit "Bring the Noise." And within the promotional industry, the drawstring backpack.
A happy mix of high-end, feature-loaded backpacks and the basic tote bag, the drawstring backpack is an extremely versatile item useful in plenty of different promotions. They can be dressed up with mesh vents and water-bottle pouches and used as a gym membership thank-you, or they can be paired down and given out in simplified glory to the 30,000 entrants at a big city half-marathon. Pack them up with with other great products for a giveaway bundle, or simply sell them empty to those in need of an extra bag. The possibilities are numerous and profitable.
Profitable sounds good, right? Just keep in mind that while you're considering all the different ways you can sell these bags, there are a couple of practical details worth knowing as well. What makes a good, sturdy bag, how to make sure your printing comes out okay, and even what items you're going to pair it with to increase your earnings are all things you should be thinking about when planning to work with drawstring bags. After all, sometimes the only difference between a project that yields a human fly and one that creates a delicious Chipwich is a smidge more planning and attention to detail.
"Most drawstring backpacks are going to be used and abused," said Richard T. Hennessy, vice president of BagWorld, El Monte, Calif. Because of the bag's rough and tumble destiny, you're going to want to make sure that your product is as well-made as possible. And what's the best way to check for a sturdy product? "The only way you can truly tell the quality of a drawstring backpack is to get a few samples," said Hennessy.
But what exactly do you check for when your sample arrives? Clif Jordan, regional manager for Gemline, Lawrence, Mass., recommended checking for reinforced lining on the cinches, and also looking at the bag's stitching and making sure it's consistent with close stitching so the bag keeps its strength.
Testing the shoulder strap cords is something else you should consider, especially if the bag is intended to hold a decent amount of weight, like school books or something else equally bulky. Pack the bag with its intended cargo, put it on your shoulders, and see how the cord holds up. If it seems to strain or dig into your shoulders, consider getting a bag with a thicker cord. "Thicker cord doesn't cut into your shoulders as much, and will be able to hold more weight," said Jordan.
THE FINE PRINT
It goes without saying that some materials accept decoration better than others. In the world of drawstring bags, choose nylon over nonwoven bags if you need a more complex or detailed imprint. "The nylons of course imprint better than your nonwovens," said Jordan. He explained that though nonwovens are fine for most designs, nylons are the better choice for anything extremely detailed or with fine registration, like very small lettering for example, because it's a finer material. Nylon offers a smoother surface, and also less potential bleed, than nonwoven material, which will make detailed artwork clearer.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BAG
A final thing to consider when selling drawstring bags is to not fall into the confining thought pattern of the items just being an item for schools. "The traditional use of a backpack for school kids is a limited market now compared to everything we sell to," said Hennessy. He explained that while the scholastic markets are still good, they've become somewhat limited compared to more adult end-user markets. Hennessy stated that older end-users tend to be more interested in added features like water-bottle pockets, carabiner loops and mesh vents, as well as complex aesthetic customizations, that will give you a little more of a window to upsell.