Who doesn’t love a goodie bag?

My heart skips a beat as I spot a white glossy bag hanging on the back of my chair.
A sturdy paper bag of anticipation, stuffed with promises to delight.
I can’t wait to grab its soft cotton rope handles and rip it open.
I’ve arrived at my first in-real-life International Women’s Day event for over two years, and I can’t contain my excitement - like a kid at a birthday party, clutching a party bag of sugary treats.
But I’m not a kid. I’m a grown woman in high heels (another first in two years), sipping a glass of bubbles, trying to remember how to behave at a business lunch.
Oh, how we’ve missed live events - the trade shows, the conferences, and seminars. All those high-ceiling’d light-filled rooms crowded with animated people swapping business cards.
While the keynote speaker is generally the biggest drawcard, the promise of a good gift bag has to be up there as one of the most anticipated prizes of the night.
‘What’s in the bag?’
I’ve been caught red-handed, shuffling through the contents before I’ve even taken my seat. I pull out a luxurious branded lipstick and my companion smiles and nods.
She’s here for the goodie bag, too.
Which bag?
If you’re putting together a custom promotional bag for your next function or event, you’ll want the bag to be as enticing as its contents.
There’s an almost endless choice when it comes to selecting affordable, functional bags to suit your needs.
Here’s 4 things to consider when choosing the right bag:
1. Size: If bag contains a few light items and a brochure or two, a small kraft paper bag or a satchel-style messenger bag may be the perfect choice. Filling your bag with something bulkier? Then, a stronger reusable eco tote bag may be a better option.
2. Material: Do you want a stylish gloss laminated paper bag? A handy reusable all-purpose carry bag like the supermarket grocery bags? A long-lasting high quality cotton calico bag? Think about what the bag says about your business and your event - you don’t want a cheap-looking bag undermining your brand.
3. Colour: Consider your logo and select a colour to complement it. You could choose a white bag for a colourful image, a black glossy bag to signify a sense of luxury, or a fun, brightly coloured bag to stand out in a crowd.
4. Cost: Buying in bulk can save you money, so if you hold regular events, it may be worth purchasing a larger quantity. Allowing for plenty of lead time can also save money. Smartbag’s custom printed bags take around 10 to 12 weeks’ to produce and will always be less expensive than trying to rush the order the week before the event.
Say Your Name
A goodie bag is not worth its weight in brown paper if it doesn’t show off your logo, shout your name, or spruik your slogan.
Custom printing your company name and logo on promotional bags will give your attendees a little something to take away, and will keep your name in plain sight.
Your logo is the obvious feature to print onto the bag, along with your company name. Goes without saying, right?
But, what about your contact details – website, social media handle, phone number? Add a catchy slogan or tagline to help potential customers remember your brand. Even an event hashtag to encourage ongoing feedback.
The words and images can be large or small, printed in the middle of the bag or in one corner. Instead of printing, you can add a colourful stickers. But remember to use both sides of the bag - you don’t want your guests carrying around the bags all day with your logo facing inwards.
Eyecatching, bright colours are also a good idea, but remember to consider your brand colours. Don’t choose a red bag if you have a red logo. You want your image to pop and catch attention.
(And a printing tip… think about readability when designing your colour palette. Some colours are difficult to read against certain backgrounds such as red writing on black background or yellow writing on white.)
What’s in the Bag?
Gone are the days when attendees were satisfied with a pen and a cap. Companies are now scouring merchandise suppliers for unique and sustainable giveaways.
This year’s Oscar attendees took away giftbags worth $14,000, but you don’t have to give away arm liposuction vouchers or small plots of land in Scotland to impress your guests. You can pop a few inexpensive giveaways into a sturdy white paper bag and still get results.
Consider your brand and your company’s values when making a list of giveaways. And consider your attendees’ values, too - there’s a fine line between generous and wasteful. You don’t want your giveaways to end up as landfill.
Here’s a few ideas to throw into the bag:
 Something Yummy: Everyone loves a snack. An energy ball or mints goes a long way to delight the peckish conference-goer. Ensure your items are sealed and labelled with ingredients and a use by date.
 Something Local: If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to support our local business owners. Find a local supplier who can collaborate with you to provide some giveaways or discounts in exchange for some exposure.
 Something useful: Think of your audience – does a team of tradies really need a paper weight? Does a society of accountants need another calculator? Think outside the square to select relevant gifts for your audience. Hosting a Writers’ Festival? A book mark, or bookshop voucher would be perfect. Holding your conference on Hamilton Island? Throw in some sunscreen.
 Something Sustainable: Instead of a pile of flyers and brochures, design a coupon booklet – or have a QR code available for attendees to access freebies or discounts. And talking sustainability – have a recycle bin available so those who don’t want their bags can leave them behind for the next event. This is also a great idea for used name tags. Place a bowl at the exit so people can leave their name tags and lanyards for re-use.
My Takeaway Bag…

Photo supplied by Mint Marketing
Photo supplied by Mint Marketing
My glossy bag of promises didn’t disappoint. As soon as I arrived home, I plonked onto the floor and spilled my package, like an Easter showbag!
Sifting through the detritus of stuff, I found a branded cookie from our fabulous host, samples of serum (always handy!), a well-known brand of moisturiser, and a program containing a multitude of 20%-off vouchers
from the sponsors.
All in all, quite the haul for my first return back into conference-land. A bag worthy of my attention and I’m still raving about it!
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