Welcome to our brand new Share Your Story series, which will see some of our customers tell us about their businesses and the promotional merchandise orders that are helping them take their brand to the next level.
With thousands of orders placed with Total Merchandise every week, we're privileged to count some of the most interesting and diverse brands and companies across the UK among our clients, ranging from FTSE 100 organisations to independent start-ups that are operated from a kitchen table.
On that note, numbers shared by the Federation of Small Businesses at the beginning of 2018 found there were upwards of 5.6 million small or medium-sized businesses across the UK, with these accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses. The same research also found that there are 4.3 million non-employing businesses out there - that is to say, brands that are run entirely by their owner. Of course, behind each of these companies - whether operated by an individual or a team - is a desire to develop a brand, grab the attention of clients and assert industry authority. One way to do this? With carefully chosen promotional merchandise, of course.
(Side note: if you run an SME, make sure you check out the range of low-quantity products we have available in our Small Business section.)
With that in mind, we decided it was time to start telling the stories behind some of the businesses we work with, and the orders they place with us: the creative, the quirky, the truly original... We're kicking off our series with Thuline De Cock, an artist based in the Lake District, whose cow-printed travel mugs caught our eye the moment we saw them (Thuline very kindly shared an image alongside the testimonial she left us on Reviews.co.uk).
The promotional product: Brite Americano Mugs
Thuline placed an order for our popular Brite Americano Mugs. Printed in full colour, these reusable coffee cups are perfect for taking out and about, offering an eco-friendly twist to any marketing campaign whilst also keeping artwork gloriously vibrant and visible, too.
“It was great working with Thuline on her order," says Total Merchandise account handler, Isabelle Brown. "The artwork really stood out to me from the moment I saw it: not only is it gorgeously vibrant and eye-catching but the fact it was hand-created by an artist - and was originally a painting! - made it extra special. It’s a real privilege to help businesses like Thuline's develop their output, which can help them to spread the word about their work.”
With Thuline a successful artist - she has a walk-in gallery and studio in Windermere - it was a no-brainer idea for her to use one of her own gorgeous hand-painted creations to decorate these promotional travel mugs.
The goal of Thuline's order was, of course, to sell the striking travel mugs on to customers, generation extra awareness for her artwork and brand with each and every sip. Here, Thuline talks art, morning coffee and finding inspiration in the outdoors...
Over to you, Thuline!
Promotional Mugs Suitable For A Small Business
"I had been in search of travel mugs for a while. As a small business, my problem was finding a full-colour option, which I didn't have to buy thousands of! It was crucial that the product I ordered could be purchased in a smaller quantity.
I received a Cumbria Life cup a while ago and had been using it on a daily basis - they were then able to put me in touch with Total Merchandise. I did some research into products and pricing and knew that Total was the best option."
Choosing The Perfect Artwork For Full Colour Printing
"This image is my best-selling piece! The original painting sold a while ago but the prints, coasters and other gifts that I had printed with it are still available and continue to sell really well.
The beauty of this painting is it's fun. It makes people smile. The cow has character, looks confident - that’s why I have called him the Highland Way."
Customer Feedback, Painted Cows & Morning Coffee
"Of course, the hot weather slows things down... But the mugs are really well liked and I'm pleased with how they're selling. There is a local coffee company that is interested in selling them, too. I use one when I get my coffee in the morning and people are responding to it.
One of the first things people ask me is: "why cows?" It’s funny how a city girl like myself has ended up painting cows - though I’m sure moving to the Lake District had a lot to do with it! I find inspiration on our walks and bike rides, and we always have a camera handy. I just love painting animals and have done since 1996. I have had a gallery since 2013 - first in Kendal and now Windermere. It makes it possible to sell originals as well as all sorts of other different products, too."
Upcoming Promotional Plans: Sheep, Mugs & Branded Brollies
"I’m always on the lookout for new items to sell in my gallery - maybe an umbrella...? I've also just started a new painting of a local variety of sheep (the Herdwick, to be precise) so hopefully, I will get that designed into a mug as well..."
Find out more about Thuline and her work at thuline.com and find her on Instagram @thulinedc.