I started my career in the office supply industry and in the office supply industry the hot item as it relates to price is paper. Yea, I know – paper isn’t that exciting. But, you would be surprised by how many people evaluate their office supply vendor just from paper prices alone.

Anyway, the analogy I used to use for copy paper pricing is that paper is similar to the price of gas. We are all used to the price of gas fluctuating. One month the price is up the next it’s down. We’re used to it.

Well, paper is the similar AND in the Swag industry cotton is our paper (gas). I’ve explained the pricing of t-shirts to clients over the years using this analogy, but in this post we need to address something new.

Something totally different than what I’ve seen in my 10 year career in the Swag industry… TARIFFS.


What is a Tariff Anyway?

Simply put a “tariff” is a tax on importing. I’m sure you’ve heard back that on May 10th of 2019 President Trump implemented a 25% tariff on specific goods coming to America from China. This is up from the 10% tariff implemented in late 2018.

So, what does this mean to you?

Well, to you as a consumer this means one thing and to you as a promotional products purchaser this actually means something similar.



The good news is that pricing on goods likely won’t just rise out of thin air right away. See, most manufacturers (especially in the Swag industry) already have their goods in stock at their warehouses across the U.S.

Here’s an example: Say you were going to purchase 1,000 water bottles from us. That’s not a huge quantity to be honest, so it wouldn’t make much sense for us to source these from overseas (read: China). Therefore, we would use bottles from a warehouse located somewhere in the U.S. that have already made their voyage from China to our soil. These bottles will be printed with your logo at the warehouse in the U.S.

Here’s the thing, since they already arrived on our soil there won’t be any tariff (read: increase in price) to your bottles.

BUT… When these bottles run out, the warehouse will have to get more made from say China. If they are coming from China then next time they arrive they will be more expensive. Not necessarily a 25% increase in price but more expensive. Here’s another thing to note; it’s not all goods that are being hit with the tariff (here’s a link to read up on the types of products that will be affected by tariffs).



Now would be an excellent time to start planning for your events sooner than you might usually do so. It’s easy to get started on a Swag project, you can reach us at Create@SwagWorx.com or by phone at 408.220.6029.

I’d personally be more than happy to explain what to expect from these tariffs and help put a game plan together for you so that we won’t be hit with huge price increases later on down the road.

Another thing to note is that now is also a good time to look at Made in the U.S. items and not all items come from China. So, just be mindful of these tariffs when planning out your budget and please don’t base your projections off of last year’s pricing. Send us an email to schedule a time to talk about any upcoming projects and we’ll get you all squared away!


To Planning Ahead,

Sam AKA SwagSam



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