how swagworx started

SwagWorx… I know what you’re thinking… Value Business Products has a long-standing brand within the South Bay community – why the change?

EVOLVE

The best things in life evolve over time. The story of Value Business Products is all about evolution. You see, my Father, Alan Kabert, started Value Business Products all the way back in 1980. In fact, he went door to door selling and repairing typewriters before he even considered getting into the office supply business.

An Office Supply Store

Alan eventually bought an office supply store and opened up a new shop in downtown San Jose. Many people still remember our brick-and-mortar store despite having moved out of downtown San Jose over 15 years ago!

office supplies store

In the early 2000’s, my parents (Alan & Iris) saw the writing on the wall that a brick-and-mortar office supply store would be excessive given the way technology was rapidly becoming more present.

Online Ordering

The early 2000’s wasn’t quite the boom of e-commerce. However, during this time businesses started to call in and fax office supply orders to their vendors more frequently than just stopping in a store to pick-up their supplies. By 2010, office supplies being ordered online was pretty much the norm. In hindsight, Alan & Iris were ahead of the curve and it has paid dividends given that Value Business Products is the only independently owned and operated / family office supply company remaining in Silicon Valley.

SwagSam joins the family business

I officially teamed up with the family business in 2012. I had previously been running a promotional products business on my own and the merging of my business with Value Business Products represented that I was committed to carrying the torch. However, within a couple years I really decided that the office supply industry just wasn’t for me. I had a passion for personalized branded merchandise and showing businesses how swag could work for them and office supplies just didn’t excite me in the same way.

Super Bowl 50

I know what you’re thinking, “what the heck does the super bowl have to do with any of this?” Well, we are a woman-owned company and certified through the organization WBENC. This meant that when Super Bowl 50 came to Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium we qualified as a minority owned business to be a vendor for businesses affiliated with the Super Bowl. Beyond exciting times!

The problem tho was that these businesses that would potentially be doing business with us had only our website to look at to determine if they wanted to reach out to us or not. At the time, ValueBP.com was the site that represented our business promotional items in addition to our main line of office supplies.

Quickly, we created “ValueBP Marketing Group” so that we could brand our promotional products side of the business separately than the parent company that of Value Business Products. The idea was to have the messaging be solely around being a promotional products business and not an office supply company that just so happens to sell some Swag (promotional products) as well.

The idea worked. Not only did we do business with Super Bowl 50, but our branded merchandise department doubled in size for 2 straight years!

Re-Branding to SwagWorx

In the fall of 2017, I knew it was time to update the “band-aid” re-brand of ValueBP Marketing Group to something that represented the great work we do more directly than an ominous handle of “ValueBP”. In reality, I wanted to re-brand right away, but I didn’t rush the job. It wasn’t until the summer of 2018 until “SwagWorx” came to me.

My podcast network had donated some sunglasses to the Silicon Valley Capital Club and since they were donated we added the WhatUp Silicon Valley Podcast network logo on the reverse side of the sunglasses. One day, someone tagged “@WhatUpSV” on twitter with a selfie of them using these sunglasses. I left a comment back and used the hashtag “#SwagWorks” and set my phone down. Within taking a few steps after setting my phone down, I looked at my dog, Riley, and shouted “SwagWorks”! It was right then and there that I knew the messaging around Swag working was the brand I wanted to stand behind.

So why the “x” in “Worx”?

Honestly, only two reasons here. First, we’re in Silicon Valley, so isn’t it thing to do to misspell words? All jokes aside tho, I’m a huge fan of Jesse Itzler. His wife is Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanx. I’ve heard Sarah speak multiple times on podcasts and tell her story of how she came up with the name “Spanx”. She heavily emphasized the importance of the sound the “x” makes in Spanx and how she had done lots of research indicating some of the most successful brands in the world have had a similar sound (it’s true). AND on top of all this, SwagWorx is more balanced than the extra letter a “ks” would be … SwagWorks 🙂

We’re still Value Business Products

SwagWorx is simply a DBA. If you already are doing business with us, nothing needs to change. You can still make your checks out to Value Business Products. At the end of the day, SwagWorx is just the latest evolution from your friends at Value Business Products.

To learn more about our story and how we can make swag work for you, head on over to our website and learn about SwagWorx.

Swag On,
SwagSam

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