In this age of mass production, one way to let your customers know they are special is with a handmade promotional gift. By purchasing handmade items from local artisans, you also help stimulate your local economy. Handmade promotional items can range in price from under $2 each to more than $20. However, lead times for some items can take two weeks.
Framed Hand-Lettered Motivational Quotes
Motivational quotes tend to be popular in business. You can personalize them for your customers by having them hand-lettered and framed to hang in an office. Here's one from Zig Ziglar: "It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." You can make them especially meaningful if you know quotes that your clients appreciate or that are specific to your client's industry or current situation. Artisan Leda Watson of Hand Lettering (handlettering.com) in Mount Dora, Florida, will create hand lettering to your specifications. You can also check with local art associations or art schools to find a local calligrapher.
Hand-decorated Cookies and Cookie Boxes and Jars
Hand-decorated cookies and containers are one promotional category where you have many options. The Cookie Gallery in southern California (cookiegallery.com) has a website that is so well organized you can order based on the occasion, the price, the category or as a fundraising program. Cookie Creek in Sayville, New York (www.cookiecreek.com), offers a wide selection of cookies but is known for its 2-ounce chocolate chip cookie available in a hand-painted cookie jar. For a handmade cookie with your company's logo on it, contact Rolling Pin Productions. Logos are hand-iced, or for complex artwork, a photo cookie can be made from edible images.
Handmade Paper Products
The Paper Garden (papergarden.ca) in British Columbia offers an ecological promotional card on handmade paper embedded with wildflower. The cards are customizable with your company logo and personal message and sell for $2.99 each. Singles titles include "Plant a wish," "Plant a dream" and "Plant an idea."
The Paper Garden also carries a handmade beeswax candle that is poured at its studio. The candles range in price from a flower tealight votive for $1.25 to a star for $21.99. A beehive candle is moderately priced at about $6.
Magic Wand Keychains and Wands
The Zipadeedoodah (ziponline.com) company in Leander, Texas, makes an unusual, acrylic keychain filled with food-safe, non-drying oil, sand and a variety of other tiny items, such as shells or dots. The oil rolls around in the tube, making them relaxing to watch. Hospitals have even used them to distract children who are undergoing invasive medical procedures, according to owner Brian Prothro. He adds that the wands make good stress relievers to keep at work. The wands cost $1.95 each and the keychains cost $2.95.