Top Trends Spotted at PPAI 2017

The Jag team went south to Las Vegas earlier this year for the 2017 PPAI Expo – the promotional product industry’s single largest trade show. It takes up two floors of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center – hundreds of thousands of square feet of space! Yes, it’s as overwhelming as it sounds!

But it was also a chance for us to educate ourselves about new trends in the industry and enrich valuable relationships with our key vendor partners. (You know, the folks who help us make your projects possible!)

Here’s a look at some of the trends we saw throughout our 3+ days at the trade show:


We saw several brands — some new, some not-so-new — showing off really beautiful, finely crafted leather products. Bags, accessories, journals, etc.

These products are gorgeous, and really stand out as high-quality, often hand-crafted items in a sea of what is normally mass-produced promotional items. If you’re wanting a high-end gift item for customers, employees, or others, consider one of these or other gorgeous leather pieces. We’re happy to help shop for the right product for your needs and budget.

New & Novel

It’s all about the novelty item these days! Some of our favorites included custom coloring books with colored pencil sets, a magnetic hourglass, a giant Swiss Army knife-style BBQ tool, plush animals, and more.


We’ve been loving the growing popularity of custom-branded socks, but these new VANS-style customized sneakers take promotional footwear to a whole new love. We are obsessed!

Hydro Flask-like Drinkware

Hydro Flask is perhaps the trendiest name in drinkware brands these days — but they are NOT selling to the promotional products industry, so your ability to get one custom-branded is zip, zero, zilch. It’s not gonna happen. (And if it could, you’d probably gasp at the price tag.)

But what can happen are custom-branded drinkware that is equivalent to the quality and make of the name-brand Hydro Flask. The key is in the technology inside the drinkware: double-wall 18-8 stainless steel with a copper insulation and vacuum seal technology. Here’s a peek at the inside “guts” of just such a bottle:

Drinkware utilizing this technology is readily available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. We’ve even got growlers using this kind of insulation! Let us know what your needs are, and we’ll help you find the perfect, high-end drinkware to suit your needs and budget.

Washable Paper Bags

One of the weirdest, coolest new products we spotted at PPAI this year was the Washable Paper Bag.

Yes, you heard me.

A paper bag … that’s machine-washable.

It’s got a thick, almost leather-like texture to it, and isn’t damaged by water. These bags are super cool and we think they could be the beginning of an incredible new trend in bags. Granted, they are so new that they haven’t been tested extensively for longevity and quality over time — but isn’t this a promising premise? Earth-friendly and durable!

Stylish Apparel

Promotional apparel has come a long way since it first launched onto the scene with a bevy of Beefy Ts and not much else. These days, promotional apparel is about style, substance, and quality. Growing options for ladies styles is an especially important part of the industry, which is why we were especially thrilled to see LAT Apparel launch their new Curvy Line — the FIRST promotional apparel line designed specifically for plus-size women.

Name-brands like Alternative Apparel are also growing their reach in the promotional field — and it’s no wonder given the soft, buttery feel of every piece of clothing they manufacture.

Pens – Always On Trend

Pens are nothing new in the promotional products industry – but they continue to be popular. And why shouldn’t they be? They are affordable, useful, and always desired. No one ever turns down a free pen!

But the key to making a promotional pen really successful is having a GOOD pen – don’t get too cheap, or your crappy pen will just end up in the trash. But a good quality pen – one that writes beautifully and feels good in your hand – that’s a pen that will get around and get people talking. (I’m not even exaggerating; I can’t tell you how many times clients, friends, and acquaintances have stopped to tell me how much they like our Jag pens!)

We have LOTS of favorite pens for a variety of budgets – from an inexpensive, but good quality plastic pen, to nicer mid-range metal pens, to name-brand luxury pens.

Corporate Gifting

We also saw several really wonderful options for corporate gifting programs, but two of our favorites may not be an obvious choice to most end-users.

The first is Melissa & Doug, a company known for making high-quality, imagination-nurturing toys for kids. “Baby Jag” — that is, Jeff’s granddaughter & Sara’s niece — now 18 months old, is a big fan of pretty much anything manufactured by Melissa & Doug. Any of these items would be perfect as corporate gifts for families and those with children in their lives.

Our other favorite was Weber — as in the name brand behind some of the best grills and BBQs on the market. They have a huge range of products available at a variety of price points, and who wouldn’t want a new grill?

Curious about the rest of our discoveries and exploits at PPAI 2017? Give us a call & we’re happy to share all the details with you!





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  1. Brand Your Kicks | Jag Forms - March 6, 2017

    […] this year’s PPAI Expo (the promotional products industry’s largest trade show), we noticed one exciting new trend […]

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