corporate gifts

Corporate Gifts that Effectively Convey Employee Appreciation

Recognition Matters

You couldn’t run your business without your employees. It’s important to show your employees how much they’re appreciated – especially at the holidays. Great corporate gifts are a wonderful way to do just that this holiday season. Memorable corporate gifts are even better. We’ve put together a list of corporate gifts to give you some ideas for this special time of year.

It’s important to show your employees they are appreciated because it boosts moral, retention, productivity … and it’s just a nice thing to do for your valued employees!

Giving gifts is a form of recognition. It lets employees know that they are valued. The best corporate gifts are promotional items that say, “Thank you for all you do.”

A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way

Some managers say their employees are just doing their job. Why should they be recognized and rewarded for doing what’s expected of them?

Many organizations offer minimal recognition. Employees can become dissatisfied at their jobs because they don’t feel that they are appreciated or valued for what they do, especially when they go above and beyond.

Recognition is nice, but it’s also motivating for employees when they feel appreciated.

Gratitude goes a long way. It strengthens your relationship with employees. Corporate gifts also increase:

  • Employee satisfaction
  • Productivity
  • Retention
  • Loyalty

It’s the Thought that Counts: Tips for Your Gifting Approach

Express appreciation

Enough said!

Make it personal

Personalizing corporate gifts makes it feel genuine. It shows that you care about that person individually – they’re not just a number!

Consider adding perhaps a group picture of the employees, or employees in your division if you’re part of a larger company. Write a personal note and be specific in your card. Depending on the gift, add the company logo and the employee’s name.

Employees will be able to tell the amount of thought you put into it.

Practical doesn’t mean boring

Ask yourself if the gift is something your employee would use. You want your employees to enjoy the gift and remember year round that they are appreciated.


Think about the gift as a whole package and ask yourself if it’s sending your intended message. Would you feel appreciated and warm and fuzzy if you received the gift?

Great corporate gift ideas:

  • Candles
  • Umbrellas
  • T-shirts
  • Tote bags
  • Water bottles
  • Pens
  • Coasters
  • Coffee mugs and Tumblers
  • Stress balls
  • Ask your employees’ charity of choice
  • Give a gift related to your company
  • Hoodies
  • Jackets
  • Keychains
  • Sports items
  • Clocks
  • Mouse pads

Kristin & Company Candles

Personalize your hand-poured candles! Kristin & Company allows you to customize candles with your business’s logo or have our artists design something for you that represents your business. Candles are shipped within 1-2 weeks.


Umbrellas make great corporate gifts. Often unintentionally left places, providing an umbrella to have on hand makes rainy days a little brighter when you don’t get drenched!

Tote bags

Tote bags have countless uses, whether going to the beach, attending a community meeting, or even bringing work home with them!


Everyone loves a free T-shirt and people actually wear them. Unless you’re printing something offensive, you really can’t go wrong.

Water bottles

Most people don’t drink enough water each day. Whether it’s the recommended eight glasses, or another amount you try to follow from your favorite study, hydration is important for well-being at the workplace as well as at home.


Writing utensils are a part of our everyday lives. We always need them, so why not give them as a gift?


Another practical item for everyday use. Even if your employees already own coasters, they’ll thank you after hosting a party with relatives who usually don’t follow coaster rules, but used them since the coasters didn’t leave enough space on the fine oak to set down a glass!

Coffee mugs and Tumblers

Keep your workers caffeinated and productive! Or, if they prefer tea rather than coffee, it can help keep them calm. Also beneficial!

Stress balls

You know the work you assign your employees can be stressful. Show some empathy and give them a means to deal with the stress of the job.

And the survey says …

Survey your employees to see what they’d like. After all, why not just ask?! You could even create a suggestion box.

The gift that gives back

Ask your employees what their favorite charity is and make a donation!

Give a gift related to your company

For example, if you’re a brewery, how awesome would it be to send your employees on a trip to see some of the old breweries in Belgium, Ireland, and Germany? Not only would your employees appreciate it, it would make them better at their job too!

More corporate gift ideas

Clothing is always useful. Consider jackets, large and tall garments (a type of personalization!), and hoodies if you have a more relaxed office culture. Sports items are a popular choice. Key chains, clocks, and mouse pads are always useful too.

Corporate Gifts, In Summary

Be creative and have fun with it! Show your employees that you’re not just shopping out of a feeling of obligation. Show a little love this holiday season!

Decorate Your Apparel

One way to make corporate gifts personal is decoration customized to your employees.

At T.R. McTaggart, we offer screen printing, dye sublimation, laser etching, and embroidery to personalize your clothing. Consider embroidering each employees name on a sweatshirt. Nothing says “personal” more than a person’s name.

Perhaps you could make T-shirts that commemorate the office party. For example, you could print a wreath with your company’s name in the middle and “Christmas Party 2017.” It’s okay if it’s cheesy; employees just want to be reminded of happy memories. (Though, the nicer you make it, the higher the likelihood they’ll wear your branded gift around town, rather than as PJ’s only to be seen by the family!)

Have fun with corporate gifts. Make it from the heart and your employees are sure to appreciate your efforts this holiday season.

Contact Us

Who provides a wide assortment of memorable corporate gifts? T.R. McTaggart!

Our expertise is in providing corporate gifts that are sure to let your employees know they are appreciated. Call T.R, McTaggart today at (800) 433-0983 or Contact Us for great corporate gifts this holiday season!





jacket weather ratings

How Jackets are Rated for Weather Proofing and Warmth

What’s It Rated?

It’s that time of year again: Time to start thinking about a winter jacket and preparing for Michigan’s snow soon to be here! These days there are a host of choices to select from, so shopping can seem overwhelming. There’re so many jacket weather ratings. What’s the difference between 20 below versus 30 below in terms of your needs? Is it worth the money or superfluous? How does wind factor in? What’s the process for how jackets are rated anyway?

Let’s unpack this.

You’re one-of-a-kind!

These answers will all depend on you. Not all jackets are equal or meant for the same purpose. Some are better windbreakers, while others excel at keeping you dry.


Before delving into the nuances of different jacket weather ratings, consider what your needs are.

Will you mostly be wearing winter gear from your car to the office? Or, do you deliver pizzas or work in sales travelling door-to-door rather than sitting in a temperature-controlled cubicle daily?

Consider weekends too. Do you usually stay indoors, attending concerts or going out to dinner with friends and family? Or, are you an avid skier, snow-shoer, or snowmobiler? Is winter camping what you look forward to each year?

Avid traveller? What’s the climate of your destination?

Do you generally get cold or overheat?


Your Helpful Guide

How Meaningful or Accurate are Temperature Ratings?

First, let’s discuss what the ratings can and cannot do and how you can use them to answer your questions.

When it comes to jackets, a common question concerns what temperatures a particular jacket is rated for.

Take these numbers with a grain of salt. Some experts argue that jacket weather ratings are arbitrary. The reason is that there are many variables that aren’t controlled for that influence how warm – or cold – you will feel.

A jacket rated to be warm at a certain temperature when the wind isn’t blowing snow or the rain isn’t pouring down might not be warm under specific weather conditions.

In addition to temperature, variables for rating can include:

  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Humidity
  • Your exertion level
  • Your metabolism


Add wind chill and you can go from comfortable to … well … chilly very quickly.


In winter, dry can feel pleasant while humidity can feel cold (generally the opposite of summer humidity), despite it being the same temperature.

Activity level

What are you going to be doing? All things equal, running in a jacket versus sitting in a ski lift makes a difference. You’ve probably had the experience of sticking your hand out the window to gauge how cold it is and then taking a heavier jacket than you needed. Once you start “moving,” the layers come off.

Additional layers augmenting your jacket

If you’re wearing warm layers, a hat, and mittens, you’re going to feel warmer – no matter what jacket you have on. Consider whether you tend to wear layers of clothing or typically just sport a t-shirt.

Body type

People with less body fat typically get colder easier. You’ve probably noticed when you’re among friends and family, people in the same room say they’re cold while others say they’re hot. This phenomenon applies to jackets as well.

Now, combine these variables!

As you can see, temperature is a starting point, but it’s far from the last word. Many variables should go into determining the type of jacket you need for your needs.


How Jackets are Rated: Meaningful Numbers

Fabrics are rated by weight, density, and permeability.


Weight of the fabric (measured in grams per square meter / GSM / gsm/ gm/2)

Example: 300 gm/2 is heavier than 180 gm/2.


For fleece, the higher the number, the heavier the weight

Example: 100 or 200 weight

Fill power

Down jackets’ fill power rating measures thermal efficiency rather than the amount of insulation.

Example: 300 or 900 (i.e. one ounce of down covers 300 or 900 cubic inches)

Water-resistant fabrics and materials

Manufacturers measure waterproof breathability of fabrics in:

  • Millimeters (mm)
  • Grams (g)


The higher the number, the more waterproof.

Take a 10,000mm fabric. If you put a 1” x 1” square tube over a piece of fabric, you could fill it with water up to 10,000mm (32.8 ft.) before water would leak.


The higher the number, the more breathable.

Measured by how many grams of water vapor can pass through a square meter of fabric in 24-hours. Example: 20,000g fabric.

Completely waterproof?

Outerwear has various degrees of water resistance, but fabric will leak if it’s exposed to enough water, time, and pressure. Balance protection with the ability to let water vapor from your body escape. A raincoat is more waterproof and ideal for a storm (although, getting out of the rainstorm would be even more ideal!), but if you skied in it, you’d be drenched in sweat (still becoming wet!).

Note: Waterproof testing is not standardized.

Waterproof and breathable

Waterproof breathable fabrics consist of layers:

  • Outer layer/face fabric
  • Membrane
  • Fine scrim or mesh

The outer layer (“face fabric”) is typically nylon or polyester with a membrane or coating usually made of expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon®) or Polyurethane treated with Durable Water Repellent.

The membrane keeps water out. Its holes are too small for water to enter but large enough to allow water vapor to exit.

A fine scrim or mesh lines the inner surface of the garment for comfort.

Waterproof jacket weather ratings: How high does it need to be?

Look for a minimum waterproof rating between 5,000mm and 10,000mm for ski and snowboard jackets and pants. If you’re a serious skier or live in a wetter climate, the 10,000mm to 20,000+mm range is a good choice. If you’re a hiker, look for both waterproofing and breathability in the 20,000+ range.



Skier, 5,000mm to 10,000mm

Serious skier or wetter climate, 10,000mm to 20,000+mm

Hiker, 20,000+mm


How are waterproof ratings determined?

Waterproof testing is performed by independent laboratories or in-house.

Most testing methods place a 1” x 1” square tube over the fabric to measure how much water the fabric can stand before it leaks. Some manufacturers add pressure to simulate wind. Some manufacturers measure PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). 704mm = 1 PSI.

How breathable does it need to be?

Like a lot of things in life, it depends. Consider the weather and your expected exertion.

How are breathability ratings determined?

Testing methods are numerous, so it’s hard to compare jacket weather ratings between brands. Manufacturers don’t typically report how they test either.

Note: For jacket weather ratings using an RET scale (Resistance to Evaporative Heat Transfer), a lower value is better.



Waterproof rating (mm) Water resistance

(provided under …)

Precipitation Conditions it can withstand Pressure Conditions it can withstand
0-5,000 None to minimal moisture Light rain, dry snow None
6,000-10,000 Light pressure Light rain, average snow Light
11,000-15,000 Medium pressure Moderate rain, avg. snow Light
16,000-20,000 High pressure Heavy rain, wet snow Medium
20,000+ Extremely high pressure Heavy rain, wet snow High


Good ol’ fashioned customer service

Nothing beats service with a smile and a knowledgeable staff. If you’re debating about what jacket is right for you, talk to our helpful staff at T.R. McTaggart! Call us at {insert number] or contact us [link] via email with any questions you might have.


Insulated Outerwear Considerations

Weight and ability to compress/compressability

Especially important when backpacking.

Shell materials

Affects breathability, mobility, durability, and rain and windshield protection.

Insulation type

The type of insulation will affect how well it retains warmth, reacts in wet conditions, and how small you can pack it.


Insulation Types


Ducks’ and geese’ plumules are warm and lightweight. Down jackets are good for mild exertion level activity.

In terms of jacket weather ratings, the higher the number, the warmer the down. Fill power ratings range from 300 to 900; fill power is the volume in cubic inches that one ounce of down fills up. A high-quality rating starts at about 550. The other jacket weather ratings associated with down are its down to feather ratio, generally 70/30, 80/20, or 90/10. The more down, the warmer the jacket.

Just don’t get it wet! Rain, snow, humidity, and sweat affect the thermal efficiency of goose down. If down gets wet it stops working and dries slowly. If you’re active consider water-resistant down, synthetics, or a down/synthetic hybrid.

Water-resistant down

Like down, water-resistant down is light, warm, and packable. Polymer treatment helps down fight dampness.

Note: Water-resistant down is just as light as regular down, but it is expensive and doesn’t perform as well as synthetics do in wet weather. Good for moderate exertion.

Synthetic insulation

Synthetics use compressible water-repellent fibers. Synthetics work great when damp, dry fast, and are less expensive than other types of insulation.

Note: Synthetics are heavier, less packable, and less durable than down.

In terms of jacket weather ratings, numbers like 40g or 150g indicate the weight in grams of a square meter of fabric. OK for strenuous exertion.

Combination down/synthetic insulation

Offers the benefits of both down and synthetics. Some jackets blend these insulators together. Other designs use down in the core and synthetics in the arms and sides. Great choice if you want down at a lower cost. OK for strenuous exertion.

Combination wool/synthetic insulation

A blend of wool and synthetic material benefits from wool’s ability to insulate when wet and its resistance to odor. OK for strenuous exertion.


Waterproof and Breathable Fabrics


Created by laminating GORE-TEX® membrane to nylon and polyester, GORE-TEX® is waterproof and breathable, even while participating in extreme activities. GORE-TEX® has microscopic pores that allow water vapor to escape.


A breathable wind blocker.


Breathable and waterproof.


Waterproof fabric with a PU membrane.

Polartec® NeoShell®

Stretchy, waterproof, and breathable.

Polartec® Power Shield® Pro

Breathable soft shell fabric.

Dry.Q™ Elite

Water vapor will escape as soon as you put it on. No need to wait for vapor to build up.

DryVent® (Hyvent®)

Waterproof and breathable fabric available in several thicknesses.


A waterproof and breathable fabric.


A coated technology for lightweight raingear.

Pertex® Shield+ / AP

Waterproof and lightweight for vigorous outdoor activities.

Contact T.R. McTaggart Today

T.R. McTaggart provides a variety of jackets for nearly any use, “weather” it be work, athletics, or everyday wear.

Our staff is happy to discuss jacket weather ratings, how jackets are rated, and your specific needs to determine what’s right for you and your organization.

Our expertise is in providing high-quality apparel that can be customized with corporate and team logos. We make you look stylish, keep you warm in winter, and help promote your brand. Speak to a friendly representative by calling (800) 433-0983 or contact us via email and tell us about all of your winter jacket needs!






custom work apparel

Fall into Fashion with T.R. McTaggart’s Custom Work Apparel

Custom Work Apparel

Custom work apparel is important to the success of nearly any business or organization. Clothing sets the tone through unspoken communication. It’s also important to invest in work apparel that lasts. Once you’ve achieved the perfect design, keep it looking professional by opting for high-quality materials and construction! It’s the time of year to gear up your crew for the changing weather, so why not fall into fashion with T.R. McTaggart’s custom work apparel?

Customized to fit your needs

One of the advantages of custom work apparel is that it is just that: custom. With fierce competition, it’s important to differentiation yourself any way you can. Customizing your work apparel is a great way to present something to the public that is instantly recognizable as only you!

Advertising overtime

One way to get even more mileage out of custom work apparel is to design garments your employees will enthusiastically and voluntarily wear after hours. This is one of the best ways of advertising. But how do you get employees to advocate for your brand off the clock?

People prefer to be fashionable

While some people might be content to wearing ill-fitting sweats (think George Costanza) to the grocery store or to buy the newspaper, most people like to be fashionable. This means creating something that is well-designed, high-quality, and on trend. And, of course, it helps to select the right size too!

What Makes Custom Work Apparel Fashionable?

There are a number of factors that go into creating a great garment.

  • Style
  • Design
  • Originality
  • Quality
  • Trendy

Style: Popular types of apparel

What are the kids wearing these days? What types of clothing will make a positive impression on customers and set a professional atmosphere among employees? Ideally, you can balance both by selecting something fashionable.

Popular choices include:

  • Polos
  • Button downs
  • Screen printed T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Jackets
  • Sweatshirts
  • Hoodies
  • Warm-up jackets
  • And more!

All of these items are available at T.R. McTaggart and are fully customizable.

Design: Good design

You want graphics enhance your logo in terms of function (being able to clearly read it at a glance) and aesthetics (even if it’s functional, it’s not functioning to its full potential if it’s not something potential customers remember). The graphic design should communicate to the audience what the business is and have it be memorable.

Good custom apparel graphics are attention grabbing, easy to read, balanced, and properly ustilize white space (empty space to balance out busy areas of the design).

  • Attention grabbing
  • Easy to read
  • Balanced
  • Contain white space

Our designers take all of this into consideration when designing custom work apparel for you.

Originality: If it’s customized, you stand out from the crowd

In terms of customization, we offer:

  • Screen printing
  • Embroidery
  • Dye sublimation
  • Laser etching

Quality: Quality construction

Whether you’re ordering a bulk supply of uniforms for your business or T-shirts for your community baseball team, you want apparel that’s well made. That’s why T.R. McTaggart only creates work apparel that lasts.

Our garments are:

  • Durable
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Well constructed

Whether you’re an athlete whose clothes need to take a beating or you’re the manager of a high-end restaurant who wants waiters to look elegant and well polished, construction is key!

Trendy: On trend

What are this year’s trend-setting colors?

The Pantone Color Institute took the colors seen at New York Fashion Week to create The PANTONE Fashion Color Report. Every season this guide highlights the top 10 colors for the upcoming fashion season.

Color palette, New York
The Fall 2017 colors offer warmth, comfort, and feeling.

  • PANTONE 17-1558 Grenadine
  • PANTONE 19-1725 Tawny Port
  • PANTONE 13-2808 Ballet Slipper
  • PANTONE 16-1341 Butterum
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 17-4402 Neutral Gray
  • PANTONE 19-4524 Shaded Spruce
  • PANTONE 16-0543 Golden Lime
  • PANTONE 17-4041 Marina
  • PANTONE 17-1145 Autumn Maple

Color Palette, London
London’s Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 is made of strong classics colors paired with the unexpected.

  • PANTONE 18-1662 Flame Scarlet
  • PANTONE 12-2904 Primrose Pink
  • PANTONE 16-1331 Toast
  • PANTONE 14-4121 Bluebell
  • PANTONE 18-3531 Royal Lilac
  • PANTONE 18-1018 Otter
  • PANTONE 19-4029 Navy Peony
  • PANTONE 16-1338 Copper Tan
  • PANTONE 15-0751 Lemon Curry
  • PANTONE 16-0639 Golden Olive

Paris Fashion Week

Not analyzed by PANTONE, but still the fashion center of the world, Paris fashions for 2017 favored silver, pink, camel, turquois, black and blue, intricate colored appliques, and sportswear. T.R. McTaggart can help you with all of the above.

Fashionable Custom Work is Important for Myriad Reasons

A smart way to help your company

You do everything to make your business successful. If you haven’t already, you should add custom work apparel to the list.

Reasons custom work apparel positively affects your business:

  • Professional appearance
  • Protects clients
  • Visual identifier
  • An advertising opportunity
  • Branding
  • Industry norms
  • I’m in it for the perks!
  • The sense of belonging
  • A feeling of equality

Professional appearance

A uniform presents a professional image for your company.

If you own a restaurant or store and your workers wear street clothes, customers might have a difficult time figuring out whom they can ask for assistance. Custom work apparel also simplifies the dress code. You don’t even need to write up a dress code. No need to refine the dress code to dictate skirt length and get out rulers or ask employees to remove political buttons that offend half of your customer base. Uniforms keep things simple!

Custom work apparel also gives off a professional vibe and presents a clean-cut appearance that represents your company well and adds to your brand’s image.

Protects clients

If your company delivers products or solicits customers door to door, custom work apparel makes it harder for non-employees to impersonate employees. The last thing you want is for customers to give credit card information to someone claiming to be affiliated with the company. The extra step of having to be a seamstress before planning a con acts as a deterrent. It will also make it easier for new employees to interact with established clients, as the clients will already know the person is someone whom they can trust.

Visual identifier

Custom work apparel is an immediate way to differentiate between types of workers. This can be helpful if workers with different knowledge sets would be indistinguishable to customers. For example, one worker at a big box store might know where everything is on the shelf, whereas another worker might be from headquarters checking up on the store and have no idea where anything is located. Uniforms would save time for workers and customers alike.

An advertising opportunity

If the clothes are cool, employees will wear their work clothes even on their days off. As they run errands or have dinner with friends, your employees act as walking billboards on your behalf. People at the gas station or grocery store continue to notice your brand. Then, when they need your services, you’ll be the company that pops into their heads.

Tip: Consider making your logo with your name big enough to read at a distance with colors that make it easily legible.


It’s important to have a logo that immediately communicates who you are and what type of business you are.

Industry norms

Certain industries dealing with the public usually wear uniforms. Examples are department stores, restaurants, and hospitals. This makes it easy for customers to identify who can help them.

I’m in it for the perks!

At some organizations, uniforms are a perk of the job. Let your employees know they’re valued!

The sense of belonging

When everyone wears the same thing, it reinforces the sense of being on a team.

A feeling of equality

Uniforms make everyone look … well, uniform. Because of this communal aspect of work life, your employees are set up to view the workplace as a communal space where they collaborate with colleagues rather than pursue individualistic interests; they work toward one common goal.

Coordinate your brand image with your uniforms

Create a cohesive message!

Traditional advertising through television, radio, newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, and social media are important parts of marketing. However, apparel that contributes to brand marketing is a powerful tool that strengthens your message.

T.R. McTaggart can give your brand a cohesive style that simply conveys who you are and what you do. This includes clothing and corresponding items used to advertise your business such as pencils, key chains, and various other promotional items. We translate what you do into a compelling message expressed through clothing and giveaway items to communicate your brand and promote your business.

These are just some of the items we can coordinate with your uniforms:

  • Tradeshow and exhibition giveaways
  • Promotional items supporting your next campaign
  • Client gifts

Resources to Help Make Your Vision Come to Life

Many custom apparel businesses have limited colors, sizes, and design options. We tailor our custom apparel for each and every client. We know one size doesn’t fit all and have designed our business accordingly.

We work closely with you throughout the design process. Whatever your needs, our staff includes talented designers and technicians that enjoy the creative process, crafting products just right, and being a part of helping your business succeed.

Once your vision comes to fruition, we want it to stay that way. That’s why we make work apparel that lasts!

Custom Work Apparel Deserves a Custom Online Store

T.R. McTaggart can help you set up a custom online store for employees to purchase their custom work apparel. Many of our clients utilize this resource because it’s convenient and cost effective. Just ask us how!

Contact T.R. McTaggart today!

When you want work apparel that lasts, think T.R. McTaggart. Our staff has decades of experience in the apparel industry. Our expertise in providing custom work apparel can aid you in offering your employees apparel that’s work appropriate – and maybe even runway ready!

Contact us today for all of your custom work apparel needs!





customer appreciation ideas

50 Memorable Customer Appreciation Ideas

You SHOULD(n’t) have!

We all like to feel appreciated and there’s no better way to turn customers into repeat customers than by saying, “Thank you.” Without “them” there would be no “you.” (It also doesn’t hurt to provide good products and services!) We’ve put together some customer appreciation ideas, including a guide for giving great gifts for valued customers.

We know you’re busy, so we’ve included customer appreciation ideas that don’t take too much time to execute, but go a long way in expressing gratitude.

You appreciate your customers, but showing your appreciation is also good for your bottom line. Brand loyalty is important because if buyers have “perceived indifference” to a company, 68% of those customers will switch brands. A Gallup poll shows B2B companies with higher customer engagement have 50% more sales and are 34% more profitable.

I [Heart] You

Back in the “good ol’ days” when most people shopped at locally-owned brick-and-mortar stores where the shop owners were their neighbors, loyalty seemed second nature. Now business owners need to work harder to establish a special connection with customers. With online customers and increased competition, you want to retain as many customers as you can.

For the service industry, customer appreciation is even more important since it emphasizes relationships. Quality customer interaction is key.

A gift with spill-off benefits

Also consider giving gifts that serve the dual purpose of advertising your brand. For example, print custom logo T-shirts that are soft and stylish. Your customers will love them and you’ll get your name out there at the same time.

What’s the right time to give customers a gift?


Select a random day, week, or month dedicated to customer appreciation. Advertise that you love your customers. Tell them ‘Thank You!’

At the holidays

Send a card on a holiday and holidays related to your business if they exist. Someone probably had to lobby congress to get that obscure holiday related to your industry, so take advantage of your good fortune if you happen to have a day dedicated to your product. Your card is also more likely to get noticed as people get more cards during the holidays from November through January.

If you don’t have an obscure holiday celebrating you, don’t worry. You can still celebrate Groundhog Day or other holidays that are mail-lite. Or, you can find a clever way to relate your business to the holiday. In October, celebrate Name Your Car Day, Physician Assistant Day, National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, or Mother-in-Law Day. Great for selling cars and cake! If you’re not a baker, give cake to customers as a gift.

What if I’m on a budget?

We’ve included customer appreciation ideas that are inexpensive as well. Presents to customers and clients don’t need to be expensive. Less expensive gifts can also be a good idea because they seem more genuine rather than a calculated transaction to try to manipulate them.

Customer appreciation month is January. But anytime is a good time for saying ‘thank you.’ The holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or a day just because. Consider sending flowers, a plant, or a small gift.

50 customer appreciation ideas for valued customers

These customer appreciation ideas are sure to bring a smile to your client’s face.

  1. Congratulate customers for special events in their lives, such as having a baby or a child’s graduation.
  2. Send a holiday card. Make sure it’s general or you know their specific faith.
  3. Give gift cards.
  4. Subscription gifts are great because you make the purchase once and each month someone else does it for you and your customer gets a positive feeling about your business.
  5. If your business partners with other businesses, why not partner to give branded swag to your customers of your business and your business partners’?
  6. Have a prize drawing for a vacation or other prizes big and small.
  7. Gift concert tickets.
  8. Organize a customer-appreciation event. Bowling, dancing, food … who wouldn’t feel appreciated?
  9. Throw a rooftop party at your office – especially if you have a great view!
  10. Host a picnic in the park.
  11. Gift baseball or football tickets.
  12. Rent a boat and host an event.
  13. Paper coupons.
  14. Digital coupons.
  15. Cover a customer’s bill every now and then.
  16. Donate a percentage of your profits to a good cause. People like doing business with ethical companies.
  17. Send a “Happy Birthday” email and offer a discount or a small free gift. Make it valid for the week so they have time to act but no so much time that they forget or don’t feel an urgency to act.
  18. Give a book directly or loosely related to your industry.
  19. Give a post-transaction gift related to what the customer purchased.
  20. Offer free samples.
  21. Provide free upgrades to customers. They’ll feel appreciated and won’t be mad if they bought your product the day before the launch of the new one.
  22. A surprise. The element of surprise is great. Even people who hate surprise birthday parties love spontaneous gifts. The surprise could be a gift card, flowers, or anything you think they would appreciate.
  23. Sponsor local causes.
  24. Make special products just for your most loyal customers. For example, if you make wine, produce a limited small-run edition.
  25. Place a bowl of candy at the front desk. It shows good hospitality.
  26. Give away candy. You will be popular.
  27. Send cookies or donuts (basically anything sweet!).
  28. Teach customers a new skill. If you own a cooking supplies store, why not host a chef each month to teach customers a new recipe? It offers you a way to connect and people might purchase something while they’re there. It also gives customers a good feeling when they think about your store and makes them more likely to give you their business.
  29. Throw a party anywhere. Why not?
  30. Take $50 off your customer’s bill at the point of sale or retroactively if online, just to say thanks.
  31. Offer a photo booth at company events. It’s become a novelty and a fun one.
  32. Fun office supplies.
  33. Monogrammed notebooks. It’s personalized and classy.
  34. Themed coloring books. Not just for kids anymore!
  35. Free stickers. Who doesn’t love stickers? Put your logo in small print at the bottom of each sticker and they promote your business too.
  36. Donate to a charity in honor of a specific customer.
  37. Give customers an unexpected discount at the checkout.
  38. Free car wash.
  39. Feature customers’ pictures with short bios in-store.
  40. Host a before- or after-hours sale.
  41. Offer beverages such as water, coffee, or tea at your store.
  42. Take a customer out for dinner.
  43. Take a customer out for coffee.
  44. Take a customer out for drinks.
  45. Make a thank you video with the staff for email marketing.
  46. Handwritten notes stand out when people are used to receiving communication through email.
  47. Handwritten thank-you card. Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten thank-you card? Depending on the context, pass the card around and have staff sign too.
  48. Handwritten letters. (See a pattern?) They’re time consuming, but consider doing one a day or doing a marathon – whatever will give you a feeling of accomplishment.
  49. Write a note (digital or handwritten). Be specific and personal.
  50. People LOVE free things and it advertises your business at the same time.

T.R. McTaggart provides gifts your customers will surely love!

For decades, T.R. McTaggart’s expertise in providing quality and affordable customer appreciation items has helped our customers treat their clients right. Contact T.R. McTaggart  for all of your promotional item needs. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff looks forward to preparing your gifts. We take pride in creating great gifts for valued customers!

Customer appreciation ideas

Here are some swag items that are always a hit!

  • Mugs
  • Tumblers
  • Umbrellas
  • Tote bags
  • Keychains
  • Water bottles
  • Pens
  • Coasters
  • Stress balls
  • Mouse pads
  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • And more!

Gift categories

At T.R. McTaggart, we offer a lot of choices in terms of great gifts for valued customers. If you can think of it, we can probably supply it! Take a look at these product categories.

Be authentic

The bottom-line best approach for customer appreciation ideas: be genuine. No one likes it when someone feigns interest in baby pictures, doesn’t listen or seem distracted during a conversation, and then hands you their business card. Make real connections with people. People appreciate authenticity, and it’s fun getting to know customers!

Contact us

T.R. McTaggart provides custom branded items that make perfect gifts!

Still not sure what would be the best gift? Contact us to talk to our staff about customer appreciation ideas. We are happy to help you brainstorm what would be most appropriate for your business, clients, and budget.

For your convenience

Swamped by all the other aspects of your business? We hear you! Talk to us about set up a convenient online store to make purchasing customer appreciation gifts quick and easy. No need to deal with money or merchandise! We do it all for you.

Plus, if you’re not sure which customer appreciation ideas would be the biggest hit with your customers, this is a safe way to avoid purchasing too much or too little of an item. Some customers always use our online store option. It can also be used as a testing ground to see what your clientele respond to. Then, next year you’ll know what customers like so you can purchase gifts to hand out in person. It’s all up to you!






color interaction

Using Color Interaction for Effective Design

Pick a color, any color

You’ve decided that you’re going to get T-shirts for your team, tote bags for your store, or stress balls for your tradeshow. Now the fun part begins, but navigating color interaction can also be daunting. There are a million micro decisions involved in the design with the interaction of color being a vital one. Color sets the tone, which makes design and color interaction important.

Humans can see over 2.8 million colors. So, where does one begin?

The power of color interaction

Color interaction is such a powerful thing that color schemes used in marketing products can be copyrighted. Color can increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

The interaction of color

Color used to be thought of as something mysterious and color theory was simply how a color made someone feel. Luckily for us, color has been studied extensively since then and we can select colors using science. These parameters help us immensely, though we should still take a cue from the past and give our stamp of approval based on taste and, yes, if it feels right.

Guided by color interaction

Color theory principles as we know them started in the 18th century. You may have studied color theory in elementary school when your art teacher talked about the color wheel: Primary colors and secondary colors. Tertiary colors may have filled your box of crayons if you got the big box. 

Additive and subtractive color mixing

You can create color by using additive or subtractive methods.

Additive color refers to when light is mixed, like at a rock concert or club. This is why objects look different colors under different colored lighting. Think of the picture of the dress that people couldn’t agree on if its colors were black and blue or white and gold!

Printing on clothing and other fabrics uses the subtractive method. When a medium, such as screen printing on a T-shirt, is applied onto a surface it is subtractive because the surface color is absorbing the light of its inherent colors and reflecting the light of everything it doesn’t absorb. For example, if an object is green, it absorbs all colors of light except for green, reflecting the green into our eyes and making it appear to us as green.

Additive versus subtractive color

Additive color



Subtractive color



Why does this matter?

When you’re designing your apparel using a screen printing application it’s important to keep in mind how your final product will look if you have different layers of color overlapping. 

Colors’ subtleties

Do you ever go shopping for pants to match your sweater at home, only to find out that it doesn’t quite match? There are three main ways that color subtly shifts.

  1. Lightness
  2. Saturation
  3. Hue

Lightness refers to light versus dark. To change lightness, either white or black is added respectively.

Saturation refers to intense versus dull. Perhaps you’ve taken a photo that’s underexposed and you’ve changed the saturation on the computer to make it easier to see – to give it more punch!

Hue refers to the combination of colors that make up that specific color. For example, a greenish-blue and how green or blue it is.

Complementary colors


Primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

Conceived by a French chemist, Chevreul’s law of color contrast suggests that yellow on a blue background will appear tinted orange, because blue and orange are complementary colors.

Warm versus cool

How do you want your design to feel? Warm colors look like a fire or the sun during the day. Cool colors look like a glacier or snow on a cold night. Warm colors range from red to yellow. Cool colors range from green to violet.

Warm colors appear to come forward in pictures, while cool colors tend to recede.

Color schemes

A color scheme is the colors chosen for a design. It is important to consider design and color interaction in order to select the best color combination for your project. There are a number of approaches to selecting pleasing colors, including:

  • Basic
  • Complementary
  • Split complementary
  • Triadic
  • Tetradic
  • Analogous
  • Accented analogous
  • Monochromatic
  • Achromatic
  • Polychromatic


A basic color scheme uses two colors.

Complementary colors

Complementary colors are opposite of each other on the color wheel and are good if you want strong contrast.

Complementary colors:

  • Yellow and violet
  • Orange and blue
  • Red and green


Also referred to as compound harmony, this color scheme uses complementary colors but adds on two analogous colors (colors adjacent to one of the complementary colors).

Triadic colors

Triadic color schemes use three colors equally spaced around the color wheel. They are vibrant.

Tetradic colors

The tetradic color scheme uses double complementary colors. That is, four colors comprised of two sets of complementary colors. This scheme typically selects one of the colors to be dominant to achieve balance.


Also called dominance harmony, this color scheme uses several colors next to each other on the color wheel, such as red, orange, and yellow. Usually one of the primary or secondary colors is chosen to be dominant. Analogous looks similar to monochromatic, but more colorful. Typically only warm or cool colors are chosen to be in the scheme.

Accented analogous

An accented analogous color scheme is an analogous one that introduces a complementary color. For example, adding blue as an accent color to the analogous color scheme of orange, red, and yellow. This scheme often uses a warm accent color with a cool pallet or vice versa.

Monochromatic colors

Monochromatic color


Monochromatic colors are a group of colors with the same hue but with different tints, tones, and shades. Monochromatic colors range from light to dark. For example, white, light gray, gray, dark gray, and black are a monochromatic color scheme. Light greenish-blue, greenish-blue, and dark greenish-blue would be another monochromatic color scheme. Take a color and add white, black, or gray!

Achromatic colors

Colors with a subtler chromatic look are referred to as:

  • Achromatic
  • Unsaturated
  • Near neutral
  • Neutral

Pure achromatic or neutral colors include black, grays, and white.

Near neutrals include browns, tans, pastels, and dark colors. Near neutrals are made by mixing a color with white, black, or grey; or by mixing two complementary colors.

When placing a color next to a neutral, the neutral color will often appear to have a slight cast of the adjacent color’s complementary color. For example, when placed next to red, gray appears greenish.

Polychromatic colors

Polychromatic means having several colors.

Color theory at the Bauhaus

Joseph Albers studied color theory at the Bauhaus, an art school in Germany.

Josef Albers’s interaction of color

In 1963, Albers published his seminal book Interaction of Color. Albers argued that color is seen relationally. Found in the book, the green screen shape below looks like two different shades of green, even though they are exactly the same green. The green is interacting with its respective backgrounds, with each background color influencing the green differently.

Interaction of Color plate



Another plate in the book, below, shows how our minds work when observing pictures. The image appears to be four squares with a folded transparent square on top. Albers did not use transparent colors. Instead, he chose colors to give the illusion of transparency. Again, with color interaction, everything is relative!


Interaction of Color plate



One Color Appears as Two



Above is an example of Albers’s color interaction exercises.

Albers devised color interaction exercises for his art students where they used swatches of color. Students picked a color, cut it into two pieces, and found two other color swatches to put behind each piece.

The goal was to make the original color swatch look like two different colors just by changing its background. Colors set next to other colors can dramatically change how a specific color looks simply by its relationship to other colors. Depending on the colors, the color interaction can have negligible to dramatic effects. 

Color interaction ideas for your design

Classic color combos

Black and white

It’s classic and sophisticated.

Red and gold

Create a warm palette.

Green and yellow

A classic pair evoking nature.

Pink and green

Another classic.

Pink and brown

Give your design an earthy feel.

Green and blue

A versatile duo. 

Color inspiration tips

Three is key

Unless you’re going for a tie-dye look or are creating a Rainbow Brite costume for an 80’s dance party, it’s best to stick with three or four colors. Not only will it be cheaper to print, limiting colors can spur you to come up with more creative solutions. It also doesn’t overwhelm the viewer.

Balance color and shape

Designers say that color schemes for rectangles are successful with a dominant color and squares are good when all colors are equal. Keep this in mind when designing your shirts. Do you want one dominant color? Are your colors balanced in equal parts? What does your design demand?

Coordinate color with content

What mood do you want to convey that would add to the shirt’s message? Maybe a ballet group has more subtle colors and a retail company uses bright colors so employees can stand out to customers. If the event is serious, such as raising an awareness of health concerns, you might not want loud colors.

Also make sure the colors aren’t already associated with something else. Certain hues of bright orange and blue are associated with laundry detergents. Put together certain shades of green and red and people will ask you if you’re celebrating Christmas in July.

Look at paintings and find one that evokes the mood you’re after. What colors did the artist use?

Write down words that you want your design to convey and ask if the colors are serving that purpose.

Color swatches

Look at a physical color swatches rather than a screen so you get a better sense of what it’s really going to look like. If your computer isn’t calibrated to online color swatches, you could end up with a color different than the one you thought you were selecting.

Take pictures

With cameras built into nearly every device, there’s no excuse not to snap a picture of something you find beautiful. What makes you attracted to it? When you answer that, you gain insight into what you would appreciate in a T-shirt design.

Look to nature

Nature is wonderful. Take a closer look at the landscape, foliage, and animals around you. Does a flower have an interesting color combination?

Learn from interior design

You don’t want to blend in with your sofa. You don’t want friends to ask if you’re hard up for cash because your fashion inspiration came from the Sound of Music’s clothes made from curtains. However, good design is good design and there is plenty you can learn from other design disciplines. Check out magazines of home interiors or interior design makeover shows. 

Note: Interior designers typically use 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, and 10% of an accent color in their designs. Don’t hold it as a hard and fast rule, but keep it in mind.

Keep what inspires you

Look for inspiration everywhere. Whether it’s old or new, online or tactile ephemera, there are millions of things in the world sure to inspire you.


Pinterest has hosts of color palette examples. Why not take a look? You’ll probably find something you like! 

Pinterest sites of interest

  1. Summer pastels
  2. Icy nature
  3. Purple sunset
  4. At the beach
  5. Pastel rocks
  6. Understated flowers
  7. Fall leaves
  8. Old building inspiration
  9. The sea
  10. A gray day

Go forth!

Color interaction can transform a design. Be aware, intentional, and ask for second opinions.

We can help!

At T.R. McTaggart, we pride ourselves on making aesthetically-pleasing quality apparel. Our designers are happy to discuss how color interaction plays into your design, palette choice, and ultimately what will make your apparel and promotional items give the right impression and have the highest impact. Contact T.R. McTaggart today to discuss all your design and color interaction projects and questions!






offline marketing tips

25 Offline Marketing Tips for Your Small Business

Analog for the Digital World

In a world where everything, including marketing, is becoming increasingly “digital,” marketing your small business or organization in unique ways that don’t involve social media, blogging, or online display can be refreshing. We love technology, but nothing can fully replace the charm of “analog.” So if you are seeking some tips for marketing your business offline, you’re in luck because we’ve put together a list of 25 offline marketing tips that are sure to inform and inspire.

Despite all the advantages technology lends to advertising, most companies still utilize both digital and traditional marketing strategies. After all, there’s nothing saying you have to choose one over the other! Keep your website, but consider implementing some of these offline marketing tips.

25 offline marketing tips include:

  1. Business cards
  2. Print ads
  3. Give your print materials a twist
  4. Speak at events
  5. Present at a tradeshow
  6. Attend conferences
  7. Team up
  8. Submit entries for awards
  9. Establish relationships with printed media
  10. Popup spaces
  11. Chalk art
  12. Make cold calls
  13. Celebrate success
  14. Celebrate holidays and birthdays
  15. Send mail
  16. Target discounts
  17. Group discounts
  18. Donate gift certificates or products
  19. Sponsor an event
  20. Provide non-financial benefits to the community
  21. Free consultations
  22. Customer referral cards
  23. Offer prizes
  24. Update your branding
  25. Go for the unconventional

Your Offline Marketing Tip Guide

  1. Business cards

Cost effective and easy to make. They are still one of the best ways to get your name and brand out into the community. There’s no reason not to have them!

  1. Print ads

Traditional but still highly effective, especially when targeting the Baby Boomer demographic.

  1. Give your print materials a twist

Pamphlets and brochures are great, but why not get inventive? Is there a way to make your printed material special? Have fun or make something beautiful so the customer is more likely to hold onto it. Thicker paper stock can help with this.

What if your catalog had a popup? Just don’t get so crazy that it becomes impractical for the consumer to hang onto your materials, and print can prove expensive, so you want to be sure the desired ROI is attainable.

Also, throw in some stickers – these can include your branding. When someone buys from you, add a little something extra. It will give customers a positive view of your company, they’ll likely become repeat customers, and the stickers or branded items will help you advertise.

  1. Speak at events

This will establish you as an authority in your industry and help you build connections. If you’re at the beginning of your career and not ready to take that leap, look to attend industry events. You can still network, which can be invaluable. Then offer to speak at events when you feel comfortable.

  1. Present at a trade show

It’s a great opportunity to reach new customers and raise awareness of your business. You will be able to see your competition and take note of their business strategies. Plus it’s an opportunity to network with others in your industry. 

  1. Attend conferences

Become an authority in your field and network with your peers.

  1. Team up

Find another business to collaborate with on a project. You can expose your company to their clients and vice versa. 

  1. Submit entries for awards

If you win an award, it creates publicity and it’s something you can tout in your advertising. It’s also nice to be recognized by peers.

  1. Establish relationships with printed media

If your business reached a milestone, is involved in a community program, or is doing something related to a current event, reach out to newspaper and magazine editors. Write a compelling press release and call reporters to follow up.

If they choose to write a story about it: Great, free publicity. If not, be cordial and try again when you have another story idea. Also, let reporters know you would be happy to be interviewed to answer questions about your industry should the need arise. Your business might not be the headline, but you could be cited as an expert providing useful information to a related story.

  1. Popup spaces

Create a buzz by selling at a popup shop; this creates an urgency in a potential buyer.

  1. Chalk art

A creative and fun way to introduce your brand to potential customers. Just make sure you ask the city’s permission. 

  1. Make cold calls

It’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but by making calls to potential clients they might … well, become actual clients! Or, you might not gain a customer right away, but if you’re pleasant, show you’ve researched their company, and are considerate of their time, you could be the first company that comes to mind when they need your services.

  1. Celebrate success

If your business is doing well, celebrate it! Your employees will appreciate it and it’s an opportunity to notify the press.

  1. Celebrate the holidays and birthdays

Everyone loves a holiday card or a discount on their special day. Another option is to donate to charity on behalf of your clients.

  1. Send mail

That’s right, not e-mail. Email is great, but many people respond better to snail mail. Physical mail feels more personalized to the customer.

  1. Target discounts for a specific demographic

This makes the potential customer feel special and lucky to get the discount. It also communicates that your company wants that demographic as customers. If you know you’re having a difficult time reaching certain demographics, this is a great way to pull them in.

Maybe you’re a venue that sponsors opera events and want to get more young people to attend. If you offer a discount to students it could signal to them that this is a place where they would fit in. Even if it’s not a huge discount, students and seniors appreciate discounts.

  1. Group discounts bring people in

If you offer discounts to larger groups it can get people to recruit their friends to become customers too. Whether it’s pitching in to buy peanut butter in bulk at the local co-op or going on a group tour at a museum, group discounts can encourage word-of-mouth advertising.

  1. Donate gift certificates or products

It builds good will in the community, raises your visibility, and people will sample your products and might even tell their friends about you.

  1. Sponsor an event

Get involved in the community by sponsoring an event, such as a local race for charity. Partner with a nonprofit. You’ll have an audience to distribute branded merchandise to, your name will be promoted, you’ll create a positive image in the community, and you’ll do some good along the way!

  1. Provide non-financial benefits to the community

For example, offer nonprofits and organizations office space for their meetings. They’ll tell people where they meet, giving a positive impression of your business.

  1. Free consultations

The potential customer may figure they have nothing to lose and become your regular customer.

  1. Customer referral cards

If a customer brings in a friend they each get a discount – and you get a new customer.

  1. Offer prizes

Organize a drawing where customers and potential customers provide you with their name and email in order to enter. Offer smaller prizes in addition to a big prize. More people will enter because their chances of winning will go up.

Plus there will be more people with branded merchandise and more people providing word-of-mouth advertising when they share what they won from you. Just make sure you don’t bombard people with emails once you get their addresses. Inform but don’t annoy.

  1. Update your branding

This doesn’t mean changing your logo necessarily. However, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate how you present your business and package your goods and services. Ask yourself if your presentation is sending the right message. It’s hard to sell your products or services as state of the art if your branding looks outdated.

  1. Go for the unconventional

Don’t be afraid to think beyond TV and print media. What could you do to capture the public’s imagination? If you are creative, guerrilla marketing can differentiate you from the competition, connect you with potential customers, and leave a good impression.

Come up with projects that are fun and uplifting – chalk art is one example, or a flash mob that introduces your brand. Don’t do anything illegal. The last thing you want is to get arrested. Bottom line: Make it non-traditional, unexpected, and memorable.

Bridge the Analog to the Digital

  • Use whichever offline marketing tips work for you. Don’t abandon your online marketing strategy, but augment it with some of these ideas. When marketing your small business the bottom line is to get creative and pursue what you think will connect with customers.
  • Ask yourself: Which offline marketing tips could best benefit your business? What would your customers be attracted to?

Take Action

Are you ready to put these tips for marketing your business offline into action?

Promotional items and custom apparel are a great way to connect with customers, promote your brand, and boost business because customized items increase brand awareness and build customer loyalty.

Our staff at T.R. McTaggart is ready to help you find the perfect promotional items and custom apparel for any marketing initiative that you have in mind.

Contact T.R. McTaggart Today

Want to promote a contest and need custom T-shirts and tote bags? Presenting at a tradeshow and need branded pens? Looking for a special gift for loyal clients? T.R. McTaggart has you covered with high-quality products to help promote your business and increase brand awareness.

Our staff would be happy to discuss which offline marketing tips would best suit your business strategy. T.R. McTaggart has decades of experience and will work with you to create custom products sure to make a positive impression. Call us today at (800) 433-0983 or Contact Us to tell us about your needs.

We look forward to working with you!





custom screen printing

4 Reasons Why You May Need Custom Screen Printing

A Versatile Option

There are many reasons for custom screen printing. Screen printing is versatile because it is appropriate for a variety of personal, organizational, and business needs.

There are a variety of choices when applying graphics and branding to your apparel.

Options include:

  • Screen printing
  • Embroidery
  • Sublimation and heat press
  • Digital full-color imprints

Before choosing screen printing, consider the process that would best serve your concept. The design team at T.R. McTaggart can help you with that.

Why Screen Printing?

Screen printing is the most popular method of garment decoration. It’s also very affordable and is a highly economical and efficient method for printing in bulk.

Color and Design

When choosing the color of your shirt, think about it in relation to the colors of your design that will be printed on it. This will affect how stiff the print is, as well as the price.

It’s cheaper to print on light fabrics, such as white or heather grey, because the ink is more visible. If you select a dark fabric, you have to print a white under base so the colors in your design can be seen despite the dark background. This additional layer increases both the price and thickness of the print.

Each color adds to the cost because a new screen is made for each color. So, think about how many colors you actually need. Is there a way to get the same message across (and still make it look cool) with minimal colors? Could you strategically use the fabric’s color as part of the artwork? You want to consider cost versus effect gained.

On the other hand, maybe you have a design that demands a lot of layers to meet your vision. Sometimes this is the case. Just make sure you’ve weighed the alternatives first before you come to that conclusion.

No worries, though, because the design and sales team at T.R. McTaggart are here to assist you every step of the way. We can make your ideas come to life, and at an affordable price!

So what are the four main reasons why you may need screen printing services from T.R. McTaggart?

1. Outfit Your Sports Team

Custom screen printing is a great option for outfitting your sports team. At T.R. McTaggart, we offer screen printing on garments for nearly any sports teams, including:

  • Baseball / Softball teams
  • College intramural
  • Church leagues
  • Youth soccer
  • And more!

2. Boost School Spirit

Screen printing is great for apparel worn at school events and can boost school spirit through pride in school colors and showing off a beloved mascot. Whether you’re outfitting the math club or robotics team or want to give the glee club or the band a unified put-together look, screen printing is a fun way to accomplish that goal.

Order shirts with your school’s logo or mascot and students will be proud to wear it – and maybe even hang onto it as memorabilia. Custom screen printing is a great way to build and preserve memories.

3. Outfit Your Organization or Business

Whether you are a nonprofit or fortune-500 company, screen printing is a great option.

Maybe you want to show pride as a member of the PTA or show unity at a fundraiser. Perhaps you want to add to the festivity of your company’s or organization’s picnic. Or, maybe you have a trade show coming up and want shirts for employees to wear and for promo items to give away.

There aren’t many instances when screen printing wouldn’t be a good option.

4. Merchandise for resort and gift shops

We also screen print on merchandise designed for resort and gift shops. We create custom designs or print your designs.

Apparel and other items available with print include:

  • Flags
  • Umbrellas
  • Tote bags
  • T-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Jackets
  • Youth garments
  • Large and tall garments
  • And more!

Why trust your custom screen printing to T.R. McTaggart?

T.R. McTaggart is an industry leader in custom screen printing design. We have the knowledgeable and experienced team to get it done right, in a timely manner, and at a reasonable price.

From design to fabric, we use one color to eight colors and four-color processes. No project is too big or too small for our screen printers. We are equipped with manual and automatic presses, a large selection of ink colors, and Douthitt advanced computer-to-screen imaging technology.

At T.R. McTaggart, our dedicated team prides itself on making fashionable apparel and promotional items. We service clients nationwide, including resort retailers, souvenir shops, and a variety of gift markets.

We’ve provided quality screen printing for almost four decades and have completed over 66,000 projects and served more than 5,000 satisfied clients. We guarantee satisfaction with every order.

There is no job too big or too small and we give all jobs equal attention.

We also provide a free online store service that allows employees or teammates to buy your company’s branded apparel 24/7.

Bring in your design or have our designers work with you to make something great!

Our screen printing designs are featured at:

  • Athletic departments
  • Family gatherings
  • Fundraising events
  • Holiday parties
  • Promotional campaigns
  • Resorts and gift shops
  • Special events
  • Team building functions
  • And more!

Reasons to choose T.R. McTaggart:

  • Dependable
  • Durable
  • Economical
  • Experienced
  • Knowledgeable
  • Professional expertise in screen printing
  • High impact
  • One of the largest selections of apparel
  • Versatile
  • Gets it done on time

Contact us today to discuss your needs in greater detail or to request a quote. We welcome clients from all industries!




custom online store

Why You Need a Custom Online Store for Your Employees

Stop the Hassle

With a busy workplace, the last thing you want to do is add another thing to worry about. However, like rain in the spring and snow in the winter (at least in Michigan), some things never change: Employees still need uniforms. So, instead of passing out a catalog to employees once or twice per year and collecting their style, color, and size as they hand you money or a check – why not have a custom online store that employees can shop from? An online store simplifies the process and frees you from the hassle of organizing the clothing order. An online store provides easy access to employee uniforms where employees can purchase corporate branded merchandise on demand.

Starting a traditional online store, however, takes a lot of work and money. You would need to hire a web designer, find a host for your website, and hire someone to manage packing and shipping of merchandise. You would also need an accountant and you would want to hire a lawyer to write your privacy policy, terms and conditions, and returns and refunds policy.

If only there were an easier way…

What Is a Custom Online Store?

A custom online store is an online platform that allows members to purchase branded items on demand directly from the store that provides them.

At T.R. McTaggart, we can set up a custom online store to provide branded merchandise and handle your distribution needs.


Amazon, Airbnb, Uber … Customers, especially the younger generation that grew up with computers, expect shopping to be at their fingertips and on demand. A custom online store caters to this market. Goodbye paper forms; it’s time to embrace change.

The 21st century has seen an extraordinary amount of innovation in technology – so take advantage of this and use it to improve your company.

Easy to maintain

You never even have to come into contact with the actual product. A custom online store is easy to set up and then we handle the rest, including stocking, taking orders, processing payments, and shipping. This will save you a lot of time. We worry about the details so you can concentrate on what you do.

Many types of businesses can benefit:

  • Sports teams
  • Athletic departments
  • Corporations
  • Small businesses
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Churches
  • And more!

Benefits for sports teams

A custom online store is useful for sports teams. Instead of keeping track of paper order forms and collecting and counting the money to put in a lock box, you can pick what items you want to offer in your online store.

No more hounding students to remember their order forms!

Players pay individually online and you sit back and focus on strategy for the upcoming game. In fact, coaches spend 78% less time managing orders by using a custom online store.

Friends and family of organizations

A custom online store also makes it easier for parents and friends of the team to get their branded apparel to support the team. If there is a school spirit store at your school, parents’ and friends’ schedules might not align with business hours. It discourages sales if people have to make an extra effort to make purchases.

However, with a custom online store, if fans want to get decked out for the big game, they don’t have to worry about a long wait before they get their gear as orders are physically collected. In fact, they don’t even have to wait in line at the store! This can increase purchases and lift team spirit. It’s a win-win-win.


Better yet, you can also use the custom online store to fundraise for your team or nonprofit organization by selling your branded apparel and allocating some of the money to the cause.

You can also decide if you want your virtual store to close and when. Sometimes deadlines motivate people to act and make their purchases, rather than putting it off to a later date.

Work uniforms

Once per year you get a catalog, take orders, and collect money. You get all your employees outfitted in branded-wear for your business … and then next month you hire another team member.

A custom online store will provide easy access to employee uniforms. This makes it easy for new employees to get up to speed with not just the work culture, but the clothes that go with it. Further, veteran employees can purchase corporate branded merchandise to replace old items at their leisure. Everyone fits in and looks polished.

Increase Your Business Presence

Employees wearing branded clothing and other gear outside the workplace can serve as a form of advertising. If workers wear their uniforms outside of work or carry around branded merchandise it expands your business’ presence. Offering useful items increases the likelihood of your employees wearing branded items in public.

One way to encourage employees to buy more branded items is to consider subsidizing the cost. If a polo shirt in your custom online store costs the same as a regular polo shirt, most employees will probably buy the unbranded one. The exception is if your company is a hip record store, a coffee shop, an iconic brand, or a nonprofit.

There are other exceptions too. However, think realistically. If you deal business to business, it is less likely that employees will buy logo wear. However, if employees can get a good deal, they might be willing to be a walking billboard for your business.

Also consider using branded merchandise as a gift or reward to increase your presence around town.

You can offer a variety of items for purchase in your custom online store:

  • Jerseys
  • T-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Jackets
  • Hats
  • Visors
  • Scarves
  • And more!

We also offer a variety of applications:

  • Screen printing
  • Embroidery
  • Dye sublimation
  • Laser etching

T.R. McTaggart’s custom online store service is also set up to make things personalized.

We offer:

  • Player names
  • Roster numbers
  • Branded gear

Sell non-clothing items emblazoned with your brand as well

For example, tumblers, umbrellas, and tote bags would be items people would be apt to carry around in public, increasing exposure of your brand. People carry tumblers to work and tote bags prominently display brand names.

In sum:

  • Tumblers
  • Umbrellas
  • Tote bags

The key benefits of having a custom online store:

  • Convenient for employers
  • Convenient for employees or team members
  • Processing orders is easy
  • Easier to keep up with demand
  • Employees or team members can order 24/7
  • Offers control, transparency, and visibility for fundraising
  • Limits financial liabilities by eliminating checks and paper order forms
  • Offers a wide selection of products
  • Promotes sales year round
  • You have the option to close the virtual store at a specific date
  • Employees can pay individually or with coupon codes
  • Detailed order reporting available to management
  • R. McTaggart provides all these services! Some companies charge anywhere from $10 to $700 per month to run a customized store. We do it for free!

In summary, having a custom online store with us is free and most likely to be faster and more convenient.

Contact Us Today

Contact T.R. McTaggart today to work with us to create your custom online store. Call us at (800) 433-0983 or visit the Online Stores page on our website.

We look forward to helping you set up shop!





Promotional Items

Using Promotional Items to Boost Your Organization’s Presence

Get Your Organization Noticed

For many organizations, particularly nonprofits that are running on a Spartan budget, using promotional items to boost your organization’s presence at fundraisers and exhibitions is the most effective way to spend your marketing dollars.

Ads are everywhere. On TV and newspapers. On the side of buses and on grocery store floors. When we surf the web pop ups momentarily prevent us from getting to the content. Digital ads follow us online. There are even digital video ads on bathroom stalls at restaurants.

The public is savvy about being manipulated by advertising. Yet, advertising is vital for promoting your organization or business. So, how does one reach customers without putting them off? And, better yet, is there a way to do it cost effectively?

While consumers might fast forward through TV ads or ignore banner ads while they are surfing the web, they love free stuff!

Some cite the first promotional product as a commemorative button for George Washington’s Presidential election in 1789. However, promotional products didn’t become prevalent until the twentieth century. It is puzzling that it took so long to catch on because promotional items have traditionally had a great Return on Investment (ROI).


Nonprofits are one of the top ten purchasers of promotional items. One study found that 41 percent of U.S. consumers bought a product because it was “associated with a cause or issue,” so this shouldn’t be surprising. However, there are many reasons why promotional items that will promote your brand make sense for your nonprofit organization.

Some reasons include:

  • Helps fundraising for your organization when soliciting donors or offering products for purchase
  • Increases response rates to mailers soliciting donations when an item like a refrigerator magnet, key chain, or pen is included
  • Educates people who see others wearing shirts or carrying totes in public
  • Makes a nice “thank you” gift to volunteers and donors

Make a positive impression

Whether you’re a for- or nonprofit organization, promotional items leave potential patrons with a significantly more favorable impression of organizations that provide them compared to other forms of advertising. The following breakdown details the percentage of people who felt more favorably towards an organization after being exposed to various types of advertising:

  • 9% who saw online advertising
  • 7% who saw a television commercial
  • 2% who saw a print ad
  • 42-52% who received a promotional item

How cost effective are promotional items?

So, we know promotional items work, but how do they stack up cost-wise?

It turns out promotional products have the best ROI compared with the other main forms of advertising. Many companies calculate the Cost Per Impression (CPI) of their advertisements and research reveals these averages.

The CPI for various media buys:

  • $0.019 for prime time TV spots
  • $0.019 for half-page black and white newspaper ads
  • $0.006 for syndicated daytime TV spots
  • $0.005 for radio spots
  • $0.003 for billboards

The average CPI for promotional items? Just $0.004!

Why promotional items work

Promotional items are effective because, depending on the item, people hang on to them and use them; they might even use them every day. Each time someone uses a promotional item they are essentially advertising your organization to others who see the person using or wearing it.

In addition, promotional items work because when someone gives you something, psychology dictates that you will feel like you owe the giver a favor in return. In this case, buying the giver’s products or donating to their organization.

To sum it up:

  • People like free things.
  • Promotional items provide a lot of brand exposure at a low price.
  • People experience positive feelings toward an organization after receiving an item.

Social media

Why not go the extra step and have a little fun with it?

Pairing promotional items that will promote your brand with social media is also a good strategy. It’s a good way to both retain and gain patrons or donors.

People like to feel appreciated, so show your loyal clientele or benefactors that you appreciate their patronage with free gifts every now and then. Word of mouth is powerful. When people feel goodwill and appreciation from your organization and like your brand, they will speak kindly of you to their friends and colleagues.

On social media it is also easy for people to share your organization’s page with their friends. People like to be the trendsetter and find good deals so that they can be the one who shares them with their friends.

A trendy promotional gift can also be effective on social media. Take some of the excitement for the hottest new product and direct some of that excitement to your organization!

Why not extend the reach offered by social media even further by also requesting information from visitors? Besides, if people are asked to sign up for a newsletter they may be apt to buy or donate later, having remembered a good experience with your brand.

Ways to implement social media:

  • Offer promotional items for liking your Facebook or Twitter page.
  • Offer promotional items for signing up for an e-newsletter or giving you their email or mailing address.
  • Encourage people to post or send you pictures of them using your promotional products. This is good publicity for potential customers or donors to see the pictures of others using your products and it gets people actively engaged with your brand.
  • Print QR codes, twitter handles, or other social media sites on your promotional items.
  • Include a big-ticket item contest or drawing advertised in store, at a conference, at a trade show, or on social media.

Potential Pitfalls

Like any form of advertising, there are drawbacks and things to consider.

  • Some experts claim effective promotional items have at least a $5 to $10 perceived value. This can be an expensive investment.
  • Consumers will hang on to the item for varying lengths of time depending on the item. For example, food will expose your brand to the consumer for a shorter time period than other items.
  • This year’s hot colors might go out of style next season. How many T-shirts are do you plan to distribute? It’s OK if you give away all of them; however, if you buy in bulk for a discount and plan to pass some out next year, choose something more traditional that will still be in fashion.

The most effective promotional items

Pens. Pens. Pens.

While there are many options, pens are at the top of the list because they are used more than any other item. Everyone needs a pen and one study showed 40% of recipients used their pens twice per day. Pens also last a long time. This is a lot of brand exposure for such a small and inexpensive promotional item.

However, don’t make your pens so inexpensive that they are poor quality, as this will reflect poorly on your organization. Other than that, you really can’t go wrong.

Tote bags are another great option. Research shows bags are the most frequently used promotional items by consumers, averaging nine uses per month. Because consumers carry them around in public, each bag creates about 1,038 impressions per month. That’s huge!

Consumers also keep bags for nine months, a relatively long period for promotional items. Apparel is also kept around a while, averaging seven months.

The other promotional items people most often keep are items they find useful in the kitchen or the office.

In sum:

  • Pens
  • Bags
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Office supplies

Effective promotional items are:

  • Used regularly
  • Kept nearby

The most preferred promotional items include:

  • Clocks and watches
  • Digital picture frames
  • Food baskets
  • Luggage
  • MP3 players

While these are the statistics, keep in mind what will work best for your organization’s budget. It is important that your promotional items relate to your brand. This makes it easier for potential patrons to remember you and make connections between the promotional item and your brand.

For example, if you’re a yoga studio and you take away people’s watches at the door to meditate without regard to time, a watch or clock wouldn’t make sense as a promotional item and would certainly confuse your brand’s message!

Promotional Items for Nearly Any Need

T.R. McTaggart provides promotional items that will promote your brand that are high quality and customizable. This reflects well on your brand. We can create items to your specifications to increase your brand recognition.

The products we provide include:

  • Automotive
  • Badges
  • Lanyards
  • Bags
  • Calendars
  • Computer accessories
  • Desk items
  • Eco friendly
  • Food and beverage
  • Games
  • Golf items
  • Healthcare
  • Key tags
  • Kitchen and home
  • Mugs and drinkware
  • Pens
  • Sports and outdoors
  • Stress balls
  • Tools and hardware
  • Travel items

Contact Us Today

T.R McTaggart has over two decades of experience and expertise producing promotional items. If you want to find out more about how we can work with you to design and develop promotional items for your organization that will make your brand stand out, call us today at (800) 433-0983 to talk to a friendly representative about your organization’s needs.






keys to a successful trade show

4 Keys to a Successful Trade Show

What to consider when planning a trade show

You’ve decided it’s time to represent your business at a trade show to expand your customer base and grow your business. However, the first time planning a trade show can be overwhelming. There are a lot of logistics involved in the process and a lot of things that could potentially go wrong. So, how do you achieve a successful trade show appearance? While there are many things to consider, there are 4 keys to a successful trade show that are paramount:

  • Be strategic
  • Plan
  • Maximize the time you are there
  • Distribute promotional materials 

Be Strategic

Before you commit to a trade show, do your research to make sure your efforts will be worthwhile. If only a small fraction of the demographic you’re trying to reach is going to attend, don’t invest time and money. You could plan an impressive display only to be disappointed. Also make sure that you project the cost of participating in the trade show to be made up for in new business revenue.

On the other hand, if your business makes sense in the context of the trade show, it can be a great opportunity to connect with potential clients. Once you’ve decided that participating at a trade show is a good investment, it’s time to figure out how to make the most of the event.

Potential clients or buyers come to the event ready to learn about what your business has to offer. However, there’s also going to be competition, so try to get a prime location. Though it costs extra, it’s worth it. Book your spot well in advance because this real estate goes fast. If you plan to attend every year, you might even be able to strike up a discount with the organizers.

Another way to increase traffic to your booth is to market it before the exhibition. Offering an incentive to stop by via social media is one tactic.

Usually a list of registered attendees is available beforehand. Make use of it! You can research these perspective customers to better understand the demographic attending and tailor your presentation to them. Perhaps you highlight specific products or services that you think would appeal to the demographic attending.

Then, once you attract people to your booth, make the most of it. Just like in networking, many people who meet a professional contact have a quality conversation, but then never follow up. If you have a great lead, pursue it! Things might not pan out, but why put in all that effort just to neglect what could become a great business relationship? Make sure you follow up with potential clients within six weeks.

Personalization is also important. Try to incorporate specific information from your conversation at the show when you follow up. It shows that you were listening to clients’ needs and would be responsive if they decide to work with you. 


Probably one of the most important keys to a successful trade show is planning. To plan effectively, make a budget, allow yourself enough time, and carefully consider your exhibit. 

Make a budget

Doing this helps you evaluate the true cost of the exhibition. Separate expenses into categories. For example:

  • Exhibition space rental
  • Exhibit design and accompanying technology
  • Promotion
  • Travel and staffing

Add a cushion to your budget in case anything goes wrong. For example, you could add on 10% of what you think the total cost will be. If you need to replace a computer cord or battery you want the hassle to be the time it takes you to go to the store, not getting approval for the purchase you needed ten minutes ago.

Also, consider using a booth design that can be used for multiple events. This can save you money in the future.

Another way to save on cost is to forego a plywood or laminate booth structure in favor of a design construction that uses poles with stretched fabric. Since this design is lightweight, it’s cheaper to ship. Plus it’s easy to assemble, saving on time. Storing the exhibit compactly is a plus as well.

Allot yourself weeks or even months to plan the event

Figure out what equipment you need so you can place your technical requirements with the trade show organizers to make sure you can be accommodated, especially if things are first come first served.

Ship your exhibit ahead of time. Then if anything breaks in shipment you have time to fix it.

Do a run-through to determine if everything is working. Then you can see if you’ve overlooked something or if technology isn’t working and needs to be replaced.

Think of Plan B and C. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, something goes wrong that is out of your control. If a computer isn’t working or you don’t have an electrical outlet, do you have high-quality printouts of your slides? Is there a way you could improvise and still get your business’ message across effectively?

Also, don’t be afraid to ask exhibit organizers for help. They’ve been doing this for a long time and might know a quick fix you hadn’t considered. 

Put effort into how your exhibit is presented

Make your exhibit stand out and include text that is easy to read from all directions. A trade show is not the time to place similar fonts and background colors together to look stylish but that are hard to read from a distance. Just like multiple ads on a news page or in a magazine, all the exhibits are competing for the customer’s attention. Peruse some magazines and see what sticks out to you and draws your eye.

Include a variety of media that appeal to different people. Like in school, some people prefer videos to learn. Others might want literature, such as brochures and pamphlets, to bring home and read later. 

Then evaluate

Does the display draw in visitors? Does it clearly convey your company’s message?

Maximize your time

Have enough staff available. You’ve invested a lot of time and money to be at the trade show. The last thing you want is to successfully bring in traffic only for potential customers to have no one to make a connection with or to answer questions.

Offer specials only available at the show, advertising it prominently, to make customers more apt to purchase from you during the event. You can engage on social media before the event and have prominent signs to alert potential clients of your trade show promo.

In addition to information about your products and services at your display, also include helpful materials to potential clients. If you become a problem solver, customers will come to you for answers and you will establish yourself as an expert – and gain their business.

This should go without saying, but dress professionally and pay attention to everyone. Like it or not, you are judged by what you wear. On the flip side, many exhibitors brush off people who don’t look important. However, these days you often can’t tell how powerful a person is by clothing. Think of Mark Zuckerberg. If you ignore people in flip flops or a t-shirt, you could miss out on a potentially lucrative client.

Distribute Branded Items

Contests and prizes are a fun way to draw in a crowd and create an atmosphere of excitement at a trade show. Select items that prominently display your brand and that attendees will keep with them for a long period of time, such as mugs, notepads, and pens. This places your brand in their daily lives. Maximize the opportunity by requiring that attendees either take information from you or provide you with contact information in order to be eligible for the prize.

Brand drinks or snacks with your logo. While these items don’t last long they do advertise your display as people walk around.

Unlocking the Keys to a Successful Trade Show

While it might seem daunting at first, planning a successful trade show is doable if you think strategically, plan ahead, maximize your resources, and distribute promotional materials to your key demographic. T.R. McTaggart is here help you plan your events and to brainstorm strategies to selecting promotional materials that are right for your business.

We have expertise in providing comprehensive solutions for trade show success, from planning to promotional materials. Servicing the retail and gift industry as well as corporations and non-profits, for almost four decades, T.R. McTaggart has helped clients find the perfect promotional items to increase brand awareness.

Whether you are looking for something specific or browsing for ideas, we are your one-stop trade show success source. Contact us to discuss your needs in greater detail or to request a quote.

We look forward to working with you!




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