As one of the top real estate companies in Chicago, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services understands the importance of quality and presentation in everything they do — and when it came time to grow their brand and foster a culture their agents would be excited to part of, they realized they wanted the same quality they put in their work to be clear in their swag. They were looking for a company to manage their swag for new hires, an online store for employees and somewhere to warehouse all their swag. “We were in the middle of a potential name change, [so] it worked perfectly with how we wanted to get the brand out there,” said Debbie Tapper, Director of People & Culture at BHHS. “We want stuff that looks cool,” agrees Corinna Caraher, Director of People & Culture at BHHS. “Having stuff that’s good quality is important to us, and it was important to one of our executives that started the department with us, [they] were like “I don’t want to sell crappy anything just to slap our logo onto it,” so that’s kind of how we found you guys.”
An opportunity to grow a winning culture
Berkshire was inspired to step up their swag game when they noticed that two of their biggest competitors were using swag to increase their brand’s presence in the marketplace. “So two of our main competitors, one of them is known for having these car stickers and you see them everywhere. And then the other one of our main competitors launched a swag store and they kind of had really good reviews from all their agents, and then the agents at our company are like, “Why don’t we have anything we can wear? I wanna wear a hat that says BHHS” or “I wanna wear a sweatshirt or carry a coffee cup” and we’ve never had that before,” said Corinne.
More so than the rivalry between top companies however, Debbie and Corinne knew there was a powerful opportunity before them.“We really wanted to increase our presence in the marketplace,” Debbie told us. “We viewed this as an opportunity to have walking billboards on a marketing level, but we also wanted to increase our culture by being loud and proud.”
In recognizing their company culture, Debbie and Corinne were looking for the same kind of excellence in their swag that Berkshire employees put into their work. It wasn’t easy.
“I was doing a lot of research of different companies and I didn’t know how cluttered it was, just to find someone to give us good quality stuff took a week,” said Corinne. Wasting money on bad swag is a failure every company wants to avoid, but how do you tell the difference?
“There’s so many options. It’s easy to order a lot of crap, and when you’re ordering that much stuff for a large company and spending so much money, it’s a risk. You guys have really made us feel better about that — you give us quality stuff and you’re easy to work with.”
— Debbie Tapper, Director of People & Culture at Berkshire
For Berkshire, the secret was in the presentation. They were looking for a company that understood their brand and the thoughtfulness behind the presentation. “According to a lot of online digging, we found a company that we had investigated a little bit, that we had received some sample swag, and they too worked very similar to you guys with the quality of merchandise, but I have to tell you the difference between you and them was presentation,” Debbie said.
“Theirs came in a huge box, it was all thrown in there, there was no presentation, t-shirts were in a ball and wrinkled, I was like, what the hell is this? It was terrible.”
Fortunately, presentation is something SwagUp understands. “Your website says that you focus on a few brands that are nice for each category, versus some sites, it’s like if I want a t-shirt, I’m looking at 400 different brands of t-shirts, it’s just too overwhelming that we just kind of gave up,” Corinne said.
In addition to appreciating our less-is-more philosophy (much less overwhelming for our busy friends!), Berkshire loved getting the warm welcome they deserved. “When we received your sample pack, that was exactly what we wanted to give every new person whether they are an employee or an agent joining our company.” From that point on, it was full steam ahead.
“Everything we were kind of envisioning but we didn’t know where to start, you guys took over and made it a lot easier for us. You guys have just been amazing.”
— Corinna Caraher, Director of People & Culture at BHHS
Debbie and Corinne were able to successfully launch a new hire swag pack for all new agents and launch an online store filled with high-quality products that their agents love. With the help of SwagUp it was a seamless experience that saved them times and money. SwagUp Team was able to warehouse inventory and distribute when needed for all their new hires and launch their swag shop across all agents!
“The agents have loved it,” Corinne said, “I have this one agent, in particular, he keeps sending me anytime he wears his Patagonia to like shows or open houses, he sends them to us. They’ve been tagging us and stuff. It’s fun when someone wants to rep a company and wants to wear the swag.”
For companies interested in their own swag projects, Debbie says that “any hiccups that we’ve had along the way, SwagUp has solved them really super fast. They’re very responsive to our emails and flexible with box changes, so really, it’s been really awesome.
Corinne adds, “Being able to just go online and order stuff from our inventory and not having to bother anyone anymore, that’s been amazing. I can just go on there and say I need 5 small Patagonia and they’re here in like a day.”
“We were definitely nervous because for us it’s a lot of money. To kind of start this out, being a new department, the whole process creating it from the ground up, we’ve been really pleased. I think that overall by SwagUp hosting the store, warehousing our inventory and their responsiveness has definitely saved us time and money,” Debbie says.
A culture encouraging employees to be proud of being a part of the company? It sounds like the hallmark of a winner.
For more information on launching your own online store using SwagUp contact us today!”