Swag Success: Iconic Swag for a Team All Around the World

Press
9 min read
Jake Wang
Jake Wang
Marketing Manager

Published: April 14, 2021

SWAGUP CASE STUDY

Meet Whereby

Whereby believes the future of work is all about flexibility. Specifically, the flexibility to be free to work and live in a way that allows individuals from all walks of life to thrive in the environments they love best, with the people they love best. 

And as a video conferencing tool, Whereby is built with this vision in mind. 

Their belief in sustainable work and bringing the freshest energy and creativity to the job goes back to their roots in Norway, where the original team was based. Then life happened and the team began to spread across the globe. 

Photos credits from left to right:
Jessica Hayes, Amsterdam, VP of People & Talent; Georgina A, Data Scientist, Cape Town South Africa

Seeing this as an opportunity to empathize with customers and go even deeper into identifying the challenges that would need to be solved in bringing the Whereby vision to life, the Whereby team is now 100% remote. 


Some live in big cities, others in small villages where their families are. If they need to move, their job moves with them. For our team members, and also for our customers, we know that the ability to decouple location from work can be life-changing.

— INGRID ØDEGAARD, CHIEF PRODUCT AND TECHNOLOGY OFFICER AT WHEREBY


From Annika K, User Researcher, Bali, Indonesia

“At the start of 2020 we were a small remote-first Norwegian company of 25 people. The arrival of COVID-19 caused an acceleration in our growth and now we are over 100 people”, says Jessica Hayes VP of People & Talent at Whereby. “As people were encouraged to begin working from home wherever possible, our product became essential to so many businesses around the world. Luckily, being a remote-first company, we had already embraced the concept of flexible working, and the extraordinary times of 2020 enabled us to grow in an intentional way to the size we are today.” 

Ashley Williams, Marketing & Branding People Partner at Whereby

As a People Partner at Whereby, Ashley’s task was to make sure that there was onboarding swag for our new starters and that they could actually receive those shipments wherever they are. At the same time, Whereby was looking for new swag to embrace the delight and sense of freedom embedded in their brand redesign.




New Look, Fresh Swag, and a Year of Growth

Everyone agrees: Whereby swag boxes are beautiful.

As in show-stopping, gasp-of-surprise, keep-and-reuse-the-box beautiful. So beautiful that people all over the world whisper to each other, What is this beautiful box? What’s Whereby? How do you get this box?

And that’s when you know you did branding right.

“The box is the number one compliment we got from people all over the world. We have colleagues in Cape Town, South Africa, and another in Bali, Indonesia and they’ve said “This has never happened. I’ve never been able to get a package from the post office here. Our colleagues were even able to collect their swag boxes from small post offices in 1000 people towns in Norway, like polar bear country,” says Ashley.

From Jessica Hayes, Amsterdam, VP of People & Talent

The box is the number one compliment we got from people all over the world. We have colleagues in Cape Town, South Africa, and another in Bali, Indonesia and they’ve said, This has never happened. At the post office, people are like, What is this beautiful box? What’s Whereby? How do you get this box? How can I get one of these boxes? 

— ASHLEY WILLIAMS, MARKETING & BRANDING PEOPLE PARTNER AT WHEREBY


For Whereby, swag has always been key. But the success behind Whereby swag boxes actually began with a series of events long before Whereby boxes were shipping to post offices all over the world. 

It just so happened that a swag project was the perfect way to let the brand shine. 

At the end of 2019, the Whereby team started looking into a brand redesign. They made a conscious decision to step away from the corporate look, and focus more on Whereby’s mission and values. As a result, Whereby’s new visual profile intentionally incorporates elements of nature with an almost fantastical twist. This was because the team wanted to turn “to the land of fantasy, fairy tales, dreams, and poetry” that would evoke imagination and curiosity yet balanced with calmness.

From Annika K, User Researcher, Bali, Indonesia

The opportunity helped the Whereby team craft a unique visual identity that then carried over to their swag. Things like the original black and white Whereby hoodie, while cool, would eventually become a legacy item as the team searched for new and fresh swag that could sustainability scale with the company and its new brand. 

And, Ashley also needed something that aligned with her team’s goals. 

“In people ops, our job is to make everyone’s lives easier through beautiful tech-enabled experiences,” says Ashley, “Although I’ve done swag in many different places and many different countries, I really needed a place that was digital, and that I could easily hand over to somebody else. And if I’m not there, everyone would still have a clear understanding of what the process is. So that’s why I chose SwagUp.”


Although I’ve done swag in many different places and many different countries, I really needed a place that was digital, and that I could easily hand over to somebody else. And if I’m not there, everyone would still have a clear understanding of what the process is. So that’s why I chose SwagUp.

— ASHLEY WILLIAMS, MARKETING & BRANDING PEOPLE PARTNER AT WHEREBY


For a fully remote team like Whereby, they needed a swag solution that was as seamless as possible. Especially when it came to shipping and dealing with customs (never fun). But in addition to a convenient tech-powered solution, Ashley also highlighted the importance of having a swag process with a human touch. 

From Annika K, User Researcher, Bali, Indonesia

“It’s really important to have a contact person, someone that I can communicate with or direct to if we have customs issues,” says Ashley. Having worked with multiple swag vendors and options in the past, both local and online, Ashley came into this project knowing what would be important for her and the Whereby team. 
As a result, she could spot when things were going well; compared with other solutions, SwagUp helped simplify the hassle while optimizing for long-term swag success.

“With other companies, the whole process just wasn’t as streamlined as you guys and I really liked that you could produce the designs for me. As our brand is more than a logo, having someone to communicate with when the design was not quite there was invaluable,” says Ashley. 

“We had done several mock-ups, and I just had to say, “Nicole, let’s just hop on a call so that you can collect it all and we can move faster”. That was really helpful; I like talking to a human being, that’s important.”


The whole process just wasn’t as streamlined as you guys. I really liked that you could produce the designs for me. As our brand is more than a logo, having someone to communicate with when the design was not quite there was invaluable. We had done several mock-ups, and I just had to say, “Nicole, let’s just hop on a call so that you can collect it all and we can move faster.” That was really helpful; I like talking to a human being, that’s important.

— ASHLEY WILLIAMS, MARKETING & BRANDING PEOPLE PARTNER AT WHEREBY


The Verdict: Swag Success!

This story ends with a clear homerun. But the Whereby journey is just beginning. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Whereby brings the swag game to the next level. Ashley says, “When I received the package, I was very happy and surprised with the quality, and I immediately thought that I should order apparel next.” 

“Luckily, everyone else was very excited once they got it. We have a lot of parents on the team, and a lot of the kids just stole a few items  immediately. So that was a great first test, it was kid approved!” 

As for Ashley’s experience with SwagUp, she says, “I liked all the communication that you’ve guys set up beforehand, like your sales enablement was pretty key in letting me know that things can take 21 days. The support team answers questions really quickly and efficiently and provides workarounds and connects me to who’s important when I need it and you don’t get that everywhere, so I really appreciate that.”

From Annika K, User Researcher, Bali, Indonesia

Coincidentally, Ashley first discovered SwagUp two years ago. As an early adopter, Ashley has also appreciated all the updates SwagUp has made to the platform since then. “I appreciate that we can call the swag box our Year of Growth package, because that was our theme for the year. Just being able to segment what I want is going to be really, really useful because I just ordered a whole bunch of onboarding swag and I need to keep track of everything. Also, not having to worry about shipping is so worth it,” says Ashley.

Photos credits from left to right:
Ashley Sachs, Director of Customer Support and Success in Chattanooga, TN; Jamy Golden, Engineering Manager in Oslo, Norway; Hannah Jelliman, Social Media Manager in Surrey, England


Just being able to segment what I want is going to be really, really useful because I just ordered a whole bunch of onboarding swag and I need to keep track of everything. Also, not having to worry about shipping is so worth it.

— ASHLEY WILLIAMS, MARKETING & BRANDING PEOPLE PARTNER AT WHEREBY


For others about to start their own swag project, here’s what Ashley has to say: “SwagUp is just really critical for remote companies, and I think it’s going to be a game changer. Especially when events are back, to see how easy it is. It was nice to be able to get a lot of details just by looking at the website – you can run through the entire process and pricing before having to talk to anyone. Once you’re ready to start working on executing and finance, being able to talk to a human being, is priceless.”

Thanks for sharing the Whereby story, Ashley! 🚀

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