The Merchology Blog

Swag for the Young Work Force


Generation Z is now entering the workforce in sizable numbers, shifting the national conversation from a longtime focus on Generation Y (also known as the Millennials). Gen Z generally refers to people born between the early 1990s and the mid-2000s, putting the oldest folks in this group in their early 20s. For a size comparison, it is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans fall in Gen Z, making them the third largest age group, behind Millennials and Gen X. According to Forbes, this Gen Z group is considered “technologically savvy, serious-minded, are often entrepreneurial and creative." Econsultancy reports that 96% of Gen Z owns a smartphone. Now that this cohort is joining the workforce, we must evaluate corporate gifts and incentives and learn what motivates and interests them. When done correctly with this group, you can use swag as a recruiting tool, a way to build your brand internally, and a technique to establish company loyalty.

A large portion of our employees here at Merchology are recent college grads, so we have a front row seat to the ideas and preferences of Gen Z. We can directly tap into corporate apparel and gift trends just by seeing what our own employees wear and use around the office. Just a few of our office favorites are the following:

  • Patagonia Women's Birch White Better Sweater 1/4 Zip:Patagonia is known for their altruistic values and making environmental activism a front-and-center value of their brand. Gen Z appreciates the authenticity and passion of brands who use their platform and profits to make a difference in the world. Patagonia understands this and has never been hotter with both Millennials and Gen Z alike. When you gift Patagonia to your employees, 1% of that purchase goes back to the environment due to Patagonia's commitment to 1% For The Planet (which is doubled, due to Merchology's commitment as well)!
  • Patagonia Men's Nickel w/ Forge Grey Better Sweater 1/4 ZipDid we mention that Patagonia has drastically expanded its Fair Trade Certified line? This is another genuine expression of their company values that speaks to Gen Z. The best-selling Better Sweater (both men's and women's) is now a part of that certification!
  • S'well Smokey Quartz Bottle 17 ozS'well, too, focuses on making a difference in the environment, through their efforts to reduce plastics waste in oceans and landfills. Beyond that, S'well is A) functional, as it keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours, and B) beautifully designed, with patterns ranging from faded wood to geometric shapes. To Gen Z, brands are not everything, but quality is. If they can give back to worthy causes by purchasing something quality, even better!
  • Moleskine Smart Writing Set: For the generation dubbed the "digital natives", there is no better office productivity tool to engage Gen Z with than the new Moleskine Smart Writing Set. Via an app, this notebook transfers handwritten notes from notebook to screen. This allows employees to take handwritten notes in meetings without having to type them up later... it just digitally converts. How cool!
  • K&R Red The Disco Fidget Spinner: Ah, the much-debated fidget spinner. Although this item has been banned from many schools, we recommend you stop short of banning it from our office environment. Our young employees LOVE playing with these, and it honestly seems to serve as a creative outlet during brainstorming sessions or heads-down thinking time. Just think of it as new-age doodling! 

Our job at Merchology is to make your custom logo branding and company gifting as effortless as possible, no matter the age and profile of your recipients. Don’t be afraid to use us as a resource to help you manage corporate gifting for your workforce and clientele. That’s what we’re here for!

– Your Friends at Merchology