Swag and the birth of the Mints Bar

Swag and the "Mints Bar"

Give your guests a selection of minty-fresh options at your next event.

I have a client who loves swag. She lives for it! Whenever we’re doing a big party for her, her first question is “What sort of swag can we make, and where will it go?”

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “swag," it's basically branded goodies that corporations give out at big events, like as the Academy Awards. In smaller events, like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, it’s usually an item that bears the name or created logo of the Mitzvah kid.

Swag table

Nowadays you can print on anything, so swag can be anything from T-shirts and hats to Chapstick and guitar picks. A lot of people will use the swag in welcome or goodie bags. However, my client really loves finding things; maybe it goes back to our early days together when we would do scavenger hunts for her kids. This is where the idea for “bathroom swag” came up. The notion of little personalized hand towels, hand sanitizers, Chapsticks, and lip glosses made her swoon.

Personalized Chapsticks and napkins

But then the idea hit us that people might want to freshen their breath after dining, and so the notion of personalized mints came up. However, my client is rather picky about her mint choices, and she wasn’t too fond of the ones that come in little personalized tins. This prompted a discussion about how some people like Mentos but others like Certs, and Tic-Tacs versus star mints... how to choose? After a lengthy discussion in which the only thing we could agree on was the omission of gum products (due to the fact that the disposed wads usually end up stuck to the bottoms of tables, chairs, and shoes) we came up with a solution: an entire bar filled with a variety of mints! That way people could choose whatever kind of mint they preferred. And thus, the mints bar was born.

My client and I had a blast culling through the variety of boxes that lined our local Smart & Final. Of course we purchased my client’s favorite brand, Altoids, but then we went crazy, choosing not by taste so much as shape, color, and design. Back at my warehouse, we designed a little staircase to give our “shop” different levels, and then dug out various glassware to display the refreshing treats. We set up the unit in the hallway between the two bathrooms.

Large mints bar

The success of the mints bar was overwhelming. People were so excited that they literally were dragging their friends to the restroom, and the owner of the rental space actually pulled me aside and asked if he could borrow the set-up for the following evening!

Simple mints bar

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s a fun idea, but I don’t have the time or energy to set up a mints store outside my bathrooms.” So simplify! Take a bunch of mints, mix them all up, and place them in a big glass jar or bowl in the bathroom. Let your guests have at it like it’s Halloween! I will say this, even if you don’t go all out with a variety of mints, the effect of having some type of breath freshener in the bathroom is a great one. Something as simple as those wrapped red-and-white star mints makes a huge impression! It also makes those end of the evening goodbyes a lot more minty fresh!