Five justifications for using tote bags as promotional items

The tote bag is unquestionably a must-have advertising item that businesses adore using in their communications! This bag, which is appealing to brands worldwide, is made of a fabric that is comfortable, useful, and endlessly reusable. It offers a wide range of customization choices and is available in a variety of colors, forms, and materials.

In history terms, it first appeared in the early 1900s! British postmen and “paper boys” needed a light and open saddlebag to allow easy access to the newspapers they were delivering. This was the first kind of tote bag, which was worn over the shoulder and replaced the traditional leather saddlebag. Name wise, it comes from the verb “to tote”.

In around the 1940s, some American brands began offering these reusable bags to their customers, who soon adopted them. The reasons are obvious: the “hold-all” shape and understated design make the tote bag a perfect shopping bag that is both compact and hard-wearing.

Companies quickly saw the perfect way to display a logo or message… and get great visibility! Géraldine Michel (Professor at IEA Paris Sorbonne and Director of the Brands and Values Chair) perfectly summarises this idea: “Companies understand that it will allow the brand to move into people’s lives and come alive in the streets, and that people will adopt it.”

The tote bag has been an efficient marketing tool and popular with professionals for many years and continues to be so. There’s no shortage of opportunities to offer a personalised tote bag, from trade shows to sports events, and as end-of-year gifts to customers or teams.

Not quite convinced? Here’s five good reasons to offer your customers a personalised tote bag!

Reason #1: it’s a really useful goody and, most importantly, reusable


Kimood basic shopper bag Available in 39 colours

Did you know? “Utility is the first consideration for keeping an advertising object, according to a survey carried out by 2FPCO86% of French people keep an advertising object because they find it useful and practical.

These are undoubtedly the two main features of the tote bag and the reason why companies often choose it as a goody.

Examples that prove it’s a useful gift?

  • Tote bags at least A4 in size handed out at a trade show can be used to carry sales brochures during the event, then kept for shopping.
  • Giving employees a tote bag with a flocked logo and quote is a corporate gift in the company’s colours, and an original and striking bag that they’ll be proud to use again in their daily lives!
  • And, of course, when a brand gifts a large XXL tote bag to its customers, it makes them ambassadors who help to create visibility and raise the brand’s profile as they’re walking in the street with their bag.

TopTex tip:

The tote bag is perfect for a successful street marketing operation! A ready-to-wear store just opened? Handing out personalised tote bags is a great way to attract customers to the store!

Reason #2: there’s something for everyone

The popularity of the tote bag has forced brands to offer it in a wide range of shapes, designs, colours and materials.

The most classic and famous version comes in a plain, often light colour with handles large enough to be worn over the shoulder.


Recycled shopping bag – striped pattern

But it can also be more original! Two-tone, striped or patterned, decorated with sequins or featuring a gusset to increase its capacity, the tote bag can be a super trendy piece.

Wondering how a tote bag will be used and the company’s positioning is an excellent starting point when helping your customers choose the right product:

  • Should it be everywhere or more original?
  • Does it need to be spacious or will a mini tote bag be more suitable? Will it be used as a handbag, or as a pouch inside a larger bag?
  • Should it be unisex and neutral for mainstream appeal?

TopTex tip:

The tote bag is an effective advertising object and an excellent loyalty-building tool!

It can be sold at a low price (or gifted with a purchase over a certain amount) by a grocery store that wants to make its customers loyal ambassadors.

Reason #3: this is THE perfect item for successful personalisation

Another undeniable asset: the tote bag is very easy to customise! To create unique and unusual pieces. A logo can be embroidered, printed or flocked. A tote bag can even be decorated with a photo or an ombré visual thanks to the “sublimation” technique. The models in 100% white polyester are perfect for this type of request!

Of course, the tote bag’s marking technique will depend on colour – material – decoration: so consider these questions with your customers to offer them suitable products.

A company wants a quote printed on a classic, light coloured tote bag that is mostly made of cotton? The DTG digital printing technique will create an attractive finish that will stand the test of time.

A sports association would like to have a slightly complex image, like a photograph, printed on tote bags? Then the Direct To Film technique is an excellent choice, for bright colours and very good adhesion even on dark fabrics.

A brand wants a slightly more original tote bag in hessian, for example? Consider the dual-material products: the front and back are in cotton for easy customisation!

Reason #4: it’s strong and hard-wearing

You may be used to using a tote bag yourself so you know that you slip various relatively heavy items inside: shopping, books, clothes, a pair of shoes, etc.

To give a tote bag the best chance of being reused, consider making a hard-wearing model. The following criteria may help you in your selection:

  • good fabric thickness, therefore a weight of at least 220 g/m²
  • sides connected with Interlock seams (two-ply), for added durability
  • wide, comfortable handles attached to the bag with cross stitch for a better fit
  • cotton canvas fabric, used for sails and tents, therefore known for its extreme resistance


Faded cotton shopping bag


Cotton canvas bottle bag


Cotton canvas classic shopper

Reason #5: Kimood is eco-friendly

The most common material for tote bags? Cotton! However, in recent years, traditional cotton growing has attracted controversy. Part of the KARIBAN BRANDS Group, Kimood is committed to offering eco-friendly shopping bags and tote bags. Matteo Borri, Kimood brand manager, has launched numerous projects to offer quality bags with a minimal socio-environmental impact.

A brief overview of the Kimood collections, available on


Recycled cotton K-loop project shopper

K-loop and the circular economy
Material offcuts that are reused rather than thrown away, recycled polyester and a traceable path with a passport: here’s more!

The Conscious Collection, made in Kariwala

Natural materialscertified organic alternatives, all designed in a partner factory that employs and supports women in India, near Calcutta. To discover the incredible story of Kimood and Kariwala, click here.


Shopping bag in cotton and woven jute threads

Three key collections of tote bags in recycled materials

The Recycled Cotton Collection combines fashion AND eco-friendliness with timeless styles with a low environmental footprint. The Jacquard Collection products are just as eco-friendly with more of a trendy touch, such as striped or wave patterns.

And the Handloom Recycled Collection of bags is made with thread from recycled materials. They are hand-woven using traditional techniques in Bangladesh. A collaboration with HandTouch, which supports the local economy and promotes women’s work.



Recycled flat-bottomed shopping bag



ecycled shopping bag – Wavy pattern



Hand-woven shopping bag

TopTex tip:

Hard-wearing and reusable, the tote bag is already a useful advertising tool from an environmental point of view. If it’s also made from recycled materials, even better! A brand that works to minimise its environmental impact will be proud to offer its top customers personalised AND eco-friendly bags!