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Swag Rules: Shoe Me

How a holiday gift accelerated a business and strengthened a brand.

Here’s the story:

Our CEO, Jeffery Kendall, wanted to find a special holiday gift for his leadership team to say thank you for an epic year. As a sneaker head, he polled his Facebook group for who would be a great fit (get it) to design some shoes and the unanimous choice was Jeremy Lacin.

And, what started as a thoughtful gift turned into momentum for Nymbus and more importantly, Jeremy.

Courtesy Drew Dizon

Here’s how “Air Nymbus” rocked the Swag Rules:

  • Approach — an impactful swag strategy means taking a relationship approach instead of company-first. Jeffery did not send us Nymbus notebooks for Christmas. He knows his team and picked something that would blow us all away.
  • Foster creativity — He could have found a less expensive, mass-producer of shoes, but that’s not creative — that’s efficient. Efficient gratitude is not a thing.
  • Start small — if swag works for the initial recipients, that’s a win. If it doesn’t land you’ve minimized your costs. If it becomes a thing, be prepared to quickly operationalize (more on that next time).

Support the story — this is my favorite part of the shoe adventure. It’s essential that what you send out into the world, whatever form it takes, supports your brand story. Our focus is creating one-of-a-kind banking experiences, so it makes sense to have one-of-a-kind shoes. We love creating market momentum for our customers, so showing we can do that on our own time and dime is important. And most of all, we believe in small business, so we support small businesses. Everyone who wears Nymbus shoes supports the dream of an incredible entrepreneur in Jeremy Lacin.

  • Develop the right mindset — swag is gratitude. The AF1s went beyond “Happy Holidays.” The shoes and the included card were made with gratitude — both from the sender and the maker.
  • Alignment — your swag strategy is an extension of your mission, vision and values. Given the response to the holiday gift, we now offer custom AF1s and Chuck Taylors to all our employees at a (very) discounted rate with proceeds going to Nymbus Gives.

What’s Next?

We are starting to plan for our signature events, which always have a strong swag strategy. I’ll do another post on Swag Rules with more examples of the framework in action and you can follow along on LinkedIn here and here.


Had a few folks ask for Jeremy’s contact info, so here is his email: lacinkicks[at]gmail.com. Also some requests for what the second pair of Nymbus shoes looks like…




Structure, stories and swag ideas for any sized business

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Allison Netzer

Allison Netzer

Allison Netzer is a CMO, Boy Mom and one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Fintech. She writes on brand, marketing and strategy for financial services and beyond.

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