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Guess what the Top Selling Promotional Product in 2015 is

Posted by USB2U on 7th October 2015 | Permalink

Go, on, have a guess. It shouldn’t be too hard because it’s been the same product for years. No, as much as we might like it to have been, it’s not a USB stick but a pen! Yep, that’s right a pen! Who writes letters anymore? Thinking of it, who writes cheques, birthday card sales are declining and at work and school there have never been so much work done using a keyboard and/or screen! So what exactly are people doing with the 150 million pens that were being given away in the UK last year?

Well, whatever they use them for it seems that they are still the “must have” promotional giveaway with over 91% of companies that buy promotional products admitting that they have bought pens with their logo on the last 12 months. Surely the dominance of the pen will, like the diary before it, succumb to the march of technology.

If you’re sceptical about the potential demise of the pen then look no further than the second best selling promotional product – Sales of “Electronics” accounted for 66% of all promotional products bought in the last 12 months.

The source for this data is the BPMA (the British Promotional Merchandise Association) and they surveyed their members and asked about how much they spend, what they spend it on and why they spend it.

The big figure is £1 billion – that’s the staggering amount that companies in the UK are now spending on promotional give-aways in the UK every year.

The top 5 sellers are:

  1. Pens (all types)
  2. Electronic gift (including USB sticks and power banks)
  3. Bags – not including those we now pay 5p each for at the supermarket!
  4. Mugs
  5. Clothing (T-Shirts, caps etc.)

The primary reason or justification for the spend on promotional giveaways is to build Brand Awareness (74% state this is why they buy their promotional gifts) but lots are also purchased for seminars and conferences.

If you’re a business and you’re looking to buy some promotional pens then why not think about getting some USB pens and combining all the benefits of giving away a historic writing instrument with a slightly more modern and arguably more useful USB memory stick.

With a USB pen you still give the recipient to ability to jot down their notes or rattle off a few poems on a paper bag but you’ll also give them Gigabytes of information about your company pre-loaded onto the memory of the built in USB stick. That’s storage that they can also take advantage of themselves to save their own digital work to.

Perhaps USB pens will top the list next year. Let’s hope so!

Sleek USB Pens - from USB2U

Sleek USB Pens – from USB2U


Oh Dear – Perhaps we could interest the Welsh RFU in some USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 4th October 2015 | Permalink

It was never supposed to end like this. So much was promised, so much was expected and so much was invested in it but in the end the English rugby team failed to deliver. Dumped out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the Group Stages, a World Cup that they are hosting and they are setting records in but for all the wrong reasons!

For England there is just the dead rubber game against Uruguay to go but let’s face it even a thumping great win against Uruguay will do nothing to paper over the huge cracks that have developed in the English game, its management and its structure over the last few weeks.

The commentators, journalists, pundits and armchair experts are of course having a field day and most expect the Head Coach Stuart Lancaster to either fall on his sword or face the ignominy of being fired at the end of England’s short lived participation in the competition.

From a purely selfish point of view, as a supplier of branded USB memory sticks to the English RFU, we wanted them to progress, we wanted them to challenge all the way and we wanted them to make it to the final and ultimately to win – A win would almost certainly have lead to an increase in the marketing and advertising budget available to the RFU and this in turn would most probably have lead to a requirement for more England RFU branded USB sticks – sadly this is now unlikely to be the case.

As a Northampton based company we’re also worried. Northampton is a “Rugby Town”. Many of us at USB2U are life long Northampton Saints Rugby Club supporters. We’ve been a club sponsor and a supplier to Northampton Saints and we care passionately about our team. It’s a team that under the stewardship of Jim Mallinder and Dorian West has become one of the best teams in the Premiership and it’s no secret that Jim and Dorian were being strongly touted as candidates for England when Lancaster was appointed. If Lancaster should, as seems likely, go then once again Jim and Dorian are likely to be on the short list to replace him and his current coaching team.

Losing to Australia and going out of the Rugby World cup was bad enough, losing the opportunity to supply more branded USB sticks to the RFU is equally bad but losing Jim and Dorian to the English RFU would be catastrophic

And no, supplying USB sticks to the Welsh RFU would not make up for it!


England World Cup USB Sticks

England World Cup USB Sticks


We Deliver Branded Power Banks from UK stock – in just 24 hours!

Posted by USB2U on 30th September 2015 | Permalink

It’s that time of year again and Thursday 1st October marks the start of Chinese National Day Golden Week celebrations, a 7 day tradition celebrated since 2000. Whilst the holiday is celebrated across China, production of branded USB memory sticks and printed power banks completely stops, causing delays of up to two weeks for suppliers who only manufacture their products in the Far East.

Realistically, the first deliveries of USBs and Powerbanks coming out of China after the holidays will be w/c 19th October at the earliest, so anyone needing branded mobile phone chargers or USB sticks for events on or before then will need to find a reliable UK supplier with plenty of stock which they can print in house.

But all of the suppliers we speak to cannot deliver Branded USB Sticks or Power Banks on time” we hear you cry.

Look no further, because we have a solution for you.  Here at USB2U, we specialize in fast turnarounds and our dedicated team can prepare, print and deliver a personalized USB or Power Bank order in just 24 hours, guaranteeing you the fastest delivery possible in the UK.

Ordering Branded Power Banks or USB sticks on our rush service couldn’t be easier; simply follow these 5 steps:

  1. Call your Account Manager on 01604 685040 to discuss your choice of Power Bank / USB
  2. Send your logo to us (ideally in EPS / AI format) and we’ll provide a free, no obligation on screen mock up
  3. Check and approve the order details using our easy to follow Docusign order form
  4. Pay online via our SagePay link (or we may be able to invoice you on 30 day terms)
  5. Sign off the final sample photos and wait for your delivery to arrive with UPS!

If you have any questions or want to know more about our fast turnaround for express orders of USB sticks or Power Banks, don’t hesitate to call or email our friendly sales team who will be happy to help.

Throughout the Chinese Holiday Period, USB2U will be running a series of offers with a turnaround time of just 4 days so keep your eyes peeled for more information.


Power Banks from USB2U are available in just 24hrs!

Power Banks from USB2U are available in just 24hrs!


USB2U Announce Merger with Gilt Edged Promotions

Posted by USB2U on 17th September 2015 | Permalink

USB2U are pleased to announce that they have joined forces with a leading promotional product specialist also based in Northampton; Gilt Edged Promotions. Gilt Edged and USB2U are both well-established names in the promotional products industry in their own right and they are now looking forward to an even brighter future together.

Both companies will be working together under one roof in Moulton Park and their aim is to become the UK’s leading ‘one stop shop’ for anything and everything branded with a logo. Together they will generate a combined annual revenue of £8.5m. USB2U and Gilt Edged will continue to trade under their well-known individual brand names and the 60+ strong team are excited by the opportunities that their shared skill-sets and strengths will bring.

Team USB2U and Gilt Edged in Moulton Park

Team USB2U and Gilt Edged in Moulton Park

The owners and directors, Jonathan Cook of Gilt Edged Promotions and Sebastian La Porta of USB2U, said “The merger is seen as a natural progression for both businesses and is a perfect strategic fit. We strongly believe that the combined resources will drive further growth and development for both our loyal customers and our dedicated staff”.

Both businesses uniquely boast in-house state of the art manufacturing equipment, enabling them to deliver printed USB memory sticks, branded Power Banks and many other useful products in unparalleled time-frames. They are delighted to be bringing professional and promotional gift production back to the heart of the UK right here in the Midlands. With a combined 45+ years’ experience in the industry, both teams have a wealth of experience to share with their new colleagues and the possibilities moving forward are exciting news for Northampton.

USB2U are now part of the Gilt Edged Group.

USB2U are now part of the Gilt Edged Group

Notes for Editors:

Both businesses are based in Northampton and will now operate together from a 37,000 square foot factory and office facility in Moulton Park, Northampton.  Gilt Edged Promotions becomes the majority shareholder.

Who are Gilt Edged Promotions?

Gilt Edged began producing promotional products in 1986.  Their product range includes a full range of promotional merchandise, as well as diaries, calendars and notebooks.  In addition they are a supplier of branded clothing and work-wear all finished in-house in their facility in Northampton.

Who are USB2U?

USB2U were established in 2002 and now supply in excess of 1.3 million branded USB memory sticks per year. Their UK based printing and engraving facilities have enabled them to gain an excellent reputation for branding and printing technology related products with outstanding lead times.


For more information and photo opportunity please contact: 

Anne-Marie Cook – Marketing Manager   Tel: 01604 672306 Mobile:07931 137024



Wooden USB Memory Sticks – Ideal for Jenga

Posted by USB2U on 9th September 2015 | Permalink

Small, uniformly shaped wooden blocks are commonly associated with the brilliant family game Jenga but at USB2U we tend to associate them with professional photographers. The reason? Well, wooden USB memory sticks have become the go to product of choice for the majority of thousands of professional photographers that we supply.

We’re don’t think it’s because as a sector they’re all secret Jenga fans who while away hours furtively playing Jenga with each other in secret club venues. No, we think they’re buying the wooden USB sticks because they look and feel fantastic, because they’re not the sort of thing you can get down your local Tesco store and because when combined with an attractive gift box they make a brilliant “package” to hand a professional portfolio out on.

USB Jenga

USB Jenga – Wooden USB Sticks

Wooden USB sticks have undergone a bit of a renaissance lately with interest fuelled by their strong “eco” credentials and the launch of lots of new designs and styles but it’s the photography sector that have really taken them to their hearts.

If you check out our Facebook page, our Flickr pages or our Pinterest pages you’ll see loads of great example of our wooden drives – some printed but most engraved with nearly all of them supplied in one of our range of complimentary wooden gift boxes. Lots of the photos are sent to us by delighted photographers who have gotten great feedback from their clients – we’re always delighted to get these photos and happy (with permission) to share them.

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

As you can see from the images we supply a range of different styles and most of them come in a light wood or dark wood option (all from sustainable sources) and some are available made from bamboo – an ideal choice if you really want to push the eco message.

If you choose a wooden USB flash drive you don’t have to compromise of storage capacity or performance – they are available in memory sizes from 128MB all the way up to a massive 32GB. The ones we supply to the photography sector all have upgraded components (flash memory modules, controller chips and capacitor) or they can be supplied as a USB 3.0 drive (the latest and fastest USB specification)

To really appreciate just how good these products are it’s worth seeing them in the flesh. Ask our team to send you some samples – get enough and you’ll be able to play Jenga (actually, no, don’t do that we don’t want to encourage that)

USB2U Wooden USB Memory Sticks

USB2U Wooden USB Memory Sticks


Financial Crisis in China no risk to USB Stick supply but Forthcoming Holidays are

Posted by USB2U on 25th August 2015 | Permalink

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks you’ll have noticed there’s a little bit of trouble brewing in China – the financial markets are in turmoil, share prices are in freefall and its anyone’s guess where its all going to end. Depending on what you read or who you believe it could be anything from a bit of a “bump” to financial Armageddon!

Damian McBride a former advisor to Gordon Brown appeared to suggest that the stock market dip could lead to global civil disorder or other situations where it would be unreasonable for someone to leave the house. Amongst his many suggestions is stocking up on bottled water and tinned food!

One of the many things China needs to do to address its current problem is to continue trading and demonstrate strength in its own capabilities as the manufacturing powerhouse in the world. The global centre for the production of Promotional USB Memory Sticks is in Shenzhen City in Guangdong Province, China and the USB factories have continued to churn out USB sticks in the tens of thousands every day during the “crisis”.

The clear message coming from the USB memory sticks factories is that its business as usual!

BUT, and it it’s a big BUT there is a something looming on the near horizon that will bring production to a grinding halt and that’s the National Holiday. From the 27th September to 8th October China effectively closes for business. Nothing will get manufactured, nothing will get shipped and no new orders will be accepted.

Irrespective of the turmoil in financial markets China is going on holiday!

So, if you are thinking of ordering some promotional USB memory sticks for an event in late September or October then you either need to get your order in now (so your sticks can be produced and shipped before the holidays start) or you may have to wait until the factories return after their holiday – if you take the risk and wait do bear in mind that it takes a couple of weeks for the factories to catch up with the inevitable backlog that will have built up!

As usual during these holidays we’ll be stocking up on a wide range of blank USB sticks that we can print/engrave in-house. This allows us to continue to offer a 24hr “rush service” but of course it will be on a much narrower range of products than shown on our website.

We’ll also be “tweeting” out lots of offers and promos during the holidays so it might be worthwhile following us on your Twitter account if you’re not doing so already.

Choppy waters for USB Stick Supply

Choppy waters for USB Stick supply


Crystal USB Memory Sticks – Wow these are Amazing

Posted by USB2U on 14th August 2015 | Permalink

Over the 13 years that we’ve been selling promotional USB Memory Sticks we’ve seen some absolutely great examples of them but after a while you tend to become a little blasé about new models being brought to the market.

When you’ve handled tens of thousands of customer orders and supplied millions of promotional USB sticks it’s difficult to get excited but, every now and then, something really special grabs our attention and gives us goose bumps!

The product in question is the Crystal USB stick but not the standard version. No, our skilled and creative design and print team have taken this core product and blended it with our in-house design and printing capabilities to produce a truly stunning promotional USB memory stick – check out the image below!

Crystal USB Memory Sticks - Amazing

Crystal USB Memory Sticks – Amazing

What you’re seeing is a basic (clear) Crystal model that has been given a full colour print but the print has been applied in a way that retains some of the translucence of the original. When you use the technique to mimic something like a full bottle of perfume the results are stunning. Trust us, in the flesh the Channel perfume bottle looks like it really is a bottle of perfume and it’s the same with the JOOP example.

Now we appreciate not everyone’s product, logo or artwork is going to work with this particular product but if you do have something you want to promote and you’re product lends itself to this kind of promotional treatment then we would encourage you to let us have a go at producing some mock-ups and samples for you. We don’t charge for this service and there is no commitment to buy from us – we just want to be given the opportunity to show what we can do/produce.

If it sounds like we’re excited about the potential of this Crystal USB stick in the hands of our print team it’s because we’ve never before had such a positive reaction across the company to the launch of a new product. We have lots of samples in stock so if you need to see one “in the flesh” to be convinced then just give us a call or drop an email to one of our friendly and knowledgeable sale team.

Don’t worry about the cost either. Despite how brilliant they look they are only pennies more than our “Classic” range of USB sticks.


What Happens to Your USB Stick Order Before we send it out

Posted by USB2U on | Permalink

When you order promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U you need to be confident that what you’ve ordered is what actually arrived. Before we even start the production of your order we’ll have taken you through a comprehensive mock-up and proofing process because it’s easier for everyone to make sure things are right before any production takes place.

Despite these rigorous pre-production checks we also put every single order through a very comprehensive set of post-production checks before it leaves us. To be fair it’s not a popular job because it can be a bit tedious but in a crowded and highly competitive market it’s incredibly important to us. After all, we want our customers to come back to us and we want them to be delighted with their order from USB2U.

Around 50% of our customer orders are “finished” (printed, engraved, data-loaded and packed) before they leave our factory in China and because of this lots of QA checks are done in the factory. BUT, in addition to the QA checks that our factory make our own Operations and Fulfilment team carry out the following additional checks before any order (including the other 50% of orders that are finished in the UK) leaves our hands:

  1. Every carton of USB sticks that arrive from our Chinese factory is thoroughly checked to make sure nothing has been damaged in transit. We look for anhy obvious signs of “crushing” and photographs are taken to record any damage or loss. If anything is found to be damaged or missing (it does happen albeit rarely) then we’ll alert the factory and ask them to prepare and ship replacements and we’ll notify the customer of any potential shortfall in their order. Where we can we’ll replace any damaged sticks from our UK stock so our customers are not inconvenienced.
  2. Every printed or engraved USB stick is checked visually against the signed off proof to make sure that it’s the right colour, that its printed correctly (the right colour, in the right place, in the right orientation and finally that there are no spelling mistakes). If accessories have been ordered, e.g. key rings or lanyards then we’ll also make sure these are attached.
  3. A random sample from each order (several samples if it’s a large order) is checked using the latest Trend Micro anti-virus software – this is particularly important where we have been provided with data to pre-load onto the USB sticks.
  4. A sample of each order is checked to ensure that the internal flash memory is the correct size. If a customer has ordered 8GB USB memory sticks we check to make sure the drives are 8GB.
  5. Assuming all of the above tests and checks are passed we record who undertook the various checks and then we carefully box up the order in a robust USB2U box. Whilst doing this we’ll count the USB sticks to make sure the correct number are being sent out and finally we’ll pop into the box a packet of sweets by way of a “thank you”!

We’ve been supplying branded and promotional USB flash drives since 2002 and these processes have been put in place and refined over the last 13 years to ensure that our customers can be confident that they get exactly what they have paid for every time.

QA Checked By USB2U

QA Checked By USB2U


5 Reasons to Attend USB2U’s Photography Open Evening

Posted by USB2U on 6th August 2015 | Permalink

At 6.30pm on Wednesday 23rd September 2015, USB2U will open the doors of their new home at Gilt Edged House to professional photographers from around the local area for an evening of networking, knowledge sharing and most importantly – prosecco!

In June, the entire USB2U team uprooted from their humble office in Duston to an impressive premises in Moulton Park, with ample room for growth in print, production and more. USB2U have been trading for almost 13 years now, and we have become the most trusted supplier of Branded USB Memory Sticks to the photographic sector in the UK and worldwide.

USB2U Photographers Open Evening, Weds 23rd Sept 2015

USB2U Invite Professional Photographers to visit their HQ

But there are so many companies out there offering custom USB Sticks, we hear you cry, what makes USB2U so special and why should I come and see them?

Here are just 5 reasons why we think you should come along and say hello:

  1. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes and watch our state of the art equipment in action. Unlike other suppliers who print their memory sticks in the Far East, USB2U print and engrave the vast majority of their Branded USBs and Presentation Boxes right here in the Midlands. We do this to the highest standard, keeping a close eye on quality and delivering unparalleled results. Watching your logo come to life on our laser engraving machines is quite epic and you’ll want to see it for yourself.
  2. You can finally put a face to that name. Whether your Account Manager is Godfrey, Natalie or another member of our friendly sales team, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know who you are ordering your USB sticks with.
  3. You can ask our USB experts about the latest technologies and products. We pride ourselves in having the most knowledgeable staff who know everything there is to know about a USB Memory Stick. Have a technical query about high spec drives or USB3.0? Just ask. Not sure how to create vector artwork? Please shout and we will show you.
  4. You can take advantage of our special offers and discount codes and save yourself some cash. When you run a small business, it’s vital to be savvy about your finances. We’ve been there and know just how important it is. Don’t pay over the odds and make sure you grab yourself a deal.
  5. And finally… Prosecco. Need we say more?!

The Professional Photographers Open Evening is the first event of its kind for USB2U and it is definitely one that we are hoping to continue to run moving forward.  Don’t forget to RSVP. We hope to see you there.


Is Fiat Chrysler about to order 1.4 Million USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 27th July 2015 | Permalink

Just days after Wired magazine revealed that it was possible to hack a Jeep Cherokee via its internet-connected entertainment system and take control of it whilst in motion Fiat Chrysler have announced a recall of 1.4 million vehicles to fix the problem.

Fiat Chrysler has said it was “unaware of any injuries related to software exploitation” but nevertheless they have moved reasonably swiftly to deal with the issue and the subsequent media furor that has followed the story breaking.

The fact that the hackers were able take control of the cars brakes, the throttle and the pretty much everything else in the car (apart from the steering although apparently they could control this as well if the car was put in reverse) demonstrates the severity of the issue and explains why Fiat Chrysler have responded so quickly!

Although defined as a “voluntary recall” most customers won’t have to take the vehicles back to the dealers to get them fixed instead they will be sent a USB Stick with instructions on how to plug it in and upgrade the vehicles software.

Customers who don’t want to wait for Fiat Chrysler to send them a USB Memory Stick with the patched software on can instead download the upgrade and transfer it to their own flash drive and plug this into the vehicle.

With around 1.4 million vehicles affected (most manufactured between 2013 -2015) the upgrade is going to be a huge challenge. Only cars in the USA using the company’s uConnect wireless systems are affected.

If Fiat Chrysler, as seems likely, take the decision to proactively issue 1.4 million USB memory sticks with the patch pre-loaded onto them, then someone is going to pick up what could be the largest ever single order for memory sticks in the history of the device!

Who would have thought when they were first introduced well over a decade ago that USB sticks would be used to upload new software to cars to prevent hackers taking control of the cars whilst in use! In fact who would have thought a decade ago that we’d be talking about hackers remotely controlling cars (whilst in use on the roads) over public mobile phone networks. It all sounds like the stuff of a science fiction novel but it just demonstrates how scarily fast technology is moving these days.

Twister USB Flash Drives

Twister USB Sticks