Where We’re Headed | Toddy Gear vice president Jason Emery preaches the power of better design.

Founded in 2010 by innovative entrepreneur Todd Gable, Toddy Gear is a brand with a mission: to introduce the world to fashion-forward, premium-quality tech accessories. Thoughtful design has given the company’s flagship offerings — the Smart Cloth microfiber cleaning cloth and the Wedge mobile-device stand — an it factor that has made the company a player in the tech market.

Toddy Gear products can be found in the retail and promotions industries, explains Jason Emery, the company’s vice president. In the past, these industries were separate.

“The retail business focused on higher-perceived items — focused on style and craftsmanship — designed with the individual consumer in mind,” he says. “The promotional industry, on the other hand, was built toward the masses as safe-bet advertising for corporations to blast out their brand to recipients at little cost and, frankly, little results.”

But all that’s changed, Emery says.


Marque Asks – Jason Emery – Vice President, Toddy Gear

What’s the current climate of the promotions industry? Emery makes four bold declarations.

It’s Making Impressions

Over the years, studies have shown that promotional swag carries much more weight than expected. By weighing impressions — the number of times a recipient looks at a brand — it has been shown that swag has a direct link to an individual’s ability to identify the brand being displayed, use the service being offered, or purchase from the company being promoted.

It’s Getting Personal

Promotional items that have a value to someone’s personal life — such as Toddy Gear’s accessories for mobile phones — will be used not just in the office but also at home. If the product is cool enough, people will ask, “Where did you get that?”

It’s Focused On Quality

The quality of promotional items has risen steadily. Customers care how a product is manufactured — that the factory producing the goods is socially compliant, does not use child labor and practices environmentally friendly manufacturing. Companies want to ensure that when their brand is placed on an item, that item matches the quality of what they produce
or the service they provide.

It’s Moving On Up

The promotional industry has found great success in providing branding opportunities with higher-end, higher-perception products. Items may cost more, but they have a greater return in impressions.

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In Context Sidebar

Situated in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, a locus for startups and tech companies, Toddy Gear’s team enjoys its cubicle- free loft, which helps maintain a culture of having fun during working hours. Jason Emery shares what else he loves about the Windy City.

Describe the local vibe.

You can pretty much find anything in Chicago. Not in pockets, either, but in abundance. There’s a place for everyone.

What are the best places to get a taste of the culture?

Chicago’s blues scene is the best, simply put. Kingston Mines is a hometown favorite for top blues acts of the past and present. For food, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is a tapas restaurant in Lincoln Park. Small plates, pitchers of sangria, and always a crowd of Chicago’s most colorful characters.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Along the waterfront — it’s easy to sit back and get lost in a sunrise or watch the sailboats leave
the harbors. Some moments, you completely forget that you are in the city.

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