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Promotional Shopping Bags and Carrier Bags

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We supply a wide range of promotional shopping and carrier bags and can source many more in addition to the shoppers shown below. Our shopping bags can be branded in a nunber of ways including screen and digital printing as well as stitced embroidery. Plain stock supply is also an option. For each of the promotional shopping bags we list here you can see the full specification including print options, minimum order quantities and sizes. If you cannot find the shopper you want please let us know and we will find the right bag for your marketing campaign and promotional budget.

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A Guide To Shopping Bags

Shopping bags have only been around since the late 1800s. Prior to this shop customers had to either have their goods delivered or carried them back to their homes themselves using whatever means were at their disposal. Often goods we packed into a wooden box or traditional basic sack slung over a shoulder.

The first lightweight paper bag was invented in the 19th century in the United States (Pennsylvania) by Francis Wolle, a school teacher. The bag envelope like in nature and only suitable for carrying light weights. In 1871 Margaret Knight designed and invented the more traditional flat-bottomed paper bag but it was Charles Stillwell who tool the design to another stage with pleated sides in 1883 to create the square-bottom bag we traditionally associated with American supermarkets today.

Paper bags still limited the amount of goods that a consumer could take home from a shop and in 1912 a grocer called Walter Deubner in Minnesota created the first paper Tote bag with a cord and handles. The paper Tote bag was quickly adopted and became the standard shopping bag for many years. For reference, a Tote bag is a common term used to describe an open, deep bag with long handles. Some shopping bags are today called Tote bags and are more likely to be made from canvas, canvas or jute materials due to the extra durability these provide.

Paper shopping bags still had a drawback in that if they got wet in the rain, they weakened, and they could not carry large weights. In the 1960s plastic technologies developed from the petrochemical industry. The common plastic shopping bag was developed by a Swedish engineer called Sten Gustaf Thulin. Thulin worked for Celloplast a Swedish company and designed a bag that could be made from the folding, welding and die-cutting of a flat plastic tube.

The mass use of plastic bags around the world has lead to many environmental problems and there is now legislation in many countries to ban the use of plastic bags. In the UK plastic bag charges were introduced in October 2015 to help reduce the number of plastic bags used for shopping. Whilst some people pay for the bags, there is a move by supermarket retailers to offer what are termed ‘bags-for-life’ which are larger and more harder wearing plastic bags and often made from recycled plastic materials. More information at the UK Government plastic bag charge can be viewed at:

More shoppers are however moving towards use of their own shopping bags and often these are made from cotton, canvas or jute materials. These are more environmentally friendly materials and can be grown in organic ways as well as being biodegradable. Canvas may be made from hemp, cotton or linen and differs from say denim-type materials in that canvas uses a twill weave rather than a plain weave. A twill weave is a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs and this provides additional strength to the finished product including shopper bags. Jute is a natural vegetable fibre, traditionally used to wrap bales of raw cotton and to make sacks and coarse cloth from. Today jute materials can be found woven into a range of household items to provide longer wearing including curtains, chairs, carpets, rugs and even as backing for linoleum floor coverings. As with cotton and canvas, jute is biodegradable and can provide a source of income for the people who grow the base material in rural economies.

How To Select The Right Shopper Bags

At Redbows, we supply a wide range of shopping bags including paper shoppers, canvas and bags made from organically grown cotton. There are several factors to consider when choosing a bag for your marketing campaign including:

  • Size: how large a shopping bag is needed by your clients? We show the bag sizes in the product specification section and usually this is in millimetres. Connected to the bag size is the weight of the items to be carried. Obviously for larger weights paper is not as strong as say canvas.
  • Imprint: each bag has an imprint area and the larger the bag, the larger the imprint area for your logo and branding details is. Some bags offer several branding options and others may be limited to only one. Typical imprint methods include screen print, digital, litho, transfer and embroidery.
  • Colour: whenever you are choosing a promotional shopper bag you should consider the colours in your logo and the background colour a potential bag can provide. Often a contrast background can be useful to show off a logo or you may need to consider a reverse/negative print for your logo i.e. white out of a dark colour.
  • Material: the bag material will need to be within the theme and other considerations for your marketing campaign. Natural materials include organically grown cotton and canvas as well as jute.
  • Handles: it may seem obvious, but handles are an important consideration as they dictate to a degree how a bag is to be handled and used. Promotional shoppers are available with a single over the shoulder strap, built-into-the-side panels or with short and long handles. Handles can be made from the same material as the shoppers themselves or different materials and can be colour matched or provide a contrast colour.
  • Bespoke: if you cannot find the shopping bag style or colours you need, we provide a bespoke or custom-design and manufacturing service. This is a lengthier process and will have a higher unit cost than an off-the-shelf promotional shopper.
  • Lead-times: most bags are available on short lead times and we do offer some bags with an express delivery service. These are generally basic bags with either a single colour screen print or a digital print or transfer service.

If you cannot find the shopper bags you need please remember that we are just a phone call away on 0800 158 3080. Our team has supplied thousands of shopping bags over the years and many of the shopping bags are still in use today.