Promotional Shopping Bags

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 number of ways including screen and digital printing as well as stitched embroidery. Plain stock supply is also an option. For each of the branded 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 Promotional Shoppers and Totes

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 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 with a cord and handles. The paper Tote was quickly adopted and became the standard shopping bag for many years. For reference, a Tote is a common term used to describe an open, deep bag with long handles. Some shopping bags are today called Totes and are more likely to be made from canvas, canvas or jute materials due to the extra durability these provide.

Paper shoppers 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 shopping 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 shoppers. 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 Shopping Bags For Your Promotions

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

  • Size: how large a shopper is needed by your clients? We show the sizes in the product specification section and usually this is in millimetres. Connected to the size is the weight of the items to be carried. Obviously for larger weights paper is not as strong as say canvas.
  • Imprint: each has an imprint area and the larger the bag, the larger the imprint area for your logo and branding details is. Some 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 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 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 are available on short lead times and we do offer some bags with an express delivery service. These are generally basic with either a single colour screen print or a digital print or transfer service.

If you cannot find the shoppers or totes 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.

Shopping bags are now one of the must-have items in any marketing managers toolkit. The reason is that they are so useful for a wide variety of uses. Many of us now carry around bags as we don’t want to add to the environmental burden caused through excessive use of plastic carrier bags. We may have several and keep these in our cars for when we go shopping.

However, this type of bag is also a great giveaway item for many other types of corporate business and even public sector events. They can be used as carriers at exhibitions and tradeshows, seminars and conferences and even as goody bags to giveaway to people attending product launches and general press conferences. When you do give this type of product out at an event it will almost always end up being used for shopping either by the recipient or someone they know at work or within their family. The uses for such a type of shopping bag and literally endless and are not restricted to retail type use.

We have discussed how to choose a bag and the types available and the next thing to consider is the artwork. These products have large print areas and can accommodate a large print of your logo and marketing message. The trick is to use as much of the space as you can within the imprint area and to consider contrasting colours. Some logos have darker colours and look better on a lighter background and vice-versa. What you really want is for your logo to stand out and be seen. Whether this is at an exhibition or trade show or a local retail outlet.

If you need help with your artwork we can provide this through our in-house Design Studio. Our graphic designers, upon receipt of your logo can generate virtual visuals to show you how your logo could look on any of the bags here. They can select different colours and contracts as mentioned. Our team can also send you examples of shoppers done for other marketing campaigns. These samples will help you with physical examples of the imprint styles and also show the material quality. Also remember that we will not be beaten on price and remember our Price Match guarantee.

Made to Order Branded Shopping Bags

As we work with several leading bag manufacturers we can offer clients made to order promotional shoppers. These bags can be made from natural and organic or recycled plastic materials. Our made to order service provides our clients with a perfectly matched product just right for their marketing campaign and printed with their logo and imprint details. Just perfect for any campaign.