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Vibe Check: What’s Trending?

If you want the merch you send to your customers and team members to be swag and not spam, you need to be aware of what is currently trending. If you want to know what is currently trending with your team, you need to do a “vibe check”--a spontaneous, honest, and authentic check-in to see what they are “feeling” right now. What are they wearing? What are they in to? What are the current trends and challenges taking over social media? When you know what the current trends and needs of your team are, you can tailor your marketing and merch to them and leave a big impression.

So what are the big trends right now? Let’s look at four categories that are big right now.

Positivity and Mood Boosters

Positivity is currently topping Pinterest’s content search topics according to Pinterest themselves. People want to feel good and are in search of something to help them do just that. We are seeking ways to boost our mood and bust anxiety. We crave the warm fuzzy feelings. We want to feel encouraged and uplifted. We need fun distractions from the craziness the last year has brought us (funny memes anyone?).

How does this translate to marketing? Think fun games like puzzles or sandcastle kits. Utilize bright, energizing colors and designs with something like novelty socks. Select items that incorporate lights in novel ways such as glowing charging cables or light up Bluetooth speakers. Aromatherapy products can help reduce stress and boost mood as can massage balls, yoga mats, and the very popular Theragun. There are many mood-boosting foods and ingredients that you can incorporate as well; adaptogens from sources such as ashwagandha root, reishi mushrooms, tulsi, and licorice root are huge right now.

Retro and Nostalgia

Many of us are searching for an escape of some kind from the pressures and stresses of our lives, and are returning (in memory at least) to simpler times. The 70s, 80s, and 90s are all back in a big way. A classic 70s song, Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”, is back on the top music charts, vinyl record sales are soaring (up 46% from 2019), roller skating is making a big comeback, and disco balls and lava lamps are no longer things of the past. The bright neon colors of the 80s are hugely popular again, and pop culture is embracing synth-pop. Think Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa, and The Weeknd. Major designers are partnering with some of our favorite 90s icons: Morphe cosmetics is bringing back Lisa Frank, every 90s girl’s favorite animated graphics, and Gucci is incorporating vintage Mickey Mouse into their lines. Nostalgic flavors are also on the rise. Orange creamsicle or grape soda anyone?

To take advantage of this trend in your marketing strategy, just try to think of things that will conjure fun memories for your team. Utilize bright colors and nostalgic flavors (anyone else want some Lip Smackers?!). Gift throw-back toys like a yo-yo or a Slinky. Go functional with scrunchies, a fanny pack, or a backpack. Incorporate iconic images and designs. Bring in retro fabrics like corduroy and velvet. Bring the past into play.


In sticking with the retro/throwback theme, tie-dye is making a comeback. It’s not just for summer camp anymore! With patterns and colors ranging from subtle to bold, there is something for everyone in this trend. Tie-dye saw a resurgence in quarantine fashion, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere even as we get our lives back to normal. Tie-dyed prints are infiltrating our social media feeds because it is an accessible trend. You can buy pieces that are already tie-dyed or upcycle something you already have. It’s bright, so it falls under the mood-boosting category; it’s nostalgic, so it brings back fun memories. With its bright colors and funky patterns, it is eye-catching, making it super shareable on social media.

But it’s not just limited to clothing anymore. Tie-dye patterns can be added to numerous products like tote bags and water bottles. Of course, you can still go with a T-shirt or loungewear, which seem to be the most popular items in tie-dye at the moment (thanks social distancing!). Blankets, hats, and fanny packs are also great items to add tie-dye to. Pro tip -- Want to turn it into an activity? We’ll print your T-shirt design for you and provide the colors for you and your team to do your own group tie-dye experience! It’s collectively unique! Add some color and pattern to your team!

DIY and Crafting

Over the past year, a lot of our favorite activities from movie theaters to bars and clubs have been shut down due to the pandemic. We couldn’t go out and have fun, so we had to bring fun to us. Many people turned to crafting and DIY projects to help them pass the time while stuck at home (and we had a lot of free time to fill!). Google searches for “boredom” were up 100% in 2020, and searches for “DIY” went up 80% from 2019 to 2020. Plus Pinterest has made it easy to access a plethora of DIY inspiration. Crafting can offer us a bit of nostalgic childhood fun, going back to our days of making friendship bracelets and tie-dyed T-shirts. DIY challenges are taking over our social media feeds with luxury fashion lines providing some inspiration. For example, a cardigan from JW Anderson sparked a huge TikTok crochet challenge as people tried to create a similar piece for themselves. The New York Times has jumped on the DIY train with their own series devoted to the crafting community. Friends have hosted online paint nights over Zoom during quarantine, and we all had a hard time finding yeast and flour in grocery stores during the baking boom of 2020. Up-cycling and repurposing is also a great DIY trend. It’s cost-efficient and fun to take something old and boring and turn it into something new and fabulous.

Make these newfound hobbies work for you. You can host team-building activities in the form of online paint nights or bake-offs. Gift the materials needed to complete a craft, and get on Zoom to make it together. Host your own DIY challenge and offer some sweet swag as a prize. Bring in the tie-dye trend and have everyone on your team make their own tie-dye shirt. The possibilities are endless!

Need some help finding something trendy to send your team? Give us a call and let us help! We have a lot of creative minds ready to make something amazing for your team.

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