Upscale Gifts for Special Employees or Clients

Upscale Gifts for Special Employees or Clients

If you want to say thank you to an outstanding customer or employee, go for upscale promotional items. They can encourage loyalty and won't break the bank.

Rick Cundiff

You know the value of custom promotional gifts at the holidays. They’re an outstanding way to show customers and staff that you appreciate them. It’s great to recognize a group of people with similar items. But what about the employee who really goes above and beyond to win or keep a customer? What about that one customer who placed the HUGE order in what’s traditionally your slow season?

For those people, you need more than the standard office gift. You want something more upscale and memorable. Fortunately, the full range of custom promotional products offers a full slate of top-quality products for those times you really want to say thanks.

What Makes A Gift Upscale?

Many people associate upscale or high-end products with high prices. But they don’t have to be. They just need to be an obvious step above more common items in their product line. Upscale gifts are simply the among the best products in their given category.

Not only that, but that old cliché that “it’s not the gift that counts, it’s the thought,” rings true. A truly thoughtful gift that shows you’ve taken the time to consider the recipient’s tastes, needs and wants will go a long way in establishing or extending a mutually supportive relationship.

Why Bother With Upscale Gifts (or Any Gifts at All?)

Ah, but wait. We hear some Scrooges out there saying “Bah, humbug! Business is about transactions, not relationships.” We beg to differ. Any successful interaction, whether between salesman and customer or manager and employee, is built on establishing and maintaining a positive relationship. To truly succeed, it’s critical to nourish and honor those relationships in every way possible.

A first-rate upscale gift helps foster and grow the goodwill between your department or brand and the recipient. The strong connections they can engender can result in long-term sales relationships that last for years or decades. With employees, they help reduce turnover and encourage loyalty and higher morale in the workplace.

Brand Representation – Impressions Matter

Don’t forget that every promotional item or gift your company distributes makes a statement about your organization’s values and commitment to excellence. A well-curated selection of high-end gifts, presented to a select group of customers or staff, can work wonders for your brand’s reputation, both online and in executive suites.

Know Your Audience

When it comes to high-end promos, it’s important to know the recipient(s) you’re trying to reach. The more your gift items match their tastes and preferences, the more positive their impact will be. A truly thoughtful personalized gift shows you know the recipient well, which enhances the positive connection with your brand.

Balancing Price and Quality

As we said earlier, upscale products don’t have to break the bank. You can find custom items in just about any category that’s just that extra bit better. And they might not cost that much more than a common choice. Let’s consider a few such items.

Examples of Upscale Promotional Products

Custom Pens

Start with one of the most common promotional products of all time, the pen. They’re just about everywhere, imprinted with the name of any company, school or nonprofit you can name. 

And most of them are, for lack of a better word, cheap. Sure, they’re functional, and they do their job of promoting your brand to a wider audience. But no one’s going to be impressed if you give them a simple stick-type pen with a removable cap, or a click-top pen for an appreciation present.

Don’t worry, there’s a whole world of other, more suitable products available. All you have to do is ask.

Stepping up from the basics, a good ballpoint or rollerball pen that accepts replaceable cartridges can be a meaningful gift. Engraved with the recipient’s name, it shows you appreciate them. It’s something they can keep and use every day. And they’ll be reminded of your thoughtfulness every time they use it.

If you really want to make an impression, go for a classic fountain pen. An elegant writing instrument for a more civilized age, some would say. Fountain pens, whether fully retro or modern styled do indeed have a certain elegance, one that says the recipient is important to you. 

Although expensive brands such as Waterman and Montblanc are popular choices, you don’t have to spend nearly as much. It’s possible to find an excellent fountain pen for less than $30. Engrave the recipient’s name for a personal touch, and it makes a gift that will create a positive impression.

Leather Portfolios and Tote Bags

Items crafted of leather have long been considered upscale products that create an image of luxury. A personalized leather portfolio or tote bag is something many employees or clients will appreciate. A word of caution: Be sure you know the recipient well enough to offer them leather goods. A vegan or pro-animal rights individual can be offended by leather items.

Desk Accessories

For the executive suite, leather accessories such as desk pads, pen stands, inboxes and more add a classic “old school” touch. If you’re buying for someone who objects to leather, faux leather alternatives are available, often at a lower price point. Add an engraved metal nameplate to boost the sense of personalization.

Desk clocks are also popular gifts. Their elegant combination of wood and metal, coupled with their mechanical function gives them a timeless (sorry!) appeal. They also are excellent length-of-of service or retirement gifts. With a personalized plaque, they foster a sense of belonging and being appreciated.


Custom imprinted apparel really helps boost team spirit within an organization. A combination of company name or logo and the employee’s name on the chest, sleeve or back tells recipients their work is recognized and appreciated.

Tech Products

Tech products are extremely popular today, and make outstanding promo gifts. Items such as wireless speakers and headphones, virtual reality sets, tablets and other devices can be personalized to fit any occasion. They can be excellent rewards for sales contests, finishing major projects and other milestones.

Upscale Gifts Reap Rewards

Obviously, upscale promotional gifts such as these aren’t for everyone, or every business. If, however, you want to send a clear message to an exemplary employee (or group), or to a valued customer, high-end products can help cement a strong working  relationship that will pay long-term dividends. Want to find out more? Call or email and let us show you how easy it can be to offer high-quality promotional items for special relationships and how they can help your business.

Rick Cundiff

Rick Cundiff

Content Director, Blogger

Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.