Off-Kilter Kit Concepts for Your Next Event

Kit ‘Er Done – Kit-Packing done right. 

From the scheduled to the unexpected, partnering with Thysse on your next custom kitted project can create an unforgettable experience.

In the final months of the pandemic, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) set Thysse loose on a project that posed both a creative and logistical challenge: Design and ship 1,500 “Work From Home Kits” for a virtual conference to connect with attendees outside the digital realm. The box design and its contents would build excitement around the event, keep the mission top of mind, and give a nod to event sponsors.  

Rolling out a project of this scale is no small feat – but the real clincher? CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) would take place almost a year into the pandemic. After many months of Zoom calls, virtual museum tours and a shameful number of Tiger King episodes, audiences were running out of steam on screen time. The box needed to make attendees feel like they were part of an experience – and the final product didn’t disappoint. Conference attendees reported feeling valued, excited and pleasantly-surprised as the custom, colorfully- printed boxes began to show up on their doorsteps.  

While in-person pandemic restrictions have thankfully loosened in most states, our work with CUNA got us pondering the near-limitless potential for events both in and out of virtual channels. Let’s just say our brainstorming got a little out there, but sometimes thinking of the wackiest ideas can lead the way to a uniquely wonderful execution. 

While you start wondering about ways to wow your audiences, enjoy the finalists on our short list of off-kilter kits: 

The ‘Brew Buddy’ Kit

Since we know there are really only two kinds of people in the Midwest, those who know a lot about beer and those who want to know more about beer, let’s hop to it first with a kit whose potential could be tapped at any time. Whether you’re a local brewery owner rolling out a new flavor or an event planner with a penchant for planning parties that include a beer tent, this custom caddy could easily drive and improve brand awareness. Pitcher it now: Thysse can source, design and distribute sampling kits to accompany your best brews with merch such as:

  • Wooden tasting flight trays (complete with nifty erasable chalkboard labels)
  • Beer-tasting guide books outlining pour techniques and aroma/taste profiles 
  • Pub glasses or snifters to suit every taste from Belgians to Stouts
  • Branded bottle opener/corkscrew combos for a one-pop-top-shop
  • Brew-branded coasters to relinquish rings 
  • For the die-hard hops fans, throw in Electrolyte tablets & sunglasses, after a day of drinking, they’ll love your brand all the more for the additions

‘2nd Time’s the Charm’ Kit

Fair warning, this one goes to a dark place pretty quick. Bear with us, we did say we’re trying to get weird to get the juices flowing. Imagine your law office specializes in divorce proceedings. It’s safe to assume that the majority of your clients are less than thrilled to walk through your doors to discuss the impending dissolution of dreams and their life partnerships. Yet… think for a moment how uplifting it would be for your clients to receive a goofy gift box on such a downer of an occasion. We’re picturing a package prepared with:  

  • Branded wine keys for the first celebratory nights of freedom
  • A sampling of artisan chocolates for dinner a delicious snack 
  • Soothing bath salts to drown particularly pesky memories 
  • ‘Legal Steps to Freedom’ checklists to guide clients through the process 
  • Finally, throw in branded tissues for… allergies and other ailments

Employee ‘Welcome Back, NOW GET TO WORK!’ Kit 

Thanks to an onset of new job openings, targeted recruiting efforts and a wave of mobility-craving millennials, employees these days have options – and they know it! Employee appreciation is an increasingly important focus for companies large and small aiming to retain (and recruit) top-notch talent, and let’s face it, the return to the office for many of your employees will be a mighty shift from the sweatpants-wearing luxuries of yesteryear. What better way to ease the transition than with a quirky ‘welcome back’ kit to get everyone back on the same page? ‘Woo’ returning employees with a kit that includes: 

  • Mini Nerf® guns and a round of darts for a cubicle war of epic proportions
  • Hair salon gift cards to get those unruly locks 9-5 ready [insert Chewbacca vocalizations] 
  • A bag of local gourmet coffee to power through morning rush hour
  • A printed ‘welcome back’ message to frame a united front 
  • Stress balls in the shape of a random quirky animal – we prefer gorillas, but that’s just us

‘Cutting Edge DIY-er’ Kit

You don’t have to be the sharpest crayon in the toolbox to know how to paint furniture or raise a pole shed, but having the right tools of the trade can certainly make you look like one! If you’re an event planner tasked with putting together a trade show for the tool and hardware industry, why not put together a custom box to show off some handy new innovations in the industry, inspire attendees to tackle a new project, and give your event sponsors a shout out? Need some ideas? We’ve got the fix!

  • A pocket-sized mini leveler to make sure that surface is flat-out perfect
  • A flashlight with a bendable mount to light up those hard to reach corners 
  • Bandaids – for those occasional, almost-lost-a-finger-but-didn’t, moments. 
  • A handy new multi-tool for the jill or jacks of all trades
  • Mini retractable measuring tape keychain to measure twice and cut once!

If you made it this far, it’s safe to say you see where we’re going with all of these. Creating a lasting experience with your brand can be industry-relevant without replicating your competition’s swag bags. Did our list of extremely-specific-yet-highly-unlikely options spur a kit idea you’d like to try? Do you need to keep that project you delegated to the receptionist from turning into an utter kit-tastrophe

We get pretty amped up about putting together custom kits and we’d love to help! Our team of promotional services experts has the know-how, space and resources to create your custom kit from packing and design to shipping, and all the crinkle-paper tornados in between. Drop us a line or check out our promotional services page to learn more.

A Crash Course in Kit Packing

Kit packing 101: Efficiency Meets Impact

Let’s get the first question out of the way, shall we? Just what exactly is kit-packing? We’ll start by un-packing the term itself. In general, kit packing is assembling multiple related items into a single package and shipping them to a list of recipients. Think trade show displays, welcome kits, signage resets, benefits packages, instructional materials and the like. 

Because picking, packing, and shipping products separately takes time (and money), packing certain items together streamlines processes and reduces costs related to storage, shipping and inventory management.

Thysse understands the literal and logistical hoops you’re jumping through when working with multiple production vendors and office locations and how those can be compounded when you needed the items yesterday. We’ve seen the pain in your eyes as you retell the last attempt at employee appreciation gifts which ended with your HR’s “fun committee” in tears as they packaged up dozens of bath bombs while cross-referencing address spreadsheets as the pizza ran out and the Mountain Dew went flat. 

Too specific? Probably, but as usual, you know we get it and we’ve got the fix! 

So what kind of kit makes sense for you? Let’s break it down one step further and consider kits as they pertain to three different categories: Inventory-Managed Kits, On-Demand Printed Kits and Promotional Kits. 

CUT COSTS WITH INVENTORY-MANAGED KITS 

You’ve got employees and locations across the country, all using collateral at alarming but varied rates. How do you ensure the right volumes of business cards, brochures, informational materials, and branded merchandise get to the right place, at the right time? 

Using Thysse’s Storefront platform, it’s easy to manage shipping and inventory with the touch of a button to track store-branded merchandise, marketing materials, business cards, and more in our warehouses – from anywhere. Here’s a quick rundown of the wrongs these kits make oh-so-right:

  • Never utter the words: “Larry, the warehouse is full.” Thysse can produce and store your materials in our 8,000 sq. ft. fulfillment center. 
  • You went trigger-happy trying to cut costs and now you’re up to your eyeballs in out-dated inventory… We help you hone in on your stored-inventory sweet spot. 
  • Night sweats because you forgot to re-up on those legal agreement forms? Rest easy knowing your custom-branded portal is available 24/7. 
  • You know your sales rep. better than your significant other… With Storefront, users can order more materials and monitor inventory levels with the click of a button – no sales rep. required. 
  • Worried that the receptionist you recruited forced to pack your 200 new employee welcome kits is going to have a crinkle paper meltdown and forget to include the contracts? We carefully pick, assemble and package your items into one organized kit and get them where they need to be on time, every time.

Storefront-initiated kits also cut lead times down to just 48 hours, freeing up valuable workspace and reducing obsolete inventory. 

TAKE EVENTS TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH ON-DEMAND PRINTED KITS 

2020 hit the business world hard. As in-person seminars and tradeshows shifted to online events, some got smart about their budget reallocations, shifting dollars toward enhancing the at-home experience for attendees. Yet, even after face-to-face events resumed, the newly-realized impact of promotional kits has event planners coming back for more. Why?

On-Demand Printed Kits allow us to meet the one-off kit demands of customers who don’t necessarily benefit from having pre-produced inventory stored in a warehouse, but still want the consistency, quality, and reliability of having one company handle the project from start to finish.

Got a breakfast seminar next Friday with 26 people? We can print you 26 promo boxes with the name of each attendee for a personalized experience they’ll remember long after the deviled eggs. Not only do our kit-packing services help you cater to every client on an individual level, but they also mean you don’t have to order any more than you need (or hold onto excess inventory!).

CREATE A LASTING IMPACT WITH PROMOTIONAL KITS 

Success in any line of business is dependent on strong relationships –  that’s relationships with employees, customers, and prospects you hope to one day turn into customers. When it comes to promotional kits, however, it’s not just sending a gift that makes an impression, it’s what you pick and how you pack the gift that determines its success rate. 

Let’s use a non-profit as an example. You’re a non-profit focused on native bee conservation. You send a kit to potential donors featuring local honey, a packet of wildflower seeds, assorted teas, a branded mug, and a copy of your newsletter. Thysse can source and produce all of these items in-house, significantly reducing your packaging and shipping pain points. 

The real magic, however, happens when your box makes it to the hands of the recipient. Your prospect feels valued, seen and understood. The quality of your brand’s services is reflected in something tangible, useful and downright good looking – if we may be so bold. 


Let us handle the messy stuff so you can concentrate on what you do best – whether it’s clinching that new deal or coming out with a stellar new product. Thysse’s team is ready and waiting to run full support.

Questions about the services mentioned in this article? Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

Fulfillment Services – Demystified.

Thysse's Fulfillment Services area in our new location at 780 Cusick Parkway, Oregon, WI

Has someone ever asked you about your fulfillment service needs, and all you can do is return their words with a blank stare? That’s ok, until 2016 we weren’t dabbling much into it either. We’ve done a few posts on it in the past, giving you compelling listicles about decreasing your carrying costs and benefits of a managed inventory partner. Both are still great reference points from a budget perspective. But we wouldn’t be Thysse if we didn’t start sharing more of the “why” and true value behind the service too.

It started as many of our service expansions have, with a customer need, and Thysse’s desire to [ful]fill it. (See what we did there…) We were working through a project estimate with a valued client and offered up a significant per-piece savings if we could produce at a higher volume. They loved the price break opportunity, but posed the all-important point:

“We just don’t need excess inventory on hand.”

Fair argument to make. We went with our instincts, and led as we always have, with trust in our partnerships and value to our clients. Thysse shared a plan outlining storage for overages, a solid distribution schedule before obsolescence, and hit home the benefits of production at volumes that showed significant savings for our client.

This set of conversations planted the seed for how these services can bring greater value to our partners and we went with it in a pretty big way. We started offering solutions to house brands’ inventory at Thysse, allowing them to take advantage of volume printing and reducing their need for on-site storage. This was so successful, we secured space at an additional facility, the North building (named because it was, well, North of our Netherwood facility), and began offering warehouse and distribution services.

But we didn’t stop there. What started with printed materials for one client quickly morphed into custom approaches and ramped up promotional product offerings as well. This included kit-packing unique combinations of printed forms and collateral, as well as offering storage and shipment of employee onboarding swag for firms with remote workforces.

The success of fulfillment’s value was only amplified with our Storefront portals. This is a customized site for each brand, allowing them flexibility to use the platform for inventory monitoring, print on-demand and customization offerings, distribution, and much more. See a more in-depth explanation of Storefront here, you won’t regret it!

When we relocated all of Thysse to our new campus in July of 2020, Fulfillment services got yet another boost. That move was great news for our staff, who is happy to be in a much better lit location with air conditioning, but it’s also critical for meeting our clients’ needs.

We’ve increased storage capacity by 400%, and now have all operations contributing to filling customer projects in one location. This means more shelves to store our partner’s printed and brand assets, and faster turnaround times from order to out-the-door.

The journey to this offering is continually evolving, and that’s an exciting space to be in. We believe in producing quality prints, signage, graphic applications, and promotional products that reflect your brand’s quality. We also understand that having mounds of beautiful pieces at your locations can become cumbersome without a partner to assist with management and distribution.

Before you begin to resent your assets, let’s talk to see if a fulfillment partnership can benefit your company. After all, we’re committed to being where you go with your brand.

For more updates on our services, monthly drawings, and images of our work, follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and/or Instagram!

Thysse Unveils New Campus and New Capabilities.

New Address, Same Thysse Culture.

Monday, July 27 marked the next chapter in the Thysse legacy. The company opened the doors on its new headquarters, a 95,500 square-foot building in Oregon, WI. The new campus, situated just a stone’s throw from the previous Netherwood location, is the third expansion in seven years to support Thysse’s enhanced services and growing lines of business.

The building itself is as functional as it is visually impressive; featuring 2 glass lined stories and triple the production space. The new location brings together a full in-house design suite for Thysse’s Experiential Graphic Design team, moves all production, specialty graphics, and fulfillment services to a single site, creating greater efficiencies for Thysse’s customers, and enhances the close team culture for its employees. For President Jason Thysse, this is the real measure of success,

“Since my grandfather started Thysse in 1941, this company has always been about the people. We designed the new campus with both client and employee needs in mind, and the result we’ve realized with the team of Thysse architects, designers, and assistance from OPN Architects is a dream come true. We are very excited for this next chapter in Thysse’s story!”

Fleet of Thysse delivery trucks at new campus

Director of Operations, Nick Brevik knows that the new campus will start showing a return on investment almost immediately,

“The move to a larger space that can house all our services in one location minimizes our logistical inefficiencies. We’ll be able to reduce travel time, particularly in fulfillment, and we’re able to increase our service offerings, adding on foil stamping and embossing capabilities starting in August. The bigger production space allowed us to bring in a larger format and faster press, as well as the prepress workflow to support it, effectively doubling our offset printing rate. The move also increased fulfillment storage by 30%. Thysse has always looked for the best way to meet our customers’ current needs, while simultaneously planning for their future; this move is a continuation on that promise.”  

Thysse’s new address, as of July 27th, is 780 Cusick Parkway, Oregon, WI 53575.

Production space in Thysse's new campus

Although the building was completed for Thysse, it wasn’t done alone. The project had many partners involved including: The Village of Oregon, Oregon Community Bank, Wisconsin Business Development, OPN Architects, Newcomb Construction, and Thysse’s very own Experiential Design Team. Thank you for your support and assistance along this journey!

To stay up to date with what’s happening at Thysse, stay tuned on our social channels and at www.thysse.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin | Instagram

For more information, contact Jen Braga, Thysse, at 608.249.6951.

How Wipfli grew its training capacity 3X with Thysse’s streamlined fulfillment services

Thysse's fulfillment services helped Wipfli grew training capacity.

The Client: Wipfli LLP

More than 60,000 clients across a wide range of industries trust Wipfli with accounting services and business advising. Wipfli’s nonprofit practice provides critical regulation information to nonprofit organizations around the country through in-depth, multi-day training sessions.

The Challenge: How can you efficiently store, assemble, and distribute training material for dozens of training events throughout the year and across the country?

When clients rely on you for training that’s vital to their success, the training itself has to be as close to perfect as possible. For the nonprofit group at Wipfli, having exceptional trainers deliver information accurately and effectively is crucial for a successful training event. 

But it takes a lot more than that.

Amy Almond, a manager in Wipfli’s nonprofit practice, leads a team of half a dozen staff who help Wipfli trainers plan and execute events. 

“A big part of what we do is help make sure our training attendees have everything they need when it comes to printed material and other items,” she says.

Here’s a sampling of what she’s talking about:

  • Registration packets unique to each attendee that include a nametag, name tent, training information, and marketing materials
  • Wipfli-branded giveaways 
  • Reference books used for specific training sessions

So how does a company handle the printing, assembling, and distribution for all of these materials? 

Wipfli discovered that taking on their fulfillment needs in-house took people away from higher-value activities.

In-house fulfillment was taking people away from higher-value activities.

The challenges that came with in-house fulfillment 

“We had a staffing challenge.” 

Wipfli’s fulfillment needs weren’t consistent from one week to the next. Amy says it was difficult to know the best approach for handling the workload spikes a week or two before a training event. 

It wasn’t practical to hire more employees for the intermittent demands of event packing. Yet hiring temps each time was expensive—and so was pulling staff from other projects to help assemble packets. 

And it wasn’t ideal for trainers to get called in to help. “We wanted our trainers out training, not stuffing binders.” Enabling Wipfli team members to focus on high-value, core priorities was critical.

“We had a space challenge.” 

Wipfli stored all their event material on site and also used their office space to assemble training packets. But Amy says that even for smaller training events, keeping all the items organized became “tedious.” 

And for the larger events? It was a major undertaking. Amy explains they would set up numerous tables in an assembly-line fashion to put training kits together, a process that could take up to a week.

And then there were the projectors and sound systems. “Renting equipment like that for every event is just not cost-effective,” says Amy.

But purchasing it wasn’t a simple solution either. “Where were we going to store all of the equipment going out two or three times a month to different places?”

“We were shipping office essentials to events.” 

Wipfli also had to complete certain printing tasks at the event site.

That meant sending admin staff to events for support and shipping label makers, portable printers, and computers.

“We’d then unpack it all and do the same coming back.” But even with a hardworking team of detail-oriented staff, Amy says, it was still a cumbersome process and was taking team members away from valuable activities like serving clients.

Changing Wipfli’s overall process would allow them to expand their training capacity.

The Solution: Using Thysse for comprehensive fulfillment services 

Wipfli does a phenomenal job of developing training materials that are informative, professional-looking, and valuable for attendees to get the most out of a training event—even long after it’s over.

Yet when it came to getting those materials to every event, Thysse saw an opportunity for Wipfli to:

  • Streamline their process for better efficiency
  • Save on labor costs
  • Keep their team focused on developing and delivering the best training events possible

Thysse had already been supporting the nonprofit practice at Wipfli by printing event signage and marketing materials.

As we began to understand the magnitude—and the challenges—of the nonprofit practice’s efforts, we explained we could take on more and more of the printing, storage, and fulfillment they were doing in-house.

Understanding the client's challenges helps Thysse meet the client's needs.

Solving the staffing challenge

We developed a system where Wipfli fills out a user-friendly fulfillment form to indicate exactly what they need for every training event. 

Now, rather than an in-house, all-hands-on-deck effort, Thysse’s own dedicated team of fulfillment specialists assemble everything and ship it out for just-in-time arrival.

Solving the space challenge

Thysse provides customized storage and fulfillment services with our 8,000-square-foot fulfillment center and 750-square-foot pick-and-pack assembly area.

For Wipfli’s nonprofit practice, we now print, store, assemble, and ship nearly every single event item they need. 

We also keep track of Wipfli’s inventory so they always have what they need on hand.

Keeping track of inventory is one of the services Thysse provides.

Solving event site issues and bringing new solutions to the table

How can Wipfli make sure we handle important event details like getting each nametag exactly right for every attendee’s packet?

Wipfli exports their attendee list from their registration system and sends it directly to us. In fact, it’s a process that even allows us to do last-batch printing and shipping for late registrations. No portable printers or admin staff necessary! 

Trainers and event attendees need more than printed material for a successful training event. Projectors and sound systems are essential. Rather than have Wipfli handle the storage and shipping for all that equipment, Thysse now does those tasks for them.

Overseeing the process from start to finish relieves the client of having to think about those details.

Yet that still doesn’t cover everything.

To meet the needs—and wants—of training attendees, Wipfli leaves no stone unturned. So to help beat the mid-afternoon malaise at training events, Wipfli provides candy and snacks, and even stress-relieving squishies as giveaways. 

With all the critical training details Wipfli focuses on, do they really need to worry about remembering the candy? 

No. Thysse stores and ships it all for them, including branded squishies and candy dishes.

The Results: Expanding training capacity by 3X

Today, the Wipfli nonprofit practice holds more than 50 training events and booths a year, including the Wipfli National Training Conference in Las Vegas, which attracts more than 1,000 attendees each year. 

Because so many of the tasks formerly handled in-house are now taken on by Thysse, Amy says it’s allowed her group to focus more on actual training. 

In fact, she estimates that Thysse’s fulfillment support has allowed the Wipfli nonprofit practice to triple its training capacity.

The success the nonprofit practice enjoys by using Thysse’s fulfillment services is getting company-wide attention. “Other divisions at Wipfli are starting to take notice. They want to know how they can achieve the kind of success we’re having,” says Amy.

Proud to play a part in Wipfli’s mission: Helping nonprofits succeed 

Amy says their nonprofit clients do vital work. “They save lives. They feed and educate children. They make communities stronger.” 

When Wipfli trains nonprofits on critical regulation information, they do more than help these organizations save time and money. They help them use their scarce resources wisely to carry out their missions more effectively.

Without Thysse’s fulfillment support, Amy says, “Wipfli simply could not provide the dozens of high-quality trainings we deliver to people around the country.”

Download our free guide
5 WAYS YOUR PRINTER CAN IMPROVE YOUR
COMPANY’S BUSINESS PERFORMANCE.

Take me to the guide!