Michel Van Bavel about The Art of Giving

By giving you create a sense of happiness and belonging. This sentiment has grown to become our long-term vision. Van Bavel has come a long way since its conception in 1953 but remains one of the market leaders in terms of business gifts, promotional products and premiums. Instead of resting on our laurels, we are constantly searching for innovative offers for our customers while improving our production process and making a positive impact in terms of CSR and sustainability.


The joy of giving runs through our blood. The passion was ignited almost seventy years ago in Antwerp. Michel Van Bavel explains that his grandfather started out by selling branded pocketknives, combes and manicure sets as business gifts. To this day, Van Bavel is often regarded as one of the pioneers of promotional products.

It is the passion for our business and loyalty to our customer that propels us. But it is the excitement and satisfaction that goes hand in hand with creating the ultimate gift that gives us purpose.

Numerous research studies support the claim that promotional products create a significant added value in terms of marketing. The little branded souvenirs or trinkets with your name, logo or slogan increase brand awareness in a powerful and engaging way. Michel Van Bavel continues that promotional products are the cheapest way of advertising yet the most impactful.

Furthermore, promotional products also have a much broader reach than any other advertising product. Did you know that on average people keep promotional products for eight months? Think of the exposure your brand will receive. Let’s say, for example, that you hand out one thousand pens. Then one thousand potential customers will receive your message first-hand. Just imagine the reach when your pens get passed around from one hand to the next… This exposure will help consumers recognise your brand, remember the name on the product and this, in turn, will increase the odds of them doing business with you.

“Well-planned, innovative and personalised items can impact the target audience and raise the brand’s profile”

A promotional product is not just a freebie, rather it is a small but personal token of appreciation or a thank you message towards the customer base. This acknowledgement is often picked up and recognised by consumers. Giveaways can be touched, felt and used, allowing people to interact with your brand on a physical and emotional level. Because of this memorable experience, these tangible items exceed the impact of other forms of advertising such as TV ads, website banners, and traditional advertisements.  In short: giving something creates a favourable impression of your brand.

No wonder, says Michel Van Bavel, that promotional products, more than other forms of advertisement, promote client loyalty and retention. Well-planned, innovative and personalised items can impact the target audience and raise the brand’s profile. This strategy ensures your brand remains top of mind, which is increasingly important in a world with an overload of options, choices and supply.

This is where Van Bavel plays a significant role. It should be clear by now that people love receiving gifts, and at Van Bavel, we enjoy giving. Our purpose, combined with our experience, makes us the perfect partner in terms of gifts and premiums.

Because of the successful track record and loyal client base, Van Bavel is an established and reliable partner in the world of promotional products. However, much has changed since the early days of promotional products. Yet throughout the continuous transitions and changes, one thing has remained constant: our customers continue to be our number one priority.

“We always aim to source as local as possible but as far as necessary. We feel that giving products that don’t fit our ethics does not create belonging.”

While we want to offer our customers top-notch products we are also deeply involved with societal challenges. Van Bavel prides itself in taking an active approach towards improvements in CSR and sustainability. Our experience and expertise have led us to build up a reliable network of trusted suppliers. Therefore, we are not only able to ensure original and high-quality products but are also able to guarantee solid CSR practises throughout the entire supply chain. To maintain these high standards, we regularly carry out supplier audits both by our own team as well as commissioned auditing agencies.

We are also fully vested in environmental protection and in good stewardship of resources. While sustainability might be a growing trend, it has been part of our DNA for years. Over the past decades, we have built a strong network of partners who are equally committed to this cause. This maturity has given us a competitive advantage and has raised the bar for our competitors.

At Van Bavel, we are committed to only delivering high-quality products that affect the environment as little as possible. We always aim to source as local as possible but as far as necessary. We feel that giving products that don’t fit our ethics does not create belonging. We thus strive to elevate giving to an art in order to increase joy, happiness and belonging throughout the entire production chain and for everyone we work with.

Our in-house professionals are fully onboard with our ideology and ensure a smooth process from product idea to delivery. Our team consists of experienced designers, creatives, account managers, sourcing experts, couriers, … We always start out by listening to our client’s strategy, goals and ambitions. Then, together, we identify what makes their customers happy so that we can find the best promotional products or business gifts to support the strategy and maximise return.

We also have warehousing facilities and a large showroom reflecting some successful business cases that both we and our clients are proud of. But times are changing… Not all customers have time to visit showrooms, and the expression time is money, is more relevant than ever. To make it easier for companies to choose and personalise promotional products and employee rewards, Van Bavel will launch two new platforms. The two web platforms are easy to use and completely tailored to the client. The web platform Rumi will help customers create promotional products that fit their strategy within a few simple clicks. Felicitas, on the other hand, is a company platform that allows companies to reward their employees in a very personalised way. Has your employee hit a milestone? Did he/she deliver a stellar performance or deserve a reward? Through Felicitas, they can choose personalised gifts to their liking. With an individual access code, the employee can log into the platform and choose the gift he or she identifies with. All products can be personalised with the company logo or slogan.

Looking back on the long history and the bright future ahead, it is not surprising that Michel Van Bavel is optimistic about further increasing the sense of joy, happiness and belonging.

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