Name brand products can be expensive in your school supply packs, and sometimes do not offer a significant difference in performance. However, there are times where name brands are the best available products and are essential to the teachers. Getting the right mix of name brands for the teachers and off-brands to keep the price down for your customized school supply packs is essential.
How do you know when to request name brands and when to substitute?
First thing is to communicate with the teachers to know which items they absolutely want name brands. They have the real-life experience with these products, so they know which brands work best for their students. If they want Crayola markers and Elmer’s glue, make sure to specify that on their supply lists and we will put it in your customized school supply packs.
Next, for items that they are ok with substitutes, work with your supply kit company to get recommendations. What are the feedbacks from the other schools that have utilized those substitutes? Will they accept return if the product fails?
Here are our recommendations on items that should be name brand:
- Crayola® crayons and watercolors
- Crayola® or Prang® markers and colored pencils
- Expo® dry erase markers
- Elmer’s® or Prang® glue and glue sticks
- Sharpie® permanent markers
- Fiskars® or SchoolWorks by Fiskars® scissors
- Koss® or Sony® headphones
- Kleenex® tissue
In our experience at Bright SchoolKitz®, after years of feedbacks from schools and organizations, we still haven’t found crayons that work as well as Crayola’s. Expo dry-erase markers definitely work best, but there are a few off-brands that work nearly as well. There is definitely no substitute for Fiskars branded scissors. Headphones should also be a good quality brand, as generic usually stop working after a few months.
On the other hand, there are many products that have great substitutes while keeping the cost down for parents. These include binders, pencil case, folders, erasers, wipes, and even pencils. These will make your cusotmized school supply packs more economical.
Review the quotes from your school supply kit company to ensure the brands you specified are included in your school supply kits. (Some companies can be decieving and will include Crayola crayons in kindergarten class but off brand crayons in 4th grade.) Communication from year to year between teachers, kit organizers, and your school supply kit company is key!