Once open to only Mensa members, the Mensa Store is now officially open to the general public, so it’s easy to get your geek on with their line of garb and other items. Some of their products prominently feature the Mensa logo, but it’s less visible on other products, if you’d prefer those. And on several of their products, you’ll notice a newer Mensa icon (mascot?), the person with the pointy hair and glasses, which I’m digging in particular. If you prefer that logo to the more traditional one, there are products featuring it, including one with red/white/blue hair and a pride rainbow hair one.
For wearables in general, they’ve got t-shirts, sweatshirts, button-ups, polos, lounge pants, socks, scarves, hats, pins, and a plush blanket. For the fancier among us, they also have jewelry. There are only a couple of jewelry options available on the site, but I’ve seen a ton more available in the past at events, so hopefully they’ll add more online too. And if they came up with an enameled pin of the pointy-haired bespectacled icon, I’d totally be there.
In the non-wearable categories, the store carries mugs, stickers, sunglasses, drawstring bags, tumblers, can coolers, pens and pencils, window decals, totes, and member plaques. These are great gifts for when you don’t know someone’s size.
Helping to fill the gap left by (sniff, sniff) ThinkGeek’s hasty pseudo-departure, the Mensa Store offers products with sayings such as “Nerdy by Nature,” “Because Science,” “I’d Rather Be Reading,” “Calculus and Chill,” and “Smarty Pants” (on pants, naturally). There are superhero themes, more plain styles, and products celebrating Mensa-specific events. Sizes come in a wide range, and there are some ladies’ cuts as well. Their offerings change over time, depending on what’s in stock. So give the store a look periodically.
With options for adults, kids and babies, and general life accessories, there’s bound to be something that would interest you or a nerdy friend at the Mensa Store.
Mensa sent me samples of a few of their products, and they are of good quality. As seen in the photos, I got my hands on some t-shirts (modeled by the patient Rory Bristol), a scarf, a mug, and even a holiday ornament.
The shirts are a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon (50/25/25) and are incredibly soft. They’re thin but in a nice, cozy way—great for layering too. The scarf is a basic knitted one, double layered. The Mensa logo is sewn onto one corner, which looks great on one side but weird on the other (see photo in slideshow above—they should have put the backing in between the layers). Still, it’s thick and warm and a good length for different scarf-wearing configurations. The mug is shiny and smooth and holds a little over 10 ounces. It’s your typical, good mug with a cute image on it. The ornament is out of season now, but is indicative of the kinds of products that they sometimes carry.
Generally, Mensa’s products are of very good quality. I’ve been able to get my literal hands on a variety of products that were being sold at large Mensa gatherings in the past, so I can recommend the store’s products in general in addition to the items I’m specifically reviewing here.
I hope now that the Mensa Store is open to the public that they’ll take suggestions and branch out with their options, especially with ladies’ styles and new content options. And this is my official request for more things with the Geek Guy on it. Plus, more rainbow haired pride merchandise options!
The store website itself needs a little improvement, including needing product descriptions and making sure their non-product images look their best. But, as the store expands, their site should improve as well.
Having been a Mensa member for about 20 years now, I have to say, Mensa’s reputation of being populated by snooty, ascot-wearing intellectuals who just spout random facts is (mostly) not true. The random fact spouting is there, for sure, but mostly it’s a social and support group and a network for nerdy types who are looking to meet and bond with same. Gatherings include plenty of stimulating conversation, board games, outings to restaurants and cultural locations, and whatever the people in your local group come up with.
In addition, the larger, American Mensa umbrella includes a number of valuable services such as Mensa Match (for meeting potential friends or partners), SIGHT (for meeting up with people as you travel the world), and gobs of SIGs (Special Interests Groups) covering just about any interest you have.
There are also gatherings. Lots of gatherings. Held in a different city each year, there is the Annual Gathering (AG), affectionately called Nerd Camp. The AG always has an on-site Mensa Store pop-up where you can get a wider variety of things. We’ve picked up bandanas, cord keepers, and more limited edition clothing, for example. Local groups also hold Regional Gatherings, and other national groups hold gatherings as well. These are all worth attending. Some people treat the AG as their annual vacation, visiting with friends they only see once a year.
There is also the annual CultureQuest contest, the most intense and amazing trivia contest ever. And, as I share every year, Mensa holds an annual Mind Games event where hundreds of people get together and play board games over a long weekend, rating them and giving plenty of useful feedback to the game publishers. You can see my past Mensa Mind Games winners posts here at GeekDad.
Each year, the Mensa Foundation also awards college scholarships to many students around the country and around the world, and you need not be a member to apply.
So, whether your New Year’s Resolutions include putting yourself out there to meet new people, or just showing off your nerdery through clothes or other products, check out Mensa and the Mensa Store, now open to non-members.
To join American Mensa, you can go here. If you live in another country, check out the international Mensa page to connect with a national group near you. There are a couple of different ways to join: you can take the Mensa test (a practice test is also available), or you can submit prior evidence of tests taken in the past with certain threshold scores. There are also group discounts on a number of products and services.
Note: I received some store samples for review purposes.