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Why You Don’t Want to Cut Corners – Ship in a Bottle

How often do you think of cutting a corner on a small, small, small element? Well, it’s a little vague as an open. Let me give you an example what I’m specifically talking about. That
was my attempt to be totally cagey and draw you in.

But here’s what I wanna say…

Years ago, I was just beginning in my business. I was really a newbie. I was at this stage where I was making my business cards by printing them on my printer at home, and then I wanted to put them on really heavy cardstock. I couldn’t get the cardstock through the printer, so I would print them black and white on a single piece of paper, then I’d walk it over to Kinko’s, and I would get really heavy cardstock of my own that I got at an art supplies store, put that through the printer, and then hand paint each card so it was  color. And then I would slice them with a slicer. This was my process.

I was beginning out. I didn’t have business cards, didn’t know how to get them. And I had a big event that I had signed up to go to. So I thought, “I had better have some business cards.” In fact the guy hosting this event (it was this elite, exclusive high-level retreat), he said, “I’d like each of you coming to this retreat to send 12 business cards.” And I got this
notice and I had very little time that week and I thought, “Let me just print them in black and white. I’m not going to hand paint them. I don’t have the time.”

I went through the process of black and white, went to Kinko’s, printed the cardstock. Sliced them into individual 12 per page. Then I thought, “You know what, let me do this right. Let me take the extra half hour to paint these properly,” because I figured he’d give one to each person attending the seminar.

Well I got to the event, no business cards were distributed, and it was a two-day experience. The night between the two days I went back to my hotel room and sitting on the bed was a box, a little bigger than a shoebox. I thought, “What’s this?” And it was a gift from this guy who runs the seminar. In fact I’ll say his name, because he was so great. His name is Nido Qubein. Brilliant, brilliant leader. And I open the box and I pull out what’s inside. It’s a bottle. You know, ship in a bottle type of bottle, and actually inside is a ship. I’m thinking, “This is the coolest gift.”

But not only is it a ship, it’s a ship that’s made with business cards. I’m going to have our camera woman, Becca, zoom in so you can see this. She’s going to nod to me when you can see. If you look carefully, you’ll see the V and the L of my logo. This is my old logo. Each of them is painted slightly differently because I was working with watercolors and these little characters. And here’s the ship in the bottle made with my business cards. I was so glad that I’d taken the time to paint the V and the L, because every time I look at this it’s so much more bright. And even though it’s not something that I exhibit to clients, it’s something that stays here in my studio, it reminds me of the importance of doing things right.

I have a wonderful colleague, Gregg Goldston, who I’ve done many, many projects with. We always use the phrase, “Ship in a bottle,” which means, “Do it right.” So I say to you, the next time you think about cutting a corner, remember, ship in a bottle, because you never know where your work is going to end up.

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