The Worst is Over... :)

by Jamie Bennett

So this is just a quick update about how our show season has been, and a run down of what is coming in the next couple months. The title of this blog post is in reference to nothing... lol... In advertising, the worst is never over, it's just lying dormant. It just felt good to say that the worst is over because, I have been working really hard the last several months.

To begin with, on the left you will see the artwork for this year's festival shirts. It will be printed on neon shirts, using bright neon inks. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these bad boys.

Second, the paper cutter is holding it's own and so if my new printer. Over the last month I have printed, cut and shipped over 80k direct mailers to promote our various shows around Oregon. This has arguably been our most successful show season to date.

Third, I will be hand making a couple hundred cowboy hats for this year's country music festivals. To the right you can see the basic layout of these. There will be two different styles. Every year I have tried to find a good source for these hats. Your typical promotional company doesn't have very many options for these hats. It is so easy to make a cowboy hat look nerdy, and people are so finicky about what they wear on their heads. Embroidery shops ether can't do what I need them to, or they suggest cheesy hats. It sometimes feels like all our options are simultaneously too expensive and too cheap. I am going to take a stab at making these myself because I have exhausted all other options.

I am breaking out the spray paint and polyurethane. At least, that's how things are looking as of right now. The plan is to put Guaranty's logo on the side, and a department specific icon on the back of the brim. I am excited to see people's reactions. I have all sorts of SWAG coming in for these festivals, and I am starting to get very excited.

The Big Sale

by Jamie Bennett

So I have been running various collateral materials out of Guaranty's marketing for well over a year, but I have only recently taken on producing all of our direct mail in-house.  I have embedded a video showing my setup, and you can see the oversized postcards that I am producing for our various shows. So far the paper cutter has paid for itself. We are paying 70% of what we once spent on production, and we have doubled our direct mail footprint in the local markets.

I love having the tools to produce these materials in house. It gives us a great deal of flexibility, and allows for a shorter turnaround on these materials. It seems as though the time I use to spend ordering certain materials, and arranging for delivery has been neatly folded into this production time. The reward for all my efforts, is having marketing materials in house within hours, as opposed to days.

For our big shows, featured in the video below, I am producing between 10,000 and 15,000 finished mailers. I run them two up on 12.5x19" paper. It takes me roughly two days to complete the production of these mailers. If I outsourced the job it would take roughly four to five days to produce these materials.

I am working on eventually getting a better camera, and maybe creating some title intros for these videos. Perhaps, in the future I will produce more "how to videos," so stay tuned. As you can see, I really need a bigger office.


Pear Awesome Parade

by Jamie Bennett

Every year, I participate in the Pear Blossom Parade in Medford, Ore. This year was no different, except that I was again walking the whole thing, and it was hot. Having been raised in the Nevada desert, it was no big thing. It was a two hour walk, but easy compared to what I went through last year. You can use the labels above to read about that experience.

It was a lot of fun. I got down there the night before, and spent some time poolside with my family. I also got some Del Taco, which is rare around these parts. All and all it was a wonderful trip, and I loved seeing the smiling faces of parade spectators. I gave lots of high fives, and took lots of pictures with people. Our Medford sale was a huge success, not unlike most of our recent shows.

That is all I have to say for now. I would love to encourage people to go back and read other Eggie stories using the labels above.

Mourning Herb Nill, and I am an Art Director

by Jamie Bennett

How I came to be in Oregon is not interesting. I worked in Vegas, and the clients were notable. I learned a lot, but the Pacific Northwest is a much better arrangement for a person such as myself.

Six years ago I moved to Junction City, Ore. I did research before moving, and Guaranty looked like a dream company. The thing that I found most attractive was that I would be working in house for a family business that was forward thinking. I was impressed with the resources, and excited about the opportunity to make a mark on a company. Often as a marketer you are stuck in a rigid set of brand standards. Guaranty was wide open territory. Guaranty is a company that is bridging country overhead, and big city selection. We are online, growing, and we are nimble. Our CFO is also incredible, and I trust his judgement better than my own.

Herb believed in me. I don't know how much he knew of me, but I had several interactions with him. He treated me with love and respect. Herb was in the air force, and my own family was too. I often felt like I belonged at Guaranty, unlike I belonged anywhere else. It has been as if, I have trained my whole life to be here now. Herb raised amazing sons, and this whole company is his legacy.

Do read on. I will add a video.

Herb is an amazing man with a whole credo that is inline with my upbringing. The basics of his mantra were beat into me as a kid. Work hard, treat people with respect, and play fair. Principles that decent humans can live by. I don't know if I have always played by those rules personally, but Guaranty does. I aspire to work where I work. I aspire to be what Herb saw in me. I think the one principle that I find hardest to adopt is playing fair. I am just impatient. It's easy to cheat, but the Guaranty family has been showing me the light. Working hard has always come natural to me, and Guaranty certainly provides ample opportunity for work.

The cool thing is that things are coming up Milhouse. We still have a lot of work to do, and there are some big dealers out there. We need to stay competitive, but the competition is only as good as the class of people they employ. Speaking from personal experience, we own the region. I also don't know who is the competitions' equivalent of me, but who's better than me? :)... I would do anything to protect my friends and family at Guaranty. Thank you Herb for bringing me into the fold, and I wish I got to spend more time with you. 

Just as an FYI, I am now an Art Director. It is official, and a title that I deserved before coming to Guaranty (based on basic job duties that I have performed over the years). I didn't go seeking the title, as much as it was thrust upon me. It feels good, and I am grateful to Guaranty for the opportunities they have afforded me.

All our YouTube videos are edited by Daryl Toops, another very talented and devoted individual.

If anyone knows who took the photo of Herb (above to the right) I would gladly share a link or credit for such an awesome photo. I think I may have a source for ferreting that out, but I did not take that photo. I just love it.

Electric Cutter from China

by Jamie Bennett

I am currently working on bringing more of Guaranty's production work in-house. I have been padding entry forms, notepads, and I also absorbed the cost of decal plotting. I use the plotter to make a-frame boards, vinyl banners, and to decorate vehicles for special events and promotions. At some point I plan to go more in depth into how this equipment works. For now I would like to discuss this cutter.

So I plan on producing more of our collateral materials for marketing, in particular our direct mail. This should save us some money, and increase our marketing spend's footprint. So I got the new printer and there was some money left for an electric cutter. I figured we could get an electric cutter from between $3,000 and $6,000. After looking around, I decided to roll the dice on this cutter. I got it for under $2,000, and it comes with a two year warranty. I have worked with electric cutters in the past, and this isn't a bad machine. I figured if I could keep it lubricated and cherry for two years than it would more than pay for itself. Maybe at that point I might want to upgrade. Most American made machine start around $5,000 to $6,000 for basically the same machine that you can get from China for $3,000 to $4,000. At least, that's what it looked like while I was researching. You may wanna make sure that you don't have to pick up your cutter at the port, unless you're some sorta bodybuilder. This machine comes delivered to your business for a decent price. I will have to keep you posted as to how wise my gambit was, but for now I am really happy having my own electric cutter.

There's only been one problem so far, but you won't know what it is if you don't read on.

The only problem so far has been an incomplete user manual. It was a little vague, requiring some clarification, and customer service was rather taxing. I don't think the customer service was bad, but somethings were definitely lost in translation. China also starts their work day when we all go to bed, so if you have a question, it takes a full day to get an answer. The secret when dealing with Chinese support is to shoot videos, and point a lot. I really hope that this all works out. If it does than I will make a video about lubrication, and general information regarding this tool. It's been running like a champ for two months now, and has cut hundreds of stacks already.

Above and to the right is my new printer. In the near future I will write a little bit about this piece of office equipment. Get ready for that!
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