JennAffairs salmon-edged black business cards. Photos by Pablo Abuliak.
The first question many people ask me is, ‘How much will my new logo and business card cost?” This is a loaded question. More to the point, what do you want these things to do for you? What is it worth if it is so powerful that it increases your business? The second question many people ask is, “How long will it take to make me a new logo?” Super loaded question. Sometimes it takes one minute. Other times it takes a year and a half.
In the case of Jennifer Chapman, South Carolina entrepreneur extraordinaire and total new BFF, the more pressing question was the second one. How long. Jenn had found my website and loved what she saw there. Her dilemma was that her fabulous new Charleston showroom location was opening in a few weeks and she still had not found The New Branding. What could I do and how fast. After talking to Jenn for not very long, I was hooked. We decided on a price for the work and to tell you the truth, I was stumped. I wanted to do a monogram but “J” and “A” are really hard letters to put together in an artistic way. What to do? She needed these fast and she would also need a rack card or brochure to take to a big show she had signed up for. All within two weeks. Could I pull this rabbit out of this hat?
A couple of nights later I woke up in the middle of the night with this arrangement of letters in my dream. JA! OMG. I drew it in the notebook I keep next to me at all times and in the morning executed it on my computer and sent a PDF to Jenn. She was mad for it almost immediately. I had the idea to put it on black, super-thick museum mount with gold foil and Caribbean Sea blue foil (for the dots that cross the A and top the J, plus her tag line, “Fine Floral & Event Decor”) that would shimmer and shine. Then I told her about edge painting.
It was a crazy scramble to collect all the things we would need to make these cards and ship them to her in time. Edge painting for the show was out of the question, but guess what…we got the cards to her AND the rack cards in record time. This black letterpress card with foil stamping and edge painting has resulted in much attention to the new shop, which features Jenn’s gorgeous floral arrangements and wedding and event decor rentals, like candelabra, furniture, tabletop and accessories for big events and small.
The first shipment of cards arrived in the nick of time for her show, but of course they had black edges, not salmon pink. The remainder of the cards got shipped to the edge painters and then to Jenn a bit later, in time for her next show. According to Jenn, people are stopped in their tracks by these beautiful cards. This is the point. This is what we go for. Will the business card do the job of making you and your business memorable.
Successfully utilizing the spectacular latent power of a great business card’s potential is not so much about the cost per card, nor is it in the amount of time from conception to completion that is the main question. It is really about what is my business card doing for me and my business. Is it the ambassador I want out there working for me, doing the delicate diplomatic work of reminding potential clients to call me up and give me a job. Jenn’s cards are so unusual, so fabulously amazing that people won’t put them in their purses. They ask permission to keep them. They want to talk about how the logo looks like a chandelier or the Eiffel Tower or a tent, and how perfect and how fun, etc. They are little pieces of art that speak volumes about Jenn’s taste and attention to detail and her giant store of creativity. Yes, each card costs over a dollar, but if that dollar brings in a $1000, or $3000, or more job, what is the value of that card, that dollar? Priceless.
Jenn is so much fun to work with that I often call her up in the morning and have coffee with her over the phone. Sometimes I send her an email at 11 o’clock at night and she is still up…3 hours later in South Carolina…answering my email. She is amazing and funny and we have developed a friendship in a short span of time that I can hardly imagine happening…about as fast as the business card concept came to me, we are friends.
I love this business. I love the modern world that allows things like this to happen. I love the creative trance that brings such beauty and effectiveness for my clients’ work. There is no other process that is capable of accomplishing a card like this: only letterpress can print on this type of paper, and only a great deal of skill and experience can even begin to attempt the technical aspects of it.
When I show people these cards, they literally gasp. They turn them over and handle them, rub their fingers over the impression, turn them on their sides to admire the little flash of color. It is like a magic trick. Stunning. This is what we want to see in a business card. This is the real work a business card needs to do.
Next time, I will show you Jenn’s rack cards, and all the stationery and envelopes and other things we are making for her right now.
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