Instead of New Year’s resolutions, we opted for the previous year’s recollections! We asked some of our customers and business associates to give us a short summation of their best or worst business experience of 2011. As suspected, we received some entertaining stories. With humor, wit, intelligence and insight, our contributors recollect their best and worst of 2011.
Chris Schofield and Sharolyn Rae Spruce, Owners – Schofield Design, Weiser, Idaho
Schofield Design built the Tater Truck for Foerstel’s client, Idaho Potato Commission, and their worst and best all took place during the construction of the potato truck!
Sharolyn goes into preterm labor (six weeks early), delaying the potato truck’s first debut
Sharolyn spent 17 days in the NICU with little Khaya
Liam (our 2-year-old) takes a fall inside the door of the potato, going head-first onto a sharp steel plate…which led to an ER visit, three stitches and a CT scan–thankfully, he’s got a tough head like his daddy
Speaking of Chris, his ankles aren’t as tough as his head…he fell off the tater and sprained his ankle, which swelled up huge and turned black
Our dear old dog, Spud (seriously, that’s his name), died while Sharolyn was having our baby in the hospital – he was 10 years old
And the Best!…
Our beautiful daughter, Khaya Jade, made her appearance–an unforgettable one at that
We got to build the world’s largest potato, of course – what an awesome experience!
Don Odiorne, VP Foodservice – Idaho Potato Commission, Boise, Idaho
As the oldest person in our office, I sometimes struggle with new technology. Hey, when I grew up they routinely sold new cars that got 8 miles per gallon and the news about phones included them coming in colors like avocado and princess pink. Nevertheless, I oversee our group’s website and try to keep up to date….So my best business experience in 2011, from a learning standpoint, was to sponsor and attend Camp Blogaway in Southern California. Did you know that Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman, has a blog that generates 23.3 million views per month from 4.4 million unique visitors? From hobbyists to mommy bloggers to full-time bloggers being courted by all the major food manufacturers, they have created a different world of communicating with common themes. It’s like a new subset of “tribes” all working together toward common goals. I came away identifying who to work with, and now I partner with bloggers creating recipe videos, newspaper placement, recipe development, etc. Foerstel is working with us to create a landing page on the website to highlight links to their blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Pretty good investment for the $395 registration cost to attend camp!
Jim Hall, Sales Representative – Joslyn Morris Printing, Boise, Idaho
In the summer of 2011, we printed statement stuffers that had to be delivered to Northern California on a specific date for a utility company. Being the conscientious and hardworking company we are, we shipped the pallet of statement stuffers a week early, via 3-Day FedEx freight. A few days before the order was due, we tracked the shipment and found it was in Atlanta, on the other side of the country! The stuffers had to be reprinted and delivered within two days to meet the deadline. The original pallet arrived a week later, taking a total of 11 days to be delivered from Idaho to California. The lack of response and customer service on the part of FedEx baffled us!
Chris Jensen, Director of Marketing – Blue Marble Brands, Providence, Rhode Island
I don’t know if my stories are that interesting. There are the epic emotional ups and downs of package design, out-of-stock products, pressures of Expo West and sales goals; battling 100-year floods in Thailand in a quest to find coconut water supply; and finding a company in the Maldives that catches tuna one at a time! And there is the consumer demand for everything to be organic, inexpensive, available nationwide and grown at a small farm, etc. It’s all quite mundane.
Steven Dinoia, President and CEO – Three Sixty Packaging, Boise, Idaho
Truly the “best” of 2011 was FREEDOM (kidding). It was the spinout from Treasure Valley Packaging Solutions/Treasure Valley Business Group to ThreeSixty, LLC. Foerstel created a cool spinout demonstration for us that was amazing. That in itself really says it all – that we spun this business out successfully in a challenging year for all. And we made our 2011 budget and goals.
The other highlight for us was our partnership with Fine Line Graphics. Their High Definition Flexo process has allowed us to offer our customers excellent print quality that provides a high impact visual experience with brighter images and sharper graphics. Another success achieved!
Anthony Zolezzi, Corporate Consultant/Environmental Entrepreneur – Anthony Zolezzi, Los Angeles, California
On Christmas Day as I walked along the beach, I witnessed an interesting interaction between three young boys playing with their brand-new soccer ball, and two much older, muscular guys, easily twice the size of the three younger boys combined. The older men challenged the younger boys to a game and started the warm-up by showing off, bouncing the ball from their feet to their chests to their heads and then to each other. As the game got underway, the younger boys were unassuming and surprisingly skilled in basic get-it-to-the-third-open-person tactics, winning the game 4-0. If grace can be defined as “elegance and beauty of movement and form,” I’d say this was about as graceful as it gets.
I had to ask myself how many times we allow ourselves to be intimidated by the “jocks” we encounter in our own lives and careers? And that prompted me to make a New Year’s resolution: to keep my cool in all situations, no matter how challenging, to not be impressed by posturing or hype, but just look for that open third person whenever possible, and to try to become more graceful in my dealings with people. This was the lesson I drew from observing this spontaneous pickup soccer game on the beach and one that I am looking forward to bringing into 2012.
Giovanni Pizzigati, Creative Director – Matitegiovanotte, Forli, Italy
Matitegiovanotte, Foerstel’s sister design firm in Italy, contributed a delightful story about having the opportunity to judge the packaging for Panettone – a traditional holiday dessert. The event ended up being a wonderful combination of great food, wine and time with friends! Here is the story in Giovanni’s own words:
The Keepers of the Panettone, A Venture Between Design and Gastronomy
Beginning of November, I received an email from the secretary of Italian Art Directors Club, asking me if I am interested to join, as a graphic designer, of the jury which will award the packaging for Panettone, a traditional sweet of Christmas.
I accept with enthusiasm, and soon I am contacted by the organization of King Panettone, a marketplace of artisan panettone. Stanislao Porzio, an advertising executive with a passion for cooking, has invented and produces from four years with great success (in two days was visited by nearly 15,000 people). Stanislao, therefore, calls me and explains that along with an industrial designer and the CEO of the trade association of industrial packaging, we judge the aesthetic value, innovation and environmentally sustainability packaging.
The appointment is at 2 pm on Saturday, November 26, in Milan in a former factory turned into a center for events. Well, I found it, judging a score of interesting packages including two made with a special edible “paper,” orange or kiwi fruit’s flavored, but this is the “institutional” task. Think now you are in the presence of nearly 40 artisan bakeries that produce both the traditional and infinite variations (including pineapple and olives!) and that offer tastings, add in the presence of a consortium of producers of wines that with a modest cost allow repeated sampling of wines, a couple of nice cronies of the jury, and you have a nice idea how continued the afternoon.
Reluctantly I returned in the evening in my town, taking with me (as well as a pleasant memory), a great cake and the proposal to return to the jury again next year!