Keeping it Real

What started out as a boring hunt for corporate name tags turned into a rewarding discovery and humble reminder.

Bullfrog Laserworks name badges for Floricane LLC

A few months ago at a Floricane team meeting, someone suggested we needed name tags for each team member to wear when we host special events or facilitate large meetings. Another simple way to build our visual brand beyond the standard Sharpie scribble on adhesive label.

As the marketing lead, this fell neatly into my bucket. The Floricane logo is always fun to work with and I set out to source a brightly colored, well-designed plastic name badge that wouldn't be unnecessarily expensive. By the time I had run all the estimates and held various samples in my hand, I decided the task had become painfully boring and I didn't like any of the options.

Outside of my work at Floricane, I love to scout great design with affordable (usually!) price tags. I do it for myself all the time, I blog about it regularly, and I even snap photos and text sources to friends on the go!

Well, the beauty of my job with Floricane is that it has never been anything other than me being me, doing what I do, with people I like. So what was I doing shopping for anything but something that I would be excited to boast from my own lapel. By the way, I can't tell you the last time I wore anything with a lapel, which contributes greatly to the aforementioned beauty of my job!

So as soon as I shifted my mindset, I quickly landed at Bullfrog Laserworks on Etsy where Roberto Sand makes gorgeous laser cut wood engravings in his Portland, OR studio. A few e-mails back and forth and Rob and I were on our way to something super cool that would be a much truer reflection of the Floricane brand.

Then somewhere along the way, Rob and I crossed wires -- he read my "receive by" deadline as a "ship by" request. The name tags did not arrive in time for our planned debut at the Greater Richmond Chamber's Schmooza Palooza.

I should also tell you that I'm a certified procrastinator, in addition to which I happened to be in the middle of moving the week this all went down; however, I did have the whole thing scheduled with just enough time to tempt Federal offense by dashing from the front door of a house that was no longer mine to one that was not yet mine in anticipation of Floricane's hot new name badges. Alas, there was no package.

Here's where the lesson in keeping it real comes in. I figured out that the package did not ship in time for our event. Rob might have cried he felt so bad about missing our deadline. He didn't waste a moment to say, "I blew it," and that he would do what he could to make it right, which he did.

There was a choice -- be really mad and and raise a stink in the name of  "good business" or say exactly what was going through my mind -- that I could have made the very same mistake this week. That in my boss' mind, I should have ordered these weeks ago anyway, in which case we wouldn't be racing the clock.

I make these mistakes all the time. And sometimes they're bigger than others. But what I what I really, really admire about Rob was his willingness to say, "I'm sorry I let you down." No excuses. No canned b/s. A sincere human apology.  

Rob responded honestly and authentically, which humbled me to recognize my own propensity for error.

I know we're not talking about brain surgery or tons of money, but it was important to me. It was important to John and the team. All of which made it important to Rob. And, that's good business.

PS: Did I mention his amazingly handcrafted work is half the price of those plastic name tags everyone else is wearing?