It’s all about branding.

I’d never even heard the word “branding” in context of one’s business until a year or two ago but now it’s all over the place. With your logo and branding you can, hopefully, efficiently express what you are all about.

As a writer, musician, and artist, my goal is to present a bright image of beauty, growth, and possibilities, and that’s why I chose my pictures that are pretty, pink, and flowery to be my brand.

So off I went to get my new cards produced, and as I’m a fan of supporting local businesses, I made sure to seek out a small company close by, even though I knew it would be more expensive than other avenues (because being a smart consumer and being cheap are two different things).

I sent the file and they sent a sample back and it looked fine. Then I went to pick them up. Right away I thought, and said, that they looked quite dark. My pretty, bright, colourful brand was seriously lacking.

I paid for them and took them away and thought I would assess over time instead of quickly asking for a change. But even within a few hours I knew they weren’t good enough. For $75 for 250 cards, I may not expect the world, but I expected better.

Back I went, but the guy disagreed with me saying the main thing isn’t the picture but that the contact information is on the card. But as an artist, I want to be happy with the art I present, not be apologetic or embarrassed as I hand out my cards.

They had no inclination to “make it right” and offered me nothing other than a redo at my expense at their “cost” of $40. I knew after trying to get my point across for a while with the very-unhelpful-not-caring-about-future-business-guy that I wasn’t going to get very far, and soon enough, I wanted nothing to do with them anyway. And I most definitely was not handing over any more money.

I took this as a sign and decided to use it as an opportunity to step it up and give my design more oomph.

And finally, I succumbed to Vistaprint.

I’d seen the ads before and the great deals offered but I fought the inclination to pay less as I wanted to support local businesses. But at this point I was down $75 so it made sense.

Vistaprint’s site made it easy to set up my own design and they had plenty of options for styles, colours, fonts, thickness of cards, shininess, etc. It was a great deal and I was able to get the same number of far nicer cards for half the price. Add on some pens, stickers, and speedy home delivery for the same price as I’d paid just for cards with the other company and I was won over. (If you have a set budget for projects like this, you may need to stay strong when they offer all sorts of other products with your logo that can be tempting!)

The great thing is that even if my contact information were to change in a few months – e.g. if I have a new website to add – I’ll have no problem sending in a quick order and receiving them in no time, plus at a reduced rate now that I am a valued customer!

Plus, if I hadn’t been happy with the product, asking for a redo wouldn’t have been an contentious issue. Their motto is guaranteed every time, any reason, or they’ll make it right. Just like Mike Holmes.

Okay, they aren’t local, but the fact is, they supply jobs and are a contributing member of the economy. And I’d use them again in a heartbeat for a wide range of products. (I’ve since had bags, t-shirts, banners, and posters made with Vistaprint and been happy with them all.)

So whatever service you are seeking, hopefully you have options and can decide what’s most important to you in the big picture. Convenience, savings, supporting local, etc., can all come in to play. Asking ahead of time what a company’s policy is if you aren’t happy with the product may be a worthwhile place to start.

I’m not saying I’ll never go local again but for now I’m going to bypass the maybes and go straight to the definites…while I proudly hand out my pretty pink cards.

(Please note: I’m taking the next two weeks off from blogging as I’m busy producing my first music video but will be back raring to go in September!)


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