Today I want to talk about a minor mistake I made when I first started my journey as a stationery designer.
I had this client I met through a local wedding mixer. She was an event planner who hired me to design her wedding invitations.
"Sweet!" I thought, knowing that if I did a great job on her wedding stationery she'd refer me to her clients, so I was very excited to begin on this particular project.
Her budget was $200 and she only needed 12 invitations. Yep, 12. She was was having a destination wedding in Ireland inviting only a few family members and close friends. She bought silk boxes before she hired me which were to enclose the invitations I would design.
I had a high quality laser printer which I used to print her invitations, allowing us to put most of the budget toward design, details and manual labor assembling layers of beautiful paper to create her one-of-a-kind stationery set.
Everything was perfect, except for one small detail. She specified she wanted brown metallic reply envelopes on which I had to print her mailing address. Since black ink from my laser printer wouldn't show on the brown envelopes, I printed the address on gold foil address labels and presented her with a proof. She LOVED everything in the mockups except for the envelopes. And I don't blame her...everything was beautiful except for that fancy foil "sticker" with her mailing address. She didn't approve the stationery for production and requested that the envelopes be printed in gold ink.
"The stickers are not acceptable" she said.
So I did as she requested and sent the envelopes to the print shop. They came back looking great with gold ink and a thermography finish. Her stationery set was now perfect and I couldn't wait to meet up with her so she could approve the entire ensemble for production.
The day came and I happily presented the mockups along with the price list. I was so used to having happy customers all the time, that I felt myself turn pale when she exclaimed "I am NOT going to pay $70 for 12 envelopes!!!"
Aaack! I felt like someone punched me in my stomach. I just took a deep breath and I explained that she had already declined to approve the previous option and in order to give her the gold ink she requested, the envelopes HAD to go to the print shop, which came along with print shop pricing. She still refused to approve the ensemble so we ended up switching to pearlized ivory envelopes which I ran through my laser printer and printed with brown ink.
I had a knot in my stomach for a week. Thing is, I included the reply envelopes on the estimate AT COST. I wasn't making any money on them, AND I had already paid the $70 for the envelopes and thermography printing. Now I had to eat that cost, which was really upsetting considering that was almost 50% of her original budget.
My mistake was that I focused so much on giving her exactly what she wanted that I proceeded to follow her instructions without further discussing the consequences of her request. A mistake I never made again because it helped me develop a process supported by a set of documents that I used on each and every project thereafter.
In the end, she was BEYOND satisfied with her stationery, and I was happy that she was happy, but I was also pretty darn disappointed in myself for not having known better.
And you know what? This was just ONE of the many mistakes I made at the beginning of my journey. But I must say, a $70 mistake is NOTHING compared to my $800 printer mistake. But I'll tell you about that one another time. I just know that both mistakes could have been avoided if I had some sort of mentor at the time, someone to introduce me to the tricks of the trade and guide me through the process. Instead, I had to discover things for my own, which is okay, but not as smooth of a ride as it could have been.
You on the other hand, HAVE that opportunity today. Along with the opportunity to save $20 on Stationery Boot Camp when you use your Early Bird coupon code: SBCFORLIFE2016
Coupon expires today (Saturday, March 19, 2016) at 11:59 p.m.
If you're still on the fence, I'm hoping the following questions will help you decide one way or the other.
I leave you with these words from one of my students who enrolled last summer:
"You have no idea how valuable this course has been to me. I was very very very lucky to have stumbled upon your website at the perfect time for me...
Thank you Kimberly for this wonderful testimonial, and a big thank you to those who have enrolled this week and are already devouring the content. I will be answering your questions soon and uploading those video tutorials I promised.
And thank you, my blog readers and email subscribers, for allowing me into your inbox to share with you every now and then a little bit of wisdom and knowledge gained from my 20 year long career. (Yikes! feeling old now...)
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