Posts Tagged ‘family-owned business’

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We’re cool parents. Because of a vehicle wrap?

July 6, 2010

When we mentioned that we might be working on a van wrap project for Webkinz, our daughter Amelia (8) lit up the room with her smile. As the vans arrived and we began actually wrapping them…she begged to help (yes, we let her squeegee!). The next day, as we prepared to deliver the first van, she pleaded to go with us, eager to share with the folks at Webkinz that HER pet (the beagle) was on the van. (We think she might have also been expecting an actual Webkinz World to be awaiting her.)

If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 12, you are probably pretty familiar with Webkinz, adorable plush pets that each come with a unique code for online games, pet care, and habitat creation. Our family is no different…in fact, even the grandparents have been known to scam Amelia’s password and play a few games. So, we knew that we might actually be entering the inner circle of cool when we teamed up with this client.

But yesterday, when Amelia was part of a very small group of children invited to the test launch of the Webkinz Road Trip, we arrived. Yep, we’re officially cool parents. And thankfully, Amelia’s young enough that she’ll think we’re cool for a little while (apparently, in about 3 years, not so much).

Here we are, with one of three Webkinz vans we wrapped for Webkinz Road Trip. If you (or your kids!) would like to see what the Road Trip activities will look like, we’ve posted more photos of the Webkinz Road Trip event.

Webkinz van wrap

Every once in a while, we get the opportunity to really share our excitement about our industry with our kids…and it usually comes in the form of COOL clients (and how COOL is it that our van wrap has it’s own cartoon?)!

Are you a family-owned business? Tell us about a client who justified all your late nights and early mornings and made you the cool parents (even if just for a day).

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Something happened.

May 17, 2010

Owning your own business can be terrifying. And being a husband-and-wife company can be even scarier…so much so that sometimes you choose NOT to think about what you would do if “something happened”. As in “what would we do if one of us had an accident?” … “what if one of the kids gets sick?” … “what if we need to care for our parents?” These are serious questions, but honestly, if you let your head go there all the time, you’d pretty much just… well, hide.

Recently, “something happened.” Actually, the day of my last blog post, John was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma…yep, the C word. Cancer. At first, it felt like the world was spinning out of control. Words like “bone marrow biopsy,” “chemotherapy,” and “cancer” circled my head like Pigpen’s dust cloud. What would we do? How would the company work if John was sick? What would our clients think? What about the children?

We decided to tackle this cancer thing just like a fleet decal project…it’s a long-term thing, and it’s hard work, but there’s an end in sight…and you definitely come out the other side! John’s lucky…at his age and stage, his cancer has a 95% cure rate, and involves only 6 months of chemotherapy. It’s still a tough road, but we can handle it. And now we know that every other Friday we have a solid five hours to work on designs!

We’re proud that even with three months of chemo, in 2010 our business has grown about 48% over last year and we’ve hired installation help. Nothing like a little cancer to kick you in the butt to do something you should’ve years ago.

One thing that has suffered a little is the time I’m available to update our social media sites. I promise I’ve not disappeared…just taken a little breather…I’m still here!

And, though I didn’t think it was possible, our partnership and our marriage is stronger. We already organized our lives to maximize family time, but now we appreciate every single moment, with our family and the business. Even when a job is postponed…rather than get disappointed, we now see that as a gift…a moment to reflect and reorganize.

So, do you keep yourself up nights worrying about what might come your way? Don’t. Just know that if “something happens,” you’ll come out stronger on the other side. I would love to hear about a time “something happened” in your life and how you landed on the other side.

If you want to learn more about the specifics of John’s battle and join us as we form a team for Light the Night 2010 in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (to help find a cure!), please visit Team In-Depth’s LTN site. Team In-Depth…stickin’ it to cancer.

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Wedding Vows…Revisited

February 25, 2010

John and Torri of In-Depth Wraps

12 years ago this January, we made promises among family and friends that represented our commitment to a happy life together. But a happy married life is definitely much more complicated than “in sickness and in health,” especially when the married couple runs a business together. Last night, John and I got to talking about the kind of vows we would likely recite today.


I promise to share with you
I’ll let you use my cel phone charger when you leave yours at home, even though I probably won’t get it back later.
I promise to take risks for you
I’ll upgrade my software first, so I can tell you if there are any bugs before you do it.
I promise to try to keep our family healthy.
I will make sure we call it a night … sometimes before it’s morning.

I promise to trust

I’ll not question your classification of vendors, within reason (but if “salon” is in the name, we might need to talk)
I promise to support you

I’ll keep the kids silently entertained when a client calls after school.
I promise to give
up the wireless card when you need it (or buy smart phones so we can both be connected simultaneously).

I promise to do my share

I’ll drive so you can get your work done in the passenger seat.
I promise to be considerate
I’ll keep gas in the car so we don’t run late to a meeting.
I promise to be kind
I will not send all of our high maintenance customers’ e-mails your way.
I promise to empathize
when you’re heartbroken about losing a client you “just knew we had”.
I promise to rejoice
when you get a new laptop before I do (even though I secretly have new laptop envy!).
I promise to be responsible
and charge the camera.
I promise to communicate
I’ll have conversations with you about something other than work.
I promise to make time for us
I’ll put date night on my calendar, and keep that date as I would a meeting with a client.

Can you relate to any of these? Or do you have some new vows of your own?

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Passion…Make the Time to (Figure Out and) Follow Yours in 2010

January 6, 2010

I dig personality tests, leadership style assessments … sociology and psychology in general. I enjoy learning about myself and how I interact with other people, as well as how others interact (though I haven’t made the time to think on this in a long while). So, when our friend Derek from Brandywine Printing asked us to join him in taking the Passion Test, it was a quick yes from me.

It wasn’t anything like what I expected. No vague leading questions, no analyzing inkblots, no filling in tiny bubbles. It was all about what I said…what I want in life, and what is most important to me. Wait, now it sounds like a pointless exercise. I mean, every self-respecting business owner knows what they want in life, right?

Well, sure, I can tell you what I want out of life. But until recently, I didn’t have it laid out for me like my own personal life roadmap. Derek (on his second time taking the Passion Test) says that when he started making decisions based on his passions, he found his mood happier and his life in balance. Balance…with a company, a husband, and two children, I have to say that balance is something to which I constantly aspire. I am truly excited about the prospect of remaining in balance because of following my passions.

As a husband and wife team, we absolutely have to be on the same page…in our personal life and our business life. But I have to say that I assumed that our individual passions would be mostly in line. It took us several weeks to make the quiet time to share our passions (something we are both actually passionate about improving!). And when I looked down John’s list, it was both inspiring and validating to see nearly identical passions.

Us following one of our passions...scuba diving.

We’re living our lives in a way that is aligned with our passions. But now we have a sort of check and balance system as we make decisions. “Does this deserve my attention?” is a question I now ask daily. Will the Passion Test be life-altering for us? Because we were already headed down the right path, maybe not. But if it will it help me achieve more clarity and balance, I’m so on board.

During our session, we learned that only 20% of working Americans are passionate about what they do…if you’re reading this, I hope you’re in that 20%. I’m glad that we’re in that 20%. But if your life is not in line with your passions, how will you find personal or business success?

It’s a new year. Make this one yours. Find your passion.
(What’s yours?)

our Passion Test Facilitator was Michael Van Osch, mvanosch@mac.com

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The Florida Keys – disappearing? A Blog Action Day post.

October 16, 2009

Our family loves the Florida Keys. We are scuba divers and dolphin fanatics (ever seen our logo?) and though we are firmly rooted in Georgia soil, this place not just a destination for us…somehow, it defines us.

From the beautiful ocean views above sea level to the pristine coral patches below it, we love what’s under the water just as much as what’s above it. In fact, we literally spend about 50% of our trips there underwater. And our kids are huge fans too…they spend their year reliving last year’s visit or planning the next trip.

Our family in the Florida Keys last year.

Our family in the Florida Keys last year.

That’s why it’s distressing to us to think that the Keys we know now is changing dramatically; that it might not even be there for our grandchildren to enjoy.

Climate change is the culprit, and the damages are hard to imagine.

If earth’s citizens continue to live life in the same manner, sea level along Florida’s coast could rise as much as 20 inches by 2100; possibly even more if the Greenland or West Antarctica ice sheets break up more rapidly than predicted. A rise in sea level of 12 inches could flood coastal real estate 100 to 1,000 feet inland! <read that, swallowing the islands of the Keys whole> You can read more about the impact of climate change on Florida here and here.

But there is hope – we can reduce our carbon emissions (or energy consumption) to help control climate change. And so many small steps can make a big impact…like recycling, composting, carpooling… even turning off water when you brush your teeth. What are you doing to help save our favorite place?

Information on the science behind global warming
See how you’re doing: Your carbon footprint calculator
Just for KIDS carbon footprint calculator

Blog Action Day 2009
BAD#09

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How to … work from home with a newborn

October 9, 2009

My new friend Chris Jordan recently reminded me of the intricate dance between the schedule of a newborn and that of the baby’s caregiver. The dance is even more complex when the caregiver is also trying to accomplish something outside of feed, change, cuddle.

It has been 8 years since I was at home with a newborn Amelia, writing, designing and editing for a nonprofit….oh yea, and starting a small business called In-Depth Wraps. Because of the way we’ve worked around and actually with Amelia as she’s grown up, she has a greater understanding for what we do, and knows that our business allows our family a bit of freedom – like the ability to pop off in the middle of the day and do something together.

It was a different story with Jackson 5 year ago…at the time, we shifted duties so that I could be more full-time mom, less full-time partner. So, until this year, he didn’t really “get it”. The light bulb has come on, though – now he asks to help squeegee the vehicle wraps in our bay!

So, here are my Top Ten Tips for surviving the first year of working and taking care of a baby. Thanks, Chris, for helping me remember this wonderful time!

  1. When the baby takes nap #1, work. When the baby takes nap #2, sleep. When the baby takes nap #3, work. (Taking a nap midday does NOT mean you’re being lazy; you’re just proactively stockpiling sleep in preparation for what you’ll miss that night.)
  2. When you do put the baby to bed “for the night” (that could mean 7 consecutive hours for the lucky few, but most parents are thrilled with four in a row), hang out with your spouse. You will not realize how much you truly need adult conversation until you spend a few days alone with an infant.
  3. Make business calls with new or VIP clients while the baby naps (if it’s not time for nap #2, and then, go to sleep!).
  4. Make business calls with existing (long-term) clients when the baby is awake. They are more likely to be understanding of the occasional “coo”. You’ll figure out during the pregnancy which clients “talk baby” with you. Those are the ones you call while the baby’s awake!
  5. Eat. Eating is good for you and the baby, because it means more energy to take care of both of you! Don’t skip eating because “you don’t have time” – you’ll only get run down later and be less productive.
  6. It is perfectly fine to work a bit while the baby is awake. The mat for tummy time can be set up right beside your computer.
  7. Take advantage of your slow business times. Whether it’s a day or an hour, try using this time to do something different with your child. Take a stroll in the park. Read poetry. Dance.
  8. Don’t set a schedule. Schedules do not exist right now. Instead, set tasks for yourself, but allow leeway in the time to complete them.
  9. Accept that you may work all day in your pajamas. As long as you don’t go to a meeting that way, you’re good!
  10. Accept all offers of help. This is no time to be proud.
  11. (OK, I had to add one more) Take time to enjoy yourself and your baby. What good is working from home if you can’t have fun?


Do you have any more to add?

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Mixing Family and Business

September 13, 2009

We always mix family and business. It’s just part of our way of life. Someone stops us while we’re out at dinner to talk about our wrapped car…we meet a vehicle graphics client on the way to pick up the kids from school…we meet another client with a family-owned business at the park to talk about fleet decals and let the kids play. Our family is the REASON we do what we do and while our business usually revolves around our family, sometimes our family does have to revolve around our business.

This weekend, it was all about our family, with just a little business mixed in. What a Saturday! Soccer and baseball in the AM (John is coaching baseball)…then the kids and I went to the Old Milton Country Fair (OMCF) and had a blast. What kid doesn’t want to go to a fair, right? Well, it just so happens that we had business at the fair. Perfect match! (John went to South Atlanta to install another MINI roof wrap and met us back at the fair to enjoy some music and a late lunch…from the Smokejack tent of course!)

At the Fair, we saw clients Smokejack and Blizzard Snoballs … and of course the OMCF is a client too. Our kids were thrilled to help take pictures of some of our handiwork. They love to hear “mommy and daddy did that.” In fact, when we passed the Snoball trailer the first time (I was trying to stall for treats until AFTER lunch!), Jackson stopped, pointed, and said “hey – Daddy did that!”

Trailer wrap for fair vendor

Trailer wrap for fair vendor

Cute trailer, right? This was designed – some actually DRAWN by In-Depth! I totally wish I had taken a picture of the kids coming up to TOUCH the trailer. Think we reached their target market?

So, we always tell folks we really don’t do signs. However, there are three kinds of people for whom we WILL make signs. 1) friend or family 2) nonprofits we love 3) existing vehicle graphics/wrap clients. When Belinda and Don with Blizzard Snoballs needed a price board, we were happy to help. And, that way we could help keep their image consistent too!

Menu board that coordinates with trailer graphics

Menu board that coordinates with trailer graphics

AWESOME snoballs too. I had watermelon and peach, Amelia had pink lemonade and bubble gum and Jackson had blueberry and coconut (???). Blizzard Snoballs said they loved being at this fair because it was such a family environment. That’s why we like it too.

Old Milton Country Fair kids hanging on sign

Old Milton Country Fair kids hanging on sign

See? This is actually exception to the rule #1 and #2. The fair is presented by a nonprofit group (the Lions Club) run by our really good friends. We were thrilled to do the publicity banners and event signage for the Old Milton Country Fair. Their theme was “Step Back in Time in 2009”. And the whole point is that it’s a COUNTRY fair…complete with a watermelon eatin’ contest, vintage car and tractor show, old-style checkers, some toe-tappin’ music and more. My favorites are always up-and-cumming country singer EB Reece and Atlanta cover band (and Buckboard house band) Peachtree Station…I can’t get enough of either.

Here’s another shot of some signs we did…these are for the performance area.

The OMCF stage signage by In-Depth

The OMCF stage signage by In-Depth

So, we got to do business and enjoy ourselves at the same time. Well, actually, we do that all of the time. Otherwise, why would we do what we do? I was at a Chamber luncheon this week where the speaker, Branden Lisi, said “If you do what you love, you don’t go to work…you go to hobby.” We’ve been going to hobby for 8 years now. It sure is great when we get to take our kids along with us.