A QuickTrophy Upgrade

We recently performed a QuickTrophy Upgrade. We gave the place a coat of paint, some new carpeting in the assembly area, and some re-branding – a new logo, a new look on our QuickNameTags web site, and new tape for sealing our shipments.

It seems like re-painting and re-carpeting would be easy. And technically, it was not really hard, but there were logistical problems to account for. Before the carpet can be put in, we need to paint – you don’t want to drip paint on the new carpet, of course. But before we can paint, we need to decide on the colors to use. This was somewhat decided by the website re-branded look that was suggested by The Marketing Department: A slight off white background, with a dark red star for QuickNameTags and a dark IMG_1322-1blue star for QuickTrophy.  Well, we tried about a dozen off-whites before we decided on the one that seemed to work the best under most lighting conditions. Most of the off-whites turned light purple or light blue-grey when they dried – which seemed strange, but it was a good lesson in how much the type of light will affect a color: Sunlight, florescent, incandescent, lcd, or a combination of light types.  So the majority of the walls were painted the white color with a couple of wall painted in contrasting blue or red to match the new logo colors. In the end, it turned out to be a patriotic red, white, and blue decor.

Selecting the carpet for the QuickTrophy upgrade was a little easier. We picked up some carpet samples recommended by the local carpet shop and tried them out next to the newly painted walls. One sample was chosen uniformly by all the staff. Whew!

But installing the carpet was a logistic nightmare. The building is 49 feet wide. Carpet comes in 12 foot rolls. So far, no problem. But the installers needed to have the entire area complA QuickTrophy Upgradeetely clear to remove the old carpet and install the new. How do we do that while still running a daily production schedule? We chose the slowest time of the year to start. Then we moved everything out of the room that could be moved. Then, on the day of the installation we moved the remaining shelves and furniture from the center of the room to the outside edges. This was so the installers could put in the carpet from the center of the room to the outside edges. The room was 1 foot wider than 4 rolls of carpet, so we had 6″ of non carpeted floor along the outside walls – no problem because there are hot water radiators along the wall sticking out 6″.  So the first day the carpet installers started at noon, removed the carpet from the center of the room and installed the new carpet, finishing up around 10 pm. The next day we moved the equipment and shelvin  A QuickTroph Upgrade IIIg back to the center area to continue production. The next day, after we filled the orders for the day, we moved the equipment and shelves from the outside walls to the newly carpeted center section of the room so the installers could remove the old carpet and install the new. Finally on Friday we were able to move things back to where they needed to be. What a production!

But the QuickTrophy Upgrade was successful and the place looks great! It feels like a new place. And the look ties in with our re-branded image so we are living the brand as they say!

Trophy Packing Secrets

By Terrence Dehring

How do we pack your order so it is not broken during the shipping process?

Over the years, with lots of trial and error, and with the help of packaging professionals, at QuickTrophy, we have developed a trophy packing system that seems to work pretty good. It is not 100% fail safe, but it works way better than anything else we’ve tried. And it is a system that is flexible, and adaptable to different sizes, shapes, and numbers of trophies and awards.

What makes packing trophies difficult in the first place, is that a trophy has an odd balance. It is has a piece of marble on the bottom, basically a rock, and the other end has a lightweight figurine. So when you lay a trophy in a box, it automatically wants to fall to one end, the end with the marble in it. This is difficulty number 1.Paper FIll

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A Different ARA Trade Show

By Terrence Dehring

The International Awards and Recognition Trade Show was different this year. Sure, there were industry vendors to visit, new products to see, educational sessions for new QuickTrophy ideas, trophy and award people from all over the world to network with, the ARIEF silent auction to raise money for the ARA Scholarship Fund, and the Gala evening where we recognize the achievers in our own industry. But this year was different for me personally – this was the year that I learned to love Las Vegas.

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What is Pinewood Derby, anyway?

By Terrence Dehring

Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout racing event. Cub scouts create small cars, usually from kits that contain a piece of pine (hence the name, pinewood), 4 plastic tires, and 4 nails to use as the axles. The size of the wood is regulated to be no larger than 7 inches long and 2 3/4 inches wide. The finished car can weigh no more than 5 ounces. Local troops may have variations on these specifications.

Pinewood Derby

 

 

 

 

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Who wants a Personalized Beer Growler?

By Terrence Dehring

Micro breweries are popping up all over the place as people are discovering that real beer tastes way better than the lite beer we’ve been sold for so many years. The waPersonal Brewing Company Growlery Ben and Jerry returned to the roots of real ice cream, and Starbuck’s showed us the way to real coffee, home brewers and micro breweries are helping us to rediscover the taste of real beer. And when you visit your favorite micro-brewery and find that special IPA or Porter brew that you want to bring home and share with your family and friends, you’ll need a “to-go” container – your own 64 ounce personalized beer growler. That’s right – a half gallon of your favorite beer to take home and enjoy. I’ve seen some special and unique growlers over the years, from clear glass to colored glass to growlers with special handles and ceramic tops to stainless steel vacuum growlers. But the most special growler of all, is one that is totally unique and personalized to fit you or someone on your gift list: A personalized beer growler.

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The Value of a Birthday Cake

By Terrence Dehring

What is a Birthday Cake for? Why celebrate the day someone was born? When you stop to think about it, celebrating a birthday is a strange ritual. Everyone loves to celebrate birthdays and everyone loves to have a birthday no matter what your age. You feel special on your birthday, like a celebrity. It is “your” day. And everyone you know and meet acknowledges you on your special day with a “Happy Birthday!” wish. We all enjoy birthdays and joyfully participate in them. We buy personalized gifts, have a party, go out to dinner, give a birthday card, sing the birthday song, and have a cake to celebrate the fact that they are a year older. It seems like birthdays are a happy holiday.Birthday Cake

When you stop to think about it, doesn’t it seem strange that we celebrate the day someone was born? Why make a big deal about the fact that someone is a year older? Maybe it dates back to times of higher youth mortality rates when it was a big deal just to survive – making it another year was an event worth celebrating. Maybe celebrating birthdays stem from our need to have special days throughout the year. Holidays, whether religious or civil, punctuate the year with special days, events to remember, time to share with family and friends. No matter the reason, celebrations are always welcome.

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Sand Carved Awards

By Terrence Dehring

While at the Awards and Recognition Association trade show in Las Vegas in February, we purchased an Ikonics Imaging sand carving machine. The process used to be called sand blasting, and was limited to simple etching, but now with advanced abrasives, masking materials, and techniques, it is more commonplace to offer multidimensional sand carved effects and integrate the use of color. At the trade show, several pieces of sand carved awards were displayed with varying degrees of complexity – many looked like and indeed were, works of art.

We have offered engraved glasssand carved awards of glass and rosewood as part of product lineup for years. The engraving of glass pieces has been done using one of our laser engravers. Lasers do a pretty good job of engraving glass, but the results are not always consistent or uniform. When lasers are used to etch glass, the laser beam enters the surface of the glass, heats it up, and blasts away pieces of the glass surface. So at the microscopic level, the result is rough and is dependent on the glass itself. Glass is not a uniform product and some parts may be denser than others. This density will affect the effectiveness of the laser to etch the glass. The less dense parts will etch deeper than the more dense parts. So after laser etching, some glass areas will show through as “spots” in the etched area. Re-engraving a second time will often, but not always, etch the more dense areas.

Using a sand carver on the other hand, has a different effect. At the microscopic level the abrasive, which is not sand, but is much harder than glass, actually wears away the glass. The result is a more uniform and very smooth surface. And if you go over the same area multiple times with the abrasive, it will etch the area deeper and deeper, allowing you to achieve stunning 3 dimensional effects. Overall, sand carved awards are a superior product and we are proud to offer this technique as standard with our glass and crystal awards.

Tips for Engraving Plaques

By Terrence Dehring

Setting up the engraving for plaques can be an intimidating task – especially if you have never done it before. But we make it easier to get great looking results at QuickTrophy. We have built in a Engraving plaquestool that lets you select the font, the font size, and the font style for each line of text when you need help engraving plaques. If you don’t know how to start, you can use one of our plaque templates and just change the lines you want. But just by following 3 simple tips for engraving plaques, you can easily get professional looking results.

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Reusing Old Trophies

By Terrence Dehring

What can be done with old trophies? When the kids who received them have grown and moved away and somehow, unbelievably, they “forgot” to take their trophies with them. Who can blame them? They are probably living in an apartment without much extra space. But even when they do have extra space, they are likely collecting the next generation of trophies for their children. So what do you do with all the old trophies getting dusty in the rec room? It’s hard to toss them – there are too many memories attached to them. Well here are a few ideas:Reuse Old Trophies

Take them to the local Goodwill or St. Vincent’s store. Boy scouts and other groups looking for projects will collect the parts and make the trophies they can use for their annual events. Some dusting and new engraved plates and they will be good as new!

Use them as garden decorations. Kind of like gnomes, only more “sporty”.

Take them apart and use the components in craft projects. It’s amazing what some people can create!

Employee of the Month

By Terrence Dehring

Being named employee of the month is a great honor. It lets the employee know they are appreciated for what they do. It is a pat on the back for a job well done. It pumps up their confidence and most likely improves their performance. And by recognizing an employee for their work, it becomes a contagious event. Everyone wants to be recognized for what they do, and if, by doing a little more, or doing something a little better, they can be publicly recognized for their efforts, they will have plenty of incentive to Pete is employee of the monthgo the extra distance.

The amazing thing is that is costs very little to recognize an employee for a job well done. The return on investment is huge. The collateral returns are immense. The positive impact it has on the culture of an organization are great. So why would any organization NOT want to recognize their star performers?