By Terrence Dehring
What does QuickTrophy do to be more ecologically minded and responsible? We recycle cardboard, paper, glass, and plastic. We reuse cardboard, use newsprint in packaging, use cornstarch packing peanuts.
The real Musketeers Cup or La Coupe des Mousquetaires is the trophy awarded to the Men’s Singles winner of the French Open. No one will ever victory-dive into a pool with this beauty, however. The winner is granted the singular honor of gently handling the real trophy for only a few moments before returning it to protective custody.
Once a year, on the day of the final match, the original cup leaves the office of the President of the Federation for just few hours. The cup is displayed at the meet and the winner can hold it for photos, but not keep it. The winner takes only a replica home with him. But it is a beauty of a replica!
Every year silversmiths devote over a hundred hours of work to making the Musketeers Cup replica. The replica is slightly smaller than the original. Working their craft, the silversmiths transform a simple sheet of solid silver into a work of art. The metal tamers take a month in the workshop to perform this task – and create a thing of beauty.
QuickTrophy does not offer Musketeers Cup replicas for your tennis tournament, but we do offer lots of tennis trophies and many different metal cup trophies as well. Our trophy crafters transform pieces of plastic, metal, marble, and wood into things of beauty as well. They make every single trophy to order – completely custom to fit customer.
And best of all, the recipient of the trophy can take it home with them after the photo op.
Sometimes called “tennis for old people”, Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It is extremely popular with leagues playing in all 50 states and over 15,000 pickleball courts in the US alone. Because the game is slower paced than tennis, it is very popular in areas where retirement communities have formed, particularly in the southern states.
Pickleball started back in the 1960’s in Bainbridge Island, Washington. The name of the game apparently has ties to the selection of crew teams for rowing. When putting together crew teams, you try to fill the boat with people similar in size and strength to balance out the boat. In the process of filling the boats, you inevitably have the people who didn’t fit in – they form “the pickle boat”. So, apparently, anyone can play pickleball, not just star athletes. Undoubtedly, this is one of the reasons pickleball has become such a popular sport.
As with tennis, you can have pickleball matches of singles or doubles of men, women, or mixed doubles. Also similar to tennis, you can play pickleball indoors or outdoors. And, as with tennis matches, pickleball trophies, medals, and awards are often given to the winning players and teams. Pickleball games are short – you only play to 10 points, or win by 2 points if the score is tied at or over 10. But because of the equipment used, the action of the game is slower than tennis. This also adds to the universal attraction to the game by people of all athletic abilities – even those of us destined to be in “the pickle boat”.
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 blue 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 completely 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 g 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!
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.
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.
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.
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 way 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.
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.
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.
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 glass 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.