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25 Year Celebration

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How Business Has Changed

Posted by Joann Marks on Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Back in the early ‘90s I was lucky enough to get a contract with K&B Drugs in New Orleans to do holiday kits filled with beautiful silver gift bags and purple tissue. These bags were to be used at the Fragrance Department so that a customer could buy a gift set and have it ready to give as a gift.

KBdrugsWe were to make one kit containing 250 extra-large European tote bags and 250 sheets of tissue, and deliver 200 of these – our biggest order to date. To save money, we decided to do all the collating and shipping ourselves. Simple enough, we thought.

Up to this point we were using my carport to collate kits, but we couldn’t possibly fit 50,000 bags there so we decided to look for a place to collate. We had a friend who offered us some empty office space to use for a week. We took it even though it was in the middle of a residential neighborhood and on the second floor. Guess we couldn’t see how that was going to be a challenge.

The truck arrives with the cases of tote bags and has to park down the street because they couldn’t get into the driveway. So we had to unload the truck and carry the boxes down the street and up two flights of stairs (no elevator!) to get them into the work space. The trucker sat in his truck watching us do this for a few hours.

Then we got the outer 250 boxes delivered. These were stock boxes and didn’t fit the contents exactly so each box had to be cut down by hand. No big deal, right?

KBTo make it even more fun, we also decided rent our own U-Haul and drive the boxes to the K&B warehouse in New Orleans so we could get a nice weekend out of the deal in one of our favorite towns.

After the 250 boxes were all collated and sealed, we had to cart them down the two flight of stairs and place them on pallets INSIDE the van (we didn’t own a forklift back then). Once we started stacking the pallets we realized the trimmed-down boxes were now all different heights. This made all the pallets lean in different directions in an exceedingly drunken fashion.

We somehow managed to drive them to the warehouse but to this day I will never forget the look on the face of the forklift driver at K&B warehouse when he saw our “Picasso” pallets.

In the end, we learned a heck of a lot. The next year we were lucky enough to find real warehouse space (on the ground floor), buy the right size of boxes and even get a real shipping company to deliver them for us.

I still have some of those beautiful silver bags and tissue to this day and every time I use one, I get a big smile remembering how green we were back then.

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1990 To Today – How Business Has Changed

Posted by Joann Marks on Thursday, February 19th, 2015

In 1990 I started a company in my nonexistent spare time to help out a few retailers who were having problems getting manufacturers to do custom events for them. Happy to help, I worked nights and weekends on a borrowed Mac designing and producing training newsletters, in-store signage, contests, and the like.

Over the next year or so more and more people found their way to me and before I quite realized what was happening, I had too much work to do to keep my “real” job.

When I started, there was no Internet; I met with clients and we used the phone and fax to go over every job as it developed. I had a typewriter, and used a real map to drive myself to appointments (or wrote to AAA to get directions mailed to me). We bought clip-art books to cut out images we wanted to use, hired typesetters to set copy, and physically pasted everything up and got film made to print anything.

laptopMy first laptop was from Radio Shack. It cost $500 and looked like a typewriter. I could write up to 5 business letters on it and then “couple” the computer to a phone and send them over the phone lines to my secretary (YES, secretary), who would format them, proof them, print them out, and have them ready for me to sign when I came home.

It’s probably now in a museum somewhere.

mac
I remember when a client (who is still a client today) first told me about email. I knew what a computer was, as we had one of the original Macs at my husband’s print shop. But, using it as a method of communication seemed bizarre. Well, anything to make a client happy. So I got a computer at the house along with AOL dialup. I hated it. I would go to websites that you had to type in (no search engines then!) and the pages took so long to load, I could have driven to our public library to get the information faster. As time went on, the tools kept getting better all the time and we morphed our business processes around them with amazing results. And now texting and IM are not quick enough!

What has not changed in 25 years is that great customer service makes customers happy. If anything, today we have the ability to provide more complete customer service than we did when we met in person monthly. Now we can literally get things done in hours that used to take weeks, and we can do research online to outpace our competitors and help our clients outpace theirs. Nothing is more important than keeping our customers happy and informed. So as we celebrate our 25 years in business, I’m looking forward to all the new and better technology that will help us grow. But, I know that no matter what, our core philosophy of always doing our utmost for our clients will always be our most valuable asset.

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Where were you in 1990?

Posted by Joann Marks on Friday, February 6th, 2015

25-year-anniversary
We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year, and as a part of our celebration, we want to see where our clients were when it all began! Send us a photo of yourself 25 years ago, and we’ll choose one winner to receive a $250 donation to the charity of their choice. We won’t post your picture unless you want us to glorify your past 🙂

Submit Your Photo

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Cosmetic Promotions: Retail Beauty Marketing
Cosmetic Promotions, Inc.
2111 W Pine St. Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-644-9916
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