From Chris: Thoughts from my latest speaking event in Denver
I was in Denver last week to speak at the Paradise Pen manager’s meeting. They are the best. I was received as respected guest and I appreciate the gesture.
The owner, Pete Paradise, has long been a supporter of Bosca. He is a little ahead of me in years and experience. We’ve both learned a lot from business – some the hard way. It seems to me that we have developed a similar appreciation of true success as we define it.
While I love telling the story of our 102-year history, I especially love talking about the current direction of our company, moved forward by the creative passion that is shared by everyone I work with. It truly energizes me to arrive at the office most days.
I talked about how we find inspiration in our archives or sometimes – for example – in a Postino bag that goes by on the front of an Italian mailman’s bicycle. We were already late for the train but we ran down the postman, and tried to talk him into letting us have the bag; of course, we had to settle for measurements and photos. (see the picture below)
During the presentation, I lined up an example from each of our collections to show the evolution. This helped me to explain the dynamic thinking behind our design process –We are always exploring and creating- this is one of the greatest sources of energy and satisfaction for us. Long ago Bosca was a “corner office brass door plate” kind of brand. As the world changes, we are continually excited by the challenge of evolving our brand.
I love the Paradise Pen Manager’s Meeting. I appreciate that everyone there is motivated to invest in becoming better at what they do. The managers were there to develop their ability to provide service in support of brands like Bosca that are made to the highest standards; product like Bosca- where the real quality shows up over time as the product wears in beautifully.
Thank you Pete. Thank you, Jeni, and Jim. Thank you Paradise Pen. Bosca is committed to making the kinds of products that you love; products that are useful, artful and functional. We very much appreciate your support.
Post Note: I recently visited a friend in Italy who is involved in leather products design. He has a beautiful example of the Postino bag in his office. When I commented he chuckled and said, dead serious: “Yes. Stolen of course. They are very hard to get.” Now why didn’t I think of that?
Rome Wasn’t Built in One Day and Neither Was Bosca.com (Part 1)
So, how on earth do I write a blog about the creating of the new Bosca web site? So many pieces and parts, so many people involved, so many hours spent… I will start by just telling you what it was like from the wife’s perspective…
The boys and I never knew who was coming to dinner, Dr. Jeckel or Mr. Hyde…that was the question. I remember Chris in Michigan this summer sitting in a rocker on our front porch working on copy and having a blast! “This is one of the reasons I love what I do” he said. Hummmm, then the next day (or even that afternoon) “We will never get this done, there are thousands of photos to be taken, and hours and hours of copy to be written awwwwww!” We would then go for a swim or to walk Hugo and Lucca and then it would be back to the rocker. There were nights when I would roll over at 2am, 3am, or 4am and there would be no Chris. I would tip toe out to the kitchen and see his office light on. Lost sleep, a few gray hairs, a little snippy at the wife and Mario and Nicholas some evenings but in the end Chris did as Chris does…he kept at it. The best part of the process for me was seeing everyone working together so well and supporting each other. Bosca really is a great place to work and a fantastically talented team of people.
What I learned: Next time someone suggests rebuilding the website get out of the building fast. They are crazy, dangerous people. Don’t believe anything they say. They will tempt you and tell you things that you want to believe. These people are the Sirens on the Rocks. Beware.
I do remember sitting on my mom’s porch for hours working on copy for product and product detail shot descriptions. Sun goes up… sun goes down.
Filming bag videos with Oliver – looking at the pile of bags wondering if we would ever be done (but then seeing the results after Oliver’s editing and feeling like Santa Clause had just made a visit to the building).
WONDERING what the web people were talking about. FIGURING out what the web people were talking about. WONDERING how much I still did not know that I did not know.
Hearing “we’ll be fine.” Totaling up the number of images that needed to be shot, the number of minutes and hours that that translated to, and realizing we will not be fine. Finding Andy (the fabulous photographer) and knowing that we would be fine – more than fine.
That blasted googledoc thing just moved again!!!!!!!!!!! No, it is not my imagination- that thing moves. On it’s own.
Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut paste Cut….
Seeing the results at 4:45am on the 23rd of October!!!
I had no idea the amount of work that went in to launching a new website, but now I do!
It is really admirable how everyone at Bosca (and other outside resources like Andy and Oliver) came together and pulled together such a tremendous amount of work product in such a short amount of time.
The Top Five things I learned along the way:
1) It always takes 4x longer than I promise and/or anticipate.
2) I can’t do everything by myself even though I’d like to believe I could.
3) Being part of a team is way more awesome and rewarding than being able to say, “I Did That” — trust me.
4) I work with the most amazing, supportive, genuine, hardworking people…ever.
5) I will have my head checked if I suddenly get the desire to propose-push-beg-or plead to do a new website again.
Having had ringside seats to the spectacle that was the development of the new Bosca site I can say without reservation that the amount of work, time, and heart that went into its realization is inspiring. It’s a lovely thing when people come together to accomplish something substantial; and now it has been accomplished.
Kick back. Relax. Enjoy!
…but only for a little while.
Part II which will be posted soon will give some more perspectives and tell about the wonderful ADEPT MARKETING firm that helped us to make this all possible.
A surprising Encounter in Firenze May 14, 2012
As you may have read in our last blog entry, Piping For The Soldiers, we love to travel as a family and feel that it is one of the most important experiences that we can give to our children. Our trip to see the beaches of Normandy really got us thinking about our place in the world and reminded us of an extraordinary experience we had on a family trip to Italy.
A few years ago, actually ten, The Bosca family was spending a spring vacation in Florence, Italy (definitely a family favorite)! Mario and Nicholas were 6 and 3 respectively and we were enjoying a fun filled visit full of weapon museums for Nicholas and Ferrari stores for Mario. To Chris and I it was a time of feeling a bit strange to be Americans out in the world. To many Europeans, Americans were not very popular and we wondered what people were thinking or feeling about having us there. We found ourselves wondering where we really fit in and how the image of Americans was changing. It was a wonderful trip with an undertone of uncertainty.
After a day of comparative gelato-ing (a family expression), seeing cool stuff in the Bargello, walking through the Central Market, having more gelato, eating Panini on the curb in the Piazza Signoria, playing some soccer in the piazza with some Italian students, and having a short rest, we went to a favorite Pizzaria down the street from our apartment.
Upon entering it was clear that we were the only Americans dinning there that night. We were seated and Chris and I had a delicious Chianti and the boys were feeling very lucky to have been able to order their favorite Fantas. Now I will say here that our darling children are not absolutely perfect as their grandparents might tell you, but they do have very nice table manners and they know how to act in an adult situation. We were talking and laughing amongst ourselves but I was a little uncomfortable due to the man a few tables over who was watching us very closely. I tried to ignore him the best I could but I felt his eyes on us as I ate my way through my gorgonzola pizza. Chris, Mario, and Nicholas all became aware of his stares and we could not figure out what we were doing that was causing him to watch our every move.
At the end of his dinner, the gentleman approached out table. He was elderly and dignified looking, and he was accompanied by what looked to be his grandson. He asked us if we were Americans. We had already been feeling defensive, so we answered yes with some hesitation. He spoke in English, perfect but heavily accented with French. He said:
“thank you for being Americans, and for all that America has done for the world in the past, all that you are doing at the present, and all that you will do in the future.”
I was so stunned I could not answer. How I wish that I could go back and tell him how much I appreciated his words. He quietly left us with our jaws on the floor. I felt such strong emotions. Of course we cannot always know that what we, as a nation, are doing is correct, and will have the best influence on the course of history, and many times we may do the wrong thing. But we do stand for our values, often with courage and bravery.
Knowing what is really right and wrong in the world today seems to be more complicated and less black and white to me all the time. This man’s viewpoint was very clear and very passionate. It was born out of his personal experience in WWII. He made us feel both humble and proud at the same time. We can’t go back in time, but today we would like to thank this man, and the French for remembering.