A Slam Dunk First Order

How many people can say that their first client was a NBA basketball team?

Two months before our launch, we had the opportunity to meet with Liz Godek and her team from the Detroit Pistons. At this point, we were still focused on launching our website and last minute wedding planning, but if an NBA team offers you the opportunity to pitch your idea for their upcoming season’s VIP ticket holder gifts, you absolutely cannot say ‘no’! This was our first client meeting, our first experience presenting Open Me When to a real, prospective buyer.  We were nervous and excited, and couldn’t wait to hear feedback from people who were discovering the anticipation and amusement of seeing a box full of goodies, unwrapping the gifts, and reading the stories for the very first time. We must have done something right because we were ultimately given the honor of creating 275 custom boxes to represent the Piston’s move to Little Caesars Arena and their love of all things Detroit.

What a perfect way to welcome ticket holders to the new arena!

We were thrilled to have our first official order, but this was a big one and we would be lying if we said we weren’t a little intimidated. Our best approach was to take everything step by step and to make sure to stay as organized as possible.  We started off the first phase with a task that was easy and fun: find the best, most unique Detroit products, incorporate the Pistons logo, and present them to Liz and her team.  There are so many talented local Detroit artists and boutiques that all embody the strong, creative Detroit spirit; it was a challenge to narrow down the options to find the ones with the best fit for this project. After all the gifts were carefully selected, we began on the printed materials.  With such a large order, we had the luxury of offering a custom box as well as a custom band and notecard. The Pistons selected a beautiful red box band to announce their inaugural season which complimented the Open Me When navy box in the most perfect way.  On the inside of the lid, the new Detroit Pistons logo alternated with ours to complete the classic and luxe look they were going for.

Everything came together just as we had imagined and we couldn’t have been prouder to present this box to all the big shots of the Detroit Pistons world.

The second phase was a bit more challenging, the fulfillment of the order. We are still working out of our basement until we grow large enough to move to a warehouse, however, this order took over our entire house.  Our dining room table was moved into the living room to become the official work space and the furniture got pushed to the corners to make room for the boxes.  With the help of Eli and my mom, we wrapped 1,375 gifts, attached a story to each one. I hand wrote all 275 notes, and went through four pens in the process. 

My hand hurts just from looking at this!

When it came time to fill up boxes, we had more family and friends join us to create the ultimate assembly line, taking two full days with no breaks just to pack the boxes. Every step along the way we thought we were done, and then discovered we had more to do. Once the boxes were complete, I still had to wrap the box itself in tissue paper. Once that was done, I still had to put the box into a shipping box and seal it up. Once that was done, I had to create a shipping label (and make sure all the names correctly matched the name on the card that was inside of the box).  Our hallways were blocked by boxes, the first floor of our house was covered in paper shreds, but the joy of seeing the FedEx truck pull up and watching all the boxes drive away to their happy new homes was the most rewarding feeling.  We can wait to do it all over again (and again!).

 

  1. Centurium’s Creations Ceramic Mug: Centurium Frost is a talented local artist who creates original ceramic pieces with the iconic urban Detroit feel. These mugs were custom designed and created by hand, each with its own variations.  The coolest part? The handle is stamped with “313”, representing the Detroit area code.
  2. City Bird Postcards: City Bird, one of the original stores in the popular Cass corridor created by siblings Andy and Emily Linn, created vintage style postcards depicting the five stadiums that the Detroit Pistons have called home throughout the years, featuring the Detroit Olympia Arena, Cobo Arena, the Silverdome, the Palace, and now Little Caesars Arena.
  3. Detroit Friends Sea Salt Potato Chips: Founder Mike Wimberly found a way to give back to the Hope District of Detroit by farming vacant lots with potatoes and employing members of the mentally and physically challenged community to help harvest and create these delicious, rustic chips. It is easy to see why these chips made the list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” in 2016!
  4. The End Grain Frames: We love working with Sam Constantine and his team at The End Grain who create pieces from wood salvaged from abandoned and damaged homes in Detroit. These frames were engraved with the new Detroit Pistons logo and have the address of where the materials are from stamped on the back.
  5. Wildsam Detroit Field Guide: This book is for more than tourists, containing stories, interviews, and poets highlighting Detroit’s “urban renaissance”.  A must read for anyone who loves the comeback city!

 


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