PRINT IS UNDEAD.
Mama's Sauce is an award-winning gourmet print shop specializing in highly customized letterpress & silkscreen print projects. It services hundreds of graphic designers, agencies, and other creatives all over the world. It is a dominant creative force on the highest level of its field. I'm honored to have played a key role in the development of the Sauce Brand - maturing its influence in high-end print production and watching its following grow exponentially. While there, I managed all marketing, communications, and brand strategy. This meant lots of artist collaborations, brand partnerships, and trade shows – and snacks. Lots of snacks.
Case Study - Love Letters
What I did: content strategy, Creative Direction, Copywriting
In the world of letterpress and type history, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum is a venerable institution. In December 2012, they put out a cry for help, saying they were being forced to relocate their vast collection of wood type in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. As letterpress printers, we are deeply indebted to the Hamilton legacy and knew we had to help. My proposed plan was Love Letters: Letterpress Coasters for the Love of Type.
Mama's Sauce would partner with 7 graphic designers / agencies to produce a limited edition run of letterpress coasters. We decided to produce 200 sets. This was enough to raise $5,000 for the museum, but, more than anything, we wanted to raise awareness for long-term support. I drew up a list of potential artists and proceeded to confirm the roster to design the set.
I asked the participating artists to let wood type serve as their inspiration. Ross Moody of 55 Hi's was kind enough to design the packaging; I provided creative direction & technical design for that component. I secured material sponsorships from Neenah Paper for the coaster paper and French Paper Co. for the packaging. This extended the social reach of the project by over 50K and cut the production budget by more than half.
The project went live on January 30th, 2013, by a video that was shot, edited, and produced by our friends at Fiction. The coasters sold out in only a few hours and garnered social media activity that was unprecedented in the history of Mama's Sauce, nearly doubling our reach & engagement. It received a great deal of peer support from influencers in the industry, including HOW Design, Art Director's Club, Under Consideration and Erik Spiekermann (my personal moment of "Holy Crap").
Case Study - WMC Fest Sponsorship
What I Did: Marketing Strategy, Copywriting, Project Management, Video
While representing Mama's Sauce at Creative South 2014 in Columbus, GA, I met Jeff Finley. Jeff is a partner at GoMedia, the gang that puts on the oh-so popular Weapons of Mass Creation Fest every year. Mama's Sauce had been eager to get involved in the conference for years, but it hadn't yet happened. Together, Jeff & I were able to develop a sponsorship plan for Mama's Sauce that would bring value to WMC Fest attendees, GoMediazine.com subscribers, and, of course, Mama's Sauce.
Jeff & I decided to produce a limited edition poster that would serve to generate buzz for the conference by embodying its values. WMC Fest had already collaborated with Mary Kate McDevitt to create some beautiful artwork for the festival, so Jeff selected a new colorway that would be specific to the poster. I managed the production of the poster, shot & edited a video & photo set documenting its production (with a little help from Perry Como), and wrote copy to accompany the media on the GoMediaZine blog post.
CASE STUDY - the sauce INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
WHAT I DID: PARTNERSHIPS, STRATEGY, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, CREATIVE DIRECTION, MARKETING
Education and Inspiration are two core values of Mama's Sauce. Combining these two things yields the spark that gives most of our projects their genesis. We always knew that our internship program, anemic though it had been, could be a perfect crystallization of those values. That being said, it was unclear how exactly that would/could happen since we were all stretched so thin and there wasn't really a budget for developing the program further.
At the same time, we had begun to look at our place in the industry afresh. We were growing. We had recently enjoyed some visible success with Love Letters. Many of our heroes had become our peers (though they were still our heroes). How could we solidify & exemplify this new stance in the field? The drive to consummate these two tiers of growth is what inspired me to revamp the Mama's Sauce Internship program.
The new program works like this: we have one permanent sponsor (French Paper Co.) who supports the program with us. Each semester, we bring in a top-tier client as a "Guest Professor" to give the interns an intimate portfolio review and then give a talk to local professionals somewhere in the Orlando community. Past Guest Professors include James White of Signalnoise Studio, Ross Moody of 55 Hi's, and Sean McCabe. Additionally, the General Manager and I developed a series of seminars, lead by our production staff, that the interns can attend. These cover topics like Prepress for Silkscreen, Ink-Mixing for Letterpress, and several others. Furthermore, they have the chance to design their own project to be printed by us on paper provided by the French Paper Company.
By partnering in the context of education with companies and people we admire and trust, Mama's Sauce has begun to cultivate a new voice for itself that enables it to invest in the future, both within and without.