This is a story that is so unbelievable it's up there with 'My dog ate my homework'.
In March last year, shortly after NOW Consulting re-branded (we were previously known as WhereScape Consulting), we decided to order a new batch of branded mugs to help show off our fancy new logo to our customers. We'd ordered cups in the past so knew what to expect. We only had a few small changes to make. Simple. What could possibly go wrong?
Beyond the logo, we made one other change compared to earlier cup orders. Our WhereScape cups bought years before, much loved by many of our customers but not long-lived, were beginning to fade. The paint was coming off.
We investigated this with our supplier and found that the old cups were fired at 200 degrees which meant the paintwork was susceptible to wear. If we ordered cups that were fired at 800 degrees the paintwork wouldn't wear off so easily. This seemed like an excellent idea. Our branded mugs would look resplendent from here to eternity. A marketeers dream!
We gave the order to the print company we use. They are very reliable and we've been very happy with their work. They had to subcontract the order out but they had helped us find the solution to the paint issue and there were other advantages around them managing the whole process for us.
There are supposedly only a few suppliers in Auckland that will fire cups at 800 degrees but the print company found the right guy and pushed go. A month later the cups turned up. The blue ink they had chosen looked majestic - a brilliant blue that seemed to leap off the cup!
But the labels were wonky. A straight line beneath the logo looked like the mouth of a smiley face. This was a problem.
- a happy cup does not make a happy purchase
The print company was as upset as we were with the quality of the cups so they sold them to us for the the cost of the mugs without the printing. They swallowed the printing costs themselves. We were low on mugs in the office so we decided to keep them for internal use (visit us in the office and you may be lucky enough to enjoy a cup of coffee in one).
On to supplier two.
We found another silver lining here. The original cup design was fine but even had the lines been straight, the cups would have looked OK but not great. We decided to try something new so the designer came up with something a little more interesting. We had a new design, a new supplier and they had the ink type from the original order. We were good to go.
Remember that big warehouse fire back in the middle of last year? The ink supplier burnt down. We had no choice but to pick a new ink.
The supplier tried sample after sample of new inks, all to no avail.
- It turns out that with this kind of printing, each ink can look a little different depending on the printer you use. This is meant to be the same blue as you see at the top of this page.
Finally, after months of trying, we found our blue and pushed go. Almost a year after our initial order, 200 hundred NOW branded cups arrived. The great cup saga had finally ended, the drought was over.
Patience is a virtue and we can now ponder that thought over a cup of tea in a NOW branded cup.