REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
Today we were lucky enough to collect some pearls of wisdom from Denise Gibson at Busy Beaver Button Co. Since it's advent in 1995, Denise and the Busy Beaver team have overseen the production of over 60,000 custom designs, bedecking buttons, magnets, bottle-openers, cassette tapes, and more. They've got the know-how to work with major clients (like The Art Institute Chicago), and the boutique sensibilities to take on small-batch jobs for indie bands, and couples looking to put an extra special stamp on their wedding memorabilia. They even offer start-to-finish design services for anyone in search of a little graphic inspiration. And as if that were not enough sweet talk to convince you of their immeasurable awesomeness, they also fondly refer to their workspace as the Beaver Dam. Read on to learn more about Busy Beaver, making cool, stress-free wedding swag, and what to do when life hands you 400 superfluous chopsticks.
1) What's your best advice to someone who wants to "brand" their wedding, but may not have too much design experience? Is there a secret formula to making a statement in a simple way?
Make it personal and keep it simple. Your favorite color and a recurring element (like a pumpkin because it’s a fall wedding) is all it takes to brand the day.
2) What are a couple of your favorite past design concepts used by former wedding clients?
I love the buttons that are visual representations of a couples shared history. One particular couple, Laura Eagin and Ali Jafargholi, created a fun set of buttons. The groom’s roots in Iran were represented with a map of the country while the bride’s family was represented with buttons that featured her home state of Indiana. The couple’s shared history at Savannah College of Art and Design was represented, along with various other inside jokes shared with those on the guest list. The designs were a fun peek into their life.
CUSTOM BUTTONS FOR LAURA & ALI'S WEDDING, PRINTED BY BUSY BEAVER
3) In addition to buttons, what are some other products you've seen your wedding clients successfully integrate into the swag for their big day?
Our customers are so creative! Besides buttons we’ve seen handmade cassette tape mixes, matches, kazoos, and silk screened posters.
4) What's your best advice to a couple hoping to make some custom gifts for their guests without getting too stressed out or crunched for time along the way? Are there any tips as far as volume and timelines that could be a good rule of thumb?
Definitely plan ahead. Busy Beaver’s standard turnaround time is one week plus shipping, but for some custom manufacturers turnaround can be unpredictable or long— sometimes up to 6 weeks! Also keep in mind that most custom manufacturers deal in high quantities. For my wedding, I was dead set on custom printed chopsticks even though the minimum was 500 and I only had 100 guests. So five years later, I’m still working my way through those extra 400 chopsticks. Look for the manufacturers that have lower minimum (Busy Beaver’s is 50 buttons) so you don’t end up with a ton of extras.
5) Non-button question: Which record would you put on to help power through a REALLY big order?
I get teased a lot for this at the Beaver Dam, but when I need to concentrate I listen to Justin Timberlake’s 20/20. I’ve listened to it so much that it’s like a calming white noise to me now.
Want to work with Busy Beaver Button Co.? Read More HERE!
REAL ADVICE FROM A REAL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL
We sat down to ask some advice from Eric Strom, professional photographer, scintillating wisecracker, and co-founder of the mobile photo booth, GlitterGuts. The GlitterGuts team has a knack for taking awesome and even flattering photos of all walks of life, with past clients ranging from derby girls to BINGO players, with plenty of pretty brides in between. It is no surprise that Strom has a few pieces of timeless wisdom about how to make your photo booth experience a good one, as well as a few bonus tips on how to make sure your best man doesn't cry, and why never to attempt a human pyramid in formal attire.
1) What's your best advice on how to look your best in photos while [potentially] consuming lots of booze?
People look the best when they're confident in what they're doing. Do something with your arms, do something with your face and freeze. Wait for the flash and do it again. Try to react, and don't think about it. If you feel ridiculous, you should. There's nothing sillier than a photo shoot, and that's part of the appeal.
2) In an ideal world, where should the photo booth fit in the floor plan? Does it make a difference?
The photo booth is a great activity for the people in your life who, despite being the life of the party in every other aspect, flat out refuse to dance. I'd suggest placing the photo booth near the dance floor so that everyone can still mingle in the same general area, or near the bar where all the non-dancers are going to congregate anyway.
3) Big Group Family Photos (you, know the ones that end up framed on the mantle). What's your opinion? Are they worth it?
From an artistic standpoint, I'm gonna say that if your family has more than eight people but fewer than thirty, it's going to be difficult to get a masterpiece out of your group shot, but as someone from a large family that's getting increasingly larger as my generation is starting to get married and have babies, I know how hard it is to get everyone together and those group shots are the ones I cherish the most, even if they are just a sea of faces smooshed as close as they can get towards grandma in the middle.
4) Non-photo question: You've probably overheard a lot of wedding toasts. Which kind do you think is the way to go - heartfelt, or a roast?
This kinda goes back to my advice about how to look your best in a picture. Do you! No one bursts into blubbery tears quicker than a rude crude party dude who's just broken the seal of sentimentality. No joke bombs harder or comes out meaner than one told by someone who doesn't really like telling jokes. The formality of weddings is so foreign to most of us that it adds a layer of stress, and most of us aren't writers or performers, so follow your strengths!
5) Any words of wisdom to a couple who just wants to kick back and have a fun time at their own wedding? What's the common thread between all the ones you've seen successfully have a blast on the big day?
Put the most effort into what you'll enjoy the most, especially if you're working on a budget, and then make sure there's enough there to keep your friends and family fed and entertained. I've been to weddings where the bride and groom had to be pulled off the dancefloor to take photos, and weddings where they had to be dragged out of the photo booth to cut the cake, weddings where one spouse is there to party and the other one is there to talk to their little old aunties, and weddings where it was a good thing there was a dj, a photo booth, and an open bar, to distract everyone from the fact that the bride and groom were hiding out on a balcony smoking weed with their college friends all night.
6) Any other sage advice you can give to score the most priceless photos? How to coax granny into the booth? Human pyramid?
The hair whip is always a great shot. The caught-in-mid-air jump is a classic. Hold a baby or a puppy in front of you for instant dating site perfection (bonus points if your suit actually fits you). The pyramid is a recipe for disaster, and rarely looks the way you think it will. If your grandma is a little reticent, the best incentives seem to be hunks, babies or tequila. If none of those are available, exercise your powers as the bride and groom. Definitely take some serious portraits, but also take some photos with granny in sunglasses. Because she's cooler than you and that's what cool people do.
7) Pass The Baton: Can you name another awesome local wedding vendor you love to work with? (We will interview them next!):
The more that weddings become a thing where couples brand themselves with logos and catchphrases and personalized hashtags, Busy Beaver Buttons is a great, affordable, way to make a keepsake that your guests might actually keep. I've also never been to a wedding catered by Honky Tonk BBQ that wasn't fantastic. I'm going to make the non-legally binding claim that couples who use Honky Tonk as their caterers have a 75% greater chance of staying together forever.
Want to work with GlitterGuts? Read more HERE!