January 19, 2017
Happy New Year to everyone!
Let's be honest: 2016 kind of stunk. We lost people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman, the election was in full psychotic-frenzy mode, and in October, many of our military personnel got their budgets cut – or didn't get one at all.
So, when dealing with military customers and the budget constraints, how can you still give your customers that extra 'oomph'? I think about this all the time when sculpting. What value can be added on to a figure that gives it an extra touch of personalization, without adding a good chunk of change to it? It's the small touches that can really make a difference. Think outside the box.
For mechanics and flight line maintainers, we decided to put that etched line on the side of the tool box. Take a gold Sharpie and write the recipient's nickname on it. That handwritten touch makes it more personal. Mechanics and flight line guys seem to really dig this. You can also get a wrench from the person who orders it. Add that to the base or as a backing.
Engraved plates are nice to add to the statues, but why stop there? Add the recipient's rank pin, jump pin or combat arms/ ranch of service. You get those things from the people who are ordering. It doesn't cost anything, it's very custom and it makes an impact.
Don't forget the less commonly used items like a grenade pin or a shell casing from combat. Or consider dog tags. Many troops keep some of these things as momentos. Add them on! These statues are going to be handed down to children and grandchildren. The details added will become topics for conversation in the family.
Imagine, if you will, someone walking into the recipient's home or office; prominently displayed is the "I Was There" statue. Attached to the back wall is a .50 caliber machine gun casing. That will definitely start a conversation!
Don't underestimate the power of pictures. Adding a photo to a figurine does wonders. Our Band of Brothers has a small photo frame included. A photo of the recipient with his/her brothers-in-arms will make a statement. Put those great memories on display.
Many of our small statues make a great addition to a shadow box. We've seen an award had the drill sergeant hat in a shadowbox. Our drill sergeant statue was next to it, with an engraved plate underneath. Trust me – it rocked!
Most of our statues have places for coins. If the person doesn't have a coin, attach a branch mylar to it. We did have one oddball customer submit a photo of one of our statues with the coin holder...they placed a big smiley face sticker there instead. It had a red dot in the forehead with a bit of splatter, as if the smiley had a head shot. Pretty weird, if not a bit morbid. I'm kind of thinking that would not catch on as a big seller. But, you get the idea.
We're kicking around the idea of adding a new page on to our website. It would feature photos of our statues, submitted by dealers and individuals alike. These photos would show how the statues are decked out. Full credit would be given to the person who sent the picture in. Trophy shops would have their number below their pictures. Just an idea, but we're considering it.
In the meantime, I will continue to think of new things, whistles and bells to add to forthcoming designs.
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