photoWhen my ’93 Suburban gave up the ghost with, crowding half-a-million of my own miles on it, on December 22, I dispatched Charles Baggett, my life-long friend in the car business, to find me a good late model replacement.  He found a 2013 Yukon XL and a new romance began with a fresh, like-brand-new vehicle.  Thought it was time to have the rolling billboard I’d wanted  for so long.  The ’93 just wasn’t worthy.  

When I settled on the name for the tag I went straight to GoDaddy and purchased the name for a .com site.  A few days later I had the neighborhood sign company cut the vinyl letters and place them as shown.  My phone is ringing.

Those of you who have been in my Seminar have heard the stories I’ve told about unconventional ways I’ve gotten lots of mileage from the press and public.  Here’s a re-visit…or a first-hear for some of you:

•  Three years ago I sent a personalized wine bottle to the editor of an upscale Dallas magazine.  Had never met the woman.  Still haven’t.  Three weeks later I got a call from a local photographer wanting to book a photo-shoot for the magazine.  In another 7 weeks, a photo of me engraving a wine bottle, and a snippet of copy, occupied a full page in the new issue!  Free.  A full page that would have cost thousands.  

•  Forty-one years ago I purchased 22 small, wooden window shutters….about 6″ x 24.”  Gail and I were brand new in the arts and crafts industry and had managed to scrape enough cash together to rent a booth in the international HOBBY INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION trade show in Chicago.  We had no ad agency.  We had no agent.  We had us.  And…a new product featuring her artwork and my Calligraphy, printed on parchment paper.  We were selling artprints to be glued (decoupaged) on wooden boards and hung on walls.  I sent a shutter, personalized in Calligraphy with pen and ink, to each of 22 big wheels in the industry.

A $1. stamp and NO wrapping sent all 22 shutters on their way to the 22 key buyers whose names and addresses I got from a trade magazine. These were people from large crafts distributors.  At that show in January, 1973, NINETEEN of those recipients of a naked wooden shutter bearing their name, address, a short verse, and our booth address, came to our tiny booth at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, to see who in the world is Ken Brown!  

One buyer…from Frank’s Nursery, a chain of garden & crafts supply stores based in Detroit, gave us a $10,000.00 order for our prints.  It literally launched our business nationwide.    Oh yes, I entered one of the shutters in the association’s annual ‘best promotional campaign’ competition.  At the big awards banquet the second evening of the show, to my huge surprise, I was called to the stage to accept the gold plaque as the First Place winner for the 1972 HIA promotional piece.

•  About 8 years ago I purchased twenty brand-new golf clubs for $5. apiece.  Each was from an overstock of 5-irons at a large golf retailer.  I had researched local country clubs and got the names and addresses of 20 golf professionals, each at a major Dallas area club.  I engraved the pro’s name on the shaft of the club.  My name and website address was engraved, very small, on the hosel of the club.  I used a hole punch and 3 plastic cable ties to attach a large Priority Mail envelope to each golf club. The clubs were taken to the postal clerk and sent unwrapped.  

The postage was just over $5. for each club.  Inside the envelope was my professional business letter explaining that I could engrave golf clubs for their members and guests at special golf events, as well as other functions at the club such as wedding receptions, etc.  Fourteen of the recipients responded and booked me for various events at their facilities. The small investment in the golf club and the postage has produced several thousand dollars in event fees…and still does with several private club facilities.  

You don’t need an advertising agency or pr person to call attention to your skill.  Target like a laser the people whose attention you want.  Think of some clever way to make them notice you and your work.  The key, of course, is the personalization.  Seldom does an individual find an unwrapped shutter or golf club in their mailbox.  Your idea doesn’t have to be mailed.  Have it delivered or hatch up your own novel way of waving your flag!

Always remember the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can….or cannot…you’re always right!”  

Several seats are still available in the April Professional Engraving Seminar where we talk about stuff like this….and much, much more…as you learn this highly marketable skill of personalizing almost any object.

 -Ken   214.250.6958



  1. Donna Rowley March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I still have, and love, my “birthday wish shutter” from many, many years ago! 12.2.73 to be exact!
    You “shuttered to think” how old I was then……whew!……wish it was 1973 again!!

    Thanks again-

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software