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 There are ‘thank you’ gifts that sometimes create an avalanche of positive results. 

This one was a little different from the nail salon experience you’ve already read about.  You know, where I had my busted thumbnail fixed, the owner wouldn’t charge me, next day I engraved a bottle for her to say ‘thanks’, and she flipped.  All that translated to sales…thus far…of 775 engraved bottles she purchased from Market Street to give away in her salon.  Talk about a marketing whiz!  Dana is using those engraved bottles…not personalized for the customer….to great advantage.  Her salon name, ‘Thank You!,’ and her phone number are on each.

Two different large wine purchases each resulted in a special in-store event to engrave JUST her bottles.  Needless to say my first ‘thank you’ bottle started it all and I got two, new, unexpected events in the stores.   

Early this morning a lady across town…a repeat customer…learned her regular hairdresser had a last-minute medical appointment 90 miles away and had to cancel the lady’s ‘do’ today.  Thursday is the woman’s day in the chair.  That’s a big deal.  After a quick conversation with the beautician, Rene’, with no options for the week, she agreed to come in early and keep the lady on her schedule.   

On her way to the salon, the lady called and asked if I could knock out a bottle with some little ditty to show Rene’ her appreciation for making a huge special effort to keep her appointment.  I raced to the rack and grabbed a pretty bottle.  Literally had no time to sit and compose a verse; the window of opportunity to get it across town while the lady was still in the chair was closing by the minute.  

I wiped on the first baseline with tape and Rub ‘N Buff.  By then I had the first line of the message.  I began engraving it, then the second line of words fell in place in my head.  I often can’t figure out the simplest solution to get my computer out of a funk, or how to remove the bag from my office vacuum cleaner, but the words for the rhymes usually come easy.  So…in about 25 minutes I had the whole message composed, engraved, and filled with gold.  

The only way I could make the lady’s request happen was to get the bottle done, and hand-carry it to the salon.  Before I could do that, I just HAD to get photographs of it.  That took several more minutes.  With the task recorded and all done, I took the shortest route, the fasted I dared, to the salon about 8 miles away.  The lady was still in the chair getting combed out.  I had no gift bag, just the bottle in my hand.  

As I approached the chair the lady and the beautician both smiled and greeted me.  I handed the bottle to the lady.  The lady handed it immediately to Rene’ without even reading it.  Rene’ has seen my work so it was familiar.  She read it aloud and the lady in the chair heard it for the first time…at the same time.  I got a hug and a kiss from the beautician, then I told the lady in the chair that for the creative writing, the wine bottle, the engraving, the special delivery, and a RUSH charge, she owed me big time.  She winked back and silently mouthed, “I’ve got you covered.”  

Now, I know what will happen.  Rene’ will show the bottle to the entire salon…oh yes, she cycles between two locations each week…and every customer there will see it and learn what cool gifts engraved wine bottles make.  It’ll probably sit at her station for a while and even more will see it.  It will be like a little beacon beckoning people to come look at the bottle and the message.  And they will.

I know how this works because I did a bottle…different verse of course…for my barber several years ago and it made miracles sitting at his station for a month or more. 

Oh yes, I didn’t mention that the lady in the chair was my wife, Gail.  With a sly wink as I waved, headed back to my studio, I again read her silent lips: “The check is in the mail.”  

The engraving details:  Randomly decided where to place the first line on the bottle’s side, left of the front label.  Laid down a strip of clear tape, put a tiny bead of silver Rub ‘n Buff at one end, and rubbed it across the edge of the tape.  Peeled up the tape revealing a razor-sharp, super-thin silver line.  Engraved the first letter, an A, with a #6 round carbide.  Switched to a #3 for the rest of the message.  Each line was spaced the same distance apart and I worked the message around the label in the center of the bottle.

For her name on the front of the bottle, I used the #6 round again.  Added Antique Gold Rub ‘N Buff to all the lettering, polished it clean, and took the photos.  

As long as I’ve done this, it gets to be more fun…and more profitable…every time I create a new one.  Just last night I had a visit from two women in the administrative offices at a major national air carrier.  Did a bottle for a 25 year service anniversary of the CEO’s secretary.  This morning I got rave reviews from the presentation and I think more will come from that one.  The president of that airline opened a large bottle from me, this morning as well, and I hear he was quite pleased.  My special thanks and appreciation to Amy and Julie at the airline.  More on that if anything develops.  

For anyone interested in learning and doing this, we still have seats in the remaining Seminars this year.  





  1. Donna Rowley June 28, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    As anyone who knows you and is familiar with you work has come to expect…..JOB WELL DONE!

    Question….you said “I wiped on the first baseline with tape and Rub ‘N Buff.” Are you doing this now instead of using the silver or gold “pen?” Or the red or blue marker pen? Does it work better? What about letters that drop below the line….any issue with the burr going through the Rub ‘N Buff? Or did I totally misunderstand?

    The bottle is beautiful and I know you will certainly collect on your payment! 🙂

  2. Ken Brown June 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Donna……You always cheer me up knowing I’m not talking to an empty auditorium! Love the comments and question and wish there were more. I may take up new hobby!

    Yep, I’ve totally trashed the gold and silver pens. Put the tape where the baseline for your lettering is to be. Burnish down for a good stick. Put a match head size bit of silver…or gold…whichever you’ll use to color in letters later. Use a small cotton ball to smear the color tightly along the edge of the tape. Rub off ALL residue on the glass or whatever the surface is. Pull up the tape and you’ll have a super-thin, solid line that is far easier to use and less messy than a metallic pen that will often jump upon the tape and you need to stroke it again along the edge. This way rocks! Try it. You’ll see and wonder why we didn’t do this ages ago!

  3. Cheri June 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    You never cease to amaze! And, no. Collection details are not necessary!
    Hugs to you and Gail!

    $ 🙂

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