Mommy wanted a unique gift for the kid, barely out of the stroller, so she opted for a nice, inexpensive sparkling wine. Not sure how well the sparkle holds up for the next 19 years but the young lady will have a bottle to share with parents or her favorite overnight stay.  Probably girls at a slumber party, but one never knows these days….or those days.  Mommy probably has college tuition already socked away too.

Sometime back, another customer wanted a ‘unique’ baby gift and she came to the wine department of a Market Street during one of my events.  Of course! That’s a great place for a baby gift.  Every kid needs a bit of grape juice to supplement the mother’s milk, the slurpy stuff in bottles, and a bit of Gerber strained turnip greens.  Well, obviously, the infant would be drinking the less ‘fortified’ grape juice from Welch’s, but this customer wanted to do something a bit more clever than stowing the bottle away for 21 years.

“What do you suggest?” she asked.  I thought a moment and suggested a nice Australian Cabernet.  I got a yellow pad and did a bit of sketching.  Just below the foil covering the cork, I drew the outline of a big, bold arrow pointing to the cork. Below the arrow, in exquisite script, to be filled with gold, appropriate for the new baby and happy occasion, I suggested engraving, PLACE NIPPLE HERE.  She loved it!  The baby’s name and birth date were engraved just above the label and the gifter’s name went below the label.

We all had a good laugh and I suppose that bottle is waiting for the real opening, sans nipple, in another 18 or 20 years.

You see, these events are never dull.  I come in, sit down, plug in and, often, customers are standing there waiting for me. Some have a single bottle. Some may have 6. Not unusual for a customer, usually one of the ‘Ken Brown wine groupies,’ to roll up with a case of 12 bottles in the shopping cart. Not dummies, these folks. They know every bottle engraved in the store becomes a raved-about gift and the engraving is FREE. Yep, they buy the wine. I do the engraving gratis.  Of course my check comes later from the folks peddling the wine.  Win Win.

Not often, but usually around the middle of December when it’s really hairy and bottles are coming in waves, some soft-hearted lady or gentleman will insist on slipping a twenty under my engraving pillow.  I tell them that’s not necessary, that I’m being well-paid, but they usually insist on the gratuity.  Often, later, I’ll quietly hand it to my assistant, wearing blisters on her his or her hands rubbing in tubes of color on the engraved bottles.  That assures I get the good helpers back the next time.  The store provides them.  The slow ones with Rub ‘N Buff from nose to ear and halfway up their elbows are often the slow ones so no tip-sharing with those!

The time flies by and after each event we all take a deeeeeep breath.  In November and December, a ‘good’ day is 200 wine bottles engraved and colored.  By then, I’m ready for a glass of sparkling myself.

Still time to get into the November session and find yourself in wine departments next year if you apply what you learn in the Workshop and let me guide you along through the Ken Brown Certified Engraving process.  Amazing skill.  Universal demand.  Great pay.  What else could you ask for a minimal investment in your own future.  These opportunities are out there.  Everywhere!


Ken  •  214.250.6958





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