What do styrofoam paper plates, children’s sandals and a kickboard all have to do in common? They were all used in our arts and crafts project.
One of the biggest problems Tom and I have been having in getting carried by retailers is getting the attention of the buyers, the people who make the decisions about what should or should not be carried in any given store. It’s not that they don’t like the Salsabol—it’s that they get dozens if not hundreds of inquiries a week about new submissions, and most of the time your message gets lost in the crowd. It’s a lot like creating a resume: how do you make something that stands out and gets the important person’s attention?
This is what brought Tom and I into a pedicure shop on Union street, with me trying to explain the rationale for why we needed a free pair of those super thin flat disposable sandals they give people after they get their pedicures (you know, because they can’t put on shoes and all, right?).
We may have sounded crazy, but I had a very good reason for needing them: they were the perfect density and consistency to cut up and make custom stamps out of. It was our intention to make custom “Salsabol” stamps that we could use to stamp the handwritten cards we were going to be including in our letters to the big important buyer people at a variety of large department stores.
Though they couldn’t help us, they suggested the Walgreens down the street. That was where we hit the conundrum: would it be kid’s sandals, a kickboard, or paper plates that we would use as the ore from which to fashion our magnificent custom stamp that would garner praise from all who saw it? We settled on the plates, because it was the least weird thing for two grown boys to buy at the store.
Plates in hand, we wandered down to the Paper Source store to try to find a stamp pad. After about five minutes of staring at the stamp pad selection in confusion (“Acrylic? Do we want that? How about chalk? What, you can’t make stamps from chalk”), we were approached by a nice employee named Kelly who seemed fairly concerned for out well-being.
“Can I help you?”
“Uh yeah, we’re just trying to make stamps with these um, foam plates.”
“Ok, do you have a heat gun? Because that ink you’re holding is acrylic and needs to be heat treated.”
“I’ve got a hair dryer, does that work?”
“Didn’t reading Ray Bradbury teach you anything? And since it sounds like you guys are trying to conduct some kamikaze arts and crafts with no exit strategy, let me recommend you an ink.”
Eventually she got us all set up and even let us play at the crafts table with our plates and ink to make sure it would work. Turns out the styrofoam plates actually make great stamps!
Armed with our plates and special Michael & Tom Proof Ink, we headed home and finished our cards. Hopefully the recipients read them? We certainly won’t be telling them how we made our cool custom stamp.