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On Lemons and Lemonade - A Fine Press
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Jun 17 2016

On Lemons and Lemonade

I can’t say with certainty that I’ve ever had a panic attack.

But if I have, it was a Monday morning in mid-February.

I had to put the finishing touches on some stationery for a Kristen Weaver styled shoot. I made my way to the print shop (a separate space from my office/assembly space) to grab a few supplies. My mind racing on the day ahead, my own internal autopilot guided me – from the car to the door, key in the lock, light on.

Oh no.

My print shop was all but empty.

Empty Shop

Everything gone.

Had I been robbed? Nope.

It was worse.

Let me back up.

In recent years, A Fine Press has benefitted from a relationship I had with a business partner on a separate project. He wanted to build a letterpress greeting card empire, a compliment to the fully-custom nature of the work of A Fine Press.

A benefit of the arrangement was that A Fine Press would have full-access to the shop we had built out. I helped him find the equipment and get it up and running and he funded it.

Do you see where this is going?

He had his own reasons to show up on a Sunday with a flatbed truck and some hired muscle.

He took his ball and went home.

And I was left, basically, without a functioning print shop. I had outgrown the equipment I had brought into the relationship and didn’t have the equipment (presses, a cutter, air compressor) to fulfill the open orders I had.

So, what happened?

I knew that this was a blessing in disguise – an opportunity for A Fine Press to stand on its own. So, after a few heated phonecalls, I let things go.

With hustle and the kindness of my family, I was able to re-outfit my shop rather quickly. I still don’t have all the pieces back in place, but I’m getting close.

I’m sorry.

One of the really crappy outcomes of this whole thing is that my clients have suffered. I’m still catching up from the mess this created.

The shop was back up in working order fairly quickly, but I’ve recently realized that it wreaked complete havoc on the workflow. Struggling with new equipment, trying to lay out a shop with new, strange equipment, the learning curve of producing top quality on alien machines – it took its toll.

And it has taken its toll on my output and my clients.

I’m sorry.

And I wasn’t diligent in communicating updated. I was panicked and overwhelmed.

I’m sorry.

And it all spilled into my home life and my family.

I’m sorry.

Lemonade

And I think I can confidently say I’m on the other side of it now.

Through it and onward.

And for everyone who’s been patient – whether they were aware or not –

Thank you.

When life hands you lemons…

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