Poppie Design has been in business since April 17, 1987.
I started the studio as a refugee from the overly hectic, business as usual world of advertising agencies. In my early years in this business I had worked as a creative director, published a magazine with friends and smoked too much. It was all very artistic.
Our first office was the upstairs, extra bedroom of my home. I saved on rent, expanded into the basement and then took over yet another bedroom. When my son turned two, and the business had grown to five or six people, I started looking for more space.
I had always admired the triangular “flat iron” building at the corner of Blair and Monroe. It had style and plenty of space, but needed some work. After an extensive remodel, we moved into our first real studio space on November 4, 1991. Since that time the building has changed and so have we. We continue to enjoy not only the work we do, but also the relationships we’ve built with clients, vendors, and each other.
Professionalism • Integrity • Responsibility • Respect
I wrote these values on a piece of paper several years ago. They were the first things that came to mind when I was thinking about what we should focus on as a studio. This is not the first time I’ve taken these issues to task. There is a cyclical nature to these kinds of discussions—whether you have them with only yourself or share them with others. This time around I’ve decided to share.
As I said, there is a cycle to many of the challenges we face. It is our nature to be dynamic– to change. We are constantly moving and rearranging yet we all try to control what we have and keep things the same once we’ve found some kind of balance. We have control issues. Of course, we lose our balance and then must maneuver our way to another comfortable balancing point and thus start the cycle anew. We are constantly moving in and out of balance and carrying everything we hold near and dear right along with us.
It is in this dynamic world that our studio lives (and struggles.) We succeed, we fail, we clash, we create, we come up short, we surprise ourselves– it all happens here. In the midst of this ever-changing environment and ever changing perceptions there must be some constants- or core values.
You’ll notice that my list of core values are about relationships—with each other, with our clients, with ourselves. Our relationships, however fleeting, enduring, satisfying and ever-changing are an essential ingredient in our happiness. Our goal must be to always strive to make them better.
(There are few absolutes and most of those involve death—so just remember, I’m interested in striving for perfection. Perfection itself, well, that would be too much to take from anyone.)
Really, this is the umbrella that covers all that we do. It is the way we approach our work and our relationships. Professionalism grows out of the belief that what we do is more than just a job. At every level, regardless of job description, we must develop a higher standard of excellence in our work, our behavior, and our interactions. Our goal is to do the best we can to communicate effectively, courteously; to perform with individual excellence, and to support each other as members of a team that includes our clients and vendors.
People count on your professional integrity— they won’t accept anything less for long. One local company characterizes integrity as the courage to make the right decision even when that decision may be difficult. And, is it ever difficult sometimes. Our integrity is the foundation on which we build trust with our clients and each other.
The old saying is “say what you’re going to do and then do what you say“. We must assume responsibility for our work, our actions… and our mistakes. In addition, once we’ve made a commitment we always follow through. A child psychologist I know once said, ”don’t threaten your children with punishment, promise them.” Your threats and your promises are only as good as your follow through.
Treat each other, our clients, and vendors with respect and consideration (even in conflict.) We are all in this together. Don’t ever believe you are too good to wash your own dishes or run an errand. You are a child of the universe, remember to flush.