The Story of The Baker

A story we often tell when we get asked what Project House is all about, is one about a Baker who loves to bake pies.  We’ll call him The Baker.  The Baker made pies all of the time.  His pies were well-loved by his family, who demanded pies for every conceivable occasion.  His pies were delicious and better than anything available in a shop.  Over time,  The Baker started making pies for his kids’ fundraising events, for his friends and their friends, and before he knew it, his pies were in such high demand that he had a business on his hands and he needed to hire some helpers and find a community kitchen space several days a week just to keep up with the orders.

 

Fast forward a few years and The Baker is in a bit of a pickle. His business has grown exponentially, which is wonderful, and he is proud of his success.  He has long outgrown his space, and he now needs a commercial sized kitchen with a huge warehouse space for manufacturing, storage, and delivery. He has a huge team, his online sales are growing, and his customers and family are suggesting that he open up a small storefront with a café. The Baker is feeling overwhelmed.  He needs a new website because the one his niece built for him originally, while lovely, does not give him the flexibility that he needs for his online sales business.  His logo could use a refresh as the pies are now shipping across the country and he really needs a more polished brand.  He is having some issues with a few of his employees, and he doesn’t know how to uncover the problems.  He suspects that he may need additional managers, and would really like to promote and train some of his current staff. He is doing his payroll manually and it’s giving him night sweats. He never had any formal training in anything to do with running a business, and as his company grows, he is feeling pulled in a million different directions.  He needs help in a variety of areas, but he doesn’t know where to start or who to reach out to for help.

 

Enter Project House…and we can help with all of The Baker’s headaches.  He doesn’t need to call multiple companies or consultants to come in and work in silos in all of these challenging areas, because Project House is a one-stop solution. We can work with The Baker to discover all of his many pain points, prioritize them, and break them into bite-sized pieces.  The Baker will have an achievable plan to work through all of his various business areas in a strategic and holistic way that will fit his needs and his budget. At Project House our goal is to help improve and align The Baker’s business, find efficiencies wherever possible, and leave things better and easier, so he can spend time on the right things and enjoy his work! 

 

Does The Baker’s story sound familiar to you?  We would love for you to get in touch with us to see how we can help!

Project Spotlight: the RNFBC launches their new brand!

We are so excited as we have just launched a whole new brand and website for the Registered Nurses Association of BC.  It was a really great process working alongside a positive and collaborative group of people at the RNFBC, and we couldn’t be more proud of the results.

The Registered Nurses Foundation of BC helps address some of the financial costs associated with nursing education through the provision of bursaries. They help alleviate some of the pressures on nurses and the health care system.

The demand for nurses is rising. Currently, on any given day in BC there are at least 1,000 nursing vacancies. These shortages mean the needed care that requires nursing support – such as surgical procedures, homecare, and mental health care services – get delayed or postponed.

With the aging of both the population and of nurses themselves, more new nurses will be needed to fill this gap as a person’s health care needs generally increase with age and as nurses reach retirement age.

The need to help educate new nurses and provide a higher level of education for current nurses has arguably never been greater.

The RNFBC’s website and logo were out of date and they needed something new and fresh that would acknowledge the history of the foundation, while at the same time demonstrate the forward-thinking and innovative nature of the nursing profession.

We started with a creative “charrette” style process where we brought in a group of stakeholders to dive into the message and story the RNFBC wanted their brand to convey…who were they, who are they now, how is their organization evolving, how do they want to be perceived.  Through discussion, visioning, and tough questions we were able to come away with a great understanding of the overall design direction we needed to consider. Then we retreated to our offices to continue our research and continue the creative process.

After pursuing a few brand options, we kept coming back to the idea of the nightingale.  We just loved the symbolism:  it’s active and alive, its body and shape represent movement, and it has a wonderful and fitting historical significance.  We combined the nightingale image with unique, fresh, and beautiful colours to really make it stand apart.

With our branding solution in hand, we could move into the creation of a beautiful and responsive new website. It needed to be easy to navigate, bright and colourful, modern yet professional. It had to appeal to a wide range of users, as visitors to the site might be young nurses applying for a bursary, or older donors looking to make a contribution.  We are so pleased with the overall results and we look forward to continuing to help the RNFBC grow its brand recognition through their website and additional print materials.  We have already created donation forms, posters, and some exciting materials for an upcoming event.

The process of working with the RNFBC is very rewarding.  They are a client who understands where they need help and values the external services of a company like us.  Not only can we provide them with graphics and web design, but we also support them with online donation systems, event planning, hiring, and more.  Combining our expertise and services to help clients grow their business to the next level is what Project House is all about.

 

Brace Yourself, Winter is Coming

Winter Is Coming

The most wonderful time of the year? Not if preparing for parties and presents causes you stress! It is time to get a head start prepping your business for the holidays so that you can get back to the fun stuff – whether that is spending more time on the work you love, or enjoying your free time.

To alleviate some of the effort before the holiday season starts, it is important to make a list of what is important to you. Holiday cards? Employee appreciation? Client gifts? Deciding what your priorities are can make it easier to decide where to allocate your time (and money!).

Too busy, overwhelmed, or distracted to discover or focus on all of your priorities? Don’t know how to get started?  Let us help! We are your one-stop shop for holiday cards, gifts & employee appreciation, and event planning.  Read on for more ideas and inspiration.

Read more

How to Handle the Holidays

30662bf47c9b62056cd46908c085a9b1

It’s November already, and with the days growing shorter, the weeks leading up to the holiday season feel like they are flying by. December is only a few short weeks away, and it is time to start thinking about your holiday plans.

If you haven’t booked a date for your staff holiday party, pull out your calendar now! There are some great resources like Doodle that can help simplify scheduling. Doodle lets you provide a few different date options, and your staff can select the days they are free.

9-33-Acres-of-Ocean-Beer

Once you have found a date that works, it is time to plan the event. It can be fun to create a theme that meshes well with your company and its core values. Do you love local businesses? Consider featuring only beers from a local craft brewery. Feeling philanthropic? Consider a day of volunteering and then a company mingler.

Once you have selected a theme, it is time to send out invitations. At Project House, we like to go beyond simple email invites and send a nice invitation through sites like Paperless Post or Greenvelope.  Both sites can help track RSVPs, additional guest comments, and food preferences.

Be sure to follow-up with guests in the days leading up to your event to ensure that all of your staff know where and when the party is happening.

For a more in-depth look at planning corporate holiday parties, please check out Crystal’s blog from last year.

 

Beyond events, November is also the time to start thinking about holiday gifts for clients.

woodspoons41

Gone are the days of overly branded client appreciation gifts. No one wants to receive a cellophane wrapped gift basket full of mugs and pens with your company’s logo on it. Instead, consider subtly branding your gifts. Fun items like bottle stoppers or glassware in your company’s colours will turn gifts into pieces that clients are happy to showcase and use in their home or office. A unique calendar created for the upcoming year can be beautiful, simple, and thoughtful. Last year we created a custom Canadian landscapes calendar for a client.

 

vancouver-gift-basket

Another thoughtful appreciation gift is a curated box of your favourite things. This is a fun way to show off local designers and businesses and to create a one-of-a kind, personalized gift. My box would contain things like 33 Acres beer, Koko Monk chocolates, Oyama Sausages and Benton Brothers Cheese… yum!

 

Are you feeling overwhelmed as the holiday season approaches? Let us know what we can do to help! Email us at hello(at)projecthouse.ca and we’ll get you organized for the holiday season.

 

 

Project Spotlight: La Dolce Vita Birthday Party

00We had the sincere pleasure of organizing a 60th Birthday celebration for two wonderful women in September of this year.

The venue selected by the client was Federico’s on Commercial Drive which lent to the most amazing theme options.  In the end we went Italian all the way and proposed a “La Dolce Vita” theme, which was wholeheartedly accepted by the client.

88

What fun we had putting this together.  Federico’s itself is a lovely space with capacity for up to around 130 people.  They offer a selection of 4 course fixed price menus for large groups, which we tweaked a little to suit our tastes.

01

We played up the glamorous side of our La Dolce Vita theme and encouraged people to come dressed to the nines in black and white. While Federico’s provided linens and candles, we customized the place settings by bringing in black tablecloths, gold embellished name cards, and beautiful lace-wrapped candles.

10

3john

We repurposed some old art with gold and black spray paint to create a beautiful seating chart, and embellished the room with small accents in the same theme.

78

I was asked to be the MC for the event and Federico’s is well equipped with a good sound system and mic for just that.  We also prepared a slide show featuring hundreds of images of the two birthday women throughout their 60 years of life, punctuated by interesting facts from 1955, their birth year.

2015_09 60th at Fredericos 081

From custom designed invitations, menus, place cards, to the slideshow, we made sure that the theme was carried throughout as seamlessly as possible. We worked with the client to ensure that every detail was accounted for, including the budget, the wine selection, and ensuring that guests were waiting in the wings to say SURPRISE!

ph_la_dolce_vita_invite

During the party, we ensured that everything ran smoothly.  Federico’s does an amazing job of keeping things on track, which made our job much easier!

After dinner (with lovely guitar accompaniment) and dessert, we had twin cakes brought out and sang happy birthday to the ladies.  Federico himself then took to the stage.  What fun! He and his band covered a selection of songs that had everyone up dancing and singing along.

2015_09 60th at Fredericos 101

The event was an absolute blast and all of the guests had an amazing time! Especially the guests of honour!

0001

It’s That Time of Year Again!

Corporate Holiday Party

The end of October is nearly upon us, and we at Project House are in the midst of planning what will be our first Holiday Party. I have planned a ton of corporate events, including holiday parties over the years, and I truly love the creative process of designing a great event, and then the pulling together of all the details.

So planning our own company party is no different; it’s even a little more exciting than usual as I get to have fun with our brand! Heidi and I have been brainstorming about a host of things (my own little mental party planning checklist so to speak) in the face of this upcoming event. Here’s a sample of the things I like to consider to get the ideas flowing:

  • What is the tone of the event? What are we trying to accomplish and how do we want people to feel – is it lighthearted or serious, is it formal or fun, is it a simple celebration, or a hugely elaborate affair?
  • Will it have a theme? Well that’s silly, of course it does! A theme is mandatory as far as I’m concerned, but it can be as simple as picking colours that coordinate across your invitations, flowers, and a few simple table decorations.
  • Where will we host the event? Restaurant? Home? Rented space?
  • What time of day is right for our crowd and budget? (Luncheons tend to be less expensive if you are on a limited budget).
  • What type of food will we serve?
  • Will we have a little gift for each guest? For sure! This doesn’t have to be expensive, and who doesn’t love a little take away?!?

In addition to our little Project House party, I am also planning a corporate event for one of our clients, so I thought that this would be an opportune time to give people some quick tips and reminders for how to plan and organize a successful corporate Holiday party. So here it goes:

  1. Pick a date early. One of the first things you need to do is settle on a date and make sure that a “Save the Date” (a simple calendar appointment will do) gets out to your staff or invite list. You can then follow up with nicer or more formal invitations later. December (and even late November) books up for most people quickly, and you don’t want to have half of your staff missing from this important staff event. Doodle.com is a great tool for polling people on a series of dates to see which one most people can attend.
  1. Determine your Budget. Holiday staff parties are an investment, and I strongly believe that they are an important one. If done right, end of year parties are a great way to thank your staff for a job well done and show your appreciation for all of their contributions. With busy workdays, we may not always take the time to thank our staff as often as we’d like for their dedication to the company, so this is a great opportunity for everyone to have a little fun and for you as a business owner or manager to show your gratitude. Make sure you carry a budget line item for them – however big or small. If you are feeling pinched for money, a cocktail party is a fun option, choosing a luncheon over dinner, hosting the party in someone’s home, or limiting alcohol consumption are all great ways to save money.
  1. Select a theme & venue. It’s important that you select a venue and theme for your party that fits your company culture and your staff, as well as your budget. You know best if this means a casual party at the pub near your office, an enormous black tie event in an edgy warehouse space, or a simple tea party luncheon in your home. Remember who this event is for and choose accordingly. Selecting the right tone for your event will ensure that everyone feels comfortable and has a good time. Remember that the more elaborate you want to make it the more time you will need in order to prepare and pull it together… Again, another reason to get cracking on this early.
  1. Book the space. Settled on a theme and type of space? Book it…and book it now! If you are hosting your event in a restaurant or bookable space, secure it as early as possible. Popular venues sell out early for December – so don’t delay. Most people have their space booked by September or earlier! If you are hosting an event in your home, its not a bad idea to secure any rental items you might need early on. Rental companies don’t usually run out of supplies – but better safe than sorry.
  1. Good food and good wine. If you are hosting your event at a restaurant, make sure to visit the space in advance and discuss the food and beverage choices early on. A representative from the venue can work with you to create a fixed menu and to pair wines with your meal. Fixed menus are a great way to control your costs. If you are hosting a party in your home, you can either cater or cook meals yourself, although I have found that catering tends to be on the pricier side if you are trying to save money by hosting in your home. Make sure to try any new recipes in advance to ensure they will turn out as desired. A signature cocktail as people arrive is another way to personalize your event and kick off a great party. Have some fun with this, you can make a drink just about any colour these days and give it a fun name to suit your company.
  1. Music. Music. Music. My biggest piece of advice: don’t have an event without music. I attended a party recently that was teetering on becoming boring as the venue’s generic music droned on….that is until someone took control and started playing some fun-loving, all ages ,foot tapping tunes and got everyone onto the dance floor having an amazing time. Music has the power to transform an event and make everyone leave feeling elated with great memories. If you have the budget for live music then go for it, but if not, a great playlist on an ipod is totally fine.
  1. The finishing touches. These are all the little touches that make an event special and memorable. My top must haves: flowers, candles, nice invitations, printed menus, place cards & decorations, and small takeaway gifts (try Chapters, Etsy or a custom gift with your company logo). None of these needs to cost a lot of money however they have huge impact. If you’re on a tight budget, forego flowers and printed items, but definitely pick up some tea lights for the table or make sure the restaurant has them (Ikea is a great place to pick up inexpensive candles). A small sprig of holly tied with some ribbon at everyone’s place is simple and inexpensive. There’s bound to be a holly bush around your neighborhood somewhere! I’ve posted a few ideas for inspiration on our corporate holiday party Pinterest board found here.
  1. Say Thank you. Take a moment during your event to praise your team for a job well done and perhaps share some of the company’s goals and visions for the upcoming year. Your team wants to hear from you so don’t miss out on this chance to appreciate and inspire them.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend, whether you have a huge elaborate party, or a small get-together in your home. What’s most important is that your staff feels appreciated and that they have an opportunity to let their hair down and enjoy themselves in a non-work setting.

Good luck with your upcoming holiday party planning. Feel free to give us a call if you need a little advice, have a specific question about your upcoming event, or if you would like to plan something special for your staff this year but just don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to this task. Of course we’d be happy to help!