For the last few years, John Rowell has carried around a business card that reads “John Rowell, retired. No phone. No Fax. No email. No Worries” … No joke, he really printed a handful of those out.
In no way does this mean he’s been spending retirement fishing and playing the StarTribune’s daily Sudoku. Well – those are both pretty accurate – but much of John’s retired days are spent sawing, varnishing and wood-burning away at his lake home in Outing, MN. This has become the studio of Nature Enhanced, John’s creative outlet for all wood products. Handmade.
Just over 5 years ago, when I was writing my first lines of html, I told my Dad that someday I’d make him a website for Nature Enhanced. And just recently, I decided it was time to make up for the long wait. In the end, Nature Enhanced received an entire handcrafted package, including …
Full Re-Branding and Logo Design
It was time to replace the old clip-art logo with a fresh, logo that played off of the wood theme and the fact that all products are branded, literally, with “HANDCRAFTED BY JOHN E. ROWELL“.
Handcrafted Business Cards
The cards were printed on 13pt, Uncoated 2″ x 2″ cards, using UPrinting. They were designed to double as a product hang tag, and each was given a hole punch and a string. I decided that the cards also needed to embody the ‘Handcrafted’ theme of company. To accomplish this, I first gathered sticks during a late night stroll along Nicollet Island. The sticks were then broken into approximately 2″ pieces and laboriously super glued to the bottom of the cards. I prepared about 100 of these to get my Dad started, and gave him a hole-punch, string and super glue to finish the remaining 400 on days that Sudoku only takes him a few minutes.
Website Design, Development and Admin Area
The site was also designed closely around the wood and handcrafted themes – using wood background textures and brown tones. The navigation was kept simple: –
HOME – a very brief intro to the company.
OUTLETS – locations where Nature Enhanced products can be found, using embedded google maps
CONTACT – Office and studio info and a simple contact form.
I also set up a basic admin area that walks through accessing the new nature-enhanced.com email accounts, working with the online store, and cut-and-paste code to allow using the Nature Enhanced logo on Craigslist ads and other websites.
Using white foam board, masking tape and some flood lights, I created a makeshift photo lightbox to allow for isolated product photography.
I set up a Free account at Big Cartel to get John started with an online store. The free account allows for 5 products, 1 photo per product and basic stats. The Big Cartel admin area is very well designed and easy to work with – and, because they allow for custom CSS on all accounts, I was able to fully style the store to match the look of the Nature Enhanced website.
Hopefully all of this was worth the 5 year wait… In fact, I hope it’s so good that John has to fire up that phone, fax and email a bit more often.