25 Years in One Afternoon
SOULO celebrated our 25th anniversary on Sept 2, 2021. We started as an Insty-Prints storefront in 1996, growing mainly in the print, direct mail, and sign market for a number of years through organic growth and strategic acquisition. Eventually, we evolved into what we are now: a full-service marketing and communications agency that helps client partners get the most from their projects through strategy, graphic design, production and final delivery in any form. Naturally, this still includes print, direct mail, and sign manufacturing/installation, but we've expanded to creative services, video production, and digital marketing as well. It's been 25 years, but sometimes it seems like it happened in an instant. Or an Insty, if you will.
Connecting with Friends
We were proud to play host to 110 of our customers and vendors, some of whom have been with us from the start, some who were new, and some who joined us along the way. Everyone had an opportunity to tour our newly remodeled office, which now features dedicated homes for all of our services. It was nice to show off a new conference room that no longer has graphic designers packed into it like sardines, and a video production area that looks like NASA, with monitors all over the walls. We put on a demonstration of our drone, even if the weather didn't cooperate (an overcast sky isn't as exciting to shoot). Our guests toured the warehouse, printing/binding area, and sign manufacturing space. Our friends from Ruff Start Rescue, a dog and cat rescue out of Princeton, MN joined us at the event and showed off their brand new vehicle wrap that SOULO designed, printed and installed a couple months ago.
We also demonstrated one of our newer printers, the big HP Indigo 7r digital press, which can output up to 7000 printed pieces per hour, all while scanning each piece and color correcting as it is running. That ensures that the first sheet out matches the last piece printed!
The tour ended like a rainbow, but the pot of gold was food trucks: the always reliable Market BBQ, offering pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, and Minnesota Nice Cream, offering a vegan ice-cream sandwich and lactose-free soft serve with more toppings than you could try, and some we didn't know you could eat (edible glitter? Too cool!).
Free Stuff for Everyone
We had a big tent, outdoor games, music, and plenty of giveaways: every guest received a SOULO-branded swag bag containing a Bluetooth speaker, can koozie, notepad, pen, and hand sanitizer, all bearing the SOULO logo, as well as a brochure explaining our services. We had some drawings for bigger prizes, too. One lucky guest walked away with a new hammock, and another with a set of outdoor speakers. We also gave away 50 cell phone stands that we'd fabricated, all of which had a Minnesota-related image as the background.
Feedback from our guests was immediate. Everyone loves free stuff and free food, but more than that they were impressed with how knowledgeable our employees were, and how effectively we'd branded our staff (all decked out in matching t-shirts commemorating the anniversary). They also took note of the identifying banners and directional signs throughout the building, including vinyl floor graphics that led people through the office and press/warehouse/shop spaces. Many noted that they felt they had a much better understanding of the wide range of our services.
As for us? Many of us work closely with only a small number of our customers and vendors—that even goes for co-workers, too. So it was a nice chance to meet all of the people who have helped propel SOULO for 25 years, and see some faces in person that we'd only seen in video conferences. All in all it was a great way to commemorate and cap off 25 years. Now we're focused on getting the next 25 going.