Friday, July 18, 2008

Trip to Pinehurst, Day 2

Well, I'm done with the exhibiting for today, so I'll take this opportunity to blog about our switch from Willowbook's Sequoia Album to our new Leather Craftsmen Albums. I've been wanting to do this for a while now. When we first started with Pictage, they were really pushing these Sequoia albums. Everything looked pretty good, so we ended up ordering a studio sample for ourselves. We prefer the 10x13 horizontal album, and we got that size with black leather.

I have to say, when the album first came in, I was VERY impressed. The quality of the prints, the softness and the smell of the leather, and the craftsmanship all looked great. Fast forward one year, and you won't find a bigger advocate AGAINST purchasing a Willowbook. There are several reasons why I feel this way...

The long term quality of the album is beyond unacceptable. Its atrocious, its horrible, its just downright RUDE to offer a product like this to photographers. Our album pages look like CRAP. The pages are warping like I've never seen. Some of the prints are separating from the page backings. The worst part is that we haven't abused the album. The album is in our office 80% of the time, and the other 20%, its kept in its original box, wrapped in bubble wrap. How much more careful can we be?

Another beef I have with Willowbook is that they are exclusive to Pictage, therefore limiting my design choices. I can only use Pictage's album designer to lay out the album, which honestly, needs major improvements before it is even usable. One of the main reasons that we are switching to LC is because we have full and total control over the design and layout of the album. And anyone who knows me understands how much I like to have control of our products and services.

On to the positive part of this post. We are switching to Leather Craftsmen albums. These guys are a top-notch, first-class operation, and they've been doing custom bookbinding pretty much forever. I initially got turned on to LC through two sources, Becker, and Rick Rosen. Becker mentioned his happines with LC products on the [b] school, and I was able to talk to Rick at the Detroit PUG (Pictage Users Group) meeting. Both guys had nothing but great things to say, so I had to check them out. After contacting an sales rep, and devouring all of the info on their website, I was convinced.

The marketing materials and samples that we were sent gave me virtually every piece of information that I needed to get started. I had a few additional questions so I called LC. A very nice lady answered the phone and was more than happy to help me. At my current job at Xoran Technologies, customer service is one of the ways that we differentiate ourselves from our competitors, and naturally its VERY important to me. When I say that LC has good customer service, that means a lot.

I can't wait to get our first LC album. I really think its going to help us take things to the next level.

Never fear, I wouldn't leave everyone hanging with no photography. This is one of the panoramic shots that I did today. There is a two mile nature trail going around a lake by my parent's place down here.

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