I’m not going to lie. I didn’t think it would work. When the kindest woman ever from the Ritz Carlton hotel reached out to share they were looking for custom handmade bookmarks for use as guest amenities, preferably silver, I didn’t think we here at Upcycle Parts Shop would be the right fit. We’re scrappy. They are the RITZ! So, we talked about that. I shared my concerns, and we agreed we would proceed and then communicate if it wasn’t the right fit. (We’re learning this is just the right process for most things in life and work, isn’t it?) Our fun and up-for-innovating-small-business owner friend Gary runs Initially Yours Engravers in Lakewood, and he was phone call number one. When the Ritz said silver bookmarks, I thought of the flat rectangle scraps Gary has been donating for years, multi-sized, sometimes sharp on the edges excess cutoffs from plaques and trophies. We had boxes of it in our shop basement, some ancient, some new, in gold, brass, and silver. Gary loves creative projects and does printing as well as engraving, and he was game. So after discussion on the right kind of scraps and a tutorial on how to tell if it’s a good-to-reuse-scrap of silver or not. (honest here again, I still can’t tell) plus some innovating together, listening to more sports talk radio at his shop than I ever have in my life, prototyping and me learning how to use a machine that rounds corners (I fell in love with that machine. It literally cuts corners!), we had a sample. The Ritz gave us their thumbs up, and ta-da, economy from reuse! It worked! Two hundred bookmarks and a happy customer later, it was a thrilling project and we hope for more like this. Less waste, more guest amenities!
Truth is, this is my humble dream, to create more and more and more economy from reuse! The dream version is to hire more of our neighbors in St. Clair to do it with us. Step by step. Scrap by scrap!
Gary is great to work with, in case you have a creative project that could benefit from his printing on metal, engraving, and general make-it-look-fancy skills, find him on an old but functional website: iyawards.com, call him and ask him to turn the radio down!
Thanks for reading,
Nicole, on behalf of a killer upcycle team, and with 5% more ability to talk sports than before this project ;)