Proofing our catalogue doesn’t rank near the top of my fun list, but is something we need to do every year. While we have a team of excellent people working on the catalogue, I still feel the need to give it a thorough proofing before sending it to press. This year, something I saw really got me thinking.
For the first five years, Outset Media was truly a home-based business. At first, the spare bedroom was HQ central - which worked just fine until we hired our first employee and had to move into the garage for the extra space. Then, in 2001, we took the giant plunge. We hired five employees, all of whom started on the same day. Seven people didn’t fit in my garage, so we rented an office near my home. At the time, the office seemed so grandiose, but in hindsight it was rather small and dodgy.
In preparation for this big step, I read as many business books as I could get my hands on. Most books stressed the importance of a good mission statement. So I figured we’d better have one. Other than a few small tweaks - including adding the word “puzzles” after we added the Cobble Hill puzzle line - our mission statement hasn’t changed much in the 17 subsequent years. Here is our mission statement:
Our passion is to create quality family time for families and friends.
We do this by creating and distributing quality games and puzzles.
Every word in our mission statement is important to us. It impacts every decision we make, right down to how thick we make our boxes, to the content we put in our trivia games. Why are we passionate about creating quality time for family and friends? Because I believe that the products we produce are indeed important. I truly believe that games - and puzzles - do matter. Heck, our company slogan is Because Games Matter.
So what does our mission statement have to do with proofing our catalogue? Throughout this year’s catalogue, our design team sprinkled some testimonials. On the spread picturing our tray puzzles, there was a quote from someone named Kathy G. from Columbia, Maryland.
“I just wanted to say that my mother, who has dementia, has so
enjoyed your 35 piece tray puzzles. She is so proud of herself
when she completes each one. The ones with the nostalgic
pictures look just like adult puzzles. Thank you! It is so rare these
days to find something that she truly enjoys to do!”
With the daily deluge of emails that need replies, and a giant stack of paperwork that seems to grow taller every day, it is too easy to lose sight of what really matters. Reading Kathy’s testimonial made me pause and reflect on what we do. It really validated what we have been trying to accomplish for the last 22 years. Yes, what we do does matter. And it feels good.