05.10.13

Amazing team... Proper acknowledgments

As I was getting together the next all company newsletter something really hit me. The momentuem has been growing for a very very long time, but accelerating noticeably and with the team we have assembled the next few years are looking to be quite exciting. By now we have so many amazing people onboard working together that we can acomplish nearly anything we set our minds too! Everyone involved in Off the Map inc, which includes Off the Map Tattoo, of course, as well as TattooNOW, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, Paradise Artist Retreat, the Worldwide Tattoo Conference, TattooNOWTV, Tattoo MachinesNOW, and a few other seed projects are smart, hard working, honest, decent... and well, the list of fine qualities goes on. The company newsletter is now going out to over 20 people on both coasts, and soon folks overseas. Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” and it's not a joke. All the artists, staff, and sharegolders are all on the same page and pushing effectively in the same direction. All of the moving parts are assembled, it feels like this machine is finally built! Of course there is plenty of fine tuning, but with this foundation, the next few chapters will prove to be very interesting. Taking time to thank everyone proper isnt something I do much, part of me is broken and I dont really care for thanks and therefore don't think to give it out as much as I should. So, I'm gonna take a moment to thank some of the longer lasting non-tattooing players in Off the Map as of 2014 in order of appearance.

First up, my wife Kim has been a driving force behind everything from the very begining, and the originator of many of the core principals that have driven this business's success. Her profession is teaching babies, but I wont make the obvious analogy about how working with tattooers is like working with infants. Though, maybe in her case and Off the Map's it is fair as she teaches babies to be aware of and responsible in their community as well as help them learn through play and the deliberate setting up of the environment. She expects a lot more than most people from her babies, and we expect a lot more from our tattooers than most shops. In short, while I disliked school and schooling very much, she opened my eyes to the possibilities and the return on investment of education.

Steve Sanderson is the oldest and largest shareholder. He also married my wife and I. His moral compass, clear voice, opinion, and monetary investment have helped create and steer what is happening. Steve was essential in launching Off the Map Tattoo, and has helped navigte the murky shark  infested waters. While he doesn't work in the day to day operations anymore, his guidance is always available and generous when needed.

The next essential member to join the team was Mary Bowen. Mary is the longest lasting, er, most senior member of the staff and now a shareholder of the business.  Managing two studios and the finances for a business  growing at a near overwhelming pace with three active distinct divisions and over 20 people is no easy task or joke. The fact that the two studios  are 3,00 miles apart isnt trivial either!

Jason Foster has run multimillion dollar businesses in the past, and we couldn't have picked a better inhouse business consultant. While the political conversation may get heated, the strategy and tactical conversations are always pretty harmonious. Many of the pickles we have found ourself in Jason was vital in getting us out of, and his ability to see the long term big picture has been very re-assuring.

Its a tad ironic that as I thank folks in chronoligical order that Brian isn't first as I have known him the longest. Steve married Kim and I, and Brian introduced us. Working with him for the last few years has not always been easy because he is quite aggressive, but when he isnt attacking me its a fun time. The sleepless nights and anxiety of running big events comes along with hustling the events, so having Brian pick up the event division has been a great load off.

Jeff Gogue. If I ever feel bi-polar it is thinking about our partnership with Jeff. On one hand it's inconceivable that he is at the helm of an Off the Map and a shareholder, on the other hand its such a natural positive fit it is almost inconceivable if he wasnt. His work ethic and work product, and attention to detail have raised the bar for everyone in the company. We are all working alongside Jeff now, which means we need to pay more attention and kick it up a notch!

Of course, now Im even later with the company newsletter and there are quite a few staff that have been here years and others close and on their way Im not mentioning by name, but here is a full on thanks to everyone who is making this thing work. This wouldn't be happening is everyone wasn't doing their part, and everyone is! There are also dozens of tattooers, clients, friends, and advisors to thank. Nick Baxter. Guy Aitchison. Mike Devries. Bob Tyrrell. All the tattoo collectors supporting the whole scene. Holy moses I suppose this will take a few posts.

Welp, this thing has always been bigger than any one person, and being at the helm of a beast that is nearly impossible to control has not been easy, but it is getting pretty focused. Finding a group of people this dedicated to tattooing and the supporting professions wasn't easy. We have collected an amazing set of personalities and talents, and knowing what everyone is capable of, well, I suppose I should leave it at that I am pretty excited to see where this is all going. Thanks, and stay tuned, the fun is about to begin!