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Dear John,

"Do people still start letters with 'Dear'?" I asked my friend.


I decided that felt too informal, so I started again.

Dear John,

My handwriting was too messy. Take 3 on the thank you note.

At this point, I was back to the days of being eleven when I re-started a thank you note every time I made a tiny mistake like messing up on the heart above an "i" ; and like then, I went through way too much stationery trying to get it right.

Dear John, 

Now I felt like I was writing a Dear John letter, ending my relationship with a man I never met.

We spoke briefly on the phone a couple of times, but most of our communication was over email. I sensed early on that I needed to dial back the southern in me. He lived in NY and his emails in response to mine were to the point. He did not decorate with exclamation points or smiley faces, or wish me back a happy Friday.

I knew a short & polite thank you was all I needed to write. I also remembered the advice I was given to communicate as if I was a substantially sized company with a team.

Dear John, 

I started to write a standard professional thank you note from me and "my Giddy Up team." I came up with perfectly polished wording that I hoped would secure another opportunity for me.

But I could see too easily through my handwriting. Truthfully, besides a large company in Wisconsin that partners with hundreds of vendors like me, Giddy Up Promotions is a one-woman gig in Nashville.

I decided to fumble my way through being myself. I told John it was my largest order since starting my promo business, and then probably inserted a few exclamation points and emojis. The funny thing is that once I found my voice, I did not need to start over again.

I am a one-woman gig in Nashville who is a notch more confident after a successful campaign with a new client. 

Thanks, John :) !!!!!!!

A few months ago, I went to a promotional products trade show. As I usually do at these shows, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I wanted a sample of everything that caught my attention for my clients, and then the boxes started arriving a few weeks later.

I used it to impress my teens. "Oh wow, look at this sample that was sent to me." It did not seem to work until I had on a pair of Glossier sample sunglasses on, and then my daughter noticed. "Mom, where did you get those? And do you even know what Glossier is?" Yes, teenage daughter... I do (now).

The next time I was in a rush and could not find my regular sunglasses, I went back to my sample sunglass stockpile. I grabbed the bright yellow ones with Reese's branding. I felt a little silly wearing them, but they were comfortable and it was hard to lose bright yellow sunglasses; so they soon became my go to pair. I can put aside fashion for comfort & ease, or so I thought that is what I was doing until I started receiving compliments.

The first compliment on my sunglasses was from an 7-year-old, and I sensed she was vying for me to give them to her. I received a few more from friends, a couple from strangers, and one from a teenager who was not my own. These sunglasses were polling higher than anything I had worn in a long time. I was still not sure if it was less awkward for people to say something, rather than ignore sunglasses that looked like they belonged to a 6-year-old.

When my friend's husband complimented them at their pool a couple of weeks ago, I had to ask, "so you like these? They are bright yellow and say Reese's on the side?" "Yes. I love them, and the shape is great on your face," he said, and my friend nodded in agreement. It was a win because first of all, I can't remember the last time someone even noticed that my face had a shape; and second, my teenagers overheard.

My swag choice of the week is sunglasses. I think they are an overlooked promo item. Who does not always need back-up sunglasses? Especially on those desperate mornings when you are late and can't find the ones you had on yesterday. It's a relief to remember those free sunglasses in your car's glove compartment.

For under $5, you can get a nice quality and stylish pair of sunglasses. Think how grateful your customers will be to you when they find that back-up pair when needed, and even more so, when their back-up becomes their go-to.

Color is in so now is a great time to add a pop to your brand. Frames available in many colors.

William Tell Overture - Giddy Up
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