Many of us don’t like printing wedding invitations, but we love to print postcards. Here’s a way to do both!

The picture shown above is actually a very creative postcard wedding invitation I recently received in the mail, and it really grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons: First, the picture of the couple is totally amazing, and then second, the invitation itself is a postcard. A postcard!

As we all know, the stereotypical wedding invitation is a costly production involving a double fold-over card, matching envelope, inserts, and sometimes even foiling and embossing. As a result, wedding invitations can be costly and time-consuming. The simplicity of this postcard invitation isn’t just innovative… it’s uniquely different and inexpensive to purchase. I thought it was very creative. Part of what makes this work so well is that it’s so simple and minimal. Plus, it just feels good when you hold it in your hands.

I think postcard wedding invitations could be a new source of business for your printing firm. Perhaps you could even work with photographers and set up special package plans where they provide the photography and you provide the printing.

The concept could also work for high school graduation announcements.

I like this postcard wedding invitation idea and thought you might like to think about it, too.

Oh, by the way, I’ll give you five bucks if you send me a picture of you and your spouse kissing each other like the couple shown here…

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

P.S. Below is the back side of the postcard with all of the details of the wedding, in case you’re curious how that was presented. Names and locations have been blurred out to protect the happy couple’s privacy.



How to save $11,484.00

November 5, 2014 · 0 comments

Would you like to save $11,484.00 over the next 22 years?

That’s the promise promoted by the manufacturers of some LED light bulbs I recently purchased for my home at the local Fargo Costco warehouse store.


I had never heard of LED light bulbs until a few years ago, when my then managing partner, Dave Hultin, built a new home that featured many extreme energy-saving techniques (like poured concrete walls instead of conventional wood framing). Dave also told me he was installing LED light bulbs throughout his home. He said they would last for decades and use about 10% of the energy required for incandescent bulbs. I was intrigued by the idea, but at the time, I thought the coolish blue white light the LED bulbs emitted, along with the high cost, made the LED bulbs too prohibitive for me.

Well, as we all know, new technologies sometimes change quickly with the passage of time.

A few days ago, I was shopping at Costco, and a young lady asked me if I’d be interested in trying one of the new LED light bulbs Costco was adding to their product line. She got my attention when she said, “This one bulb will save you $222.00 of electricity.” Well, to make a long story short, I studied the bulbs, carefully compared them to the regular light bulbs in their display, and decided to give it a try.


I bought 36 of the LED bulbs at a whopping cost of $407.76. However, the savings promised from using the 36 bulbs totaled $11,484.00 over the next 22 years. In my case, I personally am so tired of high utility bills and changing light bulbs all the time that I thought it might be worth a try. So I purchased enough bulbs to replace all the bulbs currently being used in the finished basement of my home.

I installed the new bulbs, and here is my first impression:

  • They are about 10-15% brighter that the incandescent bulbs they replaced. The extra light was nice.
  • The old, cool-blue light is gone. The new bulbs gave off a warm light and were natural and skin-tone friendly. They’re easy to read under, too.
  • Interestingly enough, the LED bulbs aren’t hot to touch. They give off virtually no heat, which could help with additional air-conditioning costs.
  • Really? I’m not going to have to replace these for over 20 years? Since I hate changing light bulbs, that seems like a miracle to me. Heck, I’d be happy if they last ten years!

The only downside is that there is a very slight micro nanosecond “pause” before the bulbs come on after you flip the light switch, and they also stay lit for about half a second after you shut them off. All in all, that’s not a big factor for me.

My family totally likes the new lighting. It’s brighter and pleasing to the eye. We liked them so much, in fact, that I went back the next day and bought LED replacement bulbs for almost every fixture and lamp in my home.

I wonder if these might be a smart investment for your printing firm, too? Are any of you using them? I think LED lighting is an idea whose time has come.

It will be interesting to see how much we notice a difference on future utility bills, but at this point, I’m very happy to have made the switch. Thanks for the idea, Dave!

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.


Every man needs a good pair of socks

October 22, 2014

OK, I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about socks. You see, this all started last year when my mother-in-law asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I answered “socks.” So sure enough, one day in December, a package arrived from her. Inside, I found a Christmas present labeled “To Mike.” It […]

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The day I met the ghost of Babe Ruth

October 2, 2014

Sometimes in life, you experience something unexpected that really causes you to stop and think. I recently experienced a rather emotional “unexpected moment” in Detroit, Michigan. Let me explain. Although I have lived in North Dakota for many decades, I actually grew up in Michigan and graduated from high school there. As a boy, I […]

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Thoughts about employees and their cell phones

September 3, 2014

If there’s a more provocative topic in the printing industry, I’m not sure what could generate more debate and opinion than whether or not employees should be allowed to use personal cell phones on company time. Do you allow employees to use personal cell phones while on the clock at your printing firm? In case […]

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How to have a better brain

August 21, 2014

The LA Times recently completed an interesting four-part series on how learning and memory work. And the New York Times wrote about the importance of physical exercise for neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells). Did you even know it was possible to do something that would help your body create new brain cells? A […]

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Don’t be complicated

August 6, 2014

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau Are you like I once was? Do you ever think that sometimes you make the simplest decision more complicated than it needs to be? Are you so addicted to trying to make things so perfect and impressive that they turn into a […]

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The 10 Commandments for a Printer’s Marriage

July 16, 2014

1. Don’t place others before one another. 2. Let nothing on earth become more important than your marriage. 3. Don’t bring a bad day at the print shop home with you. 4. Remember to worship together. 5. Love and accept one another’s family as your own. 6. Don’t harm one another with words, attitudes, or […]

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Don’t be a perfectionist

July 8, 2014

I have a deep commitment to quality and excellence. I try to do everything the very best way it can be done — but I work hard at not allowing myself to become a perfectionist. Why? Because trying to get it perfect will slow you down, frustrate your coworkers, and sometimes cause you to miss […]

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Don’t Let Others Steal Your Joy

June 17, 2014

You’ll always have grumpy customers, equipment breakdowns, slow payers, and bad weather. And then, of course, every printing company seems to have one irreplaceable co-worker who always seems to see the “negative” side of things or who makes a point to tell you all the reasons your new ideas won’t work. My solution: Keep smiling […]

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