FROM OUR PRESIDENT: 5 Lessons Fishing Taught Me About Labels

If medical researchers ever invent a test that can identify a person’s passions in their DNA, my results would read unequivocally: “fishing fanatic” and “destined for the sticky paper”. 

Some things are just meant to be; which explains how my life has come full circle here in Colorado by doing two things that destiny had written firmly in my DNA.

Born and raised in Kansas, I was baptized into the sport of fishing at the age of four by my father and grandfather during our first of several big family vacations in Telluride. From the moment we stepped into the San Miguel River that first day, I was hooked. 

I’m not sure if it was merely the experience of spending quality time with two men in my life whom I looked up to, or the sheer joy of being in the glorious outdoors and playing with the rods, reels, and worms.

Regardless, it fueled a lifelong love of the sport (and a gravitational pull to put down roots in Colorado), and taught me five important lessons that have proven valuable in the world of label printing. 

Lesson 1: Technique and timing are everything.

I got into the art of fly fishing much later in life, but I like to think you’re never too old to learn new hobbies or valuable lessons. Fly fishing is all about casting your line rather than the lure. The technique is key. So is timing. You have to know not only how and when but where to trick the fish into biting your hook. 

Technique and timing also play a large role in the label printing world. 

Different materials have different properties that require a skilled press operator who understands the nuances of each substrate and can navigate a successful print run. Achieving a consistent, high-print quality look demands expertise in various printing techniques that meet/exceeds customer expectations each and every time. 

In our business, where short lead times are the promise, we face the ultimate test of timing on a daily basis. Customer satisfaction rides on both the quality of our output and our ability to reliably do what we say we’re going to do. That’s why we measure our success by our On Time and Early Shipment metrics – currently at 97.32 percent.  

Lesson 2: Stock up on patience and perseverance.

Fishing is the quintessential sport of leisure. Many avid fishermen/women, however, consider fly fishing to be on a completely different level. Izaak Walton, the author of The Compleat Angler(1653), called fly fishing “The Contemplative Man’s Recreation.”

It requires an aptitude for perseverance, which goes hand in hand with patience. 

The same can be said for producing exceptional printing results. At Columbine Label, we approach every job with a clear sense of purpose: to deliver on our customers’ needs. That means taking the extra steps to establish honest and open relationships and create positive experiences with our customers. Building trust guides our actions and shapes our decisions each and every day.

Lesson 3: Find your champion.

Like any sport, fishing is one you master by doing. Ideally, you find someone to teach you proper techniques. For me, it was my father and grandfather. I am forever indebted to them for encouraging me to keep trying and teaching me the skill of fishing and the joy of the catch. 

Because we have spent decades mastering the art of quality label production, many of our customers have come to rely on us as an extension of their business because their product – and successful marketing – relies so heavily on putting out quality-labeled products that attract consumers and generate sales. We champion our customers’ success from behind the scenes to on the shelves.

Lesson 4: Don’t be afraid to wade in knee-deep.

Wading into a swift and cold river much bigger than me when I was young for the mere chance of maybe catching a fish taught me a lot about taking chances for the reward at the end of the line. 

In our print shop, we are always wading into what’s new in the world of product label printing. Whether it’s investing time and resources into new markets, new materials, or new printing services such as shrink sleeves, we aren’t afraid to test the waters to provide the best and latest label printing solutions for our customers. 

Lesson 4: Do what you love.

Take it from a little boy from the heartland who followed his Colorado dream. It IS possible to use what’s in your passion DNA and turn it into a fulfilling professional life. 

We make an effort to foster that culture in-house. We aim to make each day matter, have fun, and even spread a bit of laughter. And, of course, print lots of high-quality, eye-catching labels that help our customers sell more of what they do best.

As they say,

“if you love what you do, it’s not work.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear the river calling.