Yesterday I was sitting at work, you know just working, and I remembered I need to call this women's social club I was interested in joining. I'll talk more about that in just a bit. Anyway I give a call and I speak with a nice lady I will call Ms. Manager because she was the general manager of the club. I know, I know, I'm not that creative with name. Hell, I had a pet rabbit named Mr. Bunny so give me break.
Ms. Manager was nice woman with an accent I couldn't quite place if it was European or not but I told her I was calling to confirm the invitation I received to go to a opening party for their newly renovated building. I honesty could have sworn this party was in October but the ever pleasant Ms Manager asked if I would be in attendance at the party tonight. Tonight? TONIGHT?! Oh no the little hamster that runs my brain just flew off the running wheel. The party was at 5:30pm and I had stuff to do after work, which happened to end a half hour later than normal. Finally my little hamster got back on my wheel and I could speak again. Of course I would be there, I said. Ms. Manager said great and would meet there to introduce me to the woman that invited me to the party, Ms. Network. If you wondering why I am using these fake names, it is out of respect for these ladies privacy.
So after rushing home and getting ready in record time, I left my house at about 5:20pm to go to their club house. On a good day, I can get to where this building is in Center City in about 15 minutes if that but yesterday was not a good day. Yesterday I had the audacity to go through Center City during rush hour while the city was getting ready for a visit from the Pope. A normal 15 minutes drive took more then 30! I was late and I hate being late to things because I feel like I'm wasting people's time when I am late. I finally made it and walked in. Their building was one of those historic Trinity houses. It was nice inside with a warm glow to it. As I stepped through the door I instantly felt different. Outwardly I was different, I could tell I was younger by at least a generation or two but also I was only black person in the room. Now this does not mean anything towards these ladies it was just an observation. What I also noticed was how these ladies carried themselves. They stood tall and not in the sense of height but that their heads were held high and they had an air of confidence about them.
I walked a bit nervously deeper into the room to get my name card and turned to meet Ms. Manager that quickly introduced me to Ms. Network. They welcomed me with big smiles and kind dispositions that caused my nervousness to quickly melt away. The women that were in the room sipping their wine and reconnecting after being away for the summer turned to look at me as Ms. Network introduced me to as many people as she could and I again I was greeted with smiles. They friendly, worldly, and educated. They were what I wanted to better myself to be. They talked about their trips to Europe, their families, work, and art they collected. I remember speaking to one lady that loved collecting Japanese artwork and she talked about the artists she had collected over the years. One of the artist she mentioned she liked was by the name of Shin Taga, who I looked up today has very nice artwork.
Ms. Network whisked me around the courtyard meeting many woman. I told her I was a student studying IT Security at Drexel University and she made a point to introduce me to women that were alumnus or worked at Drexel or worked in the tech industry. That is how I met Ms. IBM. Ms. IBM had retired from IBM after 30 years and she was living the dream. She had an address in Rittenhouse, which in Philadelphia is kind of like the Upper East Side of NYC if that helps, and a wealth of knowledge that no one could take away from her. She told me how she came to this country with nothing and made a life for herself. I admired her. She went back to school at the age of 30 and after that went to work with IBM. I was happy to hear this. I'm in my mid twenties and sometimes I feel like I've already missed the boat because I didn't go to traditional route in terms of education but she reassured me this might be the better route for me.
As the party rolled on and night came fast, Ms. Network was still introducing me to people. I don't think I have introduced myself as much as I did last night and I learned something that night, business cards. I met these wonderful ladies and they handed me their business cards yet I didn't have one to give them. I awkwardly admitted I didn't have any and Ms. IBM came over to say get some. I thought business cards were for when you became someone worth having one, you had a career and were established. I was quickly told I was someone and that how would someone be about to talk to me if I didn't give them anyway to contact me. That's when I learned, Facebook is useful but good old fashion business cards were still a staple of networking.
When I got home I promptly, after washing my face of make up and getting a small jar of sorbet, looked on the internet for business cards. I found a couple places to look for cards in different price ranges. Going to be honest, didn't know there was so many places to get business cards made and that they could get so expensive! I'll start with one place I remember hearing about in Fashion House by Megan Hess, I totally recommend this book if you love interior decorating and fashion, which is Smythson. Smythson is British luxury company that is known for their stationary and leather goods. My dream is to have one of their leather traveling correspondence boxes and a jewelry box. Let me just take a minute to daydream about that...one day they will be mine. Moving along, their business cards are probably what James Bond would use if he had any to hand out. I will warn you the price of these cards goes right along with James' lifestyle at a starting price of $279usd for 50 and when I ran through the online tool to personalize my cards my total came to almost $700usd if I wanted the double border and a motif.
So if you are not rolling in dough like Mr. Big, but still want something a bit fancy and sophisticated try Crane & Co. Crane & Co is a histrionic American paper company that started back in the 1700s with a man named Stephen Crane in Dalton, Massachusetts. The company is so proud of its history, you can even tour their museum in Dalton. I used their online ordering system to personalize a set of cards for some random person I made up to find out the total price of the Derbyshire style of cards. The Crane & Co business cards start at about $0.37usd a card but the price can vary depending on how many you get and which style you choose.
Still a little too rich for you blood? Are you saying to your monitor, "D, I'm just going to hand these out to random people I meet. Why should I blow so much on pieces of paper?". I get it, I do really. So that's why I have this company, Zazzle. Zazzle is an online company that will create almost anything you want with your custom design. There was thousands of different designs to pick from for business cards because they offer designers ability to make designs that anyone can pick from. I picked one just to get an idea how much this would cost. The style I picked came out to being about $35 with a thick paper that sandwiched some pretty red paper in between. Zazzle has tons of options for you to make your own unique card that no one else has.
I decided to go with Zazzle because I'm young and have not fully established myself yet. Maybe when I finish school and hit that baller status, I'll get some Smythson cards but for now I can't want to get my Zazzle business cards.