Blue Eyed Sun

Blue Eyed Sun - gorgeous greetings cards

Award Winning Advice for the Henries and other awards

Click here to see the Finalists of this year's Henries

In my younger and more impressionable years my wife gave me some award winning advice that I have been grateful for ever since. Having always set myself goals for the business and personal achievements, Jo noticed that I had listed ‘winning an award with Blue Eyed Sun’ as one of my objectives. She wisely pointed out that this was not a goal that was within my control and, as such, was likely to cause me problems.

It’s an easy mistake to make. As an athletics fan, I had watched the Olympics since I was a boy. I loved sharing the thrill of athletes winning medals and realising their dreams after all of their hard work. I was also a film fanatic, keeping tabs on the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Palme d’Or and dreaming of film making glory.

Over the years I merged these two ‘award winning’ ideas in my mind as I dreamt  of the trophies I too would hopefully one day win. I was never going to be a world class athlete but, as many of us are prone to do, I always hoped I’d go on to create something special with my life and an award would most certainly be evidence of this 'specialness'.

Perhaps you can already sense the danger with this line of thinking. In fact, these problems would be worse still if, as I was known to do at the time, one made the mistake of linking one’s self worth to achieving such goals.

The truth is, not even world class athletes like Usain Bolt get drawn down this slippery slope. When interviewed by reporters, nearly all of them will rightly focus on doing their best. For that is all they have the power to control in their race. If your opponent is stronger, or is more naturally talented and has trained harder then you, then it is possible you may not win. The only thing any athlete can do is to leave the very best of themselves out on the track.

What’s more important to realise is that in our business we are not athletes and we are not in a race. The awards we may be nominated for are not medals. If you have ever been a finalist at one of our greeting card industry awards for retailers or publishers (like the Retas, the Greats or the Henries) it is easy to lose sight of this.

We recently made the final short list of the Henries for the eighth and ninth times and we have still yet to win (It may have been more if we hadn’t taken a hiatus of not entering for three or four years). I have a running joke with friends that Blue Eyed Sun are like the Alfred Hitchcock of the card industry. Hitch, famously having never won an Academy award.

Woody Allen, who won 4 Oscars and was never been present to collect them (choosing instead to play in his jazz band), has these wise words to say on our type of awards:

“I think what you get in awards is favouritism, I mean people can say ‘oh my favourite movie was Annie Hall.’ But the implication is that it’s the best movie and I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t think you can make that judgement. Except for track, track and field, you know where one guy runs and you see that he wins. Then it’s ok. I won those when I was younger and those where nice, because I knew I deserved them.”

I think the only thing we can share with athletes (and great film makers for that matter) is to give our best every day. To step up and be accountable. Which means focussing on your own performance and what is most important to you (that’s within your control). For us it’s making gorgeous handmade cards, for you it may be having a great shop or running your business well.

So why enter awards at all? Because it’s fun, it pushes you out of your comfort zone and a nomination or win is always good for marketing and PR. These days the main reason I enter the Henries is to get our products in front of the great line up of industry buyers who judge them. That’s within in my control.

Good luck to all of the finalists in this year’s Henries. See you there. I’m taking the night off from my jazz band... just in case ;-)

Read my blog post for Sage on Top tips for awards success: How to enter and win awards for your business

Click for the latest news on the The Henries Awards

October 2013 - Blue Eyed Sun finally win their first Henries Award. Click here to see which one and which range won...

Watch this funny short youtube clip that includes Woody Allen making the quote mentioned above: