This month marks my 15th year at Bottom Line Marketing (yes, I was a child prodigy and started working at the tender age of 12, LOL!) Since I am the “original” Bottom Liner I was asked to write this blog about how the company has evolved over the last 15 years! So here it is!
To know how it progressed, we first need to know how it began!
My BLM adventure began when Chris hired me away from a radio station I worked at for the past 12 years. He would have his client come in and cut ads there and pay me cash to edit them. He then hired me to teach him how to edit…but anyone who knows Chris’ attention span knows the outcome of that! So I was suggested by Jeff Richardson of Richardson Jewelers that Chris needed an office assistant so I was offered the job. When I told my dad about it, he said, “Wait, you are going to quit your job of 12 years and go work in some guys’ basement? Are you nuts?!?!”
Well, it turns out I wasn’t working in the basement. Chris had build a nice office in the garage…sure it wasn’t insulated and the light switch on the inside of the door would ice up every winter, but it had two desks with computers, a mic and a mixing board so we were all set.
The first few months provided some challenges, to say the least. We had to remember to shut the ringers off on the phones when we were recording. Then there was 16 year old Kendall in the office every morning saying, “Dad, make me some French Toast.” After about a week or so of this I marched her upstairs and showed her how to make her own French Toast. I taught her how to do laundry, too…which worked out great until she dumped bleach in her dad’s hunting clothes… well, he will be well camouflaged in snow!!!
In those early days it was just Chris and I so I had to learn a lot. When I was hired Chris was doing invoicing on Microsoft Word and adding the amounts up with a calculator. So, one of my first tasks was to learn quick books, keep in mind my degree is in broadcasting so I had absolutely no experience in finances whatsoever, but I had a terrific teacher and did the accounting portion of the job for a year or so until Annette was hired on to handle the bookkeeping side of things (much to my relief!)
Oh and did I mention, we had dogs in the office? Yup, Oprah, and J-lo…Oprah was the administrative assistant. When asked, “Oprah, do your filing” she would proceed to open the bottom file cabinet drawer where the milk bones where kept and get treats for herself and the other dogs in the office.
Yes, occasionally she would decide to file without being prompted and help herself to the goodies in the drawer! J-lo was “Head of Security” and would sit at her “command post” on the back of the four-wheeler and watch for offenders. Later, came Dixie (whom Dicky Dog Jingles is named after) she liked to hang out on the window sill in the office and keep an eye on things! Kevin (who names a dog Kevin?) was a little ball of fluff and full of energy when he arrived! He liked to wrestle with Dixie and when he would get worn out he would sleep under Annette’s chair! I often fed the dogs their lunch…or shared mine with them since I couldn’t resist those cute little faces begging for a bite!
Speaking of lunch…one of the highlights of the week was when we would have our Bottom Line lunch. Chris or Annette would cook up a sensational meal and we would all eat together and brainstorm ideas or discuss what was going on in our lives. On nice days in the summer Chris would fire up the grill and we would dine on the back deck. I miss those days of hearing “LUNCH!” being bellowed down the stairs and knowing I was in for some fine dining, even if I had to share it with the dogs!
So, in those early days, things were a little less hectic. Billing took maybe a day and I could actually take an entire hour (or more) for lunch. In fact, Kendall interned with us one summer and we would occasionally hit the rummage sales in the subdivision. I told her if her dad asked what we did that day, her response was to be, “Marketing Research”. Well, now our “Marketing Research” is reading articles in trade magazines, online, etc. and is done mostly after working hours.
Although we have many more clients now, my job entails pretty much the same tasks I did back then…recording and editing audio, answering phones, finding talent, and writing scripts… but now I am also in charge of the huge responsibility of processing co-op. Those of you who work in the industry know what a daunting task this is, for those of you who don’t, I won’t bore you with the details.
So what has changed at Bottomline in the past 15 years?
We hired more people as we landed more accounts.
We now have designated graphic design and social media departments.
We moved out of Chris and Annette’s house and into an Office in Escanaba, Michigan.
We opened an Office in Marquette, Michigan and are pretty much based out of that office. Although, our Escanaba Office is still open.
We opened offices in Denver and Florida as well.
We went from having clients primarily in Upper Michigan to having them all over the United States…we even have one in Canada!
What hasn’t changed at Bottom Line (other than my hairstyle?)
Our passion to partner with the right people and turn advertising on its rear!
Our ability to work as a Team and get sh%t done!
We still do a Bottom Line lunch once a week, brainstorm ideas and chat about our lives.
Our love for each other and what we do!
I have so many more stories to tell so stay tuned and learn why naming a dog “Kevin” can create an awkward moment or two, where we found the cordless phone after Chris misplaced it and the “Potato Salad Incident of 2011”.
– Bekki Flinn (the OG Bottom Liner)