Sunday May 9, 2010. Economics degree in one hand, beer in the other, I was ready to take the financial world by storm. Waking up the next day to the ear piercing sounds of my brand new Motorola RAZR (chalk that one up to college) I groggily answered a call that would lead me down a twisted and wild career path.
That call also led me into what at the time seemed like a damn cool job, beer labeling. Fast forward three months later, reconciling accounting books, I thought “wow this is truly not a damn cool job” (no offense to accountants out there, you are saints for what you do). Being a “suck up” back then and thinking I could win some brownie points I asked my boss how to learn more about the labeling industry. Graciously and unexpectedly I was afforded the opportunity to go to the Mecca of all things printed and sticky, LabelExpo Americas. Overwhelmed, shy, and backwards that evening’s cocktail reception couldn’t come fast enough. At the reception I was introduced to our companies marketing director (who would later go on to become a mentor and a friend). Nervous about meeting the legendary marketing guru, with a slap on the back he tossed me a beer while excitedly screaming “Whoop Whoop! How’s it going brother?”. 4 hours later… I worked in marketing.
Ill spare you all the "in betweens" but 5 years in the labeling industry whether it is marketing or accounting, time goes by slowly. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my job, I had learned a ridiculous amount about marketing and had an incredible boss but it became ever more apparent that the labeling industry wasn’t likely to change anytime soon.
Then it happened… The boss man yelled across the office “come see this. These dudes from Brown are trying to get rid of liner”. The Holy Grail of labels had always been to get rid of the liner yet no one has figured it out yet so I thought “these bros probably can’t either”. Never the less he put me on a plane to check out the technology. Posting across a myriad of social networks while texting friends about actually visiting the tiniest state in the nation (being from Ohio that was a big deal) I walked through the front doors of 965 Waterman. The experience was surreal. I was greeted by ball pits lining the walls, a conference room titled “The Thunderdome”, TVs displaying the latest TED Talks, and two energetic dogs named Jackson and Presley. This couldn’t be East Providence, RI.
On my tour I was so enthralled by culture that pumped through the office. In between the sounds playful banter and machines running, I was introduced to not only a technology that worked but a technology that could change an entire industry. By the end of the day I couldn’t help to feel sad that I wasn’t a part of the energetic team. Sadness quickly subsided…I received an offer later that day and while anxious about moving to the tinniest state in the nation I quickly accepted.
Without getting too sentimental, the past two years have been the craziest, rewarding, and overall amazing experiences of my life. I get to work with folks who are undoubtedly some of the smartest people I know but who are also dedicated to thinking outside of the box. My career journey has certainly been an interesting one but as all things in life, it was meant to be. I guess having a ping pong table doesn’t hurt either…
Kyle Baldwin, Marketing Manager