Wrapping Up a Successful Festival Season in Style
3M’s “Wrap to Win” contest winner wows crowds
Joi Johnson and her fiancé, Ro Graham were at the end of their rope. The owners of Jammin’ Joi’s, a soft-serve ice cream and food truck business in Fort Wayne, IN, had a functional vehicle, but it didn’t look like the dynamic, fun business they were trying to build. They suspected that the dull paint and oxidized exterior were to blame for a few high-profile festivals turning them down. Johnson was hesitant to apply to bigger events because she was worried about being rejected again.
“I didn’t understand why, but it kept happening. So, I thought maybe it was the truck. It was the only thing I could think of,” Johnson says.
For the sake of her business, she needed to take action and was impressed with the impact that a vehicle wrap could make. The colors looked more vibrant than paint, and she would have more decorative options. She believed this would be the best way to give the truck a bold new look.
But the rejection wasn’t over: She was turned down by two wrap providers. Determined to see her business succeed, she decided to call providers in a bigger city who might be better equipped to help her. She reached out to Shadow Graphix in Indianapolis. Founded by Daren Merkle more than 20 years ago, the company itself had grown from modest beginnings to become a leader in automotive graphics. Little did she know how much Shadow’s commitment to helping small businesses like hers would change her life.
Hope comes in a hot pink wrap
Johnson spoke with production manager Keith Wethington who was immediately on board. Johnson had an illustration of herself that she wanted on the truck, and Wethington’s crew found a deep, bright pink that seemed as vibrant as her personality. They sent off a few ideas to her. Wethington was on the phone with her as she reviewed the designs, and they both teared up, he says.
“It’s one thing to do what we do, but when we affect other people at that level and that magnitude, it just makes it all worth it,” he says.
Shadow Graphix kept the truck through Johnson’s off-season, working on it carefully during November 2014 through February 2015. The team took their time with the truck, paying close attention to every detail. They knew that the end result would be critical. They kept Johnson apprised of their work, getting her approval when they came up with ways to improve the initial layout, such as making her hubcaps look like the tops of ice cream cones, he says.
Winner, winner, ice cream dinner
When the vehicle was finished, Wethington and his team entered their creation in 3M’s nationwide Wrap-to-Win contest, which was held between November 2014 and March 2015. The contest challenged graphic manufacturing companies to showcase their skills with their best applications of 3M™ Envision™ print wrap films and 3M™ Envision™ wrap over laminates—non-PVC films that provide high-performance technology with a sustainability edge. In April, 3M announced that Jammin’ Joi’s truck won the contest.
But for Johnson, the biggest reward for her investment has been how it has changed her business. She estimates she’s already made back 100 percent of her investment. No longer does she get turned down by high-profile events—they seek her out. Before the wrap, she wouldn’t have even applied to some of the festivals in which they participated in summer 2015.
“After the wrap, I got more confident. I said, ‘You know what? We look good. I know this is a good truck. We have a good product, so I’m putting in for everything. I got into every single one,” she laughs.
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