The Martinshof Story - Page 12
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43. Two new Brochures on a shoe string budget
Another urgent item on my agenda was to produce two new brochures, one for Martinshof,
the other for the Holiday collection, but first I had to get rid of our Advertising agency.
They had sent us a ridiculous bill of (I believe) some 20,000 guilders for doing
little more that making a few pencil drawn sketches for a possible Martinshof brochure.
The production of this would cost at least another 30 to 35,000 guilders so no way
could we afford doing that.
I went to see them, told them they were heavily
overcharging us for very little most unsatisfactory work, and that I was prepared to
pay them 6,000 guilders but not a cent more.
Surprisingly they keeled over rather
easily and accepted my offer. We put all the remaining Niessing catalogues they had
not sent to our customers yet in my car and we parted company (a year later the
company went broke). Mrs. de Jonge was delighted when I got home and told her the news
and so was I of course.
Nauta in Zutphen had been our regular printers since the very early
years of Atelier Martinshof. As a high school student I would often go to their office
on the Nieuwstad to pick up material for Martinshof. Now they had moved to modern and
much larger premises in an industrial area south of the Deventerweg. I was on excellent
terms with them and often discussed all sorts of matters with them. "Why don't you produce those brochures yourself?" they
suggested. "All you need is an advertising guy for the layout and
text, a photographer and we can do the rest here in house."
They knew a guy
who had done some very good work for a large gardening supplies chain in the region. He
had just retired and might be interested in some part time work. His name was
Brouwer and also lived in Zutphen.
I straight away went to see Brouwer and invited him for an
evening at Martinshof to get a feel for the whole thing. I also invited Trudy, Marion
and Mrs. de Jonge along, so there we all sat around the open fire in our lounge drinking
Martinskeller wine and talking, tossing ideas around, brainstorming.
was especially interested in having a couple of photos of our staff in the brochure. I
also wanted to make more of our master sign stamped in every ring.
this had been my father's master sign, a flat lying diamond shape with (I think) his
initials in it, but it did not really present an distinct image.
example used a heart with an horizontal arrow through it. That made sense.
wanted something that reflected the creative hand crafted nature of our product.
So I asked Brouwer to design two new master signs, one for Martinshof, the other for
Holiday rings and incorporate them in the brochures. This he did I believe very
When Brouwer's first design sketches came in it had a young couple on the front page of
the Martinshof brochure. I immediately thought of Marion Turney, our attractive
sales representative on the road.
I wanted some one from our own company presented on there, not just some anonymous couple, and Marion would be just perfect for that.
initial shyness Marion agreed and in the end became quite enthusiastic about
It worked out absolutely splendidly, because after the brochure was
distributed amongst our customers, where ever Marion went she was always greeted with "Oh, hello, lady from the Martinshof front page!" Marion had
always been very popular (she was a nice lady and a good sales woman too) but now she
had become quite a celebrity amongst all our customers.
So the design, ideas and texts for the brochure were coming along fine. The big problem
however was the photography.
Nobody had ever been allowed onto the factory floor at
Niessing, but the old Herr Exner had died only a month after my father and a new
generation, 36 year old Joachim Exner was now in charge. I talked to him and he
gave me permission to shoot some photos within the factory and also use lithographs of
the very beautiful Niessing catalogue. I went in there with our photographer
Ebbink to look around and take some pictures. It was quite an experience.
The Martinshof brochure was
going to be fine.
The Holiday brochure presented some problems however. Ebbink shot the entire
Holiday collection at his farm in the country while I was watching on. He placed every
ring pair on a natural stone background which appeared to contrast nicely.
the first proofs came in from Nauta they looked absolutely terrible. All backgrounds
were different and did not match in colour and uniformity. No way that this was going
to be printed. I went back to Ebbink and we checked his originals, but these were all fine. It
therefore had to be the lithographer. Nauta had used the same people all the time, and
no matter how much I was jumping up and down they simply had no satisfactory
The only thing I could do was chase up a better lithographer. I have no
idea how I managed to do that but I found a really good one, I believe in Arnhem or
Velp. I think they were one of the first to use a computer, and produced quite a good
result. Nauta was much impressed. "What a good idea Mr. Furstner.
I think we will no longer stay with the same people anymore but start shopping around
too in the future."
So finally two new quite respectable looking brochures rolled of the press. Total cost
of design and printing a mere 10,000 guilders, less than a third of what I had been quoted by
the Advertising agency.
I had Brouwer's new master signs made into two miniature
essay stamps which in due course were approved by the Government. The Martinshof stamp is still being used
by the essay laboratory for Martinshof products today (2010).
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner