Some of the best business relationships come out of long term friendships. Such is the case with Prairie Creative, the brainchild of Maureen Barron. Maureen and I worked together at Ross Roy, a Detroit advertising agency in the ’90’s. Maureen is a meticulous graphic designer who relies on my expertise with all things computer-related. We have collaborated on many projects together. From single page trade ads for lawyers Much Shelist in Oak Park, to direct work for CityGate Grille and the Holiday Inn / Ann Arbor, via Man Advertising in Naperville, we always seem to have fun together.
One of our first big projects was an e-commerce site for Silly Sandals. Silly Sandals married flip-flops with a zany sense of style, tying beads, glitter and other ornamentation to fancify an otherwise mundane commodity. We built an e-commerce site for her client, Karen Gray, one of the first small business entrepreneurs to do so, way back in the nascent beginnings of the internet age.
Our second client, iPurse, was much the same type of project. With beaded bags that could be carried, slung over a shoulder, or hung around the neck, iPurse was designed to carry a phone, or wallet, keys and a cosmetic or two, without incurring the heavy overhead of a big handbag. Dreamed up by Jocelyn Stoller, the iPurse had a brief, but bright, marketing push online. The site was built with ShopSmart, a proprietary e-commerce solution that needed to be compiled on the host server. A royal pain to code, it nonetheless looked great when we were done.
As a creative art director, I have relied on James for several decades in so many areas. He is the equivalent of the greatest design handyman on the planet, who can make and fix just about anything. Another true description would be my company’s “Life-Saver-In-Chief”. I recall he was the first person at Ross Roy Advertising who had a computer in his office on the creative floor. He not only was an innovator then, but tirelessly has stayed on top of every upgrade in the land of digital design. Tech skills aside, he is a brilliant art director and photographer in his own right. I am no slouch myself in the land of art direction and, I set the bar high to achieve the very best results for my clients. There is no way many of my projects, including web design, advertising, and buckets of collateral materials would have reached a level of excellence without James’ input and finesse.
I have purchased many of his photographs for my personal art collection and, have thrilled friends and family giving his work to them as gifts. He brings genuine thoughtfulness and elegance to his work, which is just enhanced by his innate curiousity. He has also photographed many things for my commercial accounts. It doesn’t matter what I throw at him. He solves it, but in a collaborative fashion. An important thing to know about hiring James is that he is reliable. His estimates, billing and time frames are fair and understandable. Lastly, he is patient. calm. and fun to work with – even in a pinch. I have the will to write a book and, James can guide me through getting it published! At the end of the day, James delivers a trusting, professional partnership.
Maureen Barron, President
Prairie Creative Unlimited, Inc.
Maureen and I have worked on a lot of other projects as well, from single-shot freebies, to multi-ad campaigns. I often manage back-end production for her, whether in Photoshop or InDesign or Illustrator, creating magic behind the scenes. I’ve also shot photography for her: products as well as food images. See the CityGate Grille page for more detail on that project.