Project Description

Graphic Label, Inc. (GLi) is a family-owned business based in Yakima, Washington, and serving the whole West Coast. GLi works with produce, fruit and food processing warehouses, providing equipment and software solutions, labels and tags to ensure the fruit and produce we buy is clearly labeled and clearly tracked from the field or farm to our neighborhood store.

They deal in sticky labels, messy ink, sophisticated equipment, and complex software—all while working in the busy, fluctuating produce industry. I love the work of GLi. First, because they make sure sweet little peaches make it safely to my home in Seattle. Second, because they are based in my hometown. And third, because GLi is run by my parents. Yes, GLi is the family business I grew up with!

The work

When my parents began to look at expanding markets and growing their business through new technologies and strategies, family conversations shifted to marketing and image. GLi had an old website. They had little marketing strategy and frankly, for the last 18 years they hadn’t needed one. They provide a solid product with exceptional service and they are known for this throughout the industry. But even when you have a sterling reputation, when you move to broaden both your services and your market, you have to be able to represent yourself well in the expanded marketplace before people get to know you. We decided to work together, one family business working with the other.

First, I facilitated a marketing revamp. Now, GLi has a well built website (thanks Enigma), new messaging, clear videos describing their products (thanks to my friends at Nonfiction Media) and solid customer testimonials. The marketing work I do for GLi continues, and at the same time I am taking on new project management responsibilities for them.

Next, I managed a systems, procedure and organizational culture rework. I had the pleasure of meeting with GLi’s various teams. We developed new procedures and systems that increased efficiency within the organization, while assuring that everyone is on the same page about their roles and tasks. The process involved a great deal of collaboration, teamwork and problem solving, and GLi excels at this.

Often, I am asked what it is like to work with my parents. It is a great joy to work with people I know incredibly well and to support them in growing a business I am proud of. It is also a special sort of challenge working with your own family, especially when you are responsible for developing strategy and giving feedback. This work has taught me when to stand firm in my encouragement of a change in systems, and how to support every client—parent or not—in finding their own solution to complex problems. When client and consultant work together the way GLi and I do, the finished project is a success.

What GLi has to say about working together

“The way Annie facilitates meetings is excellent. She would help us figure out what we needed with a positive energy that you just don’t see every day. In meetings, Annie provided a great balance; she would help us stick to the task while allowing people to express themselves so each opinion and recommendation could be heard. This led to a lot of synergy which helped us drill-down on some key issues resulting in excellent solutions that worked well for the various teams involved.”

~Tye Walker, Customer Service, GLi

“Annie brings a positive outlook, she reminds us that we have more in common than we do different.  She draws us back to what we are working on without people ever feeling shut down. Annie kept us moving in the right direction and focused on a goal so we could accomplish what we set out to do.”

~ Kim Reeves, Customer Service, GLi