Meet James: A Night Out With Queensboro at Projekte Gallery & Lounge

When you ask any Queensboro employee what their favorite part of working here is, don’t be surprised if every single employee says:

“My co-workers.”

Perhaps it’s because we’re located in Wilmington, one of the most southern points of coastal North Carolina. The staff at Queensboro lives and breathes southern hospitality.

It was the same respect and support for our fellow co-workers that brought many of us to Projekte Gallery & Lounge, an art gallery, lounge, and furniture store for an art exhibit.

Projekte in Downtown Wilmington

As the surprisingly large crowd formed at Projekte, many familiar faces from Queensboro emerged. Staff members from customer service, marketing and IT came out for one simple reason- to support James Stirling. James, a multi-talented logo specialist at QB, was one of the artists featured at the exhibit.

(From Left) Mike from IT, James, the featured artist, Melissa from Marketing, Claire from Customer Service and Jenn from Marketing enjoy the artwork at Projekte.

(From Left) Mike from IT, James, the featured artist, Melissa from Marketing, Claire from Customer Service and Jenn from Marketing enjoy the artwork at Projekte.

It’s embedded in our company culture that every employee is ambitious, hard-working, and incredibly creative. Queensboro consists of nearly 150 employees with various talents and experience.  For most of us, it’s another fantastic part of working here.

“I truly enjoyed seeing one of our artists’ really unleash his talents,” remarked Claire Becker, our Customer Service Manager.  “It is always surprising to me to see the gold mine of artistic creativity we have here at Queensboro.”

Custom Tees by James, our logo specialist.

Custom Tees by James, our logo specialist.

She’s right- all of our employees, especially our logo specialists, are exceptionally artistic. On this particular night, James was displaying (and selling) his personal line of custom t-shirts. The shirts feature incredibly detailed and imaginative portrayals of a tree, a man’s hand, and even a colorful squid.

“The shirts were so imaginative, and also, really very familiar,” commented Melissa Weidenborner from Marketing, “I realized it was because I’ve seen my co-workers wearing them around the office. I think that’s awesome.”

Custom Tree Tee

Custom Tree Tee

So what inspired these whimsical tees? According to James, the tees give his creations direction, noting that as an artist, he feels as if his illustrations need a purpose. James attributes the choice to use t-shirts to his fondness for concert tees.

“When you put on a t-shirt, you are making a statement about yourself,” James explains.

By James Stirling

By James Stirling

As for the actual process of drawing, James has a unique and compelling approach. The method James uses for sketching, cross-hatching,  is a technique using parallel and intersecting lines. It creates a shadowing effect that’s present in nearly all of his t-shirts.

Squid Tee

Squid Tee

Call Me ‘Lhu, the squid tee, is his favorite.

“I did this piece in a real interesting period in my life and it evokes a lot of negative and positive emotions for me,” James admits. “It took me the longest out of any of the designs, so I feel the closest connection to it.”

Close friend and co-worker Mike Kelsey, who was present at Projekte, calls his friend’s  creativity “enormous”.

“Gnarr by James Stirling”

“It pours out of him in these unique, captivating ways in each artistic endeavor I’ve seen him undertake, regardless of category,” said Mike, who’s also in a band (I, Like You) with James. “I almost feel like I’m as likely to find him making some fascinating sculpture with a chainsaw and a tree stump as I am to find him designing a thought-provoking t-shirt.”

Most attendees at the gallery would agree. In addition to having a large turnout at Projekte, James was pleased to also sell a good number of his custom shirts. Although James is in it for the art, he admits that it “feels good” when people take the time to appreciate it.

“I do art to keep from going insane, getting my stuff noticed is just a bonus. Now that I work at Queensboro, it just seemed silly to not try to do my prints on t-shirts.”

Want a James Stirling original?

Head on over to his online storefront! You can also ‘Like’ his work on Facebook.

Want to design your own custom tees?

Head on over to ZapTee to make it happen!

Consider Logo Apparel: Signs That Your Employees Need to Stop Wearing Jeans

The days of freshly pressed button down shirts seem to be over. Over the past decade, there’s been a steady increase in casual dress codes. Taking cues from employee gratification powerhouses such as Google, grocery chain Wegmans, and online apparel retailer Zappos.com, companies become motivated to offer better benefits and perks.

However, most companies don’t have access to lush perks such as exclusive health programs (Wegmans), yoga classes (Zappos), and a private bowling alleys (Google). To satisfy current employees and appeal to new talent, companies have settled on additional vacation time, better pay, and of course, a casual dress code.

In theory, casual dress is a great way to keep employees happy. Customers find it easier to relate to the staff. Overall, the company looks “cooler” and more innovative by allowing their staff to dress down. But as some companies have learned, casual dress code can actually hinder productivity within the workplace. Are staff members becoming cliquey or confrontational? Has there been an increase in tardiness and sick days? If so, it may be time to switch over to corporate logo apparel- custom polos, button-downs and cardigans that will remind employees they’re at work.

Here are some tell tale signs that your employees need to ditch the sneakers, t-shirts and baseball caps:

  • Staff members become invisible . For physical storefronts, casual dress can actually perplex customers. As many khaki and red shirt wearers have learned after shopping at Target, it’s hard to locate employees if they’re not in a company uniform. If more customers are asking, “Do you work here?” to your staff, it may be time to re-evaluate your dress code.
  • Employee cliques rival ‘Mean Girls’. This is a serious disadvantage of casual attire. Interoffice cliques may be created, encouraging employees to set boundaries and put up walls against staff that aren’t a part of their group. It effects the company as a whole, and hurts the potential for two unlikely friends to become great co-workers. Staff may also feel uncomfortable approaching co-workers they’re assigned to work with.
  • Your secretary is wearing sweatpants. One of the disadvantages of a casual dress code is deciding where to draw the line. Without predetermined limits, you may find your staff wandering into the hazy, grey area of over-sized sweatpants, too-tight tank tops, and ancient t-shirts. It’s impossible to track what every employee wears every day, so criticism for the occasional Croc wearing employee may not fare well.  Establish where the line is, or you may find yourself considering formal work uniforms.
  • Desks and common areas are cluttered with dirty dishes. When the office becomes routinely messy, look no further than too comfy casual wear. Casual dress may make your staff feel like they’re working from home. Subconsciously, their behavior at work begins to reflect their behavior at home. It’ll become more difficult to stay organized, and visiting clients may be put off by the mess.
  • No one, or everyone, is in charge. We’ve all heard the popular saying, “dress for the job you want, not that job you have,”. What happens when a person in a higher position is wearing converse sneakers- but so are you? Employees who are dressed similarly to their supervisors are likely to see them as a friend, instead of a manager. New employees will find it difficult to distinguish who calls the shots— leading to dissatisfaction in the workplace.  Creating separate dress codes- such as custom polos for customer service and button downs for managers–will help draw a line.
  • Your sales manager keeps watching ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’. Another popular trend in corporate America is allowing Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to be accessible from work. A casual approach in dress, combined with permission to surf the social media world may lead to serious slacking. When your employee primarily uses social media to socialize or watch funny videos, you may have a problem.
  • Employees start seeing green. When you start to overhear conversations regarding low pay, casual attire may be to blame. When employees can wear whatever they want, it becomes more apparent who has extra money- and who doesn’t. If sales associate Peggy notices that sales associate Gina has a cashmere sweater for every day of the week, expect there to be some envy. Poor work performance can come from employees who don’t feel their work is being valued.
  • Employees and clients meet up for margaritas. It’s good to have positive interactions with clients. However, if you start to notice that your employees are a little too friendly with customers, casual dress may be to blame. There’s a psychological connection between how you dress and how you act, so although your graphic designer is more relaxed in jeans, they may become a bit too casual. Becoming friends with customers may increase brand loyalty, but can also backfire if employees start sharing confidential information.
  • Two hour lunches become the norm. Touching on that theory again- how you dress and how you act- casual clothing causes casual behavior. Employees may begin to take a more carefree approach to the workday. When you start to see staff taking longer lunches or procrastinating, casual attire may be your culprit.
  • New clients never come back. Ever have a client come in for a meeting, only to never be heard from again? Consider the possibility that some customers prefer formal dress. Jeans, sneakers and t-shirts don’t exactly promote professionalism and productivity. Your customer may have given their business to a competitor who instead of a Grateful Dead t-shirt, is wearing a tie.

Considering a staff makeover? We want to hear about it! Send us a tweet @QueensboroShirt regarding your corporate apparel.

Don’t Fall Victim To The Mid-Week Blues

It’s happened to everyone. You start the week off strong, then hit a brick wall around Wednesday or Thursday. Even at Queensboro, we find ourselves looking for ways to recharge during the week. Instead of falling victim to the procrastination or slower productivity, try some of our techniques to beat the midweek blues:

Nature Walk

Nature Walk by eah719 via Flickr

  • Take a walk: Instead of heading to the break room at lunch, try taking a walk outside. Fresh air will help calm and relax you, gearing you up for another few days at the office. Even a brisk, five minute walk will help clear your head.
Avocados

Avocados by ollesvensson via Flickr

  • Eat Super Snacks: We’ve all heard of the phrase, “super foods”, but what does it actually mean? Foods like blueberries, tea, yogurt and avocado are nutrition packed snacks that contribute to helping your memory and  increasing your energy levels.
Doodle by EvanHahn via Flickr

Doodle by EvanHahn via Flickr

  • Doodle: Stressed? Doodle it out. On your lunch break, doodle around on a notepad. Drawing helps increase your concentration, as well as improving your memory. If drawing isn’t your style, try a crossword puzzle.
Unplugged

Unplugged by Gabriel Rocha via Flickr

  • Unplug Entirely: Phones and tablets are a popular choice for distracting yourself. Take a break from staring at a screen, and try reading a book or magazine instead. You’ll feel energized and excited to go back to your computer.
Earbuds by p_a_h via Flickr

Earbuds by p_a_h via Flickr

  • If You Must Listen, Listen to This: If you’re addicted to your iPod, keep in mind that your song choice definitely contributes to your mood. Sad, depressing music will not energize you. Try upbeat pop songs, or powerful, enthusiastic rock. Switch it up a bit and try listening to a comedian or book on tape. You’ll feel a lot better- save the moody tunes for home.
Thanks

Thank You Notes by Meddy Garrett via Flickr

  • Take Time for Co-Workers: Instead of feeling stressed by co-workers, take a minute or two to appreciate them. Congratulate them on a recent job well done, or ask if they need assistance with a project. Focusing on their good qualities goes a long way, especially when you choose to pay them a compliment. Remember- honey, not vinegar.

How do you unwind during the week? We want to hear about it! Send us a tweet @QueensboroShirt. You could be featured in an upcoming article by Queensboro!

Administrative Professionals lauded all this week; reward their unique contributions

Wilmington, N.C.  -

Seems like all workers these days are wearing – and juggling – more hats. And, the team one works with is more important than ever before. You know how it feels, right?  When a team is clicking, it feels like one organism with many heads, and arms – all working seamlessly together – in harmony.

Teamwork: Harmony in the Workplace

Often, it’s that support person in your office who actually seems to exude peace. They’re literally bubbling over and  make all the difference in the world in keeping you pumped and positive all day. I can think of several of people that fit that description – as I sit here.

Today is Administrative Professional Day.

There are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles.

The  International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) has declared this year’s theme as :”Celebrate All Office Professionals!”

For the first time, the IAAP is veering away from the traditional celebration of the day which is centered on administrative professionals. As the IAAP states: “The recession has hit everyone in the office. Downsizing has forced all of us to pull together and work harder, not just the administrative professionals in the workplace. The IAAP recognizes the hard work and sacrifice from everyone.”

Job Titles – and Job Responsibilities – Have Changed Over the Years

Since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals has honored office workers by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week. Today, it is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.

In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.

Over the years, Administrative Professionals Week (APW) has become one of the largest workplace observances. The event is celebrated worldwide, bringing together millions of people for community events, educational seminars and individual corporate activities recognizing support staff.

APW is always the last full week in April. In 2011, Administrative Professionals Week is April 24-30 – with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 27 (today!).

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One Stop Shop

Did you know that the Queensboro Shirt Company offers promotional and gift items – such as the latest pens, mugs, coozies, desk products, and tech accessories – with a low 25-piece minimum?

Our journals are also top sellers. All of these items can be imprinted with your logo – and given to your staff as a “thank you” — or to customers. The coozies are also great for trade shows during the summer.