Unexpected Bliss + the Art Box
We here at Skratch Labs are inspired by human performance and the unexpected bliss we all find in reaching our ultimate potential (even when it comes in the form of a beautiful cardboard box.)
When we first started Skratch Labs, it’s pretty fair to say that we didn’t know much about running a business. As an example, before we had a good read on the ebb and flow of sales, our warehouse staff would often find themselves in small voids without much to do. Their boards were out, but they had nothing to surf.
As a way to pass the time between waves, our staff would doodle on the cardboard boxes going out to customers – drawing funny pictures and writing personal notes – activities that, for the most part, could largely be categorized as little more than just messing around. It wasn’t exactly a productive use of time, but it seemed better than letting someone off in the middle of the day because we were ignorant about how to manage our shipping process.
To our surprise, however, those little doodles and notes brought a lot of delight to our customers, which in turn got our entire team stoked. The joy was contagious and for us it was an invaluable lesson that an order slip wasn’t just a transaction, it was a human interaction – one that we found we could sprinkle with a little bit of happiness, for both our customers and ourselves. We found real purpose in it. It made packing a box, more than just packing a box.
Unfortunately, as we grew and those periods of downtime began to disappear, we had less time for box art. It’s a change that has been vexing us for a while now. Like most small business and like most of life’s excuses, we just don’t have the time anymore. But, maybe it’s not about the time we’ve given up. Maybe, this change means we can lend some of our voice to those looking for a way to bring unexpected bliss to others.
While, we primarily sponsor athletes who use our products, the inspiration we derive from doing so isn’t different than the inspiration we get when we see a beautiful piece of art or hear an incredible song. We exist because we want to help people realize their personal potential. We are inspired by human performance. The medium doesn’t matter.
It was with this in mind that we reached out to Haley Midzor, a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. While she did the “responsible” thing in college and studied finance, she wasn’t posting spreadsheets on her Instagram account (@yappyartz). She was posting drawings. And these drawings inspired us. So we asked if she’d draw for us and write us an essay about what inspired her. I think she thought we were a little crazy for asking, but 50 boxes later, she discovered that she’d rather be an artist than an accountant.
It’s a discovery that we’d now like to share with you. Albeit small, maybe some of this attention will help her. Give her a follow. Additionally, we decided to randomly ship out 50 online orders packed in boxes illustrated by Haley. Our hope is that maybe one day a Skratch Labs’ customer will be able to boast that they unexpectedly received a Haley Midzor original before anyone else knew her name. We think that’s worth supporting. We’d like to think there are more artists out there we can support as well.
Unexpected Bliss by Haley Midzor
What do Hershey’s Kisses, The Jackson 5, Mickey Mouse, and YouTube all have in common? Each of these overwhelmingly beloved icons made their debut on the most dreaded day of the week: Monday.
Mondays are riddled with expectation, as are most things in life. When we expect a day to be unpleasant, even the smallest kindness can feel like a miracle and visa versa. Analyzing and interpreting the ways in which expectation functions in our daily lives helps explain many mysteries, like why finding inspiration is complicated, and why unconventional artistic displays often induce more energy and creativity than customary ones. Interpreting expectations' piece in the human happiness puzzle may even increase our understanding of interpersonal connection.
When I am most hungry for inspiration, my ravenous and often desperate scavenging is often fruitless. When we search, we expect to find something; but as many will agree, the most compelling inspiration discovery takes place when we stop looking. Arguably, inspiration is best left to spontaneity. Have you ever experienced the inexplicable phenomenon that takes place when something becomes lost? Somehow, the item becomes mysteriously invisible when it most urgently needs to be found. When we lose something, we remember how to look but we forget how to see. To find inspiration we must not only let go of expectation, but also open our minds to seeing.
“To find inspiration, we must not only let go of expectation, but also open our mind to seeing.”
I believe these factors- expectation and in part open mindedness- explain why unconventional art is so inspiring. People spend hours in art museums gawking at canvases draped from white walls, awkwardly trying to absorb creativity from dried paint, when they might be better off perusing a city alleyway. Art is constantly evolving; as are the ways we share it. Recently, I opened a pack of spearmint and etched inside was a tiny doodle and quote strategically placed behind the rows of aluminum. Art is expected in a museum, not hidden inside a pack of minty fresh breath. We are more inclined to appreciate a bizarre hidden gem, like a wiry copper unicorn in the middle of the desert, than an exhibit in a museum, because the prior exceeds expectations.
Contrary to popular belief, Monday is no better or worse than any other day of the week. Monday can be ordinary or exceptional, sweet or sour, filled with happy or raining with sad. It is our expectation that dictates perception. Expectation is neither good nor bad; however, examining the relationship between expectation, perception, and even reflection can help answer fascinating questions or, at least, provide new lenses with which to perceive experience. From expectation comes the unexpected, the true hero of this story. So let us celebrate astonishment! May artists continue to make and share novel creations. May we spend less time looking and more time seeing. May we continue to surprise one other and may we never stop surprising ourselves. Cheers to life’s surprises for intriguing, inspiring, and connecting us in extraordinary ways.