New for 2021 – Product Photography

New for 2021 – Product Photography

New for Fall – Part 1

It seems fitting that for Labor Day we have a big announcement to make!

We’re thrilled to announce the first of several new services that Trillium is offering, new for 2021. We’ve worked with several estate sales, auction houses, and an Etsy shop over the past few years and have honed our product photography skills and want to share with you. Making the product as beautiful as possible is the key to a quick sale and we’re here to help.

Click here for the full portfolio

Our New Solar Trackers!

Our New Solar Trackers!

Go big or go home

We’re pleased to announce that we now have a 12 Kilowatt DC Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Tracker System from Solaflect Energy in Norwich Vermont. Solar Trackers follow the sun, allowing our solar panels to generate 40% more power than fixed installations. This system should provide all of Trillium’s power needs for the next 30+ years, offset 39 tons of carbon emissions, and save us over $275 per month.  Besides the economic advantages of adopting renewable energy, there is the environmental aspect.

Vermont’s climate looks more and more like that of our neighbors to the south. Over the last 50 years, our summers are 2.3, and our winters 5.2 degrees warmer. It may not feel like that during a frigid cold snap, but our winter mean temp has risen from 18 to 23 degrees in the last 5 decades. Lilacs bloom 17 days earlier and there are 40 fewer days of ice in local ponds each winter.
By directly tracking the sun all day, the Tracker captures approximately 40% more solar energy than solar panels mounted on a fixed surface – like a rooftop or fixed panels on the ground – which miss a good deal of morning and afternoon sun, particularly on long summer days. A Tracker uses fewer solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as panels on a roof – e.g., 16 solar panels on a Tracker is the equivalent of at least 23 and as many as 30 panels on a roof.
The ability to shed snow quickly is also an important feature here in New England, as rooftop solar loses 12%-15% of its production per year from snow cover. A Tracker is pitched steeply all winter as it is pointed right at the sun – which is low in the sky through its winter trajectory – so snow slides off quickly. The Tracker also “sleeps” vertical at night, meaning gravity takes care of any remaining snow.
Solar Trackers Solar TrackersSolar Trackers sunset
In Memoriam – Joe Slade White

In Memoriam – Joe Slade White

In my previous life working in NYC in video production from the late ’80s to mid ’90s, I had the honor of working with legendary political consultant Joe Slade White. He used our audio engineers and editors almost exclusively during the campaign season.

There was one particular campaign where his candidate was a newcomer running against a popular incumbent, and Joe had to come up with something really groundbreaking, and of course, he did. I had the honor of running Chryon for this spot, called “Bodyguard”. The animated text was my contribution.

The spot worked, and our candidate won, and Joe would win a “Pollie” (Best Political Ad) for it.

Later on, the BBC came to New York to interview Joe about this ad that had ousted the incumbent, and although you can only see the editor Steve in the edit room portion, I was there when it was shot!

Here’s another story by CNN talking about how important the right voice is in political ads. Joe always worked with the also-legendary voice actor Alan Bleviss, whose incredible voice could be heard on everything from movie trailers to national commercials and of course, Joe Slade White political ads. He was known as “The Voice of God” and if you ever heard him you would know why. It was a great day when Alan came down after finishing an audio session to our edit suite to visit with Joe. I was truly in the company of giants.

And here’s one last of Joe’s favorites – we used the footage to make several different spots, but this long-form version made in 1992 is one of only 2 spots from that era still on his highlight reel today, and I’m honored to have been a part of it.

A veteran of over 400 political campaigns, Joe Slade White is recognized by consultants and candidates of both parties as one of the most creative television consultants in the country. He has served as Vice President Joe Biden’s media consultant for over 20 years. He has won more “Pollies” for excellence in television (called the “Oscars of politics” by Esquire Magazine) than any other consultant, and in 2014 his peers named Joe Slade White “Democratic Strategist of the Year”.

Working with Joe in NYC in the early 90’s was one of the highlights of my career. I am honored that both the “Bodyguard” and the Ben Nighthorse Campbell “Bio” spots are in Joe’s highlight reel on YouTube, and am thrilled to see this BBC story on him. It’s amazing to me that even these (very old and not nearly as slick as ads by today’s standards) are still considered among his favorites after all these years.

I am so very saddened to learn that Joe passed away in May. He was still working right up to the end.

Rest in Peace, Joe, and thanks. 💜

Big News! Barleywine and Trillium have merged!

Big News! Barleywine and Trillium have merged!

Trillium Digital creative marketing strategyWe have a major announcement  – after nine years of peacefully co-existing, Trillium Digital and Barleywine Graphics are officially merged into one single company – Trillium Digital Marketing. We’ve actually been operating this way for years but have had separate websites and business cards all this time, and since we’ve been rebuilding the website(s) from scratch all autumn this seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine our services and years of experience into one entity! The major difference is the lack of the original Trillium team members who have gone off to bigger and better things (congratulations to Steve and Reid and thanks for everything!). It’s going to be emotionally difficult to give up the Barleywine Graphics name after 23 years but it’s finally time for it to retire. If you’re up for a little light reading check out my TL/DR Not-so-short History of Barleywine post. I got a new scanner last summer and was able to scan a ton of photos from our earliest days as an herb farm and serious nostalgia set in…

You also might notice the refresh of our Trillium logo to match our fresh new website, and as part of the website merger, I’ve combined much of the content from both of the old sites and now have a long history of blog posts going way back to the beginning of blogging!

We are thrilled to announce that Barleywine Graphics has officially merged with Trillium Digital. We have been working together for many years now, and it made sense to combine our services and years of experience into one entity.

And equally big news – I’m excited to announce my new Photography business, Melissa Snyder Photography! After taking photos of the beauty that surrounds me for over 20 years, I finally decided to officially share them with the world. Head on over to my new site to check it out.

Rest in Peace, Barleywine Graphics!


Five Don’ts for Marketing in Tough Times

Five Don’ts for Marketing in Tough Times

Our partner Reid Greenberg posted this way back in 2010 but I think in these dark times it is still very good advice.

1. Be smart and thrifty, but don’t panic. This, too, shall pass.

Economies go through cycles of expansion and contraction. It’s what we all learned in college economics courses (back then, of course, we weren’t really paying attention). The trouble is, while academics can pontificate on the cyclical economy, real business people have to live through difficult economic events. We love the expansionary times, but the contractions can be painful. If you’re smart, you’ve managed your balance sheet well and can ride out a period of slow or no growth. If not, you may have to make some cuts. Just be careful to trim fat and avoid cutting muscle as much as possible.

2. Marketing is muscle, not fat. Be careful about cutting it.

Just as the savviest investors view down markets as a time to buy when everybody else is selling, the savviest marketers know recessions are a great time to pick up market share. They understand that by maintaining their budgets (or even increasing them) they may not come out ahead during the down times, but they can pick up market share that will pay off in the long run. Marketing dollars in a recession are like oxygen on Mt. Everest—the less there is in the surrounding environment, the more valuable the amount you possess becomes. Cutting your marketing spending is a sure way to give ground to competitors who may be more aggressive during the downturn.

3. Don’t lose focus by chasing business you wouldn’t normally want.

When clients and customers get nervous about the economy, they cut back their spending. For you that could mean fewer transactions, smaller purchases, or possibly both. But if you try to broaden your core product or service appeal to please a wider audience, chances are you’ll make your best customers even less satisfied, giving them one more reason to stay home or spend less. There’s a reason you don’t pursue certain types of customers when times are good, and that reason probably hasn’t changed. Do your best to stick to your knitting and enhance the value you provide to your best customers. They may decide to make their cutbacks in areas other than yours.

4. Don’t discount.

It’s easy to rationalize discounting during a downturn, for your company’s sake (“it helps to drive business”) as well as for the sake of your customers (“they’re struggling and need the help”). But whether times are good or bad, discounting your price discounts your product (, 4/14/08) in the eyes of your customers. There was a time in the 1990s when McDonald’s (MCD) and Burger King (BKC) put their Big Macs and Whoppers on sale so often that they trained their customers never to pay full price. That created a margin problem from which it took them years to recover. If you need to make your products more affordable (to generate volume, goodwill, or both), do so carefully and deliberately. But lower the price instead of offering a discount.

5. Don’t neglect the elephant in the room.

We live in a 24-hour information cycle. When news breaks, people know it, and economic news breaks every day. You don’t have to be an economist to know the business environment isn’t in the best shape right now, and the point is brought home to your people in a personal way every time they go to the grocery store or fill up their gas tanks. Even if your company’s revenues have held up, your employees know there’s trouble afoot and they’re nervous. Make sure they know you’re on top of things and have a plan.

There’s no telling what lies ahead over the next several months. We may pull out of our economic rut more quickly than anticipated, or we may be in for a prolonged rough ride. But clients and customers will still need to eat. They still need transportation. They still seek entertainment, clothing, vacations, chain saws, pet food, perfume, office supplies, computer servers, tractors, and machinery. As the market tightens up, the best positioned players will survive and thrive. Avoid the mistakes above and you’re more likely to be one of them.