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If you happen to live next door to an Adventist, or work in an Adventist institution, there’s a good chance that the laughs coming from the other side of the wall are being caused by the release of the 2012 wall calendar from the group at 1844. Best known for their Adventist-themed T-shirts which debuted in the fall of 2008, the creative minds at 1844 have branched out into the print market this holiday season.
“While T-shirts are the bread and butter that got us started, this calendar has allowed us to do justice to many of the jokes that just translated much better to paper instead of cotton.” said Danny DuBosque, one of the founding members of 1844. DuBosque is joined by co-founder and cousin Jonathan Natiuk, who does product and web design, social media management, and who has been both a driving force and sounding board for the products you see today. “The 1844 Calender is a great way to pack a lot of laughs into one product.” said Natiuk. “You’ve heard of the Advent calendar right? Well, we wanted people to have an Adventist Calendar this Christmas! Although, sadly, we couldn’t figure out how to put any chocolate into ours.”
The project would not have come together though without their newest partner, Tim Putt, (like Alexander Carpenter, a graduate of Andrews University). “Tim, was really the creative brains behind the layout, photography, and the aesthetics of the calendar.” said DuBosque. “Without him there would be no way this project would be gracing walls this year.”
“While developing the calendar and the concepts in it, we were forced to create some kind of standard for evaluation. This lead us to form our new mission statement.” said DuBosque. “The mission statement affirms our belief that God does indeed have a great sense of humor and has blessed us with the joy of sharing laughs—even if we’re the target of our own jokes. However, our mission also makes it clear that we don’t ever target our core beliefs or people. We’re sticking to the non-doctrinal stuff.”
According to the team, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Their favorite quote comes from Dr. Mansfield Edwards, president of the Ontario Conference. While looking at the website, he exclaimed to his assistant, “Get me one of those!” Natiuk says that one of the most enjoyable things about the whole project (other than orders, of course) has been watching the comments fly back and forth on facebook. “My favorite comment was someone thanking us for finally laughing at some things that non-Adventists might find weird. They felt that by laughing at it, we’re showing others that we acknowledge that we’re a bit different and that’s okay. In fact, it might actually make us seem more approachable instead of exclusive.”
Natiuk added, “But, as we expected, there are some who don’t appreciate this line of humor, and they’ve let us know about it. We sincerely appreciate the feedback and we do take note of it. We also realize that we’re never going to please everyone, especially in this line of work.”
One of the opportunities that gets DuBosque excited is the fund-raising opportunity. “We think that the calendar is a pretty easy sell, especially this time of year. So we’ll offer wholesale pricing to groups interested in reselling at retail, and keeping the difference.”
So, will there be a calendar next year? DuBosque says that all signs are pointing to yes. And, that he hopes to have it done earlier in the year to allow more fundraising opportunities.
Overall, the team figures they had more fun making the calendar than most people will have reading it. Natiuk added, “We need to give a huge thank you to everyone that helped us put it together. In particular, our families were a huge help and so was the focus group that gave us their feedback on a beta version of the calendar.”