Wall Calendars: How a Photographer Built a Big Bird Business
| Posted on 10/18/22

Wall Calendars: How a Photographer Built a Big Bird Business

When you think of wall calendars, images of floral landscapes or coastal lighthouses immediately come to mind. But chickens? Posing with their owners dressed to match? See how photographer Danielle Brock thinks outside the coop and honors these duos with humor on every page of her Chicken Daddies Saddle Stitch Calendars. (Oh, and cat lovers? She’s got one for you, too!)

Four Chicken Daddies wall calendars laying open to different months.
Saddle stitch calendars open to different months.

Pet Project

In January 2021, Brock’s Chicken Daddies went from social media to small business thanks to the #TargetDressChallenge. This viral internet trend put an unexpected twist on photography from the depression era, where women would pose in prairie-style dresses with animals on their farm.

 

“I asked my partner if he’d put on one of the dresses and pose with our chickens,” said Brock. “Without even flinching, he agreed! We did an entire photoshoot in our backyard with many different farm and homesteading props.”

 

With 10 years of photography experience and childhood memories of fine feathered friends, Brock sent out the cluck call to her local chicken social media groups for men willing to help bring her “Farm Dress Edition” calendar to life.

“I had so much fun with it, I decided to create an alternate version called the ‘Daisy Dukes Edition’ – that’s when things truly went viral,” Brock said. “It was featured on various media and news outlets and men across the world wanted to be part of these playful calendars.”

 

For Brock, it’s those men who really add the heart to the hen house. “The priority is the story of the man in each photograph,” she said. Hand-selected from thousands of applicants, “each man supports a cause or has a special story and I commemorate them for the calendars.”

 

Hint: Not sure which calendar format is for you? Check out all of your options for custom calendar printing: 365: How to Choose Binding, Paper & Finishes for Calendar Printing.

Three wall calendars in a row, with two hands holding the one in the middle.

SADDLE STITCH CALENDARS: 100# COATED MATTE WHITE COVER WITH 100# COATED MATTE WHITE TEXT INTERIOR PAGES, 3 VERSIONS, 11 X 8.5″

Free-Range Features

To print her wall calendars, Brock turned to Smartpress and our vast online printing services. With Saddle Stitch Calendars, Brock had her pick of the litter (er, flock… ), with premium paper stocks, cover and text weights, UV coatings and Soft Touch laminate. Not to mention essential drilling options for convenient hanging in any space.

 

While Brock chose the ever-popular coated matte – white stock for her cover and interior pages, it was our Versions feature that simplified the ordering process for her custom calendars. With it, she was able to print multiple calendars with different content or themes at the same time. (Hear her talk more about it in the Q&A below.)

 

And since Smartpress is an online printing shop that does it all, Brock was able to create the whole calendar package with a sturdy chipboard in each one and shrink wrap for easy shipping. With shrink wrap options for individual pieces or bundles, it’s a no-brainer for retailers and resellers.

 

Hint: Have questions? See how easy it is to print calendars online: Calendar Printing FAQ.

 

 

I couldn’t believe how amazing the colors translated – they look amazing!”

 

 

Q&A

Before designing your own calendars for online printing, take a deep dive into Brock’s experience with Smartpress.


You printed three versions of your 2023 calendar. Why did you decide to shoot two different types of Chicken Daddies and what inspired Chonk Daddies?
Danielle Brock: “The idea behind having two different Chicken Daddies calendar themes is that one version is a little more conservative and can be hung up in Grandma’s house. The other version shows a little more skin and is a bit more outrageous for those who prefer that.

 

“Chonk Daddies was inspired by my other favorite pet animal, cats. I also wanted to hit a different market. I wanted Chonk Daddies to feel completely different from Chicken Daddies, in that it was entirely wholesome. I then decided to make Chonk Daddies feel like Grandma’s house using the clothing and decor. Each Cat Dad and kitty are doing wholesome activities together in each spread.”

Why do you use Smartpress’ Versions feature when ordering your custom calendars?
“I use it because it equals savings. The higher quantity of calendars you order, the lower the cost of each calendar. With Versions, you don’t have to check out each different calendar separately. Instead, you can order them altogether and get more savings on your order.”

 

How do you feel color has been depicted in your wall calendars? Is it a true translation?
“My initial fear when first ordering the calendars was that the colors would not translate properly. As a photographer who color corrects her own photos, I’m extremely picky about having the colors be true and vivid. When I first received the calendars, I couldn’t believe how amazing the colors translated – they look amazing!”

A stack of 10 calendars with saddle stitched binding.

Four calendars open to different months laid on top of each other.

 

 

 

“Flipping the pages represents a change in the season, which is a beautiful and refreshing thing.”

 

 

Tell us about the relationship you have with your Account Executive.
“Calleigh is there for me whenever I have any questions at all and she is very quick to respond. She’s great with giving Custom Quotes and timeline advice.”

 

What feedback have you received from your customers?
“People seem to be in love with the concept! I’ve heard that these have been the best gifts they’ve ever received – no joke! Customers have told me that it gives them a smile every day. People who see it hanging in their home or office love to flip through the pages. It’s a great conversation piece.”

 

What impressed you most about the final products?
“They are extremely high quality! The colors are beautiful and the paper is nice and sturdy. I knew I wanted my calendars to not only have wonderful photos, but also be of the highest quality. Many of my customers have commented on this as well.”

What impresses you most about an online printer like Smartpress?
“The quality and the pricing are unbeatable. I have appreciated the great customer support from my Account Executive, Calleigh, too.”

 

Why are printed calendars still a viable medium in today’s digital age?
“I’ve heard many comments that the Chicken Daddies calendars are something customers didn’t know they needed. Most people these days use the calendar on their electronic device. However, humorous calendars will always be a staple.

 

“I’ve discovered a series of images can be much more powerful than just one image. It tells a story. I’m not even really sure it’s about the calendar grid itself. And flipping the pages represents a change in the season, which is a beautiful and refreshing thing.”

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