Happy New Year 2013

never give up

I love the turning of the new year,  it gives me time to pause and assess what I’ve accomplished and allows me to set goals and intentions for my future.  And every year I’ve been able to accomplish almost everything on my list!  It’s actually pretty incredible looking back on my post from 2012 I did even more than I had set out to do this past year.

1 – New Space:
In January 2012 I moved into a new studio space shared with two other letterpress printers.  The new studio was bigger and better and provided the space my growing business needed to expand and grow.  Then in September 2012 I MOVED AGAIN! This time into my OWN space. //// Steel Petal Press now resides in the gorgeous Lacuna Artist Lofts in Pilsen.  .. Not only did I move once but twice in the last year.  I’m happy where I am now and have no intentions of moving again any time soon.  As I said in my previous blog post about the move:  it is no easy feat.  Especially with 3,000 lbs of equipment in tow!

Letterpress Studio Move

Old and New

2- New Equipment:
Moving into the new space gave me room to add much needed equipment to my print shop. I purchased a lever paper cutter, a flat file, a scanner, and a vandercook. The paper cutter was on my list of goals for 2012, but the vandercook was a longer term dream. I had no idea I would have the opportunity to acquire one this past year!

Vandercook SP-15


3 – Interns:
The new, bigger space also allowed me to fit more than one person in the studio at a time. I was able to bring on Lisa and Breanna at the beginning of the year. They are both still with me today! They have been AMAZING. I am so grateful to have such wonderful company and help around the studio. I truly think of them as part of my little family and I am lucky to have them around.

4- National Stationery Show:
In May 2012 I visited New York City to walk the National Stationery Show to get a sense of it.  In September 2012 I signed up to attend as a VENDOR for 2013 with the Ladies of Letterpress booth.

National Stationery Show, 2012

5-  Custom Jobs:
This year I worked on 55+ custom projects! More than 50% more than I did last year.  Including a bar mitzvah invitation, birth announcements and business cards (all new skills added to my list of services).

envelope liner tutorial

6- New Services:
I added Business Cards, Edge Paiting, and digital printing to my list of services.

Edge Painting Letterpress Business Card

7- New Card Designs:
I introduced 20+ new card designs from Birthday cards, to Congratulations cards, to Thank You cards to new Holiday Cards! I also sourced help from the talented Jenna Blazevich who worked with me on some hand lettering for some of the cards. (I plan to collaborate with her again in 2013)

Handletter Calligraphy Thank You

8- Video:
I worked with the very talented video team, By The Barkers, on my amazing letterpress VIDEO.

Letterpressing from The Barkers on Vimeo.

9- New Products:
I added letterpress coasters, boxed sets and a laser cut ornament to the items I create and sell.

Letterpress Thank You card

10- Craft Fairs:
I participated in 10 Craft Fairs in 2012. I mostly stuck to local Chicago craft fairs this year with the exception of a trip to INDIEana Handicraft Exchange and the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco.  I had record breaking sales at the Summer RCF in Chicago and then AGAIN at the Chicago Holiday RCF!

Steel Petal Press

11- Letterpress Road Trips:
I was able to take some really fun letterpress road trips! I visited the Hamilton Wood Type Museum twice; Once for a workshop in March and then again in November for the Wayzgoose. In August I attended the 4-day Ladies of Letterpress Conference in Asheville NC. Also the afore mentioned National Stationery Show in NYC in May.

Wayzgoose 2012, Hamilton Wood Type Museum, Two Rivers WI

12- Stores:
I started working with several new stores that now carry my cards in Chicago and around the country.  – I hope to add even more new stores to this list in 2013.

13- Press:
Steel Petal Press got some great press in 2013. My greeting cards and wedding invitations were featured on several popular blogs including: Style Me Pretty, the ABC News blog, Apartment Therapy, and Oh So Beautiful Paper.

12- Connections:
I’m most proud of the connections I made through Steel Petal Press with people all over the country in 2012. I met some other amazing letterpress printers (at the NSS, LoL Conference and Hamilton Wood Type), I got to work many really fabulous clients on their weddings, and I built strong relationships with my two interns, Lisa and Breanna.

Finally, my biggest accomplishment in 2012 was finding better balance in my life…   At the end of 2011 I was over tired, over worked and anti social.  I had found 10 new grey hairs, bags under my eyes and new wrinkles on my face (I blame it all on stress and over exertion).  I vowed in 2012 to find a way to lead a more balanced life.  It took some time, but I was able to streamline my business, cut out extraneous work and really focus on what matters.  Most importantly my family, my relationships and my health.  Things are still not perfect and there is definitely room for improvement BUT I’m in a much better place this year than I was this time last year.

And now onto goals for 2013…

My business goals for 2013 are
– Write a business plan. A for REAL business plan. This is one of my goals I didn’t get to in 2012. I realized I have no idea what I’m doing so I will be enlisting the help of Sage Wedding Pros.
– Work out an actual marketing strategy
– Design a line of non-custom wedding invitations
– add Thermal Printing and foil stamping to my list of services
– be featured in a well known national publication (Brides Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Real Simple) OR on tv. I am also considering hiring a publicist for this.
– attend the National Stationery Show and pick up 10-20 new wholesale accounts.
– do more to educate myself about Letterpress printing. Attend the Ladies of Letterpress Wayzgoose in Iowa, and the Hamilton Wayzgoose where ever the new venue may be.
– start to build up a collection of wood and lead type. Incorporate the use of type and linoleum cuts in my shop.

Longer term 3-5 year goals:
– Revamp the website (I’m considering a custom e-commerce site)
– hire an employee (or two)
– move to a larger studio and buy a heidelberg windmill press


and now onto personal goals…

Like I said earlier, I feel like I’m in a much better place personally than I was this time last year.  That being said there’s always room for improvement -my personal goals for 2013 are:
– Spend more time living in the moment, enjoying my life and friends around me. I don’t always need to be thinking about my next big business plan
– get back in shape
– drink less alcohol and eat less sugar
– take more down time for myself
– Keep the house tidy and clean (I let things go way to long last year)
– go on a trip somewhere exotic and/or warm with my husband
– tell the people I love how I feel about them


2012 was a HUGE year! Maybe even bigger than 2011 (which I didn’t seem possible). I really can’t WAIT to see what’s in store for 2013 !!

3 Responses to “Happy New Year 2013”

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