Archive for the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Category

One of A Kind Show Chicago | 2018 Recap

We just finished up our 5th year exhibiting at One of a Kind Show Chicago.  It’s a four day sale located on the 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart in down town Chicago. There’s so many vendors a great handmade items from small nick knacks to beautiful (and pricey) works of art.

I’ve slowed down doing off site shows quite a bit since opening the SPP retail shop.  It’s not easy find staffing for outside events while also making sure the shop fully staffed (especially during the holidays).  But because the One of A Kind Show is in Chicago, it makes it easier to set up and man while still in Chicago.

The booth provided comes with hard walls and lights.  Tuesday and Wednesday before the show vendors bring in displays to showcase their work and make everything look pretty.  This is what our blank booth looked like before we started setting up:

We put up shelves, pegs and other table displays for all our product. Our white shelving is from Ikea, originally purchased for our first One of a Kind Show in 2014, which we have used every year since. We also have a table for boxed sets and home goods. Plus a little table to serve as our mini temporary cash wrap.

I always choose to power through set up on Tuesday so that if there are any last minute items I forgot or changes to the display, I can take care of those on Wednesday before the show opens. It also gives me some extra time to chill (if possible) before the show opens first thing on Thursday morning.  It’s a really long show, with 9-10 hour days for 4 days in a row. Any extra hours to rest are always helpful!

This year’s show was for the most part a success! We set up with enough time and have perfected our display (four years of practice, trial and error definitely help.)

The one major disappointment came on both Thursday and Friday mornings. Thursday morning I came into the show to find our singles and fives plus some rolls of quarters missing from our cash box.  Over $400 worth of change! 🙁

At the end of the first day of set up Tuesday evening I had accidentally left the cash box in sight.  It was at the back of my booth and on my bottom shelf, but still visible to passers by.  I didn’t realize it until I was already home for the night, but figured it would be OK. The Merchandise Mart has security and the seventh floor is closed to the public during when not show hours.  I got back in on Thursday morning I realized all my ones, fives and a few rolls of quarters were missing. It sucked.  I had Shelby to come in early to watch the booth while I ran to the bank to withdraw more change for the show. That night I made sure to take all the bills with me. I hid the cash box under the table and left the rolls of coins.

I arrived Friday morning to find that all my quarters were missing (again!!) .   Obviously someone targeting me the second time. Not only did they take my rolls of quarters, they also took our square reader so I couldn’t take any Credit Card payments for the first two hours of the show.  Luckily, my husband was able to drop off a backup square reader a few hours later.  It was stressful and unfortunate, but eventually resolved.

Aside from those two incidents, the show was really great! It was nice to see some familiar faces and repeat customers throughout the years. It’s always nice to hear laughter and see people connect with the work we make at Steel Petal Press.  In addition, we had our best year in sales.  So despite the thefts, overall I came out feeling really positive about the experience and have already signed up for next year.

Until then Chicago. Happy Holidays!!

 a

September Rewind – Goodbye Summer, Goodbye September

As we say goodbye to summer here in Chicago, it’s also time to say goodbye to September! In a blink of an eye, Fall is upon us and we have continued to be busier than ever here at Steel Petal Press!

Renegade Craft Fair:
Per usual, we set up a booth at one of our favorite local markets called Renegade Craft Fair! This event provides a great opportunity for us to sell direct to new customers and help spread the Steel Petal Press brand.

Renegade Craft Fair 2018

While the weather stayed mostly sunny, it showed us the other reason they call it the “Windy City”… there were extremely strong wind gusts that were blowing things over, UGH!

Also during set up, both Shayna and Matt pulled muscles in their backs (because they’re old obviously!) so Renegade Craft Fair was DEFINITELY a team effort!

But, through the wind and the aches, we had one of our most successful shows since we’ve started doing it so I guess you could say it was worth it 😉

Holiday Hoopla:
While Holidays are busy for everyone personally, it’s also one of the busiest times for our retail and wholesale businesses! That means we have to begin prepping for that way in advanced. Our retail lady, Shelby, has been hard at work intaking orders we placed from other companies and making room for them on our sales floor. We can’t wait for our holiday shoppers to see all the great new gift items we have! Shayna has also been hard at work preparing the store schedule to accommodate the influx of sales, extended store hours, and of course making sure we all have much needed family time 🙂 Lastly, Rachel has already begun shipping out holiday card orders to all of our wholesale accounts as well as prepping our new holiday items to drop for retail customers!

Revolution Brewery’s Oktoberfest:
For those of you who have never been to our retail space, we are located right next to one a very popular local brewery’s restaurant location and each year they throw an Oktoberfest celebration. It’s two days of food, booze, bands, and generates a lot of foot traffic for us because it happens literally in front of the store. Unlike last year, we made sure we were full staffed which helped us all maintain our sanity! While we were not as busy as last year, possibly due to chillier weather, we were still very happy with the turn out and were able to have a successful day in our store!

America’s Mart – ATL:
In other exciting news, we finalized our participation at the America’s Mart tradeshow in January 2019! As you may have seen in a previous blog post, we just recently attended our first tradeshow in almost 3 years and it went so well we wanted to keep the momentum going! This will be the first time EVER that Steel Petal Press will show in Atlanta and we couldn’t be happier as we really been wanting to grow our presence in the southern region and figured this would be a perfect opportunity to do so!

 

Stay tuned to see what we get up too in October 🙂

August Is Done…And Here’s Everything We Did!

It’s hard to believe another month has come and gone, and with hints of cooler weather just on the horizon, it’s time to look back at the things we accomplished in August here at Steel Petal Press…WHICH WAS A LOT!

NYNow 2018 Shenanigans
After months and months of planning, it was finally time to execute Steel Petal Press’s first official tradeshow since 2015! And, we couldn’t be happier to report that it was a complete success (but not with out some stress, too!)

NY Now 2018 Tradeshow

First of all, the pallet arrived at the Javits Center with some minor damage which caused the stools we ordered to get lost in transit – UGH! Luckily, that was an easy fix.

Next, we (Shelby and Shayna) spent about 12-15 hours creating the right look and feel for the booth. There was the technical side of things like hanging shelves, assigning SKU stickers to products, and light adjusting. However, there were many creative things to do as well such as assemble a big envelope mural for the back wall and arrange furniture. It was very important to visually represent the Steel Petal Press brand as it is something we work hard to curate and display in every avenue of our business (because we are awesome, duh!) In the end, every bit of effort was worth it because the booth couldn’t have turned out better:
NY Now 2018 SPP Booth

We received so many compliments and strangers that just stopping by to look – it was so flattering!

At the end of of the show, we pulled in roughly 25 orders and built connections with about 40 additional businesses that we hope will order with us in the future. Needless to say – this far surpassed our expectations. Check out this newly updated stockist list to see all the kick ass stores that carry Steel Petal Press!

Shayna was also able to step out of the booth and place orders with other vendors for the Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location! We are as prepared as ever for the upcoming holidays with lots of great new items filling our shelves as well as restocking some old favorites!

The biggest hurdle we faced during the whole NYNow experience was during break down. The Javits Center lost our pallet and couldn’t find it until hours later. Stress and tempers flared but ultimately everything was packed up safely packed and we enjoyed a late flight out the next day (which meant we got to sleep in!)

New York wasn’t just all work! Shelby and Shayna were able to have some fun in their free time during the evenings. Shayna grew up in the DC area therefore her family would often went into the city for trips. She also lived in upstate New York for a brief time working for Women’s Studio Workshop. All-in all, she has a lot of connections in the city still including one of her oldest friends, Jillian, and her brother Jonah, who currently reside there!

To spare you the long, wordy details of all the fun we had…we’ll let these two photos speak for us – enjoy! :

(Left to Right: Shayna, Jillian, Bay (Jillian’s Partner), Shelby)

Cohen Siblings

(Left to Right: Jonah, Shayna – The Cohen siblings!)

Last, but not least, we planned one big night of doing something totally “New York” and decided to see the play adaptation of Mean Girls, especially because Shelby has never been to a play on Broadway! It was a glorious experience filled with awesome dancing, singing, and lots of laughing!

We are beyond pleased with the success Steel Petal Press had at NYNow 2018 and will be going back to exhibit next August! We can’t help but wonder what adventures await us next time 🙂

GO TEAM SPP!
High Five SPP

Helen The Heidelberg
In other exciting news for August, Shayna got a crash course in running our Heidelberg press, Helen!

Shayna’s good friend Kim, who owns Ramona & Ruth, came in from Nebraska for a couple days to share her knowledge and experience of working with a Heidelberg.

We even documented Shayna’s very first print EVER using Helen – look how cute and excited she is!!!!

What makes the Heidelberg such an exciting addition to our family is that it allows for us to print 2 to 3 times as much in an hour than our fully manual Chandler & Price press. However, we are also able to print using both machines at the same time which will prove helpful as our retail and wholesale businesses continue to grow!

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Steel Petal Press!
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do 🙂

July Rewind – Where The F*CK Did This Month Go…?!

Hi there!

We can’t believe July has come and gone already…

While this month was much less eventful than the previous (IN ALL THE RIGHT WAYS), we’ve still been busier than ever here at Steel Petal Press. Check out all the shit we’ve done in our July Rewind:

NYNow Preparation
As we’ve mentioned before, Steel Petal Press is making the HUGE commitment of exhibiting at the August ’18 NYNow. So, there’s been HUGE amounts of planning, organizing, and stressing going on around here! With the show beginning in a little over a week, the entire team has been working so hard to get everything ready to go. In fact, check out what our shipping pallet looks like: NYNow Pallet
Although, we think it looks more like some weird alien cocoon…
This is only a small fraction of the work left to do for and at NYNow but we know it’ll be all worth it in the end 🙂

*By the way, if you’re gonna be at NYNow, come visit Shayna and Shelby at the Steel Petal Press Booth (#7675)*

Holiday Hijinx
We know it’s a little odd to be thinking about the Holiday Season when we are still getting 80+ degree days here (atleast in Chicago!)! But, our new Holiday collection will be going live on our retail website August 13th…(that’s only like 5 days away, how exciting!)

Our team worked super hard this year to add some fresh and holiday-themed products like cards (duh!) and gift bags. We are really excited for everyone to see our new items for this upcoming release.
Please consider this sneak peek an early Christmas gift *wink, wink*:

Wholesale – Oh, Wow!
We’ve been incredible busy this past month with wholesale orders, but trust us – we aren’t complaining! We love that so many people share a love of snark and sass as well as an appreciation for handcrafted letterpress stationery. Most notably, we got a BIG ASS order from our wholesale account with Paper Source who ordered JUST under 6,000 units from us…I KNOW, RIGHT?! They’re favorites from us include Awesome Babies, Holy Shit – Engaged, Holy Shit – 29 Again, and Big Gay Wedding. We truly appreciate every wholesale order we receive…it keeps us busy and allows us to share Steel Petal Press worldwide!

We Met Mayor Ted From Queer Eye!

Last, but certainly not least, a special guest unexpectedly came into our store…Mayor Ted from the second season of Queer Eye! We couldn’t have been more excited to meet this kind and humble dude who is working so hard to make political and cultural changes in his hometown of Clarkston, GA! It was such an honor to meet him (and the Fab Five by extension, right?!)

That’s it for us and our July Rewind!
Stay tuned for all the exciting adventures August will bring 🙂

June Rewind – WHAT A MONTH!

It doesn’t seem possible to already be doing a June 2018 recap but here we are…

It’s safe to say that this past month has been one of the most busy/insane/strange/awesome months we’ve had in a long while here at Steel Petal Press. So, buckle up and get ready to take a crazy ride through this June Rewind:

Drunk Driving Disaster
Our month started off with quite a bang…
During an early weekend morning, a drunk driver crossed traffic lanes and ran into a bunch of bike racks which then proceeded to smash through our large front window:
Needless to say, there was glass and merchandise EVERYWHERE.

Steel Petal Press Steel Petal Press But, despite the obvious frustration and stress, no one was hurt AND the thank you to the amazing Steel Petal Press team (plus additional loved ones) who kicked ass during cleanup. A huge shout out to the other businesses in our neighborhood who were beyond generous!

Boarded Up Window = Break In
Unfortunately, we had to remain windowless for close to a month and we were graced with a big slab of plywood (can you sense the sarcasm?). One early morning, we received a call from our security company alerting us that our alarms were going off. Our video surveillance soon uncovered that two suspects had torn down the plywood “window” and spent about 10 minutes browsing through the store before triggering our alarm system and fleeing. Luckily, and also confusingly enough, they only made off with a mug, a couple tea towels, and some wine charms…? It was an interesting shopping list but considering it could have been much worse, we weren’t going to complain one bit!

Letterpress Out Of Lemons
You might be asking how we weren’t totally losing out minds…well, that’s fair. And the answer is that we almost were! Thankfully, we were able to take these series of negative experiences and make a really positive addition to the Steel Petal Press team: Enter our new Heidelberg Press! Steel Petal Press Initially, the Heidelberg was too big to fit through the door but we got creative and decided to bring it in through the window! Now Shayna just has to learn use this thing…

Hi’s And Bye’s To The Team
Steel Petal Press has also made some huge changes to our team this month. For starters, we sadly parted ways with our Studio Manager, Kat who has been with us for 3 years! She was a vital part of our team and we will greatly miss her! Our team also expanded as we said “hello” to our second full-time employee: Rachel!
Steel Petal Press
Since moving from Michigan to Chicago, she has seamlessly fit into our team. Her main roles include a lot of behind-the-scenes work such as managing wholesale accounts and shipping orders. Be sure to stop in and make her feel welcomed to our city 🙂

Lastly, we officially made our retail shop assistant, Glory, a permanent part of Steel Petal Press!
Steel Petal Press
You probably recognize her bright and shining face if you’ve ever dropped by our brick and mortar location! We are really happy to have her be one of the faces of Steel Petal Press.

Whoa, Wholesale Goals
One of our many goals this year was to really focus on building and expanding our wholesale business. We’ve added about 10-15 new stockists in this past month alone (be sure to check out our stockist list here) as well as take on some new sales reps all over the USA! WOOHOO!

Stay tuned for the Holiday 2018 release!

Steel Petal Press at the Spring One of a Kind Show

one of a kind show chicago

We’re so excited to be participating in the One of a Kind Spring Show this Friday – Sunday! We’ll be on the 7th floor of The Merchandise Mart In BOOTH 1035!

We’ll be there with a brand new release of SO MANY NEW NEW NEW cards and products. We’re excited to share them all with you!

ALSO – Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away (Sunday May 13th) so don’t forget to pick up a card for mom while you shop.

Of if you can’t make the show, you can always pick up a Mother’s Day card through our online shop
We can’t wait to see you guys there!

How I got into Letterpress

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

I recently had someone ask me via social media how I got into letterpress and what advice I had for someone looking to learn.  I thought I’d share my thoughts here too!

I’ve had a lot of formal training in letterpress.  I first learned while in my undergrad degree I took a book making class for 1 year.  After graduating with a BFA in I was immediately accepted to a six-month internship at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY. There I studied silk screening, letterpress, and papermaking, while maintaining the studios and assisting the artists-in-residence and staff. I went on to assist various artists and curators in Washington DC and the San Francisco Bay Area. I also continued to volunteer regularly at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and the San Francisco Center for Book Arts.

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

Later on I relocated to Chicago to work towards my MFA in book and paper art at Columbia College Chicago.  (I never finished my degree but that’s where Steel Petal Press was born)
My first semester in Chicago I Steel Petal Press as a side project from my classwork.  I started by printing holiday cards to send to friends and family living far away. After printing my letterpress projects for school, I would use the school’s studios to print personal work in my spare time. I found stores to sell any extra cards I had printed, and the company grew from there.
For someone looking to get into letterpress, I would start by looking into print shops in your area that might offer workshops or dabble classes.  This is a good way to get your feet wet without committing to school tuition or more competitive internships. If you’re looking for more community and immersion into letterpress try reaching out to a letterpress shop and see if they take apprentices or interns.
Below are a few resources to get you started.
Ladies of Letterpress
Briar Press: (the craigslist of letterpress)

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

 

Meet Shelby! Retail Lady @ Steel Petal Press

Shebly

Shelby joined the Steel Petal Press team in August of 2017 and quickly dazzled us with her enthusiasm for retail and merchandising while cursing and laughing with us. She has been a great fit for our small team.  As we geared up for the holidays she became our first full time employee (outside of me, Shayna) If you’ve come into the retail shop 5 times out of 7 you’ll interact with her.  We’re happy to have  her as a part of Steel Petal Press!
What kinds of things do you do at the studio? What do you enjoy most?
The primary focus of my job here at the studio is the retail space so I like to jokingly say that the sales floor is my baby. I handle every product from the moment it is delivered to us to the moment it goes on the sales floor to the moment a customer purchases it. The process of “checking in” products is a primary role and this simply means that it is input into our computer system and can be found on the register at the time of the sale. Another large portion of my job, and my favorite, is merchandising the sales floor. I truly get creative fulfillment out of making products look fun and inviting for people to shop and I feel proud to make our store look the best it can at all times! While there are lots of additional tasks I do behind the scenes, I would say the last, but certainly not least, main part of my job is customer service. Everyone defines this differently, but for me, it just means making people feel welcome (as we welcome EVERYONE in our space) and that they leave having had a laugh and finding exactly what they came in looking for (and maybe a little bit more).
What do you enjoy doing outside of the studio?
Once I step out of the studio, my favorite way to be is in the company of my amazing friends. We spend most of our time enjoying Logan Square (and other great neighborhoods) appreciating the great food, booze, and arts that our community has to offer! I also enjoy smothering my fur baby, Kitten, with undying love, doing crossword puzzles in PEN (how wild), and binge watching tv shows until my brain melts.
What is your favorite Steel Petal Press card/product and why?
My favorite Steel Petal Press card is the “Even When I Hate You I Still Fucking Love You Dammit” love card because it perfectly sums up how I feel about every single person in my life that I love and it says “fucking”…which is my favorite word…so, it’s perfect.

Screenshot 2018-01-17 at 12.14.14 PM

What would your perfect day in Chicago look like? 
Honestly, I am lucky enough to be able to live my perfect day in this city on a pretty regular basis..but it would probably involve hanging out with my best friends, eating delicious food from the neighborhood (I’m partial to Parson’s or Boiler Room), getting drunk at one of our favorite places like Estero or Ez Inn, and then catching some live music at The Empty Bottle or Cole’s. It’s nothing fancy but it’s got everything I need and want in a perfect day! 🙂

Hi From Steel Petal Press

Steel Petal Press Team

We just wanted to pop in this morning to say hi and let you know that we’re thankful for you. Seriously, thank you for being a badass customer of Steel Petal Press. We couldn’t do any of this or come to work with jazz hands each day without you, so thanks!

If you want to keep up with us throughout the upcoming holiday season (really, holiday is right around the Halloween corner) – then come follow along with us on Instagram. We love seeing your #steelpetalpress goods and photos & keeping you in rhythm with our shop shenanigans.

And if it’s been a while since you’ve stopped by our Logan Square brick and mortar shop, come on in! We can’t promise to greet you with jazz hands, but we may perform on demand.

See you soon!

Greeting Card Facts

Greeting Card Facts

A few interesting facts I stumbled on about greeting cards.  (SOURCE)

• Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards each year. Annual retail sales of greeting
cards are estimated between $7 and $8 billion.

• The most popular Everyday card-sending occasion by far is Birthday, followed by a number of secondary
occasions that include Sympathy, Thank You, Wedding, Thinking of You, Get Well, New Baby and
Congratulations.

• The most popular Seasonal cards are Christmas cards, with some 1.6 billion units purchased (including
boxed cards). This is followed by cards for Valentine’s Day (145 million units, not including classroom
valentines), Mother’s Day (133 million units), Father’s Day (90 million units), Graduation (67 million units),
Easter (57 million units), Halloween (21 million units), Thanksgiving (15 million units) and St. Patrick’s Day
(7 million units).

• Women purchase an estimated 80% of all greeting cards. Women spend more time choosing a card than
men, and are more likely to buy several cards at once.

• Greeting card prices can vary from 50 cents to $10 – with a price point for every consumer. The vast
majority are between $2 and $4. (Total price per year include boxed cards.) The cost of a typical counter
card, however, is between $2 and $4. Cards featuring special techniques, intricate designs and new
technologies and innovations – such as the inclusion of sound chips and LED lights – as well as
handmade cards, are at the top of the price scale.

• Seven out of 10 card buyers surveyed consider greeting cards “absolutely” or “almost” essential to them.
Eight out of 10 of these buyers expect their purchases to remain the same going forward. Of the balance,
twice as many card buyers say they will “increase” their purchasing as say they will “decrease” their
purchasing in the coming year.