Behind the Scenes – NSS 2015 Prep

NSS 2015

NSS 2015

You GUYS! Next week I will be in NYC for my third time exhibiting at The National Stationery Show!  I have been meaning to write an update, but I’ve been trying to focus more on my mental and physical health and blogging has been put on the back burner.

This year I have definitely felt the most prepared and most calm during my NSS Prep. I didn’t have to create a catalog from scratch, come up with product numbers, figure out flooring, lighting and walls etc.  That’s all already been done at least once.  This year I focused on my making some great new products and tweaking and perfecting all the tools I already have in place.  This year I am also not right in the middle buying a house (like last year) so that has taken off a lot of added pressure.

I’m starting to get really EXCITED! One of the things I love best about the Stationery Show is the community of amazing people you meet and how nice and friendly and supportive everyone is.  Not just other exhibitors, but shop owners and all the industry people. You really feel like you’re a part of something that is bigger than you are.  And it’s special.

Before heading to the show I always connect with other shop owners and designers through instagram.  My favorite thing to do these days  is search the hashtag #nss2015 <— check it out yourself!  How could you not get excited looking through all the wonderful new work being made, or seeing all the pre-show mailers filling retailers’ mail boxes, or all the behind-the-scenes looks at your colleagues near and far as they prep for the show.

People in the industry call it “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”  And if you’re a stationery fiend, or maker, or buyer, it’s true.  I just loved this photo from Shindig Paperie in Arkansas of all her NSS mail:

NSS 2015

Or read this blog post from Crumple and Toss on NSS Mailers.

Aside from mailers, I’ve been working on booth set up, catalogs and all that other good stuff.  Below are a few highlights from my instagram feed.

My new catalog is here! 32 pages this year. Along with my “write on” mini journal booth giveaway.  You can view the digital version of my catalog HERE, or if you’re a retailer interested in receive a catalog and you won’t be at the show, shoot me an email and I’ll send one your way!
orders (at) steelpetalpress (dot) com

New Steel Petal Press Catalog

Also my pre-show mailer, A9 size, gold foil, pink envelopes. yum!

Pre Show Mailer NSS

This year I had one of my is a finalist for a Louie Award!  The Louie Awards is the award show for greeting cards. Submissions are blind-judged by a panel of industry experts over a two-day, on the criteria of originality, impact, design excellence, sendability, and value.

Watch this fun video about the Louie Awards for more info:

My Big Gay Wedding Card is a finalist for LGBQT Above $4 category:
Big Gay Wedding Greeting Card
Finalists in each category are announced in March, with winners revealed at the annual LOUIE Awards gala, held every May in New York City during the National Stationery Show. And you can view a list all the finalists and categories HERE.

On the Sunday night of the show, I will be attending the Louie Award Gala and dragging hubby along with me.  I’m actually also super nerdy excited about that event too.

Also these two products are finalists for Best New Product Awards. (Different than the Louie Awards).  The new Astrology birthday card series (below) is a finalist in the Paper Love category:

Astrology Birthday Card Series

And this HOT STUFF typographic ceramic mug is a finalist for the Lifestyle category:

Hot Stuff Typographic Mug

So here’s my a look at my schedule for the next two weeks:
Wed 5/13 (5 days?!) Chad and I leave to drive to NYC from Chicago
Thur 5/14 – It’s my cousin’s wedding in Brooklyn.  Convenient, but I also wish It wasn’t right before NSS so I could enjoy myself a little more.
Fri 5/15 – Post-Wedding family brunch then Start set up at NSS
Sat 5/16 – Finish set up at NSS
Sun 5/17 – SHOW OPENS!!! Evening Louie Awards Gala (more on that below)
Mon 5/18-Tues 5/19 – More standing around the booth, smiling, writing up orders
Wed 5/21 – Show closes, drive with hubby to Niagara Falls
Thur 5/22 – Relax and explore Niagara Falls
Fri 5/23 – Drive to Toronto, spend the night
Sat 5/24 – Drive home

Did you notice that little mini-vaca detour at the end of my trip? Yes! We will be taking a few extra days to drive home after the show and explore some parts of the country/Canada that we have never visited before.  It will be nice to take a few days to relax before I head back into work.

Please follow along my journey on my instagram feed!  And I will be back after the show to touch on highlights and a recap of NSS 2015.

Chicago Letterpress Internship

Chicago Letterpress Internship

1-2 days a week, 12 week minimum

Must be:
Hard-working and very reliable, clean, with meticulous attention to detail and ability to work on repetitive tasks.
Letterpress experience, printing or other detail oriented and meticulous hands on experience very beneficial (but not required).

Tasks include:
Packaging and folding inventory, labeling, trimming paper and other production work. You will also learn some presswork including,press maintenance, ink mixing and custom pantone color matching, registration, press set up and production.

This internship is unpaid but I will train you on the press or trade for press time (if you have the right experience) This can be a great opportunity for someone willing to work hard and learn.

Please email me with a resume and cover letter.
shayna (at) steelpetalpress (dot) com / subject line “Summer Letterpress Intern”

and feel free to pass on to interested parties.

Thanks! shayna

Behind The Scenes – Hometown Pride

letterpress greeting card

I’ve noticed a theme in some of our recent orders, lots of people showcasing their favorite cities!

letterpress cards

These regional cards have always been a hit, who doesn’t want to send some love from their favorite place?

letterpress wedding invitation letterpress weding invitations

I’m a big fan of the Destination wedding invitations, the maps add a nice, classic touch!

Behind The Scenes – Mail Day

national stationery show 2015

Our National Stationery Show prep is really coming along. Today we’re working on our pre-show mailers. I love the way these are coming together, so many good details!

national stationery show

Beautifully hand addressed on eye-catching pink envelopes.

gold foil letterpress

Gold foil printing, always takes things up a notch!

letterpress business card

And my favorite part, tiny business card envelopes on the back! Who wouldn’t love to get one of these in the mail?!

Behind The Scenes – Show Prep

national stationery show 2015 The countdown to the National Stationery Show is on!

Letterpress Greeting Cards

There is so much to do in the next few weeks, but it’s all exciting things like making a new catalog and updating our deck.

letterpress gift tags

We will also be adding A LOT of new designs (and not just cards!) leading up to the show so keep an eye out for those, I can’t wait to share them!

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

The Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations are another design in my collection that started out as a custom design (one of my first in 2011!) and has been requested by couples and reprinted many times since! The lovely thing about this invitation is that you can customize the color palette to match your wedding.  Luckily Mexican weddings tend to be lively and full of color, so the possibilities are endless.

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

Here are a few images for Mexican Wedding inspiration I’ve found around the web.

Mexican Wedding Inspiration

(image source)

Mexican Wedding Inspiration

(image source)

Talavera Wedding Decor

(image source)

You can view my the Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitation Suite on my website or check out my full collection HERE.

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

Mexican Talavera Wedding Invitations

Behind The Scenes – Pink On The Press

letterpress ink

We have the press loaded up with cheerful pink ink today and we’re printing up stacks of bright greeting cards.

letterpress greeting cards

We’re also saying good bye to our intern Fuko today. She’s so sweet-she brought us fair well eclairs even though we spent most of her last day doing inventory! She is enjoying one last summer in Chicago before heading south to go to graduate school. Good luck Fuko-we’ll miss you and we’ll especially miss making you pose for blog photos ;)

lettepress studio


Mother’s Day Cards for 2015

Mother’s day is just around the corner! (May 11) and we’ve been busy packing and shipping our newest letterpress mother’s day cards to retailers across the country.

You can view all my Mother’s Day Cards on my website or in my etsy shop.

The newest card has all my friends with kids in mind. This is for parents to give to their baby mama. For purchase HERE.


Below are a few more of my favorites. Click each image to purchase the card online.

Letterpress Mother's Day Card Letterpress Mother's Day Card Letterpress Mother's Day Card





Out of 1700 contests Steel Petal Press was choses as the top 100 finalists for the FedEx small business grant!!

The top 100 finalists were selected based on several factors including their compelling business stories, product/service offered and votes received.

Thank you to everyone who voted!!!   View the top 100 HERE.

Now I need to submit an essay.

Of the top 100, 10 businesses will be awarded grant money and they will announce the winners APRIL 21st!
(everyone PLEASSSEE keep your fingers crossed for me)

Searching for a Commercial Space

Armitage5 If you follow me on instagram, then you’ve probably already seen the photo above.  It is a commercial space I have been courting for the last few weeks.

The space is a mile from my house, on a pretty busy street, beautiful windows with tons of light, HUGE square footage (more than I need) and the best part it was in my price range. The downside was it need a lot of work just to get up to par, but the affordable rent and the size made it SO appealing and perfect for me.


I looked at it once a few weeks ago, then came back a week later with my husband to get a second look.  The owners knew I was interested and were negotiating with me. I said I wanted to come back with a contractor to get estimates before I committed and they agreed.

I came back again this past Thursday with one contractor, and a again the next day. I still loved the space was REALLY interested in renting it.  That day, I had a gut feeling that if I didn’t put in an offer soon, they place would be taken by someone else, but I wanted to be prudent.  When I visited with building manager AND spoke with the owner on the phone, both of them said they wanted me in that space, and that they were waiting for me to make a decision.  I told them I really wanted it, but just need a few more days to decide.

The very next day, less than 12 hours later –  I got a text from the owner saying the space was taken!!  My heart was BROKEN.  (I even cried a little)  Even though, I knew I wanted the place, I had waited, and I was totally kicking myself for letting it get away.  I had envisioned how I would use each of the rooms, where presses would go, and how the retail would be laid out…  I guess there such thing as too cautious. First lesson learned is trust your gut! If he had not told me he would wait, I would have put in my deposit on Friday.


24 hours later – the more I’ve thought about it (and talked about it endlessly with my friends, my mom, my husband, on social media, pretty much everyone..) the more I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s for the best.  How SHADY was it for the owner to tell me he wanted me in the space, and then give it to someone else without even contacting me first, or giving me a chance to put in an offer. I had put in an application. I had told him I wanted it.  And then he sends me a TEXT message (not even a phone call) to say it’s no longer available. I tried calling him afterwards to discuss what happened, and to see if there’s still a way we can work out a deal or at least I can get an explanation, but he has avoided my calls, and I’m pretty sure I won’t hear from him again.  Do I really want someone with that character as my landlord? Probably not.

I will find somewhere else and it will be fine.  It won’t be as big or cheap, but will be better in other ways. I just don’t know how yet.  I will end up paying more money for a smaller space, but I won’t have to invest as much money in build out.  Maybe it will be in a better location with better foot traffic? Still close to home, but with better street exposure.

In the meantime, I can focus my energies on gearing up for the National Stationery Show and other aspects of the business. AND I won’t have to invest so much of my own energy (and money) into restoring and building out someone else’s space..

Sigh…. what a roller coaster!

On a side/related note I’m sorry, I haven’t posted any NSS Prep updates yet this year, but I plan on posting some updates soon.  I hope you’re weekend was better than mine! Did you get up to anything fun?