I’m so sorry I’ve been MIA on this blog. It’s because I’ve been busy. SUPER busy. In a good way! But still. I wish I had more time to post here. January was filled with lots and lots of Valentine’s Day orders (LOTS) which are finally starting to wind down.
Things around the studio have been looking like this:
(photos from my instagram feed) It still feels pretty great, especially after ending 2013 with a whimper, so far I’m stoked about 2014.
Aside from all the snow and cold in Chicago things have been great. Kim, my newest intern started a few weeks ago, orders have been strong, and wedding clients are already keeping my busy. And I’m already deep into planning mode for the National Stationery Show (May is only a few months away)
Here are some posts I plan to write in the upcoming weeks
1) goals for 2014 both personal and professional (how has this taken me so long?!)
2) tips for surviving winter in Chicago (this one has been particularly rough)
3) winter reading list
4) More behind the scenes
5) the last few interviews with business ladies
and I promise I’ll try to be better about blogging. Until then, have a lovely weekend!
In case you missed it, one of the most touching moments on The Grammy’s2014 (or on the Grammy’s ever, in my opinion) was when 33 couples of all races, ages and sexual orientation were married during Macklemore’s performance of Same Love. The audience was in tears. See for yourself.
I have new letterpress neighbors in my building! Tandem Felix moved in down the hall from me about six months ago (ok, so maybe not that new anymore) Above you can see one of the owners of the husband-wife team Liz, showing a poster printed in her shop.
Tandem Felix is a community print shop that offers workshops, classes and private instruction. It’s nice to have neighbors to talk letterpress with. I’m also really excited they will be offering classes (something I wish I had time and desire to do.) People contact me about classes frequently enough, and even though I don’t teach any myself I always wish I had a great place to send them. And now I do!
Here’s a little bit more about what they’ll offer:
Drop in Classes and Workshops
Drop in Classes and workshops will showcase the many applications of letterpress, from designing traditional stationery cards, to printing large format graphic posters. The classes include themed printing classes 4-6 times per month, as well as non-printing Drop-In craft workshops.
Descriptions are posted on the Tandem Felix website, and mailed out in the e-newsletter at the beginning of each month.
- 4-6 times per month
- class limit 8 people
Check out the SCHEDULE for current class dates and descriptions.
Sign up for the NEWSLETTER for class schedule each month.
Private letterpress lessons are offered for artists, designers or crafters who are interested in learning the process of printing by hand. Provides One-on-one instruction on the art of setting wood & metal type, locking up a form, and printing on a Chandler & Price platen press.
- By appointment for an hourly rate
- Available afternoons and weekends.
CONTACT Tandem Felix to book your private lesson.
Tandem Felix will work one-on-one with couples to design and print their own invitations. They also offer a special Save the Date Party, where the entire bridal party gathers to pick out vintage type, drink mimosas & design save the date cards together.
CONTACT Tandem Felix for more information
Man have I been slacking on my behind the scenes posts! My last post was exactly two months ago in November just before the holiday craziness.
Well things have been jam packed busy here at Steel Petal Press. Kim, our newest intern started last week. You can see her happily packing valentine’s day card orders below. What a trooper too. Orders have been totally insane (not complaining!) and she was thrown right into ring without much preparation. You can read her short bio on the About Page, and I plan on having a short interview with her on the blog soon.
I’ve otherwise been busy printing Valentine’s Day cards, and starting to get ready for NSS. I already purchased my hotel (over a grand for a week!) and working on getting my budget together, building walls, designing and printing new greeting card designs. I definitely feel much more prepared this year since I’ve already done it once I’ll know what to expect. STarting early!
Anyways, back to work! xo, shayna
Several months ago I purchase a groupon for a three day juice cleanse that I finally decided to redeem this week, before it expired. So today I picked up 18 juices; 4 different varieties (pictured above) to drink every two hours, 6 for each day.
The regiment is set up like this:
1st juice - Green Lantern
Cold pressed with romaine lettuce, young spinach leaves, vitamin C-rich cucumber, iron packed parsley, the alkalizing qualities of celery stalks and fresh lemon, immune boosting ginger root and naturally sweet organic green apples.
2nd juice – Haute Lemonade
A spicy Peeled cayenne lemonade -a tart and energizing twist on an everyday classic. Our lemonade works to further cleanse the intestinal walls of the digestive track and increase the alkalinity of the blood and water in our bodies.
3rd – Maroon Five
Beet juice along with the lemon and ginger aids in elimination of excess fluid from the system
while this sweet kick gives you energy. Antioxidants stream straight into your blood stream,
liver and for continued detoxification and furthered alkalinity
4th – Green Lantern (again)
5th – Maroon Five (again)
6th – Cashew Milk
cashew milk –a creamy protein rich smoothie full of healthy lignans and vitamin E.
Only half way through my first day, I decided to call it quits. (and I am not a quitter!) but I saw no other choice. About thirty minutes after my third juice of the three day cleanse I started feeling really ill. I couldn’t focus or think clearly and my head started aching. The kicker was when I literally couldn’t see straight, it took me almost 3o seconds get the words on my computer screen into focus. What? How am I supposed to get any work done when I can’t see or think?
After some debate, I decided that I couldn’t risk waisting my days not working if I wasn’t feeling well enough. I have been slammed with work (in a good way!) but still my plate is very very full and I don’t have any time to spare.
So I ate some instant oatmeal which gave me enough sustenance for me to drive myself home. And now I’m sitting on my couch eating happily eating beans and rice after my one and only failed attempt at a cleanse.
The bummer is I totally lost a half a day of work that I really needed. What I thought would be an energy booster, just totally knocked me on my ass.
I’m wondering, is my experience normal? Have other people out there tried juice cleanse? How did you react? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
My next interview in the series is with the amazing Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros! She coaches small business, wedding pros helping them get all those scary aspects of running your own business together. I worked directly with Michelle at the beginning of 2013 year and she really helped me get a handle on some things, especially my finances. What fascinates me about Michelle is the unconventional path she took and how she ended up running the successful business she does today. She’s also wonderful to work with.
Please meet Michelle!
1 – You’ve had several different career paths over the years. Tell us a little about your background and how Sage Wedding Pros came to be.
I have a background in finance and I started my stationery business in 2004 on a whim (out of a passion for paper, but with little knowledge of stationery and design.) In 2009, I started writing Sage Wedding Pros blog. I wanted to be able to connect with wedding professionals nationwide. I had often been asked to share ‘business-y’ knowledge with my colleagues locally and thought that there likely was a need for more discussion on the business side of weddings. And, so I started writing a new blog post each day of the week. Within a few months, the blog gained incredible traction and I partner with Kelly Simants to produce The Simple Plan (link to: http://www.sageweddingpros.com/thesimpleplan/) our business planning workshops. This evolved into several other business services and products. We just celebrate a huge milestone: 1000 posts to date!
2 – What do you enjoy most about running your own business? What has been the biggest challenge?
I LOVE the development stage of business… developing new products, figuring out how to market them, launching them. I get so excited with the newness of this stage.
I think the biggest challenge in my stationery business (which I don’t operate except for the occasional past client) is that I realized I loved the business side of what I was doing more than the artistic side. (I’m the opposite of you Shayna! You are so amazing at the art!) At the time, I was able to hire people to do the assembly, but my business didn’t have the scalability to replace me as the designer. That really limited my ability to grow the business in ways that I wanted to (and in ways that I wanted my career to evolve.) I was fortune to parlay my career into something different (and frankly unexpected). I’m much more of a business-person than I am an artist.
3 – You’ve traveled around the country hosting business workshops for wedding professionals, you also mentor people one-on-one, and you sell worksheets online. What is your most popular service? Which do you enjoy the most?
My most popular service is financial planning. I help many business owners by creating a cash flow plan to guide them over the next 2 to 3 years in business. These wedding pros come to me with goals that they want to achieve. It’s my job to make the numbers cooperate. The numbers give them a concrete roadmap to make those things happen. And, they learn how to use it. It’s SO empowering for them. And, it’s rewarding for me to see how their businesses gain strength as a result of this.
And, I LOVE the workshops most. I LOVE getting to teach people how to write business plans. I love seeing how people collaborate in groups. I LOVE hearing their ideas about how to grow their businesses. I really do love the classroom setting. I also enjoy teaching. I love figuring out how explain the most difficult things in a really easy manner. I think, in another life, I’d be a college professor.
4 – What are the most common business questions you hear from your clients?
95% of the people I work with don’t have a very good grasp of finances. Therefore, most of people’s questions tend to revolve around finances. But, I think the one question that all business owners have is: how do I evolve my business to the next place? This is why we started The Simple Plan. Every business needs to get somewhere. How will you get there? It’s a never-ending question.
5 – What advice would you give to a wedding professional just starting out?
Be Patient. It takes time for all the pieces to fit.
6 – What would you consider your biggest accomplishments to date?
Is it cliche to say “my kids”? I guess – they are still too young to say that they are accomplished.
In regards to my career, I’d have to say the following 3 (in no particular order):
1.) founding the non-profit Get Hitched Give Hope (link to www.gethitchedgivehope.com) in 2007 with 5 of my favorite wedding friend colleagues
2.) working with over 300 wedding professionals on their business plans
3.) helping some very successful business owners overcome financial challenges and/or achieve financial goals that they didn’t think possible
7 – What are your goals for the future?
We are developing a new seminar, Be Sage Conference,
this August 2014 in Chicago, for business owners who want to be challenged on a much deeper level. This conference will cover much-needed business topics that aren’t being taught in our industry. (Think: expansion, licensing, retirement, financial leverage, etc.) We will be inviting business leaders, thinkers, innovators to share their expertise with us. I’m really excited to be digging into so many topics that people want to learn about and no one is covering in this industry.
Personally, I have some writing projects I want to explore. I tend to write very ‘business-y’ so I feel like I need to learn more creative writing. This is a hobby I’d like to take up. I want to expand my writing reach.
I have lots of exciting new projects on my plate right now (picture a one-woman juggling circus act – that’s me) and I have so many things I can’t wait to share with you. But FIRST I wanted to present my newest Letterpress Valentines Day cards; some are sweet, some are funny, some are naughty (wink, wink) and some are best sellers from last year.
All are available for sale in my etsy shop.
And you can click each image to directly access each card.
I hope you enjoy!
new Letterpress Valentines Day Cards:
And some Letterpress Valentines Day Cards from previous years:
The next up in my interview series is the amazing woman behind one of my favorite magazines: Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE Magazine.
UPPERCASE Magazine is one of my favorite magazines out today. Filled to the brim with interesting and visually inspired content it’s such a breath of fresh air when it comes to print media. Instead of focusing on consumerism, the magazine promotes creativity, crafts, design, small businesses and more. If you’ve never seen it before, you should definitely pick up a copy for yourself; you won’t be disappointed.
Please meet Janine!
1 – Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My first job following graduation was working for a design firm specializing in signage and wayfinding. I spent months setting up signage files for production (ie specifying the position and design of the washroom signs in the local sports arena). Needless to say, it wasn’t very inspiring.
Working in that first job was excellent motivation to become my own boss. I developed my design style and roster of clients over the next few years, specializing in print design for arts and culture clients. I did everything from small ads to large publications and marketing materials, as well as publication design for books and art publications.
From observation over the dozen years that I freelanced, I learned how to plan and market events, how to budget for media, how to edit texts and—most importantly—how to multitask. Through the freelancer’s lifestyle, I also learned how to acclimate to the stresses of deadlines and uncertain paychecks.
2 – Why did you decide to start Uppercase Magazine and what steps did you take to get there?
Following the closure of an independent magazine that I freelanced for, the “magazine” section of my brain was free to explore. I had fantasized about designing my own magazine and I was getting tired of working for clients on their ideas but not my own. It also coincided with the closure of some mainstream magazines (Domino, Martha Stewart’s Blueprint) and I recognized there was a void for a well-designed, visually inspiring publication. The content came from my own interests as a graphic designer, but the magazine is not specifically about graphic design… we say we’re “creative and curious” with an eclectic content range from design, typography, illustration and crafting to just about any topic that relates to creative fields. I had a small and loyal following on my blog and hoped that those readers would be appreciative of the leap into print. Thankfully they were!
3 – What makes Uppercase Magazine different than other publications and design magazines?
I find that a lot of magazines are quite exclusive—they tout expensive things to buy, dictate ways you’re supposed to live and entertain… they’re about consumption. UPPERCASE is meant to be a very inclusive magazine, we’re a community—we celebrate create people and the things they make. We highlight the process and the mess. Of course, we like to include beautiful things and inspiration, but we try ensure that no one would feel that they themselves couldn’t achieve something similar. I have often said that anyone can be in UPPERCASE magazine—everyone is creative in some way, you just have to ask the right questions and frame the answers in the best way possible.
4 – How has Uppercase evolved since the first issue came out in 2009?
The content has improved and become more in tune to our readers since we first launched in 2009. I often think that it was by issue #7 or #8 before UPPERCASE found its groove. The greatest compliment that I can get as publisher, editor and designer is when a reader says, “This is the best issue yet” when a new issue comes out. If a reader feels that way, I’ve done a good job.
5 – What other types of projects have you worked on, and do you have anything else in the works?
In addition to the magazine, I publish books on creative and curious topics. Work/Life is a directory of international illustrators: our third edition was just released. I am also working on The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine which is a visual ode to everyone’s favourite obsolete writing machine. Little U, the offspring of UPPERCASE magazine, is a small “mook” book/magazine that I hope to release next year. It is always a challenge to juggle all of my ideas and projects, but I keep on track the best I can by using digital tools to track my schedules and ideas. I’m very focussed and work very hard to get everything done.
6 – What are your goals for the future of Uppercase Magazine?
Over the next while, I hope to expand our subscriber base so that we can have more financial stability and invest into other publishing projects. I see UPPERCASE as my life-long career and it will be interesting to see it grow and mature.
Thank goodness for these products. I couldn’t have survived my nasty 3 day head cold and congestion without these Cold and Flu Season Essentials.
1 – Triple Action Lemon-Honey Halls
These little suckers not only soothed my throat, the vapors would clear up my congested nose while I sucked on them, great for temporary relief.
2 – Kleenex Cool Touch
I literally went through 2 boxes of these in 3 days. They noticably softer than standard tissues, and my left my nose miraculously intact even after all that blowing.
3 – Neti Pot
The neti pot is a saline cleanse for your sinuses. While I was sick I used it every morning for sinus relief during the day. Some people use them even without being sick.
4 – Afrin
Afrin is the wonder-working, miracle spray that will totally clear out any congestion. The one catch is that it can be habit forming so I would only use it at night so I could sleep, and only for 4 days in a row.
5 – NETFLIX instant
What did sick people do before Netflix instant? After 3 days confined to my couch I was able to watch and re-watch movies and TV show series. My favorites were House of Cards and Mad Men, plus some silly chic flicks I would fall asleep to.
I usually write my year in review post much closer to the start of the new year, but as I mentioned in my previous post this year got off to a rocky start. After several days to let the dust settle, I’m finally feeling ready to delve into my recap of the last 12 months. (You can read previous years’ recaps here: 2012 and 2011)
2013 was a really great year for me professionally! Looking over the goals I set out for myself I accomplished almost all of them. I definitely think writing them down not only keeps me accountable, but also really helps me define what’s truly important and worth going after.
Here were my highlights of 2013.
Finances and Business direction
After meeting with Sage Wedding Pros I was able to write a mission statement for my business and I got a much better handle on keeping track of my finances. I set some sales goals, which I didn’t quite meet, but I it’s always good to have something to work towards, right?
My work was featured on several popular blogs like Paper Crave, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Style Me Pretty, Refinery 29. I was also featured in several print magazines (which was one of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year) Uppercase Magazine, Stationery Trends (three times) Inside Weddings and Southern New England Weddings. My most exciting press, however was my career feature on The Everygirl. You can ready the full interview HERE.
I worked with some great interns this year including Lisa who now has a permanent position with me as a part time studio assistant (You can read her interview here.) Erin worked with me for almost 6 months this year and Riley was with me for the last two months of 2013.
I developed my wedding collection, creating 5 new non-custom wedding invitation designs. These are a few of my most popular:
I added new cards, gift tags and photo cards:
National Stationery Show
By far the biggest thing I did all year was set up a booth my very first National Stationery Show. It was by far the most professional, most intense, most rewarding thing I’ve done so far in my career. Not only did I push myself in ways I didn’t know possible, I also made great contacts and friends in the stationery industry all over the country. I did a really great job of documenting my experience on this blog. You can read all the posts HERE.
I added so many new retailers to my list of stockists. Many of them I picked up at The National Stationery Show and others found me through etsy wholesale and other avenues. The most exciting was the national chain: Urban Outfitters who sells one of my cards on their website: HERE. I’ve been working on developing my wholesale business and I definitely saw a lot of growth in this department over the last year.
Calligraphy class + Wayzgoose
In November I took at 2 day calligraphy workshop with Molly Jacques and I went back up to Hamilton Wood Type Museum for their annual Wayzgoose. I really enjoyed taking the time to learn and develop new skills.
I started a small collection of lead and wood type! I was so busy I didn’t have enough time to use for most of the year until the very end of 2013 when I was able to start playing with some small tests. In 2014, I plan on releasing a small line of personalized stationery using hand set type. You can read those blog posts here and here.
Updating my website and creating a new e-commerce site was actually in my longer terms goals, but I was able to start working on it in the fall of 2013. It’s taking longer than expected to get everything done but it should hopefully completed in early 2014. (I can’t wait!)
A few things I did differently this year:
- less craft fairs
- more blogging
- more social media in general most notably a lot more instagramming
- I stayed in the same studio all year, and PLAN on staying put as long as possible
All in all 2013 was a really great year. I settled in and got into a better groove with my business. I stretched myself in new ways and learned new skills. I’m really looking forward to what 2014 has in store.
Next I will post my business goals for 2014! I think I might do something a little different this year and throw in my personal review of the year…