Notes from Abigail, the Summer Intern

Abigail Ham was the summer intern at Steel Petal Press.  She just finished up her internship and was kind enough to share some of her thoughts and experiences below.
Hey folks!   I’m Abby the Intern, and I’m in my fourth undergraduate year as a Visual Critical Studies and Print Media student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before this summer, I had no experience with letterpress, but working for ~the fabulous~ Shayna Norwood changed that. I’ve always been interested in typography and graphic design, and letterpress was a great way for me to learn design while also sharpening my skills as a printmaker. 
My primary job was to count, package, and ship out orders to lovely customers from Etsy, Shopify, and Steel Petal Press’s wonderful stockists. This was great, because it gave me a better idea of how to manage a business, what tools and websites to use to be a successful business owner, and how to make a coherent (and attractive) brand theme. I was also allowed to print cards (which was difficult, but I loved the challenge) and stationary for a variety of orders this summer. It felt great to help out in that regard. 
I really enjoyed the learning experience, above all. I had no idea how businesses worked, and I was completely inexperienced with the minutiae of design and letterpress. I loved learning about registration and color matching (that stuff is hard!), and I owe many of my newest ideas to this internship. Future interns should know that Shayna settles for nothing less than the best, so be prepared for that– it’s contagious. 
I think the only thing I did not like at this internship was scoring cards. I was not a fan of that. Pre-scored paper is the best invention ever.
Learning more about standard printing techniques has certainly been valuable, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to even begin to start a business. After working at Steel Petal press, I’ve been inspired to start planning for my own press, which is currently just a few scribbles in a sketchbook. Something that, until now, has seemed mysterious and far off now feels more tangible and manageable. I’m excited to get started and get involved in the printing community. Hopefully in the next few years, I’ll have a thriving publishing house and/or press for handmade books that utilize a variety of printing techniques… but who knows? 
Either way, I’m excited.

Letterpress Intern in Chicago

Chicago Letterpress Intern Wanted

It’s that time of year again! It’s Abigail‘s last week of her summer internship and I’m looking for a new letterpress intern in Chicago for the fall.

Commitment:
1 day 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. Shipping orders. You will also learn some presswork.

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

and feel free to pass on to interested parties.

Thanks! shayna

Typesetting with Starshaped Press

workshopflyer814

This weekend I’m excited to be taking a typesetting class at Starshaped Press! Although I know the very basics of type setting and I do some in my studio from time to time, I always find myself greatly limited by my lack of materials.  I’m looking forward to learning some more advanced techniques, and also having the freedom to create more than 1 line of stationery with my limited type selection.

I will be sure to post more photos and updates once I’ve completed the one day class.

10 years ago..

Chad and Shayna

10 years ago I met a boy through a mutual friend and I started seeing him at all the same parties all over San Francisco.  He had bleach blond hair and gave great hugs.   Who knew that 10 years later, we’d be celebrating four years of marriage?

Happy Anniversary CHAD – you still give the best hugs around

chad and shayna wedding

Etsy Favs | Gouttedeterre Porcelain Jewelry

Just cruising around etsy last weekend, I came across this amazing shop: Gouttedeterre from Paris who makes amazing porcelain jewelry.  Holy gorgeousness. I love the white with specs of gold, the one of a kind shapes and patterns.  So unique and beautiful.  He makes all types of jewelry, but his rings really caught my attention.

Here are a few of my favorites from Gouttedeterre Porcelain Jewelry.

Gouttedeterre rings Gouttedeterre rings Gouttedeterre rings Gouttedeterre rings Gouttedeterre rings

We’re HIRING

We're Hiring

Steel Petal Press is hiring! We are a small boutique stationery company specializing in handmade greeting cards and wedding invitations.  I am looking for a permanent part-time administrative assistant with potential for growth.
** This is an office job, not a creative position.

commitment: 1-2 days a week, no weekends.
compensation: DOE
location: Pilsen, Chicago

Tasks include:
- inventory tracking
- data entry
- fulfillment
- packing and shipping orders
- managing wholesale accounts, etsy orders and online shops (shopify, etsy)
- possibly some research and marketing assistance
- some general studio maintenance 

Requirements
- hard working
- ability to work independently
- keen attention to detail
- highly organized
- OK with performing repetitive tasks
- great communication skills
- previous office experience

Ideally I’m looking for someone who is interested in staying for a while and growing with the company. My studio is in Pilsen, so you have to be close or willing to travel.

Please contact me with cover letter, resume or any questions – shayna (at) steelpetalpress (dot) com

New Products: Custom Address Stamps

Custom Address Stamp

Several months ago, I started offering custom address stamps to some of my wedding clients as DIY alternative for envelope printing.  The response from my customers has been great an I’m excited to now offer personalized custom address stamps for sale directly through my online shop!

Below are a few of the first designs currently available, and I plan on adding to the collection over the next few months.

Custom Address Stamp Custom Address Stamp Custom Address Stamp Custom Address Stamp

NSS 2014 | National Stationery Show Budget

National Stationery Show Budget

So I wanted to spend some talking about my National Stationery Show Budget.  (Read my first two NSS recaps HERE and HERE – read all my NSS related posts HERE) Now, the budget here is based on my own experiences, I’m sure there are people who spend less (let’s say, small NYC based companies) and there’s much bigger budget booths with elaborate set ups and lots of helpers, like Crane and American Greetings.

In 2012 (my first year exhibiting) my only budget plan was to make everything as awesome as I could and spend as little money as possible. I only very roughly kept track of my expenses and at the end of it, I estimated I spent between 5-6k.

This year, I was much more organized about tracking my spending. First off, I knew I would spend somewhere between $6-$10k. Of course I wanted to keep it closer to the low end, but I was willing to spend more if it seemed worth it.

Based on last year’s experience I made a list of all the things I needed and approximated the cost of each item.  I included everything from pre show mailers, booth give aways to booth furniture, meals and travel expenses.  The purpose of the list was to get a sense of where my money was going so I could assess moving forward what was worth the cost, and how I would best spend my money on future shows.

I categorized my spending into 4 major categories – Booth Expenses, Travel Expenses, Marketing Materials, Misc –  and itemized each cost. Each time I actually purchased an item, I would input the true cost into my spread sheet. This made it easy for me total and organize everything and have an accurate number at the end of the show. There may have been a few expenses that slipped through the cracks, but I really tried to account for everything.

Here’s how and where I spent my money:

1) Booth expenses
booth fee (the cost javits charges to rent the space, I had one of the smaller booths at 6×10″) – $1782
walls(materials) – $325
walls(labor) – $300
wall(paint) – $120 one time expense
floors – $300 (this price is higher than it should have been, since I first ordered the wrong color, then had to spend an extra $60 to ship them back for replacements) one time expense
lighting – clip lamps + bulbs – $185 one time expense
Electric @ Javiz (what they charge for an electrical plug) – $150
furniture – $265 one time expense
vinyl – $130
storage for walls – $25
TOTAL $3,582

Travel expenses
freight for walls – $450
flights lisa – $95
flight chad – $133
gas for car – $150
pay lisa – $400
parking in NYC – $120
NYC – Hotel $1246**
RoadTrip – hotel (both ways) $150
meals in NYC $500
food and booth snacks (target) $80
packed lunch $40
TOTAL $2,193

Marketing Materials:
catalog $467
mailer – $200
press kit – printed blurb $40
press kit – envelopes – $57
CDs + labels $40
order form $50
business cards $100 (I print my own)
stickers $116 (this was a big waste as I first ordered them to small, then ordered replacements that didn’t arrive until after the show)
booth give away (Pens) $125 one time expense!
booth give away (cards) $50
TOTAL $1245

Misc Expenses
tools, extension chords + power strips $120 one time expense
misc errands, tools, pencils, clip boards etc $50 one time expense
new outfits $200
nails done for show $75
TOTAL: $445

Show total = $7,390
**This show total does not include the hotel, since I used my credit card points to book the room. It would have otherwise added an extra $1250 for the room for the week to total = $8,636

Next year my booth costs will definitely go down, as I’ve already paid for many of the items (floors, lights, some furniture.)  I also plan on cutting down on my travel expenses. Packing a lunch helped cut down meal costs, I’m also not sure that paying a booth helper was entirely worth the extra money either.

I was hoping that I would be able to re-use my walls for future shows, but unfortunately I was not happy with their quality and am looking into building new walls again for next year. Even with paying someone to build my walls, it still ended up cheaper than the alternative (hiring Manny Stone to build temporary walls)

Overall I felt pretty good about how the whole thing went. I would definitely make some changes for next year, and I plan to continue to learn, grown and change based on my experiences.

New Releases: Wedding and Bridesmaid Cards

This year at the National Stationery Show I also released new letterpress Wedding and Bridesmaid Cards.   Including some new congratulations cards and a series of new “Will You Be My Bridesmaid” and “Will You Be My Maid of Honor” cards.

You can find them at your local retailer HERE or for sale on my website HERE. Will You be My Bridesmaid Card Will You be My Maid of Honor Card Congratulations Wedding Card Congratulations Wedding Card Will You Be My Bridesmaid Card Will You be My Maid of Honor Card Will You Be My Bridesmaid Card Will You Be My Maid of Honor Card

Wedding and Bridesmaid Cards printed by hand in Chicago by Steel Petal Press. Photos by Steel Petal Press.

Introducing Our Newest Letterpress Intern

Letterpress Intern

Please meet our newest intern Abigail Ham.  She is a third year student at the School of the Art Institute Chicago studying print making.  She is a summer intern getting school credit for her time here at the studio. I’ve had a chance to teach her some of the basics of letterpress printing from measuring roller height (below) and helping print a few production runs on the Vandercook and the C&P.  She’s also been super helpful with studio production and order fulfillment; helping package cards and ship out orders. If you’ve ordered a card from me in the last few weeks, chances are Abigail had a hand in getting it to you.

She will continue helping in the studio for another 6 weeks, until her summer semester is over and she returns to regular classes at SAIC for her last year. Letterpress Intern