Chicago Print Crawl

Chicago Print Crawl

Steel Petal Press is thrilled to be participating in this year’s Chicago Print Crawl organized by Spudnik Press.

Spudnik Press is a community print shop located in West Town Chicago. They offer classes, workshops, private lessons and field trip tours for novices. For more intermediate printers, Spudnik rents studio space, and offers residencies and fellowships. Our very own printing assistant, Dan, recently went through their studio fellowship program.

The print crawl takes place on Saturday May 11th from 11am – 5pm. Steel Petal Press will be hosting an Open House of sorts. The presses will be running all day. Visitors coming into the shop will have a chance to ask questions while Dan prints. While we always have the presses on display at Steel Petal Press, this will be a unique chance to delve in and ask questions as we demo while we work.

March Month Rewind!

Hey everyone, Spring is well underway and it feels like the months are beginning to move faster and faster. As we began to prepare for much larger projects down road, March was not necessarily a busy month but it definitely didn’t slow us down. Check out what we’ve been up to in our March Month Rewind!

Our SPP Family Grew: Say Hi To Margaret!:
This was possibly the most exciting development in the month of March. We hired on Margaret as our new “Retail and Shipping Assistant”. This was a position we created with a lot of thought in mind and something we’ve really needed for awhile. Both our retail and wholesale businesses are growing (which is GREAT) but it also means that our Retail and Shipping Managers need some extra hands to help. However, as you may or may not know, the hiring process is a very grueling and time-consuming one. Margaret, however, has proved to make the entire process seamless as she is a smart and talented lady full of smiles! Be sure to stop by our Retail Location and say hi to our newest family member!

This is Margaret – be sure to stop in and say hi!

New Release Updates:
In case it wasn’t obvious from our social media and blog, we have been deep in the midst of creating a New Release! While it’s a long and tiresome process, it’s arguably one of the most important ways to continue growing and refreshing the SPP brand. In the month of March, we officially approved all new product styles that will be apart of this New Release (which I mentioned earlier is over 40!) as well as printing our asses off. We have also slowly begun receiving our outsourced gift items such as gift wrap, mugs, and magnets which are printed off-site in the USA. We are so proud of all the new items we have created and can’t wait to share them with the world!

(NOT) Down With The Sickness:
It was definitely a hard month in terms of germs and SPP. Our team got hit with a flu that quickly passed through the ranks and all but 2 people remained standing for a couple days. Needless to say, we went through A LOT of Clorox wipes in the month of March. Fingers crossed we won’t have that happen anymore, UGH!

NYNow Booth Booked:
It’s official: SPP is heading back to the Big Apple for NYNow August ’19. This is always a huge step to take because it is a very large investment of time, money, and man power (especially for a small business). But, after starting back to the trade show circuit last year, it has proved worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. One of our goals is to continue growing our wholesale brand and we can’t properly do that without putting ourselves out there! It’s also a great opportunity to showcase the new release we’ve been working so damn hard on with over 40+ new items coming out! We really couldn’t be more excited to hit the road again and see new (and old) faces. Keep your eye out for more details in the coming months!

Chicago Print Crawl:
This is a brand new project that Steel Petal Press officially decided to be apart of this month (although it’s not until May) It’s meant to share and celebrate the art of printing and letterpress which is one of our main goals here at Steel Petal Press. Our printer, Dan will be operating the press and open to questions on the day of the event. In the coming months, he is also creating some small educational visuals for guests to look at and learn more about what exactly we do here. We are so excited for May to get here and to kick off Print Crawl. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a link with dates, times, and another other important info!

That’s the end of our March Month Rewind. These next few months are bound to get busier and busier but it is nice to be able to pause a couple moments and reflect back on what we’ve accomplished. Thanks again for reading and stay tuned for next month’s!

Follow us on Instagram keep up to date on all the SPP shenanigans 🙂

Gift Guide For Plant People!

Spring has sprung! The temperature is warming up and the sun is starting to shine more and more. This means we can kick our plant obsession into high gear! We know we aren’t alone in our love for all things leafy and so take a look at some of our top plant picks from our retail shop that make great gifts for any plant people you love dearly! Here’s our Gift Guide For Plant People:

Poppy & Lavender Garden Kits, Modern Sprout ($15) – These garden kits make gardening easy because they include everything you need to grow the flowers right in the container! They are a great way to add a bit of the outdoors to any small indoor space. As an added bonus, Modern Sprout is a local Chicago company (support small, woohoo!)

Self Watering Animal Planters, Noted ($15) – These guys have been a very popular item since they hit our shelves. They come in a variety of plant types and adorable animal shapes sure to bring a smile to anyone! Additionally, they use an enclosed straw or felt “tongue” to water themselves which means they require little to no effort (even better!)

“Plants Get Me” Women’s Ankle Socks, BQ ($10.50) – Who doesn’t love a good sock? No one, that’s who! Plant people included. That’s why our “Plants Get Me” socks make a great gift. They combine the love of plants with a great novelty gift idea!

Assorted Succulent Planters, Natural Life ($15) – Our selection of succulent planters from Natural Life are as cute as they are small. They come with faux plants/dirt inside but can easily be converted for real use. We think they make a great little accent for desks or window sills (and I’m sure plant people would agree!)

Boys With Plants Book, Chronicle/Hachette ($14.95) – If you need a perfect tongue and cheek gift for a plant lover, look no further! This hilarious book contains photographs of attractive men alongside their favorite plants. We’re almost positive there’s no quicker way to a plant person’s heart than this book, haha!

Alas, we have come to the end of Gift Guide For Plant People! Be sure to shop these gift ideas and much more at our retail location! Additionally, you can check out all Steel Petal Press handmade items on our website anytime – day or night!

Follow us on Instagram for great content everyday!

New Release Step 1: Creative Process

Hi guys, we are so excited to kick off our blog series which gives a segmented, in-depth look at all the steps we do at Steel Petal Press to create a “New Release”.

To start off, we first want to clarify what a “New Release” is for us. It’s the term we use to describe when we create, produce, and then sell new styles of products for Steel Petal Press. Our goal is to design new items in every category we offer (cards, mugs, bookmarks, magnets, gift wrap, gift bags). For example, in this New Release we are actively working on, there are 41 new items being made – WOW!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s discuss the portion of the New Release process that comes first (and we actually just wrapped up the other day!): The Creative Process. As you could probably guess from the title, we use this time to think of fresh new ideas and Shayna then designs them either by hand or using Ilustrator. This is by far our favorite part of the New Release journey because it involves a lot of laughter, fun, and thoughtful artistic discussions.

Brainstorming is a huge part of the Creative Process of a New Release. We are constantly writing down ideas and discussing how things do or don’t work. It’s a constant discussion where small ideas are reworked and grown into final salable, on-brand product! This whole process, from thought to final design, can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

A close-up shot of some ideas for our current New Release

Next up, we use our weekly staff meetings as the forum for those aforementioned thoughtful artistic discussions. The input from our entire team is CRUCIAL in designing amazing products for SPP. The melting pot of different perspectives allow for us to see things in new and different ways as well as build upon each other’s ideas. Here’s a couple photos of what this looks like:

Pictured (From Left To Right): Shayna, Dan, and Matt discussing card ideas
Pictured: Shayna discussing a potential new mug idea

Last, but not least, staff feedback and discussion is not only used to invent new ideas but it’s also an important tool to see what ideas AREN’T working. While it may seem like everything we create kicks ass (because it does, duh), behind the scenes is not as simple. We are often tabling ideas for another time because we aren’t able to make a solid final idea out of it. Other times, an idea is presented that someone LOVES but, with more input, we recognize that the idea just doesn’t translate to a product or to our brand.

Thanks for joining us on this first leg of this current journey to a New Release for Steel Petal Press. Stay tuned next month to see Step 2!!
In the mean time, for more behind the scenes follow us on Instagram:

February Retailer Shout Outs!

We absolutely love when our wholesale accounts tag our products on display in their stores! It really makes us feel connected with others through our designs which is what we are all about here at Steel Petal Press.

Enjoy a few of our favorites we saw in the month of February:

The Ballog – Palmetto, GA
Hucklebeary – Duluth, MN
Ellie Bauman & Co. – San Francisco, CA
Milton And Margie’s – Chicago, IL

We absolutely love sharing Steel Petal Press with the world so keep’um coming!

Follow us on instagram for more behind the scenes.

Steel Petal Press Instagram

February Month Rewind!

February is finally over and we couldn’t be happier! If you’re in Chicago (or at least understand its’ weather), you’ll know it’s been a rough one. In general, things have been pretty quiet but that doesn’t mean we’ve slowed down! For now, enjoy our February Month Rewind:

Kick Off To Hiring:
Phew, this has been a long time coming! The start of the hiring process (and the entire process in general) requires a lot of effort and moving parts. From deciding the specific job needs, to creating and posting a job listing, to actually interviewing, it just take a lot. However, we are actually happy that business is doing so well that we NEED extra help! Stay tuned for the outcome of our employee hunt and hopefully we’ll have an extra addition to the SPP family next month 🙂

Feb 2019 NYNow Buying Trip:
If you follow SPP at all, you’ll know we kicked off NYNow Aug 2018 by showing our wholesale line for the first time in years. However, our owner Shayna also travels to additional NYNow shows for the sole intention of buying cool products from other vendors to carry in our retail store. This is a very tedious, but necessary, task since there is SO MUCH to see at these shows and VERY LITTLE time to do it! But, it’s the best way to keep up with new and fresh items which is very important for our brick & mortar business.

Valentine’s Day:
Being a stationery and gift company, Valentine’s Day can be a very busy time in terms of sales. In the 1 or 2 months leading up to V-Day, our wholesale accounts are placing orders to get those love-themed items shipped and received in time to be purchased! For our brick and mortar, the week to couple days before the holiday are our busiest! (Nothing like last minute shopping, eh?!) Either way, we love being a place that people turn to for the perfect way to say they care!

Spring Display Window:
We love ushering in the new Spring season with a new window display at our brick and mortar location! It’s truly special how much freedom we have to have to get creative with the displays and we do our best to take full advantage of that 🙂 This year we found ourselves inspired by crystals and their formations in nature. We honestly couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, in fact, it might be our favorite window to date:

The Path To A New Release Begins:
As we’ve made mention in previous blog posts, Steel Petal Press really wants to share a more in depth look at how we create new releases for our brand. BUT, to touch on it briefly as we look back this month, the creative portion of this process began as we started to share some preliminary ideas for new cards and gifts. We are looking forward to sharing more details on this but for now enjoy some photo evidence of what this looks like for us:


(Left to Right) Shayna, Dan, Matt looking at potential card ideas!

Thanks for reading through our February Month Rewind. We can’t wait to share all the exciting things that unfolding for Steel Petal Press in 2019! Until next time, buh bye!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more behind the scenes!!

Do You Like Funny, New Shit? Cool, We Made Some!

Let’s be honest: who doesn’t like funny, new shit? Steel Petal Press certainly does! One of our favorite things to do is to create new and funny additions to our product line. As we always say, our mission is to create products that help people celebrate and connect through life’s important moments. What better way to do that than with a little humor and sass? 😉 Check out all the funny, new shit we made for our most recent product release:

Cards:
In case it wasn’t clear, we LOVE cards. Our new releases are comprised mostly of cards which are perfect for a variety of occasions. Check out these great new Steel Petal Press original designs we made for this latest release:

For The Birthdays: Old Fart (left) / Just One Drink (middle) / You Were Born (right)
For The Parents: Bad Dad Jokes (left) / Take It Easy (right)

Gift Bags:
Steel Petal Press isn’t just a one-trick pony… we also design and create other items such as gift bags! We think that sass shouldn’t just be limited to the cards you give but gifts, too. Check out these newest styles:

For The Gift Bags: Best Gift Ever (left) / Goddamn Happy Birthday (right)

Coffee Mug:
We sure do love our mugs at Steel Petal Press! No matter how you take your coffee (cream and/or sugar) it never hurts to have a little snark with it! Check out our newest mug style:

For Coffee Mugs: Fresh Fucks

Bookmarks:
Steel Petal Press also has an extensive line of bookmarks because books rule! Do we really need anymore reasons than that? Check out this great new style we just released:

For The Bookmarks: Big Books

Be sure to stop by our brick & mortar store (and shop our Steel Petal Press products online) to browse all of our awesome products AND MORE!

How Does It Get Made?: The SPP Edition.

How does it get made? Is this a question we ask too much?…or not enough?

When we live in such a consumer-driven culture, it can be easy to forget the journey an item makes before we purchase it. For us here at SPP, it’s more than just making a commodity. It’s about creating high quality, handmade items that connect all of us through fun and meaningful life moments. With that in mind, we want to begin a series of blog posts that detail specific portions of the design process for our upcoming release – from start to finish! However, we thought to give it a bit more context that we should layout a brief overview of the entire process derived from our last release which just happened in January (Spring)!  Without further ado, enjoy How does It Get Made?: The SPP Edition.

The “Thinking” Process:
While this isn’t an official title or anything, it’s a great umbrella concept for the creative thoughts process that must happen first. Essentially, we can’t produce new items if we don’t know what ideas we want to create! As I mentioned above, we just did a Spring Release this January but its development began way back in August of last year (2018)! The entire staff joins in on the brainstorming process which means we are constantly jotting down and joking around with ideas. From that pool of ideas, Shayna starts designing rough sketches which can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

As the sketching process continues, Shayna will present them to the entire staff during weekly meetings in which positive and negative feedback is given and adjustments are made to create final designs or table  unfinished ideas (possibly for another release).

The “Printing” Process:
Next up, printing! Since we create cards using the letterpress process, we must order the plates which “stamp” (or press) our design onto paper. Therefore, absolutely no printing can occur until we receive them. The plates usually come in 1-2 weeks and then we print all the new card designs for another 2-3 weeks.

However here at SPP, we don’t just design cards! We also design gift items like magnets, mugs, gift bags, and gift wrap which can’t be made using letterpress so we outsource them during this time to other printing services in the US.

The “Marketing to Sales” Process:
This final portion of the journey encompasses all aspects that have to do with marketing and getting our products to sale through either wholesale or retail. When we finish printing, the new samples are shipped out to be photographed which takes about another 1-2 weeks. These photographs are important because they can used for a variety of marketing purposes like Instagram, Facebook, newsletters, etc.

During this time, Shayna will also update our wholesale catalog while our wholesale manager, Rachel, works on updating our various selling websites. Rachel will also work on sending out the new samples to our sales rep groups across the country to ensure they have our entire current line available for accounts. Last on the wholesale front, we will send out catalogs and marketing fliers to all 300+ current retailers to let them know about our new release!

Once all of that is complete, we can begin selling our new items to the public through various retail channels such as our brick and mortar store and our website!

The finish of a release also sets us up to show at wholesale markets like AmericasMart and NYNow because we have new products to debut to current and potential accounts!

Whew – what a process, huh?! While it’s no small feat, it’s a large part of what we are constantly doing here at Steel Petal Press. We look forward to continuing this blog post series in real time alongside our next release. Until then, we hope you enjoyed How Does It Get Made?: The SPP Edition.

Be sure to stop by our brick & mortar store (and shop our Steel Petal Press products online) to browse all of our awesome products AND MORE!

And be sure to follow us on Instagram for more behind the scenes!

Shout out to our Retailers!

Popping in to do a quick shout out to all our awesome retail partners!  Wholesale business is about half of the work we do.  Steel Petal Press products are carried in over 250+ wonderful stores around the country.  We love peeping all the beautifully curated shops on instagram.  It’s always a joy to see our products in out in the wild.  Below are a few shots from some of our favorite shops!

ClTCH in Charlotte, NC

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Fetch in Kansas City, MO

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Modern Legend in Wilmington, NC

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The Paper Studio, Grand Rapid MI

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Wordshop, Denver CO

And please be sure to follow us on instagram for all our pretty new products and promotions!

Steel Petal Press Instagram

January Rewind – A Kickass Start To 2019!

We know we say this every month but where does the time go?! SERIOUSLY, THOUGH!? We couldn’t be more excited with how the first month of 2019 has gone! January was definitely a strange month with lots going on so please enjoy our January Rewind!

Year-End Inventory:
As you could probably guess, the year-end inventory isn’t the most fun task to do here at Steel Petal Press but it is totally necessary! To sum it up, a year-end inventory means we count every single item we have in stock from the back to the front. This includes everything from envelopes and sleeves to the candles and tea towels on the sales floor. We then reconcile any differences between what we counted versus what our computer count says we have. This allows us to accurately account for inventory so we know what/when to order things, identify any theft patterns, and let us know how much dollar amount in inventory we have on hand! The team totally killed it and this was by far the most seamless inventory count we’ve had! WOOHOO!

Karaoke Room:
Steel Petal Press likes to do an “employee fun time” once every quarter as a reward for all the hard work our team gives! This quarter’s fun time happened to land right at the end of inventory so everyone was ready to blow off some steam! We collectively decided to rent a karaoke room in Lincoln Park and sing our little hearts out…and boy, did we! 🙂

(Our favorite pic of the night goes to Dan, one of our retail employees/printer and his gf, Anna!)

America’s Mart (ATL):
We had been working tirelessly to prepare for our very first time attending America’s Mart as a vendor and all the hard work paid off! The set-up and tear down were pretty much seamless…we even got to enjoy a “free” day around Atlanta!

We were very happy with how the booth turned out – bright, colorful, and welcoming (which is everything Steel Petal Press is about!) One more special thing about our booth at America’s Mart was that we were in the “On Trend” section which is juried. This means a panel voted that our products “Juried” means that a met their criteria to be considered “On Trend”. It’s very important in a huge show such as this because it sets us apart from the VERY  large pool of additional vendors.

Steel Petal Press  had a few days that were a bit slow but in the end it was deemed a successful first time showing at America’s Mart! We walked away with 20 orders, most of which were new accounts for us! We are looking to get more reach in the south, so definitely a good start to expanding in this area.

We also measure a show’s success by  how many contacts were made even if they didn’t place an order. This is because it’s very possible they could place an order in the future! Once we arrived home, we counted about 30 new potential retail leads (which is very good) but they also felt like stronger leads than the one’s we compiled from New York Now in August. In fact, we’ve even had 2 new account open from those leads!

The show going well did not spare Shelby or Shayna from utter exhaustion which can best we summed up by this photo from the plane right home.

Justin Timberlake Concert:
Since Shelby and Shayna worked their asses off at Steel Petal Press’s first ever America’s Mart, they decided to treat themselves to something super fun while in ATL. They decided to go see Justin Timberlake who happened to be playing at the arena right down town…and it did NOT disappoint (not even a little). They were able to rock out and enjoy an incredible show despite all their drooling and swooning (because let’s be honest, he’s both cute AND sexy which isn’t an easy feat!)

Las Vegas Show:
For the first time, Steel Petal Press showed at a tradeshow in Las Vegas with our sales rep group: Lynn Mitchell Group. Shayna also decided to attend on behalf of SPP since we were sharing the space with other brands from LMG. It proved to be an interesting learning experience since we had never seen our sales reps in action!

Polar Vortex:
Last, but not least, for the first time ever Steel Petal Press’s flagship retail location in Chicago was closed for 2 days due to weather!

The temperature reached between -20 to -30 degrees both days. The entire staff working those days walk to work which was just too dangerous when it’s that cold! (Trust us, it was miserable out!)

February is already underway so stay tuned for next month’s recap!