Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Brick & Mortar Item | Sarcastic Coloring Book

Sarcastic Coloring Books at Steel Petal Press

At Steel Petal Press one of our Core Values is LAUGHTER.  We believe Laughter and beauty bring joy to the world

We love it when customers come in and we here giggles, cackles and sometimes snorts as they peruse our selection of greeting cards and gift items.  One of our most popular items are these sarcastic coloring book.  They are funny and also serve the purpose of helping people relax.  Kill two self-care birds with one stone 🙂

Sarcastic Coloring Books at Steel Petal Press Sarcastic Coloring Books at Steel Petal Press Sarcastic Coloring Book at Steel Petal Press

Please come in and check out our selection in person at 2321 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647. If you love us, please leave a review on YELP!

Interview on Proof to Product!

Proof to Product Podcast, Shayna Norwood

Hey Everyone!! I wanted to announce the release of my podcast for the Proof to Product Podcast by my stationery friend and colleague Katie Hunt of Tradeshow Bootcamp.

I took the Tradeshow Bootcamp webinars in 2012 before I exhibited for the first time at The National Stationery Show.  Since then I have been an active member of the TSBC online community of stationery designers and printers, such an inspiring group of entrepreneurs and creative minds.  More recently I attended PaperCamp+ for alumni in more advanced stages of their business.

I was thrilled and honored to be interviewed for this podcast and give back to a community from which I’ve learned so much.  In my interview I talk about how I started Steel Petal Press, opening the flagship retail shop, managing both a wholesale business and a retail storefront, the challenges I’ve faced while growing the business and advice to designers who are pitching their products to wholesale buyers.

I had so much fun talking with Katie and sharing some of the things I’ve learned along my journey.  You can listen to the full episode HERE.  Please check it out, I would love to hear what you think! Was there any new information you found helpful?  Anything I didn’t address, I would love to comment more here.

Thanks so much to Katie and everyone in TSBC for creating such a wonderful and supportive community!



Letterpress Internship Chicago

Chicago Letterpress Internship

Letterpress Internship Chicago
Starting in January Steel Petal Press is looking for another letterpress intern.  Details on the position and how to apply are listed below.

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 “Spring Letterpress Intern”

and feel free to pass on to interested parties.

Thanks! shayna

Thoughts on Amazon Handmade

Thoughts on Amazon Handmade

Since it’s launch just a few weeks ago, Amazon Handmade has hit the news and the handmade community with a splash.  There’s been lots of talk of what it will mean for the future of etsy, and what it means for crafters and makers.

Here is some more reporting from around the web:
New York Times article overview on Amazon Handmade
Forbes – Etsy v Amazon defining “Handmade”
Aeolidia – Is Amazon Handmade an Etsy Killer?
A Closer Look from a crafter who opted out.

Here are my thoughts on the subject:

Steel Petal Press specializes in letterpress stationery that I sell direct to customers and wholesale.  I currently have an active etsy shop, a Steel Petal Press online shop, plus I also get business from wholesale accounts and custom client work. I make a living working full-time at my craft and I am able to do so through all these various revenue streams.  Personally, I’m all for Amazon Handmade.  An Amazon Handmade Storefront for Steel Petal Press will add another revenue source to my repertoire and give me new access to an untapped market: Amazon Shoppers.

Did you know Amazon has 285 million active users?  That’s HUGE compared to Ety’s 22 million.  (source)

In return Amazon takes 12% of the sale as opposed Etsy’s 3.5% + $0.20 listing fee. The 12% fee might be too much for some makers like this woman who says she won’t make a profit once Amazon takes their cut. (12% margins are pretty low, clearly Amazon Handmade is not the market place for her.  I also think she should consider raising her prices, or updating and streamlining her processes to be more profit-friendly.)

12% fees from Amazon are high, but don’t prevent me from making a profit;  My wholesale pricing is 50% off retail,  plus I work with sales reps that take an additional 15-20% on top of that and I’m still able to hand craft my goods and make, not only a profit, but a living.

My Amazon Shop has been up for a little over a week now, and I’ve already gotten three orders.  It’s certainly far from a huge volume, but it’s promising for a brand new market place.  My etsy shop was open for months before I even got my first sale and now I average $1500 a month in Etsy retail sales (which doesn’t make me rich, but keeps me busy.)  Those sales combined with my other revenue streams makes me a living.

It is my hope that the potential in Amazon Handmade is huge. Starting August 1st 2016 they will start charging an additional $40 / month sellers fee.  At that point I will reassess my sales and decide whether to move forward using their marketplace.

Until then, all the talk in the handmade community has been fascinating to follow.

Are you a maker? What are your thoughts on Amazon Handmade? Will you set up a store font there?  Why or why not?  I would LOVE to hear your opinion.

On Deck in the Studio

Not only is summer an agreed-upon great season to get hitched, it’s also the perfect time to break out the stationery and keep in touch with scattered friends and family. Others must agree, because production at Steel Petal Press sure hasn’t slowed, and we’ve been busily printing, packing, and shipping our paper goods to retailers and customers nationwide.

Below is Maranda on her last day at Steel Petal Press and on the right is our newest team member Kat! I will officially introduce her in an upcoming post.

Photo Jul 02

Wholesale orders march on. Here, we’re boxing up and shipping out to some of our sellers like Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, Magnificent Milestones in Chicago, The Gypsy Wagon in Dallas, and Paper Goat Post in Florida.

During a recent job were glad to reacquaint with a past wedding client, Hylah Hedgepeth to print some stationery and business cards for her new photography venture. Yeah for small business!

Photo Jun 12

Pictured below is another run of elegant business cards for a bridal boutique called Le Salon.

Photo Jun 12

And here is yet another custom stationery job, set by hand in lead type. We mostly use digital design and polymer plates to print, as there is more flexibility with layout and fonts on the computer. But, every now and then, it’s nice to slow down and hand set some metal type.

Photo Jun 12-2

In other news: We’re excited to announce that things are steadily progressing with our new studio and retail space. Lease is signed, a deposit has been made, and we’re on our way. We’re currently working with an architect to build out the space and lay it out just right. Next up, construction permits. This is a slow process, but we’re thrilled to be making headway.

We’re Hiring!

Hiring 2015

Steel Petal Press is hiring! After a year in the trenches our right hand lady Maranda will be moving on to bigger adventures. Now we have the difficult job of finding an awesome admin/retail/stationery/inventory guru to fill her shoes.

I am looking for a permanent part-time studio manager/ administrative assistant with potential for growth. We are currently located in Pilsen, where we produce and ship all our products around the country. This fall we will be moving to a retail location in Logan Square. Administrative + Retail experience is a plus!
** This is an office job, NOT a creative position.

commitment: 2-3 days a week – with availability on weekends
compensation: DOE
location: Pilsen, Chicago (with relocation to Logan Square this Fall)

Tasks include:
— supply and inventory management
— 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

– organized
– online selling/shipping experience
— hard working
— ability to work independently
— keen attention to detail, with ability to understand the ‘Big Picture’
— highly organized
— OK with performing repetitive tasks
— great communication skills
— previous office management experience
— Flexible schedule

Bonus if you have:
– Love of stationery
– Small Boutique experience
– visual merchandising and buying experience

To be considered:




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)

Help Steel Petal Press win a Small Biz Grant!

Steel Petal Press FedEx Small Business Grant

It’s the last day to vote Steel Petal Press onto the next round for a FedEx Small Business grant! Please help by voting for us HERE.

We could use the money in so many ways, and your votes can help get us to the next round. Your support is much appreciated!!

FedEx Small Biz Grant!

Steel Petal Press Chicago Letterpress

Steel Petal Press is in the running for a FedEx Small Biz Grant!  The grant would be from $5000-$25,000.

I need your help by voting me into the next round!  You can place you vote through my grant page HERE.  You can vote once a day for the next month. I won’t hound you eeeveryy day about voting, but I might remind you once a week.  🙂 You time and support is greatly appreciated!

I could use the money in so many ways! I hope to use part of it to fund my yearly trip to the National Stationery Show.  It is always such a huge expense traveling to trade shows, and the extra money could definitely help. I would also use some of the money to help develop and research new product lines.  Finally, I am hoping to make the move into a larger space where I could eventually purchase another press and help with ongoing production.  As you can imagine moving lots of heavy letterpress equipment takes specialized movers and is pricey.

So please help and vote for Steel Petal Press!  >> HERE <<

Winning this grant would be huge! and I appreciate any support you can give.

hugs and kisses, have a great weekend!  Shayna

Steel Petal Press Chicago Letterpress Steel Petal Press Chicago Letterpress Steel Petal Press Chicago Letterpress

2014 In Review

2014 Year in Review

I know I say this every year, but 2014 was another big year for Steel Petal Press!!  I usually like to start these posts by looking over the goals I set for myself the previous year (see recaps from 2013, 2012 and 2011) but it looks like I didn’t write those down last January, so I’ll just have to go by 3-5 year goals from 2012 (still totally applicable!)

Here are the highlights and milestones of 2014:

New Website
I started working on revamping my website in September of 2013. 6 months later, it finally went live in March of 2014!  Read my post about the experience HERE.

National Stationery Show
It was my second year exhibiting at the National Stationery Show. This year I had my own both, built my own hard walls and brought my husband with me.  You can read my recap of the experience HERE.


Paper Source
One of my card designs got picked up by Paper Source! Selling to a national chain has been fantastic. They place fairly large wholesale orders very regularly.

Other New Stockists
I added 20+ new retailers to my list of stockists in 2014. They are super awesome and I’m thankful to be working with each and every one of them.  You can see my full list HERE.

In August of 2014 I hired a lawyer and filed the paper work to officially become Steel Petal Press Inc. (Goodbye sole-proprietorship!)  When I made the decision to hire my first employee,  the first step of the process was to separate myself from my business. Hence Incorporation! Which leads me to my next big event..

Hired an Employee
In August, I posted an ad on craigslist, weeded through over 150 applications, went through the interview process and hired Maranda, as my part time administrative and studio assistant. It’s been a learning curve adjusting to someone new in the studio, but it’s definitely alleviated a lot of my workload.

I hosted 4 interns in 2014.  They all brought something a little different to the table and I enjoyed working with each of them. It’s also so fascinating to see how differently each of them works, their strengths and weaknesses.

Celebrity Wedding
I worked on one highly intense, celebrity wedding rush order.

Custom Orders
I worked on over 100+ custom orders including personalized stationery, business cards, holiday cards, save the dates and wedding invitations.   More than half my custom orders were wedding invitations.  I worked with couples all over the world from Chicago to Australia.  The state that wins for most clients? 12 couples from New York chose my services last year.

Gold Foil Wedding Invitation

I got some great press this year.  From Buzz Feed, Oh So Beautiful Paper, and more (see the full list here), but the most exciting was seeing my work and my studio featured in a Japanese book about letterpress: A New Trend In Letterpress Printing

And now on to my goals and plans for 2015

– get busy enough to hire another part-time employee (someone to help with packing and shipping)
– pick up 10-20 more wholesale accounts (at the National Stationery Show or elsewhere)
– be published in a major bridal publication, Brides Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings etc.
– have more card designs picked up by Paper Source
– Find a Sales Rep

Longer term 3-5 year goals

– move into a new space, hopefully a storefront closer to home (the commute kills me)
– new space = more space, purchase a Windmill and learn how to print on it
– hire a full time employee


And now a few personal goals

Get finances together – buying a house has been expensive, and definitely an adjustment in terms of spending and money
Keep going to the gym – I was really good about working out regularly last year, and I want to keep that up in 2015
Read more books – Winter is the time for reading! I have 6 on my shelf ready to get into
Eat less sweets – I have a major sweet tooth, it is one of my vices that got out of hand over the holidays. I’ve found that if I allow myself to eat sweets on Sunday, it’s easier for me to resist for the rest of the week.
Personal relationships – Although there are still times that work can take over, over I felt good about my work-life balance last year. I want to continue to put energy into my friendships, my husband and my family while still working to improve and grow Steel Petal Press.


And that’s my 2014 in review!  You can also view 2013, 2012 and 2011 recaps on my blog. How was your 2014? Any big goals for 2015?