Archive for the ‘Letterpress’ Category

Spring 2020 New Release – Part I

Can you believe we already have to start thinking and planning for our 2020 NEW RELEASE?! It’s bonkers…but true. It’s a time that’s full of mixed emotions: stress, excitement, frustration, happiness, and many more! However, the process of creating a New Release is integral in moving the brand forward in creative and compelling ways. It reminds our current shoppers why they love us and creates another opportunity to “woo” new customers.

To kick off a New Release, it’s allllll about creativity! We begin brainstorming and sharing ideas for cards and other gift items we make such as stickers, mugs, or even bookmarks. For this release, we are focusing on Mom, Dad, Grad, and Love cards as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, and Valentine’s Day will be the biggest upcoming holidays people will need cards for! For our gift items, we have a little more design freedom since these items aren’t geared towards a specific holiday.

Steel Petal Press New Release Letterpress Greeting Cards for Every Occasion Mother Day Fathers Day Valentines Birthday
Here we see initial ideas being presented for
further comments, questions, and critiques.

While this process can be fun, it can also be very tiring. It takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks from start to finish although we are ALWAYS thinking of new ideas so it never really stops. Additionally, it can be difficult to look at the same thing for so long and to constantly be listening to a pool of different opinions (but we truly value hearing them!).

Steel Petal Press New Release Letterpress Greeting Cards for Every Occasion Mother Day Fathers Day Valentines Birthday
Here we have Rachel (left), Dan (middle), and Shayna (right) discussing some of the
ideas and any necessary changes needed to make it stronger…
PLUS COFFEE (also a very important component of the design process, LOL!)

However for this release, the creative portion went a lot smoother than normal . At the end of only 2.5 weeks, we have a solid 27 NEW ITEMS that are completed and ready to move onto the next part of the process. That’s absolutely incredible, and to make it even better, we couldn’t be happier with the products we’ve created.

Steel Petal Press New Release Letterpress Greeting Cards for Every Occasion Mother Day Fathers Day Valentines Birthday Stickers Prince Pizza Yoda
A little teaser of a few of the finalized designs for the
Spring 2020 New Release from Steel Petal Press.

That’s a wrap…of this portion! In Part II, we’ll show a behind-the-scenes look into how these products are produced, including in-house and out-source creation. Stay tuned.
XOXO

Steel Petal Press Letterpress Handmade Stationery Greeting Cards Instagram
Stay up to date with our daily shenanigans and other important
SPP info by following us on Instagram!

New Release Step 2: Printing Process

Steel Petal Press is back at it again with Step 2 of our New Release journey which we call the “Printing Process”. Now, I’m sure it’s obvious what a majority of this portion consists of (printing, duh!) but this time in our process also involves some steps you might not be aware of! Without further ado here’s a look at our Step 2: the Printing Process.

Before we can begin actually printing, we must order things called “plates” which takes about a week or so to come in. Plates are pieces of plastic which have the images of each specific design we created on it. The design has golden raised edges which is what the machine “presses” into the paper to create the images you see on our final products (hence the term letterpress!). It is also interesting to note that each color in a single design must use its own plate. Therefore, a single design may be comprised of 2 or 3 smaller, individual plates depending on how many colors are used – pretty cool, huh?!

Here’s a photo of a variety of plates we ordered for this current release!
A close up photo of a plate (left) and it’s intended final design (right)!

Now, it’s time to get printing! This is definitely the part of the process people are most curious about here at Steel Petal Press. We are always happy to share details about printing and letterpress but keep in mind, this blog is giving a fairly condensed version of how it works. Printing is a very time consuming process that takes days to weeks depending on the amount that is being printed. For example, this specific New Release has taken about 2-3 weeks to print and that’s with 2 people printing and 1-2 presses being used at different times. Check out some photos and informational captions about the printing process at SPP:

Color is everything.
It’s important to take the time to mix everything appropriately in order
to achieve a correct and consistent match for each color!
This photo is of a chase. It is the part of the machine which holds the plate in place so it’s very important that it’s aligned properly . The correct alignment allows for the design
(on the plate) to be pressed into the paper in the right places.
This is Shayna and she is placing the chase (pictured above) into the press so that
she can begin printing!
The image above shows incomplete cards that are waiting to have a different color used on the remaining plate to finalize the entire design!
While printing, it’s also important to pause to double-check alignments and troubleshoot any issues to ensure the best quality of each and every product!

In the midst of our printing marathon, we are also receiving shipments of our other newly design items that have to be outsourced. While every one of Steel Petal Press products are designed here in our Chicago, IL studio, non-paper items such as mugs, magnets, gift wrap, etc. have to be manufactured elsewhere. However, they are all still produced by companies in the US (pretty cool, huh?!).

We snapped these cute little sneak peek photos as soon as we got the new items in!

Lastly, we have to send out all the new products to a photographer so they can snap the product photos we use on our sales websites and marketing materials. This can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks but it’s a very important step. Additionally, we use the photos to make our wholesale and retail item listings so they can be properly purchased by consumers!

Thanks for staying tuned for Step 2 of our New Release. We are in the home stretch so be sure to check out Step 3 which will be the conclusion of our journey…until the next release, of course!

In the mean time, for more behind the scenes follow us on Instagram:

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!

October Rewind – It’s SPOOKY How Fast It Went!

The only thing that truly is scaring us that we have to do an October Rewind already because that month could not have moved any quicker! However, despite it moving fast, Steel Petal Press moved even faster in order to keep up with the hustle and bustle of a growing small business so keep scrolling to see what we were up to in the month of October!

7-12-16 Steel Petal Press Studio Tour
Chicago, IL
©2016 Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Springin’ Into Action With A New Wholesale Release:
The entire Steel Petal Press team has been in hyper drive to complete our new Spring Release. From designing, to printing, to photography, and much more, it’s a time consuming job but we couldn’t be happier with the new items we’ll be adding to our product offering! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for when those drop for wholesale order and check out our Instagram and Facebook for little sneak peaks, in the mean time!

OOAK December 2018 Show:
It’s that time again when we are gearing up for the December One Of A Kind Show! This is a big show for us as there are lots of shoppers that come through with the hopes of knocking out some Christmas shopping with special and “one-of-a-kind” (see what we did there, *wink wink)* items for their loved ones! As much as we love the bustle of the show and sharing Steel Petal Press goods with the world, it does take a lot of time and energy to proper prepare, set up, and work the show! In the end, despite the exhaustion, it’s always worth it and is a great reminder that an important part of what we want to do with our brand is to connect with people.

Here’s some important details about the show:
– When: December 6th-9th
– Where: 7th floor of the Merchandise Mart
Booth #1021

We hope to see you there 🙂

Our Newest Addition:
Steel Petal Press could NOT be more excited about the latest permanent addition to our little family: Rachel Kopp! We brought her on originally as a temporary part-time retail employee to help us during the holidays, however her positive attitude and hard work quickly convinced us that we wanted her here with us as long as possible! We found Rachel through our Retail Manager, Shelby, as they are close friends and actually first moved to Chicago together about 4 years ago. It’s awesome to find such awesome people and cultivate a passionate and caring work environment that we hope shines through to all of those who stop in and shop with us!

HALLOWEEN:
Last, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Shayna and our Shipping Manager Rachel are huge fans of Halloween so we made sure to do it up right this year at Steel Petal Press! We coordinated a very cute costume for all of  us working that day:
3 Blind Mice SPP

Rachel, Shayna, and Shelby were…can you guess it!? (3 blind mice, haha!) We received a lot of compliments…although a lot of people also thought we were the girls in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” music video (here’s a link if you need a refresher). BUT, it didn’t really matter because it was all in great fun. We got to hand out some candy to a vew very stinking cute trick-or-treaters so you could say we had a pretty kickass Halloween!

On to the next month, stay tuned 🙂

‘Tis The Season To Spread Holiday Cheer With Steel Petal Press Cards!

Ho, Ho, HOLY SH*T – the holiday season is fast approaching, and before you go and get into the “spirit”(s) *wink wink*, pick out a couple of our awesome Holiday cards that’ll make your family happy…or at least get them off your back!
Our new and classic Holiday card styles range from sentimental to snarky so Steel Petal Press is a one-stop shop for all your loved ones …
whether they’ve been naughty:
 or nice:
We know the holiday season can be stressful, but luckily for you, we’ve made picking the perfect card easy.
Don’t forget – Steel Petal Press also has all of your other gifting needs covered too including kickass gift bags, tags, and wraps:
All of these holiday items (along with much, much more!) can be browsed and purchased online through our super convenient website: Click here!

September Rewind – Goodbye Summer, Goodbye September

As we say goodbye to summer here in Chicago, it’s also time to say goodbye to September! In a blink of an eye, Fall is upon us and we have continued to be busier than ever here at Steel Petal Press!

Renegade Craft Fair:
Per usual, we set up a booth at one of our favorite local markets called Renegade Craft Fair! This event provides a great opportunity for us to sell direct to new customers and help spread the Steel Petal Press brand.

Renegade Craft Fair 2018

While the weather stayed mostly sunny, it showed us the other reason they call it the “Windy City”… there were extremely strong wind gusts that were blowing things over, UGH!

Also during set up, both Shayna and Matt pulled muscles in their backs (because they’re old obviously!) so Renegade Craft Fair was DEFINITELY a team effort!

But, through the wind and the aches, we had one of our most successful shows since we’ve started doing it so I guess you could say it was worth it 😉

Holiday Hoopla:
While Holidays are busy for everyone personally, it’s also one of the busiest times for our retail and wholesale businesses! That means we have to begin prepping for that way in advanced. Our retail lady, Shelby, has been hard at work intaking orders we placed from other companies and making room for them on our sales floor. We can’t wait for our holiday shoppers to see all the great new gift items we have! Shayna has also been hard at work preparing the store schedule to accommodate the influx of sales, extended store hours, and of course making sure we all have much needed family time 🙂 Lastly, Rachel has already begun shipping out holiday card orders to all of our wholesale accounts as well as prepping our new holiday items to drop for retail customers!

Revolution Brewery’s Oktoberfest:
For those of you who have never been to our retail space, we are located right next to one a very popular local brewery’s restaurant location and each year they throw an Oktoberfest celebration. It’s two days of food, booze, bands, and generates a lot of foot traffic for us because it happens literally in front of the store. Unlike last year, we made sure we were full staffed which helped us all maintain our sanity! While we were not as busy as last year, possibly due to chillier weather, we were still very happy with the turn out and were able to have a successful day in our store!

America’s Mart – ATL:
In other exciting news, we finalized our participation at the America’s Mart tradeshow in January 2019! As you may have seen in a previous blog post, we just recently attended our first tradeshow in almost 3 years and it went so well we wanted to keep the momentum going! This will be the first time EVER that Steel Petal Press will show in Atlanta and we couldn’t be happier as we really been wanting to grow our presence in the southern region and figured this would be a perfect opportunity to do so!

 

Stay tuned to see what we get up too in October 🙂

August Is Done…And Here’s Everything We Did!

It’s hard to believe another month has come and gone, and with hints of cooler weather just on the horizon, it’s time to look back at the things we accomplished in August here at Steel Petal Press…WHICH WAS A LOT!

NYNow 2018 Shenanigans
After months and months of planning, it was finally time to execute Steel Petal Press’s first official tradeshow since 2015! And, we couldn’t be happier to report that it was a complete success (but not with out some stress, too!)

NY Now 2018 Tradeshow

First of all, the pallet arrived at the Javits Center with some minor damage which caused the stools we ordered to get lost in transit – UGH! Luckily, that was an easy fix.

Next, we (Shelby and Shayna) spent about 12-15 hours creating the right look and feel for the booth. There was the technical side of things like hanging shelves, assigning SKU stickers to products, and light adjusting. However, there were many creative things to do as well such as assemble a big envelope mural for the back wall and arrange furniture. It was very important to visually represent the Steel Petal Press brand as it is something we work hard to curate and display in every avenue of our business (because we are awesome, duh!) In the end, every bit of effort was worth it because the booth couldn’t have turned out better:
NY Now 2018 SPP Booth

We received so many compliments and strangers that just stopping by to look – it was so flattering!

At the end of of the show, we pulled in roughly 25 orders and built connections with about 40 additional businesses that we hope will order with us in the future. Needless to say – this far surpassed our expectations. Check out this newly updated stockist list to see all the kick ass stores that carry Steel Petal Press!

Shayna was also able to step out of the booth and place orders with other vendors for the Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location! We are as prepared as ever for the upcoming holidays with lots of great new items filling our shelves as well as restocking some old favorites!

The biggest hurdle we faced during the whole NYNow experience was during break down. The Javits Center lost our pallet and couldn’t find it until hours later. Stress and tempers flared but ultimately everything was packed up safely packed and we enjoyed a late flight out the next day (which meant we got to sleep in!)

New York wasn’t just all work! Shelby and Shayna were able to have some fun in their free time during the evenings. Shayna grew up in the DC area therefore her family would often went into the city for trips. She also lived in upstate New York for a brief time working for Women’s Studio Workshop. All-in all, she has a lot of connections in the city still including one of her oldest friends, Jillian, and her brother Jonah, who currently reside there!

To spare you the long, wordy details of all the fun we had…we’ll let these two photos speak for us – enjoy! :

(Left to Right: Shayna, Jillian, Bay (Jillian’s Partner), Shelby)

Cohen Siblings

(Left to Right: Jonah, Shayna – The Cohen siblings!)

Last, but not least, we planned one big night of doing something totally “New York” and decided to see the play adaptation of Mean Girls, especially because Shelby has never been to a play on Broadway! It was a glorious experience filled with awesome dancing, singing, and lots of laughing!

We are beyond pleased with the success Steel Petal Press had at NYNow 2018 and will be going back to exhibit next August! We can’t help but wonder what adventures await us next time 🙂

GO TEAM SPP!
High Five SPP

Helen The Heidelberg
In other exciting news for August, Shayna got a crash course in running our Heidelberg press, Helen!

Shayna’s good friend Kim, who owns Ramona & Ruth, came in from Nebraska for a couple days to share her knowledge and experience of working with a Heidelberg.

We even documented Shayna’s very first print EVER using Helen – look how cute and excited she is!!!!

What makes the Heidelberg such an exciting addition to our family is that it allows for us to print 2 to 3 times as much in an hour than our fully manual Chandler & Price press. However, we are also able to print using both machines at the same time which will prove helpful as our retail and wholesale businesses continue to grow!

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Steel Petal Press!
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do 🙂

July Rewind – Where The F*CK Did This Month Go…?!

Hi there!

We can’t believe July has come and gone already…

While this month was much less eventful than the previous (IN ALL THE RIGHT WAYS), we’ve still been busier than ever here at Steel Petal Press. Check out all the shit we’ve done in our July Rewind:

NYNow Preparation
As we’ve mentioned before, Steel Petal Press is making the HUGE commitment of exhibiting at the August ’18 NYNow. So, there’s been HUGE amounts of planning, organizing, and stressing going on around here! With the show beginning in a little over a week, the entire team has been working so hard to get everything ready to go. In fact, check out what our shipping pallet looks like: NYNow Pallet
Although, we think it looks more like some weird alien cocoon…
This is only a small fraction of the work left to do for and at NYNow but we know it’ll be all worth it in the end 🙂

*By the way, if you’re gonna be at NYNow, come visit Shayna and Shelby at the Steel Petal Press Booth (#7675)*

Holiday Hijinx
We know it’s a little odd to be thinking about the Holiday Season when we are still getting 80+ degree days here (atleast in Chicago!)! But, our new Holiday collection will be going live on our retail website August 13th…(that’s only like 5 days away, how exciting!)

Our team worked super hard this year to add some fresh and holiday-themed products like cards (duh!) and gift bags. We are really excited for everyone to see our new items for this upcoming release.
Please consider this sneak peek an early Christmas gift *wink, wink*:

Wholesale – Oh, Wow!
We’ve been incredible busy this past month with wholesale orders, but trust us – we aren’t complaining! We love that so many people share a love of snark and sass as well as an appreciation for handcrafted letterpress stationery. Most notably, we got a BIG ASS order from our wholesale account with Paper Source who ordered JUST under 6,000 units from us…I KNOW, RIGHT?! They’re favorites from us include Awesome Babies, Holy Shit – Engaged, Holy Shit – 29 Again, and Big Gay Wedding. We truly appreciate every wholesale order we receive…it keeps us busy and allows us to share Steel Petal Press worldwide!

We Met Mayor Ted From Queer Eye!

Last, but certainly not least, a special guest unexpectedly came into our store…Mayor Ted from the second season of Queer Eye! We couldn’t have been more excited to meet this kind and humble dude who is working so hard to make political and cultural changes in his hometown of Clarkston, GA! It was such an honor to meet him (and the Fab Five by extension, right?!)

That’s it for us and our July Rewind!
Stay tuned for all the exciting adventures August will bring 🙂

Summer Wedding Gift Guide!

Ahhh, it’s Summer time which means there isn’t only humidity in the air… LOVE IS TOO!

What we’re trying to say is: IT’S WEDDING SEASON. Couples everywhere are celebrating the warm and sunny weather by celebrating their love for one another with friends and family.

As a time honored tradition, it’s important to give a gift as a token of affection and support for this new journey in which the bride and groom are about to begin (also, what’s a big life moment with out gifts, right?!). Well, here at Steel Petal Press we love weddings and have put together some of our top picks from our store that will make any couple’s special day just a little bit more special.

CHECK OUT OUR SUMMER WEDDING GIFT GUIDE:

Item Guide:
1. Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit For Brides, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
2. Chronicle Books Bride Ideas Stick Notes Set, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
3. Pinch Provisions Minimergency Kit For Bridesmaids, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
4. Slant Collections Wifey/Hubby Stemless Champagne Glass Set, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
5. Chronicle Books The Newlywed Cookbook, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
6. Adulting For The Win One Penis For The Rest Of Your Days Award Ribbon, available at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location

Card Guide:
1. So Much Yes Illustrated, available online and at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
2. Open Bar, available online and at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
3. Holy Shit You’re Married!, available online and at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location
4. Crazy Ride, available online and at Steel Petal Press brick & mortar location

How I got into Letterpress

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

I recently had someone ask me via social media how I got into letterpress and what advice I had for someone looking to learn.  I thought I’d share my thoughts here too!

I’ve had a lot of formal training in letterpress.  I first learned while in my undergrad degree I took a book making class for 1 year.  After graduating with a BFA in I was immediately accepted to a six-month internship at Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY. There I studied silk screening, letterpress, and papermaking, while maintaining the studios and assisting the artists-in-residence and staff. I went on to assist various artists and curators in Washington DC and the San Francisco Bay Area. I also continued to volunteer regularly at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and the San Francisco Center for Book Arts.

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo

Later on I relocated to Chicago to work towards my MFA in book and paper art at Columbia College Chicago.  (I never finished my degree but that’s where Steel Petal Press was born)
My first semester in Chicago I Steel Petal Press as a side project from my classwork.  I started by printing holiday cards to send to friends and family living far away. After printing my letterpress projects for school, I would use the school’s studios to print personal work in my spare time. I found stores to sell any extra cards I had printed, and the company grew from there.
For someone looking to get into letterpress, I would start by looking into print shops in your area that might offer workshops or dabble classes.  This is a good way to get your feet wet without committing to school tuition or more competitive internships. If you’re looking for more community and immersion into letterpress try reaching out to a letterpress shop and see if they take apprentices or interns.
Below are a few resources to get you started.
Ladies of Letterpress
Briar Press: (the craigslist of letterpress)

Steel Petal Press - Chicago Letterpress Demo