National Stationery Show 2015, Part 2

Since we kicked off our 2015 National Stationery Show recaps yesterday with a few new exhibitors, today I thought we’d check in with a few veterans! We’ll start with the wonderful Snow & Graham – these bright art prints may have been my single favorite thing from the entire show! I’m also super excited for their brand new planner featuring a navy leather cover with gold foil details and signature Snow & Graham illustrations on each page!

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Snow & Graham

AHeirloom continues to blow me away with their wooden entertaining pieces from wood cake and cupcake (!!!) stands, to watermelon cutting boards (!!!!), to colorful cocktail muddlers. Oh, and new brass cocktail stir sticks? Yes please!

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Those mini cupcake stands are seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen

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LOVE this new prism cutting board design!

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Hello!Lucky‘s booth was particularly festive this year – from the adorable paper maché cacti booth decorations to the vinyl confetti on their booth walls! I loved the new blank card designs (particularly the eyes and lips below) and the boozy birthday and holiday cards!

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The Katie Leamon booth was hand lettering and marbled paper heaven – not to mention gorgeous polka dot envelopes and sweet scallop edge details!

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I would happily move right into the Moglea booth if given the opportunity. That gorgeous wall! The beautiful stationery! I’m kiiiiinnnnd of obsessed with those new beautiful hand painted spiral bound notebooks and notepads!

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For Sugar Paper, this year was all about the desk – with a brand new collection of brass desk accessories! Of course, there were tons of beautiful new greeting cards, notebooks, and their gorgeous desktop calendar. I’m also crazy about their new collaboration with illustrator Jennifer Vallez of Sophie and Lili!

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More NSS 2015 recaps tomorrow!

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press

Steel Petal Press began straight out of college from Shayna’s deeply rooted background in stationery. Read on as Shayna gives us a look into her schedule as she breaks down the different aspects of her business and shares how they came to life. She shares some of her favorite business tools, including the reason why her business has been successful! –Megan

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful PaperPhoto by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

My name is Shayna Norwood and my company is Steel Petal Press, a letterpress stationery studio based in Chicago, Illinois. I started Steel Petal Press when I decided to print holiday cards to send to friends and family living far away. At the time, I was new to Chicago in my first year at grad school earning my MFA in Book and Paper Arts, and far from everyone I knew. 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.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

The first two years, I operated Steel Petal Press on very part-time basis. I focused on my schoolwork and other art projects, and would only print new cards when I had and the chance and inspiration. In January 2011, I went full time and haven’t looked back since. Fun fact: The very first card I ever printed is Love from Chicago Skyline and it’s still one of my best sellers to date.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

I offer letterpress printed greeting cards, wedding invitations, and personalized stationery. I print, package, and ship all my products by hand in house. It’s definitely a labor of love. I started off doing just greeting card, and then incorporated personalized stationery and wedding invitations after a year. When I started Steel Petal Press full-time, wedding invitations were maybe 80-90% of my income (the margins are just so much better for me), but I have really been working on developing the wholesale side of my business, which has seen some significant growth in the last year or two.

My studio is currently located in a large building full of creative businesses in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. It’s 500 square ft and I’ve been here for over two years. I’m just about busting at the seams and am looking to move into a larger space (hopefully a storefront) when my lease is up at the end of September. I own 2 printing presses, a paper trimmer, a paper cutter, and a manual score bar. The presses are both from the early 1960s. My Chandler and Price press is where I do most of my production work, and my Vandercook SP-15 is used to print larger areas, art prints, and wedding invitations.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

On a typical workday, I will wake up between 7-8 am. I try to exercise several mornings a week but this doesn’t always happen. After that, I usually spend a few hours on the computer: answering emails, working on client work, checking in on social media – my tasks vary depend on the day and the time of year. I head to the studio between 11 am – noon and do any number of tasks: working on the press, developing new products, designing new cards, working with custom clients, answering more emails, product photography or more social media.

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Photos by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I have a part-time assistant that helps ship out orders, manages wholesale accounts and inventory, updates my online shop listings, etc. Her tasks also vary depending on the day and the time of year. I also have two interns that come in weekly. I typically go home around 6-7 pm, but have spent my fair share of late nights at the studio working into the wee hours. In the evenings, I eat dinner, read books, watch Netflix, or see friends. Some nights I end up doing more work from home (like tonight, I am typing this at 8:30 pm), but I’m definitely getting better at separating my work from my personal life.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

A few of my favorite business tools are:
Stitch Labs – for inventory tracking
Trello – for project management
Dropbox – for file sharing
Google Voice – for a business line
Mad Mimi – for newsletter and email marketing
Square – for taking payments on the go

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I am inspired by humanity, connection, friendships, relationships, and communication. My ideas come from things I would want to communicate myself, and those ideas and phrases become the basis of my greeting card ideas. Once I have a list of ideas, I play around with the phrasing and typography to create a design that speaks accurately to what I am trying to say. I’ve found my most successful cards are the most authentic to my own voice.

My wedding stationery designs are more guided by visual inspiration. I spend a good amount of time looking at real wedding blogs and Pinterest. I try to keep up with the wedding trends and create wedding stationery that visually matches what’s going on culturally and in the wedding world.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Steel Petal Press

I really enjoy having both greeting cards and wedding stationery as equal parts of my business. Last year I did just about 60% custom vs 40% retail and wholesale. My greeting cards are my creative outlet, where I really get to experiment however I want. Working on weddings can be very rewarding, but it does have some creative limitations. Both aspects create a nice balance in my business between client work and greeting cards, which I consider my personal work.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I would not be able to balance all aspects of my business without the help of my assistant. She takes on a lot of the wholesale responsibilities, and helps with packaging cards, shipping out orders, tracking inventory, and ordering supplies. This leaves me more time to work directly with clients, to develop new products, to create new card designs and push the business forward.

Interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan@ohsobeautifulpaper.com.

Quick Pick: 9th Letter Press

It’s here! The 2015 National Stationery Show is underway – and I can’t wait to share some booth photos with you! But first I wanted to share some of the new Spring releases from 9th Letter Press – who sadly isn’t at the show this year. Instead 9th Letter Press sent an amazing box to retailers across the country with new cards (including copper foil!) as well as gift tags, wrapping sheets and a new calendar!

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More over on 9th Letter Press!

Photo Credits: 9th Letter Press

NSS 2015 Sneak Peek: Belle & Union

This might just be my favorite NSS 2015 sneak peek yet! Meg from Belle & Union sent over a few of her newest offerings – everything from a genius new recipe greeting card series, to the most adorable pencil bag EVER, to letterpress journals, to cake toppers and pie picks! Meg also has some special goodies for the holidays, including new gift wrap, laser cut holiday garnishes (perfect for adorning presents or the tree!), and a holiday tea towel!

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Seriously – how adorable is this pencil bag?!?

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Photo Credits: Belle & Union

Seasonal Stationery: Mother’s Day Cards, Part 5

Today I’m wrapping up this year’s Mother’s Day card round ups with a quick selection of a few final cards!

2015 Mother's Day Card Round Up curated by Oh So Beautiful Paper

1. Missive

2. 9th Letter Press

3. Fine Day Press

4. Lydia & Pugs

5. Lucky Horse Press

6. Printerette Press

If you missed them you can find my previous round up posts here. And if you’re looking for something else – you can find 200+ beautiful Mother’s Day cards in the OSBP Market List right here!