Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Favorite Things: Round-up for Mom

Middle image
Clockwise from top: Multi-language Mother's Day Note Card | Anthropologie Bee Watch | Cactus Concrete Planter and Plant Combo | Stay Majestic Art Print | Tory Burch Flats | Italian Soft Leather Crossbody Tote | Plamplune Grapefruit and Peach Wine | Nars 'Cruising' Lipstick | Mother's Day Monogram Note Card | Deep Green Cardigan

Dear friends,

I've put together this mood board with mothers in mind, filling it with carefully selected pieces of gifts that I'd love to gift my mother. Works for mother's day (that's fast approaching), holidays, her birthday or just to simply say 'I love you'.

Each item will give you an idea of how my mother is: lowbrow yet tasteful and ever so practical. My Mah turns casual into trendy but always goes for the comfortable as well as timeless. So if splurging a little means you'll get your money's worth in the end, well then, it's a no-brainer.

We don't come from money. We're middle class as middle class go. My Mah taught me expensive brands don't mean anything if you don't know how to wear it in a way that flatters you. So we find the good with the cheap, and trust me, we always do! The one best lesson when shopping that she imparted to me that is somewhat of a double-edged sword is: "Buy it now or spend time thinking about it later only to find it's already gone when you go back for it. Anyway, you can always return it if you change your mind. This way, there are less regrets in life." 

Then off we go to the clearance section.

Now, I feel like I really have to explain the addition of the cactus planter on here, well, maybe most moms prefer a bouquet of flowers. Feel free to switch it up. I just know that my Mah, being the green thumb that she is - prefers to have something that lasts longer with as little fuss as possible. So there you have it.

The Letter Parade products featured above are:

 Mother's Day Monogram Note Card, $5.00 Click here to shop.

 Multi-Language Mom Note Card, $4.50 Click here to shop.

Stay Majestic 11" x 14" Art Print, $34.00
Click here to shop. Also available in 8"x10" size art print as well as single and boxed set of 8 note cards.

What other gift ideas for mom do you recommend? 

Love & Letters,

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Favorite Things Round-up: SPRING EDITION

Middle image: Late Afternoon blog
Clockwise from top: 
When Life Throws You Lemons 8x10 Art Print
Lemon Basil Soy CandleThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lemons Letter Set
Dress Jacket by Le3No
When Life Throws You Lemons Note Card
Tufted Armchair by One Kings Lane

Lemon Drops Note Card

Gold accented Round Sunglasses

Who doesn't love yellow? If there could be a more endearing shade in the color palette it's only another version of yellow. The happy color; the sight of yellow generally invokes pleasant feelings.

My idea of spring is yellow with gray - just a subtle touch of elegance like this outfit by Late Afternoon blog. A simple casual yellow shirt dressed up by metallic tones ready for warmer nights out.

If it isn't obvious until now, I'm crazy about the color gray. It's such a beautiful neutral shade that goes with just about every color of the rainbow. So when I designed a more Spring-inspired line, adding yellow to the mix was a natural choice.

When Life Throws You Lemons 8x10 Art Print (frame not included); Pre-order here.

Lemons Letter Set comes with 8 8.5"x5.5" writing sheets, 4 lined envelopes and 4 envelope sealers.
Pre-order here.
When Life Throws You Lemons Note Card. Get this here.
 Lemon Drops Note Card available single or boxed set of 8. Get this here.


 The Lemon Drops design also inspired the March desktop printable calendar and printable stationery (below)  that I share exclusively to newsletter subscribers. Sign-up now to get new designs every month delivered straight to your inbox!

After putting together this mood board, a story has revealed itself to me: a woman getting ready to go out for cocktails and dinner decided to kick off her strappy shoes, picks up The Great Gatsby, lights up the candle and proceeds to get comfortable in the light gray tufted chair to read all night long. Yes, I believe those are my kind of nights these days but with a more casual attire, like say, sweatpants and t-shirt. Ha!

What's your color story?

Love & Letters,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Minimalist Chic

I call my line's aesthetic, 'Minimalist Chic.' 

You can expect to find plenty of wide open spaces surrounding my designs. I go very minimal with color and my palette typically revolves around pink, grey, black, blue and red with the occasional burst of yellow.

I'm not very good with snark so you won't find that here. Nor am I good with calligraphy, so my font is limited to that of a typewriter style to give my products that classic feel with a modern touch. My goal is to produce very clean and timeless products and I sure hope these are what you're looking for!

View my Etsy shop here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Spring Shoppe Now Open

Dear friends,

After a much needed time with my family back in Chicago, I am back with my sleeves rolled up and ready for business with the opening of my Spring Shoppe.

I've transitioned the colors from pink and grays to yellow and grays - gotta have my grays!

In the next few weeks, I'll be crunching time and money to get my first wholesale catalog wrapped up and out into the world by mid April! I'm excited, nervous and kinda worried since competition is tough out there. I hope you stay with me on this upward journey!

Love & Letters,

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Love is Here 8x10 Art Print

Dear friends,

The world can use as much love as possible. Now more than ever! So, recently, in my small way as a stationer I'm finding means to reach people beyond my circle by donating to a special cause led by Designe Sponge's Grace Bonney.

She called out on instagram recently for stationers to donate writing supplies to meet-ups across the US of caring people who come together and fight a good fight by writing to our government officials. This is another way our voices can be heard! Let's flood their mail boxes!
Image courtesy of Yes, Ma'am Paper Goods

I've also partnered with Sasha Huff, a film producer, writer, director and content manager I met via Instagram to host a giveaway of my Love is Here 8"x10" art print. The contest opens tomorrow and ends on February 7th. See details here to join!

You can buy this art print, if you'd rather here. This also comes in size 11"x14". If you ask me, this makes a perfect gift to give someone who could use some love in these turbulent times.

Love & Letters,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Favorite Things Round-up: VALENTINE'S EDITION

***The Pink and Grey Love Story***

Middle image: Wendy's Look Book
Clockwise from top: 
Herbivore Botanical Pink Clay Mask; 
Shop Spring Vintage Rose Candle; 
Letter Parade Simple Heart Letter Set; 
Plaid Blanket Scarf by Easy Seller Dailyaccessoriez; 
Letter Parade Simple Heart Postcards Set of 10
BITE Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne; 
Geometric Pillow by easy seller VanillaGreyShop; 
Letter Parade 'Love is Here' 8"x10" art Print; 
Herbivore Botanical Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Facial Mist; 
Letter Parade Simple Heart Note Card

A confession: I wasn't into pink until about less than a year ago when I found a grey scarf with pink skulls printed on it. It was on sale for $5 and it had to be mine. Since then, I've slowly integrated pink into my life.

This heart design I call "simple heart" etched into my head as clear as the blue skies. Even before I sketched it and digitized it, I knew it would be all black against a light pink background. This was the first out of my Pink Pop collection:

Now, I'm not entirely sure if this is a phase. But for now, I'm quite happy with this love affair with pink under the condition that it goes with grey and black, thank you very much.

What's your color story?

Love & Letters,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

STATIONERY BIZ: Sending Samples to Dream Retailers

    JANUARY 7, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA

Today I'm going to blog about line sheets and sending samples to retailers as a wholesale company.

Back in May 2014, I created my idea of what line sheet was based on what I was able to reference to online. I made sure I had all the standard elements down, at least from what I can deduce on all the line sheet examples I could find. I mailed out about 5 of these and never heard back. I ended up picking up the line sheet and samples from the retailers I left them with to the sound of crickets except for one. I wish I can say that turned into a sale but no. I will not mention which store but, at that time, my heart had sank so low but I pulled the last courage of asking the owner why he didn't think my cards made the cut. He was nice enough to spare his time. He ended up pointing to his shelves of cards on why he thought mine was obviously not up to par. He was by no means condescending. I was just hurt to know that I wasn't there yet.

Towards the end of last year, I finally sat down and created a new line sheet. With a little more knowledge - thanks to my TSBC family, I also have a bit more confidence about my business approach overall in comparison to my younger self.

Here's a page from my line sheet back in 2014:

Looking back at it, I now realize my pricing are way off, my wholesale terms not industry standard... the whole thing just screams 'amateur' to me. That and my product line is terribly not cohesive. 

Here's a page from my new line sheet:

The details: 
12 pages long | Printed back to back | 6 sheets per line sheet | Size: 7" x 10"* | First page is cover/introductory letter | Back cover is the order form 

*I settled on the 7"x10" size because with a fold in the middle, I can easily tuck the line sheet inside an A7 envelope to reduce the cost of postage. Very important to consider since I planned to mail around 70 of these! 

The most common questions about line sheet are:
Q: Is it the same as a catalog?
A: No. A catalog is different by design and may not include details that are pertinent in a line sheet i.e., you can omit information such as pricing on the catalog subsequently, a line sheet may not contain any styled images but just that of the products.

Q: Do I really need a line sheet?
A: While it is not a deal breaker if you don't, and I myself have initially not planned on having one, there are buyers who prefer line sheet over a catalog so it might be best to have one handy. A positive thing to consider about having a line sheet: it is easier to edit and make changes vs. a printed catalog and much cheaper to produce. 

Q: What is the standard format?
A: As long as all the elements can be clearly found, there are no strict guidelines to follow. Some use a simple Excel spread sheet, some using InDesign or Numbers, you can even use Microsoft Word. Good thing to note about the size, it might be ideal to create one that prints well on a 8.5"x11" letter paper especially if you want this to be as flexible for mailing or email use.

As far as samples go, 1-2 pieces are acceptable. Back in 2014, I packed 6-7 greeting cards and thought it wasn't enough to represent my line. What I later learned from industry veterans is that buyers don't really want to get bombarded with samples. They field plenty of those already! If they want to see more beyond what you sent, they'll reach out and ask anyway.

Lastly, it really is important to research and narrow down your list of retailers to ask. Before, I wouldn't think of doing so because stationery shops are already far and few in between! But, that's just proven a waste of time and money pitching the right products to the wrong store. Make sure it's a good match. I always look at the retailer's shop interior by going through their instagram, Yelp, FaceBook and website gallery photos to give me an idea if my products go with the store.

The line sheet, samples and pitching to retailers are just a few sprinkles of knowledge from the vast lessons you can learn like I did from Trade Show Bootcamp / Paper Camp. If you have a calling to be a stationer or wedding invitation designer, definitely check them out.

Love & Letters,