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,

Monday, January 2, 2017

Big Things for the New Year

We're on the cover of Stationery Trends' Winter 2017 Issue! Yay! 

If that's not an awesome way to start a new year, then I don't know what is! Pop! Fizz! Clink!!!

A little bit about Stationery Trends...
It is a very prestigious trade magazine. Everyone in the industry knows it and probably subscribes to it, too. What separates Stationery Trends' from other trade magazine is the look. Typically, trade magazines are the last thing you would want to spend time with, they might as well be manuals! Just drab from cover to cover. But not Stationery Trends, at the reins of Sarah Schwartz, it looks and almost reads like Living magazine by Martha Stewart. It excites you when you see it in the mailbox. This is what other outdated trade magazines should aspire to. I, myself am a subscriber and having a serious stationer envy at all the awesome products featured on there. Never thought I would one day see one of my products featured let alone the cover! I am beyond proud!

A little bit about the product on the cover...

Believe it or not, the inspiration for this design is Game of Thrones. I'm such a nerd! Last summer, husband and I have decided to jump onto the bandwagon and see what the craze is all about. I cannot tell you how many weekends and week nights were spent watching episodes to episodes, season to season. We're hooked! And also devastated when we caught up and now have to wait like everyone else. But it stayed with me. The kingdoms, the kings, queens... and so this card was born. This design however, took a different symbol after the elections. Now, I won't dwell on politics so much but for many women, more than ever, we were feeling through the dark for every bit of light we could possibly find. Which is why I believe this design is relevant for the times. Won't you agree? 

This note card marks my first submission for publication and I couldn't be more lucky to be picked among the hundreds of submissions. I can't help but feel hopeful for the months to come.

This design is available as postcardsingle note card (shown above), boxed set of note cards and art prints in 8"x10" and 11"x14


Cheers to this New Year, Love & Letters,

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Best-of Playlist

Coachella 2016 with the crew, Weekend 2 | April 26, 2016

Dan and I are big on Coachella. Last April was our our 8th consecutive attendance. We have been going since 2009 and that year, we spent our honeymoon at our first Coachella. We have so many amazing memories!

Music is such a big part of my life and I once wanted to pursue becoming a professional musician. All my life I'm surrounded by it and late into high school and all throughout college I fronted and wrote for bands. Good times.

I've decided to put together my best-of playlist this year. Please note there is a good variety of genres. I try to have an "open ear" when it comes to music but I'm still not quite as open as my husband. He listens to all sorts of music. I typically rotate between reggae, indie rock, rock pop and alternative music to some contemporary fusion ones even a few eclectic sounds. Maybe you'll find something you like! I'm the worst at naming genres and it doesn't help that there are quite a bit of genre-bending tracks so forgive me if I miss-labeled.

#1 The Skints "Where Did You Go?"
#2 Richie Gold "Youths Dem Cold"
#3 Tarrus Riley "Human Nature"
#4 Taggy Matcher & Birdy Nixon "Tighten Up"

#1 Hotel Eden "Nimble Girl"
#2 Liv "Wings of Love"
#3 Unknown Mortal Orchestra "So Good at Being in Trouble"*
#4 Ibeyi "River"*
#5 Rhye "One Of Those Summer Days"*

#1 Gemma Hayes "Palomino"
#2 Snow Patrol "The Lightning Strike"
#3 Joseph "White Flag"
#4 BØRNS "American Money"*
#5 Meg Myers "Motel"*
#6 Tei Shi "Bassically"*
#7 Lianne La Havas "Au Cinéma"

#1 Kimbra "Sweet Relief"
#2 Gabriel Garzon-Montano "Keep On Running"
#3 Bosley "Just Like You"
#4 Elliott Moss "Best Light"
#5 Bob Moses "Too Much Is Never Enough"*
#6 LCD Soundsystem "I Can Change"*
#7 Parov Stelar "Catgroove"*
#8 SG Lewis, JP Cooper "Shivers"*
#9 Disclosure (feat. Lorde) "Magnets"*
#10 Flume (feat. Andrew Wyatt) "Some Minds"*

#1 Royce Wood Junior "Honeydripper"
#2 Joywave "Somebody New"*
#3 The Kills "Future Starts Slow"*
#4 The Last Shadow Puppets "My Mistakes Were Made For You"*
#5 The Arcs "Nature's Child"*

#1 Freedom Fry "1979" (Smashing Pumpkins)
#2 Walk Off the Earth "Polly" (Nirvana)
#3 Lykke Li "Hold On, We're Going Home" (Drake)*

*bands/artists we've seen live.

Listen to this playlist on Shopify.


Love & Letters,