When Andrew met my parents for the first time sixteen years ago, it was nearing the end of football season during winter break from college. I figured they'd ask him the standard get to know you questions and was relatively unalarmed and unworried about the entire situation. Yet, here we were, standing in my parents' dining room, having entered the house only moments before and my father, a Pennsylvania native who raised me as a Steelers fan, immediately asked in a very serious tone, "So, Andy, you're from Cleveland? Does that mean you're a Browns fan?" Andrew admitted that yes, he was a Browns fan even...
It's been a long process, but they're finally here-- a brand new set of cards has arrived! I'm especially excited about this group because most of them have gone into new territory, which is both terrifying and satisfying at the same time. You may have noticed that I've been going for bigger and bolder designs, filling the card with an image or design as much as possible. Many of these new cards take that to the next level with designs that push white backgrounds to the side and have a full on color explosion.
I like these cards, and I feel comfortable in the designs as if I've finally found my groove. I feel as though I'm getting somewhere with my work, so you'll likely see similar cards to come in the future. They're a departure from what I've designed in the past, and that's the terrifying part. It's scary to change things up so drastically because you never know how people will react. However, so far, through the little glimpses I've shared of this new release, the feedback has been positive.
Part of the shift comes with other aspects of change within my business. This year, I finally found a local printer that was a good fit for my business (after a two year search!), so I started outsourcing many of my print jobs. This has freed up so much time for me to get back to the creative aspects of my business. In addition, it has provided more flexibility in design leaving me with new possibilities and opportunities that I didn't have before. These cards are a direct result.
To celebrate the launch, I'll soon be having an exclusive sale. You can sign up for my newsletter to get in on the details which will be going out on Wednesday. What do you think about the new line? Which are your favorites?
These days, when everything is at our fingertips via the internet and our smart phones, we often forget that handwritten notes can be one of the most important things when we need to thank someone. It's important that is someone gives you a gift or helps you in some way that you thank them. I decided to offer a few rules of etiquette when writing thank you notes.
DO send a thank you note within a week of either receiving a gift or an act of kindness. It's most appropriate to send a thank you note as quickly as possible so that the note doesn't feel like an afterthought to the recipient. The only times I would stray from this timeline would be after a shower or wedding. Generally, thank yous for showers should be sent out within 2-3 weeks and wedding thank you should be sent within 2-3 months, at the latest.
DON'T apologize profusely if your thank you note is late. A late thank you note is better than no thank you note. Write a quick and humble apology and then move on to the main item of importance-- thanking them. If you continue apologizing, it may quickly seem as though writing the note is a burden to you, which comes off as a bit rude to the recipient.
DO thank the person by describing the gift or act of kindness. Adding a tidbit about the item that you received or the advice that was given in the thank you note makes the note more personal and thoughtful. It shows that you appreciate the person that you're thanking.
DON'T use a thank you note as a passive aggressive way to let the giver know how you feel about the gift. If you received a gift that you don't particularly like, it's better to just thank the giver in a short and concise manner. If you received a red scarf from a friend and don't particularly care for red, now is not the time to let them know that you usually wear the color blue.
DO keep thank you notes to a quick few words about the specific thing for which you are thanking the person. I think many people aren't always sure what to write in thank you notes because they're overthinking it. Instead, they choose not to send one at all, simply because they don't know what to write. A quick note as below is best:
Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers! The orange and pink blooms really brightened things up on such a cold, winter day.
DON'T send an email when you could send a note instead. I think sending texts and emails has become so common that we often think it's ok to do the same as a thank you. In some situations, that is fine. If you quickly met up with a friend for coffee and want to thank them for their time, shoot them an email or text. However, if someone sent you a gift or went above and beyond to do something for you and you have their address, a thank you note is best. My general rule of thumb is that if I know the person well enough to have their address, then I send them a thank you by snail mail. Plus, who doesn't like to receive a thank you in the mail mixed in with all of the junk mail we receive on a daily basis.
Am I forgetting anything? What do you think is important to remember when sending thank you notes? I hope that these tips are helpful!
If I'm being honest, this year's holiday line was a challenge. I had a tough time thinking about the holiday season, as I often do, in September. On top of it all, I decided to try printing a few letterpress cards, which presented its own challenges. Some of you may know that I acquired an old printing press this summer (I really should dedicate an entire post to that!), and while it was mostly ready for printing, I needed to make several adjustments to the press to make it function properly. It was a major learning experience, but a super fun one!
The letterpress line includes three cards printed with gold or silver metallic inks. The cards are printed on 120lb cotton card stock, and are truly luxurious. The metallic ink lettering gives a little bit of a shimmer in contrast to the color.
And my line wouldn't be complete without a few snarky cards. I have two new additions to a small line of honest cards that are paired with gold envelopes, and one new illustrated card that reveals my sentiments about snow. I lived in Syracuse, New York for five years of my life, and grew up in Indiana in a lake effect region close to Lake Michigan. Snow is not my friend, and I'm happy to enjoy the more temperate winters we get with minimal snow in Baltimore.
And finally, of course, I am celebrating the launch with a coupon code! You can use the code HOLIDAY20 to receive 20% off in the shop or on Etsy from now through Wednesday. Stock up on holiday cards, pencils, notepads, or whatever you'd like! And as always, thank you all for your continued support-- you make my job the best job on the planet! :)
A couple of years ago, I wrote about learning to take risks. While it is true that I've pushed myself over the years in new ways, there has been one thing that has felt too scary to take on. In the past three years, I feel as though I've found my place and voice in what I do. A lot has changed in the five years that I've owned my business, and I feel as though I didn't get to focus as much on the design aspects of my cards until I got to spend a lot more time with them.
While teaching, I was constantly a ball of stress. I worked long days and the time I had after school to work on my business was extremely limited. Once I began spending my full work week on my business, I feel as though my business was able to grow in new ways that were a better reflection of myself as well as the art that I've been creating my entire life. In the process, old cards from my first years in business, no longer fit the aesthetic of my work-- something that has bothered me for quite some time.
For the past two years, I struggled with feeling happy with the old designs. In fact, I truly hated some of them. Some of these cards just happened to also be some of my most popular. For me, it was scary thinking about changing something so popular because of an undying fear that it would make my business collapse or go up in flames the instant I made any change. I waffled over the idea of redesigning them in subtle ways to better reflect my current process and products. For two years, I waffled. Two years. I asked friends and family their opinions, and then did nothing. And I still felt agitated by it all.
This week, I finally decided to do something.
And you know what? The world didn't come crashing down around me. My business is still here. I am not being engulfed by flames. And most importantly, I feel better.
For those of you who are lost, and don't recognize the card above, this is my most popular card. I have sold thousands of these since the design was launched three years ago. This is the card that made it possible for me to quit teaching. This is the card that started it all.
Taking the risk to redesign this card was beyond scary, but for me, having a cohesive line of cards that reflect who I am is more important to me than succumbing to that fear. Now that I've made the leap, you'll begin seeing a few other subtle changes in my shop as I transition a few other designs in the same way.
And guys, what do you think of the new design? Have you been stepping out of your comfort zone lately? Have you been faced with tough business decisions like this before?