Author: Erin Sarpa

I'm Erin, Co-Founder of EandI Design, a creative agency. I have a passion for finding adventure and bringing a little sunshine wherever I can.

Beef up the bottom line with flat cards for the holidays

toolsMost of us creative types are all about the design, the message and the media. We aren’t crazy about the math, it’s usually not in a Top 10 priorities spot when we are brainstorming. Here’s the thing though, understanding the bottom line is kind of, you know, crucial. Flat cards from StationeryHQ are a great way to be well-compensated for your talent and efforts.

If you are a wholesale customer, a two-sided, full color, flat A7 card will start at  $.43 each. So for the sake of argument, let’s say you order 50 for a total cost of $21.50 + shipping. Flat cards on fine papers sell on major retail sites for OVER $2.00 each. That’s $100 for a set of 50, leaving you with $79.50 per order. Do 10 orders like that per week (pretty easy workload, right?) and you’re making about $3,000 a month without breaking a sweat. If you did the same number of cards/orders with folded cards, your margin would be closer to $2,000 per month and you had to work a little harder to set up the artwork. See how fun the math is now?

A few more $ tips:

• Requiring a minimum of 25 or 50 as opposed to 10 gets you more profit with exactly the same amount of work.

• Charge a premium for extras like rounded corners, still no extra work for you but a sassier product and better margin.

• Offer incentives for large orders, many customers will “order up” when they know they are close to a discount or promotion.

• Encourage your clients to order early to save on shipping costs. And so you can enjoy the holidays.

Cheers!

Foil continues to shine

You designers have made foil for online automated ordering one of our fastest growing categories. The rest of the world is still falling in love with this look so be sure to include in your 2015 holiday collection. Keep in mind that it takes 7 – 10 business days as opposed to 3 days to produce. Order early so you don’t have to stress about getting them out on time.

foildots

Silver foil on Natural Savoy. Boom.

Things to know when you are designing for foil:

– Foil reproduces best on smoother papers, if you want to use cotton or felt, keep it big and bold

– Make strokes 2pt or bigger

– Simpler, solid artwork will reproduce the foil best

– Comes in A7, A2 and 4bar

– File set up is a little different, check out file set up instructions, you’ll find them under the white card preview

Silver foil on Ice Pearl. Mmmm, so shiny.

Silver foil on Ice Pearl. Mmmm, so shiny.

Available foil colors.

Available foil colors.

Get your shine on and post your foil design pics on our facebook page so we can celebrate your sparkle

There’s no time like the present to add gifts to your product line.

Yes, I did write that title strictly for my own amusement. But it’s on point. The personalized gift industry is on a crazy growth path and if you’re not already making bank selling your own fabulously designed gifts, you are leaving money on the table. Here are some of our top sellers…

Mugs were our top seller for personalized gifts last year...

Mugs were our top seller for personalized gifts last year…

MelamineTrays copy Clipboard copyIf you have a wholesale account, you can buy mugs for $7.48 for one and even less if you order multiples. Our gorgeous melamine trays come in different colors and cost $23.00. That might sound steep except that you can more than double the price for a quality personalized gift like this. And clipboards are a huge hit, selling for just $12.00 on StationeryHQ.com with a retail value of $25.00 – $30.00. Check out our personalized gift products for lots more ideas to add to your holiday gift options.

Expand your holiday business: Halloween Ideas

We know that weddings and Christmas are the biggest sales in stationery but Halloween is a growing opportunity. In 2014 almost 68% of Americans participated in Halloween fun and they spent $7.4 billion. Billion. With a “B”. Why not direct some of that spending your way?Halloween

Kids parties and treat bag decorating is a big hit at my kids’ school. If you have a wholesale account on stationeryhq.com you could get 12 stickers for just $1.44. You could get sets of 12 that are personalized or do a much bigger order and pay even less per sheet. These retail for around $5 for a set of 12. And placemats start at 4.25 each and retail for about $10.halloweeninvites

And adding invitations to your arsenal is a slam dunk. 5 x 7″ flat cards retail for $50 – $60 for a set of 25. These can be ordered here for $12.75 WITH rounded corners and blank envelopes. Just think what you could do with wraparound address labels, envelope liners and coasters!

From a blank canvas to a fabulous welcome wall

The dust is almost settled at our new location. We just moved across town but dismantling presses and 40,000 square feet of machines, supplies and people is no small feat. When the guys found our new location, they said, “It’s a total craphole and it might be haunted, do you want to see it?” All I saw was potential and a place to show off our expertise and our customers’ talent. BTW, it’s not haunted, the boys are just a little easily spooked.

This is the 80s Fab entry before we worked our magic. I’ll do another post so you can see all of the building’s former glory and how we’ve upgraded to a super fun, colorful workspace. Soon as the last of the boxes go away.

Formerly Fugly, but with potential...

Formerly Fugly, but with potential…

And this is what happened when I threw out an invitation to a bunch of creatives. I asked if anyone wanted to work their magic on a canvas, no rules (almost) just whatever inspires them. I got even more enthusiasm than I hoped for but I shouldn’t be surprised because we designers are our own breed. We NEED to create. It’s even better when we get paid for it, but most of us are designing all the time, whether we’re on the clock or not. And we love a challenge, particularly without lots of rules 🙂

Can you think of a better way to welcome visitors?

Can you think of a better way to welcome visitors?

I LOVE the messages on both of these. Happy day was designed by Laura Thacker from Carolina Quill.    Quit Slackin’ came from the talented and witty Julie Wylie at Whimsy & Wild.IMG_2285

I want this trailer. Thank you to Kim Arnold of Barefoot Studios for this gem.IMG_2286

This gorgeous water color features a message that is close to my heart, thank you for the reminder Laura at And Everything Nice. And my coffee soulmate, Amy Sturn of Springlake Statonery illustrated this heartfelt message to caffeine-addicts everywhere…IMG_2288

A whole different take on water color came with this zen Welcome canvas, thank you to Lauren Crawford from Crawfitz Designs.

Another inspiring message combined with great type and a fabulous flamingo came from Krista Mullis at Pluma Paper.

Canvas3

This juicy persimmon colored canvas with a great business message comes from Adrien Frayle at MarieDesign.com

The happy floral comes from my very talented partner in crime in my other designer life, Ilene Guy at Simon+Kabuki.

And I LOVE this take on a map by Kim Harrington at greylein.etsy.com. Makes me want to go somewhere…

IMG_2283

And the last to be mentioned but first to arrive was this fantastic typography with key industry words by Becky Florence of Pineapple Princess Design Company. She sent it within a day or two and kicked off what turned out to be the most fun design collaboration ever! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me decorate our new digs and especially for confirming what I know about designers: We Rock.

Making modern watercolour effects: a guest artist post

Over the last few years I have had to adapt to the modern way of designing, having been taught the Adobe Creative Suite by my daughter in order to keep up with the times. I now mix Illustrator and Photoshop work together to create my unique range of cards, which I sell online at Decorque Cards, and I quite often delve into my archive to scan or photograph old work to use in new designs.

I am a fine artist and textile designer by trade, having worked all my life using watercolour paints. I don’t think you can beat the feeling of the paintbrush on paper and the amazing effects you can achieve with this versatile media. What I do love to see is some of these artistic methods, making their way into the stationery and greetings card world.

A trend for the 2015 Spring Summer season is Watercolour Painted effects mixed with simple typography to create cards. The Stationery Trends Magazine website has highlighted this as a Fresh Pick for the season entitled Painterly Elements. By scanning in and digitally printing designs on beautiful paper such as Savoy Cotton or Felt paper, you can still achieve texture and subtlety of the paint and modernise with bold and simple typography overlaid on top. All using a CMYK printing process.Painterly-elements-designs

The idea of mixing watercolour techniques with wedding stationery became popular last year, with a lot of blogs such as The Promise featuring it as a hot trend. It appears that with a lot of graphic and more simple designs appearing, people want to hark back to more traditional and unique methods. Bespoke designers such as Gemma Milly, and businesses such as Paper Bark and Arbee Cards are all offering watercolour wedding stationery as an option, to then be personalised for a couple’s big day. Their designs are a lot more decorative and floral, catering perfectly to the wedding market. They use delicate colour palettes that work across the broad range of elements required.

Watercolour-Stationery

The joy of watercolour painting can come from it’s simplicity and opportunity to layer colour in a vibrant way too. What I like about the designs that Matrick and Eve create are that they are not using a watercolour painted, cliché scene, or something that they have designed specifically in mind to take typography. They are using a design purely as a colourful, decorative background in order to allow and take a large, simple typography message.

They are also using colour in a bold way. That is what makes their designs cool and modern and not too pretty and feminine. It also makes them versatile, working not only on notebooks, but also gift tags and wine bottle tags (to name but a few). These designs particularly appeal to me, so I thought why not dig out some of my old textile watercolour designs and give this concept a go myself?

Matrick-and-Eve-designs

Below are a collection of my watercolour designs, au naturel, straight from the archives. As you can see my style mixes the floral and decorative with the bold and colourful, so I’m a real mix of some of the designs I’ve showcased above!

Lesley_original_designs

To create my first two cards, I’ve scanned in a couple of the more traditional types of florals and created two options. They are similar to that of the wedding stationery, and some of the designs I’ve seen on the Ivy and Ellen website. They are more classic, using swirly fonts and have a feminine look to them in tone and style.

Lesley_Ivy_and_Ellen_designs

In contrast to that, I’ve created a more contemporary collection by turning one design into a set of cards, by altering the hues in Photoshop, layering on an of-the-moment modern typeface in Indesign and picking a design that is more abstract. These cards are made striking by the vivid colours, graphic font, white border and black envelopes. In my opinion they would not look out of place alongside some more quirky and graphic cards on sites such as Oh Deer or Society 6.

Lesley_watercolour_cards

This method has not only brought life to old designs, but has given them a new purpose. They have gone from textile designs to card designs. I’m thinking of including these in my collection, and maybe embellishing a few of the more traditional ones with gems and maybe some delicate silver paint. I like the idea of painting back on top of the original watercolour design…..ooh I can feel another experiment coming on!

About:

Written by: Lesley Stevens – owner of Decorque Cards. I design and sell a selection of handmade and digitally printed cards and tags online, all made in the UK. My passion for design, pattern and colour stems directly from my love of nature; whether drawn, hand-painted, photographed or drawn in Illustrator, when brought together in Photoshop, my design comes alive and even more so when printed.

Shipping Cost Changes

Shipping NoticeHi Folks,

Just wanted to give you a little warning that some of the items you may order might have a slightly higher price tag for shipping. We don’t try to make money on shipping, but with our low wholesale prices we can’t afford to lose money on it. The first product that will be affected is binders. The weight that’s been calculated in the past does not account for any packing materials and we’re pretty sure we all want your beautiful products to arrive in one piece.

Sorry we can’t give you a specific number, it will vary depending on the item, quantity, and shipping address. It could be anywhere from 5% – 25%. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope you’ll forgive us cuz we really hate to disappoint you. -The SHQ Gang

Guest Post from a Kick Ass Designer

Hello, I’m Melinda Hartz McElroy, founder and creative director of billet-doux. I’ve been dreaming up couture stationery, invitations and wedding suites since 2005. I love telling personal stories through something tangible, tactile and visually stimulating. But, as I was realizing visions for couture clients, I started to wonder, “How do you stay relevant in the broader marketplace?”

So, I decided to do something completely radical – launch my first ready-to-order wedding collection. What a novel idea! Having previously only collaborated with clients on a custom project basis, I threw caution to the wind and designed suites for imaginary brides and grooms. I immersed myself in fresh and current wedding trends and created a comprehensive collection across a variety of style categories.

It’s easy to get caught up in each and every delightful trend happening in our industry right now, but I kept focused with my targeted list of on-trend must-haves. Mixed typography, handwritten fonts, hombre color effect, monograms, polka dots, lace, floral patterns, and rustic and rhinestone details are among them. But, what are my top obsessions these days? [queue music]

brooklyn detail_website

1) All Things Whimsy

Whimsical elements will forever be at the tippy top of my list. At the core of who I am as a person and a designer, I love the element of surprise and the unexpected. The Brooklyn suite is a sharp detour from my typical design aesthetic; yet, it’s ironically my favorite of the collection. Brooklyn is modern yet whimsical, and perfect for the bride throwing an untraditional, offbeat wedding. [I heart that girl!]

Brooklyn Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection  Printed by StationeryHQ

Brooklyn Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection
Printed by StationeryHQ 

2) Glam/Art Deco/Metallic

So, I squeezed three trends in one, but let’s face it – they all go together like peanut butter and jelly. Dare to kick up the glam by adding to something that’s already glamorous in its own right (that’s you, gorgeous bracket die-cut pocket enclosure!)? Selecting a rich metallic color palette and pairing it with mixed typography (another design mainstay) in simple colors creates an added layer of formality. But it’s the gorgeous glam rhinestone embellishment that transports guests of this Gatsby suite back to the Art Deco era.

gatsby details_website

Gatsby Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection Printed by StationeryHQ

gatsby collection_website

3) Dreamy Paper

I find leveraging beautiful paper to be an uber refreshing design tactic. I mean, why reinvent the wheel with every card? Let thoughtful typography or custom monograms punctuate a suite, and rely on fine papers and gorgeous prints to take the lead in setting the tone. Together or on its own, printing on dreamy double thick paper can easily add a lot of impact and take your design to a whole other level. (Thank you, StationeryHQ!)

Petal Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection Printed by StationeryHQ

Juliet Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection Printed by StationeryHQ on double thick card stock; Rifle Paper Co. floral bellyband

petal collection_website

Petal Wedding Suite – billet-doux Spring 2015 Bridal Collection Printed by StationeryHQ

Enjoy my portfolio and billet-doux’s complete 2015 Spring collection at www.couturestationery.com. Keep in touch on Facebook at www.facebook.com/billetdouxinvitations or at [email protected]

melinda headhsotAbout Melinda McElroy

Melinda Hartz McElroy is founder and creative director of billet-doux. From fêtes to gratitude, billet-doux has been spicing up mailboxes with one-of-a-kind cards since 2005. Melinda is the former National Marketing Director of a multinational billion-dollar accounting and consulting firm. Melinda oversaw marketing and advertising campaigns for 42 offices across the United States.

By pairing clients’ individual style with billet-doux’s unique brand of creativity, Melinda dreams up pieces that even make wallflowers bloom. Whether creating something couture from scratch or selecting from readymade collections, all items are fully customizable without limitations. billet-doux’s service offerings include wedding suites, social and business stationery, party and corporate event invitations, event details, baby announcements and holiday cards.

Feelin the love

Hi Peeps, We all took a big deep breath after the crazy Christmas and Hanukkah rush. Overall things went pretty well and we’ve quickly moved on to what’s next. Valentine’s Day is just a month away, and since mugs were a HUGE seller in November and December, we’re thinking they are a great gift for Valentine’s Day too. ValentineMugAnd who doesn’t love a sweet card from someone special?

It’s not too late to order gifts and stationery and get them before Feb. 14th. Click here for gifts and here for stationery.card

Let it Shine: New Info About Foil

Attention Designers Who Love Shiny Stuff: We’ve discovered that our foils like some papers better than others. All of our standard foil options like the house stock, 120lb uncoated. They don’t love Savoy Cotton as much so we had to find another brand of foil to work with and we are carrying Gold, Silver and Copper right now. This series does not carry as many colors. If you want another fabulous color on cotton, please contact us about running a custom project for you.

We also have a very nice example of how to optimize your artwork for foil from one of our awesome customers, Paper & Honey.

Original Artwork

Original Artwork

Revised Artwork

Revised Artwork

unnamed-1