Author: marksthq

How the heck do we produce our double thick cards?

We have wicked awesome double thick cards!

I’d like to introduce Jim Towle, our general manager. Check out this video to see Vanna Jim show off our double thick machine. We would love for you to come and visit us so we can show you in person. It’s pretty cool.

Meet Jim

How did we make double thick happen, you ask? Tiny Prints came to us and told us they wanted to launch double thick cards. Thick stocks over 18 point just won’t run on digital presses.

We were living in an on-demand world and we just didn’t want lots of inventory of one super thick stock. It slowed the presses down and we were also concerned about the long term quality. I know Moo.com has been doing amazing work this stuff for many years but we wanted to sell it wholesale with plenty of paper options.

Scott, Jim and I sat down to figure it out. We came out of that long meeting with two goals:

  • Be able to do double thick on any stock that ran well
  • Not hold inventory of paper stock with glue

I was the lucky one. I got to participate in the idea generation and then Scott and Jim had to make it happen.

We worked with a great company called Rollem. Even though we have a great relationship with them from past equipment purchases and a deep relationship through Dscoop (the Indigo User Group) there were many months where we we both very disappointed . The equipment didn’t work and there were times we wanted to send it back and would have if they would have returned our money.

Luckily they were a real partner and wanted us to succeed. We worked out the kinks are happy that we can offer you many stocks in double thick. Who knows maybe we will figure out automated triple thick in the future although my hair is already all gray…….

We know the competition isn’t far behind so we’re already working on the next big thing, stay tuned!

Thanks for reading.

Mark

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Meet Chris

Chris Hernandez is one of our super awesome account managers at StationeryHQ.com.  He graduated from the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo which has one of the best printing programs in the nation, their printing museum is amazing. They even have a working Mergenthaler that actually still works.

He is standing in front of one of our HP Indigo 7500 presses. Aside from Chris’ passion for making the customer smile, we think his sense of humor is his best quality. And he brings chocolate covered pretzels to meetings. With sprinkles. Seriously.

Meet Chris

Chris would love to meet you by phone, email, or in person. His contact information is: Chris Hernandez | chernandez@printhq.com Phone: 408.982.1790 ext 312

I’d like to introduce you to StationeryHQ.com

Hi from Mark at StationeryHQ.

In 2014 I’m on a mission to introduce you to the folks at StationeryHQ.com. Some of them might not want to go on camera but I’ll do my best to convince them.

MEET  Mark

Our parent company is 24 years old, which makes me pretty old…..We started StationeryHQ.com as a result of our success with Tiny Prints and Wedding Paper Divas. In case you didn’t know, we were the manufacturing company that helped them launch. Scott (my business partner) and I met Ed, Laura, and Kelly (the founders) back in 2004.

They had a crazy idea of printing 10 birth announcements. We didn’t see how we could do it but they were really smart and really nice and so we sat down to try to figure out how to make it work. Those first few years were pretty rough.  Tiny Prints would forecast 75 orders a day and then give us 200.

We call it learn by trying over here. Roll up your sleeves and try. Everybody working hard together to make the customers smile. It really changed who we are as a company. Our mission statement is “Our passion is to partner with people to enable their creative ideas”. We didn’t really write that to be a marketing slogan even though we find it kind of catchy. We wrote it to express who we are at the core. Scott and I have been running this company since the start and after 26 years together (yes we worked at two other companies before that) we can finish each other sentences.

Getting back to our company. Our mission is to meet you with these videos so you know who you are speaking with when you call. We’d love to meet you in person when you come visit our shop or at the National Stationery Show in New York.

I can promise you that we have some great people who try really hard. Sure we mess up, because this personalized printing stuff can be pretty hard sometimes. But we really want to fix it when we do mess up so please ask. I’ll give you a hint, don’t yell at us even when we deserve it. When customers are nice about a problem the guilt kicks in and we work twice as hard to make it right.

You can virtually meet me by watching my video below and my direct line is 408.200.2711. Since I get quite a few of those annoying sales calls you will probably get me sooner at mark@stationeryhq.com. I stalk our facebook page pretty regularly too.

Thanks for your business or for just stopping by to check us out.

USPS: Cost-Ineffective?

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year. Not only are we hustling and bustling, but we try to stay within a budget to make sure that we cover everyone on our shopping lists.

As stationery and gift makers, we have to add punctuality to that mixture. Shipping with USPS helps to shave some extra expenses, but at what cost? Is saving a few dollars worth not giving your loved one’s gift on time? Is it worth the wait?

Everything boils down to the value of time. Unlike money, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

To help weigh the costs, I’ve placed two mugs and a canvas gallery wrap in my StationeryHQ shopping cart, a fitting gift for my grandparents. Upon checkout, I can choose from the following methods to ship to Fremont, California:

  • USPS Priority Mail 1-Day® ($8.20)
  • UPS Ground ($9.22)
  • UPS 3 Day Select ($12.98)
  • UPS 2nd Day Air ($16.76)
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver ($27.59)
  • UPS Next Day Air ($31.77)

I can spend $8.20 for USPS to ship it in “1-Day”; however, their reputation proves that “1-Day” may equal to “1-week” (or more).

Screen-Shot-2013-12-10-at-10.14.09-AM-300x133Screen-Shot-2013-12-10-at-10.15.45-AM-300x196UPS, on the other hand, delivers on-time with options for notifications of your package’s journey.

At a little over twice the cost of the USPS option, I am guaranteed to have my package delivered in two days. If Christmas were two days from now, I wouldn’t take that risk.

Would you?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let Your Design Shine

Need a little “glam” for your next piece? In case you didn’t already know, we offer foil stamping in an assortment of colors to add that special shine. Here are a few words from Red Pearl Designs:

The foil printing turned out beautiful! I was extremely impressed with the quality and fast service I received from StationeryHQ. Thank you for the great work!

RedPearlDesigns_image_201312-300x207

So, what are you waiting for? Let your design shine now.

CAPOW Q&A

Hello everyone,

We get a bunch of questions on our new platform called CAPOW, so I thought I would try to answer the most common ones here. Please feel free to contact me if I failed to answer one or more of your questions.

What is CAPOW?

CAPOW is a technology platform which enables our partners to offer real-time preview, automated file creation, and seamless order fulfillment. The acronym C.A.P.O.W. stands forComplete Automated Personalized Order Workflow.

CAPOW was created to enable our partners a simpler and automated way of doing business. The platform has 3 modules.

1. Show it:

Creates real-time preview of your products for the end user.
Creates print-ready final artwork for production.

Here’s a comparison of the same product with and without real-time preview.

2. Send it:

Allows distributed manufacturing for the customer to manage geographically or by product SKU.

See graphic below, or click on this link for the complete datasheet.

3. Ship it:

Integrates fulfillment providers with your front-end solution.
Communicates with front-end solution for improved customer service.

Why do I need CAPOW?

This may be easier to answer in the negative. Why don’t I need CAPOW?

  1. You sell your products offline and do not use an E-commerce platform.
  2. You believe real-time preview is nice but not necessary, or that it will not increase customer conversion.
  3. You want to create your artwork individually for each order.
  4. You produce most or all of your products internally.
  5. Your volume is too small to justify the investment.
  6. You already have a similar solution to CAPOW.

Why would I choose CAPOW over building my own personalization engine?

The answer to this question is complex. CAPOW is not for everyone. If a CAPOW configurator does not work well with your specific needs, you should probably invest in your own custom solution. Another reason to build your own is that you might be using a proprietary E-commerce platform which does not work with third party solutions.

The cost to build your own personalization preview and art creation engine is extremely expensive. In almost all cases that we have come across, the investment in a custom build is consistently 3-5 times the cost of CAPOW, and this cost only represents the absolute dollars invested. It does not take into consideration the time invested in researching, evaluating, scoping, and managing the custom development project.

CAPOW is built to handle most personalization needs with regard to stationery, gifts, books, and other similar products. Once implemented, it will save you tremendous amounts of time in the day-to-day tasks of creating artwork, reviewing artwork, proofing, creating orders, placing orders, and servicing customers. Depending on the user’s volume, the investment in CAPOW can be recouped in a very short time frame by the savings in labor. Other benefits include increased conversion from live preview and the increase of sales and marketing efforts currently lost in supporting the daily tasks of operating without an automated platform.

How much does CAPOW cost?

This is a tough one to answer because each deployment is a little different. Some of the factors that determine the cost of a CAPOW integration include:

  • The E-commerce platform you use
  • The number of modules you need (show it, send it, ship it)
  • The number of templates and products you want to offer
  • The complexity of the products (ie. 20 page storybook vs. greeting card)
  • The number of production sources you want to integrate with
  • The number of concurrent users on CAPOW

Most of the costs are one-time charges and can be paid up-front. We also have a pay-as-you go, month to month option with smaller up-front investment. In either case, there will be some monthly maintenance to ensure uptime, throughput, and scalability.

Once our sales and development teams have a chance to better understand your specific needs, we can scope the project and give you an accurate cost. We do know that compared to building it yourself, CAPOW will save you a lot of time and money and will give you more flexibility to grow in the future.

How long does it take to complete a CAPOW integration?

Excellent question. Again, tough to answer without a project scope. On average, the time frame from project approval to completion is 2-3 months. This does not include the pre-sales process and project scope. The time frame can vary dramatically based on all the factors listed above in the cost answer.

Can you show me an example of a CAPOW solution?

Of course we can. Please see the next question.

How do I get started in the evaluation process?

Simply contact any of our sales team members or send an email to info@stationeryhq.com. We will be happy to discuss your situation to see if a CAPOW integration makes sense for you.

An iPhone’s New Use for Print

Screen-Shot-2013-10-04-at-8.38.55-AM2-232x300I bet you thought all those wonderful iPhone apps like StorytreeMosaic, and the like are great examples of moving digital images to tactile printed books. Well, you’re right.

But did you know that the iPhone can also double as a hard writing surface for taking notes? That’s right folks – with a $400 price tag, this amazing tool can actually assist you in both digital and analog applications. Why do you need an analog solution for writing notes when you have a digital one in the palm of your hand? I don’t know. What I do know is there’s just something great about paper and pencil, or paper and ink. I can’t explain it. Taking digital notes is not hard, but I much prefer to write them down. What’s that? I’m old? True, but why are so many millenials buying and using products like these?

There as so many digital apps which are now exploring how to bring the results to their customers in some type of printed form. Last year, our parent company, Progressive Solutions, started manufacturing photo books for other companies. We currently have no less than ten different customers and prospects trying to launch some type of printed solution for their online store or application. We can’t build these integrations fast enough to keep up with the demand.

I believe it was first said by Indigo inventor Benny Landa, “Everything that can become digital will become digital – and printing is no exception.” I believe Benny is absolutely correct. I’d just like to make a slight revision to this famous quote, “Everything that can become digital will become digital – and then a boatload of it will become analog again.”

Keep on bringing beautiful designs. There will always be a place for them on a tactile substrate, and people will always love and appreciate what you do.

What’s your take? Is print going away or here to stay?

Goodies and a Sweet Message: A testimonial from a happy client

Last week, we received a delectable platter of goodies from one of our happy clients!

CS_client_goodies

Pictured above: our Prepress Operator, Jaimie Chu, and our Customer Service team, Caroline Gonzales and Monica Galvez, with the platter of goodies!

Here’s the sweet accompanying message:

I currently live abroad, and without SHQ and the customer service team, I would not be able to continue offering high-quality printed wedding stationery. I get so many compliments from brides and I owe a lot of it to your team!

We’re always happy to serve! If you ever need our assistance, feel free to email us or call us at 1-800-384-0910.

Fresh Ideas from Daring Designers

We love a challenge at StationeryHQ so when a Designer calls and starts with “I don’t know if you guys can do this, but…” we get all excited. Seriously, our heart rates go up, and we break out in a light pre-game sweat over the possibilities. We got such a message recently from Cara Rank of xowyo paper and press.


IMG_1233

The paper does the talking with this totally unique design.

We asked Cara what inspired her to design a kraft wedding suite with white ink, here’s what she had to say,

“I have printed on kraft before. I find that people, especially here in Jackson, love the rustic, handmade feel of kraft paper. So I use it a lot for my clients. But when I print in house, I can only do 80, maybe 100 lb. stock. And since I have an ink printer, I can only print in CMYK. I have never been able to print white on kraft without the added expense of screen printing. The offline order was a great option for my company because I could offer the look without the added expense. Yes it was more expensive than your regular ordering system, but it was definitely less than paying my screenprinter to do it (and I didn’t have to do any cutting or folding). Stationery HQ saved me a lot of time with the trifold!”

Kraft_1Two gorgeous designs using the same process: kraft paper with white ink

When asked if designing a custom project with white ink was tough, Cara replied,

“Setting up the files was really easy. It took just minutes. My rep, Leah, was great. I told her my vision, and she suggested the paper stock. She basically did all the work for me. Because one of the jobs was kind of rushed, she even snapped photos for me to approve via email. Stationery HQ did send me color proofs for approval, too.”

IMG_1223_w4151Sassy coasters designed for beer tasting in the bar at a dinner party

We also ran our first double thick, double sided coasters recently. I am the creative director at StationeryHQ so I get a sneak preview of what’s coming down the pipeline. I was practically drooling when I found out that we were adding this option to the SHQ menu. I love to entertain and fully believe that custom coasters are a necessity at every occasion (think weddings, anniversary, birthday parties, bbqs, holidays). This particular coaster design was created for beer tasting before a business dinner at my home with guests from all over the world. The design was inspired by the California theme that was part of the whole evening and my appreciation for a good laugh at almost any cost. You can see more photos and the round coasters I designed for the event at simon+kabuki.com/designerdroppings. Yes, I had double thick custom coasters in the bar AND round custom coasters on the dinner table. I really just couldn’t help myself; they are so much fun to design.

To check out coaster options on StationeryHQ.com, go to http://www.stationeryhq.com/coasters. Don’t forget to login to see your wholesale pricing! And if you want to do something that you don’t see on the site, please contact us so we can get all excited and create something new just for you! 1-800-384-0910

Trends: What’s Hot in Design Now, part 2

All the designers we know have a unique way of seeing the world—they notice fine details in typography, color, texture, pattern. And that visual inspiration comes together when they’re crafting their designs in paper.

The Write Stuff recently chatted with one of our favorite designers, Erin Sarpa of Simon+Kabuki and the blog Designer Droppings, about the cool trends she’s seeing right now.

Erin focused on four key design trends. Check out the previous post on typography and color. Here, we’ll cover texture and pattern. Use these ideas to inspire your own design work!

Texture

Natural materials continue to drive the trend in texture — think of linen fabric, burlap, grasscloth and the like. While traditional linen-textured paper is an obvious choice for stationery designs, look at adding other decorative elements with embossing, which can create a more obvious tactile quality to an invitation or notecard. Textures can be embossed over an entire piece or added as a border, like a bamboo or rope pattern. (Ask us about Stationery HQ’s embossing capabilities.)

Sources for texture inspiration:

Texturemate.com — here’s a free source for textures that you can download and incorporate into your work, including fabrics, metals, stone and other materials.

Rope-Pattern

Pinterest.com  — scan through the Home Decor category on Pinterest to find interesting textures in textiles, tile and wood.

Pinterest-Screen-Shot

Pattern

Looking at fashion, graphic design and home decor, Erin is seeing a big resurgence in what we’d consider old-fashioned patterns: herringbone, houndstooth and chevron. (These patterns can be embossed into paper to create a remarkable touch and feel; ask us about Stationery HQ’s embossing capabilities.) Patterns like this are especially interesting when they’re used at a huge scale. Think: a tiny houndstooth check blown up to an inch square or larger.

Another hot pattern trend: Moroccan tile. These ancient patterns are intricate, bold and distinctive — and gorgeous. Moroccan motifs can be used for corner embellishments, frames and other graphic details in stationery and papergoods (think of how cool a sheet of wrapping paper would look with a repeating tile pattern).

Sources for pattern inspiration:

Media coverage of fashion week  — since fashion is so influential, it makes sense to pay attention to major media coverage of American and international fashion weeks for inspiration. You’ll see everything in designers’ collections, from pattern to texture to color.

Moroccan-Tile


What design trends most intrigue you right now? Please share what you’re loving!