Small Business, Big Dreams

Hi, it’s Erin, the Creative Director at StationeryHQ.com and stationery-loving designer of 25 years. We’ve worked long and hard to develop a reputation as a capable, large scale, forward thinking company. I guess it’s working because every once in awhile we get an email from a frustrated customer who seems to think we are some giant corporation out to steal all their money and trick them with misinformation. Yes, those emails suck just as much you think they would.

So I thought I’d give you a little back story on the people behind SHQ. We have lots of big machines, but really we are a small company full of people with big ideas.

A little reminder for our peeps...

A little reminder for our peeps…

Let’s start with our CEO, Mark Sarpa. He’s my husband of almost 27 years. Yep, you got it. We are a Mom and Pop Shop. Mark believes with every fiber of his being that he can help you grow your business through great service, cool products and competitive prices. Mark is a very involved father of 3 kids and when he’s not working (which is seldom) he likes to be on a boat with his family or watching a baseball game. The SF Giants are his favs but he will watch any team, at any level, any time.IMG_2525

StationeryHQ is made up of about 50 people normally and we go up to over 100 during the holiday rush. We have moms who work part time so they can pick their kids up from school, young people who are just getting started in their careers, and experienced people who have been with the company for more than 15 years.

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When the office is empty, it means our Customer Success, Accounting, and Pre-Press people are out in the warehouse helping to get ‘er done.

Every time we have a company meeting I am impressed by the dedication of our peeps. They want to be the best in the business, many of them work on their feet all day long in a production facility and they do it with a smile. We have potlucks for special occasions and people show up with enough food to feed an army. There is a particularly wild group that occasionally does Zumba during their break. Seriously.

We hope you feel like we “get” you. We kind of figure we are all on the same (wicked awesome) team of gutsy creative folks. As small business owners who’ve been at it for many years, we totally appreciate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. As people, we appreciate directness, honesty and hard work so that’s our promise to you.

Erin and Mark Sarpa, owners of StationeryHQ.com

Erin and Mark Sarpa, owners of StationeryHQ.com

Thanks for reading all the way to the end and thanks for being our customers. Let’s do this.

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Let’s Make a Date

Our CS ninjas have received lots of questions about shipping and production schedules for the holidays, so here is a quick reference for next 6 weeks. Keep in mind that weather can affect shipping schedules so ordering early is ALWAYS a good idea and please check our facebook page for up to the minute info about everything that might affect holiday deliveries.Calendars

Reordering is easy on SHQ

We’ve had several StationeryHQ customers recommend a Reorder button and though we already have one, we’ve never written up instructions on the process. With just a few clicks, you can find previous orders and reorder to your heart’s content!

Here’s how:

1. Login at StationeryHQ

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2. Click on your User Name (green highlight)
3. Under My Account in the left nav area, click on Orders (yellow highlight)
4. Find the order number. You may need to scroll down to find it.
(Hint: Mac- use Command F, PC- use Control F and type in the order number)
5. Click the Details button all the way to right (red highlight)

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6. Click the Reorder button (orange highlight) and it will take you back into the cart

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7. You can then change the order quantity with the drop down menu (purple highlight) and update your cart

We hope this makes your life a little easier!

Keep calm and order on

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We’ve had some people report that their connection wasn’t secure on the StationeryHQ checkout page. It didn’t make sense since all of our security certificates are up to date, so we got right on the case! We did quite a bit of research and here’s what we found:

http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/85830/why-is-symantec-verisign-ca-appearing-as-an-invalid-authority

It has something to do with a user’s system certificate chain storage. We’re not going to pretend we fully understand this, but thought we should share the best research we found. We believe our site is as secure as possible and since we don’t store credit cards, you should be good.

We hope this helps.

Focus on Baby, Stationery’s sweet spot

Who doesn’t LOVE to design baby stuff? Announcements, invitations, personalized gallery wraps, art prints, thank you cards, party ware… there are so many opportunities to wrap yourself in babyness and help a mother-to-be celebrate the impending center of her universe. Announcement

Here’s a fun pinterest board that will suck up your time and make you want to have a(nother?) baby. Or maybe it will inspire you to design more baby stuff to offer. It’s also full of fun ideas for designed paper products.

This design, by my sidekick at Simon+Kabuki, has the potential to sell for many thousands of dollars based on our past experience. Baby related stationery has been our best source of income for all the years we’ve been in the business. And it doesn’t only happen for a couple of months of the year, it’s a constant revenue stream.

First birthdays have become huge celebrations for many families and a new mom who loves your style will go back to you for her big life events for years to come. Don’t forget to design matching thank you notes for each announcement or invitation in your collection, you’re making it easy for a busy mom/mom-to-be.

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.

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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!