One reason I think I’ve been neglecting the blog, or writting about my business the last number of months is because I find it hard to know where to tell a story, when one is still unfolding. Then a natural break or moment presents itself, when you can clearly reflect and progress, failures, and successes. And as a result in my case, you get a super LONG blog post when this happens! Lucky you! 😉
Back in January I made the decision to close my shop which had over time become a store where I stocked an assortment of things – many my own designs (custom prints and stationery) but also gifty items. It just kind of happened over time – I love writing about things I find and love, so when I already had an e-commerce operation in full force, I started to bring in other lines and stock the store with an assortment of product. Upon reflection, I suddenly realized that the way that the shop had evolved was wrong, and what I really wanted to do was focus more on creativity vs. stocking other people’s items and running a store. So the shop closed.
(ABOVE, A GLIMPS INTO HOW THE SHOP USED TO BE)
Although I closed the shop, I continued my creative pursuits that I did want to do. I continued working with my art publisher (you can find my art in stores like HomeSense) and added more designs to my portfolio. You can still find my art prints in retailers (You can find them in Indigo and other retailers too) My website, PennyPaperCo.com moved from being a shop to, more of a landing page for retailers. But then I realized I was paying for the web hosting and I had the capability to sell. So, opened up part of the website to be e-commerce. So my “shop” kind of reopened without much fan fare. But it felt right – just quietly putting back my prints online, and not pushing them – instead just focusing on art, creativity and the next steps.
Which brings me to today, about 8 months to the day of when I closed the store and I feel like it is a perfect moment to pause and reflect back on the last few months since I last posted about my business. I’m happy to say it has been unfolding exactly as I would have hoped. I feel like where I’m at now, is way more “me” and a reflection of what I want my business to be. So some new things!! First – I’ve expanded my line to include….
GREETING CARDS! I’ve worked really hard at this collection,and it’s much different than anything I’ve done before in the last 11 years. You may be thinking that I got out of the stationery business. Well, I did. But the “custom” stationery business. You see the major difference in what I’m doing now, versus the last 11 years is that nothing is custom. From a business perspective, the switch from custom to a catalog of styles ready to ship is huge. Because I had to financially invest in a collection – buying in larger quantities reduces the cost per piece, which makes it more affordable for you to buy – I have to be really confident in a style, in order to produce it, or, it is money lost.
I spent four months looking at a collection of styles – taping up cards to the wall to see how everything worked together. Printing samples. And, I purposefully chose to not use any fonts. I wanted to push myself to do hand lettering for the cards. And, I wanted to have gold foil. I went big on choosing the best papers, the best envelopes and spent months finalizing everything. In the end, this card collection is something I’m most proud of – and think is my best work, because I spent so much time looking and finalizing it as a whole. because it was going to be such a huge financial commitment to get the whole collection going, I really pushed myself to examine the collection as a whole prior to committing. Which as a result I feel is a better reflection of me, and, a better stationery collection than I have every offered.
I’m also excited to say that a line of wrapping paper is in the last phase, and it should be available mid October! Wrapping paper! I’m ridiculously excited!!!
Last, but not least …. I applied, and was accepted to the Christmas and Spring One Of A Kind Show. Aubrey has been telling me for years and years I should do the show but life didn’t really allow me the time to do it. The shop as it was was super time consuming (custom orders = lots of communication with clients = no time to spend at a gift show) But now, with the major shift in how the business runs, it meant after 11 years, I could apply. With the encouragement of Aubrey and also from my friend Stacey who I admire immensely (and also, exhibits at the show) I jumped in, applied, my products passed the jury, and – well. Now it’s time to design a booth! There is no turning back now!
So life is still moving quickly over here. I’m tweaking packaging, finalizing designs, and have some help (Hi Julie!) package products. It’s all terribly exciting and although overwhelming at times, I feel like this particular path is way more the path I should be on, and, a business that I can grow.
So this is a terribly long post but now we are up to date! 😉 xo Linds