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why, hello

well folks…  that was not pretty, but we made it through to the other side.  the good news is that lots and lots of christmas cards all made it out (even mine…at the very last second) and the workmen who have taken over my house these past 8 weeks are pretty much all gone for good.  so…i guess maybe i’ll have time to write up week 1 and 2 of the renovation diaries soon!  ha ha ha.  what a laugh it was thinking i could keep up with that in real time or even just a little bit delayed!  you see, i am always learning.  every holiday card season, i learn SO much. you would think i have this down pat by now, but oh no.  the brunt of what i learned this year is that i took on too much.  in reality, the renovation was a piece of cake, it was all of the holiday card orders that really made a difference in how things flowed around the homestead.  we did not have a week between thanksgiving and the beginning of december like we usually do and….woah.  i really missed that week!  i think a lot of us did.  all of a sudden i was turning around and there were something like fourteen days until christmas – whaaa?

i did something that i had not done before this year – i hired help!  OMG it was life changing.  i hired the BEST help too – laine, one of my oldest friends, meticulously lined envelopes and i mean meticulously.  carly, one of our babysitters / good friend’s little sister, taped on thousands (literally) of photos and made so many runs to get more double stick tape, i lost count.  these girls put the pedal to the medal for calliespondence (complete with a mid-december work session until the wee hours of the morning!) and i cannot thank them enough!!!!  i never could have made it through november and december without them, seriously.  they helped me ship out approximately 8,000 holiday cards this year – holy. moly.

this year has been record breaking for calliespondence.  it’s been steadily busy for almost the entire year, and this holiday season was the biggest by far we’ve ever had.  i’ve been thinking about the word “success” lately – i think we all think if you’re “successful,” you keep growing, you get more clients, more orders, more everything.  here’s the thing – this whole calliespondence thing?  it’s just me.  sitting here in the worldwide HQ like i do.  i do all of the designing, print proofing, photo affixing, card counting, envelope lining, packaging, shipping, invoicing, website updating, question responding, blog posting, photo taking, you get the drift.  it’s a lot, but i LOVE coffee.   generally, it’s pretty seamless – i can fit most of what needs to be done in to a preschool session, a nap time and a little bit after bedtime.  holiday card season months, it’s a lot more than that, and everything in my family life takes a toll because of it.  meals don’t get made (luckily didn’t have to worry about that this year with no kitchen! hello urban pl8 paleo meal plan – i will blog more about this because you need to know), laundry doesn’t get done, sleep is not had, floor is not picked up, a lot more superwhy is watched.  this year it was more obvious than last year that my family doesn’t really work so well when mama checks out for a span of about 6-8 weeks.  so for me, “success” is going to mean more of a balance, all 52 weeks of the year.  what does that really mean?  well, it means that i will be taking on less custom orders.  i will have to say “no” more.  i will have to limit holiday card orders next year.  i hate to do that because i absolutely adore doing holiday cards, but for me – “success” is keeping things between the mayonnaise and the mustard for my little family and designing stationery after that’s all taken care of.  plus – i mean how much longer will my kids even let me sit next to them and snuggle on the couch?  i gotta carve out more time for that stat.

thank you all so very, very much for reading, ordering or just caring – i can’t tell you how much it thrills me to hear how much my clients love their cards when they receive them, or hearing what their loved ones said about them….it makes my day, every time.  i adored working with each and every one of my holiday card clients this year, spreading a little yuletide cheer here and there, one mailbox at a time.  thank you for letting me do that!!

xoxo

p.s. a belated merry christmas from our family!  and a sneak peek at one of the foil stamped holiday card orders…we will be offering this as an option this year.

gold foil christmas card

gold foil card

gold foil noel

one of my favorite pictures of the kids, captured by dylan blue photography!

dylan blue photography photoback soon with renovation updates and a “best of” holiday card post!

 

new year, new practices

greetings!  2013 is here.  isn’t that kind of crazy to think about?  i still remember ringing in 2000…i used my fake id to get into moondogs with a bunch of girlfriends who also used their fake ids (or maybe pass backs) to get in.  that was the bar in buckhead we would frequent when we were home from college, in no small part to them going pretty easy on ids.  it was always some kind of urban lore that there was this one fraternity at georgia tech that moondogs owed so much of their revenue to, they hung a composite on the ceiling of one of the bars.  WHO KNEW i would later be married to one of the faces on that composite.

life is funny.

life is also funny in the way that when i started calliespondence, i never really imagined how it would go.  i truly thought it would be a success if i could end up in the black on every order.  first it was just my loyal friends placing orders, then friends of friends (most of whom then became friends) and maybe one more degree, sometimes.  every so often, i would get a random inquiry and think it was SO CRAZY.  i mean, i could not believe that anyone i didn’t know would want to order from me.  with the opening of the etsy shop in 2012 and now printing my logo and website on the back of every card, i correspond with people that i’ve never met for most of the time i’m working now.  it is amazing to me, and not one bit lost how incredibly blessed i have been to stay busy doing what i love.  when i envisioned calliespondence, i just wanted it to be a little something i could do while kids were napping or at preschool or off to bed at night.  i never imagined i would even be close to working at capacity for those hours, and to need more time.  but you see, more time doing calliespondence would mean less family time.  and there is no amount of coin that is worth that, especially while these little people are little for just a fleeting moment.  so friends, i am going to have to introduce some new initiatives for 2013!  some of you might not like them, because it does involve saying “no” a little.  i know i’ve talked here before about how saying no is crazy hard for me.  i’m getting better at it though…

here goes.  don’t hate me. :)

ORDER MINIMUM:  the minimum for any single order is $50, with no exceptions.  that means if you need to order calling cards let’s say, they are $1/per.  you will need to order 50 qty. of one kind to meet the minimum – you cannot order 25 of two designs, or add 20 calling cards to a notecard order that is $100.

THERMOGRAPHY: due to the waning availability and slow turn-around time, i am having to discontinue thermography from my offerings.  flitting between a flat and letterpress printer does put enough miles on my car already though :)  i love thermography and will always hold it close to my heart, as it was the very first printing method that calliespondence offered.  this might change at some point, but for now, only flat and letterpress printing will be offered.  economy or luxe.  it won’t be so bad, i promise!

FLAT PRINTED PERSONAL STATIONERY (for grown-ups*): instead of customizing each individual order, i will now be offering three designs of flat-printed personal stationery for adults.  yahoo!  i have hand-picked my favorite three, and will offer them in any colors and liner pattern you so choose.  those elements are always customizable on any calliespondence order, you know.  and from time to time, i may do a limited edition item, which will be all sorts of exciting.  i will still offer custom design for letterpress stationery orders.

* please note that BABY and CHILDREN stationery process will not change.

here are the options for flat printed personal stationery for adults:

1) modern monogram.  one of the first designs i did, and i feel like it still has the same crispness as it did then.

modern monogram 2

modern monogram 1

2) corner script.  fun and fresh.

stationery 2

corner script mockup

3) scallop backer.  i just LOVE the sweetness of this card!  especially paired with the more masculine all caps, sans serif font. (this is a design that was new for holiday 2012, so i only have a generic example – more to come though!)

scalloped notecard

 

INVITATION PRICING:  i absolutely adore designing invitations.  it stems from a deep love of parties in general, and it’s so fun to dive in with a client to brand their party invitation appropriately!  due to the increasing demand, i am having to alter the base invitation price, but the breakdowns will remain the same, as well as the prices of the add-ons.  you can still order any number of invitations that you need (even if it’s…32!).

pricing for flat printed invitations with envelopes in color of your choice:

15-25: $3.50/per

26-50: $3.00/per

51-100: $2.75/per

101 and up: $2.50/per

add-ons:

+ pre-printed envelope liners: +$1.00/per

+ custom designed envelope liners: +$1.50/per

+ invitation back printed: +$0.50/per

+ cardstock backer: + $0.50/per

+ return address label: +$0.50/per

+ wrap-around ribbon: +$0.50/per

…and i think that covers it!  man – these aren’t even resolutions and i’m worn out.  enough change for one day.  i’ll be back next week with some regular blog programming (remember that?!) and definitely some tidbits!   i have lots backed up from crazed holiday months…

happy new year!!!!

xoxo

new (ad)venture

i know, it’s thursday and i am positive you all are clamoring for some thursday tidbits (i mean, who doesn’t).  but i have big news to share, which will pre-empt thursday tidbits!  i’ve been wanting to wait until it was official, because rbb has jinxed me with believing that jinxing things is possible…  so felt the need to wait until it was a done deal.  BUT – guess what.

you can now find books filled with calliespondence baby & children designs at a stationery store here in atlanta.  WHAT?!  i know!  isn’t it so exciting!  they look a little bit like this…

and are filled with tabs and sections like this…

which are chock full of pages containing birth announcements, baby shower invitations, children’s stationery, children’s birthday party invitations, calling cards, gift tags and more that you can order directly from the store…

crazy.

oh, what’s the store?  slightly important.  it’s called marguerite peele fine stationery and it is located on peachtree street, just past peachtree battle.  it’s in the same shopping center as laura pearce jewelry and richter’s…i’m sure you local gem-loving ladies know where that is!  she carries the most high-end lines of stationery – people that i would bow in their presence if i ever were to meet them.  (william arthur – is he even alive??)  i am still in disbelief that little ol’ me will have a book sitting even in the same vicinity as a crane or similar.

i’m titling this venture “calliespondence does retail” – it’s something i always was interested in doing, but had no clue how to get going in it.  turns out, you just need a printer to leave your orders on the counter for you to come pick up when they’re ready and a shop owner to see your designs on the counter and like them.  it really was as simple as that.  you might say i’m well-practiced in dumb luck…

it was really something pulling these books together…i had no idea how much work i had amassed until i stepped back and looked at these two very full, overflowing books with loads of invitations, notecards, birth announcements and calling cards in their pages.  it was a completely surreal moment for me, like how could i have done all that?  when?  really, how?  and for that, i owe everything to my clients.  thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me the honor of announcing your babies, designing invitations to celebrate your loved ones, trusting me with your family’s holiday card and then coming back to do it all over again.  i have such a debt of gratitude to all of you because without you, there would be no calliespondence, no books, no body of work, no reason to blog.  and do you even believe that i had friends that blindly let me design their wedding invitations and birth announcements when i had never done anything remotely like that before, in my entire life, which allowed me to get this business off the ground??  i have really, really good friends.  and really, really good clients – several i haven’t ever met in person but feel like we’re close pals.  i know full well that there are many other stationery outlets that are probably quicker, have more options and are less expensive, which is why i am so appreciative of anybody who walks through my door.  (not that i have a door, well, i guess i do have a door to my office – but you know what i mean – a virtual door. yeah.)

ok, this will make it official.  you may now find calliespondence baby & children designs at:

Marguerite Peele Fine Stationery
2300 Peachtree Road, Suite B-103
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
T: 404.352.8158

craziness.

xoxo

out with the old, in with the new

one of the first business items that i splurged on was letterpressed business cards edged in yellow.  i have LOVED them.  the yellow edges are such a fun little detail.

if you’ve visited our website or ordered anything from calliespondence, you’ve seen or received one.

and i can hardly believe that i have already flown through 500 of them?!  i don’t see how that’s possible, but indeed – i am on my last few.

i am into all things slanted right now, see exhibit a here, so i ran with it.  i opted for rounded corners rather than edging this time and had the cards letterpressed on super thick crane 220 lb. lettra stock.

oh and they’re square, but i feel like you guys are bright enough to notice that.

can’t wait to start doling these babies out like hot cakes!

xoxo

policy changes

times, they are a-changing here at calliespondence.

when i first started out doing stationery in late 2009, it was a side gig to my “real” job, which was being a marketing manager for a design firm.  i had just a handful of what i affectionately call ‘clients,’ which was really a group comprised of my close friends that were sweet enough to let me design their birth announcements, wedding invitations and stationery in an attempt to build up my portfolio.  god love ‘em, i had no idea what i was doing – but they were so forgiving, in the way that good friends are.  i am supremely indebted to that group of folks and will never forget the way they embraced this new venture of mine…i really have the best friends.

time went on, and friends of my friends started calling (er, emailing but you know what i mean).  and then friends of their friends who received invitations or announcements of mine, and then people who found me on the internet, blog, and so on.  i started to get busier and busier, and as fate would have it, the corporate job went away (a mere seven weeks before i was set to deliver rinne…but that’s a story for another time!) with the decline of the economy.  i actually kept expecting the stationery biz to dry up too, what with people still hurting financially and it being somewhat of a luxury item…but i have yet to see it.  i am so blessed to be busy.
but i am also blessed to be able to now stay home with these two wonderful children of ours, who require and deserve a lot of attention.  i only do stationery work during naptimes, preschool and after they go to bed at night.  as a result, i’ve been staying up pretty ridiculous hours (let’s just say i usually go to sleep when it’s already the next day).   i have always been a night owl, but it’s getting to be a little silly.  so something’s got to give.

for so long, i have been trying to build up my business and portfolio and do new things – i’ve been blindly saying “yes!” without giving a thought to whether it’s something i really want to do, if it fits into the style that i envision calliespondence to have or if i can even make money doing it.  that’s crazy, right?  
the thing is…i simply don’t have time to do that anymore.  so what does that mean?  well, i might say no to a job every once in awhile if i’m too busy, which is really super very extra crazy hard for me.  i’m just a “yes” person, typical people pleaser, non-confrontational, want to make everybody happy kind of girl.  it’s a terrible and wonderful quality for a business owner to have.  not that i want to be ruthless or shrewd, but it’s no coincidence the most successful women are just that…oh well.  never gonna happen.
i am also going to instate a $50 minimum on any order.  i love working with all of my clients of any shape and size order, but i just can’t spend oodles of time to make a ten-spot anymore.  calliespondence has never been about making a bunch of money because let’s face it – it doesn’t pay many bills around here – but just from a return on time standpoint, i need to invest my energy in jobs that will be profitable. time is money, we all know that.  but time when your children are little is worth a king’s ransom.  
so stay tuned, there might be more changes up ahead as i work towards some kind of a work/life balance…if there is one?  and if you have any tips for being a stay-at-home-but-working-mom…please do share :)
xoxo