Posts in Business
Embracing Imperfection + Free Art Print

Yesterday kind of sucked. Nothing particularly bad happened, nothing really happened at all actually. It was just one of those days where I hated everything I made and nothing seemed to be flowing. You know what I'm talking about. We've all been there, probably more often than we care to admit. Even though it comes with the territory of being creative, it's still enough to make me doubt everything, most of all myself. I hate days like this. I can have 100 good days and one of these days is enough to make me question if I'm good enough to be doing what I'm doing.

WHAT!? That's ridiculous and it has to stop. Immediately. We are human, not machines. We cannot produce perfect art 100% of the time. It's just not possible. There is no shame in that and definitely not worthy of doubting our entire self-worth on.

So, I've decided to embrace days like this and try to learn something from them, instead of pretending like they don't happen.

Yesterday I embraced being imperfect and shared it with the Instagram world.

Today I am giving you a free downloadable art print. It's yours. Take it. Print it. Hang it up. Look at it when you're having one of these days. Shake it off. Just don't resell it. :)


 © Hennel Paper Co. For personal use only.

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Find Hennel Paper Co. now on

We've had a lot going on in the studio lately. We've released 35 new cards in the last couple weeks. (THIRTY-FIVE!!) And what's even more exciting than that is that we've teamed up with to be one of their new designers! Have you guys heard of them? If not, jump on over and check out all of the ecard and printed card options available. By the way, the ecards are FREE. Yep, free. Pretty awesome, right? We definitely think so. We're starting small with and as we release more products on our site, we will be adding to our collection there as well. We're so very excited about this and want to thank the lovely people at OpenMe for finding us and giving us this opportunity. xo

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Hello, 31.

Today is my birthday and I'm ready for another wonderful year. To help me make the most of it, I like to create a goal list that helps stay me on track throughout the year. I really believe the key to making these lists is to be specific. The more specific your goal is at the beginning the less room there is for interpretation and ultimately procrastination. Some of these are small goals and others are long term, but all of them will help make another great year. Here it goes:

  1. Curl my hair more, at least twice a week
  2. Rebuild our backyard deck
  3. Go back to North Carolina <3 (and perhaps stay there forever) - DONE 4/14
  4. Blog more, 3 times a week is my goal
  5. Post at least one thing a day on Instagram
  6. Complete an entire greeting card line for all occasions
  7. Expand our product line to include ready-made custom invites, art prints, notebooks and tote bags
  8. Actively pursue more custom work that fits in with my goals
  9. Start selling my products wholesale and get into 10 stores
  10. Continue to workout on a regular basis, three - four times a week
  11. Clean out and organize our house - DONE 5/14
  12. Take time to experiment with new art projects and leave room for failure.
  13. Reach 500 Etsy sales - DONE 4/14
  14. Do at least one craft show - Rustbelt Market or the Detroit Urban Craft Fair
  15. Start participating on social media more, especially Twitter, on a regular basis
  16. Go to a conference
  17. Solidify my brand style and marketing plan
  18. Get a business mentor - DONE 4/14
  19. Start Screen Printing
  20. Read a book a month, bonus if at least half of the books are from my 2014 Reading list
  21. Spend quality time every day with Linus <3
  22. Build my creative confidence and continue to improve my skills
  23. Try a new local restaurant every month
  24. Create a line of products whose proceeds go to an animal welfare group
  25. Improve my product photos
  26. Go to a concert with Steve
  27. Learn to sew
  28. Build a new portfolio site
  29. Go on a date a week with Steve. All fun, no business.
  30. Get an actual (not-for-profit) hobby, maybe photography.
  31. Get a cute swimsuit and swim in the ocean

A few ongoing goals of mine are to strive to focus on quality over quantity, to slow down and relax, and to accept that fact that some things just take time. I'm a hyper productive person and I want what I want, when I want it, so I'm really trying to have more patience just in general.

Steve and I both took that day off work and were heading out to have some fun. Two years ago today it was 80 degrees outside and we went to the Detroit zoo. Today is 40 out, and we've decided to go to the zoo again. It's going to be chilly, but with the winter we've had 40 feels like a heat wave. Seize the day. Happy weekend, everyone!

See my last couple lists:
29 in 29
30 in 30


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Goodbye Thirty

Today is my last day of being 30 and I'm actually sad to see it go. I wasn't thrilled about turning 30 (who is, right?), but it turned out to be an amazing year. I don't really like the idea of turning 31. I realized though that the 20's might be gone and now so is 30, today - RIGHT NOW, is the youngest I'm ever going to be again (and that was the exact thought behind this card I made a few weeks ago). So I'm going to enjoy it rather than feeling like an old lady.

30 was a truly great year. I was busy. I changed gears in my life and my business and it made a huge difference. I feel like a new person and am really excited about the direction I'm moving in. Let me tell you a little about what happened this past year.

1. I got a new full time job. The job I was at was draining me. I was bored and feeling like I wasn't going anywhere with it or doing anything to make myself a better designer. It wasn't a bad job, but it wasn't right for me. I accepted a promotion and moved up to a Senior Designer within the same organization, but in a new department. I work at a public university, so a new department basically means a new company. All new management, different project focus, pretty much different everything except the name on the pay checks. So far it's been really great and I'll celebrate my one year anniversary on May 1st.

2. Got a better sense of my creative style. This started with getting a better idea of my personal style. My work is more cohesive and recognizable.

3. Changed gears with my business. When I started out I knew nothing about what I was going to do other than the fact that I wanted to do it. So it really took some work to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to do that. I think I've done a really good job over the last year in determining what it is I actually want to be doing. This is a process though and it's something that is going to evolve with me as I go. 

4. Wrote a serious, professional business plan and set my one, five and ten year goals. I feel so much more confident about the direction of my business and exactly where I'm going.

5. Started sharing my work publicly online on things like Instagram and Behance. This has really made a huge difference in starting to build a name for my company.

6. Put together a better household financial plan. I've always been very financially responsible, but this year we really adjusted how we do things to make sure we are saving as much as we can and also paying off as much debt as we can. We set in a motion a three year plan to have all of our debt paid off except our house, while still be able to do fun things together like go on vacations.

7. I got more courageous this year. I don't want to say that I'm an anti-social person, because that's really not true. I love meeting new people and making friends. I am very socially timid though. I don't like big crowds and I'm uncomfortable around people I don't know. I took some big leaps this year and searched out new groups and communities. I also started engaging with new people more through social media. I also attended a Minted "Mintie Meet-up" and met some great new friends.

8. Got more involved in Etsy Teams and the Etsy community.

9. Updated my brand and created a new logo that fits more with my personal and creative style.

10. Started a greeting card line. This was a major turning point with HPC this past year. It helped me get more products out there and helped to let me define my illustration style. It's a process, but with every new release I feel like I am getting better, more cohesive, beautiful products.

11. Figured out a different more efficient way to produce our products. It's been more cost effective and also lets me test new designs without investing a ton of money that could potentially be lost.

12. Changed our studio to set-up a more production efficient space to meet demands of increased sales.

13. Really focused on quality over quantity. I did this both at home and with the business and products I create. It's helping me create a clutter-free home that we truly love and also helping focus my brand to a very specific style.

14. Set-up a print studio in our basement for block and screen printing that I can get as messy as I want. So much fun!

15. Took on custom wedding invitations clients and started focusing these to hand lettered designs only. That's what I love to do and anything outside of that is distracting me from my goal and not adding to my portfolio.

16. Our cards were featured on amazing blogs like Oh So Beautiful Paper, Paper Crave and also on the Lonny blog. This was and is so exciting every time it happens.

17. Did an online exhibition with Paper & Stitch.

18. I created an absolute ton of new greeting cards this year. It was really surprising to me to see which ones were popular verses what wasn't.

19. Spent a lot of time refining my hand lettering skills. It's starting to become second nature to me now when at one point a few years ago it seemed almost impossible.

20. Started getting my products ready for wholesale and making connections with local shops and designers. We are very excited to announce we have officially started selling our products wholesale!

21. Built our own privacy fence.

22. Took Linus on a lot of adventures like the cider mill, Downtown Royal Oak, lots of car rides and some vacations.

23. Went to Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.

24. Drove to the UP for Steve's 30th birthday

25. Spent a weekend in Traverse City, MI with Steve and Linus

26. Installed a new super efficient furnace and central air. We didn't have AC before so we are both so excited about this one.

27. We realized that Steve has a gluten allergy and we switched over to a gluten free diet. It has made a huge impact on how he has been feeling.

28. Started an art collection of different prints from different designers and illustrators to hang up around our home.

29. Handmade a wooden headboard for our bedroom and made this a cozier space for us to relax.

30. Won an online photo contest with my favorite yarn store for a free gift card. This was a joint effort between me and the cat. I took the picture, she looked cute for it.

That's a lot of stuff going on. I'm so excited about getting started on the next year. Stay tuned tomorrow for my 31 in 31 list.


Check out my lists from the last couple years:

29 accomplished in 29
29 in 29
30 in 30

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2014 Reading List

So now that we're well into February (how did that happen?!) I figured it was about time to post my 2014 reading list. Most of these books are geared toward small business, design and creativity since that's what I focus on in my free time. It is not a reading list for everybody, but it's my reading list and I hope it inspires some of you. There are a few at the bottom that are focused on the greater good that I'm particularly excited about. I'm currently working on Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary and it's already wonderful. I may not get through some of these books this year, but I can sure try. If you've read any of these books, leave a comment and let us all know what you thought of it!

Money, Business, Design & Creativity

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier

by Jon Acuff

We Are All Weird
by Seth Godin

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
by Michael Hyatt

The Entrepreneur's Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
by John Carlton

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
by Pamela Slim

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
by Sally Hogshead

The Compound Effect Paperback
by Darren Hardy

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
by Danielle LaPorte

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown

How to Invest $50-$5,000: The Small Investor's Step-by-Step Plan for Low-Risk Investing in Today's Economy
by Nancy Dunnan

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
by Daniel Goleman

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice 
by Todd Henry

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process 
by Blaine Hogan

Normal Gets You Nowhere
by Kelly Cutrone, Meredith Bryan

Die Empty
by Todd Henry

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship (The Portable MBA Series)
by William D. Bygrave, Andrew Zacharakis

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Get Found on Etsy

Lately I've been spending a lot of time on Etsy trying to figure out how to improve my stats. I want more views, more favorites and more sales. Just like everybody else. I've been hearing, and thinking that I understood, everyone saying it's all about the Keywords. I was tagging my listings, using all 13 available keywords, thinking like a shopper and using words shoppers would think to use. Turns out I was doing it all wrong. I've been reading articles from the seller's handbook and have also found the community forums extremely helpful. So here are my top five mistakes and some other important things I've learned along the way.

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to my stats. I always check to see my activity, views and favorites, but I wasn't really paying attention to where the traffic was coming from. I missed out on some really great features where my cards were published. I didn't even know that one of our father's day cards was on until today when I went back to look at traffic sources from this whole year. Um, Lonny is kind of a big deal guys, I would have been telling everyone and their brother about that at the time. P.S. Check that out here.

Mistake #2: Listing Titles! The titles section has essentially turned into another keyword section, more or less. It's less about describing the item for the shopper now and more about the search algorithms. They way Etsy's search works, it uses keywords from the title, and the closer the words are to the front of the title, the more importance they have in the search. I thought I was creating good, descriptive titles for my listings, but according to Etsy's standards my titles were not so great. The absolute most important words should be grouped together at the front. So my old title would have been something like this: "Silent Night Holiday Greeting Card A7" but the new title is: "Cabin Holiday Greeting Card Set of 8 A2, Silent Night, Winter Cabin, Rustic, Snow, Stars, Hand Illustrated, Christmas, Recycled". Yep. People are banking on the fact that shoppers use the image, not the title.

Mistake #3: Using single word keywords instead of phrases. Apparently using phrases are the way to go. You get more bang for your buck, basically. The best way to use keywords is to use terms that shoppers would look for an item with. So for instance, my old tags were something like christmas, holiday, card, set, greeting, etc. But they should have been holiday greeting, christmas greeting, christmas card set, holiday card set, etc. Descriptive phrases.

Mistake #4: I wasn't keeping track of my keywords. I added what I thought was good and that was that. Wrong. You have to not only keep track of what you use, but you should be keeping track of what keywords people searched to find you. You need to be monitoring what terms are getting traffic and what terms aren't. If a term isn't getting you views, then it needs to go and something else should be tested out.

Mistake #5: I wasn't looking to see what keywords similar items in other shops were using. That seems pretty basic, but I wasn't aware that was available information. Apparently it is. At the bottom of each listing page there is a section called "Related to this item". Those are the keywords. Take note.


Notes, Observations & Research
Once I changed my listing titles in combination with the keywords, my views started going up almost immediately and my items popped up to the first few pages of the related browse sections. Ahhhhh! Why am I just now figuring this out?! Right? If you are reading this, you're probably thinking the same thing. Below are my notes from my research.

Etsy search is based on RELEVANCY, not recency. Meaning how relevant your item is to the search term used instead of how long ago it was listed for sale. This is why keywords and titles are so important.

1. The most relevant words that would be searched for should be at the beginning of item titles.

2. Phrases in titles should match phrases in keyword tags.

3. Single word Keyword tags are not effective, use phrases instead.

4. Vary listing names (titles) with synonyms. ie: childrens, girls, toddlers, so each similar listing is different. This will help to reach more people.

5. Recency does play a small role in search results, especially when a shopper searches for a broad term, ie: greeting card. Add items to your shop regularly.

6. Use shop stats to monitor and modify what is and isn't working. Test, test, test.

7. Compare to tags from your competitors. See what's working for them. 

8. Create an ongoing list of tags for your items, to have on hand when you make new listings and also to track what you know works and what doesn't. Also keep track of the search terms people used to find your shop.

9. Use descriptive words, think about synonyms.

10. Reference the Google keyword planner for ideas.

11. Use the etsy search bar to start typing in your search term, it will pull up recent searches from shoppers and give you ideas for keywords that shoppers are using.

12. The Relevancy Search algorithm IGNORES punctuation, no needs to use commas or dashes. Google ignores this too, but looks for words grouped together.

13. Search the community forums for help. Use this space to ask informed questions. I find this more helpful than searching through old and potentially outdated articles.

Helpful Articles:
Brainstorming Keywords
How to Get Found in Search
How to Get Found in Browse
Put Your Shop on Top - relevance search
Make your shop more relevant

And for now, that's all I know. If you know more than me, leave a comment below.

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We're on Papernstitch + New Products

We're really excited to officially announce the we're exhibiting on Papernstitch through the end of the year! If you aren't familiar, Papernstitch is an online exhibition space that was created to promote artists, designers, and makers selling handmade goods. The exhibition space is fabulously curated on a monthly basis by Brittni Mehlhoff and showcases the very best hand-picked items on an international level.

We're very very excited to be part of it. And as a little bonus we've made today's top pick and are being featured on the pns homepage! Thank you Brittni!

And like that isn't enough, we're also debuting a few new products to celebrate. These cards are available in our Etsy shop and also here on our website: Little Birdie, Rooster, Thinking of You.

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When Whitney English Calls You..

You answer! Don't send her to voicemail because you don't recognize the number. I will never make that mistake again. No seriously. I got a phone call from, the one and only, Whitney English a couple days ago. Mind blown. I'm still in shock a little bit. So not only does Whitney call me up on a Wednesday afternoon like it's no big thing, but she offers me a scholarship to the Stationery Academy! And I thought it wouldn't have been possible to blow my mind even more.

Completely stunned.

For those of you who don't know, the Stationery Academy is a two day intensive workshop being held in Dallas, TX this year for new stationery entrepreneurs wanting to learn how to get their business going strong.

So, I'm basically living in the world where when Whitney calls and personally invites you to something, you accept. End of story. She is up there with Martha Stewart. If you know me even in the slightest, you know exactly what that means. How can I possibly explain having to decline her ever so generous invitation? It wasn't easy. It broke my heart more than a little bit. Just writing this makes me upset. I want to be there. I want to make the wonderful connections I could gain with the other attendees and speakers. I want to hear the wisdom from these industry leading experts. I want to graciously accept this generous offer. But I didn't. I called her back and told her the opposite of what I wanted to. My heart was screaming, "No! What are you doing?!" But ultimately it wasn't in my plan or budget to attend SA this year and with it being only a few short weeks away, I just couldn't make it work.

Even though I'm half heart broken, this has sparked a new fire in me. I am already an extremely ambitious and motivated person, so this is overdrive now. I have work to do.  So my plan is this - advance my business as much as I would have if I attended this workshop. It probably won't happen the exact same way, and I'm sure I'm going to make some mistakes along the way, but I'm darn well going to make my very best effort. I don't want to look back on the hard decision I had to make this week and regret it.

And Whitney, if you ever happen to read this.. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am eternally honored that you reached out and offered me such a great opportunity. You absolutely made my entire year. xo

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A year from now you'll wish you had started today.

So true. It's been exactly one year since I attended Making Things Happen. And what a year it has been too. I've posted several other times on this topic since I made the decision to go last year, those posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here AND here :) I can't say for sure where I'd be today if I hadn't gone, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would not be as far as I am right now. MTH has really helped me put my vision into action. I've had scary-gigantic ambitions for as long as I can remember, so figuring out what my goals are was never an issue, but really working through what was holding me back from achieving them was. I am a shy person by nature. I am not outspoken or an extrovert by any means and that has really been a key factor from not putting myself out there. An introvert in an extroverts world can really be a scary little place. So deciding to participate in MTH was a huge decision that I did not make lightly. Sitting in a circle of 30+ people, not only standing up to talk in front of all of them, but telling them my deepest, darkest fears and desires.. yeah. It wasn't easy, but I made the decision to give it 100% no matter what and it was completely worth it. One year later and I feel like a different person. I am still not, nor will I ever be the super extrovert type, but my outlook has changed. My perception of the world and myself has changed for the better. I don't need to be an extrovert to be accepted or to do what I want to do. I just need to be myself and I am good with that. Hooray for quiet people!

Here we are a year later and I am feeling very grateful and lucky to have been a part of this wonderful group. It continues to be a resource and inspiration for me (and so many others) as I move forward.

Image by Nancy Ray, courtesy of MTH.

Image by Nancy Ray, courtesy of MTH.

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2012 in Review

2012. Where should I even begin? This was a huge, wild year for me. I made gigantic strides, huge decisions and even bigger leaps of faith. I began 2012 with this overwhelming desire to make a change. I felt like I was sleep walking through my days and I wanted to wake up. I wanted new. I wanted big. I wanted the chase. I felt void and was desperately seeking to feel that excitement of following my dreams and making a difference in my life. I needed something to change.

That's how I began 2012 and I am ending it exactly where I set out to be. I made the decision to attend Making Things Happen. That was huge and amazing. Shortly after MTH I reworked my business and started fresh with a new direction that more closely fit my heart. Zero to brand new business in 4 months wasn't easy and I devoted a lot of my time to making that happen and was happy to do it. I also completed the Making Brands Happen webinars on Branding and the Client Experience. Taking these strides has made my inner drive skyrocket. I have a solid direction that I am excited about and fiercely chasing after in every way possible. Huge ideas are brewing in the studio. One in particular is going to be released in early 2013 and I'm so incredibly pumped about it. It started as a personal project, but I think it will be useful for a lot of people out there like me so I've decided to share it with the world. (Blog post coming soon - get excited.)

Part of my success this year can be attributed to finding a few people that have really inspired me, and helped define what I want and how to get there. Marie Forleo, Jessica Hische, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.Gary Vaynerchuck, Danielle LaPorte, Gretchen Rubin. And of course, the lovely ladies of Making Things Happen and Making Brands Happen, Lara Casey and Emily Ley. This is not an all inclusive list by any means, but these are some of the major role models for me this past year that I am grateful for.

Speaking of grateful, I'd like to end my 2012 wrap up on this note. One of the biggest things I learned in 2012 was that things can always get worse. This sounds dark and gloomy, but stick with me for just another second and I'll get to the point. 2012 was a rough year. It was not easy by any means and the challenges presented were tall orders. My 9-5 job was turned upside down as we went from a full team of 7 to a team of 2 in under three months. At every point of this happening I remember thinking to myself, "It can't get any worse than this." And you know what, it kept getting worse. And here we are, struggling, but getting by with two people. And what I realize today is that it could still be worse. Thank goodness for the other person that makes up this team of two, without her I would be lost. I'm telling you this not for a pity party, no thank you, but because it has taught me to be grateful for what I have, right now, in this moment, because things can always get worse. There is always something else to lose even when you can't possibly imagine it. So look around and take note. This year I am thankful for what I have been able to accomplish, for my role models, for my supportive husband, for the support of our incredible customers, for my teammate and for my job - to name a few. This is how I'm ending 2012 and how I will live in 2013. Thankful and excited for what lies ahead.

Cheers to 2012 and to an even happier 2013.

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Reading List for 2013

Being a creative entrepreneur means that I need to be on top of my game. I need to know everything there is to know about running a business, product production, shipping, billing, taxes, customer service, wholesale, blogging, marketing, product photography, trade shows, inventory.. This list could go on for a while and that's exactly why I am serious about my reading list. During the month of December I am working on planning 2013 and part of that was creating my reading list. I will be writing up a short book review on each of these as I finish them. And while I'm at it I will be doing book reviews on my reads from 2012. (Social accountability, right here folks.) The 2012 books were especially crucial in getting me where I'm at right now, from no plan, no business, no products to being a fully operational business producing and selling my heart out. The 2012 reading list can be viewed here. I'm looking forward to lots of time curled up under a blanket reading these books that I've heard so much goodness about. 

The Thank You Economy - Gary Vaynerchuck
The Charge - Brendon Burchard
Digital Leader - ErikQualman
Recipe for Press - Amy Flurry
Graceful - Seth Godin
Blog Inc. - Joy Cho
How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything - Dov Seidman
The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
Like A Virgin - Richard Branson
The Personal MBA - Josh Kaufman
Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value - Mark Thompson
Life's Golden Ticket - Brendon Burchard
What I wish I Knew When I was 20 - Tina Seelig
Content Rules - Ann Handley
UnMarketing - Scott Stratten
Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World - Michael Hyatt
The Referral Engine - John Jantsch
The Pumpkin Plan - Michael Michalowicz
Likeable Social Media - Dave Kerpern
Permission Marketing - Set Godin
Purple Cow - Seth Godin
All Marketers are Liars - Seth Godin
Turning Pro - Steven Pressfield
Uncertainty - Jonathan Fields
The Energy Bus - Jon Gordon
The Now Effect - Elisha Goldstein
The Myth of Multitasking - Dave Crenshaw
EntreLeadership - Dave Ramsey
Story Branding - Jim Signorelli
Creative Inc. - Joy Cho
The Art of Possibility - Zander
Live More, Want Less - Mary Carlomagno

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Craft Show Tips and Tricks + Join us on Nov. 10th

While prepping for our next craft show (which is this weekend by the way, Saturday, November 10th at the Woods Church at 14300 13 Mile Rd. - Warren, MI 48088) I've been putting a list together that I thought might be helpful to share for anyone that has an upcoming show of their own. Some of these are pretty basic ideas and items and some are things I didn't think of my first time around. I really wanted to create a comprehensive list of everything you should think about and bring with you.

General Notes:

  • Plan ahead what you might need, think through all steps of the day from transport to set up to customer check-out to tear down and transport home.
  • The biggest piece of advice to remember is: Target the right audience - do the right shows. You can have fantastic products, but if you are barking up the wrong tree it wont be worth your time. I recommend finding all the craft shows in your area for the next YEAR, make a list and decide ahead of time which ones you want to participate in.
  • Take advantage of vertical space - build up to eye level: racks, boxes, crates, shelves
  • Encourage online sales after the event - hand out a free take away with your url and product descriptions and/or a coupon code/free shipping offer
  • Take advantage of any upcoming holidays - ie: if Christmas is coming up, bring your Christmas items.
  • Incentives to buy - free giveaway - ie: buy this and get a free bookmark
  • Be interactive with potential customers. Let them handle and test out your products. ie: if you sell rubber stamps bring a blank pad of paper, a stamp pad and a demo stamp.
  • Connect with people - let your personality shine
  • Go into detail about your products with people, let them learn what you're about
  • Newsletter sign-up sheet with an incentive - ie: join our newsletter and get a free note card
  • Brand yourself, dress the part - don't roll out of bed with sleep in your eyes
  • Brand your table, bring business cards + visually appealing, easy to see table signage
  • Remember everything you do, say and show represents your brand
  • Package your items for transport in water safe containers like Rubbermaid bins
  • Bring a rolling cart to get your items to and from. Some venues offer carts to use, but I never have much luck getting my hands on one of them.
  • Plan your display ahead of time. Get out your colored pencils and make a sketch. This will save you tons of step-up time the morning of.
  • Display clear easy to see price signs, be specific about what that includes. Do you charge tax? Does that note card come with an envelope? Is that card blank inside? How many are in a pack? What weight paper is the card printed on? etc.


  • Inventory - bring double what you want to sell
  • Display items - A visually appealing display will help you sell more products. Make it look cute and tailor it to your brand. 
  • Tables - some shows provide a table, some do not- find out when you sign-up
  • Tablecloths
  • Cloth backdrops
  • Hanging stands or racks
  • Signage
  • Price Signs or tags
  • Power Strip
  • Extension Cords
  • Lights
  • Rolling cart or a dolly depending on what you need to transport
  • Emergency items - safety pins, zip ties, scissors, rope/twine, duct tape
  • Picture frames to displays products or signage
  • Baskets, trays, and boxes to display products neatly
  • Table card holders to display greeting cards or price signs
  • Vinyl banner with your company name and logo to hang behind or in front of your table
  • Swiffer duster - display items can get dusty and we don't want that distracting our customers attention
  • Votive holders and flame-less candles - they are pretty and attract attention
  • Seasonal decor if that makes sense for your table and show date
  • Change - cash and coins
  • Business Cards + holder
  • Mailing List (e-newsletter) sign-up sheet, clipboard and a pen
  • Credit Payment System - I use a square reader + smartphone
  • Business/Tax License
  • Receipt book with carbon copies
  • Packaging Materials - bags, boxes, sting, stickers, poly bags, tissue paper, tape
  • Cash box or apron - I recommend keeping your cash on you at all times. Some people like to use fanny packs. To each their own :)
  • Pens
  • Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Twine - baker's or regular, whatever you fancy
Personal Items:
  • Coffee 
  • Water and snacks, pack your lunch bag you're going to be there a while
  • Aspirin, lotion, lip gloss, paper towel, wet wipes
  • An extra shirt - you just never know
  • Extra chair if you have a helper - the fold up camping chairs are super portable or even a regular fold up chair would be perfect
  • Working project if you have down time - this also let's customer get a behind the scenes glimpse at your process
  • Camera (or again a smartphone) to take pictures of your set-up for reference and your blog

And for what's its worth I'm going to mention scissors again for good measure. And there it is ladies and gents. Good luck and happy selling! If you're in the Warren area this Saturday come by and see us.

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Little Changes, Big Impacts

So as of yesterday our little business is officially one month old. Hooray! And as a part of building and growing I have been making a lot of small changes that I think are making big differences. Some of those changes can be seen here on our website. The homepage was adjusted to be more functional and just overall prettier. The main image now links to the topic that its promoting rather than being a rotating promotion. A cute "visit the shop" banner was added under that for easy access to browse our products. Shop category buttons were put under the banner to display some of the pieces we have to offer in our shop. Instead of having a not-so-cute newsletter sign-up form right on the homepage I created a pretty little banner to take you to a specified sign-up page (thank you MailChimp). And last but not least, social media links were added at the bottom of the page so everyone can easily connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Holy cow I LOVE Pinterest. But who doesn't, right?

So these are just some of the little changes around here so far. There are more coming. Big, HUGE exciting things. If you haven't already, sign-up for our newsletter! And while you're at it be our friends on Twitter and Facebook! We also love comments and emails. Don't be shy. xoxo Jayme





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The Hennel Paper Co. online shop is here!

Today is a wonderful day for a shop launch and we couldn't be more excited. After four months, countless drawings, one printing snag, 72 products, 2,000 hand embossed envelopes, and tons of fun the online shop is here. To celebrate the grand opening, all first time customers will receive a free bookmark with your first purchase. Shop the HPC product lines today!

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Test Print Goodness

We're finally to the point where we're almost ready to send all of the products to press. I have been having so much fun developing all of the lines and seeing them come together. Yesterday I had test prints made of the notecards, invitations and art prints. Getting to see them on paper was so exciting and helped materialize everything I have been working so hard on for the last few months. This image makes my heart so happy.

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Online Shop Coming Soon

It’s been an exciting time at the Hennel house. Quiet on the blog front, but busy in the studio. Our bright, shiny, new studio. It makes me happy just to think about our new space. Beyond redoing one of our spare bedrooms, turning it from complete chaos into a calm and pretty office, we’ve also been busy starting a legit business. Woohoo! I make it a point to say legit because up until this point I have been doing freelance custom wedding invitations in my free time, usually for friends and family, and also for a few select clients here and there. I made a decision after my last project that I was going to change how I was doing things. I wanted an official business with taxes, an accountant, an online shopping cart, a little thing called profit, and work beyond custom wedding invites. And most of all I wanted to incorporate my custom art. I mulled over the idea and direction I wanted to take for a long time and this post contributed a great deal to my decision.

I am very delighted to say that Jayme Sloan Hennel LLC is now in business. With this company I am going to be running a boutique stationery shop online featuring hand drawn art on notecards, invitations and art prints under the name Hennel Paper Co. I plan to expand the product line as the business grows to include custom wedding invitations, personal stationery and branding collateral. In addition to the paper company I plan to do custom print and web design work under Jayme Sloan Hennel Creative. The creative side will come later this year/early next year. One business at a time.

I am currently working on a gorgeous logo for Hennel Paper Co. along with a website + blog. I will be blogging here with more details as they are finalized. I am putting together a newsletter list for the business launch. If you are interested in being on the newsletter list and receiving updated shop information please sign-up here. You never know, there might even be a discount code in the first email I send out I am so incredibly excited about this news and what the future holds for the Hennel Paper Co. Stay tuned. Lots more to come.

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