First pARTy held in Canada

Kristin's pARTy fundraiser

The lovely group of women who joined Kristin for the first ever pARTy!

My first Canadian customer, Kristin, became my first pARTy hostess when she hosted a pARTy as a fundraiser for her friend Leanne (who also has a TYPOGRFX, read more here) a few weeks ago. The following is an account of how the pARTy went from Kristin:

The party was set for 7PM and most people got here around that time. I introduced everyone, made sure they had a drink, and waited for more arrivals. At about 7:20 I began the talk.

It was a smaller group, so we sat at the patio table together. I started by telling them about how I originally found your website, and gave them some details and background about how, when and why you began TYPOGRFX.

Then I showed the 4 TYPOGRFXs I had ordered.  I began with my nieces’, which I had originally framed in a very dark wood to match the crib and furniture. My sister has since painted the frames white to give a lighter feel to the pieces. I pointed out that it just goes to show they are versatile and can match different decors.  I explained that you had used the same colour palette, but used different pinks for the background and the words to make the prints match but yet still be different.

Then I showed the two canvas pieces for Ethan and Sara, and that is when the “oohs” and “aahs” came from everybody – they loved it!!!!! I told them how I had gone back and forth with colours/shades for both of them, and nothing was finalized until they were totally perfect.  I wanted to emphasize how accommodating you are with tweeking and editing until the customer is 100% happy with the image.

Then I pointed out the sheets of paper I had hung up on our patio door – I had printed off each of the 6 styles to have on display, and also made copies for on the table. I made three lists also – one for WHO you would give it to, WHY you would give it and WHAT words would be included. I had a marker ready to add more ideas as they were mentioned.  My thought was to make it interactive with the guests, like a brain storming session.

kristin_pARTy_fundraiser_papers kristin_pARTy_fundraiser_styles

I also made a list of sizes that you can make so people knew what was available. I took a large piece of bristol board, and I drew on all the sizes that would fit so everyone could get a sense of the scale (some obviously are bigger than standard bristol board).

kristin_pARTy_fundraiser_board

I showed the “Yours Truly” video from the website (by the way, I love the music you chose and get goose-bumps whenever I watch it).

When Leanne arrived I said “Many of you know that I was going to have 5 pieces to show you, and you have already seen 4 of those. This is my friend Leanne, and she has brought her very special TYPOGRFX to share with us tonight.”  Then Leanne shared a little bit about how she came to order from you and the background of her cancer story and why she chose the words/phrases she did, and then she took it out of the box… I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. (See Leanne’s TYPOGRFX here.)

After that, it became more of a casual discussion about the products, ordering, shipping, prices, sizes, words, languages, etc. I had made several print outs of the word work sheet, and a few of the ladies had already started their list before they had left.

kristin_pARTy_fundraiser_lists

Other party details….
I had general party food, and also a couple bottles of wine. I used green and pink for plates, napkins, plates, etc. (green for TYPOGRFX and pink for breast cancer). We held the pARTy by the pool, and had the perfect evening for sitting outside – fresh air, good temperature, no bugs. I had a mixed CD playing in the background to add a bit to the ambiance.

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Kristin really went above and beyond what I ever expected when I started TYPOGRFX pARTy. The details she thought of and ideas she and her guests came up with will further improve the pARTy concept in the future! I want to personally thank her for her continued support of my business and her dedication to her friend’s fundraising efforts. The pARTy officially wrapped up last night with a total of 18 new orders, and I will be sending Leanne a check for her cause. I am so honored to have played a small part in helping the greater good!

Have your cake (and whiskey) and eat it too

Cake and Whiskey Magazine

My first issue (only their second) of Cake and Whiskey magazine

While I was on vacation with my family last weekend, I made it a priority to catch up on some of my reading during the 3-hour drive and downtime. I was most excited about checking out my first issue of Cake & Whiskey magazine which arrived just days before we left. I first discovered Cake & Whiskey through a friend on Facebook, after he nominated me as a “favorite woman-owned small business” for a promotion the magazine was having. I was excited to learn that this new magazine was geared towards women “in all stages of their business journey” and they seek to “motivate and spark women to dream bigger, reach higher, and achieve greater things.” These are all things that I want for myself, so I knew I had to subscribe!

The cover of this issue featured a lovely girl relaxing in a canoe floating lazily in the water. At first glance, I thought, what on earth does this have to do with growing a business? But it also sparked my curiosity knowing that there had to be a good reason for such a cover. A few pages in to the magazine, I came to the Letter from the Editor, Megan. A quote graced the top of the page, “Time management is budgeting time to increase productivity.” (wisegeek.org)

Cake and Whiskey Magazine

Megan agreed with the quote, but suggested that time management be redefined as “budgeting time to decrease productivity.” I thought about it for a moment, and I realized that this is what I do every day. As a small business owner, growing my business is hugely important to me, so I spend every spare moment trying to figure out new ways to reach potential customers, while maintaining and servicing my current customers. But as a WAHM, I always put family time first. After all, what’s the point of earning a living if you don’t have anyone to enjoy living with?

After reading how Megan spends her days doing things that matter, whether that be spending time with her boys or making corporate contacts, I found it reassuring to know that it is possible to do it all. And to have it all. Sometimes it’s a struggle and sometimes it’s a juggle. But knowing that working hard means I get to play hard makes it all worth it. So I challenge you to reevaluate how you spend your time. Do you do the things that truly matter and let the rest go? If not, how will you start? What will you let go? What will you focus on?

Ask yourself as Megan does, “If you aren’t enjoying life now, when will you? If you aren’t managing your time to take in the sunset, walk your dog… float lazily down a river in a canoe, when will you?”

 

 

To Frame or Not to Frame…

Since the beginning of this adventure, frames have been a source of frustration for me. I always wanted to be able to offer an affordable option for my customers. This meant that I often sacrificed profits to do so, which as a business owner is never a good thing. Previously, I was purchasing frames at local retail stores, trying my best to catch them on sale or with coupons. Often their supplies would be limited and I would buy everything on the shelf and would make countless trips to the city to purchase more. Sometimes, the frames I ended up with would have small nicks or imperfections due to being handled by people, and I would have to set them aside. Plus, all of the frames had glass in them, which is not bad by any means, but more times than I care to admit, I would wind up with broken glass shattered all over my office work station. Plus, forget about shipping them – that almost always ended in shattered glass, no matter how much bubble wrap or packaging was used to protect it. Customers were often frustrated when they learned framed prints were only available for local pick up.

Earlier this spring, I was nearly to the point of giving up on frames altogether and was thinking about discontinuing to offer them. My husband (aka Mr. Reasonable) said, “Why don’t you just look for another source to purchase frames from?” I of course countered that I had searched online, many times in fact, to find a someone who sold quality frames at a reasonable price. I had found a few websites that could match the prices I was getting locally, but they were often manufactured overseas and just didn’t live up to the quality that I wanted. But the next day, I found myself on Google searching again and low and behold, I stumbled upon a website that seemed too good to be true – frames made in the USA that were both quality and affordable. It couldn’t be! Ever the skeptic, I contacted the company and asked about wholesale pricing and getting samples sent to me. Brad was the customer service rep that helped answer all of my questions and sent samples out right away. When they arrived, I couldn’t believe how nice they were. It didn’t take much thought to decide to make the switch and hopefully forever alleviate my and my customers’ frustrations with frames.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce the new line up of frames now available for your TYPOGRFX prints. The new frames have several improvements over the frames that I previously offered.

Consistent Quality
Because the new frames are coming straight from the manufacturer, instead of sitting on a shelf in a retail store, they are better packaged and handled, and thus get to me and eventually to you, the customer, in much better condition.

Shatter-resistant Styrene
The new frames feature styrene in place of glass. Styrene is visually no different that glass, but weighs half as much and is not nearly as likely to break during shipping as glass. This means that new framed prints can be shipped! I am so excited to be able to offer them for shipping finally.

MADE IN THE USA
And perhaps the most important feature is that they are made in the USA by a company in Ohio that has been manufacturing quality frames for over two decades.

The new frames are available in three different color options:

Black Satin Frame
Black Satin Frame

 

Espresso Walnut Frame
Espresso Walnut Frame

 

Red Walnut Frame
Red Walnut Frame

 

Having frames that are affordable, beautiful and made in the USA is very important to me. I hope that you will consider a framed print for your next TYPOGRFX purchase! (More details on frames and styrene here.)