01/28/15

We kinda have a little bit of a crush on the jute twine that we use on our invitations. It’s hempy, but not too granola. It’s rustic, but not too ‘backyard and barefoot’ (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s just… I don’t know, honest. Here’s a few great shots of it doin’ it’s thing:

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But 2015 is going to be about growth, being open to it and making room for it. While I was researching new sources for this perfect twine, I found one that not only carries the usual kraft and natural color that we’ve offered in the past, but low and behold to my surprise, it comes in COLOR! Check out the glorious colors you can now have with your rustic button twine. It’s the little things, folks. The sun is shining on January 28th and my new twine samples arrived. Hooray!

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05/29/14

Tony and I have been plugging away at Spilled Ink Press for just about 9 years. There are a few pinpoints in our timeline that are important ones- whether we realized them or not at the time, looking back you can say, yep, that’s where things shifted.

Here they are…

2005.06.04 A & T 0656June 4th/ 2005. We got hitched. We had been together for YEARS before then, but it put in motion our move back to Chicago (we were having fun  in San Francisco for a while), and also was the change in scenery that got my friend Alieen saying, “so, you are doing this Spilled Ink Press thing now. For real…. ” and she started introducing me to our coworkers and friends as “Amanda, architect and really a great invitation maker”. It was key.

IMG_20120617_131113March/ 2006. So we did it. We incorporated. We’re an S-Corp and when people ask why, we say, “I think someone explained to us back then that it was better for us… but we don’t remember why”. We knew nothing (and still don’t know much, honestly). But we were legit on paper, the federal and local governments now officially recognize us and are eagerly awaiting us to start making “real” money so we can give them taxes (that wouldn’t happen for a few years though- so says the reassurance of our amazing accountant).

September/ 2008. I walked away from that cushy architecture job, nervously, to work on Spilled Ink Press full time. So we thought, ok. Here we go. Sink or swim. We had a little bit of a nest egg to lean on for a while. It was supposed to be our down-payment to something, but we’re really bad at committing to anything more than an apartment lease, so starting a company and putting all your eggs in one basket felt like less of a risk. *Did I mention we didn’t know anything?* October is when the market crashed and so many more architect friends got laid off. I often wonder if I had only waited a month if I ever would have had the nerve. This is when we REALLY learned how to live lean. My mother in law gave us gift cards to Potbelly’s as birthday and holiday gifts, if that gives you an idea.

…and we plugged along for 4 years. Things were good. We learned a lot about running a home-based business with each other. We did things, and people gave us money to do so. All in all, everything was moving in the right direction. But what was our next step? There was a next step out there somewhere but I struggled with recognizing it. It started to feel a little wheel-spinning-y.

THEN.

February/ 2012. *I just deleted and long sappy paragraph* Let me just say, the amazing Ann sent me a message on twitter, asked if I wanted to sell our cards to her because she had a new grown-up store in the works. I replied with, “how about you sell US in the store too”. I’m still mildly embarrassed at my boldness. We had never met, just were twitter buddies. I didn’t know anything about the store, and she didn’t know anything about Spilled Ink Press, really… but for some intuitive reason on both our parts we confidently thought we were on to something and set up a time to meet over beer (at Revolution). It almost from the beginning wasn’t a question of if, but of how. Hello, next step. Nice to meet you.

announcement_june2012June/ 2012. Shop 1021 opens. Ann is taking another gamble on Logan Square (owner of the already established and awesome *Play) and on us. We were also taking a big step- we now officially have over-head, our name on a door and an address that we don’t sleep at. We rent out the corner of Shop 1021 and our business model shifts ever so slightly. Its forced us to make grown up decisions, solidify our operations, pricing, marketing, product offering. We now see the small-business world through retail glasses, and what we’ve learned still doesn’t come close to what we still need to figure out, but we’re getting there. I’d say the biggest challenge is that Ann and I challenge each other so much to grow and do new things that it’s just hard to figure out how to do all the things we want to do! Ah, if only time and money fell from the sky the way the snow did this winter…

So the reason for walking down memory lane here (it was a long way around… if you’re even still with me here), it’s that the Shop 1021 TWO YEAR anniversary is this weekend. Come by and have a drink with us on Saturday/ May 31st. All are welcome. We’ve learned over the past 2 years that we like to throw parties, and we’re good at it. See you at 7pm. Come ready to be happy and say officially HELLO SUMMER!

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02/12/14

Working in the wedding world means I have lots of friends who also work in the wedding world. There are always cross-over holidays besides just weddings though that certain vendors excel in… Valentine’s Day being one of them. This is like Christmas for the florists. And if I’ve learned anything from being a micro-business owner it’s that you should always support the events that keep other micro-business owners chugging along. What we do, it’s a devotion, a compulsion almost. It aint easy, but boy it’s so rewarding and what you get from small business is SO much better than your average large online or box store.

It’s not just the product, it’s the energy put into it. Valentine’s Day flowers are full of extra love when you get them local.

SO… without further ado, let’s do a blog roll here of where to get your flowers local (and believe me, this is just a tiny start)…

UPTOWN:

Forget Me Knodt  |  1313 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL

Janessa is amazing. Her shop is adorable, the latest, coolest thing to come to Uptown. And she *loves* her hood, I would even say her entire store is a 3-dimensional Valentine to Uptown. And her stories always make me smile. Just today she posted this on facebook:

"The description on this order was "1 dozen red roses. Very traditional." It's not our typical design style, but I put on some red lipstick and some Sinatra, and imagined my Grandpa August picking up my Grandma Doris to go dancing. And suddenly, I fell a little bit in love with tradition again. ?"

“The description on this order was “1 dozen red roses. Very traditional.” It’s not our typical design style, but I put on some red lipstick and some Sinatra, and imagined my Grandpa August picking up my Grandma Doris to go dancing. And suddenly, I fell a little bit in love with tradition again. ?”

BUCKTOWN:

Pistil & Vine  |  1924 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL

We did Megan and Mike’s wedding invitations, so I’m a little biased. :) They have an adorable shop with the most amazing vine growing all. over. it (ask them about the story of that vine when you get there, it’s a good one).

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Larkspur  | 2123 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL

Beth’s shop is awesome and she’s a staple in the flower Chicago scene (yes, there’s a scene, and after 20 years you can claim a pretty impressive place within it). What’s even cooler is that in season, she grows her own flowers at her farm in Michigan. Seriously. It doesn’t get any more local than that! AND, she’s a fellow member of the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance. PS- Beth is also carries chocolate truffles from Katherine Ann Confections- done and DONE!

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This is actually a snap shot of the kind of bounty Larkspur collects in the spring from their flower farm. This photo makes me very happy.

LOGAN SQUARE:

Fleur  |  3149 W. Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL

Kelly has been doin’ it flowers for over 10 years… girl knows her stuff. She’s our neighbor in Logan Square and has been known to pop-up (quite literally) in other small business locations. This Valentine’s Day, find a Fleur pop-up at Gaslight Coffee Roasters (also one of my favs in the neighborhood, but that’s another post). She’s a superwoman of small business, her powers are rending sadness powerless with the mere presentation of her gorgeous flowers.

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RIVER NORTH:

Fleur de Lis  |  715 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL

Ok, so we did Danielle’s invitations too! So again, a little biased… but this cute shop serves a great need for the growing residential population of River North and downtown. Step into the shop and you’ll understand why it’s so great.

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11/29/13

Thanksgiving is done, the Turkey is stewing in the crockpot for sandwiches and everyone’s gone home.

What’s next? Holiday cards! You may think… I don’t know… it’s so much work, I don’t have time this year. My family will understand.

Don’t go there. The post office needs you. Your friendly local stationer needs you. Your family and friends need your holiday cheer. It shows them you care and genuinely want them to know you hope they have an amazing holiday and a fabulous 2014. How often do you send a card anyway? How often do you get a card? not very… it’s fun!

AND to sweeten the pot, we are offering for ‘black Friday’ (ugh, we kind of hate that phrase) and Small Business Saturday complimentary return address printing on the envelopes included in our sets purchased at Shop 1021 on those days.

*end of the public service announcement*

 

SO. My point being is that we also conveniently have new cards for you to send! Hooray! Here are the new editions:

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Teddy Bear specs, inside: “May the holiday meet your specifications”

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Gingerbread house specs, inside: “May the holiday meet your specifications”

 

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Enjoy the Ride, CTA L red and green lines with the inside having a transit line with stops of all the holidays from New Year’s to Christmas and the caption, “Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the ride”

You can find them at Shop 1021 in Logan Square.  Or if you aren’t in Chicago and want them delivered to your door, go to our etsy site.

Here are the oldies but goodies… happy sending!:

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11/15/13

We’re heading into year 2 of living and working in Logan Square and it still feels amazing to be a part of the small business vibe of this truly unique neighborhood. We LOVE it!

And we’re staring down the barrel of another holiday season, hooray! On December 7th is the third annual Holidays on the Square, double hooray!

Come by and see Santa at *play, buy lots of stuff at other awesome small business shops, and then bring EVERYTHING over to Shop 1021 where Tony and I will be manning a ‘wrap station’. Ok, I will be wrapping, Tony will be putting his finger down when I need  a bow tied.

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