guest blogger

{2012 national stationery show} ‘just generally badass’ from old sweet song

June 15, 2012  /  blue barnhouse, dear hancock, guest blogger, national stationery show, old sweet song

baseball cards by left field cards

card by one canoe two

calendar by dear hancock

card by two paperdolls

card by blue barnhouse

Ginormous thanks to Amy for putting these posts together this week! I’ve loved seeing the Stationery Show through her lens. And if you aren’t already a mega fan of Old Sweet Song, I urge you to go get lost in Amy’s blog this very moment; I promise you won’t regret it. I leave you with this classic photo of Amy and me from January. Long live #amyface!

{images by amy ferguson of old sweet song}


{2012 national stationery show} ‘nyc love’ from old sweet song

June 14, 2012  /  gold teeth brooklyn, guest blogger, national stationery show, old sweet song

postcard distributed by sweet bella
card by gold teeth brooklyn
card by two paperdolls
print by rifle paper co.
{all images by amy ferguson of old sweet song}


{2012 national stationery show} ‘melting my heart’ from old sweet song

June 13, 2012  /  dear hancock, guest blogger, letterpress, national stationery show, old sweet song

card by sycamore street press
card by dear hancock
card by studio olivine
card by alee & press
card by two paperdolls

{all images by amy ferguson of old sweet song}


{2012 national stationery show} ‘booze related’ from old sweet song

June 12, 2012  /  blue barnhouse, guest blogger, national stationery show, old sweet song

card by blue barnhouse
card by printerette press
card by farewell paperie
card by anemone letterpress
coasters by rifle paper co.
wine tags by 9spotmonk

{all images by amy ferguson of old sweet song}


{2012 national stationery show} ‘that’s some funny sh*t’ from old sweet song

June 11, 2012  /  guest blogger, national stationery show, old sweet song

card by sapling press
card by mr. boddington’s studio
coasters by paisley tree press
card by wednesday
card by L2 design collective
print by mr. boddington’s studio
Hello lovely Crow & Canary readers/general appreciators of awesome paper-y goodness. It’s your new friend Amy from Old Sweet Song. When Carina asked me if I’d like to attend the National Stationery Show as her press person and then blog about it for her, I jumped at the chance. As a lifelong lover of all things pretty and paper, this was kind of a dream assignment for me.
I had the best time wandering the aisles of the Javits Center, getting lost among all the gorgeous (and admittedly sometimes not so gorgeous) paper and chatting with all the nice people at the various booths. There was an insane amount of wonderful things on display at NSS. This week I’m gonna share some of my favorite things that I saw. To make it easy, I’ve divided things up into silly little categories, because who doesn’t love silly little categories?
I’m in awe of all the talent and loveliness I encountered. A big thank you to Carina for having me along for all the fun. And come say hi to me over at Old Sweet Song.
{all images by amy ferguson of old sweet song}

viva new york international gift fair

January 25, 2012  /  guest blogger, nyigf, trade show

We are beyond thrilled to be making our debut at NYIGF on Sunday! If you’ll be at the show be sure to stop by our booth and say hello, we have limited amount of laser engraved “send more letter” pins that we’re giving out to friends and VIPs. And most importantly, tons of new product from the likes of Dear Hancock, Enormous Champion, Ghost Academy, Greenwich Letterpress, Red Cap Cards, Sapling Press, Susy Jack* and more!

And one more bit of exciting news — yesterday my post for the Biz Ladies series on Design*Sponge went live! Take a little gander, if you’re so inclined.

{images by crow and canary}


guest post: oh so beautiful paper

December 22, 2011  /  guest blogger

Be sure to pop over to Oh So Beautiful Paper today. Nole has kindly had me back to profile a few of my favorite stationery shops: Broadway Paper, Monograham and GREER Chicago. A very fun post to put together!

And, don’t forget that tomorrow we announce the winner of the Two Trick Pony giveaway on Facebook. You can enter here, if you haven’t yet.

here, there and everywhere

November 30, 2011  /  guest blogger

{guest curating at cargoh}

{greeting card round-up for curbly}

{interview with small business maven, rena tom}

This last month I’ve had the honor of contributing to some fantastic websites. I was truly flabbergasted when Rena Tom of Rare Device fame, approached me for an interview. She’s profiled some true design greats and I’m honored to have a place in the mix.

I’ve also had the distinct pleasure of contributing several holiday card round-ups for Curbly this year. I met Curbly’s editor-in-chief, Chris Gardner, at Alt Summit and it’s always such fun to put together some picks for them. The latest: ’12 Stylish Modern Holiday Cards’ is up now.

And today, my curated collection: ‘Paper Goods Paradise’ was posted on Cargoh. Are you selling your awesome goods on Cargoh yet? If not, you really ought to be! It’s a fabulous site and there’s plenty of room for more great design.

So, I think that’s enough about me for a bit. Sorry to plaster my mug all over this post. HOLIDAZE posts to come next week!


living la vida letterpress guest post: by brandon mise of blue barnhouse

September 10, 2009  /  blue barnhouse, guest blogger, red cap cards

{letterpress card by blue barnhouse}

First, a little about who your dealing with: My name is Brandon. Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a writer, or a publisher, or a professor of creative writing. By some strange twist of fate I was thrown in the business of letterpress, which for me, was intended as an extra curricular outlet for expressing literature. But somehow, client work that I did not seek out kept falling in my lap, and by the time I completed my course work for my MFA, I was simply too busy being a press monkey to look for a real job.

{BBH owner, Brandon Mise, trouble shoots a troublesome photo polymer plate with studio manager, Sarah Roberts.}

I have been a letterpress printer for close to ten years now, and started my letterpress studio, Blue Barnhouse, in 2002. We have seen many changes, but it wasn’t until 2007 that we found our true calling: dirty and intelligently perverse greeting cards. There are currently 4 people in my employ, plus the usual handful of miscreant apprentices that pass through our studio on a fairly regular basis. Last year, which was our second year of slinging greetings, we sold more than 50,000 letterpressed greeting cards to retail stores across the nation and abroad.

{No, I did not write this one. We can thank our resident depraved genius/caption writer, Tyler Dockery. To my surprise, this was our best selling card at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NYC, this summer}

So the greatest thing about this job; besides sleeping in late everyday; pounding PBR’s at Beer 30; bumping music at extraordinary decibels; and hurling totally innocuous expletives, sexual innuendos, and other forms of taboo hilarity at each other as we slave away in the studio; is the trade show, where a manufacturer can truly live a life like that of a rock star: getting kicked out of bars, trashing hotel rooms, showing up late and hungover to the booth, cracking up the masses with our trashy humor, leaving the booth early to hit more bars. Our travels, so far, have taken us to Atlanta, Dallas, Toronto, Chicago, and most often New York. It’s safe to say that we are veterans of the trade show, having exhibited more than a dozen times in the last 3 years.

What’s truly great about going to the trade shows, besides, you know, um… making money, is schmoozing with the other rock stars, folks whom you look up to and respect, folks who make a respectable living at selling their handmade products, folks you can aspire to and learn from. The great thing about BBH is that not only do we make products, we sell products from folks we’ve met in our travels, and I carry everyone I mention here in my own store. So now goes a tribute to my all time trade show favorites, and believe me, I have seen everything worth a spit. Enjoy.

{One of my favorite posters from our friends across the border in Knoxville, TN, Yee-Haw Industries, These folks truly are as old school as it gets when it comes to making a living of selling letterpress products to retailers.}

{Nobody does retro chic better than my good friends at Hello Lucky. With 12 employees and a London office, they are also way up there on my list, in terms of letterpress success.}

{Spitfire Girl and BBH are BFFFFF X 39. Their kitschy gag gifts have always done fantastically well in the BBH retail store and are the perfect compliment to our own F’d up line of greetings. Check out more of her wares here.}

{This totally freaky print from our very good friends at Delphine is not among what you would normally see on display as their usual tradeshow fanfare. They, too, have figured out a very success formula for making a living off of letterpress, and we are constantly talking shop/sharing information.}

{One of my faves from 9SpotMonk’s “Recession Line.” 9SpotMonk is an eco-friendly letterpress studio run by the Sisters Leung in NJ. The only thing they want from me when I pay a visit their booth is letterpress GOSSIP.}

{This is from BBH alumnus Kyle Durrie, who’s press, Power & Light, from Portland OR, made its debut at the National Stationery Show ’09 in the BBH booth.}

{Truly, our best selling line in the retail section of the BBH studio, is Red Cap Cards. We cannot keep their cards from flying off the rack. I only wish they did more letterpress.}

{Our friends at Kamibashi, Asheville Folk who travel Japan and Thailand Asia in search of handmade crafts, import cute little buggers of all kinds, including their notoriously popular String Doll Gang: each string doll is wound with one single thread! I have a Stringdoll keychain, so does my 7yr old son. Everybody should.}

Brandon Mise is the owner/operator at Blue Barnhouse, a collective of miscreant writers and artists who document their daily travesties/adventures via letterpressed greetings in Asheville NC. You can check out further rants regarding just about anything BBH on the their blog & via their stoop on twitter. Brandon is currently curating a collection of contemporary letterpress for his Mark Batty Publisher book, Adventures in Letterpress.

online advertising guest post by bridgett of perideau designs

July 29, 2009  /  guest blogger, tips for paperpreneurs

I must apologize to the very lovely Bridgett of Perideau Designs. She kindly sent me her guest post on time and I’ve been so overwhelmed by trade shows, travel and summer escapades that I’m only now posting her excellent tips for entrepreneurs. I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to encourage you to visit Bridgett’s lovely shop filled with stationery, invites and other fine goodies, she also manages to find time to write her wonderful blog. I’m a huge fan of her Modern Monday posts, which always feature a profile and interview of small business owners.

Without further ado, here’s Bridgett’s post:

Advertising as defined by Wikipedia is the “form of communication that typically attempts to persuade potential customers to purchase or to consume more of a particular brand of product or service.”

Let’s discuss branding and then skim the basics of advertising, but first let me preface this post by disclosing I am by no means an expert and will just speak from experience. Some avenues have worked well for me, but might not work for all. It’s a trial and error process and will take time to figure out the right chemistry.


This is the most important part of the equation. Establishing an online brand presence will make you stand out from the crowd and look more professional. If you have an Etsy shop, design a shop banner that fits the style of your shop. A great example of this is Sara Duckett, owner of Warm Whispers. Immediately from glancing at her shop banner you are entranced with a warm soothing feeling which is then carried through in her products. The same sentiment is also consistent in her webpage and blog. Consistency is the key.If graphic design isn’t your forte, there are a lot of designers on Etsy who work with clients to create a unique banner and even a webpage or blog. This leads me into my next topic: blogs.


To blog or not to blog? That is the question. Does it really help sales? What about advertising on other blogs?

As I attempted to answer these questions when I was close to opening up my shop, I began my market research by examining what other companies were doing. What I appreciated was the familiarity you get when you purchased from a shop owner who blogs about various topics, including insight into their personal lives. That can immediately make one feel better about purchasing from a stay-at-home mom versus a huge conglomerate where their sale is number 139 for the day. So that solidified my reasoning for starting my blog. Slowly I have added a couple of blog series, including featuring other artists. I have met so many different people who, without a blog, would have never crossed paths. But blogging might not be for all. If sitting down and writing a post stresses you out perhaps another communicative avenue is better suited for you.

What about advertising on other blogs? This is a trial and error process. First one must follow potential blogs and determine whether or not they are geared toward the same market. If they mesh well with your style, inquire about advertising rates and see if you can swing the investment. Make sure you also receive information from the blog owner about how many page views they get to their blog per day/month and what the demographic of their readers are. This will also help you narrow down your research process.


Ah, the phenomenon we know as Twitter. To be honest, I was quite skeptical at yet another on-line network but after giving it a try I am so happy. Not only do I use it as a marketing tool for my shop and blog, but I have met many talented people. I would say about 90% of my time on twitter is simply chatting with other indie designers about our daily life and 10% is promoting. And I believe that is a good balance because too much promoting (i.e. that’s all you do) gets well…annoying and many will see those who do that as spam.

A huge plus for twitter is the ability to chit-chat with someone in your town or way across the seas. Unlike myself who works outside of the home full-time, many other designers have their own studio or work from home full-time and do not have the luxury of having co-workers in close proximity to chat with. But with the development of twitter, they now have “cube-mates” they can chat with throughout the day and well into the evening.


Etsy has grown so much over the years. Searching for the perfect necklace may take hours, but properly equipping your shop will attract more customers. A few tactics that have worked well for me was participating in forums and renewing. When I was first getting my foot off the ground I asked tons of questions in the forums and received some great feedback. But heed with caution, not all comments will be sweet as sugar so enter with a thick skin. But it is a great way to learn the in’s and out’s of Etsy.

Renewing is always a hot topic on Etsy. Etsy defines renewing as: “Renewing a listing means you’re restarting its life on Etsy. It will be given a new listing date and a new expiration date four months from the date of the renewal. It will also be sent to the top of your shop and appear in Etsy shopping features just as if it was a new listing.”

How often do you renew? How many items do you renew? Should I just list new items? I have used this avenue as a big advertising investment since it is $.20 to renew each item. But my justification/goal is to remain within the top 10 pages of a search at all times. For example, if someone searches “greeting card” I want to be within the first 10 pages. After that many customers will change their search term or abandon the entire quest. So I renew a lot and often. But if your market isn’t as saturated as stationery, then renewing less might work better.

Trial and error. This is the recurrent theme with online advertising. You will never know what your perfect chemistry is unless you try it. First do your research, follow through with the advertisement of your choice, and then evaluate. If it works keep going if not, redesign your plan.