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Actually organized, actual updates

20 May

Record Dividers 26 Panel Futura, HorizontalDecade Record DividersBest selling Futura engraved record dividers in use (horizontal shelf)6 panel stencil set (horizontal shelf)

I got some great advice the other day by email, a couple of kind and honest words that have reminded me not to let the haters get me down. Simple enough, but it bears repeating, again and again. What motivates someone to be a jerk online has absolutely nothing to do with me or my work, and more to do with their own fears and insecurities. I realize that I’ve turned this blog into the place where I vent and fret about work, so it may sound like I am down about everything, but thats not true! It is true that I’ve been wound up by some online nastiness, but to let that stall me, or prevent me from moving forward? No way.

The new shop has been live now for two weeks, and the kinks have been ironed out, orders are coming from new cities, and I am getting ready to hire a new summer assistant. We’ve just booked tickets for our upcoming trip to New York in early June. Intern and I are heading to NYC for a bit of play, visiting family, and a bit of work (mostly me). We’re getting excited about taking some time off to explore and wander– and debating if we can both get by without bringing our work laptops! I think we can. Neither of us has been to New York before, and it feels a little daunting to figure out all the places we should see, things to do, eat and enjoy. The organizer in me wants to map it all out, but realistically I know we can’t possibly do or see it all in only a week– part of me wonders if I should just try to let go, and enjoy the process of discovery, rather than meticulous research and planning.

Finally, I wanted to share the newest product photos shot by Cera Hensley— I love the work she did, and feel so happy about all the hard work that went into this shoot. My live-in hand model did a pretty good job too, despite the grueling 11-hour shoot. Though he didn’t exactly sign up for the job, I think he nailed it.

6 panel set of book dividers, $132
Book Dividers on a shelfBook Dividers in use, Borrowed Panel

Cardboard nightmares and 5 miles of tape

27 Mar

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I haven’t shared many written updates lately on whats happening with my shop, so here I am, attempting to make myself sit still and write down some thoughts on the last few months, and the next few ahead. I want to document where I am, because I already feel so far from where I was this time last year. Work is moving quickly, and I am making so many decisions I think I’ll soon forget in all of the rush and sometimes (self-created) chaos of small business life. Lately I’ve done a lot of handwringing during the day, and tossing and turning at night, worrying about lumber and cardboard… but mostly cardboard.

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Old book and a refresh

25 Apr

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A few weekends ago, we wandered into a bookstore in Oakland after a burger and beer in the sun on a Saturday afternoon. Just one beer for each of us, but what a beer it was. The bookstore we happened upon felt like a place paused in time with books stacked waist high and aisles of books from floor to ceiling. I didn’t see a single book that was published after 1990. I bought a Christmas book (see beer in the sun, above) of poetry that has the most beautiful and simple illustrations. I haven’t read it, and to be honest, probably won’t, though I have paged through the charming illustrations several times since bringing the book home. The book was published in 1958, with illustrative prints by Ilonka Karasz. The book inspired me to do a little research, where I learned that Illonka had a career of illustrative design work with work appearing frequently in The New Yorker.

My days have been so focused on specific projects, I feel like its been awhile since I’ve felt inspired by anything outside the norm. Lets blame the daytime drinking to help rouse me from my creative coma!  My blinders have been on in an effort to stay focused on these specific projects, but a beer in the sun and a slightly tipsy wander around a different neighborhood certainly helped me take a break a few weeks ago, and let me see things a bit differently.  So much of my work and long hours lately have been devoted to things unseen– work behind the scenes on projects that are slow-moving. I’m chipping away at my design studio relaunch, delayed yet again by more pressing deadlines… like the newest Skill Exchange event I’m hoping to announce in the coming days. I spent a little time making a few minor adjustments to this dear neglected blog here, to bring things up to date and feel more in line with my eventual someday studio relaunch. Thanks to neighbors and friendly readers who gently nudge me to keep plodding along here!

What I’m working on

24 Feb

Midwife Ellie sneak peek
The past two months have flown by already. I’ve been wrapping up work on a few recent client projects, as well as some ongoing product development for my shop. I’m just finishing an identity and web project for Midwife Ellie. This project has been a engaging experience– essentially, another affirmation for being self-employed. I’ve been fortunate to find work with clients who are working in fields that are so different from my own, but that I also find so fascinating.

When Ellie first reached out a few months back, I was thrilled to be asked to create a brand new identity for her midwifery practice. Midwifery can have some polarizing reactions and stereotypes for some, and it was an engrossing topic to research and explore as we worked towards developing a modern logo representative of Ellie’s practice and style of care. Midwife Ellie’s new site just launched last week and I’m eagerly waiting to see all the print pieces, currently in the queue at the printers.

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Last week I kicked off a creative project of a different nature, working with a local makeup artist, Nikol Elaine on a fun print project launching in the next few weeks. I’ve also begun working on the relaunch of my website, which will be launching at the end of March. For now, I’ve started documenting some recent projects and peeks at current work over on Dribbble.

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Last but not least…. NEW RECORD DIVIDER SETS! The shop has had some really welcoming and kind press mentions lately, from The Dieline, Selectism, Mr Cup and Under Consideration. If you’re curious, you can read the rest of the mentions here.

I’ve got a handful of new divider sets that I’ll be adding to the shop over the coming week or two. I’ve focused my work on two main goals for the shop. The first goal has been to design some new sets for collectors who are just starting out, who have under 25 records, or have perhaps pared their collection down to the the essentials. 26 dividers can be overkill for some audiophiles who maybe only collect a few artists, or for those who just don’t have the space to store a large record collection.

These new divider sets are only 6 panels instead of 26, but can easily expand to accommodate a growing collection. The second goal I’ve been whittling away at has been to create a line of record dividers with a lower price point. This has been very tricky, with a significant number of (frustrating) challenges along the way. I don’t want to sacrifice quality (or give in to different/cheaper and less interesting methods of production) but at the same time, I know the original collection is cost prohibitive for some. Production costs are very high, but I’ve finally worked out a solution that will help create more entry options for all kinds of record collectors.

Outtakes

7 Feb

vertical-futura-dividers,-styledhorizontal-futura-7-inch-with-album-colorhorizontal-futura-7-inch-color
A few outtakes from a shoot I worked on this week. I’ve been working on a few new products for the record shop, and slowly working out all the details of production and packaging, and of course, cost. Handmade things ain’t cheap, and for me this has been a complicated process of weighing cost and quality and balancing it all with time. Every piece of this project is made by a real person–from the printed labels to the individual panels of wood, to the screen printed boxes. Each set takes between 4-6 hours to make, and I personally hand-finish each and every panel with a fine grit sandpaper. Its an investment on many levels, making me think more and more about all the objects and things in my life that are made by hand. And of course, I’ve been thinking about all the things that aren’t, but could be, or used to be (but could again) and on and on.
I’ve updated the shop’s FAQ page to begin to answer the question, “Why are these products so damn expensive?” Its people and time, my friends, that is the answer.

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