The new genre collection is set to launch in the shop on Monday, and it already feels like this new collection has been a long time in the making. I will readily admit, I am not an audiophile, I am not a music expert, I am a not even a super fan (except when I’m drunk and its Tracy Chapman). I’ve stumbled into this world of serious experts/hardcore music enthusiasts/musical classifiers… I just want to organize your shit so it’s easy to find, it’s accessible, and more enjoyable for more people. I sometimes wake up at night with a new genre idea in my head, or wake up worrying that I’ve forgotten a significant genre… (real serious worries, guys). I’ve been toting around a list of genre ideas for weeks, a crumpled paper full of ideas and genres. I’ve been talking to collectors and bartenders, browsing music stores and making prototypes. I’m up to about 50+ genres at this point, but its hard to be selective when hilarious ones pop up, like “80s Hair Bands” or someone requests “New Wave” or “Children’s Folk”. This process is a little different this time around-last November I was running around like a madwoman, getting ready for my first shop launch. It seems hard for me to believe that the shop has been live for less than a year… but when I let my mind wander to the actual number of panels I myself or my assistants have sanded and packaged in the last few months… then yes, it suddenly feels like I’ve been doing this for years, not 11 months.
Yesterday I released new summer products in the shop and launched a big site design overhaul. Over the past few weeks I’ve been gearing up for a big shop update, though the actual launch of this update was pushed back for several weeks due to a number of ever-changing factors. Since my initial shop launch back in November, I’ve had multiple requests from customers, asking for more 7″ vinyl record options — I’ve been sitting on these designs for a few months because I wanted to release them after I had the chance to update the overall design of the whole shop. Two birds, one stone, that whole thing. In the meantime, I’ve been gloriously busy with wholesale orders and keeping up with online sales.
With the steady increase in sales and wood purchasing, I started having a trickier time sourcing a reliable quality wood that I liked– the quality overall seemed to be going down at my usual suppliers. No one seems to have a reason for this– thats just “how it is”. Alternately, they try to convince me that the wood hasn’t changed at all– its exactly the same, even when I have samples in hand that say otherwise. I could go on and on about wood here, about all the things I’ve gleaned from phone calls, lumberyard conversations, the internet, real life splinters, prototyping and all kinds of frustration– but that is interesting to very few people. I’ve visited many lumberyards, called many more, and received more splinters than I ever planned or hell, anticipated ever. I’ve learned that most lumberyards are weird, their systems and attitudes are old and outdated. Frequently (not always, but frequently) the men that work there try to treat me like a lady-hobbyist if they’re willing to grudgingly give me the time of day at all. There is nothing more frustrating than being discredited upon arrival, just cause I’m a lady.
I’ve learned that my lumberyard credibility goes up with my increasing knowledge of the appropriate lumber vocabulary, that and walking in like a confident boss, who takes shit from no man. I feel like the only woman in a land of lumber-dudes, though I am sure I’m not the only one out there. The truth is, I’m still a novice when it comes to this new weird world of wood, but its a real boys-club and that is bullshit. Know what else is a boys-club? The audiophile/vinyl/music world! I’ve inadvertently stumbled into two male-dominated industries, simply because I’ve been interested in doing something new for myself, and I like being my own boss. All the recent articles and conversations around women and confidence and inequality and gender everything, man! I feel down about it all. Perhaps my lumberyard lessons are good life lessons– to feign confidence and bossiness always, but it is a fight sometimes. I actually like the word bossy, and don’t have a problem with anyone using it. I’ve been quietly reading along with the blog My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection and the constant noise around her reviews (HOW DARE A WOMAN REVIEW MUSIC AND ETC!) and find the conversation interesting and insanely frustrating at the same time. I recommend a good dig through this conversation, if you’ve got patience.
I don’t see an end here– at least not to these issues or this blog post. I’ve been writing and un-writing this since yesterday and its now officially time to break.
The new 2014 record divider collection is finally up in the shop. Well, almost. Ordering officially starts on Monday, but for now, the full collection preview is up on the site. Good things take time, especially if they are handmade. The new line includes sets for 12″ records AND 7″ records and new 6 panel sets for smaller record collections. Since the launch of the shop back in November, we’ve been working on a stencil lettering style that will be gentler on the wallet, but maintains the same high quality and durability of all the products.
For the month of March I’m offering $15 off any new web orders during the month. This includes everything in the shop, including the new collection! For your discount, use the code: MARCHORGANIZED. Offer expires April 1st (no joke!)
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.
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.
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.
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.