Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Big Show

Sorry for the brief hiatus yesterday, everyone. It was my husband Jon's birthday and I was scrambling to make sure everything was taken care of. If it makes you feel any better, I did wrap all of his presents in paper grocery bags because I ran out of wrapping paper and, surprise, no gift wrap outlets were open at 11:30 at night. So the neglect wasn't only confined to this blog (it was a great birthday, though-- grocery bags and all).

Today we thought we'd tell you a little bit more about this whole Stationery Show thing we keep going on about. If you had asked me before all this what I thought a "Stationery Show" would consist of, I would have probably imagined some elaborate origami reenactment of the current Britney Spears tour. So, to save you from envisioning a paper Britney debasing herself in a thinly veiled cage dance, we'll give you a few more details.

The National Stationery Show is (and I quote from their website) "the premiere market for social stationery and related products in the United States." Basically, it's the place where, from May 17-20, anyone who's anyone in stationery gathers at the Javits Center in New York City in a friendly spirit of competition and consumerism (if anyone senses ripe ground for the next Christopher Guest movie, you're not alone). But it really is a pretty amazing event. About 14,000 buyers and 1,000 exhibitors attend and you get to see all of the best products out there.

And we are officially the first-year newbies. Bring on the sparkle pen hazing.

Really, though, it's pretty intense to attend this thing for the first time. We had heard that the major hurdle that tripped up most first-timers was their booth. When you buy a booth, you literally get a card table and four white curtain walls and it's up to you to make it look amazing. Because it's in New York, you would have to ship anything in the way of furniture that you would want in your booth. We started to panic until another one of our heroes stepped in to save the day: Perry Blake (aka Kristin's dad).

For those of you who don't know Perry, he is an INCREDIBLY talented production designer for films, among his other hobbies of being the nicest guy in the world and saving our butts. He is currently working on a movie in Boston and, when he heard we were really doing this crazy venture, offered to help us design and implement our booth. A sketch of his genius is below.

Now, this isn't just some slip of paper with shiny objects and empty promises. Perry is actually coming down from Boston the weekend of the show, bringing all of the lights, furniture, etc. that we need and helping us get it all in place-- meaning that we don't have to have our brains explode under the strain of trying to ship everything. And if that wasn't enough, he has come up with some of the most baller ideas to ever hit a stationery booth. You'll have to wait to see the pictures to see the extent of it all, but there are some fun things coming (speaking of which, we will be blogging and posting pictures throughout the show so that you guys get a bird's eye view of how it all goes down). Needless to say, we owe Perry big-time. Even more than that one time when he took us in off the street and saved us from starvation in Berlin when we couldn't handle the heat of true bohemian European backpacking.

In other Stationery Show news, we just found out that our frames and imprintables got accepted to compete in the Best New Products competition at the Show. This is really cool because the judges for this competition are a collection of media people and VIP buyers-- who now will for sure get to see some of our products. We're pretty excited about it. And we just got a sample of our cards back from the printers today. I sense another Sneak Peek coming on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

First Class Seats on the Crazy Train

I have this weird childhood memory that comes to my mind at least a few times a week. One summer when I was eight or nine, I got my first calendar. I'm pretty sure it heavily featured the New Kids on the Block. I sat down and filled it out with everything I had going on at the time, which I think consisted of swimming lessons on Mondays and "The Wonder Years" on Wednesday night. And I remember thinking, "Man. I wish I had stuff to write down for every single one of these days."

I have apparently spent the rest of my life trying to achieve that childhood wish, only to realize that I kind of like it when recreational activities and TV shows are the only things driving my schedule.

That said, looking towards a new week when you only barely survived the last one and knowing that the next seven days have the potential to be even crazier is a feeling that we're unfortunately pretty used to. The nice thing this time is that we're having a whole lot more fun than usual.

Here's what last week looked like.


- Started a new job (more explanation to come)
- Wrecked her iphone (not a good thing)
- Wrecked her car (could be a very good thing-- anyone who has seen the car would agree)
- Wrote the Junky Heirloom website (and some fun extras we'll show you soon)
- Relied on her husband to provide any and all food sustenance
- Didn't make it to a movie
- Made it to a marathon press check


- Drove Amy around everywhere
- Made it to TWO marathon press checks
- Designed the Junky Heirloom website
- Got prepared for a photo shoot
- Rescheduled a photo shoot
- Used a pool raft for a couch
- Shopped for furniture
- Experienced metallic ink rearing its ugly but not-s0-shiny head

This week, we will:

- Have said photo shoot
- Get a new car
- Get a lame phone (Mr. Jobs, if you could just have the new iphones come out tomorrow instead of June, we could avoid all of this.)
- Get a couch back
- Celebrate a husband's birthday
- Go to a brother's wedding
- Go to a baby showers
- Go to book club (not to missed even under the direst of circumstances)
- Finish our catalog
- Start figuring out how to actually get buyers to come see us at the Show
- Get all of our products back, including packaging (!)
- Keep writing this blog every day
- Start freaking out because we leave for New York in two weeks

If anyone knows any meditative techniques to avoid mental breakdowns, pass them along. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep reminding myself that, someday, I'm going to be old and when I am, I'm going to be looking at my Perry Mason calendar and wishing I had something to write down for all of the days. So I'd better enjoy all this madness while I can.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our First Sneak Peek

I have to say, there's nothing better than seeing something that you've imagined take physical form. You just keep picking it up and putting it down and smiling like an idiot because somewhere, deep down, you were worried that maybe you were an idiot back when you were thinking all that crap up.

And now you have a real, hard and fast reminder that you're not totally crazy.

I guess that's possibly what drew the two of us to advertising; maybe we wanted a chance to throw all those ideas in the back of our minds out into society and get some reassurance that at least a few of them were pretty okay. Only problem with advertising is that, by the time that little baby idea actually makes it's way into the world, you're already finding out that it's the bastard child of an account manager and a client who thinks that puns are the ultimate form of creative genius.

That's why this is so much more fun.

With a little digital drumroll, we're excited to show you one of our first pieces.

This frame is part of our line called the Papergild Gallery. Every frame (there are three different styles and six different colors) is foil stamped and has a fold out easel on the back that lets you put it anywhere: your dresser, your desk, wherever. Not only is it a cooler way to keep your pictures out and around, but it's also super easy to swap your pictures in and out to reflect your most recent adventures. And if you're like our friends Paul and Holly who are the parents of Leo (the unbelievably adorable little chunkster in the picture) and thus have too many cute pictures to count, that could come in handy.

So, enough talking from us. What do you think?

(PS We're doing a full-blown photoshoot this Sat, so if you have any pictures you think would look great in our frames, send them our way. Not that we don't have enough amazing pictures of ourselves, but you know.)

Man your stations.

Things we have accomplished in the last few days:

1) Changing our logo at the eleventh hour- (take a look at the sidebar and let us know what you think)
2) Listening to the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack 127 times, complete with spontaneous attempts at Bollywood dance moves (more about that later)
3) Our first press check

That's right everyone, we had our first press check. And let me just tell you, press checks are a pretty big deal. As a designer, it's the moment where you think to yourself, "Man, this might actually work," or where you start thinking, "Ooooooh, shizzzzzzz......" Lucky for us, I think this press check was more like the former.

So here's the breakdown of a press check:

First of all, when you walk into a press, it's kind of like a time warp. Or an introduction into an all-robot society. Here's a picture of our press. Looks like it's out of the fifties, huh?

This big machine is a four-color press which means that every color you see printed is created with only four colors- cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Remembered when you learned in kindergarten that red and blue makes green? Turns out, that's true. During the press check, you look at samples of your product and you make sure that all the colors have the right mix, so you end up with something that looks good (when I first got there, our cards had a pink hue but once we adjusted the colors, they looked great).

Everything is printed on giant parent sheets that are then cut down into the smaller individual pieces. Above is the parent sheet of some of our cards, gift tags and business cards. I know it's a small sneak peak and it actually doesn't even show the final finished product, but hey, never undervalue the benefit of a little suspense, people.

We have another press check today AND another (even better) sneak peek coming later tonight or tomorrow morning that we are really excited about. Let's just say that when we picked these items up, we just kept saying to each other, "I would buy this!" And it was the best thing that ever happened to us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This just happened.

During this whole process, Kristin's house has been our base of operations. It's pretty great. We have a whole floor as our studio and she works while I stand over her shoulder and offer spelling correction on all of her instant messaging. Things got even more awesome when Jon and I moved in next door a few months ago. Yes, we now are not only best friends and coworkers but also neighbors. Kristin and I have weird twinner lives that are bound by fate and Scientology to become increasingly weirldy alike until we morph into our true role as the shape-shifting Thetan leader of Sphere 4. Or something like that.

(Another note: We're also actively campaigning to turn our current place of residence into a compound where every unit is occupied by individuals handpicked by us. Any friends/family/cool people who are interested, let us know. It could be amazing. And, let's be honest, it's the best way you've got to get in on the ground level of Sphere 4.)

Anyway, as we've alluded to before, we've been devoting pretty much every spare moment for the last, oh, long time to Junky. And that's why this happened.

Yes, that's Craig. Yes, that's a little bed constructed out of pillows so that he doesn't have to sit on the floor all the time while he works on solving complex real people account-ish stuff while we obsess over colored envelopes. And yes, that room looks like the rest of our lives right now.

Moral of the story: don't start a company and redecorate your house at the same time. Or at least make sure you have a husband as cool as Craig if you're crazy enough to try it.

(UPDATE: We should have a little sneak peek of stuff coming up soon. Like maybe today. Stay tuned.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Our Heroes

Peter Petrelli and Jack Bauer

Sorry, guys. We still love you and would turn to you if ever privy to a terrorist threat or time-bending moral crisis with political overtones. But we are neglecting you tonight for our other hero.

Mike the Printer (we would pull out a Joe the Plumber joke but think that the statute of limitations on that one is pretty much definitely up.)

But seriously, Mike really is Junky Heirloom's official hero.

Six months ago, we had started down this whole path and knew we really wanted to do Junky Heirloom. Problem was, we added up all the costs that would be involved with the production of an initial run of our line-- a requirement for going to the Stationery Show and showcasing our work in a way that people would get excited about. And those numbers were not even possible.

While we were trying to figure out what to do, Kristin (being the wee crafty one that she is) approached Mike (who she knew from other projects) at Salt Lake Printing and Mailing. We showed him a rough business plan and some samples of the pieces we were developing. And he agreed to comp us the production of our initial run. That's not all, though. He has been an invaluable resource for advice and encouragement throughout this whole process and is just an overall good dude. Junky Heirloom would literally not be happening without his help.

So, as we're working tonight to finish things up in preparation to meet with Mike tomorrow for our final press check, we are saluting the wind beneath our paper wings.

We want to know: who are your heroes?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Is Cool Again

This was the last thing that I was this excited to get up for on a Saturday morning.

Seriously, though. Kristin and I have been working on some really cool stuff for Junky this morning and I feel like a little kid. That's how happy I am. Rainbow Brite and sugar cereal happy.

This is the first time in a long time I have worked on something and not felt a tight choking feeling in my neck. That's possibly due to the fact that we're working together and there's no client telling us what to do and no lame programmer ruining our lives (story for another day) and the Utah weather finally decided not to screw me over every chance it gets, but still. There's nothing like a little sunshine and a dawning awareness that I haven't completely lost the ability to love what I do to make me feel like everything is all right with the world again.

We are getting so excited to show all of you the stuff we've been working on for so long. We're getting close!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Good Old Days. Or Nights.

Ah, back to the late night Diet Coke binges.

When the two of us were in college together and had procrastinated some project or other until nearly too late, we would tear ourselves away from the Real World reruns and commence our all-night work sessions with a run to Wendy's for grossly oversized Diet Cokes. Kristin would turn the heater up in her car until it reached an ungodly temperature that we coined "melty face" and we would sing along to Belle and Sebastian while we waited our turn in the drive-through before returning home to crank out the requisite condom or White-Out student-y ad that of course we thought was genius at the time.

Now that we are older and much more responsible-- we're doing the same thing. Except we have to go to work in the morning. And we do not think we are nearly as cool as we did then. Wah wah.

Tonight we are obsessing over flags on J's and loops on H's. It's much too late to be worrying about this kind of stuff, but we can't help ourselves. It's just that we don't want anyone to look at our logo and think it says "Funky Heirloom" instead of "Junky Heirloom." Because then we might have to kill ourselves.

More tomorrow. And thanks to our other best friend Karisa for the late night ichat "talking-us -off-the-ledge-because-really-come-on-it's-just-a-logo" session. It's always good to get a little perspective.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What does "happenchance"mean?

It means that you are finally willing to admit that you don't know whether the good things in your life are a result of stubborn hard work or pure blind luck.

It means that, although you may be toeing the line of settling into an average life of doing things you don't really love doing, you are still just crazy enough to think you can have it all.

And it means that the aformentioned craziness has worked out just enough times in your life to make you believe in it.

(It also technically means that you are okay with made-up word combinations, even though such acceptance has also led to the existence of the word "labradoodle." It's called collateral damage, people.)

So, happenchance.

Happenchance is why we're friends in the first place. We met about five million different times and, after being apparently quite indifferent to each other for a while, finally took the time to talk. Five minutes later, we were best friends for life and this was happening.

We're kind of decisive like that. Which can lead to some kind of crazy ideas being adopted and quickly becoming the most rational things we've ever heard of. It's taken us from jobs together in a New York ad agency to rat-infested youth hostels across Europe to sleeping on each other's floors.

And it's landed us here with our current venture.

We're starting a stationery company. Together. In the middle of the worst economic clusterf*&% in recent history. And we're pretty excited about it.

This blog is mostly for ourselves and our family and friends who keep asking, "What are you doing, again?" But it's also for anyone who has seen people do things that they really are passionate about and wondered if it was possible for them. That's us, right now. We're wondering the exact same thing. And we're all going to see together if we can do it. We promise to provide honest posts every day about each aspect of our experience, from the practical to the personal. We hope you'll join us for the ride.