Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Grab Bag

I FINALLY found the cord for my camera, so today we have all the pictures! Plus, we have a special guest blogger: my husband Jon took the reins last night while I was conked out on the couch.

Our trip in pictures

First, we got there and made our way to various friends' houses with our gigantic bags.






Then we got to the Javits Center and saw this:







And then spent 12 hours and several friends' and family members' Saturday turning it into this:
















And then spent 10 hours a day standing next to these lovely friends:




And then went and hung out with these guys (our good friends Eva and Kirk from Sycamore Street Press):






It was fun. It was crazy. It was a trip. And now for today's special...


Our first guest blogger: Jon

Hey Guys,

In an effort to be a good husband, I am giving Amy a break tonight and offering my unique perspective on this venture.

I think all of us thought things would slow down after the show in New York and I guess it did for a couple days, but once orders are made they need to be shipped. So tonight the girls put on their assembly line worker hats and put some orders together. I think it starts to set in that you are the only employees of a real company when all of a sudden you have to package and ship the orders you so painstakingly created and solicited. So, after a run to expedx and 4 hours of work, orders are ready to be sent out to some lucky people.

I really have never met more talented, hard working people than Kristin and Amy. I have seen them put their collective heart and soul into this project. Craig and I are lucky bastards and while our wives were in New York we reminded each other of this fact. I'll say it again: lucky bastards.

Jon

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Blog Police Would Kill Me

If I was paying attention to any kind of official blog advice, I'd know that posting this late on a Friday before a three-day weekend is some kind of blog cardinal sin.

But, turns out, I'm not paying attention. At all.

I'm so sorry that it has taken me so long to update you all on our NSS experience. When we started all of this, I had these grand ideas of real-time updates and lots of beautiful photography from our own booth and others. When the reality hit, it knocked us off our feet. And we've only just now gotten back up.

So, in short, the show was CRAZY.

Let's start with the crazy awesome stuff:

- Meeting so many nice, cool people who share our interest in beautiful paper, including Carina from Crow and Canary, the girls from Two Trick Pony, Jean from Bobbin and more

- Getting attention (and hopefully some orders-- more on that later) from some of our biggest dream stores

- Hanging out and sharing the first-time show experience with our good friends Eva and Kirk Jorgensen from Sycamore Street Press

- Seeing our booth and products come together to make something we were super proud of

- Meeting the owners and buyers of great stores who were willing to give our products a chance

- Finding new markets and ideas for our products that we never would have thought of on our own

- Discovering that cabs in New York now have TVs in them

- Eating with my adorable cousin-in-law Sami at a great new restaurant called Little Owl

- Staying with incredibly generous and supportive friends-- namely Sarah Jane and Nathan, Matt and Melany and Ashley and Todd (thanks guys)

- Cleaning up at the Dwell sample sale, Anthropologie and other fine shopping establishments

- Getting help from two random but amazingly nice guys who helped us get our bags (each of which weighed as much as Kristin) on to the subway and subsequently kept us from missing our flight (we literally arrived with only three minutes to spare)



And the not-so-awesome crazy parts:

- Having our feet hurt so bad at night that they still hurt the next morning

- Standing for over ten hours straight every day

- Spending an obscene amount of money on aforementioned cabs

- Eating the Javits Center food (it's never a good sign when you can get Italian, Chinese and Indian food in the same line)

- Hauling our gigantic baggage all over the city

- Almost missing our flight home and breaking down in tears in the subway

- Being so tired that we actually started slurring our words



All in all, we had a totally amazing experience. It's crazy how much we learned every day. And it's also crazy to realize that our real work has just begun. We have a lot of follow-up to do. There are a lot of opportunities out there and we have to keep determined and smart to make things happen. We were blessed with a lot of chances that make us think that this is something that is going to be real and long-term. We are really excited to continue to learn and build and grow. I'm sure there are still disappointments ahead of us too. But the coolest part of this whole thing is realizing that you have something somewhere inside of you that can do whatever it takes.

We're going to keep moving this blog forward as we started-- as a place for us to talk about the amazing, funny, heartbreaking, frustrating things that go into trying to do something you've always wanted to do. We'll probably mix in some other things too-- people, things and places that inspire us; plans for the future; things we want to get your opinion on, etc. Thanks for all of your help, suggestions and encouragement. You guys are all the best.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Like Our Own Very Expensive Little Tree House

(Sorry that we didn't get this posted yesterday. We were running around Manhattan in Kristin's brother Jordan's car until all hours gathering the last little things we needed.)

Well, the booth is up! What a day, man. I feel like doing this whole thing for the first time is like going to school for the first time-- you have no idea what to expect, so you wake up every morning for the first week with butterflies in your stomach from fears both realistic and imagined. My imagined fear today was that we were going to get slide tackled by the union people as soon as we got in the door and then cited for multiple infractions that we had no idea about. That turned out not to be true pretty quickly. We had all of the papers we needed and no one was anything but nice and helpful. Perry ended up being stuck on his film set and unable to come, so Jordan came and brought all of the stuff by himself and our friends Matt and Nathan sacrificed their Saturdays to come help us set up. We would have been really screwed without them. No, but I mean really screwed. To return the favor, I made them do this on camera.


video


That really sucked. Sorry, everyone who was involved. My attempt at ironic humor quicky unraveled into painful awkwardness. Welcome to my life.

But honestly, they really did help so much. Even with their help, we ended up being at the Javits Center from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM. It was pretty crazy.



video


When we were done, though, I felt pretty proud. Our little ragtag team created something pretty cool.



video


Sorry for the kind of hasty post. We are running out the door for the first day of the show. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Feel Like My Head is Floating Away

So, we're here! This post has taken a little longer today because I haven't been capable of coherent thought until now. Sorry about that.

Last night, we pulled stuff together just in time. Mike has really been the best. It's been a really crazy few weeks for him but he figured out how to get it all done and it's so amazing to see all of the stuff all together. It was the best feeling to drive away knowing that we have the stuff we need to be ready for the show.

Getting here wasn't the worst--but it wasn't the most awesome. I would say that the red-eye flight was a nightmare. Except we never really got to sleep. Which did lead to one of the funnier moments of the trip so far.

It's 2:00 in the morning and the entire plane is silent-- except for the baby that has been screaming for over an hour. You can sense the tension in the plane as people go back and forth between feeling sorry for the mom and sorry for themselves as they try to get any scrap of sleep. Kristin has her head down on the tray table and is clearly in and out of it before lifting her head up and saying, in a loud voice, "I want to kill that baby." I loved it-- Kristin clearly did not realize that she had said that out loud. The people behind us did start laughing. And so did I.

Once we got here, we took our first break in about a month and just wandered around shopping. Our friends Nathan and Sarah Jane have been totally gracious to let us stay tonight so we are about to crash here. Tomorrow we will be out and about pulling together the last few little details before we set up our booth on Saturday. Pictures and more stuff to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This just happened.




We too are ready to burst on to the scene.

Because this is the post that we've alluded to for weeks:

Our website
is live and open for business!

And it couldn't come at a better time because WE LEAVE FOR NEW YORK IN TWELVE HOURS!

(Yes, those are both cathartic and hysterical exclamation points. Think of the Cathy cartoon meeting a sleep-deprived workaholic maniac and you about have my state right now.)

Anyway, we really hope you'll check it out and let us know what you think. All of our products that we will be displaying at the show are up there, so you can get an idea of our line. This has been an unbelievable amount of work from a lot of people and we're really thankful for all of your support. There have honestly been so many times that we couldn't have moved forward without the help of so many of you.

We'll be posting again later today to talk about the schedule for the rest of this week. We will be posting every day from New York with both pictures and video from the show. Also, Junky Heirloom just joined the rest of the living world on twitter and we'll be twitting it up to let you know how it all goes down. We'd love it if you followed us.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture Perfect

So, the long anticipated photo shoot ACTUALLY HAPPENED ON SATURDAY! It was really kind of a miracle how it all happened. I was at my brother's wedding a week ago and our friend Bruce Gardner was their photographer (he's a great commercial photographer who happens to get roped into shooting weddings from time to time-- he also did an amazing job shooting our wedding and our good friends Chelsea and Grant). We got to talking and I told him how freaked out I was to do our own photo shoot. I really like photography and am getting better but, let's be honest-- I am still totally an amateur with a decent SLR camera who only knows just enough to be dangerous. The only reason why we were going to do it ourselves is because of this thing called a seriously lean budget. Anyway, through the conversation, I discovered that Bruce needed some help refreshing his website. So, we fashioned a good old-fashioned barter. He would do our initial photo shoot and we would help him write and design his site. It worked out pretty slick. I think the world would be a better place if we were all able to trade stuff like kids with Halloween candy.

So, we went up to Bruce's house in Heber early Saturday morning armed with all of our stuff that we got from Mike the night before and Sonic Route 44 Diet Cokes with fresh lime (Have you ever heard of these? They're pretty much insane. And amazing.) And we had a great time. It was so awesome knowing that our stuff was going to look as good as we wanted it to because we had a professional shooting it.

Bruce was shooting with a medium format Hasselblad digital camera, which translates into crazy big image files so it took a little over two hours to render the images and then burn them to DVDs (it did take six of them). To give us something to do in the meantime, Bruce recommended this great little Mexican place. After we had stuffed ourselves on shrimp tacos and every kind of salsa you can imagine, we found a little park. We pulled a blanket out of the back of Kristin's car and proceeded to fall asleep on the grass for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. People had to have thought we were totally coked out or something (And we were, in a manner of speaking. Those Route 44s are not child's play, man.)

But the fact of the matter is that we were so sleep deprived that we were 100% asleep (like, drooling asleep) in a totally public place for an uncomfortably long time. An entire Little League baseball game happened right next to us while we napped (we fell asleep and no one was there and woke up and it was the eighth inning). Also, we were both sleeping on our sides, which means we now have corresponding Two-Face sunburns (the right side of my face and the left side of Kristin's-- burnt). It was not our proudest moment. But it did feel pretty good.

So, with all that said, here's a look at the images of one of our cards. We are really hoping to roll out our website tomorrow and then you'll get to see absolutely everything. Sorry to keep dragging it out. Oh yeah, and remember when we leave on Wednesday? Geez, man.








Thursday, May 7, 2009

Questions

I was talking to a friend yesterday and the question was raised: Is it better to not expect much out of life (and thereby lower your risk of being disappointed) or live every day trying to live your life how you want it with the abiding hope that you can do it (thereby increasing your risk of failure)?

The answer is obviously a complicated one. But, in its simpler, broad strokes form, it's one that makes you think.

And it's a question that brings me face to face with my life nemesis: uncertainty.

As a kid, I made things like Christmas almost unbearable. I would fixate on something I wanted and drop at least twenty different hints a day (in the form of newspaper circulars with toys of interest circled and starred, phone calls to toy stores to check stock on said items in an exaggeratedly loud voice, handwritten pricing memos delivered to mom and dad over the course of the holiday season-- don't worry. I was eight.). As the day approached, I would almost work myself into tears with the fear that I might not get what I wanted. Neurotic? Yes. Determined? Also yes.

In college, I spent most of my freshman year in a panic because I felt like I had to make my mark on the world and quick. I was a print journalism major at the time (really dodged a bullet there) and somehow got it into my head that if I wasted a single moment or didn't know exactly where I was going and what I was doing that my ability to succeed in life and change the world would be mortally wounded. Let me tell you, it was a year of exhaustion.

And now. This has been another one of those years. I am exhausted. There have been so many things over the course of the last twelve months that I don't understand or know how to solve. There have been deep disappointments that have tempted me more than I've probably ever been tempted to just release the tension and stop hoping. Hoping is hard when it's tied to things that mean the most to you-- and that you don't know are going to turn out the way you want to.

But it's essential.

The key is to let the hope control the uncertainty and not the other way around.

Junky, while it may not appear to be so profound (it is a stationery company), has been a great exercise in that for us. We hope that it's possible to do something that you love every day with talented people who you respect and care about. We hope that we can create a place where work and play seem surprisingly not so far apart again. We hope that we're going to get everything ready in time and have a great experience at the Show. We know that there are about five million things that could get in the way or make it not work. But all of the things we're hoping for are worth enough to us that not even uncertainty can take them away. And it's okay that hope alone can't take away all of the uncertainty either. It wouldn't be so sweet when we finally get there if it could.

So, with that said, we're about to go into a CRAZY week.

We leave Wednesday for New York. On Monday, we will be unveiling our website and the rest of our product line here. We are so excited-- but there is a lot to do before then. Thanks for reading and commenting and encouraging us and being along for the ride. It's about to get a little more interesting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hum along if you know the song.

Music has helped us get through a lot of things in our lives: high school dating, college identity angst, the dull reality of adult office life. Most recently, though, it's helped us stay awake and stay excited enough to drive away the crazy questions that periodically pop up in the back of your mind when starting a stationery company.

(Funny side story: We finalized our business bank account yesterday (balance: zero) and the bank lady was filling out the paperwork and asked us what kind of company it was. When we said "stationery," she gave us this look that was a mix between a smirk and an old-fashioned grandma cheek pinching. I'm pretty sure she thought we were opening a Hello Kitty franchise or something.)

Anyway, music. We really love it. Here's a breakdown of what's been in our Junky rotation of late.





The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack
I don't know if it's the M.I.A. collaboration or the fact that Kristin makes genuine attempts to mimic bollywood moves every time it comes on (made more funny by the fact that she is in a roller-chair as she's doing it), but there is something about this soundtrack that makes it the perfect working music. Anytime we need to really focus and get something done, it's our standard.




Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus
Best Phoenix album yet, hands down. If you like smart, happy music you can sing along to (even though you're mumbling half the words because those French guys sure can put together some odd lyrics), this is for you.





Maria Taylor: Ladyluck
She falls down a well, eyes go crossed. Breaks up with Bright Eyes, puts together a great album. I don't get it. But we do love this confident, more fully realized album from this talented singer/songwriter-- even if the album art does look like an Amy Grant throwback (someone get her a decent designer, please?).





Great Lake Swimmers: Lost Channels
Genius. Genius. Genius. That's all. One of the few bands I know of who lack all forms of artifice and simply make beautiful music. Only problem is, it's easy to find yourself just listening and then realizing you haven't done any work in over an hour. But it's worth it.


Metric: Fantasies
This album is a victory for Ms. Haines and crew. I think she accomplishes what Jenny Lewis was attempting with the last Rilo Kiley album: dark, sexy pop that channels the very best of 80s new age subculture while still sounding current and accessible. I like it.


Telefon Tel Aviv: Immolate Yourself
This darkly catchy album is a great step for this beat twosome that's made more poignant by the sudden death of Charlie Cooper shortly after its release. It's full of great songs to "zone" to that still have enough substance to hold together.


Here's a few samples you can check out if you want to. And then tell us: What would your classic "music-to-work-and-jam-to" selections be?



Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, May 4, 2009

Worrywarts

I've tried to convince myself throughout my life that I'm not a worrier. And I'm not, in your typical 100% risk-averse, handwringing way. But I'm finally self-aware enough to admit that I'm a closet worrier in the worst way, the kind of person who, in their own head, can't put anything away until it's good and solved. But I'm also a really spontaneous person who likes to do things without thinking about all of the possible ramifications first. The funny thing is, Kristin is the exact same way. So, between the two of us, we're always getting ourselves into crazy situations and then worrying our way through them.

And so we are close to losing it right now.

Due to an extraordinarily freaky few weeks involving everything from broken press parts to motorcycle accidents (hope you feel better, Rob), a bunch of our stuff has not been printed yet. And we leave in a week and two days. And we have to have a photo shoot, catalog, press kit and more produced before we leave. In a week and two days.

Mike is the best and we have confidence in him. We just have a LOT of stuff still to be produced and it's hard not to lay awake and wonder if we are totally screwed. I feel like we're in the last 15 minutes of Iron Chef, where somehow they have to make gorgeous plates of food emerge from the boiling mess and you're not totally sure how they're going to make it. They almost always do it but there's always the small chance that the "reality" of reality TV will rear its ugly head and make examples of them (yes, we try to live our lives using as many principles from reality TV as possible).

As per our friend Jenna's instruction, we are going to use the power of the Secret to wish it done. If anyone else has any religious or superstitious practice that they want to use to send blessings/thoughts/karma/good juju our way, please do. We need all the help we can get. If you see me or Kristin and we've developed a series of facial twitches that create awkward social situations, don't worry. We'll be better in a couple of weeks. And we understand if you don't want to hang out until then.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Silent Partners

This has been the week of "major family events meet non-tragic-but-seriously-annoying mishaps." We have really been scrambling to keep up. Today, my brother is getting married to a great girl. I couldn't be happier for him. It reminded us of how lucky we are to have the support of these guys.






Just kidding. I really meant THESE guys.







Jon and Craig have been the best through this whole process. They have basically had to give up their wives for a good portion of the last six months. They've been supportive even when other things in life beyond Junky have gone crazy. They've acted both impressed and indignant at the corresponding appropriate times. They've been understanding when all we want to do is crash on the couch and watch a mindless round of "America's Next Top Model" when we have a free minute. They've picked up the slack and picked up the groceries, all with a really good attitude and all while they've had very busy schedules of their own to manage.

Thanks guys. We hope that sweet Junky Heirloom stock option package we offered you makes up for all this.