ink in tubes!

We were really excited to receive our very first order of

Ink in Tubes

inks this week.

When we started Seaborn Press, we decided to print all of our designs in black ink for a few reasons. One of them was cost - if we only made a few sales a week and had to print them each in separate colors, it would be a lot of added time for us in set up/clean up. More importantly, we also wanted to make sure we weren't overwhelmed with possibility. It's kind of like how, in an intro drawing or painting class, you start by doing gray scale studies. You don't have to worry about whether or not your colors are right - just whether you're representing shapes the way you want to. Same with design - we didn't want to have an endless world of color possibilities available right from the beginning, when we were still figuring out our designs. We designed everything in black and white from the start - which probably made them stronger.

Now, however - we're ready to be overwhelmed! We've settled into our designs and can now introduce some color without focusing only on the color and forgetting the design. At first, we're only going to be doing wedding stationery in color - even though we have a steady stream of sales, we want to be sure our volume is high enough to be able to factor in the additional clean up time without raising prices. Maybe we'll just do colored stationery as "limited edition" pieces that are slightly more expensive. Either way, we're ready to start releasing our colored wedding designs - and there are a lot! So that's exciting news. Of course, first, we have to make it through the remainder of the holiday shopping period!

our first year of business

The end of October marked our first official year of being in business! We've been meaning to write a blog post about it, trying to think about what wise words we have to say about what we've learned and where we're headed and we decided that we were over thinking it all and we should just write whatever comes to mind about 2012.

This first year, unsurprisingly, was a huge learning experience - we like to joke about all the job titles we currently hold that we could write on our imaginary resumes. Matt's: Chief IT Executive, Maintenance and Facilities Crew Chief, Executive Printer, Customer Service Liaison. Jennie's: Head of Marketing, Stockist, Typesetter Extraordinaire, Creative Director. We never thought we'd be juggling quite so many different skill sets at once. It's taken some getting used to, but we're on our way to balancing out all of thoe required jobs-within-our-jobs (even if, someday, we'd like to knock a few titles off those lists).

Our first year didn't just bring a whole bunch of new work roles to us, it also brought lots of new products, supplies, and designs. The plans we had when starting out were completely changed in very little time - but we feel lucky, because it didn't take us very long to figure out our niche. Since then, we've been constantly experimenting and expanding our shop's options. When we opened, we had ten fonts - five of which we've since sold on Ebay because they weren't really our style. Now, we have 44 fonts. When we opened, our studio space was about 10 square feet - now it's more like 150. When we opened, we had five sets of stationery. Now, we have 61 with more on the way.

Basically - it's been a whirlwind, crazy year. We really had no idea what to expect, starting out - whether our products would be well-received, whether we'd be able to support ourselves solely through our new business, whether we could do everything out of our small apartment, whether we'd even enjoy working for ourselves. We did start out with a slightly naive sense of optimism, though, which seems like it was a necessary component of doing something like this.

We're still optimistic a year later (though we like to think we're not quite as naive) and we're excited about what's coming next. As we've solidified our focus more, we've seen more opportunities to do more of the things we enjoy. It's kind of like we've moved from making wild motions all over the place to doing a (semi) choreographed dance routine. Like going from primordial ooze to, say...single-celled organisms. It's been a year-long step forward, out of chaos and into something slightly more orderly.

In the end, we'd like to thank everyone who's supported us in this first year - friends, family, and (of course) our customers. We couldn't have done it without all of you!

recent features

Autumn is the time for magazine features, it seems! We've been lucky enough to be included in two magazines so far this Autumn - October's Shop Til You Drop (out of Australia) and in the "Best of the Web" section in November's issue of InStyle (American).

As we work on expanding our wedding offerings, we're making a list of wedding magazines that we'll submit to in January - which is probably when they start gathering materials for Spring magazines. Lead times are so long in magazine-land! As a bonus, if you happen to be an InStyle subscriber, you'll find a code for free US Priority Shipping through November 16th!

business card mania

Here's a preview shot of some of our new business cards! This is just a small sampling of all the new designs we've been printing - by the time we're finished, we'll have more than doubled the number of designs we have.

We've also passed the 200 sales mark on Etsy! We're pretty happy with the way our first nine months on Etsy have gone. We've definitely grown a lot as a business - and we have our wonderful customers to thank. We'll definitely be doing something special to celebrate 200 with our customers - we just have to figure out what!

Etsy Wedding Email

Etsy sends out daily and weekly emails about various topics - there's a general, daily email called "finds" along with a few others - "gifts", "fashion", and others. We signed up for the finds and gifts because back in February, one of our journals was featured in the Etsy finds! However, we completely forgot that Etsy has a wedding email as well...until today, when we suddenly started getting hits from email accounts!

The middle picture might look familiar - it's our wedding suite I posted the other day! We've gotten tons of views today, and lots of favorites. And two unrelated orders! But who knows if these things are unrelated - once someone comes into the shop, they could browse and buy something completely different. That's why any publicity is so important. It's something we're still working on, since it doesn't come quite as naturally to us as creating things.

Today, we went out to our favorite sushi restaurant to celebrate Matt's birthday! I have class tonight so we're going to go out to dinner tomorrow - a German restaurant we drive past constantly. In celebration, check out our new birthday card design: