We finished inventory and all the number-crunching that goes after early this week and slowly the fog is clearing from my brain. Just a few more tax prep things to deal with and then I can put 2014 behind me and really focus on the coming year. That said, I did take time to deal with the most pressing concerns: namely, the fact that we have run out of so many different styles and sizes of t-shirts. I placed a few orders and nagged a few artists so we should be getting closer to fully stocked in the next couple weeks. I must have had more Wi/Mn hugging t-shirts last year in January: I can always see an instant bump in sales when those are in stock. Next week, I think. I went through the first cut of budgeting for the first half of the year so we are slowly placing orders. There's still a balance to strike - it is not as if we have to stock the store for pre-holiday levels just yet. But there are definitely some gaps to fill in. At least now the washi tape has been restocked; those empty drawers were making me a little anxious.
For some reason, tape has been a theme for me in these first few weeks. In addition to washi tape (including glitter! tape), I reordered the fun masking tape with messages and graphics. I really like using tape as the final touch in collage and cards. And to add a fun touch to brown paper packages...
We are, of course, also thinking ahead already to the Stationery Show in May - always fun to wonder what we will find this year and to think back upon everything we found last May. I am hoping this year that Sachi will join me in Atlanta so we can get her spin on that particular buying trip.
Most of our Valentine orders have arrived so we have a nice array of supplies and cards. We'll be setting up the Valentine card-making table in about a week so you can also stop in and make your own cards.
I tweaked the window for the first phase of Valentine's Day. I know, some people feel this is too early to discuss such things, but, really, it will be here before you know it. I'm enjoying the various new cards that arrived in the past few weeks. I think they come together for a fun window that's not overly sappy. As someone who is single, the holiday has always felt like something developed to make me feel bad about myself but I've heard from plenty of happy couples that it is not exactly a thrilling holiday on their end either. Still, it's a fun chance to haul out the doilies and red and pink glitter.... Speaking of, did you see that a company exists that will send glitter to your enemies? If I received glitter in the mail, I would assume that someone loved me a lot. Though I will admit to annoying lots of college friends when I went through a phase of sending glitter through the mail. But, really, I love the insidiousness of glitter. Like how you find little specks of it four weeks after you first came into contact?
But I digress. Here's the window:
And more Valentine goodness:
Sachi and I are taking some Wednesdays off in these slow days of winter to go on some field trips... well, busman's holidays is probably more like it. Don't worry, the store is still open 7 days a week as it always is. Now we have three part-timers so that eases our old 6 day work-week schedule from the early days and/or busy season of the shop. Last Wednesday we went down to Milwaukee and couldn't even finish all of our list. SO many great places to go to! The Waxwing, Le Reve Patisserie, Boswell Books, Mod Gen, Artist & Display, Fischberger's, Beans & Barley.
I did finally get to see my dear friend and her new baby, who was not at all interested in a photo shoot, despite the fact that I had provided, in my opinion, a lovely quilt for the backdrop. Ah well, there's still time.
Finally, I apologize but I'm still trying to figure out all the links between Instagram, this blog, and Facebook, and also how to get my pictures off the iPad in whatever format I need them. I say this only because I have finally started some studio work that is store-related (not too late into the new year) and apparently only have the picture of the rough draft on Instagram. Here it is: one of my favorite quotations, from Howard Thurman, that was at the request of a friend, but something I've been meaning to work on just because I find it resonates with me personally. I have about a half-dozen other texts and while my initial thought was very much computerized (download some fun fonts and use PhotoShop to incorporate my own photos), I am leaning now towards a more hand-drawn look. But will probably use some computer fonts to work through spacing and font issues, hence this first draft of another one that I started this week:
I have major difficulty with fonts, mostly in that I love all different kinds of fonts and can readily break the rule about not having too many different fonts in a single piece. So I'm using the computer to kind of work through the styling and such. Ultimately, I will be tracing/redrawing the piece..and then maybe scanning it and putting it back in the computer for printing? I don't know. I liked my Christmas cards that were fake chalkboard/handwritten, but I could tell they were fake and want to have a more handdrawn look to everything. This is taking me a great deal of time and practice; meanwhile Sachi just stood at the counter on Saturday and whipped up a prototype for her next design. I'm only a little jealous.