I made a video! This is how I piece together my larger frames.
Earlier in the year I worked on a custom frame project for a wedding client. It was such a fun experience, mostly because the bride was so great to work with. She wanted to use my frames to display their table numbers! I thought it was a great idea and I'm sure they were able to give frames to people as gifts afterwards. We matched the colors of the paper to complement the tablescape and overall palette of the wedding. Also, the wedding was in Chicago where I used to live so you know I was excited about that!
We completed the project so far in advance that I almost forgot about it but the wedding finally happened and I just love how the frames turned out. Most of the time, I sell a frame and never see it again but because this was a wedding, there were pictures! I loved being a part of their special day. All photos seen below are courtesy of Naturally Yours Events, the wedding planners of the event!
While running a creative business, I've found that it's really easy to put your head down and get caught in the grind, while also wondering if anyone even notices what you are doing. Well last week I was completely surprised with an email from USA Today 10 Best saying I had been nominated for this contest featuring best makers in the USA! Over the next month, readers can vote once a day for their favorite maker (out of a total of 20) and then the top 10 will be featured in their list.
I was totally shocked to be nominated for this award and immediately thought of so many makers I know that are equally if not more deserving! And then I took a step back and thought, you know what? I've worked my butt off these last 5 years and I do deserve to be recognized like this on a national level. Who knows where I'll end up on the list but I was filled with gratitude as friends and family shared the news on social media and wrote such lovely things supporting me, including an email from my dad that was otherwise unrelated but concluded with the words "voting daily!" :)
Like I said above, it's so easy for me to get lost in the work and wonder if anyone cares about my products or what I'm doing and this experience brought me back up to the surface and made me realize that people do. And while it means a lot coming from a national publication, it means quite a bit more coming from the people who I love the most who have supported me from day one.
I have a slight obsession with typography prints. Take one quick look around my studio and you won't find a chunk of wall that isn't filled to the max with phrases, quotes, sayings...whatever you want to call them. If it was designed, typeset, illustrated, printed by hand or hand lettered, I want it on my wall and I want it now. Also, I happen to have a bunch of frames lying around at all times (imagine that!) so framing is never a problem!
Being in the community and industry that I am, I am lucky enough to be friends with many of the talented folks who make these and I do my best to pimp them out when I can. For example, check out this page to see a list of the artists whose work I featured in my frames for all the imagery seen on the site.
Since I couldn't feature every single artist that I wanted to in the product photography, I thought it would be fun to share an ongoing post theme of my favorite prints! Maybe I'll do it once a week! (Maybe I'll do it once and never again. Shit, I hope not!) Either way, I am going to try and share with you guys some amazing artists and designers who are making awesome prints that just happen to look awesome in my frames, in case you were ever wondering what you could put in a Craftbelly frame.
The 2016 Collection is live! I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the new patterns out in the world with beautiful photography to help show them off. This is the third collection I’ve come out with in the last three years and it was definitely the most challenging to complete. I think that’s probably because I was feeling some major burnout after last holiday season. Once January rolled around, I realized I had been running on autopilot and needed to step back to reevaluatethe direction of my business.
The last two collections were screen printed because you can achieve such cool looks with that process, like amazing metallic inks and bright colors on dark backgrounds. I had a large amount of paper printed so that I could cut down on costs and have a large inventory. This worked for awhile but when I printed that first line, I really didn’t know how much to print...so we printed a lot. I still have paper left over from that line which is cool because I still love it and use it, but it seemed like there could be a better way to avoid so many leftovers.
Another challenge I was trying to figure out was how to incorporate more custom frame work into my business. This area was where I was seeing the most profit, and it was the most unique part of what I did. And my favorite! My custom clients are amazing and they all come back again and again, which is a great thing to have in a small business. But I wanted to create an easier way for anyone to design a custom frame right on the Craftbelly website.
In the past I have used my Epson inkjet printer for printing samples or trying out new patterns, along with printing wedding invitations. I have done a couple of custom frames with paper I printed myself and they always turned out great. I realized that I could easily print my own paper here in my studio on demand, printing only what was needed. This would be a great way to save on high up front costs and play around with new color combos. Not to mention it would be extremely easy to print custom colors combos.
With this new direction, it took some time to really figure out how the whole deal was going to work. And then I still needed to design the new patterns. That took longer than expected but was a necessary step. I printed out tons of samples and tried out many color swatches until I came up with a set of eight ink colors that I loved. Once I got going with designing, I was able to finalize five new patterns and decided to keep three of the favorites from past collections for a total of 8 patterns!
After the designs were finalized, the next step was making samples for the photo shoot. I was going to have my favorite ladies Nicole D Stylist and Jennifer Olsen Photography do the photography and styling again because they are super talented and awesome to work with. With so many different style combos available, I needed to pare down for the shoot. So I chose a few for each pattern and then came the most fun part. I was going to feature some of my favorite artists’ and photographers’ work in each frame so I needed to pick all the artwork! You can learn more about who I used here. All of these special women were so great to work with and even agreed to run coupon codes for the week during my launch! I feel very lucky to know so many awesome artists.
It was really fun to see all the patterns come alive as my studio was filled with frames.
Finally, it was time for the photo shoot. I love working with Nicole for styling because she always seems to get exactly what I’m going for, even when I can’t exactly put it into words. I came in that day with a general idea of which artwork would go in which frames, but then the rest sort of came together magically. I love watching Nicole and Jen work together because it happens so seamlessly, and we also just have a great time! We really were able to tell a story with the frames and hopefully the images help people picture the frames in their own homes.
I will be teaching a class on how to make a frame the Craftbelly way at the awesome River North Workshop here in Denver. Owner Alicia already carries my frames and journals so it was a perfect fit to have my class in her amazing space.
The class is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th from 6:30 - 8:30. Perfect for a ladies' night!
Even though I've been designing my own patterns for the last couple years, I still have such an obsession with color, pattern and paper that I totally nerd out over new papers at my favorite paper store, Paper Mojo. I still do plenty of custom orders where I mostly use papers from their site, since there are so many beautiful options. Here are a 5 papers that I think are perfect for Spring projects.
After a crazy holiday season and a couple months of recovery/brainstorming/revving back up, I'll be back at it with some local events here in Denver!
The first one is a brand new event that my pal Kiwi of Craft Boner put together, called The Misfit Goods Market. There will be 9 vendors selling samples, seconds, display items, etc., at a huge discount! EVERYTHING at this market will be on super sale. It's also at Grandma's House brewery so why not have some Saturday afternoon beers while you shop!