In with the new.

newyear

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions.  But my business fiscal year ends in December, so it is a great time to evaluate the past 12 months and see where I can make improvements in the new year.  There is also a dead zone for work in the December 15-January 1 timeframe, so I spent time updating my portfolio and website, and thinking about what “in with the new” means for me and my business.

But let’s start with “out with the old…”

My 2014 Accomplishments and Struggles:

  • It was my first year of running the business full time, without any income from other jobs.  I was 100% Hitchcock Creative and it was GREAT!
  • I said NO.  NO to clients who needed everything yesterday.  NO to projects that weren’t financially viable.  NO to self doubts.
  • I said YES.  YES to projects out of my comfort zone.  YES to professional development.  YES to spending money on equipment upgrades.  YES to focusing on specific work hours so I could spend more time with the family.
  • I struggled with the decision to end a relationship with a pro-bono client.  I loved working with them, but with a toddler at home, my other workload increasing, and some other personal matters, I felt I couldn’t give them the attention they deserved.  It was a tough decision, but a necessary one.
  • I increased my business income by about 40%.  This was a huge leap, but also not an unexpected one since I did go from part-time to full-time (and spent 3 months of 2013 on maternity leave).

My Goals for 2015:

  • To say NO to wasting time on the internet during work hours.  NO to constant breaks during the day to see my daughter downstairs.  NO to distractions.
  • To say YES to being more productive, more creative, and more attentive.  YES to setting a specific work schedule (and sticking to it).  YES to getting my taxes done early.
  • To increase my overall business income by 5-10% by cutting expenses, using my hours more wisely, and pricing my services more consistently (and raising prices a small amount for the first time in 5 years).
  • To answer my emails more quickly.  I can’t explain why this is such a weakness for me, but it is.  I read a message, process it, and promptly forget to reply.  I think my phone is partly to blame – I like reading email on it, but hate responding with my thumbs.

So, we’ll see how I do.  Notice that I didn’t put “Blog more” or “Increase my social media presence” on the 2015 list.  I’ll talk more about this conscience choice in a future post.

2015 Desk Calendars are now available!

It’s likely that you’re now on the last page of your 2014 calendar (unless it’s been a really busy week and you’ve completely forgotten that it’s now December).  Anyway, it’s time for a new calendar!

Check out our 2015 Desktop Calendar!

They’re also great for co-workers, friends, parents, neighbors, or anyone who enjoys knowing what date it is.  AND, because you put up with my sporadic blogging and social media attempts, you can get 20% off any purchase in the shop over $15.  Just use coupon code PEPPERMINT at check out.

2015 Desktop Calendar by Hitchcock Creative

New Hope Christmas Craft Fair

craftsale

I don’t typically do a lot of selling in person. This is mostly because I’m busy with my corporate/non-profit clients and therefore don’t make a lot of stationery that isn’t personalized.

But I’m breaking my trend because my church is hosting its annual Christmas Craft Fair & Bake Sale on November 8, 2014 from 9:00am-2:00pm (8905 Ox Road, Lorton, VA). Parking and admittance is FREE. And the best part is that all proceeds benefit Feed My Starving Children. FMSC is a non-profit organization that sends hand-pack meals, specifically formulated for malnourished children, to nearly 70 countries around the world.

Every 22 cents you spend equals one meal. So if you spend $20.00, it buys nearly 91 meals – how awesome is that!

I’ll be selling the following items:

  • Single Notecards
  • Boxed sets of Thank You and Holiday cards
  • 2015 Desk Calendars
  • Laser cut wooden ornaments (made by my mom!)

AND…to help raise as much money as possible, I have decided that all the money I receive for items sold in my Etsy Shop on November 8-9, 2014 will also be donated to FMSC.  This way if you can’t make it to Lorton, VA next weekend, you can still participate and help a child in need.

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What do your Envelopes say about you?

So, you’re sending out an invitation.  It has all the relevant information and is tastefully designed.  But what if no one sees it because they don’t open it?  I firmly believe that the envelope, stamp, artwork, and addresses are an intricate part of the overall feel and design of your invitation – and your event!

Well, these days there are some amazing envelope options online and many are the same cost as the standard white flimsy ones.  Below are some of my favorite ways to get people excited about what they are about to open.

To give you an idea of pricing, I have included the estimated base cost of a 500 pack of A7 envelopes (no shipping, taxes, printing  or discounts included).

colorful envelopes

BRIGHT COLORS
Oh, the colors!  Some of my favorite lines of bright colors:
French Pop-Tone, Astrobrights, Mohawk BriteHues, Eames Furniture, & Smart Brights.

Anthracite Metallic Envelopes from envelopes.com

METALLICS
There are a ton of metallic options on the market, so you can go with your standard gold (or green or orange!).  But I especially love these shimmered steel grey envelopes.  They are a thick 80# weight, but you will want to consider labels or having supplier envelopes.com print your addresses with white ink.
Anthracite Metallic Envelopes (A7) – $146.95

White Pique Envelopes from envelopes.com

TEXTURED
Is a colored option not the right fit for your event?  Let your white stand out from the crowd with textured envelopes.  Felt, Linen, GrooveCanvas, Parchment – there are lots to choose from.
White Pique Envelopes (A7) – $85.95

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PATTERNS
I absolutely love the Mod-Tone series from French Paper!  Great options and you can print on them without the hassle of labels.
Mod-Tone Azure (A7) – $88.20

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BUILT-IN LINING
I favor the built-in liner option, but if you’re crafty, you can purchase liners separately and glue them in yourself.  There are some great liner options (I’m partial to the shiny LUX red!).
White w/ Red LUX Lining Envelopes (A7) – $90.95 

Grass Print Envelopes from envelopes.com

PHOTO PRINTED
Does your event call for something a little wacky and bold? Now, I’ve never actually used these inventive envelopes from envelopes.com.  But aren’t they perfect for your next backyard barbecue?!
Grass Print Envelopes (A7) – $106.95

The Brand Market DC

This weekend I was privileged to experience The Brand Market’s workshop in Washington, DC.  On my goodness.  I met some amazing women entrepreneurs and learned a lot about what I’m doing right (and what I need to work on) for my small business.

The Brand Market DC giveaway with items from Rifle Paper Co., Sapling Press, and Dotted Design!

We each received an amazing swag bag with gifts from Rifle Paper Co., Sapling Press, Design Dotted and more!

The Brand Market in Washington, DC.  Rebecca from A Daily Something talking about social media and branding.

And learned tips on social media, branding, photo styling from Rebecca at A Daily Something.  (How amazing is the studio space at Sweet Root Village?!)

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.  By coco and mingo.

Inspiring words by coco and mingo.

Lovely Vintage Seed Packet stamps for your wedding

I’ll do a more comprehensive post with the new stamps to match the 2014 pricing (read up about that here).  But I couldn’t wait to show you these lovelies.  I love the mixture of warm reds, oranges and yellows on a peach background in these vintage seed packet designs.  I anticipate seeing them on many spring and summer wedding invitations this year!

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stamps

You can find them online at the USPS shop here.  Stock up before January 24, 2014 when the prices will go up $0.03 per first class postage stamp!