Tuesday, April 1, 2014

National Poetic Card Writing Month

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month! It's also National Poetry Month, which makes April a combination of my two favorite things and essentially the best month of the year.

To start, here are some letter-writing challenges to try your (soon to be cramped) hand at:

I am running a hearty #365daysofletterwriting challenge, broadcast on Facebook and Instagram, as a continuation of Fawnsberg's original #60daysofletterwriting. Today will mark Day 91 of 365, if starting from January 1st, but I happily encourage setting your own partial challenge and joining the community under the #365daysofletterwriting tag, or trying for a year from a start date of your choosing!

Egg Press and Hello!Lucky have teamed up to encourage the art of letter writing with a 30-day challenge entitled (and tagged) #WRITE_ON, beginning today. Hello!Lucky will be hand-selecting Instagram posts featuring that hashtag (#WRITE_ON) throughout the month to feature on their blog, while Egg Press will be sharing letter writing ideas with those who follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts. To get the most out of your month of letter writing, get your beautiful and free letterpressed starter kit here (while supplies last).

As for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) challenges:

If you're looking to dabble, NaPoWriMo does a daily poet feature and prompt, among others, and there are several Poetry Month prompt pages to follow on Facebook, including 30 Day Poetry Challenge.

For an epic writing month (pun intended), check out Poetry Foundation and Poets.org for their excellent resources, including social media prompting and fun extras like Poem In Your Pocket Day on April 24th (I'm telling you, this is the best month of the year).

If you're feeling particularly bold and literary, why not combine the two occasions and join me in a (probably very masochistic) Poetic Card Writing Month! 30 days of hand-written cards or letters which include an original poem. For real. Use the hashtag #poeticard on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, to share your poetic prowess and most importantly have fun with it! Even if a full 30 is out of reach, give it the old liberal-arts-college-try and see how far you can get. You can certainly count on some some sleep-deprived pearls of goofdom from yours truly. I will be reposting and sharing my favorites from people throughout the month, and I'll even throw in a FREE Warren Tales card or writing paper set (of their choosing) to my favorite #poeticard at the end of the month!

You can buy lots of lovely and versatile cards for all your non/poetic letter-writing needs over at the Warren Tales shop via the website or Etsy, with lots of new designs going up within the month (keep an eye on our Facebook feed for release updates), and even get 10% off when you shop with the coupon code "LETTERWRITING".

All in all, there's a lot to look forward to this month and I hope you'll join in on the festivities! Please take a moment to share this with your friends so I can entice them with my overzealous charm and get this ballpoint rolling : )

And just to clarify, this is NOT an April Fool's Day joke...I really am this nerdy

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Boston Strong As Ever

Boston is a lovely city, like many other simply wonderful and enjoyable places, but I've never quite been able to explain the deep resonating loyalty and family that comes with calling it home. It's a phenomenon that I've found in many current and past residents, and one that is rarely spoken about because it is strangely understood. Perhaps it's the camaraderie that comes with trudging through another winter—but Boston's aren't the coldest. Perhaps it's a boiling of the brain through stifling summers—but Boston's aren't the hottest. In my experience, Boston is happiest when it's rallying its support—trying its hardest—and revels in falling short because that calls for louder cries next time. And there is always a next time. But rather than a city of losers, this is Title City! Good sports, good arts and culture, and even good smarts. Boston is a city of people talking to one another; finding common ground and interacting with their surroundings. It is an experience largely the same across utterly different demographics.

I've had the pleasure of creating two successful Boston prints in the past, a typographic Marathon Route Map being one of them, and this year I'm proud to have worked with some upcoming runners to adapt the print and produce thank you cards to share with their supporters.

I love working with this design and I look forward to developing it further in the future. As for right now however, while April 21st' marathon is getting closer, there is still time for a few last-minute orders if anyone is interested. Just email me at warrentales@gmail.com for more details.

On April 21st, thousands of people will run the Marathon as usual, spurred on by millions of viewers as usual and that strange but ever-present feeling will reassert itself in the lining of all of them. Enjoy it, Boston. You've earned it.


The inspiration for this post came from a Boston.com article about a photography project organized by Lucie Wicker, called “Why I Run: A Boston Marathon 2014 Project” which I think does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Encouraged by Fawnsberg's brilliant 60 Days of Letter Writing project, today marks my 60th consecutive day, and the close to many peoples' winter challenge!

Here's a quick look back at the last 60 days:

For the duration of the project, I mailed or hand-delivered a hand-written note each day, and then posted a picture of the card/postcard/letter to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under the supplied #60daysofletterwriting tag in order to contribute to the greater project. It was brilliant! Posting the pictures not only held me accountable and kept me on track, but created a sense of suspense within my social media community (who's mailbox would the card be delivered to?) and acted as my voice within a larger conversation. 

While participating in the project, my favorite part was forcing myself to articulate why I missed a person, and why they are so dear to me in the first place. The most challenging and satisfying aspect of this was on Sundays, when the post offices were closed: I had to really consider the people in my physical community—the people I grew up with and see on a daily basis—and articulate how I felt about them; how much they mean to me. It was an excellent exercise in gratitude, and one that I am indeed grateful for. Immediately, I had so many genuine and loving things to say to so many people, and I knew that 60 days would only scratch the surface. 

Which brings me to my next challenge: I have loved participating in this project so much that I am expanding the project to #365daysofletterwrting!

On the one hand, I have no idea if I'll make it through a whole year without faltering (especially when you have to accommodate travel and access to people/post offices), and on the other, I know I have 365 reasons to tell people I'm thinking of them, so I say bring on the challenge! With Warren Tales developing so many new designs this year, being exposed to so many new (and old) people and presses thanks to the National Stationery Show (Booth #1357), and diving into this ultimately-new career and community, it is the perfect time to share my products and highlight the products I love from others.

So follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook to keep up with—an even participate in!—this new #365daysofletterwriting challenge. I will be looking forward to meeting all of you through your contributions, and possibly even to mailing you a letter of your own.

Happy snail mailing!

P.s. I am going to be focusing my Twitter account on more text-based commentary, and so will not be posting about this project. While a picture may say a thousand words, I'm going to stick to and have fun with my allotted 140 characters, which certainly promises some interesting kernels of the peculiar. I hope you'll take a moment to check out my page @WarrenTalesMail and follow me if you enjoy happy banter and stationery musings : )

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hundreds of Celebrations

Congratulations to the San Diego Public Library and the Library Shop for completing their first one hundred days of business! To celebrate, the SDPL is hosting a special event to honor the library's supporters, and will be distributing two hundred customized mini prints by yours truly! These limited edition Warren Tales prints feature an original paper-cut design of the building's distinctive architecture and mirrored dome, and are printed in teal to highlight the library's branding. 

I'm super pleased with how the cutting and prints turned out, and can now add yet another reason to my list of reasons to love this establishment. Here's to many more days of open doors, and the best of luck with their fabulous event!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

For the Love of Books

One of my favorite little stores in San Diego is The Library Shop, located on the ground floor of the new San Diego Public Library, so you can only imagine how excited I was to be approached by their brilliant buyer about a wholesale account (hint: very).

Every time I enter the store, it has a new captivating layout that compliments the featured items and introduces me to something new. I never feel lost or overwhelmed, and I don't think I've ever left without buying something. To me—she who lives off a fledgling-artist's non-salary and egg sandwiches—that's a really good sign.

Between living quite close and now working with the store, I am delighted to pop in on a somewhat regular basic, especially when I walk in to see my own work next to the likes of Emily McDowell, Rifle, and Sugar Paper.


So! Here's a peak (and a small shoulder-brush) of Warren Tales' store debut:

Notable Notes (San Diego, CA) (stitched card, right)

Missing U (alphabet card, center)

Warm Thoughts (tea/coffee pots, center)

I'm Sorry (umbrella, top left)

And if anyone's looking for a last-minute Valentine gift to go with that beautiful new Warren Tales card that you just charged out to buy (or is trying to platonically "woo" me *coughcough*), you should definitely check out Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall, conveniently available in-store. If you need more convincing of its brilliance, just check out this story on the Missed Connections Blog (I challenge you not melt).

Happy Valentine's Day to all (tomorrow), and to all a fulfilling shopping experience!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Love Is In The Mail

February is in full swing with Valentine's Day well on its way, and Warren Tales has just the card for you to send with your sweet-nothings...

Perhaps you're still building things together, "connecting the dots" if you would, in which case get visual with just such a card! Spell it out for them with lurve.

Or maybe your relationship is seasoned with time and experience: you've grown together into the love you now share. This hand-typed series is a labor-of-love in itself, and it's yours to keep.

Also available in:

A simple hand-typed aesthetic for a classic expression of love, either to a partner, or in celebration of others'.

You're so Swheat
Is your honey gluten-free? Maybe they're just punny and deserve a sweet little something. These golden colors are sure to warm their fuzzy feelings.

Or if you're feeling a pick-me-up instead, here's a hand-painted and hand-cut expression of love, as unique as its recipient. Each card is painted with red wine, so raise a glass to you & love.

If you're unable to navigate the miles between you and your loved one this holiday, connect with a card that can go the distance.

Feel closer to faraway friends and loved ones with a greeting for when all that's missing is U.

If the Valentine traditions aren't your scene, just say what's on your mind. These cards feature a beautiful combination of world-wide postmarked stamps, as well as a hand typed greeting, below, to showcase the experiences you've had with their own. Each card is as unique as the stamps it features and the person from/to which it's delivered.

It's even possible that you haven't yet built up the courage to send your gushy feelings by way of your dear sweet desired someone, in which case why not start with a heartfelt hello.

Hopefully by now I've helped you find the perfect card, and luckily there's still time for you to order. So send some sweetness this Valentine's Day, connect with a loved one, and celebrate how far you've come together. Happy loving on the 14th, and every other day you feel frisky.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Patience To Succeed And The Guts To Fail: An Alumni's Reflection On Tradeshow Bootcamp

It's been two weeks since I attended Tradeshow Bootcamp's Paper Camp seminar, and it has literally taken that long for me to process the incredible wealth of knowledge and insight I gained there.

Imagine a Disneyland of stationery, where each contributing business factor is a ride and you have a fast pass to all of them (which clearly makes the National Stationery Show Space Mountain)....Okay, so maybe that isn't a good analogy if you're not a huge nerd, but the most amazing part is that to everyone attending, it IS Disneyland! So if that's your scene, then this is seriously the happiest place on earth.

The event is mostly made up of young (3-7 years) and successful businesses looking to expand into new market territory, and a carefully selected panel of industry professionals with expansive and complimentary experience. Then there are one or two new people who are there for a really good look at whether expansion/wholesale is right for their company (1-2 years). My big surprise was thinking I was on a solid track and seeing how much I have left to climb before I work UP to a "young company." Hint: the whole way. Quite a jolt to the system, but what a great feeling, really: to see in real time how much you need to do (not in hindsight), and then be sat down and told how to get there.

I have seen first hand how much companies felt they benefitted from Paper Camp—seen the great success of its alumni—and I understand how much of a monetary investment it is to attend which is why fewer start-ups do, but to lower the learning curve is truly invaluable for someone just starting out. This is the foundation you need to get it done, or a considerably quicker and cheaper way of realizing this business isn't for you. The advantage of "failing" at something is accepting that it isn't going to happen and moving on, but this can take a lot of time and money, and having a clearer view of what's ahead could save you from that. So really, it's a win/win.

Being in the basic start-up phase of Warren Tales, and having already committed to trying my hand at the National Stationery Show (Booth #1357) in May, I really couldn't afford to attend Paper Camp. Clearly that didn't stop me. Your three options for this are: Scholarships, fundraisers, and webinars.

Scholarship: I really chanced upon the Tradeshow Bootcamp scholarship, which I can't possibly be more grateful for. This is an incredibly generous offer by TSBC to fully cover the costs of the seminar (not including travel and accommodations obviously) and is the sole reason for why I was able to attend. You can even pay upfront if you're committed to going and they will refund you if you are selected, so it's always worth applying.

Fundraisers: I have no personal experience to offer for this one yet, but be creative and work with what your community can offer. Clearly state your goals, be transparent with your business model, and be as prepared as possible. If a Kickstarter-esque crowdsourcing campaign works for you: do it. If a lemonade stand works for you: do it. Find what works for you and your market and make it happen.

Webinars: TSBC offers a number of webinars that you can attend as a supplementary or alternative educational experience to Paper Camp. The webinars cover specific subjects, are offered at a lower price, and have the added convenience factor of online attendance. These are great if you're looking for information on a few—but not all—matters; you can spread your education out to break up the cost; and you are still welcomed into the private online forum/community. These are an excellent resource to consider.

Finally, you just can't beat the community. The stationery industry has some of the nicest, funniest, weirdest, most creative, most handworking, and most well-rounded/jack-of-all-trades people I've met. They are an incredibly knowledgable and experienced bunch who multitask like it's a Olympic sport. They mean business but they're not all business—they're amazing people too! The TSBC community is only a small fraction of the industry, but it's a great one, and having a space to communicate, collaborate, and celebrate (yeah, I alliterated) across miles is a large part of what makes Tradeshow Bootcamp invaluable. A chance to contribute to this community is a goal worth working toward.

So to summarize: "The greatest thing I took away from my experience with Tradeshow Bootcamp was direction. In only two days, Paper Camp nurtured confidence and support through discussion and a wealth of applicable knowledge. I not only feel comfortable taking the next step as a growing business, but feel prepared to respond effectively when confronted with set-backs. I firmly believe that I will look back on attending this seminar as a defining moment in my business, my career, and even my life." —Lindsey Warriner, Warren Tales, 2014 Paper Camp Alum

And you can read 44 more excellent reasons to attend right here.

I can only imagine (and hope) that other fledgling professionals went into the stationery business more prepared than I feel I have been, but one of the best things about working in this industry is that it's a long road for everyone. Everyone has learned from their experience, for better or worse, no matter how prepared they were at the beginning. What really counts are the hours you put in. After all, good experience is about having the patience to succeed and the guts to fail.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A-fair to Remember

I think my new year's resolution should be to exercise more discipline and write entries more immediately and more consistently. . . alas (and indeed, a-lack . . . further terrible puns intended). That shameful acknowledgement aside, lets talk about stationery!

Warren Tales attended two craft fairs in December, and had lots to learn from both unique experiences:

Artisan's Alley is a local show, held in my hometown, and is mostly comprised of small- to medium-sized local craft business. Now, what with my *extensive* experience in business and craft fairs (cue laughter) is was terribly pretentious of me to even briefly consider such a supportive and driven show "small potatoes" but there I was with a swagger in my step thinking, "Psh, I've got this!" And oh, how the heavens did smite me.

First of all, it's excellent when experienced small businesses automatically intimidate us noobs into doubting ourselves. I hope they can see our impromptu panic and I hope it makes them smile, because they've earned it. That being said, my practice at Patchwork definitely paid off and I made good use of a small space. Set up was timely (if not quick), and as I'd prepared. But what's that? A black cloud of doom approaching our outdoor show? Hurry, Macgyver that plastic sheet over the not-remotely-waterproof-umbrella and form a little safety bubble over the paper. Other booths: nonplussed. I'm actually proud to say the bubble worked well . . . at first. Inevitably, the wind picked up and my sheet took off like a sail, making my little ship the S.S. Waterfall. Water water everywhere (care for a drop?). Shockingly however, my flapped cellophane sleeves held up against the elements—so well indeed that only one envelope of one card suffered minor water damage (though my display cards were quickly turned into abstract art). And what followed was even more amazing: people shopped.

The biggest surprise of the day by far was the enthusiasm of the shoppers. The weather was rough on my side of the table, but these guys were walking around umbrella in hand (or not) and carrying on like they were protecting themselves from the sun. They couldn't be happier to be there. And when the rain let up they sprouted tenfold. Coronado is typically a warm and loving place, but the reception Warren Tales received—and the commitment to supporting local businesses, rain or shine—was just incredible. The product feedback was excellent, sales were excellent, and the experience was excellent. I've got to give an astronomical round of applause to my little Crown Town for making the show what it was.

But the big bad returned with a vengeance. Rain is one thing, but biblical downpours are too much for a paperie to handle. We called it a few hours early in the name of self-preservation, packed up like it was our super power, and wished the veteran arks good luck with the flood.

In all, it was a very successful day which taught me A LOT about resources and limits, and also gave me confidence in my product. So huzzah for warm and fuzzy feelings (especially when soaked through).

At this point in my show experience, I'd learned the pitfalls of sunny cellophane (sweaty cards are not happy cards) but the benefits of its full-coverage (think greeting card raincoats), so I was curious to see how everything held up at Renegade—i.e. The Dust Bowl.

For once I was under cover, sharing a tent with the amazing Britta Ambauen and her beautiful jewelry, but I hadn't anticipated a "Park" of woodchips and the resulting "ninja dust" (as I like to call it). It was a menace: it stuck, it clogged, and it contaminated (sandwiches, mostly), generally covering everything as it kicked up from passersby. But the sleeves held up well, protecting the product, and a damp cloth held the madness mostly at bay—though a month later, I'm still finding it on freakin' everything. At this point, if you're peddling cards that are blank inside, and participating in outdoor shows, I really can't recommend using sleeves with fold-over flaps enough.

**Realization: Perhaps this isn't interesting to my everyday readers, in which case I sincerely apologize (especially if you actually read my posts every day—I love you!), but as someone in the biz, I was fascinated to discover so many nuances that vendors never seem to speak up about, so I thank you for bearing with me while I drop some knowledge (and maybe a little dignity after using that phrase).

To conclude: I enjoy the fact that my exhibiting experience has inadvertently turned into an anecdotal game of Dirt-Water-Cellophane. Perhaps I'll make that into an internal industry thank you card some day. Perhaps I'm that kid who doesn't know she's weird. Perhaps I'm happy you've read this far and feel validated in my eccentricities because of commitment like yours! My point is, I love this job, and I thank all of you for supporting me in the myriad of ways you do which allow me to keep working. You're the bee's knees, the cat's meow, and even the frog's hop.