"Together" Mommy and Me Coloring Book by Gingiber for Paige Tate
"Together" Mommy and Me Coloring Book by Gingiber for Paige Tate
National Stationery Show 2016
Hi! I wanted to tell you a little about how NSS went this year for Gingiber.
This was our 3rd year exhibiting. Last year I sat the show out because I had a baby at home, so my sister, Angie, ran our booth. This year Angie was pregnant with her 3rd baby, so I went to NYC with my husband.
We really tried to step up our game this year. We built our own booth walls and shipped them to NYC via a freight truck.
Set up was a BEAST! Our walls are sturdy but heavy. I don't think I will ever be able to set up the walls by myself. I will always need someone stronger to help. We painted the walls a great shade of blush, then began putting our Gingiber box of happiness together!
I was so thrilled with how our booth turned out. It felt so much more sophisticated than years past for us. I used our Leaping Bunnies Wallpaper designed for Chasing Paper NYC as a focal wall. We used IKEA furniture throughout the booth for our displays. This was the first year we offered gift wrap, and I think it was really a strong showing for us.
As usual, our calendars got most of the attention. Our Greeting Card game was strong, but our 2017 Calendars went over very well! We didn't bring our pillows this year, and we ALMOST didn't have any Tea Towels to display because I forgot them back home in Arkansas! Thankfully, we sell our products with a few NYC shops, and Pink Olive came to our rescue with some towels we were able to grab from them the day before NSS began.
My husband was such a trooper during the entire process. He is a quiet fellow, so to see his generosity of time and energy as he worked tirelessly to help get the booth set up really reminded me how lucky I am.
The show was definitely better for us than years past in terms of orders written. We were located in the FRESH section, and next year I hope to move our booth more central to where some of my other friend's booth are (because, let's face it, life is all about hanging with your friends!).
We made a lot of good contacts. This was the FIRST year that some major retailers actually came into our booth and looked interested. We haven't landed any major accounts yet, but I feel incredibly hopeful. Maybe too hopeful? SIGH!
Highlights of the trip included: Going to see Matilda on Broadway, hanging out with our Stationery BFF's Paper Bandit Press, hugging my friend Seana from The Land of Nod, & meeting Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.
The show went from Sunday - Wednesday, with us flying out Thursday morning. It was a whirlwind of activity and nonstop work. I hope that people saw our booth and our growth and will begin to think of Gingiber as a brand to watch! I was so thrilled, BTW, to be named one of the Stationery Designers to Watch for 2016 by Stationery Trends Magazine! They threw all of the designers on this list an amazing dinner. It was so great to get to talk shop with so many like-minded business owners.
Until next time, NSS! I will try to write again soon about Quilt Market, which was the show that I went to directly after Stationery Show!
Thank You 2015!
Thank you, 2015, for being a year that stretched me in every way. I grew as a mother, learning to juggle 3 children. I grew as a business woman, opening a small storefront at my Springdale, AR studio. I feel that as an illustrator I had more beautiful projects and illustrations come to life than ever before! I am grateful for every bit of 2015, the good, the hard, the quiet, and the chaotic moments.
2016, what do you have up your sleeve?
Gingiber Is Relocating (AGAIN)
We've had an exciting year at our downtown Springdale, AR studio. We put a ton of love into this little space. We put down new wood floors. We painted. We styled it & really tried to bring the Gingiber brand to life! And I loved this space and had great plans to expand my retail hours, host crafting events, and solidify my presence in our beautiful historic downtown.
However, a year later, we find ourselves with a great opportunity to relocate just down the street! Our new location is 117 W Emma Ave, right across from one of my favorite stores, Cellar Door Antiques. I'm so excited to make our new location feel like home.
I've been Pinning and dreaming about how to decorate it just right. But of course we are moving over Christmas break, which means the name of the game is "get from point A to point B as quickly as possible".
It is daunting, moving our location AGAIN. This is like the 7th location on 3 years. And I'm tired of moving. BUT I am hopeful that this location will have all the magic that we need to grow Gingiber to its full potential.
Say a prayer, friends, if you can. I'm feeling really overwhelmed with the challenges in the business from 2015. It was not the year I had hoped for. Still successful, but I feel like we've hit a growth wall, and I'm anxious to troubleshoot our "hiccups". Of course we need these pesky distractions, such as moving the studio, to be over and done with!
I want to focus on bringing our kids apparel line back to life! I want to draw the cutest animals to hang in your nursery. I want to be able to take on more licensing projects with partners that I adore (such as The Land of Nod or Tree and The Rock). And, I NEED for Gingiber to grow by leaps and bound. We are taking some HUGE risks in 2016 and I am praying that they pay off!
Here's to 2016. May the best truly be yet to come.
The Fears of Running a Small Business
Lately I've been thinking a lot about my journey with Gingiber. When I was a little kid, all I wanted to be was an artist, or a professional softball player (what can I say, A League of Their Own had a profound impact on me). I remember being in high school, quietly sketching portraits of friends and family. I still thought that maybe I could go to a great Art Institute and figure out how to make this "art" thing work as a career. On holiday breaks, my parents would have me carry around my "portfolio" of work to show off for relatives. During college, I was determined to be the best art student that any of my professors had ever encountered.
But after college, I lost focus. The reality of being a young, married adult sucked the color right out of my life. Then one day, I listed some illustrations on Etsy. Eventually I got my first sale. And slowly, I found so much joy and fulfillment in being an illustrator as my sales grew! It was then that I realized that maybe I could become a successful artist on my own terms.
I quit my day job almost 3 years ago. And the past 3 years have been filled with incredible highs (hello Land of Nod collaboration!) and several lows (failed product launches, stalled sales, etc). I'm about to have my 3rd child, and lately I have been wondering if Gingiber can last. Do I have what it takes to navigate the changing dynamics of online sales? How do I keep the brand relevant? How do I reach my customers and compel them to purchase?
You see, I feel like all of us small businesses are in a "rat race" of sorts. We are all driven to have better websites, better product photos, and exude all of the confidence in the world to our audiences. But you know what? I think that in reality, none of us feel like we can really show our cards. I will openly say that I get scared. I run a SMALL business. It is me, my sister, and a production assistant. I am the only full time employee. Daily I wake up hopeful that sales will be good, that I will pursue the right opportunities, and make savvy business decisions. Yet by the end of the day, I if I've only had a few sales (where last year I would have had 20-30) usually feel defeated.
I don't know what the answer is. Is my market overly saturated? Do my customers no longer connect with me, the person behind Gingiber? Do the glossy photos and the apparent "success" of the brand no longer compel customers to make purchases?
Daily I pray that sales go up. I hope that my holiday yields a dynamic season. I hope that I can pay myself. Pay my employees, and pay those pesky taxes. But most of all, I pray for longevity, and that 20 years from now I can still be creating and living this crazy, hard, ever changing dream of being a successful artist.
Do any of you ever feel this way? Surely I am not the only small business owner out there feeling a little lost? Like the old formula just doesn't work anymore? Are customers not buying? Because all of the affirmation in the world feels empty if you can't move your inventory.