Archive for the ‘BEHIND THE SCENES’ Category

FROM THE SKETCHBOOK: CREATING OUR 2015 CALENDARS

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Here is a little behind the scenes look at how we went about developing our laser cut calendars. I had an idea about a layered, laser cut item but I didn’t know what it would be. And practically speaking, a calendar was the easiest item to create around it as it already has multiple layers. So I started with the concept of a layered calendar what would reveal a new design each month. My mom actually put the idea of a flower in bright colors into my head. We were talking about something else completely and she mentioned this bright flower. The two ideas merged into one and I got started making.SKETCH

This is the page from my sketchbook and you can see the VERY rough sketch of the flower design. I made a few notes about how I was going to build it but it ended up being harder than I thought. I created the basic design in Illustrator and created a color palette using 4 pinks/oranges since 4 divides into 12 months nicely. I went head and decided what the cover would look like without really thinking about the structure. Meaning, I made it look how I thought it should before even considering what would need to be cut on each layer to create that look. This turned out to be a big help because it was in effect a guide to cutting the first 3 layers. I didn’t have to really start thinking until I got to the fourth layer or April.CALENDAR PROCESS1
I started by printing out the outline of my flower design on a sheet of paper for each month.This would be my 3D version of the calendar that I would make work before I even thought about setting up the files for the laser cutter. This guide would allow me to play around and make mistakes and really understand the structure of the calendar.
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Since I knew what was going to happen to the first 3 layers, I began my system by marking the shapes that would be cut out and then using my x-acto knife to cut those shapes out.
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I would continue this process for each layer. Marking the shapes that I wanted cut out,
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cutting those shapes out with my trusty x-acto knife (which I’ve had since college, no lie) and so on and so forth.
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Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that easy. There was a lot of flipping back and forth to consider what would happen to all the layers when I made a cut. I would decide which shapes were necessary to keep for the design and which could be cut out to allow for the new designs to come. It was a bit of a brain teaser for me since my brain actually doesn’t work that way naturally.
CALENDAR PROCESS11Flower Desk Calendar
In the end, I am super happy with the way both calendars turned out. Whenever I create something that is more challenging than usual, it’s really exciting for me. I guess that feeling is pride. I’m not gonna lie for the sake of humility. I’m proud of myself for creating these guys because I think they’re cool. If you think they’re cool too, you can purchase them right here.

10 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR YOUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

1. It is in no way free money: A Kickstarter campaign is a lot more work than you think it will be. From formulating your plan & running the campaign to shipping out the rewards, most people will tell you that a Kickstarter campaign is a full time job.

2. You need a strong plan before you start: You really need to think about each and every aspect of the campaign. Press, product, pricing, fulfillment and shipping. If you don’t have each area planned out, you will not be successful.

3. Do no neglect press: Depending on how much money you are asking for, you will need press to help you get the word out. Your friends and family can/will only do so much, the rest is up to you. I have heard of people with the goal of getting one piece of press each day throughout their campaign. Do not rely only on Facebook.

4. Price out everything to the last dollar: This is a painstakingly tedious task but you must make sure that you are aware of how much the campaign will cost you before you go live. Don’t get caught not making enough money.

5. Secure your first 30% and your team before you even start: It is really important to get to the 30% mark in your funding. So before you even begin your campaign, reach out to your friends and family and let them know this. Also, make it easy for them to reach out to their contacts by going ahead and writing up an email for them to forward on.

6. Have a back up plan: You may not get 100% funded. But you may get 80% which is pretty close. At that point, you can fund the rest of the campaign to “unlock” that 80%. The only stipulation is that you personally cannot provide that money. But you surely can get someone you know to do it and them pay them back.

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate: Be in constant contact with your backers during and after the campaign so that they feel appreciated and up to date on the progress of the project.

8. Make the best video you can: I can’t imagine supporting a campaign without a video. It just adds that personal touch that is what Kickstarter is all about. Hire someone to do it or don’t. Just work your butt off to make it as great as it can be.

9. Do not stop once your campaign is live: Continue to plug away once the campaign goes live. Answer questions and send updates, keep working on getting press.

10. Don’t let the emotional roller coaster get to you: It is up and down. Some days you may get 10% of your funding and some days 0% but you have to just ride the wave and try to stay calm. It’s hard but you can do it.

WELCOME TO THE NEW WEBSITE & BLOG!

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I am so excited to finally be sharing my new website & blog with you. This is one of those projects that takes so much time and collaboration that you just wonder if it will ever come together. And look! It has! And I’m wearing heels! (you know I never wear heels to work right?) But having a new website is a little like wearing heels. It feels like you do when you look your best. When you are in shape and the clothes are picked up off the floor.

So let me give you a personal tour of the new site. (or you can do what I would probably do, just go for it!)

PAPER CUTS ALBUM:
We have new, professional images of our custom invitations. YAY! This has been something that I resisted in the past because of the cost but boy am I glad I finally just paid to have people who know what they are doing to take pictures of my invitations. It just dawned on me one day, the invitations are exquisite, stunning & unique, don’t they deserve pictures that are worthy of them? They sure do! And now they exist. And man they look good!

OPTIONS:
You can now view our invitation options, pricing & ordering guide on the site. Before, I had to refer customers to an issuu album. It was working, kind of. It sure feels so good to have this all in one place now and I think my customers will agree.

ABOUT PAGE:
I have a proper about page now with some more professional pictures taken that one day I wore heels. If you don’t already know my story and how I got to where I am, I have given you more than you need to know on the about page. And if you don’t care because you just love pretty stationery, skip it and look at the laser cuts again.

STORES:
You can check all of our current retailers on the stores page and see if a store near you carries our products. This list has been updated since the old site since I have added more retailers.

REVIEWS:
You can now read what our customers have to say about working with Avie Designs on the reviews page. I blush a little just thinking about how kind they have been. They are way better at bragging about me than I could ever be and for that, I am truly grateful.

FAQ:
And last but not least, you can access the answers to most of your questions on the FAQ page (found under wedding). If you find that there is a burning question that you think should be added, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

THE BLOG:
I am really excited to be back up and running with the new blog. I have lots of fun content coming up that I have been itching to share but have been waiting for the website to be completed. The focus is really going to shift. There is going to be the usual posts about what’s going on with Avie Designs and our new products but there will also be new wedding and party related posts. This isn’t going to turn into a wedding blog but I do want to give my customers some helpful resources.

ETSY SHOP:
If you haven’t been over to the etsy shop in a while, you should check it out, we’ve made quite a few changes over there too.

THANK YOUS:
Lastly, I need to thank a few people that helped make this site possible. I worked with Aeolidia and they were just a pleasure. Eva was my designer and Jon was my programmer. I can’t thank them enough for all their help and patience. They were both lovely to work with. Erin & Bryan over at Tin Can Photography were also a big part of this website and it wouldn’t have happened without them. Thanks!

 

HAPPY 2014 WITH LASER CUT NEW YEAR’S CARDS

I like to send out New Year’s cards to the stores that I work with, mostly so that my holiday card doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of all the other ones. Can you imagine the amount of holiday cards a stationery shop receives each year?

These are the cards I put together this year. I used one of our new laser cut designs along with a printed card and some bakers twine. The design I chose is from our Mayan Suite because I love how modern it is. I had it cut out of shimmer ivory paper because I LOVE how the shimmer paper cuts (and I had it on hand). I paired it with a small card that I printed in a very light pink and the mayan design in white with brown and fuchsia text. I tied them together with brown and white bakers twine which was a bit of a pain because that stuff is so clingy. The envelopes are fuchsia with kraft liners. I really enjoy putting an earthy tone like kraft with a bright color like fuchsia. I think they balance each other nicely.

And since I was planning this for my professional cards, I decided to go ahead and do something similar for my personal cards and make use of the same laser cut.

So the laser cut is exactly the same, I just changed out the envelope & liners colors along with the small card. Due to logistics, meaning paper and envelopes that I had in stock, I split the cards and did half with a papaya liner and label and the other half with a peacock liner and label. The small card is printed with a picture on each side from our trip to Portugal. One side has a picture of me and the other has a picture of my husband. This was mainly because I didn’t have one of the both of us that I liked that also had scenery. When I put the cards together, I put my picture facing up with the papaya liner and sent those to “my friends and family” and I put my husband’s picture facing up with the peacock liner and sent those to “his friends and family”.  I also used different colored bakers twine on each. Again, this was not to segregate, it was based on what paper I had in stock. 

It is always fun to mix up the colors when you’re sending something like this out even if you are the only one that knows about it.

In hindsight, I would have liked to printed a little note on each one but I didn’t want to sully the images with anything. I have one friend that insists on getting a hand written note so I wrote a mean little note to punish her for being so insistent and making me change my design for her :) Even though I did end up agreeing with her in the end.

AVIE DESIGNS IS NOW ON INSTAGRAM

Did you make it your new year’s resolution to follow more people on Instagram? Probably not but I just recently jumped on the Instagram band wagon and I’m loving it. I’ve only been doing it for a month or so and I just love the immediacy of it all. I’m excited to share with you all the bits and pieces of my days. I’m going to try and make it a mix of personal and business with a healthy dose of adorable animals thrown in. Here is just a taste of what I’ve been sharing recently. So follow me at aviedesignsstationery to see some fun behind the scenes stuff from Avie Designs.

P.S I’m pretty sure that this means that Instagram will stop being cool pretty soon. 

TIN CAN PHOTOGRAPHY OUTTAKES

I had the distinct pleasure of spending two very long and very fun days with the amazingly talented husband and wife duo behind Tin Can Photography. Erin and Brian had photographed a wedding I was in and they seemed to be the type of people I could work with. So I contacted them when I needed head shots and product shots for my new website. Wait, there’s a new website? No, not yet. It will be forthcoming, probably in the early spring of 2014. And you will be there very first ones to hear about it.

Anyways, let me gush about how wonderful my experience was with these two. I had met with Erin over a month ago and we discussed what I needed and how we could achieve it. We scheduled a 1-2 day shoot at the beginning of December. We started with headshots. I got all dolled up which for me meant wearing makeup and curling my hair. When you see the final shots, don’t be fooled, I don’t ever wear high heels to work.

I have never had a photo shoot of myself before. I had no idea what to do. I had no idea how to make myself look good in a picture on purpose. I usually just smile and hope for the best. And sometimes it works out but more often I don’t look as good as I should. Erin was there to walk me through every pose, tell me where to put my hand, to lean in, to keep my arms away from my body. She’s knows what she’s doing ya’ll. Modeling itself isn’t very comfortable but Erin put me at ease and made me laugh. She was able to take the pressure off and assure me that even though it felt strange, it would look good. I understand why her brides love her and continue to book her for family photo shoots after the wedding.

After all of that fun, we had a day and a half of product photography to get through. And although I felt more relaxed once the camera was off of me, it was a bit grueling. We lowered my desk to use as a back drop which meant that we had to crouch down to place the stationery each time. I knew that I needed everything to be super straight since I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and Erin and Brian devised a string method that ensured absolute straightness every time. They were tireless in their pursuit of the best lighting, getting the stationery straight and making sure that I got exactly what I wanted.

When we would come up against a problem that we needed to figure out, they never once suggested the easiest way. They consistently worked towards getting me the pictures I needed and nothing else was good enough for them.

We finished up the lion share of the product photography at 4:30 on the second day and I was wiped. I know they were too. But we still had to get individual shots of my laser cuts and had no idea how we were going to do it. Again, Erin and Brian devised a genius plan to achieve the look I wanted. They even laid on the floor for another couple of hours to get the shots.

Overall, they were a complete joy to be around for 2 days and are beyond committed to their craft. I had no idea that photography was so hard and tedious.  I really feel like I got such a bargain with these two. I cannot recommend them enough.

If you are getting married, need head shots, just had a baby, or just want some family pictures, do yourself a favor and hire Tin Can Photography.

P.S. Ozzy, our tiny white dog, was quite the visual assistant and actually curled up on Brian’s back at the end of the day when he was lying on the floor taking pictures.

AVIE DESIGNS IS HIRING!

Avie Designs is looking to hire one part time employee. This position is at our office in Atlanta, Georgia.
Job Description:
This position is essentially an assistant to Avie and you will be required to complete and manage a number of different responsibilities which will include but are not limited to:
– Packaging & Shipping Orders
– Social Media
– Inventory
– Preparing quotes, proofs and files for print
– Assisting with photo shoots
– Office management
Ideal Candidate:
A design student that is interested in the stationery industry to help us out with a few tasks around the office. Having a passion for paper, design and craft are a must.
Other Required Skills:
– proficient in Illustrator, Photoshop, Excel
– punctual
– detail oriented
– respectful
– willing to learn
– tidy and organized
– hard worker
Hours and Compensation:
This is a paid, part time position. We will need someone for 10-20 hours a week depending on availability and work load. Our office is open 9-5 Monday through Friday.
How to Apply:
Please email info@aviedesigns.com with your resume and portfolio attached. Please include your availability. Due to the high level of interest, we cannot respond to every application. We will contact you if we have any questions or would like to set up an interview.

THE ROAD TO NSS 2013: THE BOOTH REVEAL

THE ROAD TO NSS 2013: SETTING UP THE BOOTH

We finally made it to the actual show! There are so many months of preparation that once you get there, it’s almost unbelievable. I almost always think that my shipment(s) won’t arrive but so far so good. I usually carry as many samples as possible on the plane with me so that if all else fails, my products will be there. Luckily, my crate was ready and waiting for us. Here is the before shot with nothing but our luggage in the booth and our huge crate ready to be cracked open.

I am so sorry that we didn’t get any pictures of us putting the walls together but they were actually very simple to put together and get up. First we laid down our white foam flooring to protect the canvases from the nasty NSS floor. Then we laid the canvases on the floor just how they should be once put up. Since the frame of the canvases is wood, we simply used small pieces of wood to connect them. We used a drill to connect the smaller wood to the back of the canvases so that all of the canvases on one wall were connected in a sturdy way. We had pre-drilled holes in the back of the wood on each canvas to slip zip ties into. This is how we connected the walls to the metal pipe that is provided.  It isn’t ever as easy as it should be and there are always issues.

That is the most important thing that I have learned over my years exhibiting at NSS: No matter how well you plan and prepare, something will go “wrong” and you will have to come up with a solution on the spot. You can only hope that they are minimal.

This time, I went ahead and painted product headings onto the canvas before I left. I had a little feeling that this may be a mistake but it was something that I couldn’t do once I got there. It was too time consuming. I just had to have that hand painted feel to my words on the canvas and that had to be done before hand. My calculations were wrong and my booth number ended up being in a different place than I planned. It was a minor issue and we dealt with it. The best part about already expecting that something will go wrong is that I don’t get stressed out when it does.

Here is our display coming together for the new Paper Cuts Album. I bought some fake flowers at Michael’s and spray painted them with 2 types of gold spray paint. I cut them up and used a hot glue gun to create the wreath. We also used hot glue to fix it to the wall.

Here I am putting together the display which I just had a general idea of in my head, no real plan. So I just started putting stuff on the wall with no plan. And it didn’t turn out so hot. 

Here you can see the original display for the Paper Cuts Album. I moved on and kept putting together other parts of the booth even though I wasn’t happy with my wall display. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t do the product justice. So I took it all down and went with another tactic. I decided to do it based on color and you will get to see the final product in the next post. And I am so glad that I changed it. With the original design, no one stopped to look at the laser cut designs. Once I changed the display, barely anyone walked by without at least slowing down to look. And this was just the other exhibitors, but it would carry over to the actual buyers as well.

THE ROAD TO NSS 2013: STORE INVITATIONS

I am excited to finally reveal our invitations that we sent out to stores to invite them to our booth at The National Stationery Show.

Like I mentioned last time, being creative is the fun part but there is also a lot of pressure as the competition is stiff.

I decided to go simpler this year than I have in the past and I am really happy with how they turned out!

I have been loving oranges, gold and pinks together lately so I knew that was the color combo we were going with. I am infatuated with my laser cut designs cut out of shimmer papers so we went with the shimmer antique gold for the invite. As you may be able to tell, it’s a new design. And the fun part is, this and many more laset cut designs will be available SO soon!

The envelope liner is solid but also a shimmer paper. It’s our shimmer gold and I love the way the two shimmer golds work together. The envelope is melon and the washi tape on the back is gold diagonal stripe. I can’t seem to get away from that washi tape, I always buy it even when I tell myself to branch out.

The envelope then went into our dip dyed ombre canvas bags that we stamped with the logo. I didn’t plan on being able to see the melon envelope through the canvas bag but it turned out to be one of those happy accidents.

We put the whole thing in a stiff mailer to protect it and we got many stores to stop by our booth from it.