Thursday, May 6, 2010
L&H: A New Direction
As I've mentioned, there are changes going on over here at L&H - changes I've been thinking about for a while & am excited to finally announce them.
When I started L&H, it was with imported papers, rubber stamps and ink pads - most of which I still have:) I worked with clients one-on-one and made invitations by hand, stamping each piece. The result was beautiful and completely unique. But it wasn't easy. I didn't have many clients who were willing to pay for the work involved and the stamping took its toll. Wedding invitations had to be pretty close to perfect, and there is nothing perfect about a rubber stamp - except for its imperfectness:) So I decided I wanted to try out a line of note cards. With a small line of letterpressed note cards, I signed up for the National Stationery Show last minute. I had the sale of a lifetime that first year - to Paper Source. The then-owner walked in my booth and said she had to have them after seeing our moose note cards. I was beyond thrilled. I was giddy. And hooked.
We continued to release new note cards & products. We launched a custom album in 2008, which we sold that year to about 30 stores nationwide and one in Australia. What I thought would be an easy, streamlined process turned out to be more of a headache. Most of our retailers who ordered custom work were great. One in particular gave me heart palpitations – yelling, accusing, even threatening at one point. Can you imagine? I’m in client service, and I get it. But I wasn't happy about it. People think working with brides is a nightmare. In my experience, it was exactly the opposite. And I wished I had just kept working with them directly & exclusively.
On top of wholesaling our custom work, we were still working with clients one-on-one and offering a full retail line, which included new product lines too, and selling to over 100 stores nationwide. And I was the only designer. Three years later, I’ve got my two little hands in too many places without asking myself where I really want to be - for me and for L&H.
So, my friends, I’m pulling back on the reins. I took our albums out of stores at the beginning of the year and have pulled back on almost all custom work. And just this week, I took down our stationery line from our website and have stopped our formal pr efforts. It’s all a little sad, I must admit. But while I'm sad about ending some things, I'm even happier to be starting others. This is a transition. A big transition. And I’m excited about where this is going and most importantly, I'm excited about what it means for me – more control and more flexibility & freedom.
So what’s next for L&H, you ask? The only item we plan on wholesaling from now on is our annual calendar. It’s been my favorite project every year – and a favorite of yours, too, as it sold out last year by Thanksgiving! And then moving forward, I’m going to work on limited-edition projects - projects on paper and other materials - to be released on our website about every month (via newsletter and of course here on the blog). And I’m thrilled to announce here that our very first project is a letterpressed birthday calendar! (A peek at the cover, above.) I have been wanting to do one of these for years. John and I have 18 nieces and nephews, so it will personally make things a lot easier for us! We’ll debut the birthday calendar at the NSS next weekend and offer it to retailers exclusively at the show and then launch it on our website at the end of the month. I can't wait to show it to you.
Thank you so much for all your support over the years. I am really excited about this transition and am looking forward to sharing my progress & process with all of you here.
And as if this wasn't enough to digest, I have something else to announce tomorrow! So do stay tuned. I promise it's good!