Wednesday, October 8, 2008

“Client Visits”

Recently, Patti and I had the opportunity to visit with two NSS exhibitors while we were on a trip to California.

Our first stop was San Francisco (or, more accurately, Emeryville) to visit with the folks at offers personalized cards for every occasion, and they license artwork from exhibitors in the National Stationery Show for its on-demand portion of the business. Some of these companies include Driscoll Design, Great Arrow Graphics, Spruce Avenue and Pipo Press – to name but a few.

Their offices are in this former industrial section of town, and they occupy a few spaces on the block – all just steps away from each other. They have one area for their offices (with loft ceilings), one for print and production and another for fulfillment. It was fun for Patti and me to see their printing equipment in action – and to see the custom orders coming out the other side. The VP of Operations, Paul Felber is amazingly knowledgeable in all kinds of printing equipment and inks (that’s years of experience for you), and he described how the different machines worked to Patti and me. I love this behind the scenes stuff! I’m sorry I can’t show you!

But here is a photo outside the office.

That’s Paul (L), Matt Cedillo, account manager (center) and Marty Reed, the company’s new CEO, (R) . (Matt has been my main contact at the company for 3 years and it was fun to see him in his home environment, so to speak).

Patti and I also met with Katy Borden, the Creative Production Director, but alas, only after this photo was taken. Katy has a great artistic eye, and I had a lot of fun getting to know her.

On Monday, I received this great, personalized thank you card from Marty. (I’ll just show you the front…)

The design is by Lilla Rogers Studio.

The next day, Patti and I went down to La Jolla, and got to stop in on Elum Designs! I have known Melissa and Brad Foster since before they joined the National Stationery Show for the first time back in 2002, so needless to say I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see how they create their beautiful line, and what it takes to store, pack & ship!

When we were visiting, we got to see Melissa finishing up an order of gorgeous letterpress invitations to a swanky fete that was being held in, of all places, White Plains! (That’s where we are, here at GLM). Her choice of paper and ink color and overall design – exquisite! It sure made me want to go to that party! (Don’t worry, I didn’t crash it!)

Elum has a few Heidelberg presses to handle the volume of custom letterpress invitations and announcements they create. I love these dependable machines – they look so big and clunky, and make a bit of noise, but they produce such lovely, even delicate results. Here’s one all inked up for a run. The press guys were shy about having their photos taken, though!

We also were treated to a tour of the warehouse. I was amazed by all the products there – staged to be shipped. I get to know exhibitors products by how they display it in their booths. So to see all the great giftwrap, notecards, journals and those amazing stationery desk sets (a Best New Product winner at the 2008 Show) on high shelves was really cool. I got a better idea of the sheer volume of products that this company is turning out. And to think, they got their start just a few years ago with a few lines of letterpress invitations. That Melissa, she’s talented!! (And she has a great team, too!)

When we were there, Patti asked about their efforts to be a “green” company. Brad told us that they use tree-free and recycled papers for their various products, and that they even recycle their steel-backed letterpress plates.

Here’s Melissa and Brad in one of their workrooms at the offices / warehouse.

You might be able to see that their workspace is clean, bright, organized and beautiful. What else would I expect from such a well-run company?

Thanks to both of these great companies for allowing Patti and me to have an inside look at their operations! We love to always be learning about how our customers do their business in order to fulfill the needs of their customers!

“Until next time!”