WE'RE HERE & OPEN SO THAT YOU CAN SEND HANDWRITTEN SENTIMENTS TO THOSE YOU CARE ABOUT, ESPECIALLY DURING THESE TRYING TIMES. OUR HEARTS ARE WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY COVID-19 AND OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH ALL THE HEALTHCARE AND FRONT LINE WORKERS PUTTING THEIR LIVES AT RISK. WE HOPE ALL OF YOU ARE STAYING SAFE & HEALTHY.

recap of 2015-present day

Posted by debbie lee on

penelope's press and palm trees

where has penelope's press been?

wow, 2014 was the last time this blog had an entry.  shortly after that last entry, i lost interest in blogging, so i just stopped cold turkey.  recently though, i was updating my website and thought, “hey, let’s bring this blog back", but when i discontinued blogging years ago, i never backed up any entries.  after digging around the internet, i found a  site called the internet archive wayback machine and fortunately found (almost) all my old entries.  i copy and pasted all of the entries and photos and brought the little blog back to life (sadly, i wasn’t able to bring over any comments from readers).  in the process, its been fun re-reading my old entries and seeing how penelope’s press has grown through the years.  and so... i’m back!  i can’t promise how long i’ll stay or if i’ll update often, but here goes...

but first, let me give you a quick run down of what i've been up to the past few years...

  • 2015 in a nutshell:  had some health issues, exhibited at the national stationery show for the 3rd time, and more of the same — life adventures with the family, more printing, and forever trying to balance work and life
  • 2016 in a nutshell:  had another set of health issues, came to a realization that work/life balance may not be a real thing, relocated the family (and the small business including one press and one guillotine paper cutter) 2000 miles to southern california for the husband’s work, and slowed down printing/the business to enjoy west coast living
  • 2016-2019 in a nutshell:  enjoyed west coast living. 
a few weeks before we moved back in july of 2019, i posted the above photo on social media, along with the following:

    “my view tonight... sitting poolside thinking how missing in action i’ve been these last few years, especially this past year. right when i felt my business was making serious upward movement— 3 straight years of tradeshows, some great retail accounts, some celebrity orders, and shipping orders daily... then bam. major curveball and an opportunity presents itself and my husband’s career takes our family (and my business) out west. have i still been printing? does penelope’s press still operate and ship orders? do i still love letterpress and paper and all things stationery? yes yes yes... BUT, in the last 3 years i have intentionally slowed it down— created no new products, have done zero marketing, only added a handful of new stockists, and have had a quieter presence on social media. instead of hustlin’ and growing my business, i made southern california my second home and went all in. i volunteered like crazy— did the run club coach thing, the musical theater mom thing, the PTA president thing, the girl scout mom thing, and more... saw all the things up and down the west cost— checked off as many touristy bucket list items as we could, found local hidden gems, and ate all the foods... met strangers that became great friends, reconnected with old friends, and strengthened existing relationships with family and friends— all the while making lasting memories. has my business suffered? probably. actually, i’m sure of it. would i change any of it? no. 3 years has quickly passed and our stint out in southern california is coming to a close. follow along as my family and i (and penelope’s press) move back to the chicagoland area and i get reacquainted with reality and back to business. thanks to all of you that have hung on while i’ve been on my little hiatus 😘 #vacationisover #backtoreality #smallbusinesswoes #bittersweet

     

    •  2020 in a nutshell:  moved back to illinois, spent several months unpacking/organizing/getting back to midwest living, tried to get back to printing, but then had carpal tunnel surgery which slowed the printing back down, covid-19 hit, and then decided to get our basement finished… and here we are.  currently trying to navigate covid, keep my family and self safe, healthy, and sane, while basement construction chaos surrounds our living space
    if you've read this far, bless your heart.  when i'm into it, i think blogging is fun.  documenting life, business, etc is fun and no matter how much you think, "i'll never forget... (finish the sentence)", you probably will.  memories fade.  details fade.  and it's sad.  so here i am, another attempt to document my letterpress musings along with family and life shenanigans.  i hope you follow along!
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    it’s been messy around these parts

    Posted by debbie lee on

    i haven’t had a post in a really long time.  and of course the first post i’m writing after a long absence is to say that i’m sorry.  we recently switched e-commerce platforms from big commerce to our own wordpress hosted site.  it’s been quite the learning experience…. and while we’re ALMOST up to par, we still have a handful of things to figure out (like our footer and shipping and blog photos not showing up and contact forms not working to name a few.  um yes, if you recently submitted an inquiry through our contact and wholesale forms in the past few weeks, we NEVER received it.  we’re so, so, so sorry for that).  soooo.. i’m really sorry if things are looking a little messy around here… we hope to get all the kinks and quirks ironed out sooner than later.  thanks so much for much for your patience… you all are the best!
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    we’re at the national stationery show!!

    Posted by debbie lee on

    i cannot believe how much has happened and how little i’ve blogged about it!!!  just a quick post to let you know that we’re in nyc for the big national stationery show!!!  we’ve launched a ton of new products and can’t wait to share them with you!  here’s a pic of our booth… if you’re at the show, we would love to see you, visit us at booth 1750!!  recap of all of the madness coming soon!

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    2013 recap

    Posted by debbie lee on

    this poor blog has been completely neglected.  i’ve had a rough first month of the year… it felt like the holiday rush ran right into the new year and straight into wedding season… while, i’m not complaining of the increased business penelope’s press has been receiving, it’s been draining and work/life balance is becoming more and more of a challenge.  penelope’s press and myself is in need of a little tlc, which is exactly why i’m writing this post from sunny coronado, california!as been receiving, it’s been draining and work/life balance is becoming more and more of a challenge.  penelope’s press and myself is in need of a little tlc, which is exactly why i’m writing this post from sunny coronado, california!

    coronado, california

    before i desperately try to bring you up to speed with penelope’s press ongoings, i best recap the highlights {and some lowlights} of the last year {yep, even though it’s already february!}

    penelope's press booth at NSS 2013

    debuted at the national stationery show:  this was the most stressful, time-consuming, yet rewarding thing i’ve done for my business thus far.  preparing for the show encompassed so many moving parts, including building an entire booth display plus contents and shipping it to nyc, expanding the line by 100+ new designs {the majority of which were hand drawn illustrations by my sister {after several revisions, each drawing is scanned into illustrator, cleaned up + formatted,  then designed to include text + color.  photopolymer plates are made of each design and individually hand fed + letterpress printed one at time, one color at time}, and too many other things that happen behind the scenes like creating a catalog + line sheet from scratch, creating and assembling press kits, compiling a mailing list of potential wholesale buyers + sending them snail mail, updating the website with all of the new products including pricing, photos, description, etcetera.  the. list. was. endless.  but i did it, with the unending support and help of my husband {who built the hardwalls of my booth, drove me + the booth furnishings + products to nyc while i slept almost the entirety of the way, and was my go-to-runner-tie-loose-ends-keep-me-calm sidekick }, my sister {who kept drawing for me despite her own job + family + kids + life}, my parents {who babysat the kids while i hustled + printed + hustled + printed}, and all of my patient clients who waited a bit longer than normal for me to finish orders during the crazy rush that preceded and followed the show.  just thinking about all of the hardwork and mental energy that went into the show makes makes me both tired + teary eyed.  …and guess what?  it’s happening all over again… the tradeshow is just around the corner!  let the madness fun begin!

    retail:  with our debut at the national stationery show, penelope’s press has fully launched our wholesale line.  prior to the stationery show, penelope’s press products were only carried in two retail locations… since the stationery show, our lists of retailers has grown with fabulous stores from coast to coast.

    some awesome press:  penelope’s press had some exciting features, both online + in print, including the chicago tribune red eye, oh so beautiful paper, uppercase magazine, and style me pretty to name a few.

    boxed stationery sets

    a celebrity client:  we had our first celebrity client order {wishful thinking that we’ll have more celebrity clients}!!!  people keep asking who it is… maybe you can guess who it is with this hint:  he’s a television late night funny guy with the initials JK!

    calligraphy practice

    professional development:  took an intensive hand lettering + calligraphy class taught by the super talented molly jacques.  it’s an incredible feeling to be surrounded by creatives that are just as excited + passionate to learn the craft as you!  stay tuned, we hope to incorporate more hand lettering + calligraphy in our products!

    penelope's press at martha stewart wedding party chicago 2013

    wedding shows:  we dipped our toes in the wedding show arena and had a fabulous response!  penelope’s press had the opportunity to be a vendor at chicago’s own indie wed and a month later at martha’s stewart’s wedding party — the first time martha stewart took the annual new york wedding show on the road to the midwest.

    well, that’s about it for the major highlights of the last year.  as always, i am blessed to be able to create pretty paper products, work with amazing clients, and collaborate with talented colleagues in the industry!

    while it was another great year and penelope’s press continues to steadily grow, there is always room for improvement.  topping the list of “things-i-need-to-work-on” include– better work/life balance, keeping a tidier work station, create a better inventory tracking system, have better bookkeeping, and attempt to blog more.

    {see what i mean about keeping a tidier work station?  the struggle is real.}

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    wedding season in full swing!

    Posted by debbie lee on

    2014 is in full swing which means wedding season is well under way!!  penelope’s press is a proud vendor of the 5th annual indie wed!  we still have a few more complimentary tickets… if you are a chicago area bride and want to attend this awesome wedding show and market, message me asap at debbie{at}penelopespress.com.  hope to see you there!

    indie wed wedding show

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