The Stationers Guild

Posts Tagged ‘stationery’

Discounting Invitations and Stationery

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”

Aldo Gucci
Gucci

I continue to be amazed at the number of vendors and store owners who believe that discounting is a viable economic model to grow your business.  Clearly, seasonal sales promotions are often used as a carrot to draw people to your brand, but “serial discounting”  is a sure recipe for business failure.

As I have written on numerous occasions for the Stationers Guild, “If you sincerely want to trash your brand and reputation,  there is no better way to do so than “serial discounting.”    Unfortunately, large printing companies that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to position their brand in the market are now recklessly dragging their good name through the dustbin of insipid designs that have long ago lost their luster.

I suspect that the Internet – with it vast repository of truly tasteless designs and Jersey Shore hype – has led corporate bean-counters to recommend to cut quality and lower prices to compete.   This might be a useful strategy if you are prepared to become the low-cost producer and drive everyone out of business, but most quality printing companies cannot do so.

Let’s face it, there are 4 million search results for the term “cheap wedding invitations.”    Dominating the top search results are two of my favorite discount printers:  123print.com and weddingpaperdivas.com, whose parent company, Tiny Prints is now owned by Shutterfly.     Now if you are considering discounting, take a hard look in the mirror before trading in your brand for print quality and papers of  low cost industrial producers like Shutterfly and VistaPrint.  Those fellows will eat your lunch.

This message was brought home to me once again by a fascinating note from Lee Collins, Managing Director of StomperNet entitled “Discounting Yourself Out of Business.”   In this blog, Lee Collins introduces Michelle Chance-Santhong who explains with glaring simplicity why serial discounting can be hazardous to the health of your business.

Now most of you have probably never heard of StomperNet, but it is the premier learning center for anyone who truly wants to  make a living on the Internet.    StomperNet members and faculty are professionals and I take their advice very seriously.

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Last Days of William Arthur Stationery and Invitation Promotion

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

William Arthur has been crafting high quality stationery and custom party invitations for well over three decades. This Kennebunk, Maine firm is best-known for its exceptional designs and styles showcasing Vera Wang, Rita Renning and William Arthur’s own exceptional fashion styles. William Arthur’s wedding designs are most well-known with bridal couples and offer a vast array of diverse printing and customization possibilities.

William Arthur Stationery and Invitation Promotion

At present through April 2nd you can purchase William Arthur’s fashionable stationery and save yourself money while doing so. Buy 75 or more units from William Arthur and receive 25 free of cost. You shouldn’t wait and visit a William Arthur dealer in your town or see other online wedding invitation and stationery options. You will be happy you did so.

Maybe you are shopping for new engraved stationery or have just become engaged and should post a save the date card or wedding invitations. Today is the time to purchase your stationery or invitations and take advantage of of this exceptional deal. William Arthur offer is available to you through authorized William Arthur dealers in retail stores in your town or at William Arthur’s online shop. Shop in the area with the help of a qualified stationer to check out the wide choice of William Arthur’s customization alternatives and printing alternatives or check out William Arthur on the web.

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Crane Stationery and Invitation Promotion

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Today to April 2nd, Crane & Co. is giving you extraordinary markdowns on virtually all customized stationery orders and custom invitations. Buy 75 or more pieces from Crane and receive 25 totally free.

Crane Wedding Invitation

Crane Stationery Promomotion

Whether you are shopping for new engraved stationery or have just gotten engaged and should send a save the date invitation or wedding invitations. Today is the time to purchase your stationery or invitations and take advantage of of this exceptional promotion. Crane’s offer is readily available to you through listed Crane retailers in retail stores near you or at Crane’s online store. Buy in your community with the help of an experienced stationer to view the wide selection of Crane’s personalization alternatives and printing options or take a look at Crane on the web.

Crane & Co. has been making high quality stationery and custom party invitations for more than two centuries. This Dalton, MA firm is known for its extraordinary engraving, hand-painted borders and large assortment of 100% cotton papers. At present through April 2nd you can purchase Crane’s elegant stationery and save money while doing so. You shouldn’t wait and check out a Crane retailer in your town or go shopping online. You will be glad you did so.

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Listening with your Mouth: The Age of Social Media

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

For a couple of years, I have been a member of the LinkedIn group Greeting Card, Stationery & Gift Industry Gurus. For the record, I am not a Guru, – but I wish I were – and I didn’t join the group to become one.  I simply joined to exchange ideas on industry trends with fellow professionals.  When I joined the Gurus, I seem to recall that there were some 300 members.   I now think that membership is approximately 2,000.  Today, this group has one less:  I quit.

My reasons are quite simple, I felt the forum had been hijacked by “members” with an agenda.  Specifically, the expanded Guru membership consists of Chinese manufacturers pushing everything from radio-controlled toys to cheap writing instruments and from multilevel marketing evangelists to barter trade scam artists.  This was not the group that I had signed-up for and I finally got exhausted at dealing with the inane self-promotion and general idiocy which characterizes a forum without direction.  The Age of Social Media has arrived:  Those who speak loudest and more often determine the message.  It is an age where chatter is more important than relevance.

The instruments of social media provide a useful platform for people to promote agendas without substance and self-promotion artists posing as respectable business people.    This is not a group that has much future since it has become a support group for people without an identity and not much self-confidence.  I suspect that many other Gurus will soon jump ship if they haven’t already done so.

How reassuring that some people still write personal notes and are still able to express themselves eloquently in this abyss of mindless social chatter signifying nothing.

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End of Summer Sale for Custom-made Stationery

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

“Timing is everything” said one experienced individual and, indeed, there is no time like the present to order customized stationery, calling cards, stickers and ID tags from leading stationery artists.

Printswell End of Summer Stationery Promotion

Today through October 3, Printswell has a Summer Stationery Sale which will enable you to double up on your stationery order absolutely Free. Printswell is a world-class printing company and fulfillment center for such wonderful designers as Rosanne Beck, Stacy Claire Boyd, Little Lamb Design and many other artists.

Printswell stationery and their great collection of holiday photo cards are already reasonably priced, so this is an excellent opportunity to acquire custom-made flat or folded notes for the entire family. Printswell’s family of artisans has produced wonderful stationery for those who prefer a lighter touch. This is a good chance to introduce your children to stationery and also the correct way to say “thank you.”

When placing your order online, place the total quantity you want to receive in the online order form. The price shown already includes the discount. Enjoy the rest of your summer and save with Printswell stationery.

Sheila May is the owner of Therese Saint Clair and writes frequently about personalized stationery, and holiday photo cards.

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The “End of Summer” Promotional Sale for Customized Stationery

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

“Timing is critical” said one knowledgeable individual and, definitely, there isn’t any time like the present to purchase custom-made stationery, calling cards, stickers and ID tags from leading stationery creative designers.

Printswell End of Summer Stationery Promotion

At this time through October 3, Printswell has a Summer Stationery Sale which will let you double up on your stationery order for FREE. Printswell is a world-class printing company and fulfillment center for such wonderful designers as Rosanne Beck, Stacy Claire Boyd, Little Lamb Design and several other artists.

Printswell stationery along with their great collection of holiday photo cards are already reasonably priced, thus, making this an excellent opportunity to purchase custom flat or folded notes for the whole family. Printswell’s family of artisans has created great stationery for many who prefer a lighter touch. This is a wonderful chance to expose your children to stationery and the correct way to say “thank you.”

When placing your order online, place the total quantity you wish to receive in the online order form. The price shown incorporates the discounted price. Have fun with the rest of your summer and save with Printswell stationery.

Sheila May is the owner of Therese Saint Clair and writes frequently about personalized stationery, and holiday photo cards.

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The End of Summer Promotional Sale for Personalized Stationery

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

“Timing is essential” said one savvy individual and, indeed, there isn’t any time like the present to order personalized stationery, calling cards, stickers and ID tags from leading stationery artists.

Printswell End of Summer Stationery Promotion

Today through October 3, Printswell features a Summer Stationery Sale that will let you double up on your stationery order for FREE. Printswell is a world-class printing facility and customer fulfilment center for such terrific designers as Rosanne Beck, Stacy Claire Boyd, Little Lamb Design plus several other artists.

Printswell stationery and their great collection of holiday photo cards are already reasonably priced, so this is an incredible opportunity to buy custom-made flat or folded notes for the entire family. Printswell’s family of designers makes wonderful stationery for those who prefer a lighter touch. This is a good chance to expose your children to stationery and also the proper way to say “thank you.”

When placing your order online, enter the total quantity you wish to receive in the online order form. The price shown includes the discount. Enjoy the rest of your summer and save with Printswell stationery.

Sheila May is the owner of Therese Saint Clair and writes frequently about personalized stationery, and holiday photo cards.

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Blogging to promote fine stationery and custom invitations

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

A popular definition of “true freedom”  is when the kids leave home and the dogs die.  I’m not sure I agree with this definition because I miss my dogs – actually they were the kid’s dogs that I was obliged to look after.  True freedom or not, my mind turns to blogging to occupy my free time.   I will write about most anything that strikes my fancy, but mostly I write about stationery and the changing landscape of American towns brought about the digital revolution.

As a compulsive blogger, I was therefore pleased to see the launch of Blog Boutique at the National Stationery Show.  Blog Boutique is a blogging resource for time-pressed store owners who want to get their message out about fine stationery and custom imvitations.  Blog Boutique is the idea of the talented Holly Bretschneider, the owner of Salutations in Chapel Hill and Charlotte, NC.

Beginning on June 15th, Blog Boutique will offer some 150 articles complete with beautiful images that subscribers may use as articles on their own blogs.  I understand that Blog Boutique will be adding some 50 articles a month and paid subscribers can search the database for relevant articles to support their own marketing and informational campaigns.  In effect, it works much like a syndicated news service to save store owners the agony and grind of “creating” original content to keep one’s blog relevant.

The basic program permits the subscriber to download up to 4 articles a month for $40 or $10 an article.    This is a reasonable price to pay for original content and if you upgrade to the Plus or Ultimate subscription programs you may download more articles and the price per article becomes even less expensive.

Holly is on to a great concept:  Leading stationers in the United States need to write  frequently and passionately about the industry we love.  For those that already have blogs, Blog Boutique might be a useful resource to share the heavy lifting.    Those that are thinking about establishing a blog should carefully consider their responsibilities.  At minimum, a new blog requires at least 3 articles posted a week to remain relevant.  Unless you are willing to make that commitment, it is better not to start in the first place.

One of the issues that I always consider in publishing the same article on multiple websites is the issue of duplicate content.  Google doesn’t like to “see” the same information published in multiple websites.  Since the purpose of Blog Boutique is not to deceive the search engines, Holly believes that duplicate content is not an issue if articles are used to support good blogging habits. She forwarded an article that addressed the subject of duplicate content as it pertains to syndicated news articles.   In any event, I wouldn’t rely entirely on Blog Boutique for my Blog and would certainly pen a few articles of your own.  Also, I would suggest that you change the title and perhaps modify the first sentence of the article to give it a more personal touch.

Well done Holly!  Fellow stationers, let’s get blogging!

Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

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The Knot: This dog don’t track!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Every year at the National Stationery Show, I visit The Knot booth.  The Knot is considered by many to be the leading website for weddings.    In fact, many stationery stores advertise on The Knot and some have reported considerable success.  I became disenchanted with The Knot many years ago – not because I was a shareholder and watched their share price fall from $30 to $10 – but for The Knot’s lack of integrity and misrepresentation of local businesses and local resources.  To those charges I now add incompetence.  “Incompetence,” you ask?  Sure, take the The Knot’s application form at this year’s National Stationary Show.

I know, how embarrassing is this?  Nevertheless, I suspect that many stationers signed this application form in the hope that they would find the “promised” bridal couple and possibly more in their town or county.

I sincerely hope that fellow stationers will be rewarded for their advertising, but I suspect that your potential client will be hijacked by The Knot’s propensity to promote its national online fast food chains that masquerade that they are local businesses.   While The Knot could be a great asset for struggling local businesses, they have sold their integrity to the highest bidder and as a result, the consumer, the stationery industry, designers and artisans have been short-changed. 

Let me be as plain as possible:  Local stationery stores and other wedding-related local businesses that advertise on The Knot are simply subsidizing their own demise.  I wish The Knot would wake up and “do the right thing.”   Maybe a spelling class would also help.   Even the stock market might notice. 

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

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Should stationery stores represent lines that are sold online?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

I recently received an email invitation from XYZ Paper (which I couldn’t easily open given the security filters of my email provider)  inviting me to see their line at the National Stationery Show.  According to their website, XYZ Paper is a US-based ”invitation & stationery company that prints on recycled papers using soy based inks. XYZ is committed to producing the finest quality paper products in an ecologically sustainable manner. We believe in doing our part to make the world better.”

As readers of the Stationers Guild news are aware, the consumer and I have no way of knowing whether XYZ Paper is truly committed to “”producing the finest quality paper products” nor can I verify that they will do so in an “ecologically sustainable manner.”    Nevertheless,  the designs seemed interesting and I was about to jot down their booth number when I discovered that ZYZ Papers were selling their product on Etsy.  

This immediately raises the question:  Should a store front dealer represent stationery lines that are sold online? If so, under what conditions”?   These are questions that I have struggled with for several years and I suspect that, like others,  have simply rolled-with-the-punches and don’t really have any firm policies.  Opinions, yes; but convictions that lead to decisive action, no!

Now I plan to visit XZY Papers at the National Stationery Show,  but will do so with a far more hardened position regarding what bricks and mortar stationers should ”demand” in opening a new relationship a vendor.    I suspect that this “discussion” will not be easy for either party, but hope that it will lead to a more productive relationship for both.

  1. I do not intend to open up any new personalized stationery or custom invitation line with a new vendor that sells directly to the public through their own website unless they have an affiliate program that is available only to bricks and mortar dealers.   Rationale:  Bricks and mortar dealers pay for the priveledge of marketing specific lines (the cost of the Albums) and it simply doesn’t make any sense competing against your own supplier. 
  2. I will insist that any new dealer relationship offers a 50% commission on the retail price quoted in the Album.  Some premium vendors are now offering a 40% commission or sliding scale commission based on volume.   Rationale:  It is unfair to the consumer and other vendors to use the commission structure to determine which line(s) will be shown to the consumer.  Let’s have a level playing field to make sure that  the client gets the best value for his or her money without skewing choices based on profit margins. 
  3. Establish which channel(s) the vendor intends to use to promote their brand.  With an entablished affiliate program, bricks and  mortar stores can cross-promote brands to attract buyers to their store and also provide internet  buyers with the option to make their purchase online.  Building brand awareness in multiple channels using vendor approved artwork can greatly leverage the brand visibility to an online audience and encorage interested buyers to visit stationery stores in their neighborhood.  

Integrated marketing strategies leveraging the touch-and-feel and service quality of bricks and mortar stores together with the reach of the Internet can greatly increase brand awareness for the consumer.  Stores and vendors that work in a coordinated manner to market a brand  seem to me to have the greatest chance of success in an increasingly competitive market.

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