High fives, hugs and handshakes? You'll definitely want to meet Jordan and Jason of enormouschampion. I still recall their booth and happy smiles from two years ago when Glen and I met this fine dynamic duo! (profiled in our first issue of UPPERCASE magazine.)
Janine designed her own elegant line of holiday wrap and a stylish, typographically-inspired set of season's greeting cards. To see the full UPPERCASE line of Christmas products, come down to the shop for a visit (we have candy canes & other sweets!) or click on the following link. UPDATE: Thanks, How Magazine, for the mention!
These 3-inch pocket mirrors are hand-pressed in UPPERCASE. We have a selection of mirrors made from vintage maps from around the world and mirrors with lovely initials. More designs will be introduced over the next while. At just $7 for the mirror and its black velvet pouch, these are perfect stocking stuffers. You can purchase them in our online shop and in person. (Wholesale inquiries are welcome, too.)
If you'd like to make your own buttons and mirrors, drop in for a Sunday workshop!
There are many talented crafty business people whom I admire on Etsy, so I thought I would give it a try as well. Since I already had an account as a seller and my photos were ready, it took a little over an hour to get my shop up and running. Thumbs up! So in addition to being in the UPPERCASE online shop, Eclectonotes are now available on Etsy!Christine!
There are lots of new things uploaded to the online shop, such as these ABC magnet sets and Jumbo clips (that's my hand for a sense of scale!) This sketchbook with an illustrated cover by Marc Boutavant says "Je Dessine" (I draw) is one of our best-sellers so far.
L2 Design Collective was one of the first booths we visited at the show, and their soft-bound test print journals were some of the most memorable. Although covers made from test prints is not a new idea, the proportions, paper and presentation of L2's sets were quite nice. See more of their products here.
Mixed Co. is good company. The booth presented the work of some very talented women: notably Joy Deangdeelert Cho of Nantaka Joy and one of my favourite blogs (Oh Joy) whom it was a pleasure to meet, Lisa Wong Jackson of Good on Paper, and Meg Mateo Ilasco, the creator of the Mixed Co. concept and author of the great book, Craft Inc. (I reordered the book just before I left for NY, so it should be in the shop next week: it's so good we keep selling out!) Meg also makes some beautiful products, such as the number clips seen above.
Meg is a talented business woman and the advice she offers in Craft Inc. is both excellent and inspiring. Mixed Co. is a great idea and makes tackling something as big and potentially expensive as presenting in the National Stationery Show more manageable for independent stationery artists:
Mixed Co. is a marketing agency for independent designers that's best described as a hybrid mix of public relations and sales representation. In other words, our goal is to assist companies in getting product placement in press and inventory placement in retail shops. Like a PR agent, we establish marketing programs to help raise a company's profile and brand awareness. And like a sales rep, we take companies to trade shows for both marketing and sales opportunities. However, unlike a sales rep, we do not collect a commission on sales.
Brooklyn-based Enormous Champion's booth immediately caught our eye. They had interesting objects of inspiration in vignettes next to their cards, which made the cards themselves all the more appealing. The combination of letterpress and nice paperstock give their simple graphics a precious, tactile quality. Simple letterpressed-graphics (such as a image in silhouette or a vintage illustration paired with a small line of type) were a fairly common style at the show, but Enormous Champion was one of my favourites.
I'm pleased to announce the launch of
The online store presents a selection of my favourite stationery items, interesting objects, recommended books and works for sale in the gallery. Please have a look around. More items and inventory will be added on a weekly basis.
Calgary customers have the option of having their purchases couriered city-wide; Canadian and US customers can select from Canada Post and FedEx shipping. If you run into any glitches with the site, please let me know: it's brand new to the world, so there's bound to be some growing pains. Thank you!
The shot above is my initial rough of the site design. The product shots (below) are original photographs taken specifically for shop.uppercasegallery.ca with my newly indispensable Nikon D40. They were shot in the store and throughout the Art Central building. You're welcome to use images from the webstore as long as you credit UPPERCASE and link back to us, thanks.
I usually shy away from referring to myself personally when posting on this site – I tend to refer to "we" or "UPPERCASE" when announcing new shows and products or recommending links. This habit began in 1996 when I was first starting my design business, Vangool Design & Typography. Working from home and growing a design business when I was 23 and fresh out of college, it made me seem a little more confident and capable.
Since I opened UPPERCASE in March 2005 (and moved my design business out of the small room off the kitchen), I've slowly grown accustomed to being in a more public spot. My old situation allowed the occasional sleep-in and pajama workday. Sometimes days – or even weeks – would pass before I'd need to interact with a client or service provider in person. But after nearly ten years of working from home, I was really itching to get out into "the real world".
When Art Central opened in November 2004, I was immediately enamored with its potential of creating a community in Calgary dedicated to art and design. This was really what I was craving after all those years of working alone. I could imagine my long-term dream of having a studio/design bookstore happening in this space. I had previously set aside the bookstore idea as impractical since so many lovely independent bookstores had come and gone in Calgary. But with Art Central as a larger entity helping to pull in like-minded customers, my hopes for a design bookshop in Calgary were re-ignited. I reasoned that my design business would support the rent and operating costs of running a store. My expectations for the store were minimal.
Within about two weeks of seeing an empty available space (and falling in love with its gorgeous brick wall and view of the York Hotel's art deco details), I had presented a business description to my landlord and signed the lease. To fit with the mandate of Art Central, I couldn't just have a design studio: it would also have to be open to the public. So the concept of the store was to present the world of design and illustration, and of a working graphic designer, in a public way. Estimating costs, listing pros and cons, and following my intuition: that was the extent of my business plan.
Needless to say, there's a lot of financial risk involved in this venture, but UPPERCASE as a concept and store has already grown passed what I initially envisioned for it. I had absolutely no previous retail experience, so I really had no idea what was involved. I also seriously underestimated the money, work and amount of time it would take! However, it has really been a much-needed outlet for my own creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. It is so satisfying to develop an idea, make it happen and see it purchased from happy customers. I look forward to continuing to nurture the store and its future related projects as I branch out into another long-term dream: great books on design, illustration and pop culture published by UPPERCASE and designed by me! (Look for an announcement coming early next year.)
Here a photo of me taken last week. I'm surrounded by boxes of holiday items being prepared for wholesale and online customers.
I'd like to thank my husband, Glen, for helping me when things get overwhelming. Here he is – coincidentally dressed to match my Christmas cards. I'd also like to thank Katie, who works in the store on Saturdays and Sundays, giving me much-needed weekends!
Here are snapshots of the Christmas cards in production, using a Print Gocco (my new favourite contraption). There are ten different designs, so all told the effort of making these greeting card singles and sets required over 2000 impressions — all by hand!