In just a few short weeks, I'll be a first time exhibitor at the 27th annual Doylestown Arts Festival! I'm very excited to bring exit343design to a local town you can actually get to via exit 343 on the PA Turnpike! But for real, this two-day curated show in September is sure to be a great weekend. Come visit me in booth 22 on West State Street! The show runs Saturday AND Sunday, September 8th & 9th from 10am-5pm both days. Check out some other vendors I'm really pumped to see below:
Hops and kisses: such a cute and clever wedding theme, courtesy of Sharon and Jon! I met this couple at Lovesick, the bi-annual wedding expo that I vend at in Philadelphia. Early on in the process of developing their save-the-date (shown below), the couple wasn't too sure about what direction they were taking their decor in. The one thing they did know? Their shared love of local craft beer would definitely be showcased.
When it came time to designing the invitation suite, Sharon and Jon were the chillest couple to work with. I pitched them a suite featuring some hop graphics, some modern fonts, a OOAK rolled ink texture, and a custom beer coaster for their recipients to keep and enjoy. They were on board for the whole shebang and below is the result:
I love including a fun keepsake in invitations and these coasters were up for the job! I screen-printed the entire suite on The French Paper Company's Speckletone Kraft. The coasters were printed by 24Hourwristbands.com.
After the invite went out, Sharon approached me about creating some other coordinating pieces for their big day. In particular, she wanted to have the seating cards be coasters as well! It was a challenge to find a way to get it done within budget, but the rad people over at Digital Lizard were able to make it happen. I also printed custom drink coolies and designed/printed a bar menu featuring all of their favorite beers- including a beer brewed by the groom himself!
Sharon was kind enough to share some photos of my work "in the wild" at their reception at Ridgeland Mansion. Check them out below- all photos featured below are by Tiffany Atlas and her company Atlas Wedding Photography- please check out her beautiful work!
Can I just tell you how excited I am to finally get to share this suite with the world?! During the fall of last year, I met Andrew and Brianne while I was vending at A Whole Lot of Lulu in Phoenixville. They saw my booth and thought that I might be the person to help make their wedding invitation dream a reality. It turns out that they are amateur astronomers and wanted to incorporate their love of the night sky with their wedding paper for their small destination wedding. We met a few weeks later and after discussing the details over some beers, I hit the ground running!
I enlisted the help of the professionals over at Jakprints for help with the die-cutting for the top piece. The paper is Nightshift Blue and Madero Beach, both from The French Paper Company. The design, screen-printing, and assembly was all done by me, exit343design. The design that is subtly printed on the navy blue is inspired by Andrew and Brianne's save-the-date that they purchased from another source.
Andrew and Brianne planned an awesome wedding weekend in northeastern Maine practically sight-unseen. Seeing as Maine is one of my favorite places in the whole world, I was extra pumped to help them out with make this wedding suite happen. Congrats to this awesome couple- I hope your weekend and wedding was everything you hoped for and more!!
After a couple-of-years hiatus, I'm excited to be returning to the legendary Art Star Craft Bazaar this Mother's Day weekend! Held at Penn's Landing for 14 years running, this show is one of the premiere local shows for the maker community. Megan and Erin of the brick-and-mortar store of the same name do a tremendous job hosting this show- if you're in the Philly area, come on out! I'll be in BOOTH 57 with the lovely Gretchen of BirdQueen Designs. The show runs both Saturday AND Sunday from 11-6pm, is rain or shine, features 140 vendors from all over (not just Philly!), and is FREE to attend! To learn more about the show, follow this link. To see some cool stuff by vendors that will be in attendance, look below :)
Sharing the snail mail love- here's a round-up of some of my favorite cards for Easter!
Today is the ten-year anniversary of my 21st birthday. It means I'm officially "in" my thirties. I believe Chelsea Handler is accurately conveying my thoughts on the matter:
Anyhow, it's no secret that I'm a music lover and I thought that making a playlist for the occasion would be a fun way to celebrate, while sharing some of my favorite party and age related songs. Here it is- the thirty-something playlist, hosted by Spotify. Have a great St. Pat's and weekend!
1. Be prepared to say farewell "free" time . . .
2. . . . and say hello to becoming a multi-tasking champion!
3. Oh, did I mention how many hats you need to wear?
4. Learn when to say "no" or you will quickly get burnt out.
5. Your life becomes a series of lists on lists on lists.
6. There might be naysayers and people who try to drag you down . . .
. . . but you should know to listen to this guy:
7. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!
Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs are home to what feels like a bajillion breweries. Not that I'm complaining- it's awesome to have access to so many unique beers so easily! This weekend, I'm heading to Neshaminy Creek Brewing for the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market's taproom takeover. I'll be there drinking craft beer and slinging my crafts among some of the area's coolest vendors! In honor of the March 4th event, I thought I would call out some of my own personal favorite local breweries. In no particular order, here goes . . .
Their Downingtown location is the O.G. brewery of suburban Philadelphia. They opened in 1996- one year after Delaware's Dogfish Head and two years after Central Philly's Yards Brewing, two other grandparents of the craft beer revolution. And over twenty years after their original facility opened to the public, Victory Brewing still finds ways to surprise and delight. Although I love to try new beers, I know that I can absolutely never go wrong with a Victory beer. Some of my fav brews: Hop Ranch, Hop Devil, and Golden Monkey.
Talk about Philadelphia having awesome beer history- Dock Street is older than me! Founded in 1985, their website states that they were one of the first post-prohibition craft breweries in the country - and Philly’s first all-grain brew pub. I go to Dock Street at least once a year after I vend at the Go West! Craft Fest and it never disappoints. Their wood-fired pizza is THE BEST after a long show and of course their beer is top-notch. The vibe is chill, too- the brewery is now housed in an old firehouse and has really nice outdoor seating on the sidewalk out front. Some of my fav brews: honestly, they're always switching it up, so get a flight!
This is one of my favorite breweries to take out-of-town friends to because it's such a unique spot. Living in an old house in Ambler, this microbrewery started out specializing in traditional British-style and Belgian-style brewing and has since blossomed into a whole slew of all kinds of varieties of beers. They often hold special bottle releases, where beer fanatics line up around the block for the chance at limited-edition flavors. Their brewpub is the perfect blend of a cozy house and awesome beer. Bonus: they have a nice front porch and lawn for when the weather is good. Some of my fav brews: same deal- they have a rotating draft list, so get a flight!
I am personally more of a fan of their original brewery location, but they recently opened a spacious brewpub in Bridgeport that has the same great beer and an expansive food menu. However, the original brewery is within walking distance of my apartment so that's the clear winner in my book! Anyhow, this brewery is right on the Schulykill River Trail, making it a popular destination for beer snobs and bike snobs alike. When the weather is nice, they roll up the garage doors to expose a deck with great exercise-people watching. Some of my fav brews: Type A IPA, the There Is No Try series, Island in the Sun
My first visit to their brewery was only very recent, although I've had their beers many times. It's not much to look at from the outside, but I love the vibe of the taproom- it's like an arcade meets a brewery meets a small airplane hangar. It's dog friendly (Conshy Brewing is as well) and has lots of space for events. If you look at their labels (art by JP Flexner) and digest the names, you can tell the brewery has its roots seeded in rock'n'roll. My personal favorite name is The Shape of Hops to Come, because who doesn't f*ing love The Refused?! Anyhow, I'm excited to be back here for the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on March 4th! Some of my fav brews: J.A.W.N. and alternately Coffee J.A.W.N., Tribute Tripel, County Line IPA
This Bucks County newcomer (2014) is also a new favorite of mine. Situated in a small industrial park near Neshaminy Creek Brewing, their taproom kind of reminds me of a large office breakroom, but the employees rioted, took it over, and converted it into a brewery. No matter- their beer is interesting and worth a sip. Well, more than a sip for sure! They also brew a house Amber Ale for local pub favorite Dog & Bull in Croydon, which is how I found out about this brewery in the first place. Their website is rough and their beer label designs are atrocious, but give them a chance for sure- here's hoping they stick around for a while! Some of my fav brews: I got a flight and to me, the Bubba's Tea Bag stood out as a clear winner. Delish!
To find out about all the beer that the Philadelphia area has to offer, I recommend checking out drinkphilly.com -I subscribe to their newsletter for all the latest booze news!
You may have seen my post back in November about taking the plunge to be my own boss lady. It’s been quite a ride so far, with many ups (crushing it at Renegade Chicago!) and downs (winding up in the hospital over Christmas). That said, one thing I was focused on over the 2016 holiday season was filling up my schedule with holiday art shows and hustling hard. I did just that- from Atlanta to Lancaster to Pittsburgh to Columbus to Boston, I drove almost 2,500 miles in December alone for exit343design!
It looks exciting via social media when you’re posting about all the great venues you’re showing at, but let’s cut to the real talk: I did not even come close to the sales goals I had set for the season. It was a real fucking bummer, especially now that I rely on that income more than ever. But, if you believe in the work you that you do, you have to move onwards towards the next goal. Here’s how I got to this zen state.
1. KEEP CALM AND MOVE ON
At this point, the show has ended and you’re breaking down your booth. No more sales are coming your way. You’re bummed or angry or both, but just chill out. Every show can’t be a winner. Don’t talk shit to your neighbor (okay, maybe just a little bit . . .) and most of all, don’t mouth off to an organizer. You don’t want to burn any future bridges for a show or a potential sale! People may not remember good interactions, but they will sure as hell remember confrontations.
2. ACCEPT WHAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE
This goes hand-in-hand with “relax.” You will probably be thinking “shoulda/coulda/woulda” about all sorts of things, but what’s done is done. If sales were poor, remember that being at a show in person is also doubles as great marketing and good for networking; you never know what kinds of leads might materialize after the fact.
3. FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS, NOT EXCUSES
It’s easy to sit back and blame the venue, show organizers, advertising, whatever- and you know what? Maybe they were all factors in some way. But now is the time to evaluate how YOU can do things better so that your booth and product shines, even in the bleakest of circumstances. Were customers frequently asking about pricing or something else? Maybe it’s time to up your signage game. Was your booth easy to shop, from near and far? If not, maybe you need to spruce up your display. Think about the booths around you- were any of your neighbors doing really well? What were they doing different than you?
4. SET NEW GOALS AND GO FOR THEM!
After every show I do, no matter good or bad, I always walk away with a new to-do list. Working shows can be exhausting, but often inspiring; it’s a great way to get direct customer feedback, learn about an area, and see what other makers are bringing to the table. Every show is a learning experience! All you can do is try to put your best foot forward- no matter what the Internet says, success does not happen overnight.
Today, February 20th, is Presidents' Day- a day enacted to recognize George Washington's birthday, as well as pay tribute to all U.S. presidents. It also marks one official month of the Trump presidency.
Since the inauguration, my social media feed has been flooded with text and images of protest and passion by friends, colleagues, and strangers who are concerned about the state of our administration. I've been a quiet bystander, taking it all in and wondering how to even put together my thoughts on the whole situation. I feel like happily posting photos of stationery and life somehow makes it seem like I'm not paying attention, but I think it's impossible to not be.
There are clearly a lot of viewpoints on all kinds of issues, but one thing has remained clear and disturbed me quite a bit throughout the entire election cycle: there is a constant stream of negativity coming from every side. By negativity, I mean straight up blind hatred that is being slung around so much it makes my heart hurt. This illustration was borne from that feeling- the hope that no matter where we end up, that love has to triumph over hate.
I will be donating $5 from every print sold to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
One of my primary concerns right now is the environmental impact of the government. I'm the first to admit I'm no model citizen, but I do believe that we only get this one planet. We are all in it together to do what we can to respect and preserve this Earth. The NRDC is a top rated environmental charity as rated by charitynavigator.com; they have a variety of programs in place to "prevent special interests from undermining public interests."
Each print is screenprinted by hand on French Paper's Speckletone white in a deep magenta ink color. They are sized 8" x 10" and ready to frame!
You can purchase this print here on my website or on my Etsy shop page.
Hey all! If you hadn't already noticed, I did manage to get everything listed from the Lovesick Expo in the "shop" section of my site. I also re-organized the shop to *hopefully* make it easier to peruse- greeting cards are now broken down by occasion and much more! I just wanted to share some of the designs I'm most excited about this year- I hope you like them! All can be completely customized for YOUR big day! Pricing and additional information is available if you follow this link.
Whoa, what a whirlwind! The long-awaited Lovesick Expo has officially come and gone and it was an amazing day! THANK YOU to the amazing staff of Lovesick and World Cafe Live, the talented fellow vendors, and most of all, to the wonderful couples who stopped by to see my work and make a button with Nick!
If you are checking out my website for things you saw at the show today, have no fear- I will be working hard in the next couple of days to add ALL of it- koozies, tote bags, invitation suites, save-the-dates, new cards, and button sets!
Have any questions about things you may have seen at the show? Feel free to drop me a line at: HELLO@EXIT343.COM
Yay heard it here first, folks- see below for the coupon code to use at checkout! And yes, your order will arrive in time for Christmas. Happy holidays!
This weekend, I'm headed west to the Handmade Arcade, Pittsburgh's largest craft fair! It's been a few years since I've participated and I'm glad to be able to go back. I know that Pittsburgh and Philly are supposed to have a rivalry, but I genuinely love the city with three rivers. Here's some vendors I'm excited to see- come out on Saturday to see it in person or click through each photo to shop online!
Searching for easy ways to jazz up your Thanksgiving table this year? Look no further than your local craft store! For these two projects, simply nab a thin paintbrush and white acrylic paint.
R E P U R P O S E Y O U R
H A L L O W E E N P U M P K I N
U S E F A L L L E A V E S F O R D I Y N A M E T A G S
I am excited to return to Indie Craft Experience's Holiday Shopping Spectacular on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th. It's been five years since I've vended in the Peach State; one of the things I'm most excited for is to see some new-to-me vendors! I perused the vendor lineup and here's some of the folks that are on my must-shop list. If you can't make the show in Atlanta, click on the photos to shop online!
It's official- exit343design will be vending every weekend leading up to Christmas! That means five opportunities to shop small and handmade this holiday. If you have the chance, come out to see me and say hello! I'll be posting previews for each show as well, so you can get an idea of what to look forward to. Or, if you don't want to leave the house, sign up for my newsletter to find out about the promotions I'm running this season:
See below for the posters for each show; click through to find out more about each on!
It’s been a long journey, but I finally arrived at the destination: as of August 2016, I became my own boss. It had been the goal since the very beginning, but it always seemed more like a dream. I spent years watching friends and colleagues in the creative industry break out on their own and seemingly flourish (thanks to the “magic” of social media); I knew I could do it too, but I always told myself that it wasn’t the right time. I had (and still have) a myriad of excuses as to why it isn’t, but over the summer I experienced a personal breaking point and I made the leap.
. . . fast forward to November; I’m still here with many of the same stresses (drowning in student loan debt, wanting to lose weight, etc), but happier than I’ve been in a long time. It’s a total cliché, but we only get this one life, so you should have a say in how you live it! However, I would be remiss if I said that I reached this point all by myself. If you’re thinking about taking the self-employment plunge, here are some things to consider- courtesy of someone who is living the awkward, teenage stages right now:
One other thing that doesn't really fit the theme of this list, but is something I'm glad someone told me before I made the leap: healthcare is stupid expensive when you pay out of pocket. Don't say you weren't warned!
Anyhow, I hope this list proves to be helpful to someone out there. It took me reading many issues of INC Magazine, talking with other makers, and years of contemplation to realize it. If you have anything useful to add, feel free in the comments below!