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Shop update

8 Jul

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I’m a little slow to announce a summer sale in the shop this month, as well as the new option to purchase gift certificates in the shop. Gift certificates are now available in many increments, from $50 on up. For all summer orders this month, take 15% off at checkout using the discount code SUMMERSALE at checkout. The offer ends July 29th, when I’ll be closing up the shop for a week and heading out of town for a little summer adventure.

brunch-group-detailA-Z dividers at Omnivore BooksPB030017

It’s a man’s mans world

19 Jun

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Yesterday I released new summer products in the shop and launched a big site design overhaul. Over the past few weeks I’ve been gearing up for a big shop update, though the actual launch of this update was pushed back for several weeks due to a number of ever-changing factors. Since my initial shop launch back in November, I’ve had multiple requests from customers, asking for more 7″ vinyl record options — I’ve been sitting on these designs for a few months because I wanted to release them after I had the chance to update the overall design of the whole shop. Two birds, one stone, that whole thing. In the meantime, I’ve been gloriously busy with wholesale orders and keeping up with online sales.

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With the steady increase in sales and wood purchasing, I started having a trickier time sourcing a reliable quality wood that I liked– the quality overall seemed to be going down at my usual suppliers. No one seems to have a reason for this– thats just “how it is”. Alternately, they try to convince me that the wood hasn’t changed at all– its exactly the same, even when I have samples in hand that say otherwise. I could go on and on about wood here, about all the things I’ve gleaned from phone calls, lumberyard conversations, the internet, real life splinters, prototyping and all kinds of frustration– but that is interesting to very few people. I’ve visited many lumberyards, called many more, and received more splinters than I ever planned or hell, anticipated ever. I’ve learned that most lumberyards are weird, their systems and attitudes are old and outdated. Frequently (not always, but frequently) the men that work there try to treat me like a lady-hobbyist if they’re willing to grudgingly give me the time of day at all. There is nothing more frustrating than being discredited upon arrival, just cause I’m a lady.

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I’ve learned that my lumberyard credibility goes up with my increasing knowledge of the appropriate lumber vocabulary, that and walking in like a confident boss, who takes shit from no man. I feel like the only woman in a land of lumber-dudes, though I am sure I’m not the only one out there. The truth is, I’m still a novice when it comes to this new weird world of wood, but its a real boys-club and that is bullshit.  Know what else is a boys-club? The audiophile/vinyl/music world! I’ve inadvertently stumbled into two male-dominated industries, simply because I’ve been interested in doing something new for myself, and I like being my own boss. All the recent articles and conversations around women and confidence and inequality and gender everything, man! I feel down about it all. Perhaps my lumberyard lessons are good life lessons– to feign confidence and bossiness always, but it is a fight sometimes. I actually like the word bossy, and don’t have a problem with anyone using it. I’ve been quietly reading along with the blog My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection and the constant noise around her reviews (HOW DARE A WOMAN REVIEW MUSIC AND ETC!) and find the conversation interesting and insanely frustrating at the same time. I recommend a good dig through this conversation, if you’ve got patience.

I don’t see an end here– at least not to these issues or this blog post. I’ve been writing and un-writing this since yesterday and its now officially time to break.

 

Kate Koeppel Design, just launched!

1 May

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After a few bumps and delays, I am excited to announce the relaunch of katekoeppel.com. My new site features recent client work, a few oldies and hopefully, a more concise view of my professional design work. I’ve also added a design services inquiry form to help streamline new client inquiries. Yay for organization! I have learned through this process that designing for myself can be a tedious, uncertain and slow moving process. Who knew? Actually, I knew, which is partially why this process was so painful. Boundaries, work hours and my sleep schedule have all suffered in the last few weeks. I am not the best client, when I am also the boss. Perhaps the timing of this redesign and major edit played a role in this slow process. I chose an extremely busy period (hi wholesale orders for the east coast! hi Skill Exchange ticket release tomorrow morning at 8AM) to finally tackle this project, but hallelujah, its pretty much done.

Sometimes, balance, updates

15 Apr

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Over the course of several days, I’ve written, rewritten, deleted and scrapped this post numerous times. I keep second-guessing all my writing topics and fleeting thoughts because… I just keep getting that nagging feeling I should be doing something else. I SHOULD be doing something else. I have a list of tasks that need my attention; a series of errands and production tasks that need to happen today. My attention is divided between my design website relaunch, (several weeks overdue) production and order fulfillment in my shop, and keeping up with client work. Oh and email. EMAIL! I have orders to ship this week, orders to sand and package, a pop up shop to prepare for this Saturday, wholesale orders to deliver, wholesale inquires to follow up on, and a cat that won’t leave my lap, even if it means he keeps getting dumped out of it, every 25 minutes when I need to grab something outside the office. Oh, did I mention I’m working on a new Skill Exchange event scheduled for Mid-May?

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This week I am trying to balance a reasonable amount of work with a reasonable amount of rest. Trying, anyway. I feel as though I’ve got a giant on my back at the moment, kind of like a cat, always watching me.  If I can keep on top of our meals for the week, and keep vegetables from getting hairy and limp in the fridge, that will also be a bonus. Today I sent my very first set of record dividers to a customer in Australia, which felt a little momentous. My product-babies are moving out in the world, to other continents! Another small victory this week? This little mention of my shop in New York Magazine. (!!!)

 

What Blog?

4 Apr

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Record dividers, on repeat. The last few weeks have gone a little like this: Pick up wood at the lumberyard. Drop off wood at the shop. Pick up laser cut sets at the shop. Sand and package finished sets. Haul boxes to the post office. Repeat.

Inventory is moving (yaaaay), spread sheets are filling up, wholesale orders are coming in and moving out, and in-between the constant running around, there have been a few hurrahs like this one. Its good to be busy, but I’ve got highs and lows of worries and excitement, alternating every few days (or hours). I go to sleep trying not to think about the shop, but wake up with dreams of sanding panels, packaging sets and processing orders. Its a lot of physical work, and my brain feels full of lists with tasks to complete. I’m living with post-its directing my day-to-day schedule, reminding me to check in with retailers, ship samples out, buy ink, finish client projects, pick work up at the printer and on and on. Good busy, but busy busy.

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We finally had our first social club meeting of the year, with gals and one gent getting together last weekend for an afternoon of projects and catching up. We all had a different project to work on, a little reupholstery, watercolor experiments, knitting, embroidery thread necklaces and basket-making, and for me, a sewing project I’ve been neglecting for months. The goal for this meet up was to get shit done, and get it done away from the screen. Mission accomplished. Even if its only for a few hours, every few months, it still feels restorative to gather up some gals and work on projects purely for pleasure.

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