Stationery Business: Tips For Getting Quotes

Stationery Business: Tips For Getting Quotes | Sycamore Street Press

Once you’ve found a list of suppliers and manufacturers to look into, you’ll want to start asking for quotes. I’ll be honest, it’s quite a tedious process, but it’s just necessary. If you do it well, it can really help your business!


  • When you’re starting out with smaller quantities, you may not need a custom quote. If you’re ordering lower quantities of envelopes, for example, you might just order directly from a website. Of if you only need 50 promotional postcards or flyers printed, you may be able to get an automatic quote by just plugging in your information on the manufacturer’s website.
  • Get multiple quotes. Don’t make the mistake of going with the first quote you get! Get at least 3. The more the better, although you do of course have to stop at some point.
  • Ask for a quote in writing. I do think it’s often a good idea to call first (before you ask for a quote) to get a general idea of what they can offer you and how they might be to work with. But when it comes to the actual quote, I recommend emailing it in so that it’s clearly written out.
  • Be clear and concise. Don’t write it all in one big paragraph where details tend to get lost. Instead, make bullet points or even a chart.
  • Don’t forget the details. You have to list out every little detail in your quote requests. For example, with printing, you should specify
    • Quantities: It’s common to ask for a few different quantities, to see the price breakdown. For example, 250, 500, and 1000.
    • Size: both the size of the paper you will print on (press sheet) and size of finished product.
    • Colors: How many, for methods other than digital.
    • Paper Stock: Will you provide it or will they? If they will, do you know which kind you want them to get? If not, you should at least know the weight and paper type. 60lb text? 120 lb cover? Coated? Uncoated? Matte?
    • Other finishes required after printing: Trimming, die cutting (cutting into a non-rectangular or square shape), scoring, folding, etc…
    • Delivery: Will the items need to be shipped? If local, will you pick them up or do you want them to deliver?
    • Turnaround Time: How long will it take them to finish the job?
    • Proofs/Press Checks: What kind would you like? Is a digital PDF proof over email enough? Do you prefer a high res proof? Would you like to be present at the printshop for press check?
  • Follow up. As we all know, it’s a busy world, and sometimes email doesn’t get answered. Don’t be afraid to follow up and be persistent to get the quotes you need.
  • Ask for revisions, if necessary. It’s not uncommon for there to be errors in the quotes you receive. Maybe they quoted the wrong paper or the wrong quantities. If you write a very organized and detailed quote request, that will help cut down on some error, but it’s still pretty common to find errors. Just let them know, and politely ask for a revised quote. Again, don’t be afraid to follow up.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you know you’d like to work with a certain manufacturer or supplier but their prices are a bit high, don’t be afraid to ask if they have any wiggle room or if they can match a lower priced quote from a competitor.


You can learn more about the stationery business by taking my online courses on Stationery Business 100: Start Strong and Stationery Business 200: Wholesale. Thanks! – Eva

You might also like: Inventory Resources & Tips, Tips For Finding Stationery Suppliers & Manufacturers, & Tips For Sending Mailers.

Gift Wrap Series: DIY Macrame

Macrame Gift Wrap DIY  - Sycamore Street Press

Just the simple act of giving a thoughtfully made or found gift is such a beautiful gesture and show of love. And wrapping it up in a pretty package is half the fun! With that in mind, I invited Whitney Horito to do a guest series on our blog over the next several weeks. In each post, she’ll share a creative way to dress up your presents. Enjoy! – Eva 

The indigo and macrame trends often show up together in home decor, so macrame seemed like the natural companion to our Indigo Spots Gift Wrap.

Macrame Gift Wrap DIY - Sycamore Street Press

For this gift, I used cotton yarn and this macrame technique to make the gift topper. It was a bit time consuming, but the result is really fun. It’s definitely a good one to do while watching a favorite movie! – Whitney

Save up to 50% from Black Friday to Cyber Monday


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday!

We don’t do sales very often,  but we’re feeling especially grateful at this time of year… so through Cyber Monday, you can get 30% off your entire order at Sycamore Street Press when you use the code THANKS14.

(That includes our brand new collection! See everything here.)


And for the first time ever, we’re giving a big discount on our online Stationery Business class — 50% off! (code: THANKFUL)

This is the biggest discount you’ll ever see for it, so if you’ve been thinking about taking the class, or giving it to someone as a gift, now is the time. Find it here.

Thank you so much for supporting our family business!

Gift Wrap Ideas: DIY Tassels

Tassel Gift Wrap DIY - Sycamore Street Press

The tradition of giving gifts for the holidays is such a lovely one. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive — in fact, the best gifts usually aren’t either of those things. Just the simple act of giving a thoughtfully made or found gift is such a beautiful gesture and show of love. And wrapping it up in a pretty package is half the fun! With that in mind, I invited Whitney Horito to do a guest series on our blog over the next several weeks. In each post, she’ll share a creative way to dress up your presents. Enjoy! – Eva

I am really excited to start this series of gift wrapping tutorials on Sycamore Street Press! I love wrapping presents almost as much as I love picking them out.

I love the tassel trend that has been appearing in necklaces and key chains. Usually, tassels have a bohemian vibe, but by using a thicker ribbon, these tassels also add a masculine contrast to the Scandi Floral Gift Wrap.

Tassel Gift Wrap - Sycamore Street Press

I used this simple tutorial to make my tassels and attached them to the ends of my string to wrap this gift. It’s simple but full of personality! – Whitney

Mystery Box Sale

mystery box sale at Sycamore Street Press

It’s Mystery Box time! We have so many new products in the works and only so much room for storing it. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of our mystery boxes, we get space on our shelves and you get a fantastic deal. It’s a win-win.


  • All product is top quality.
  • FREE SHIPPING within the US.
  • Each box contains product worth a total of $150 retail for only $38 cost to you. (That’s 75% off!)
  • Each box is unique and will contain a mix of Sycamore Street Press paper goods. (May include any or all of the following: greeting cards, art prints, gift wrap, gift tags, etc…)
  • Sale ends at midnight MST on Thursday, Sept 25th, or when boxes are sold out.

Find your Mystery Box here. 

National Stationery Show FAQ, Part 1

National Stationery Show FAQ with letterpress printed arrows in background

Editor’s Note: For those of you wanting to create your own paper goods company, I’m now teaching an online course called Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong

The National Stationery Show FAQ, Part 1

Trade shows can be overwhelming. The first time Kirk and I took Sycamore Street Press to the National Stationery Show, I’d only been out of school for a year and a half, and Kirk was actually still in school! We had little retail experience, little wholesale experience, and very little business experience period. And somehow we survived. Not only that, but we did well enough to consider it worth our while to return the following year.

Now we’re old pros (ha ha) and we’re coming up on our fifth time exhibiting at the NSS. A few of my paper peeps have been asking me for advice about the show, so I thought I’d post them here for everyone’s benefit. If any of you have something to add, please chime in down below! These are just my opinions — I’m sure there are many ways of doing things. If there’s something you’re curious about that I haven’t covered, let me know. I’ll be doing a part 2 soon! – Eva

Q: How much is it going to cost me to do the show?

A: This number can vary wildly! You will need to do a lot of research to see how much you can afford and how you will budget everything. But a good rule of thumb for a small company exhibiting in a single 10 x 10 foot booth is to plan on spending around $10,000. This includes the booth, electrical, displays, catalogs, travel, etc… everything related to doing the show. It does NOT include the product itself. Like I said, though, this can vary quite a bit. Our first year, we were able to drive to the show, and take all of our products and display in our car (instead of having to ship it with a freight company). We also stayed with friends instead of getting a hotel room… so we probably did it for about $5000 that year.

6 more Q&A’s to help you figure out the National Stationery Show after the jump! Read More…

A New Focus for SSP

Inspiration Board | Sycamore Street Press

Things are looking a bit different in our shop lately. Sycamore Street Press is going through a big transition this year, and I thought I’d let you in on the why: Read More…

Design 101: Free Fonts

free-fonts #fonts #design

In this new how-to series, Shayla Moller, graphic designer and Pinner extraordinaire (over 3 million followers!), shares design and social media tips with us.

Links to Free Fonts:

01. artistica

02. basic

03. the only exception

04. blackout

05. mossy

06. blake

07. quand tu n’es pas la

08. matchbook

09. peach milk

10. devlose

11. brain flower

12. desdemonda

13. rainfall black

See also: How to Personalize Your Favicon and How to Install Social Media Icons

Sale: 25% off everything

Sycamore Street Press

We’re having a summer sale on all of our paper goods! Just use the code pinterest at checkout to get 25% off. The sale runs from July 11-19, 2013. xo, Eva


Coral & Aqua


At Sycamore Street Press, we are seekers of all things beautiful. Annie Steward, our delightful intern-turned-contributor, curated this collection. 

1. I’m a big fan of the current juicing fad, especially this Grapefruit Mint juice from Pressed Juicery.

2. Just keep swimming

3. Now all I need is a camera to go in this adorable Rebecca Minkoff camera bag! Details.

4. This is the perfect no muss, no fuss summertime dress.

5. I love the new colors on this Sycamore Street Press card!

– Annie

Bright & Floral


At Sycamore Street Press, we are seekers of all things beautiful. Annie Steward, our delightful intern-turned-contributor, curated this collection. 

1. This cross-stitched clutch is the perfect bag for summer parties.

2. I love the detail of the floral print on this new Sycamore Street Press card.

3. This tropical stool adds a pop of color to any space!

4. I love the bright colors in this Venessa Arizaga necklace.

5. I have a pink bkr water bottle, but I’m tempted by this coral one.

6. This floral serving tray makes me want to host a party!

– Annie

Design 101: Personalize your Favicon


In this new how-to series, Shayla Moller, graphic designer and Pinner extraordinaire (over 3 million followers!), will be sharing design and social media tips with us.

You may be wondering just what in the world is a “favicon??” A favicon is that little orange “B” sign you see next to the blogger url. It’s just a little detail that can make a big difference if it’s changed to a pretty, personal symbol of some sort. And the best news yet is that it’s quite a simple process!

Step One: Create Your Favicon.

Creating a favicon image can be done on an Adobe program, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, or with an online tool such as PicMonkey. Remember that it’s going to be a veeeery small image, so too much detail isn’t necessary. Save the image in a square format, such as 200 X 200 pixels.

Step Two: Upload Your Favicon.

Go to blogger, layout, and in the upper lefthand corner there should be a “favicon” widget. Click on it and upload your image. It may take a day or two to stick but then it should show up and stay there looking all pretty and professional!

Let me know if you have any sort of questions in the comment box below!

California Dreamin’


At Sycamore Street Press, we are seekers of all things beautiful. Annie Steward, our delightful intern-turned-contributor, curated this collection. 

1. I’ll be spending my summer in California. Where will you be?

2. This green tea and mint blend sounds so refreshing.

3. I am in LOVE with these gold arrow bobby pins!

4.  I am SO excited about the new Sycamore Street Press gift wrap!

5. I’m slowly building my collection of baker’s twine.

6. Somehow this Pal Rodenius chair manages to look chic.

7. Now THIS is what I call camping.

– Annie

New From Sycamore Street Press!

Sycamore Street Press | flower foil cards

After months of hard work, we are so excited to launch over 2 dozen new items for the National Stationery Show! Gift wrap, gift tags, new cards, card sets, baby shower invitations, and Baby Milestones: The Heirloom Set. See them in our online shop here.

For all you US retailers out there, we’re offering free shipping if you order during the NSS (either in person or online). We’ll be in booth #1851. We also have a wholesale catalog and lookbook available (just email to request them).

Thanks! – Eva

Also check out my Stationery Business classes on

Windmill Letterpress Workshop

Letterpress Workshop at Flywheel Press | Sycamore Street Press

Behind The Press is a blog series by SSP’s owners: Eva and Kirk Jorgensen. In it, we share our experience with letterpress, paper goods, running a small business, and work/life balance in the form of tips, how to’s, and more. We hope you enjoy! – K&E

We bought our Heidelberg Windmill (a type of letterpress) from a family-owned Salt Lake commercial printshop. They were the original owners of the press and were wanting it to go to a good home.

I had a quick 15 minute lesson from the previous pressman which covered the absolute basics (on/off button, paper goes here, etc…).

These machines are built to be very efficient and have adjustments for just about everything. This is great if you know what you’re doing, but if you’re unsure you can end up deep in a rabbit hole of micro-adjustments. Since I didn’t have a firm grasp on the mechanics of the press, I didn’t get too far with developing the necessary skill set to use it for our printing.

A few months ago, Eva posted a picture of our press on the SSP Instagram feed with a caption asking if anyone had any recommendations or advice for help learning how to use this machine.

As it turned out, we weren’t alone in having a Windmill and not knowing exactly how to use it. Amber, from Flywheel Press, heard about all of us and invited us to the Bay Area for a Windmill Workshop. We spent a long weekend in great company, learning everything from oiling and basic maintenance to printing and die-cutting. It was also wonderful catching up with friends (old and new) from around the country.

San Mateo (where Flywheel Press is located) is a charming city with tons of great places to eat and great weather.

I’m back from the workshop and feel much more comfortable around the press and less overwhelmed. I’ve made some good progress and am excited to keep working at it.

Amber is looking to host another Windmill Workshop this summer. If you’re interested in learning, or have a press and need help, I couldn’t recommend this more. You can write her here:

– Kirk

Also check out my Stationery Business classes on

Green for St. Patrick’s Day


At Sycamore Street Press, we are seekers of all things beautiful. Annie Steward, our delightful intern-turned-contributor, curated this collection. 

1. This Kate Spade case is the perfect excuse to upgrade to an iPhone 5. Right?

2. Florals for spring.

3. One of my favorites.

4. Love the sawtooth detail on these Volley shoes.

5. Who wouldn’t want to make a trip to the supermarket with this reusable bag?

6. There is no occasion that doesn’t call for a crown. In this case, a wool felt crown.

– Annie

Trendy Awards

Trendy Awards Nominees | Sycamore Street Press

We’re in the running for the Trendy Awards! And yes, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s put on by Stationery Trends Magazine, which is THE go-to publication in the paper goods industry. If you have a moment, we’d love to have your vote! Just click here. Thank you so much! – Eva

Letterpress Sale!

Letterpress Sale! 25% off with code feb2013. (2/2813 - 3/7/13)

We’re having a sale!

The Details:

Discount: 25%

What: Everything in the Sycamore Street Press inventory

Where: In our shop and on Etsy

Code: feb2013

Dates: Thursday, February 28  – Thursday, March 7, 2013


Top 5 Legal Concerns for Small Creative Businesses


How do I protect my company name? What kind of business structure should I have? Do I really need contracts? So many questions like that have run through my head since I started Sycamore Street Press. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and just ignore them. But we all know that’s not a good idea, so enter Ben Pollock of the Juniper Law Firm. Yes, he is my younger brother… which means that I am very lucky. Because he is also a whip smart attorney who understands the ins and outs of small creative businesses. He generously agreed to write this post for our blog. He also contributes to the Design*Sponge Biz Ladies series and writes his own blog, if you’d like to read more. – Eva

If you’re like a lot of small businesses, hiring a business attorney is not very high on your priority list. In fact, it may not even be on your list at all for any one of a number of reasons. So let’s take a look at the top 5 legal concerns for small creative businesses, and then we’ll decide whether it might be a good idea to make a new lawyer friend.

1) Business Formation – From corporations to limited liability limited partnerships, there are probably more available types of business entities than most people are aware of. When starting your business, it is important to get the entity selection right. And for more than just tax reasons. The entity you choose can effect your available management structures, who can have ownership, your exposure to legal liability, what formal meetings and notices your are required to have regularly, how much it costs to set up, and what records you are required to keep, among other things. Your best bet is to narrow it down to two or three options that fit your needs based on the above non-tax factors, among others. Then, once you’ve narrowed it down, you can pick between those based on tax benefits.

2) Trademarks – Most small businesses, especially creative businesses, understand the importance of having strong branding – from logos to distinctive packaging and everything in-between. It is trademark law that will allow you to protect your branding and prevent others from using branding that is confusingly similar. In addition to your logo, trademark law may protect your packaging and many other aspects of your overall image, including use of colors, as long as they are unique enough to set you apart from your competitors. Protecting your branding will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, thus allowing customers to easily identify you and your products. There are several advantages to registering your trademark, including increased protection of your mark, deterring others from using a mark that is confusingly similar to yours, and the availability of greater remedies if your mark is infringed.

3) Copyrights – Copyright law is what will protect the creative, as opposed to the functional, aspects of your products. Creative businesses succeed by producing unique products that customers cannot find elsewhere. And if this “advantage” were to be taken away, many businesses would likely fail.

In the online context, there are remedies offered through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that will allow you to request that internet providers and others take down infringing material, even if you haven’t registered your copyright. But it is often difficult to prove your ownership of the material you want taken off the web without having registered your copyright beforehand. And if the copyright infringement does not happen on the internet, or if the internet service provider and others refuse to take action because they are unconvinced of your ownership, your only option is a traditional lawsuit. And you cannot sue without first registering your copyright. The advantages of registering your copyright before it is infringed are increased remedies, including the ability to recover all your court costs and attorney fees. This makes it much easier, and affordable, to protect your copyright than if you were to register it only after it is infringed.

4) Social Media Policies – More and more, social media is becoming an essential part of a small business’s marketing plans. And more and more, employees are not only participating in social media, but are often speaking about their employers or their employer’s customers on social media. A social media policy will allow you to have greater control over how your business is represented, or not represented, by your employees. There are, of course, strict limits on how much you can control your employees’ use of social media, but a little guidance can go a long way in making sure your business is portrayed well online.

5) Contracts – “Oh, we’ve been friends forever.” “This isn’t the first time we’ve done business together.” “We trust each other.” These are all common excuses for small business owners not to have a contract in the context of a business relationship. But what they don’t understand is that having a contract is NOT the equivalent of saying, “I know we’re friends, but I don’t trust you.” What it is actually saying is, “We are friends, and I want to protect our friendship from any unforeseen circumstance in the future.” When two people or businesses sit down and come to an agreement in the very beginning about how to handle a difficult situation in the future, it ensures that everyone feels they are treated fairly if such a situation arises. If an agreement is not put in writing beforehand, and a difficult situation arises, emotions will run high, people won’t be able to come to an agreement about how to handle it, and no one will feel like they’ve been treated fairly when it is all over.

I hope this small outline of common legal concerns for small creative businesses has shown you the importance of these few legal issues. I suggest you find a friendly attorney who has experience in these areas and form a close relationship so that you have somewhere to turn for guidance. And if you are not sure how to find an attorney, check out this post on my blog for some tips. – Ben

Disclaimer: This article is not intended as, and should not be understood to be legal advice. The topics above were covered in a general and informative fashion, but they are not tailored to your, or anyone else’s particular circumstances. If you would like to discuss these topics as they apply to your business, please feel free to contact me via my website, or any other attorney who practices in these areas.

Learn more on my Stationery Business classes on

A Pretty Pastel Party


At Sycamore Street Press, we are seekers of all things beautiful. Annie Steward, our delightful intern-turned-contributor, curated this collection. 

1. Wishing you a birthday filled with hooplah and hullabaloo!

2. Every birthday princess should have a crown. This one’s DIY (even better).

3. Rainbow confetti garland. Need I say more?

4. You know it’s a party worth attending when there are tassels.

5. Ice cream and these wooden spoons are an unstoppable combination.

6. These treat bags are almost too cute to give away.

– Annie