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Valentine Day – Is it really love or just plain marketing?

February 7, 2007


Etiquettes adresse - Saint Valentin

Labels – Valentine Theme

When I was little, I knew Valentine day as a day for the grown ups. It was the day when my mom and dad would go out alone for diner and came back with a smile on their faces. And if I was a good girl, perhaps the next day, mom would give me one of those divine chocolate from that even more divine box which I would hope to add as furniture to my doll house. When I became a teen, Valentine day could be a day of utter annoyance. That is when I could not claim a boy friend to celebrate it with. However never in my little girl or teenage girl memories, was Valentine day that mega commercialized celebration it has become today, officially a Hall Mark holiday in the US (Hallmark being a leader in cards and greeting items). Now Valentine Day is not solely the day for lovers (as I knew it as a child) but the day for friendship, in short a day for every body. Which is cool really except that it certainly gives distributors of Valentine themed items ammunition to bombard a larger target market.

Being in the stationery business, I of course hope that Valentine Day can help me generate more profit. After all, I sell personalized stationery items (more memorable I think) which separates them from the generic crop offered in stores . But albeit the potential for profit, I cannot help deploring that mega commercialization of the occasion. Valentine day is now a cash cow, an annoying expense for some (as parents like me well know), and perhaps even a source of stress for others not inclined to celebrate it but who must still endure all the Valentine Day related hooplah. I wonder if in the face of all this advertisement, Valentine Day will not eventually totally loose its original meaning. End of year Holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah are
heavily commercialized but still remain their deeper religious significance. Valentine doesn’t have such a strong fundamental significance.

So for Valentine this year, I want to rediscover its origin. And I invite you to do so by checking those historical facts:

Of course, whatever your opinion on the occasion, keep in mind that a nice word, deed, or gift to your better half, sweetheart, parent, colleague, or friend will always be appreciated if it comes straight from the heart. And this doesn’t have to be done only on Valentine day by the way.;-)

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WISHES FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR – Best time to say them?

January 10, 2007

Hello blog. Well it’s been a while. The end of year holiday frenzy started for us in October with a rush of activities both on the home and the stationery business front (hence the crickets in the blog). As a business owner, I loved the rush. After all it means revenue. But as an individual, I am happy to see it ebbing down with the New Year then stop within the 1st week. Excitement is good but every good thing must come to an end.

And any ending of course implies a beginning. So 2006 came and went. Good for some, bad for others, just ordinary for a third group. If you were not part of the former group, I wish you were at least in the latter and I rather hope the middle group remained empty. And of I wish that 2006 will be better, no matter what group you were part of.

I know what you must be thinking now. We are already in mid January! Isn’t it too late already to talk about best wishes for the New Year? Well I am sure there is an etiquette guide somewhere about that. My own guide (learned from my family while growing up) was that it was OK to wish happy New Year during the entire month of January because during that 1st month the year is still new. Thinking back over the years, the instances when I had to wish ‘happy new year’ to someone pass the 2nd week of January were rather scarce though it did happen.

Pondering more about it now, I think the happy New Year wishes should have a sub-category called ‘Happy Rest of Year’ or “Happy Remaining Year”. It would make quite an original stationery card don’t you think? That way you can spread your good wishes for the year (or for what’s left of it) all year long. 🙂


happy new year card

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Stationery Printing Software

September 24, 2006

Those who know what I do may ask: Why do you want to talk about stationery printing software on your blog if your business is about printing personalized stationery products? My answer: “Well the information is out there for every one to easily find. So people might as well find it here.” 🙂

So you want to print your own stationery, what do you need?

  1. Let’s start with the very obvious: A computer (preferably with a connection to the internet, you’ll see why below) and a printer (preferably a color one to allow you more latitude with your creativity).
  2. Next step is the choice of software to use. If you have word processor software on your computer like the popular Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, or perhaps AppleWorks (for the Mac), you can already do a lot with them. They come pre-programmed with document templates from letters, flyers, brochures, to labels (just access their help section to see what options you have). Plus you have access to more templates for free (here is where your internet connection comes in handy) on their respective websites.
  3. Then come companies that sell stationery products like Avery and that offers lots of template downloads, specialized software, and even clip-arts for free on their web sites to use along with their products.
    There are in fact tons load of free stationery templates resources to be found on the net aside from the Avery site. Just see here all the hits that were generated from Google just by typing the keywords “free stationery templates” (see search results HERE).
  4. Now if you want to go another level and do very much more with your stationery printing, you have several choices of printing/publishing software. Price of such software can vary from about $20 to several 100s of $. The choice of which one to choose depends of course on your budget and the complexity of what you want to do. If for example you just want to be able to print flyers, letters, labels, or greeting cards, you can find many software in the $20 to $50 range (like Print Shop, Print Master, Greeting Card Factory, Hallmark Studio, etc.) which may be exactly what you need and allow you to put your creativity into good use. Below are links to 3 major sellers offering such products.
    • CompUSA (see selection here)
    • Best Buy (see selection here)
    • Amazon.ca (see selection here)
    • *Please note: We do not officially endorse any of the products or the companies mentioned above or accessible through the provided links. Names and links are posted for informational purpose only. We recommend you do some additional research before you invest in any of those products.

So there you have it. Lots of resources available if you want to print your own stationery creations. Just keep in mind that if you don’t want or have the time for the “do it yourself approach”, you can always rely on a good personalized stationery printing services to get the job done for you. 🙂

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School Stationery

September 4, 2006

Back to school stationery
The first week of September is here. For millions of children around the world, it means it’s time to get their nose out of the swim mask to put it back in their books. Of course for many children this “nose switch” came by already since August. But whether early or late, the fun pool or beach days are now bygones.

Now along with books, supplies, and loads of other items you will need for the new school year, do not forget the much needed back-to-school stationery. Rule 1 (or perhaps the only 1 that matters) with school items is that you should identify ALL of them. Will it prevent some of them from being lost or misplaced? Probably not (as parents of school children very well know). But the idea of course is that by having your identification clearly placed on your school items, you increase the odds of having it returned to you if they’re ever found.

While you can use a simple permanent marker to identify your items (on some items it may be the only thing you can use), you can also use personalized stickers or labels. These cane save you the time and hassle of writing your contact information many times over while bringing an extra original and unique touch to your items. And for the older kids migrating to college, don’t forget to send your new contacts to your relatives and friends.

Thus for those getting their back to school stationery now, here is a short suggestion list on some handy back to school stationery to have (some items are for parents too):

One can find many personalized stationery services to print any of the above. Alternatively, one can also always print them by her/himself with the proper software, hardware, and blank stationery supplies. We have a few suggestion and tips for that too. But that’s for another article.

And now get going on your new homework. 🙂

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Card Holders

August 26, 2006

For Enclosure, Calling, and/or Business cards

In our August 14 article, we suggested the practice of holding several types of cards, calling cards (or business cards), for different situations or usage. Once all your cards are printed, we suggest card cases to carry them on you. Often, folks would just put their calling or business cards in their purses, or pocket books, or wallets. In fact several models of those, come with special pockets for cards. The flip side is that your cards may be bay roughed up (folded corners, wrinkled), or hard to retrieve especially if said purses, pocket books, or wallets are very packed. The alternative of using individual card cases is a better guarantee that your cards will be protected and easier to retrieve.

We have searched for card cases suppliers over the internet. There are many. Some results are listed below. Types of cases offered vary from metal (choices of precious metal available), to leather, vinyl and cloth. Many companies even offer services to personalize your card cases for that extra stylish touch.

card cases - samples Card Cases samples (metal & leather)

Disclaimer: The search results above are only for your information about types of cards cases available on the market. We are not affiliated to any of the companies listed in these search results. We cannot guarantee availability, and/or quality of their products and/or services. If you plan on purchasing card cases (or any other items) from the suppliers listed above, we recommend that you get information about the company before placing any order.

And now start exchanging your cards happily. 🙂

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Enclosure cards, calling cards Vs business cards

August 14, 2006

Before the term “calling card” became so much associated with telephones, it was widely associated with another type of cards, the visiting cards. The practice of sharing calling card (or visiting cards) is several centuries old. Nowadays the “calling card” refers to several things (as Wikipedia tells us) aside from the ever so popular telephone cards.

Before they retired from work, my parents always carried 2 types of cards on their persons: their business cards with their job title and business contacts, and their personal calling card with their private contacts. Each type of card was of course to be shared in different circumstances, the first one being obviously exclusively for business matters. This practice of separating business from every thing else (at least card wise) has unfortunately become less common with newer generations. Nowadays, when I meet friends or relatives and want to share contacts, they would usually give me their business cards then write their home/private contacts on it (since of course one cannot always call one’s workplace to chat freely about non-work things). And writing that private information can become quite a challenging affair if there is nothing to write with handily around. All my purses (no matter their sizes) are virtually black holes that swallow every thing up, and in which it’s impossible to find anything much less a pen or pencil to write with. 🙂 And sometimes one cannot find a charitable soul around to lend you the much needed pen or pencil. One has to ask: how truly useful is a card if you still have to scribble stuff on it?

Thank God! Now with computers, specialized paper, and loads of do-it-yourself software, one can create any type of cards s/he wants from business cards, to visiting cards, to gift enclosure cards, children calling cards, or more. And if you don’t want to print your cards yourself, there are plenty of card design and printing services that will do that for you for quite a reasonable price.

And finally, once you have the appropriate cards to hand out at the appropriate occasions, make sure to organize them. Preventing your purse or bag to become a “black hole” could be a start. Plus of course there are plenty of personal organizer products to be found on the market for that purpose. But that’s another blog article all together. 🙂

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Stationery IS stationary!

July 16, 2006

…That is if there is no external influence moving the stationery around (laughs). Ok the subject of this post is of course a pun. A lame one maybe , but bear with me . This pun is inspired by real facts. You would not believe how many in the English language use both of these terms indiscriminately or sometimes choose the plain wrong one. It is even more amazing when the error is made by folks in the stationery industry.

Webster will clarify things quickly for you (here are excerpts and links below)

FROM WEBSTER:

stationery
http://www.webster.com/dictionary/stationery
One entry found for
stationery.
Main Entry: sta·tio·nery
Pronunciation: ‘stA-sh&-“ner-E
Function: noun
Etymology: stationer
1 : materials (as paper, pens, and ink) for writing or typing
2 : letter paper usually accompanied with matching envelopes
stationary
http://www.webster.com/dictionary/stationary
4 entries found for
stationary. Main Entry: sta·tion·ary
Pronunciation: ‘stA-sh&-“ner-E
Function: adjective
1 : fixed in a

station
, course, or mode :
IMMOBILE
2 : unchanging in condition <a stationary population>

Of course, not every one can readily access Webster online or have a hard copy handy to check on words spelling and meaning. So what is one to do when you read such a common yet basic mistake? Rectify gently? Educate? Say nothing? Well that depends. Most people would probably let it pass (if they realized the mistake at all). After all they probably understood what the person meant and don’t care in any way about the mispelling. But… if you have an online stationery store, like I do, you do feel compelled to rectify or educate. Because if people are confused about the name of the industry your business is in, well activities for your business risk to become quite ..uhm.. quite stationery. 🙂