It’s been a few months since I added a new store to my stockists, but I’m feeling like it was worth the wait! Assembly in Stevens Point, Wis. is owned and operated by Quyen—that’s her smiling mug above—a recent Twin Cities transplant with superb taste.
Assembly offers quality, modern and fairly minimalist clothing, accessories and gifts in the heart of downtown Stevens Point. The space feels like it belongs in a bigger city, with its high ceilings, exposed brick and seriously fashionable wares, but this gem of a shop is flourishing in a town of less than 30,000.
I was “up North” (as we Wisconsinites say) anyway while I was home, so I took the opportunity to deliver her goods in person. I haven’t visited my alma mater in quite a few years, so it was almost eerie driving along streets I used to know so well, past places where I used to work and houses where I once lived.
There’s something really poignant about having my work for sale in the place where I first learned about letterpress. Despite being a fairly small order, it feels significant somehow, like here’s the signal that I’ve finally “made it”… whatever that means.
Quyen, in keeping with her minimalist brand, chose a palette of primarily black and hot pink ink with one robin’s egg card in the mix. She chose some of my favorite designs, so I’m hoping they fly off the shelves! Next time you’re headed “up North” along I-90, make a pit stop in Stevens Point to check out Assembly: You’ll be tempted by all her beautiful goods, but be sure to pick up a few cards!
I love shopping for my friends—I basically just buy them something I want in their personal style—easy, right? But if you’re feeling like this is the year to pick up something a little different, I’ve got some ideas for you!
ALL MONOGRAMMED EVERYTHING! Whether it’s your sorority sister or favorite southern belle (I know, total stereotypes, but they do just love monogrammed things!), personalized goodies go a long way this time of year. Less than two weeks left to order stationery, so get in touch soon! Here’s where to find everything: Initial Necklace by Tom Design, Monogram Coaster by 622 press, Stationery Sets by 622 press, Script Stationery by 622 press.
Then there’s that friend who is always cold. We’ve all got one, we’ve all told her to eat a cheeseburger and all will be well, but since that hasn’t yet happened, you should get her a huge super cozy cowl. I actually wore mine constantly when I worked in an office that kept the AC on well into November in Wisconsin. The unique crochet pattern keeps you warm while staying breathable enough so you don’t get all claustrophobic and hot.
Making a new house feel like a home can be a challenge. So for a friend that moved this year—especially if it’s a big upgrade from their last place—help cozy up their new spot. Kitchen accessories, artwork and flowers should do the trick! Bonus points if you find out their ideal decorating color scheme. Citrus Coaster set by 622 press, Hand-crocheted dish cloth by 622 press, French 75 original painting by 622 press, Bulb Teapot by Maia Ming Designs, Floral Initial by 622 press.
And then there’s that friend with the boho style you just can’t seem to nail down. For her, I’ve gathered unique accessories that come with a story. This incredible walnut and brass ring comes all the way from South Africa, courtesy of Zeal Living. It was hand-carved by a local jewelry artist and is sure to become the recipient’s new favorite piece!
I love supporting etsy shop owners—especially those that are just starting out. This gold-rimmed agate pendant and tassle bracelet—which I’ve been lovingly calling a friendship bracelet for grown ups—both come from women-owned shops with less than 20 sales. An order would make their holidays!
Speaking of, an order for one of my new custom floral crowns would make mine! Shown here is the Maxi Crown, but there’s a minimalist version as well (see previous post). They’re only available for custom order at the moment, so get in touch here to order one!
I love working with other Etsy sellers. They value the handmade nature of my work, their familiarity with the site eliminates any technical issues, and they’re usually really great about giving feedback and letting me know when the final product has arrived. So when Sharon got in touch about ordering business cards, I was all too happy to help!
She had a branding package created by another designer, but unfortunately the original designer was unreachable and Sharon only had low resolution JPGs—not good enough files for me to order printing plates. Luckily, I’m awfully handy with Illustrator, so I spent the better part of a day recreating her logo and the gorgeous illustrations from her branding package and we were ready to go!
Sometimes, it can take quite a few rounds to get the design right, but this process was fairly painless. I rush-shipped in some ecru paper, ordered her printing plates and got to work. These cards are more intricate than many I’ve done and I just love the way they turned out!
Make sure to take a moment to check out her shop—it’s filled with amazing vintage jewelry from the early 1900s. This necklace is one of my favorites—leave it to me to hone in on the diamonds!
Take one part graphic designer and add one part woodworker. The result? A fabulous jewelry company called Miju and You. Canadian artists Judy Lawrence and Mike Giles are like many etsians—running a small passion business on the side while working full time jobs. Here’s how they make it work.
What prompted you to start making jewelry?
I am a graphic designer by day and love what I do, but the company I work for is very corporate (in other words, not alot of room for creativity).
My partner/boyfriend Mike, is a woodworker and designer. He acquired a laser machine a few years ago and at that point we decided to utilize our mutual talents to create something together and give me an outlet to vent my creativity.
Tell us about your process—start to finish.
We do all the laser cutting ourselves. I design and create the digital files for the laser machine and then pass them on to Mike who prepares the wood, laser cuts it and brings it home to me where I paint, wrap, assemble, package and ship accordingly.
Initially, we began working with acrylic plastic but found it very brittle and pieces were getting damaged too easily.
We then move on to working with walnut. With Mike being a woodworker, off-cuts are plentiful!
I find the walnut has a much richer quality to it than the acrylic and much more resilient.
Where do you work?
The lasering and wood preparation is all done in Mike’s studio. He shares that space with a number of other designers of various backgrounds which gives it a wonderfully stimulating vibe.
Most of what I do for miju is done in our home. I have a small space set up in our basement. Not the most stimulating but it keeps me focused and is readily accessible.
What is your greatest challenge?
What inspires you?
We draw inspiration daily from numerous sources but i find we are both the most creative while traveling.
There is so much more going on it the world besides what immediately surrounds us and when you immerse yourself in a new environment, ideas start to flow – for us at least.
How did you discover etsy.com? Any beginner mistakes? Is etsy your full time job?
We have a number of very talented friends that were selling on etsy long before we were. When we decided to start making our own creations back in 2008, our friends were great resources for direction and tips on making our store more visible.
Our beginner mistakes were probably most prominent when it came to shipping products. The acrylic that we initially began working with was very delicate and we had a few items arrive damaged. After a few revisions to packaging, we sorted that out but have since moved on to other materials for that very reason.
Being full time workers (we both have “day jobs”) and full time parents often makes it hard to put as much focus in to miju as we’d like although, we’ve both been tailoring our schedules to try and give it a little more time as it’s treated us well thus far.
Where else can readers find your work?
We have a few independant boutiques that sell our goods throughout Canada, USA & France.
Whether a big chunky cocktail style or something more subtle, lately I’m obsessed with rings! When it comes to jewelry, I’m always more interested in quality design than high end materials. Not that I’m going to turn down gems, but I’d rather have a well-designed crystal ring than a boring diamond one. Here are a few unique pieces I’m loving at the moment!
Quartz double ring by Adina Mills Design.
There’s not much I don’t love from Bario-Neal designs, but these simple stackable beauties are great! [photo courtesy of Style Me Pretty]
The Mobius Ring from Spies Jewelry.
Granule rings from Hannah Bedford.
Loved ring from St. Kilda.
I found this beauty via pinterest and I can’t seem to find its original source. So gorgeous!