New York Stationery Show 2014

We just returned from a whirlwind adventure to attend the New York Stationery Show where we launched many new items (including show favorite – our hand dipped cards which are remnant pieces that soak up the remaining dye bath from our silk work). It was a long awaited trip, as this is the largest wholesale trade show in the United States.

Of The Earth booth display at national stationery show 2014

NSS booth display

“Now in its 68th year, the National Stationery Show® is the world’s most comprehensive marketplace for greeting cards, stationery and related lifestyle products. No other trade fair in the U.S. matches the depth and caliber of stationery selection at the NSS—or serves as the launching pad for so many young, creative businesses each year.”

Silk ribbon and handmade paper booth display

Booth display – silk and paper

It is always a pleasure to connect and draw inspiration from other creatives in our market. In the past we have been intimidated by the quality of art and artist on display at this show which prevented our exhibiting, there are just stunning levels of creativity and craftsmanship on display. We have since realized that while we may not be at the top of the pack or offering the latest trends, we have unique and creative art to contribute and in turn have our place among industry leaders.

Of The Earth paper and silk display

Silk ribbon and handmade papers at NSS 2014

A fun highlight was seeing our Seattle neighbor and sometimes silk collaborator Real Card Company at the show, and finally meeting the principals in our other longtime Seattle stationer Silberman/Brown.  It was a fantastic (albeit exhausting) trip and we are already looking forward to attending next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trouble with online reviews – How do you decide who to listen to?

A close friend of mine just had one of the worst weeks a small business owner can have. There are many challenges we face and overcome from every angle you can imagine but one of the toughest is from difficult people. He had to fire an employee this week that may end up dragging out into much drama over the next several months (or even years if it goes all courtroom). I think the hardest part for him were the very personal attacks that this employee threw around like so many dangerous, virulent seeds. These squeaky wheels get so much more attention than they deserve and as the one under attack, we often feel that there must be some truth to their accusations, otherwise they wouldn’t be saying those hurtful things right? Not so. Some people are only happy when they are stepping on other people. We need to be able to filter those people out.

With that in mind I have found a way to address an unhappy individual that I dealt with last November. I wanted to respond to her Yelp review, I wanted to find her own Yelp business page and leave her a few choice comments, I wanted to scream and throw a tantrum, but I chose to not dignify her comments with a response. And then today we received a lovely email from a customer and this is how I have decided to address the issue; by speaking about it here on our own blog.

Thanks for reading and understand that in our very connected world your every action has the ability to ripple into far greater lengths than ever before, so be nice!

Hi Kevin!

I happened to go on Yelp today and noticed that you have two Of The Earth pages on Yelp…and the more current one has only one review, a repeat of the one negative review from your original page. I wrote my own review with five stars, but combined with that other one you still only have a 3-star average.

If you didn’t create that Yelp page you can probably claim it and delete it — it’s better not to have two, so you should be able to just update the address on your original one, I’m not sure about that though. Let me know if you do delete that one and I’ll be happy to put my review on your other page.

Thanks again for the invitations — they are amazing!
Anna

Anna,

Thank you for your message. I am very glad that you are happy with your invitations.

Thanks for the gift of your time in leaving a public review for us. We really do appreciate it. I think Yelp can be a helpful tool (I have used it to find out about yoga studios close to home) but I have a bit of a beef with them (as you might guess) for more than just the Of The Earth listing but also from our many business owner friends who have spoken of their feelings of extortion when dealing with Yelp sales people.

We moved our business last July (and five years prior to that move). When we moved in 2008, our one five star review (at the time) moved with us. When we moved in 2013 to our dismay we discovered that our Yelp page was not going to move with us. Yelp had changed their policies and we had to rebuild, with new images and data our Yelp page for our new location. None of our reviews moved with us.

In December of last year we received our first review on Yelp in our new location. In Yelp’s business plan it made sense to them to ensure that that review was posted on both locations. You see, if we pay Yelp $1000 a month (no joke I talked to them at length) they ensure that any bad reviews are pushed to the bottom of the stack, perhaps even get lost on a back page, as long as the payments keep coming.

In life you have to take a few lumps, so we have put pictures and data and our hours of operation on Yelp but we don’t have to pay them or support them in any way. We also don’t have to tolerate extortion from potential customers, even if that means facing an unpleasant public statement of questionable veracity.

I am excited to read your review and again thank you for taking your time to let folks (on the interwebs) know that you were happy with your experience with us.

Wishing you the best,
Kevin

Kevin Graham
kevin@custompaper.com
www.custompaper.com
Of The Earth
7706 Aurora Avenue North
Seattle WA 98103
1.888.294.1526