Six Months of Inky, Part 2: Exposure, Expansion and Expectations

Last week we looked back at a few highlights of the last six months. It was a bit of a long post but honestly I could have gone on until your scroller fell off. Hope you didn’t mind. Thank you so much to those who sent encouragement and kind words after reading. It warmed me cockles, it did.

This week I want to tell you about some rather exciting future plans and a bit more about our growing collective.

But before that I also wanted to mention a little something on…

 

EXPOSURE

Print Isn't Dead letterpress postcards - Inky Collective

When the opportunity to do something in return for exposure (rather than money) comes up, most people will tell you, in most cases, that you should be paid for your time and your work. I agree with this. Most of the time. If the person can afford to pay you, if others would or are being paid, if you are going to lose money by doing it for free, if the person asking you is just a chancer, etc.

Both events we did last year, for People of Print and for the Maker Faire, didn’t pay us anything, or were free to take part in, depending on how you look at it. On both occasions I was pretty ecstatic to be there and had no regrets after, so I believe there is a type of work you can do in return for exposure.

So when Marcroy of People of Print called me to ask if I wanted to get involved with their second issue of Print Isn’t Dead, I jumped at the chance. I printed letterpress postcards to go out with a limited number of the magazine.

Print Isn't Dead letterpress postcards - Inky Collective

Element #002 was being crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and I had intended to donate towards the campaign, so I saw this work as an alternative way to donate, as well as a brilliant way of promoting my business to exactly the right audience.

I printed somewhere over 100 cards, 75 of which were shipped off to the distributors and destined to land on a load of print-fans’ doormats. It also meant People of Print talked about me on Twitter and Instagram and grew my following there so, although it was actually a painfully tricky composition to print (old, uneven type for that authentic look!) I still feel it was well worth it.

 

The other bit of exposure we got last year was totally out of the blue. So out of the blue in fact I was convinced it was spam.

 

This popped up in my mentions on January 1st. And I just sort of glazed over thinking it was a bot. I didn’t click on the link, instead I check out DailyTekk to see who else had been spammed. But it didn’t look like a bot account; it had thousands of followers and “normal” looking tweets. And this:  


And we were on the list.

 

britneywhat

 

So after pacing a while in confusion, repeating that I didn’t understand, finally accepting it was real and that we weren’t on there by mistake, I thanked DailyTekk profusely. And then I called my mum.

I’m still blown away by this to be honest. That list sends us new blog readers daily, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I do hope they like it when they get here.

 

EXPANSION

Lucile Knight - Inky Collective Blog

Introducing, our latest collective member, budding children’s author Lucile! Fanfare!

I know, she’s a bit too gorgeous isn’t she. Lucile and I have been friends for years and have regular creative brainstorming meet ups in Clapham with fellow blogger Petra, of streetstyle maternity blog, Monmum.

A management consultant by day, and a writer and painter at heart, Lucile is now on maternity leave with her first baby, Charlie, and is turning her hand to children’s stories.

Lucile will be writing a regular post for us on how she is finding the writing process, how she stays motivated, and her publishing plans.

I also hope to be able to introduce another member to you soon, who is going to be writing some tutorials for us. Exciting times!

 

Makerhood Battersea - The Old School Club

Earlier in the month, I popped along to my first Makerhood Battersea meeting over at the Old School Club . They are a brilliant support network for makers and run regular workshops, and a morning creche. There were ten of us at the meeting, and four of us were letterpress printers! It’s a lovely space, so if you do live nearby I recommend popping along.

I am really looking forward to working with Inma and Rachel, the two amazing women running this branch of Makerhood, starting out by helping with their online presence. So there’ll be a new site coming soon!

 

FUTURE PLANS AND EXPECTATIONS

Printing from our spare room isn’t always ideal as it does actually function as a guest bedroom fairly regularly. And as a bike shed. And as a spare-furniture-and-random-bits room.

Every now and again I clear out another drawer to fill with blank paper, or packaging, or printed cards and I have to find somewhere else to squeeze the drawer’s ex-contents.

Towards the end of last year I started regularly browsing online for studio space, but without much hope, what with financial and time constraints.

Then, out of the blue one day, I found an ad on Gumtree for a letterpress studio a mere 15 minute walk away. The lady letting it, Amelie of La Belle Press, was going on maternity leave, and wanted to sublet the space to another letterpress printer.

So, not only was it space very local to me, it came with its own bloomin’ great press and all it’s gubbins!

Vicobold Letterpress - Inky Collective Blog

I had my induction to the press last weekend and hope to start using it from next week. The studio also has a lot of other commercial printing equipment, so I’m really hoping to be able to offer more than cards soon.

AND, thanks to the additional Adana in the studio, I may even be able to offer some letterpress workshops later in the year (very basic, of course. I’m still learning myself!).

 

All of these things are huge steps towards my dream for Inky Collective. To offer more products, to teach, to become a hub for people sharing their advice and helping each other. Oh blimey, I’m getting a bit emotional just writing about it.

I’ll let you know how it’s all going of course, and if anyone else wants to get involved I’d love to hear from you. But now I’d better stop before I embarrass myself!

Happy Friday all!

Jen Wright

Jen Wright

Letterpress printer, maker and freelance writer. I blog about the people and things that inspire me, in the hope that I will inspire you.
Jen Wright

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