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We're taking our modern, eco-friendly greeting cards to the National Stationery Show in New York City in May!
We're taking our modern, eco-friendly greeting cards to the National Stationery Show in New York City in May!
105 backers pledged $4,531 to help bring this project to life.

Limited Edition Print - Just For You!

Hello, backers!

Just a quick note to let you know that coming to your mailbox very soon (perhaps it's arrived already) is your Kickstarter reward package! We shipped out nearly 100 packages between June 30 and July 3, to individuals who signed up for rewards below the $100 level and sent us their mailing address in response to our backer survey.* 

Each one of those packages contains one of the limited-edition prints we designed especially for Kickstarter backers! Take a peek...

The design for this print was inspired by our time in New York during the National Stationery Show in May. The cabling you see against the photo-collaged city scenes in the bird's body came from photographs we took while walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on our last day in NYC. 

We made two sizes of this print -- large (8.5" x 11" paper, to be framed in a document frame, or trimmed to fit an 8" x 10" frame or mat opening), and small (5" x 7", to be framed in a 5" x 7" frame or matted for a larger frame). We had originally planned on the small size being a 4.25" x 5.5" mini-print, but that felt too small to show the detail in the bird's body, so we went with a bigger size. 

Depending on your reward level, you will receive either the large size or small size. Each print is hand numbered on the back. We hope you like it!

The Next Rounds of Rewards

Now we are working on the rewards for the $100 level backers, who will receive the large size limited-edition print plus YOUR IDEA ON A CARD ... a custom designed card based on the backer's idea, in a set of 24. 

You've given us some awesome design requests for this level, from sweet and lovely cards celebrating your hometown, family, favorite pets, or your non-profit organization, to funny and thought-provoking cards with a very specific message. You've challenged us, and we can't wait to dig in and get to work! We'll share the finished designs with you after we send them out.

Finally, because it feels too early to talk about holiday cards in July, we will reach out to our $200 level backers in August to start work on your rewards: Our DELUXE PERSONALIZED HOLIDAY CARD SET ... A custom message printed inside any of our holiday card designs, with your return address printed on the back flap of the envelopes (set of 80 cards + envelopes). We plan to add a few more holiday card designs to our collection in the next month, so you will have plenty to choose from!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

We are continuing to add new stores to our Retailer Map, which is always a treat! New on the list since last month are shops in Washington, DC, Boston, NYC, and Brooklyn. Next time you need some of our cards, we encourage you to shop at one of these fine independent retailers. But if you live far from these locations, you can always find what you need in our online shop.

We're also gearing up for a number of retail craft / gift shows in the next few months, including Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago (Sept. 8-9). We'd love to give you a high-five in person, so please stop by and say hello if you go to one of our shows. You can always find our list of shows on the Events page on our website, and you can keep in touch with us on a day-to-day basis on our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for more updates, but in the meantime, thanks again for your support and we hope you enjoy your goodies when they arrive!


Ryan & Tilney

*P.S. We still need addresses from a few of you. We'll follow up individually so we can get your rewards out to you! 

Post-Stationery Show Check-In

Hi everybody!

Just a quick note to let you know that thanks to your generous help, we rocked the National Stationery Show! We got back late Thursday night (5/24) and spent all weekend printing, scoring, cutting, and packaging two big wholesale orders that needed to get out ASAP. So now, boxes of our cards are now on their way to Toronto and San Francisco! A week after each new order ships out, we will be adding those shops to our Retailer Map. We are so excited to add new pins to the map!

We have many more orders to fill between now and March 2013 (these buyers like to plan ahead!), but we haven't forgotten about your Kickstarter backer rewards!!!


  • JUNE: ...We will design and print the limited-edition mini-print (or full-size print) that is going out to most of you ($5 level and up). As soon as it is ready to go, we will be reaching out to each of you for your mailing address.
    ...Those of you at the $10-30 levels also get to select any card from our collection. We will send you a link to our wholesale catalog or online shop for you to select your card. We will ask for your selection when we ask for your mailing address.
  • JULY: ...For those of you at the $50-55 level, we will assemble your "Be Prepared" packs of 10 of our best-selling cards. When those are ready to ship in July, we will ask for your mailing address.
    ...For people at the $100 level ("Your Idea on a Card"), we will be touching base with you very soon (early June), to start talking about your requests. In July we will have your designs ready to ship!
  • AUGUST: ...It's ho-ho-holiday card time! For backers at the $200 level, we will contact you in August to have you select a holiday card design from our collection, and work with you on the custom message to be printed inside. We may be designing a few more holiday styles over the summer so we'll wait until August to ask for your selection.
    ...For our $500 level backer, we'll be in touch about where you want those George-shaped cookies delivered!

We definitely have a lot of work ahead but we are excited about it. Launching our line at the National Stationery Show was a great experience -- we received wonderful feedback on our line of cards and prints, and had lots of fun meeting fellow paper lovers from around the world. 

Thanks again for your support! We will be in touch again soon, but for now, we leave you with images of some of the cards that were our top sellers at the show...

We Made It! Booth Building and Fundraising Update

Hi everybody! 

As we write this, it is the morning of Day 3 of the National Stationery Show. Days 1 and 2 went great! More on that later. For now, let us take you back in time to Friday morning, when our 6AM flight from Milwaukee touched down at 9AM at La Guardia and we kicked off two feverish days of...

Building the MAN vs. GEORGE DESIGN Booth

We arrived in NYC on Friday, May 18. Our first stop was our hotel, which graciously allowed us to check in early -- probably because it meant they would finally be able to clear their back office of the numerous bulky packages we had mailed to ourselves, c/o the hotel, in the weeks prior to our arrival! 

Instead of shipping a pallet of our booth materials from Milwaukee to NYC on the back of a semi, we opted for the a la carte ship-and-schlep method: 

  • For the items we wanted to remain in our control at all times...such as half of our catalogs, all of our greeting cards, card shelves, and booth signage...those items came with us on the airplane. 
  • For items that were too weirdly shaped or heavy to carry with us...including our 2' x 2' foam flooring tiles and various office supplies...those things were shipped directly to the hotel at the time we ordered them (so we wouldn't have to pay for shipping twice). 
  • And for our booth furniture, which we wanted neither to ship nor schlep ourselves...for that we availed ourselves of the fantastic picking and delivery service at the IKEA in Elizabeth, NJ. We combined our order with another exhibitor to split the delivery cost, and everything went off without a hitch. The delivery guy showed up within the designated time window and brought our furniture right to our booth, which was AWESOME!

As soon as we arrived at the Javits Center, we went to our booth to find this nice man installing our foam walls. We ordered side walls in white, and the back wall in orange. (This was partially because we weren't sure if an all-orange booth would be scary, and partially to economize, because the colored walls are pricey!)

As soon as he cleared out, we began assembling our furniture, which consisted of a desk, a storage cart, and two chairs. I don't know about you, but I am convinced that IKEA furniture exists solely to make otherwise reasonably intelligent and confident people feel stupid for a few hours. With the word-free assembly instructions and the seemingly random callouts ("What is that arrow pointing to? Is that even a thing?!"), it is a recipe for disaster if you're not paying attention. Here's something, in some stage of assembly.

And chairs! Fully assembled!

Next up, we installed the banners on the side walls. These would serve as the opening of our booth. We ordered these custom, reusable self-adhesive fabric banners from LTLPrints, who were great to work with.

Then we applied more stripes to the top of the back wall. This was partly because stripes are fun, and partly to hide the zip ties that were securing the top of the walls to the metal pipe framework behind them. 

Next we put up the giant MAN vs. GEORGE DESIGN logo sign -- also made from the reusable self-adhesive fabric from LTLPrints. It was beginning to feel like home already!

Then we started positioning the shelves that would hold our cards on the walls. (Check out this update on Self-Inflicted Shelving Insanity for the making-of...)

The next step was to apply the vinyl lettering above each category of cards. Unlike the re-stickable fabric banners and logo sign, these were not removable. And as this was our first time ever applying vinyl lettering, our technique involved a lot of painter's tape and prayer.

Everything worked out great with the lettering. Here's a shot of the corner of the booth. Note the MvG logo on the chairs...LTLPrints were kind enough to throw in a few small versions of our logo with our order, so we put them to good use. Hey, you can never have too much branding!

Next we installed the foam tile flooring, a process which we didn't take any photos of (sorry!) but suffice it to say it was easy. 

Then we moved the furniture in, set up the cards in their colored shelves, taped the art prints to the wall, and, finally, installed four clip lights along the top of the side walls of our booth.

Here's how it all came together:

And Now, a Fundraising Update

Almost the same instant I snapped this photo on Saturday, we received an email from Kickstarter indicating we had a new backer, whose contribution helped us meet our $4,000 fundraising goal. Woo hoo!! Thank you, everyone, for your generous support of our project! We are so excited to have reached our goal before the start of the National Stationery Show! 

As we mentioned in our project narrative, our true expenses for our debut at this show are more like $10,000 - 12,000, so please know how important your support is to us. Any excess funding we raise over the $4K will go toward more show expenses, not toward caviar and cigars. (We actually had 1 backer cancel his pledge on Sunday, so please realize that if that were to happen a few more times in the final 2 days of our campaign, we might dip below our fundraising goal and not receive any of your pledges...we really hope that doesn't happen!)

In closing, here is a photo that sums up what we want to say to each and every one of you:

Your messages and pledges have made our pre-show preparation so much fun, and we are so grateful for your enthusiasm and support. 

We've got 2 more days of this campaign, and 2 more days of the National Stationery Show! Stay tuned for another update about the show. It is going really well -- beyond our wildest expectations. Meanwhile, please keep sharing our project link:

Thanks again! We'll talk to you soon!



Three Days Until NYC! Also, Self-Inflicted Shelving Insanity

Greetings, everyone!

We wanted to share a numerically themed update with you on our preparations as we count down the days to our National Stationery Show debut:  

  • 3 days until we depart for New York City to build our National Stationery Show booth at the Jacob Javits Convention Center! 
  • 8 days left in our Kickstarter campaign and $654 left to raise. Can we do it? We sure hope so!!
  • 70 individual pocket-shelves constructed by Mr. MAN vs. GEORGE himself to display our cards in style.

Wait...70 what now?

If you've watched our video or seen our greeting cards in person, you know that one of the distinctive characteristics of our cards is that the designs wrap around from front to back. It makes things fun for shoppers and fun for the recipients of our cards...but it presents a big challenge when it comes to displaying the cards on the walls of a trade show booth.

Many exhibitors glue or pin their cards to their booth walls, which simply won't work for our cards. If we did that, people would miss out on the flip-side surprise! 

We had also been advised that members of the press like to photograph cards they see at the show, and as such, it is best if the cards are not encased in protective cellophane sleeves (as they are during retail cash-and-carry shows). Because of this, we would not be able to display the cards with their color-coordinating envelopes, which was frankly a bummer because the envelopes would provide a nice colorful border around each card against the white foam board walls. 

So! We needed a means of display that would: 

  • Allow the cards to be removed from the wall, flipped over, and replaced so as to allow visitors to see the flip-side design...all without damaging the cards or our booth walls. 
  • Provide a colorful backdrop for each card...preferably in the same color as its corresponding envelope.
  • Present the cards in a photographer-friendly manner without glare-catching cellophane sleeves.
  • Be lightweight and easy to transport. Remember, our walls are made of foam board, which won't accommodate traditional shelves. 

After much brainstorming, we devised a solution that we think will work well, although we are the first to admit it is slightly insane in terms of its labor-intensiveness. 

Without further ado, we give you a photo montage of...

The Making of Our Booth Wall Shelves

1. We ordered cover stock in the same colors as our envelope paper, for the cards we selected to display on the walls. (It is produced with 100% green power, just like the envelopes!)

2. We designed a template and printed it on the sheets of cover stock. (We won't show you the photo of our pile of failed templates. It's too sad.)

3. Next, we scored the cover stock at the appropriate places. (See photo below.)

4. Then, we cut the templates into the necessary shape.

5. Next, we cut sheets of flexible metal...

6. ...and bent them into an L shape with a lip. Or a U shape with one stem a lot shorter than the other? Describe it however you looked like this:

7. Next we wrapped the metal bracket with the cover stock, securing it on the inner side with the help of good-old double-stick tape.

8. Then we secured the paper to the exposed end of the bracket on the back side of the shelf, using regular transparent tape.  

9. Then we repeated Steps 3 - 8 sixty-nine more times, until we had a gigantic pile of pocket shelves. Here's a shot of one in each of the colors we'll be using on our booth walls.

And finally, here is a shot of one of these pocket shelves doing its job, affixed to a wall and providing a nice colorful backdrop for the card it holds.

What's Next?

We've got several loose ends to take care of before we depart for NYC, but we keep chipping away at our to-do list and with 3 days to go, it's looking doable. 

But it would be so nice to depart for the National Stationery Show with this one specific item completed... Reaching 100% of our Kickstarter goal.

Sure, we have 8 days to go in our Kickstarter campaign, but we would love to be able to say to retailers on the first day of the show: "This is our first time at the National Stationery Show, and we made it here thanks to the support of Kickstarter backers from all over the world!"


  • If you haven't yet made a pledge...please do so now rather than later!
  • If you have already made a pledge...thanks again! 
  • If you have already made a pledge but just found a sack of money...please consider increasing your pledge!
  • Any of the above...please Tweet, post to Facebook, and tell your mailman, neighbors, and mom about our project. Share our project link far and wide:   

Thanks again for your support of our quest to rid the greeting card world of glitter & bad poetry! We'll keep you posted in the days ahead...



And now for something completely different...

Hello, everybody!

We leave in 1 week for New York City, where we will set up our booth and greet the world at the National Stationery Show! 

The last several months have been beyond busy with show prep, from expanding our line of greeting cards and prints, designing our catalog, and launching a new website, to managing the logistics of exhibiting at a major trade show from halfway across the country. 

Fun fact: Every booth at the National Stationery Show is subject to inspection by the NYC Fire Marshal, who may perform a flame test to ensure the walls are adequately flame-proofed. That's right: THEY CAN LIGHT OUR BOOTH ON FIRE. At a trade show dedicated to paper. 

Good times!

Speaking of good times, Ryan took a break from show prep to design a poster for a gig that we are so excited to attend in NYC on the night before the start of the National Stationery Show: John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders, at City Winery on May 19

Check out this amazing roster of performers!

Musicians! Comics! Authors! So much talent under one roof! This will be such a welcome (and entertaining!) break before we head into Day 1 of the stationery show. 

Finally, we leave you with a quick progress report on our Kickstarter campaign:

  • 13 days to go and we are 72% funded! THANK YOU, early backers!!
  • $1120 left to raise (28% to go). 

Thank you, as always, for your support of our project. We appreciate your continued help in the next few days, in spreading the news of our project and sharing our Kickstarter link with your friends:

Virtual high-fives from Milwaukee (or hugs, if you're a hugger!),

Ryan & Tilney