Ampersand Design Studio

X

Category Archives: ampersand ladies

Morgan is gearing up for baby #2 07.18.2014

Hey everyone, Morgan here today. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to actually get this post up, so although it says 34 weeks on the wall, I’m currently sitting at 36 weeks pregnant with my second boy on the way!!!! I’m not even sure how it’s possible that I’ve already gotten to 36 weeks, but here I am, SUPER large and SUPER excited! There will be almost 4 years between my kiddos, so, at this point, I’m just hoping my husband and I remember what to do with a baby.

Although we wanted another child so badly, I had some anxiety about having another kid. I didn’t want to take any time or attention away from our son, Shaw. But Shaw couldn’t possibly be more excited to become a big brother, so that is already making this a much smoother transition! He has been dividing up his toys and books, letting us know which ones are for “little brother” and which ones he wants to keep in his room. He constantly talks about how he wants to keep little brother safe and take care of him. He hugs my belly and says that he just can’t wait any longer for him to get here!! Ahh…it melts my heart. This new little guy sure is lucky to have Shaw for an older brother. Let’s just hope things don’t do a 180 when the baby is actually here!

So, since I had a baby last, there are some new things out there that I have my eye on for baby, mama and for big brother and I thought I’d share them with you all!

1 // I have been loving the cool necklaces out there for teething babies! Such a brilliant idea to make something that is actually attractive to wear and will always be right around our neck, just where the baby always wants to be. Loving this silicone teething necklace from Mama & Little  2 // Shaw wasn’t always a fan of being carried in a sling or wrap and I feel like it was my fault for not getting him used to it early enough, so this time, I am determined to have a happy baby right next to me in this mint Solly Baby wrap as much as possible 3 // I remember how hard it is for little ones to keep their shoes on, and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about these Freshly Picked moccasins (in Prince Georgie limited edition) 4 // I’m head over heels with the idea of being lucky enough to have another baby, so the title of this book, “You are my baby” gets my every time and I’ve been reading lots of the same books for three and a half years now, so we are ready for a refresh 5 // We used our UPPAbaby stoller every single day for a while but now that my son is more into riding his bike and scooters, I wasn’t sure if a double stroller was for us. Thankfully, the UPPAbaby makes this awesome skateboard style attachment called the “Piggyback” where my son can stand and ride along while the baby is in a bassinet or seat. SO excited about this 6 // Of course our new little one needs something to wear home from the hospital and this “Hi 5″ one-piece caught my eye. It’s going to be the middle of August when he arrives , so it will likely be 90 degrees or more, so a tank one-piece is perfect 7 // I’m a huge fan of Happy Habitat (not to mention this is Kansas City company) and I think having a baby is the best excuse to invest in a fun new blanket like this one. It’s a mini blanket, just the right size, called “Waves” and it’s just too fitting for my California-cool nursery!

  1. Ashley Spaulding

    I love reading about how Shaw is so excited to welcome a little brother… he’ll be the perfect age to show his brother everything he knows about life. That Happy Habitat blanket is darling… what fun! You look adorable, Morgan!!

    July 18, 2014 5:35 pm
  2. kathy

    Ooooh Morgan, that teething necklace is perfect! I love love it! Can’t wait to meet your little guy.

    July 18, 2014 5:36 pm

our big Surtex 2014 recap! 06.23.2014

Our third year of showing at Surtex is a wrap!! We can hardly believe it’s been three years for Ampersand Design Studio. In some ways it feels like it was our first year and in other ways, it’s as if we have been doing this trade show forever! From the time we first decided to show at Surtex in 2012 (full recap of 2012 here), we agreed that we’d do the show for three years to give it a real shot and see if licensing our art was going to be a viable option for our company! So, in a way, 2014 was a big year for us because we just completed this goal!

Of course, we were thrown for some loops. Getting out of town this year proved to be more difficult than planned. On our way out the door for the airport Friday morning, we got a phone call from our airline saying our flight was cancelled. You read that correctly, not delayed. Just plain cancelled….and that we could wait for another phone call to let us know when it would be rescheduled for. We did eventually get that phone call and our new flight was now set for 5pm…..with a layover…..making us miss the entire first day of set-up for the show. Complete buzz kill for us. We were so ready to just get to NYC by that point, it was really disappointing. But….we were SO thrilled when we actually got on a plane and felt like we were on our way….those are smiles of pure relief….

Then….we get to Minneapolis and our flight is delayed again!! ahhh. Then…….we land in NYC (finally) and we had planned on catching a cab, but due to flash flooding, everything was backed up. We waited in the taxi line for over an hour. It seriously felt like we would never get to our hotel. With Carrie still nursing, and therefore pumping for this entire trip, and Morgan being 7 months pregnant, needless to say, we were just beyond ready to be in our hotel room. Alas, we made it and got just a couple of hours of sleep before heading to the Javits Center Saturday morning for a day of setting up our booth.

For those of you unfamiliar with Surtex, here is our empty booth with all the boxes that we have shipped across the country and then lugged into the convention center.  After several hours, mostly of Carrie doing the heavy-lifting this year (thank you, Carrie for taking care of your pregnant business partner!),  we got the banners hung, the signage up, the portfolio books displayed and the samples of our work out on shelves!!  Whew! Many months are spent prepping for the trip, so when the booth is complete, it always feels like we can finally breathe again.

And TA_DA….the booth is complete! Much friendlier and MUCH more colorful than before :)

SIDE NOTE: We wanted to include a few resources for anyone else doing considering doing the show now that we have done our research and learned from our mistakes! This year we got our banners printed at Uprinting (by recommendation from our dear friend, and fellow Surtexee, Josephine Kimberling). In the past years, we’ve had major color issues with our banners and had to reprint them, sometimes more than once. So we were thrilled with the quality and color from Uprinting. We highly recommend them! We make postcards to send out to hopefully give a little teaser and a reason to stop by our booth. We have gotten those printed at Vistaprint all three years and have been completely happy with them (and they’re fast for those of us that sometimes run a bit behind). And lastly, we use UPS to ship our precious cargo halfway across the country to our NYC hotel and (knock on wood) everything has always arrived on time and in great condition!

Surtex is three days long, Sunday through Tuesday, from 9-6pm. Here we are feeling all alive and ready to take on the world the morning of the first day! We tried out a new aisle this year, the newly made #200 aisle and we were booth #235. We’re not quite sure how we feel about that aisle yet. It was the closest one to the National Stationery Show (NSS), but it also seemed as if there was less traffic in that row over all. Some parts of the show were overwhelmingly busy for us….and then other parts of the day, not so much.

So, everyone always wants to know, “How was the show?”. And the fact is, with Surtex, we never really know much immediately following. We talked to some amazing people and companies that we would LOVE to partner with. Made some really great contacts. We have high hopes for lots of things, but all the details of which pieces of artwork, existing or new, and timeline, and details of each individual contract are all worked out in the weeks and months following the show. So far in our first two years, Surtex has been worth it for us and we feel very lucky for that!

As far as this year, we will let you know a year from now! ha!

After the show each day, we try to get out and see and do as much as possible in NYC! We celebrated our booth setup with some street tacos and fresh juices at Tacombi at Fonda Nolita (and yes, there is a VW bus in the middle of the restaurant-what’s not to love about that?), We were lucky enough to get invited to the opening of the Alexander Girard pop-up exhibit by a friend which was just incredible, we did some last minute work at the Ace Hotel bar and of course, hit up the photo booth (see below), and after the last day of the show, we had a half day to do some exploring and even squeezed in a bit of shopping (see the “hey” entrance to the Kate Spade Saturday Soho store above). Each and every time we got to New York, we dream up ways of being able to live there. It’s just one of our favorite places on earth. Although living there doesn’t seem possible at this point, we’re pretty glad we get to go once a year, at least!

Coming off our third year, we feel like we have a bit of Surtex experience under our belt. So, we thought we’d share just a few tips for those of you that are considering going this route for your business:

1. Do your research. Walk the show first. Study what Surtex booths look like. Read other artists blogs about their journey to Surtex. Join a community of people who show at Surtex. Look into licensing coaches or websites where you can watch tutorials or receive emails. In general, the more information, the better!

2. Make a back-up calendar. There are SO many things to do for the show besides creating lots of great artwork to license! Start with the date of the show and go backwards setting mini-deadlines for yourself for each week. We have been using a 14 week calendar, but it would be ideal to start sooner than that. When marking deadlines for yourself, keep in mind things like making an announcement on social media, designing and mailing out postcards and/or designing and producing giveaways for your booth, updating your website with current info, designing your actual booth walls and anything else that might be on display, researching and printing all of the booth materials including banners and/or samples of your work, making travel plans including a place to stay and plane tickets if necessary, checking dates to order your furniture for the booth, and of course, setting a date to have your booth supplies shipped (if necessary). There are a LOT of things to keep track of, so lots of deadlines along the way are so helpful.

3. Be yourself. please, please, just do you. There are hundreds and hundreds of other artists showing their work. There is no need for you to look like anyone else. Sometimes, we feel like its best to be naive in this way. Don’t look at what other artists are creating. It’s wonderful to be on top of trends and understanding why types of pieces companies are looking for. But make your artwork your own!! That’s the best way to stand out.

4. Don’t overlook anyone. One thing we have learned is that just because someone stops by your booth and you don’t recognize the company name, that does not mean it is not worth your time. In addition, what is a good fit for your work, might not be a good fit for someone else. So no need to compare what companies your friends have talked to. Some of our best partnerships have come from companies that we originally had never heard of!

We wish all artists the best of luck if you decide to go the Surtex route!! We hope to see each and everyone one get matched up with the perfect companies!

Lastly, the other thing we get asked the most is, “Are you going back to Surtex next year?”. And for that, we don’t necessarily know. It is a huge investment for a tiny company like ours. Three years was our goal and we just completed that. We have a lot of really exciting things happening for Ampersand right now and  we have set some big goals and new directions for our company in the next couple of years!!!

As for the future…..we will all just have to wait and see.

Just in case you are so inclined,  read our full Surtex 2012 recap here, and read our Surtex 2013 recap here.

  1. Olivia

    Oh my goodness, the trip to NYC sounds agonizing!! So glad you finally made it. I didn’t realize Morgan was pregnant – congrats!!

    June 24, 2014 5:22 pm
  2. ampersand

    Oh thank you so much, Olivia :)

    June 24, 2014 5:42 pm
  3. Rachel

    It was great meeting you ladies. You are as adorable and sweet in person as you are on your blog. Hope the show was a huge hit for you.

    June 26, 2014 8:09 pm
  4. Rosie Martinez-Dekker

    Great post, thanks for sharing and for the tips.
    Loved you booth and wish you lots of luck !
    R-

    June 26, 2014 9:34 pm
  5. Joy Laforme

    It was so great to meet you both at Surtex! What an exhausting bit to get there, but I hope it ends up being well worth it!

    June 30, 2014 7:21 pm

uppercase magazine: surface pattern design guide 2014 05.15.2014

You might’ve seen us mention this on social media, but we are just so thrilled and flattered to be included that we had to make sure to share it right here on our little home on the world wide web! Uppercase Magazine is just one of those publications that you look forward to getting in the mail. The quality of creative features is always so incredibly inspiring to us. Uppercase Magazine decided to do a special feature within their 21st edition. It’s a Surface Pattern Design Guide featuring the 100 best in the business right now and we are beyond honored to have made the cut! Seriously, we could hardly believe it! This magazine will be available at the Surtex Trade Show in NYC and we can’t wait to meet some of the other artist included! Huge thanks to Uppercase for doing this feature and for including us. Seriously, so honored to be amongst all of this ridiculous talent!

PS – if you don’t already follow the Uppercase blog, it’s a must!

If you’d like to get a copy, click here to order!

one comment

  1. Kari

    That is AWESOME ladies!! Congratulations!!

    May 16, 2014 8:48 pm

The KC Magazine 100 list 04.17.2014

We couldn’t be more honored or flattered to be chosen by KC Magazine as one of their “100 People Making Kansas City a Fantastic Place to Call Home”!!!! We are in such amazing company and are so grateful to be included in this prestigious list!!! We are seriously pinching ourselves seeing our own names amidst the other amazing people that are featured! THANK YOU, KC Magazine for highlighting us!! If you’re local, make sure to pick up a copy – it’s the April 2014 issue!!

one comment

  1. Jeanee

    Yay, congrats!

    April 18, 2014 2:24 am

ANNOUNCING: 8 Days a Week, our second fabric collection! 02.24.2014

We have been waiting (not so patiently) to introduce you all to our second fabric collection with Windham Fabrics!!!! It’s called 8 Days a Week and it’s filled with hand-painted lettering, dots, stripes and a really unique fill-in-the-blank calendar grid, all  in super bold black, white and hits of color! You can use the numbers, days of the week and months to customize your very own fabric calendar to commemorate a special event, or simply use them all as pattern! We could not have made our vision for this collection come to life without the generosity of SO many people. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all of them and for the hours they spent helping us put the pieces of this photo shoot together! Scroll through to see some of the amazing pieces that some wonderful people have made for us using 8 Days a Week fabric!!! In the next many days, we will be sharing details about all of these projects and the talented sewers behind each and every one! So please stay tuned!

So, as you can see, beyond the friends that sewed all of these beautiful pieces for us, we have a LOT more people to thank, and we want to start by doing them a bit of justice right here! To start off, these fab photos would never have been possible without our dear friend, who just happens to be a crazy-talented photographer, Jason of Jason Domingues Photography! Not only did he run around town to four different locations, he even volunteered his own backyard to be one of those spots! Yes, you read that correctly, the outdoor shots are in Jason and his wife, Allison’s, very own (super darling) backyard! Thank you, Jason, for your patience in shooting lots of sewn objects along with the lovely models we threw in there as well :) We are so grateful for your time and the super-quick turn-around of the images!!

Emily, our office assistant and Jordan, our summer intern, both worked tirelessly on helping us organize the mailing of fabrics to each and every sewer. This involved a detailed spreadsheet of addresses, fabric yardages for all the different patterns and lists of pieces to be sewn. We can promise you that we wouldn’t have kept it all together without both of them! Thank you, Emily & Jordan!!

We can’t go without mentioning the attentive and always helpful team at Windham Fabrics! We love to collaborate with Windham on our collections and just love our relationship with them! We are so thankful for their patience and support!

We also have many people to thank for letting us use their spaces! A long-time friend of both Morgan & Carrie, Darby Brender, the owner of the ever popular, trend-setting Fusion Fitness, allowed us to take over her studio for a few hours because we were just obsessed with the cool gray wood floors. Thank you, Darby!! Our office assistant, Emily, let us know that one of her friends was a new mom with a really darling nursery. Upon seeing pictures, we knew we had to get in there! So thank you to Emily’s friend, Amanda, for letting us invade your home, especially with a newborn baby! And one of our favorite local restaurants, Urban Table, allowed us to take over the comfy benches in front of their huge windows one morning! Don’t worry, we always repay them by having office brunches there :)

And last, but so far from least are our models!

Amya— the darling baby girl in the polka-dotted romper is the daughter of one of Morgan and Carrie’s friends, Patty, from our Hallmark days. Thank you, Patty for loaning us your sweet little lady for the morning. She was a natural!

Lilli— the daughter of one of our amazing sewers, Monica, also happened to be a perfect model! Much more info to come on Monica, but we’ll just say that on top of being a talented seamstress, she also has the most lovely kiddos. Lilli was such a great sport, twirling around in the adorable dress her mom made. Thank you, Lilli!

Michelle— you may recognize Michelle from our shoot for Cream & Sugar. We couldn’t resist asking Michelle to help us again with this collection. Can you blame us? She is as sweet as she is beautiful, not to mention hilarious. She was so generous to take time out of her busy schedule to model our polka dot skirt and headband, tote and clutch. Thank you, thank you!

As we mentioned before, we are going to be following up with more blog posts introducing you to all of the great sewers who helped us out! But for now, we want to at least give them credit as you scroll through these photos! A HUGE thank you to all of them for making this happen!!

Dayle Bennett: tote bag and clutch // Jordan Clark: pillows, headband and dog collar set // Carrie Dickerson: toddler shorts, toddler skirt and embroidered t-shirt set, stuffed dog toy // Stephanie Patton: baby quilt // Emily Perkins: shadowbox calendar art // Caroline Ritter: carry-all bins and crayon roll // Margaret Schemmel: toy ball, calendar pillow and crib skirt // Madi Sharp: headband and pillow  // Shari Shobe: quilt // Monica Spiehs: adult a-line skirt, toddler girl dress, baby romper and flag bunting // Emily Walters: notebook/ folio and pillows

We sure hope you love this new collection! It was truly made with love (and paint, brushes and scissors!)

Check out our full online brochure right here!!!

  1. Josephine

    Congrats on another FAB collection! I LOVE it! It’s so fun, the projects are gorgeous, and those colors are amazing!! I will now have that song stuck in my head, which I love, so no complaint here : )

    February 25, 2014 9:18 pm
  2. Laura Parke

    GIRLS!!! Such a lovely collection. I seriously LOVE all of it! I can’t wait to get my hands on it and start making stuff. Bravo, you two!

    February 25, 2014 10:32 pm
  3. Jane B

    Where do I get the pattern for your polka dot skirt!?!! Or better yet, where can I buy that skirt!!!!? I love it. And I love this fabric line. So. Much. Fun. Just in time for spring.

    February 27, 2014 12:41 pm
  4. ampersand

    Thank you so much, Josephine and Laura, you know it means a lot to us that you guys like the new group :)

    March 3, 2014 10:04 pm
  5. ampersand

    Hi Jane,
    During this whole week, we’ll be sharing all of the fab people who helped make some of these pieces including the skirt-and we’ll be sharing the pattern! So glad you like it :)

    March 3, 2014 10:05 pm
  6. Dayle Bennett

    Thanks for the shout out ladies! I love this collection. It’s so much fun!

    March 3, 2014 11:12 pm