Ampersand Design Studio


Category Archives: surtex

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014! 01.13.2014

As we move into 2014, we have been doing a lot of future-planning, goal-setting and plan-making for this coming year, but we feel like it’s really important to pause,  look back at the previous year and assess what worked and what didn’t. So we started writing down our biggest successes, most exciting moments and also the things that disappointed us or we’d count as failures, because frankly, each one of these things will teach us how we want to move forward into 2014. Its not all just list-making though, we are putting on our business women hats and crunching some serious numbers, as well.

We’re so thankful for the new relationships, friends and clients that have come from 2013. It’s truly been an incredible year for our business. We can’t go without recognizing that we are some of the lucky ones that are actually living our dream, doing exactly what we were meant to do! And a huge thank you to all of our Ampersand friends who stop by our little blog to see what we’re up to, we’re grateful for each and every one of you!

We’ve got big plans for 2014 and some of them have already started (ah…you know how we hate keeping secrets)! But before we move forward, let’s look back at 2013, want to come along on the journey with us? Let’s go:

JANUARY // We kicked off 2013 by traveling to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit and we had the honor of speaking at a roundtable about Going Into Business with Friends, (Full Alt Summit recap here). Oh and yes, we got to meet Jessica Alba! // We got to introduce our first stationery collection with teNeues // We launched our partnership with LaPlates for our custom designed melamine plates and platters

FEBRUARY // moved out of coffee shops and got our very first studio space // launched Ampersand iphone cases on our etsy shop // spoke for AIGA Kansas City Homegrown Fashion

MARCH // our very first fabric collection, Cream & Sugar, starting shipping to stores across the world and online boutiques // our work was published in Playing with Type book by Rockport Press // announced we are in over our heads HIRING an intern //

APRIL // welcomed Jordan & Emily to the Ampersand team // partnered with The Honest Co for their awesome productspinning parties // did a local meet & greet at Harper’s Fabrics to launch our Cream & Sugar fabric collection

MAY // collaborated with Anthropologie for a Mother’s Day craft night event // showed at our 2nd Surtex show in NYC and it was a big success! // full recap of our 2013 Surtex show right here!

JUNE // really tapped into our DIY side for Father’s Day & Mother’s Day

AUGUST // spoke about Branding for Blgogers at Go Blog Social conference in Kansas City //

SEPTEMBER // Carrie had a baby!

OCTOBER // attended Quilt Market in Houston and shot a video //  new partnership for kids room decor with Oopsy Daisy // we moved (again)! to the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District downtown // prepared to launch our second fabric collection, 8 Days a Week, with a massive 3-location photo shoot and lots of help from our sewing friends!

NOVEMBER // started selling our screen prints at one of our favorite local shops, Utilitarian Workshop // Had the pleasure of designing The Country Club Plaza Lights banners // hosted a super fun holiday trunk show for The Land of Nod in our very own studio!!

DECEMBER // featured in Spaces magazine // partnered with Mane Message for a custom design package of  hair bands // added new stationery items to our shop

And 2013 was so good to us in the press! Thanks to all of you who featured one of our products, our shop, or the work we have done!! We appreciate every single word! Better Homes & Gardens, Apartment Therapy, To & From Magazine, Adore Home Magazine, the cover of Fon’s & Porters Love of Quilting, Camille Styles, Honest to Nod, The Vault Files, 100 layer cakelet, blogshop Philly, Spaces Magazine, KC Weddings magazine and so many more!!

We also took our wholesale business to new levels and added lots of new accounts to our list including Shop Made by Girl in NYC, Collected in Aukland, New Zealand,  Take Heart in Austin, TX and our most recent, Schoolhouse Electric!

All in all, we’d like to say a big huge CHEERS to 2013!!!! You’ve been incredible to us and we can’t wait to see what 2014 holds!

(And just in case you’re curious, here’s our look back from a year ago and 2012!)



  1. Nicole

    This is so awesome! I’m excited to see what 2014 brings to you beauties!

    January 13, 2014 2:34 pm
    • ampersand

      Thanks, Nicole! So excited for your 2014 and your new beginning, too! Hopefully this will be a great year all around!

      January 16, 2014 4:16 am
  2. Megan

    What a great year you two had! Congrats. :)

    Megan from Chasing Davies

    January 13, 2014 6:46 pm
  3. ampersand

    oh thanks, megan! it sure was a crazy one ;)

    January 13, 2014 7:15 pm
  4. Akram Taghavi-Burris

    Congrats on your successful year. May 2014 prove to be just as fruitful.

    It’s good to see local business’s thriving and I love sharing you guys inspiration and insight with, my graphic design students.

    Keep up the good work ;)

    January 16, 2014 1:10 pm
    • ampersand

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Akram! And thank you for sharing our work with your students! We are so flattered. We hope you have a wonderful 2014, too! Cheers!

      January 16, 2014 4:07 pm

announcing: ampersand design studio for oopsy daisy 10.16.2013

We have been waiting, not so patiently we might add, to share this news!!!! We’re really not so great at secrets. We’re SO excited to finally show you all some of our latest products!! This year, we started a new collaboration with for some really fun and colorful products for kids: stretched canvases, art prints, growth charts, lighting and wall decals! A few of the wall art pieces are even customizable! You might recognize the alphabet animals and the negative space letters artwork that used to be in our etsy shop! We had been hoping to partner with someone so that this artwork could be on even more products and reach more people and now that dream has come true….plus some! What you see above is just a little sampling from four collections that we did with them…make sure you hop over to Oopsy Daisy to see all the possibilities of colors, products and customization!

We’re trying to decide what we’re going to put in our own toddler boys’ rooms and now that Carrie has a new baby girl, she is getting to shop our girly products! So what do you guys think? We hope you see some things you like!

  1. Jeanetta

    OMG! How awesome, Morgan and Carrie! Congrats on all your success. What a great year!

    October 17, 2013 5:31 am

surtex 2013 // the big recap 06.10.2013

Although it was just two and a half weeks ago that we returned home from Surtex, it already seems like months have passed! This was our second year showing at the biggest art licensing trade show in the country and it was a complete whirlwind of seeing new and old friends, catching up with past clients and meeting many potential new clients, and of course, finding a little bit of free time to explore NYC!

If you’re reading this, wondering what Surtex is, here’s a brief description from their site:

“SURTEX® is the global B2B marketplace for original art & design—where artists, agents and licensors connect with manufacturers and retailers to create the next best-selling products in every category imaginable. Wall coverings, decorative accessories, bed linens, stationery, giftware, tabletop and so many more…if it’s any product with a surface design of any kind, there’s a good chance it originated at SURTEX. That’s because each year some 7,000 buyers/manufacturers from 49 countries converge on the SURTEX exhibit floor to buy or license the newest designs from approximately 1,000 trend-setting artists. It’s a veritable who’s who of manufacturers and retailers seeking first dibs on the best original art & design being created today.”

When each artist arrives into the humongous Javits Center, this blank, cold, empty booth is what is waiting to be transformed. After doing tons of research last year, we pretty much had our set-up method down! We got our banners hung and shelf displays put up in just a few short hours and ended up with the entire afternoon to play in the city! (Last year we spent two days setting up-yikes!)

This was the first year we decided to put some of our actual products on display. We showed off some of our awesome licensed pieces like the patterned notebook sets and bicycle boxed cards (currently sold out-sorry) from teNeues, the Cream & Sugar fabric collection with Windham Fabrics, and even some of our very own products like the famous ampersand prints and our newly-released cell-phone cases!

Psst…we had some rainbowy-bright “I Heart Ampersand” pencils to give away for everyone that visited our booth! Note to self for next year: sharpen pencils BEFORE you arrive in NYC. Our booth was filled with pencil shavings but at least it gave us something to do during down time.

How amazing is this banner??!!! We found it on etsy from Studio Mucci and the entire shop is filled great handmade paper decorations in some pretty fabulous color palettes! Make sure to check them out! It’s crazy how many compliments we got about our fun tassel garland!!

We had a few takeaways to go alongside our pencils! Hey, you never know what’s going to make someone remember your booth, right?

We sported our ampersand bracelets (from Make Pie Not War) for good luck. And we accidentally dressed like our booth every single one of the three days. At one point, Morgan’s pants were practically camouflage with one of our banners.

Overall, the second year showing at Surtex felt very different than the first. We just sort of knew what to expect, everything wasn’t so unknown. We had many current clients that we were excited to get to see in person again after an entire year has passed! It’s crazy how frequently we email and talk with so many people that we collaborate with, but don’t actually get to see them in person, so, Surtex and Design Week in NYC is our form of a little reunion, and talking to our work friends was a real highlight! This year we also attended the Surtex happy hour and the Smart Creative Women happy hour, both of which were so great! During the show hours, we really feel tied to our booth to make the best of our time there, so the little get-togethers after hours allowed us to meet and hang out with some fellow artists, many of which have been huge inspirations to us! Others we’ve only talked to virtually, and others we met last year and were excited to see again. You’re getting the point, right? It really is like Designer Camp in NYC!

Everyone keeps asking us, “how’d the show go?”, and the truth is, you never really know until many months following because you don’t actually sell artwork or sign contracts on the spot. All those discussions happen once we get home. That being said, we’re pretty darn excited about the relationships we made this year! We were walking out of the show on the last day, dancing and singing. If all goes well, we cannot wait to be sharing the fun products that Ampersand designs will be making a splash on….so fingers crossed, right?!!!!!

We had to share the picture below of The Highline. On the last night, we packed up our booth in record time, dropped off our boxes, and just walked. Walked and walked all the way from our hotel down to The Standard Hotel for our tradition of celebratory drinks. There are a lot of long nights and crazy work days leading up to the show, then we try to make the very best of those three days while we’re there, so it is such a relief when it’s over! We can literally feel our shoulders resting a little lower. Just making it to the show is a success. So yeah, we just walked The Highline and talked about the future and took in the fresh (non-convention-center) air and the beautiful view!

And this is too funny not to include, this is how we ended all of our evenings in NYC! ha!

  1. Gaby [The Vault Files]

    Love your stand ladies, looks so great! And you two looked fabulous! Good luck! ;)

    June 11, 2013 3:37 pm
  2. Cindy

    I wish I could have been there. I love love love the booth and your style! I hope one day we can work together!! :)

    June 11, 2013 9:36 pm
  3. studio mucci on | Ampersand Design Studio

    [...] the cool tassel garland we had at our surtex booth? well…now is a good time for you to get yoru very own! studio mucci is on!! go, go, [...]

    June 21, 2013 3:03 am
  4. kat kalindi cameron

    Hey girls, this was cool reading about your experience! I am going to be a newbie at surtex this year, so getting as much info as possible, i’ll be sure to pop into your booth! x

    February 22, 2014 6:44 am

packing for surtex…we leave in 3 days! 05.14.2013

So this is what packing for Surtex is looking like around here. And this is just the beginning. In addition to the “S” hooks, business cards, all sorts of adhesives, we also have huge 3′ x 8′ banners, a dolly, and lots of samples of our existing product. But we’re getting close! We leave in THREE DAYS!!! Surtex, here we come!

PS…that also means that posting will be a little light around here for the next week and a half, but follow our facebook, twitter and instagrams (@AmpersandStudio, @MorganGeorgie, & @ CarrieKiefer) for NYC updates!

no comments

we’re headed to surtex 2013!!! 05.07.2013

We’re headed to Surtex 2013! Yes, we know we’ve already let you all know what we are up to, but this is our super-official announcement!
We’ve been busy creating lots of exciting new artwork for the show and we are just ready to get there! For those not famililar, this is the one trade show that we attend each year to license our artwork to be applied to all kinds of products like stationery, fabrics, wall art, tabletop, bedding and more! This is what we gear up for every year and now it’s just a couple of weeks away!

If you are a buyer, creative director or licensee, come see us in Booth 356 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC, May 19, 20th and 21st!

So do you want a little sneak peek of the patterns we’ll be showing? Ok, twist our arm…you know we love to share!

This black & white-with-a-hint-of-color group already has one happy new home — it’s just a hint of what’s to come in our second fabric collection that will be out this October!!!

Then we tapped into our Girls-Just-Wanna-Have-Fun selves and went super girly! Gems, bows, big hits of pink—it’s all here! You can take your pick on what really is a girl’s best friend!

As two gals who met in Typography class, we can never hide our love of all things lettering! What do you think this pattern should land on? A journal? notecards? gift wrap? We tend to think the possibilities are endless!

There are also plenty of designs perfectly suited for the cool little ones in our lives. Perfect patterns for boys and girls bedding are all hiding within our binders and binders of designs ready for a new home!

And really, just SO much more. We have hundreds of designs, so don’t forget, all buyers and licensees, come by and see us at BOOTH #356!!!

  1. Whitney Catarella @iseepattern

    Thanks for sharing! Great patterns! Good luck at Surtex!

    May 9, 2013 3:42 pm