Friday was a GREAT day.  I received an email from my new rep in Michigan.  She was thrilled because of a HUGE order she had just entered for me in Brandwise (a software solution for reps/vendors and orders).  A store called Hollander’s.  Here is a copy of the email.

Happy Friday, Peg!
I opened up a new account yesterday – Hollander’s in Ann Arbor, MI.  I just transmitted her order and have attached their credit sheet for you. Almost $1200 order – yay!! Cindy Hollander is my BEST customer and they have a beautiful stationery/paper store!!!  She LOVED your cards and I must say it’s a real testament to your cards when Hollander’s puts the line in her store!!!  She’ll do great with the line!!  I see her every month – she’s one of my all time faves (her and Kay!:)
Check out their website www.hollanders.com.  They’re known across the country for their beautiful papers and book binding business – love them!!:)

You can see why I was on top of the world!  I called my friend Lauren and said, “let’s go to lunch, I’ll buy!” as we have both been struggling entrepreneurs…me with my card/gift line…Lauren with a web design business.  The sun was out as we met at Piccino in the Dogpatch.  Life IS good!!  I am basking in the rays of expansion!!  Opening up to all the possibilities that will continue to unfold!

So grateful for Sharon Nelson who introduced me to Cheryl Fletcher!!  All IS good!!  Thank you both!!!!

It’s been too long since my last post.   Many days I’ve had “post blog” on my to do list but obviously the blog didn’t get written/posted.  I’ll start again, with this one, trying to be more timely about posting.

One of the things I wanted to write about was the fact that I’ve been working on a new website.  This process has taken much longer than I anticipated but I hope the rewards will be worth it.  Getting down to the wire and hope to roll out the updated version soon.  The intent was to do some technical work on the site that it needed for SEO, search engine optimization, as well as make the check out experience easier and provide a process for retailers to sign up and register and then be able to place orders online.  Fingers crossed this will achieve its objectives.  We didn’t really change the background look of it.  That still seemed relevant as it is the “branded” look, similar to what the catalog looks like.  It was the content that needed to be upgraded and changed (and I still have some of that to rewrite).  Look for new roll out soon…and with that the blog will be part of the website and won’t have this same look as it does now.

The other item I wanted to note was how pleased I was to be asked “you are the artist that does the cards, aren’t you?” the other weekend when I went to church at Unity Spiritual Center at 19th and Ocean.  (The bookstore carries my cards.)  I said yes and then the woman proceeded to tell me how much she loved my cards and that she had been mailing one a week to a dear friend of hers who has been very ill.  She said the friend looks forward to getting a new card each week.  She feels the messages on the cards are uplifting and perfect for her friend.  I was so touched to think that she carefully selects a new card to send and writes her own words, which when added to the sentiment, becomes a letter of love and support sent to her friend.  Truly, that story itself made me realize that I’m achieving my goal of “enriching and inspiring’ those who come in contact with my work.

One last thing, I’ve been diligent about posting my “painting of the week” as I call it, on Facebook.  It started back in January when I was painting each week and posting.  When I realized that I had a string of weeks of posting a new painting, I decided to make it a challenge and keep it up for the year.  I knew it would keep me focused on “creating” my art, which it has, rather than too caught up in worrying about and only focusing on the “business” or busyness of the business.  An unexpected benefit is that I’ve been stretching myself a bit, trying a different kind of paper (hot press vs cold press) and being open to different techniques.  I’ll post the painting I just posted on facebook today.

If you want to see more, become my friend at peg conley and do “like” my words and watercolors page too!

I decided to paint the shoes without my feet in them!

I decided to paint the shoes without my feet in them!

John, my printer, suggested one day that I should take a picture of my shoes and paint that image.

John, my printer, suggested one day that I should take a picture of my shoes and paint that image.

 

 

Many people have told me about Filoli Gardens since I moved to the Bay Area.  I was not disappointed when I visited this past Wednesday!  It is a magnificent Estate and Gardens that have been preserved through a National Historic Trust.  To quote from their home page at http://www.filoli.org:  “Located 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century. Whether enjoying its beauty or pursuing its educational opportunities, we invite you to explore this cherished community resource.”  If you have a chance, visit.  You’ll be caught up in the splendor of both home and garden, I guarantee!  If you can’t visit in person, spend some time on the website.  It is very well done and I enjoyed seeing again the various rooms of the mansion, reading about the history of the building and the 2 families that lived there. 

I was lucky enough to visit because I had met Cat Bishop, the buyer for their garden shop, at the San Francisco Gift Show in February.    She liked me products (yeah!) so I was able to secure an appt with her which allowed me to go visit.  It’s one of those places I feel the fairies must live.  It feels magical!  The spring flowers were in bloom.  I marveled at the color combinations of the plantings and how the daffodils were growing wild in a field that also had flowering fruit trees.  A perfect spring day, it was a bit overcast with some mist, which enhanced the magic of it all.  

One day I hope to go back with my watercolors but until then, I’ll enjoy the pictures I took with my iPhone!  

And I’ll be shipping my cards, boxed notes and list pads on 4/15 to the Garden Shop!

I love the french doors, rounded window above and pot of flowers!

I love the french doors, rounded window above and pot of flowers!

These tulips looked like they could be a watercolor with the amazing colors.

These tulips looked like they could be a watercolor with the amazing colors.

formal gardens inviting! entrance to more gardens!

Wild field of Daffodils and Flowering Fruit trees.

Wild field of Daffodils and Flowering Fruit trees.

a stunning white Magnolia!

I loved the hint of color in this lovely bloom.

I loved the hint of color in this lovely bloom.

This looks like it should be for a wedding

This looks like it should be for a wedding

If anyone remembers the TV show Dynasty, this was the "home".

If anyone remembers the TV show Dynasty, this was the “home”.

 

 

 

I received the “sales boards” that Clothworks puts together to send out to their reps just in time for the SF Quilting Guild Show this weekend!  I have a booth at the show and thoroughly enjoyed my day yesterday as I sold lots and lots of cards, wrapping paper, boxed notes and a few list pads.  I got to show off my NEW quilting fabric collection that will be available this coming September.  The women loved it!  I heard many compliments ranging from “love the colors” to “this would catch my eye and make me want to do something with it”.  My favorite comment was “You are like your paintings…they have a certain vitality to them…like you, they glow!”

It felt so natural to be standing amidst all my creations telling my story, showing my work and inspiring others.  Clearly this group is my demographic to sell to, I thought, as they were choosing 3, 4 and 5 cards to purchase at one time.  It was so reaffirming to hear the many compliments and be thanked for using my gifts!

As stated in an earlier post, this is the year I want to take “The Big Leap”.  Yesterday I thought that was possible!  I’ll try to plug in to the positive energy that I felt all day whenever I get myself all turned around in my thinking and begin doubting myself.

Can’t wait to see what today brings….

BTW, here’s photos from my booth…you can get an idea of what the quilting fabric sales boards look like….

products for sale! the cards/painting that inspired the collection Various color ways Nature's Glory! my wrapping paper!

My oh My, it’s been a busy few weeks.  I knew time was going to fly prior to taking off for the Vegas Gift Show the last week of January but I’m surprised at how fast it really went. Today is Saturday, February 23rd already?!?

The SF Gift Show has come and gone.  It ended on Tuesday.  I was thrilled to return to yoga on Weds morning (hadn’t been for 2 weeks), walk Thursday and go for a hike in my favorite, John McClaren Park, yesterday afternoon.  I was able to soak up the sunshine, relishing the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the sight of little yellow flowers in bloom on a hillside and the smells of early spring.  Life IS Good, I thought to myself…just like those T-shirts state!

Standing in my booth at Moscone Center, I thought how far I’ve come from my Corporate Sales World!  Standing in the midst of the Gift Industry, literally, I felt far removed from Office Furniture, Commercial Carpet and the Friends/Co-Workers/Clients I used to have when I lived and worked in Seattle/Portland.   Maybe I needed the move to San Francisco in order to birth Words and Watercolors?  A completely different city allowed for me to nurture my soul and coax my inner artist out of her doubt in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened had I stayed in Seattle.  My Sales Queen Persona was so strong and resolute that I doubt the Inner Artist would have had a chance in Seattle.  Living here has supported me in my Artist Self coming forth….from the day we moved Mark in (I followed a few months later) and met Chris and Sarah, our neighbors, who introduced me to Art94124, I was viewed as an Artist by others (I was holding my tote bag with my tulips on it, Sarah commented and the friendship was formed).  Through Art94124, I became part of a group of Artists supporting a local gallery.  I began to see myself as an Artist!  I was introduced as an Artist!  I made friends and developed opportunities to showcase my work.  Amidst all the change, I slowly began to consider resurrecting Words and Watercolors (I had started a greeting card line of the same name in the mid 90’s).  I needed a job, the economy was in the tank and I was not going to find one in my old “career” so thought I might as well try to create my own company. And so it was nearly 3 years ago that Words & Watercolors officially was “birthed”.

Seeing so many faces that I recognized at the SF Show also contributed to my realization that I WAS in the Gift Industry now.  I loved standing in my booth and having buyers recognize me/my art.  I wrote quite a number of orders with people who had written with me from the beginning.  Many recalled me in my old booth in the back.  I felt blessed to be in a booth, now,  with my rep friends, Deborah, Joyce and Bill.  It was our 2nd time hanging out together at a show and they asked me to be with them again in the Summer show.  Another indication that I’m now part of this world, was I found myself hugging both buyers and reps that I’ve come to know over the few years I’ve been building my company.  I felt truly blessed and grateful that I made this shift from Sales Queen to Artist/Entrepreneur…and exhibited for the 6th time at the SF Gift Show!

Spring flowers John McClaren Park (one of my favorites!) Wrapping Paper!!

Inside wall and rack of cards

Inside wall and rack of cards

wall facing the aisle at SF Gift Show

wall facing the aisle at SF Gift Show

 

I’m on a plane winging my way westbound back to San Francisco after spending a busy few days in (cold and windy) Indiana.  Mom celebrated her 95th birthday surrounded by her extended family on Saturday night.  It was lots of fun to reconnect with siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews.  Yesterday, as my daughter and I visited Mom, I heard part of the secret, I believe, to my Mom’s overall good health and outlook towards life.  She was talking to Emily and her conversation went along the lines of “Oh they are just wonderful, really they are”…then “Oh it was just wonderful, really it was” and ”Oh, she is just wonderful, really she is”.  It is no wonder that my Mom always sees the best in people and things the way she does.  She’s a living example of how a positive attitude filled with gratitude can bring untold gifts, magic and miracles into one’s life.  So much of who I am and what I believe was taught to me by my Mom, I am forever indebted. 

So I returned from Vegas with a week to catch up, get orders out and prepare to be gone again for 5 days.  Winging my way home tonight and am looking forward to 3 days to catch up and prepare for the San Francisco Gift Show which starts on Saturday.  Thank God I don’t have to travel for this one and can return to the comfort of my husband and home each night!

Big news this past week: Words and Watercolors is getting reps in both the East Coast and the Midwest!!  This IS going to be my break out year!  I’m going to make a name for myself and become a viable contender in the greeting card/gift world!! 

Just today an order was emailed to me from a store in Oregon that saw me at the Vegas Gift Show and took my catalog.  They didn’t order from me at the show but did now.  I’m thrilled!  It is critical to get those follow up orders after a show and this one came unsolicited!!

So, like my Mom, I’ll continue to see the best in all I meet and all I experience…trusting that it will lead me to happiness and health and wealth!

She's one strong, Irish, Catholic!!

She’s one strong, Irish, Catholic!!

In deep conversation...what's it like to be 95 Kay??  Asks Aunt Mary....

In deep conversation…what’s it like to be 95 Kay?? Asks Aunt Mary….

all of my siblings and our "feeling groovy" pic.  We took this 40 years ago for our parents 25th wedding anniversary! Sisters!  Peg, Mary Alice and Beth

I love this picture.  My niece Melissa made a shutterfly book of my Mom's life...this was when she worked for American Airlines as a reservationist (and how she met our Dad)!

I love this picture. My niece Melissa made a shutterfly book of my Mom’s life…this was when she worked for American Airlines as a reservationist (and how she met our Dad)!

It’s Friday, February 1 and I’m seated at Gate D51 at the Vegas airport waiting for my flight home to San Francisco.  It’s been a long week.  I really wish they would consolidate these 5 day shows into 3!  That might help the traffic be more consistent.  As it is, there seems to be traffic in the aisles and then lull periods where you wonder where the buyers have all gone.  That happens a few times during the long, daily 9-6 hours.  I, along with many others, wonder how things will continue to change in the gift show industry.  Clearly the gift show attendance is dying overall and we know that the internet changes everything but still there is something to be said for the one on one connections that happen when the buyers meet the vendors over the aisles of a trade show.

I did make some incredible connections as well as write average of 3-5 orders daily.  I also have quite a number of stores to follow up with who I feel will write orders after I contact them.  My confidence grew as I received so many compliments on my work.  Not to mention suggestions for other products based on my art.  Look out world, the Peg Conley brand is not only born but growing in product applications!

The best part of the entire week?  Meeting my “new best friend, Cheryl!”.  I met Cheryl on Sunday when I showed up at the Focused Sales Booth to set up my booth.  My trepidation (earlier post) was still with me as I began to unpack my boxes and set up the card racks.  I kept telling myself that all would be well…I hadn’t missed any product…etc… And then I realized that this bubbly character to the left of me was happily setting up her product, (Gently Spoken, the name of her company…check it out: http://gentlyspoken.com) not seeming to worry a whit about things.  I was amazed at how long I was in overwhelm that day.  It took hanging with Cheryl to help me see that all was good just as it was…we laughed as we left the World Market Center for our hotel, the Monte Carlo.  Not wanting to wait for the shuttle, we hitched a ride with 2 guys in a taxi.  So with the 4 of us the $26.00 taxi ride was very affordable!  Not to mention fun as we chatted it up with the 2 guys from Canada.  From there we went to dinner and discovered that we had a lot in common, including husbands with the name of Mark.  Our friendship cemented, we had booths adjacent to each other and spent the greater part of the week hanging out with each other during the days and nights!  Blessings Blessings!

There were a number of other good things that happened at the show:  A brief summary:

1. Reconnecting with a few stores that ordered from me way back in LA when I was first showcasing my line.  It was fun to get reorders from these stores not to mention reconnect with the owners!

2.  Being able to spend time with the Focused Sales reps.  I think they feel more confident about selling my line and I feel great knowing they have now heard “my story” and can sell it that

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.