2016 Valentine’s Day Challenge: Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s Pick

Announcing the Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s pick for our Nothing but Love Valentine’s Day Quickfire Design Challenge. Your fresh, unique Valentine’s Day designs made our hearts skip a beat. Congratulations to all the winners!

 

Guest Judge’s Pick by Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies 

Taco Truck by Itsy Belle Studio

Jenny Keller, a self taught baker, author, and stylist who is passionate for throwing over the top parties, is the creative mastermind behind Jenny Cookies.

When asked to pick her favorite design, Jenny said “I love the Taco Truck classroom Valentine card! The nostalgic valentine pun in text is funny and a theme I haven’t seen yet. The colors and design are fresh combined with genius placement of greeting. A perfect classroom Valentine card for boys or girls!”


For the most unique, innovative design that you would only find at Minted
iguana be yours by Lori Wemple

Runners-up: Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune, Hedgehugs by Kelly Nasuta, Ornate Love by Mansi


For the classroom valentine design that best uses one of Minted’s die-cut shapes
Kiss Emoji by Jody Wody

Runners-up: Sweet Cookie by Lehan Veenker, Hoot by Shari Margolin, Over the Rainbow by Baumbirdy


For the best valentine photo card design that offers those customers who didn’t end up sending holiday cards a fun, creative way to send out belated greetings
HO HO XO by Lauren Chism

Runners-up: Love for the Year by Erica Krystek, Late Merry by Heidi Lee Miller, Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune


For the best sports-themed classroom valentine design
Baseball Hit by Allison Kizer

Runners-up: You’re a Catch by Anna Elizabeth Whinnery, Number One Foam Finger by Jackie Crawford


For the best design with elements that truly shine in foil
Spreading Our Love by Ana Sharpe

Runners-up: Magical Pegasus by peetie design, Nailing It by Laura Hankins, Heart of Gold by Karidy Walker


For the valentine photo card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical Valentine’s Day greetings
Hugs and Hearts by Laura Hankins

Runners-up: Spread Love by Lauren Chism, Love Struck by Sweta Modi


For the best valentine photo card design that is also a birth or pregnancy announcement
New Valentine by Ashley Rosenbaum

Runners-up: Love at First Sight by Shirley Lin Schneider, Our New Love by Melissa Casey, Valentine Baby by Mansi


For the classroom valentine design that best incorporates an activity that the recipient can engage in

We Connect! by Christina Novak

Runners-up: Heart Search by Oma N. Ramkhelawan, Fill My Heart with Joy by Mandy Porta, Wonderful Words by Jessie Steury


For the best valentine photo card design featuring multiple photos
Little Sweeties by Jennifer Lew

Runners-up: Elegant Valentine by Ana Sharpe, Glittered Hearts by Oma N. RamkhelawanHugs Upon Kisses by Lauren Chism


For the funniest classroom valentine design that is sure to make kids laugh out loud
Soda Pop by Guess What Design Studio

Runners-up: Whale Love by Laura Bolter Design, Kitten Around by Cara McGrady, Do Me a Flavor by Genna Cowsert


For the best classroom valentine design featuring one or more photos
Heart Glasses by Jessie Steury

Runner-up: Pretzel Lover by Grae Designs


For the most unique full bleed valentine photo card design
XO Side Note by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: xoxoxoxo by Melissa Casey, All Our Love by Sweetgrass Paper Company, xo fancy by Guess What Design Studio


For the best design that puts a name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Hanging Buddies by Gwen Bedat

Runners-up: Jean Jacket by Jody Wody, Thank You, My Friend by Rebekah Disch


For the best design from a designer winning for the first time
Love You Lots by Parrot Design Studio

 

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Great Expectations & Sweet Celebrations Challenges: Guest Judges’ Picks

Announcing the Guest Judge prizes from our Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge and Sweet Celebrations Quickfire Kids’ Birthday Party Invitation Challenge!

Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge

We were thrilled to partner with the talented ladies from 100 Layer Cakelet, a creative collaboration between friends and fellow designers Jillian Clark, Amanda Dawbarn, and Kristina Meltzer. Their wedding blog, 100 LayerCake, launched in 2009. 100 Layer Cakelet, their family blog and newest addition to the brand, is the natural next step, for readers who want a space that can inspire their lives after the last bits of wedding confetti have been combed from their hair.

They selected “Bright Confetti Pop“ by Ashley Little of Little Print Design. They “loved the simplicity and the fun modern design and that it’s totally appropriate for a boy or girl (or surprise!) shower.” 100 Layer Cakelet announced their selection via Instagram to share this great design with their followers in addition!

Congratulations, Ashley!

Bright Confetti Pop“ by Little Print Design


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2016 Holiday Photo Card Winner: 3rd Place Non-Foil

By Ashley Ganz, Director, Merchandising, Holiday & Gifts

I feel incredibly inspired and impressed by our holiday assortment this year. The tremendous, innovative talent within the Minted Artist community never ceases to amaze me! It’s my honor to reveal our third-place winner for the non-foil category of the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge.

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Minted Artists Critique Holiday Designs at Atlanta Meetup

Story and photos by Kristen Smith

In late April, I had the pleasure of organizing an incredible live holiday stationery design critique session with six fellow Atlanta area Minted artists. The meetup was especially exciting because it was the very first in a series of gatherings we’ve planned this year as part of the pilot Minted Ambassador program.

In addition to Kristen Smith, the six artists who attended the Atlanta meetup were Stacey Meacham, Ashley Ottinger, Kelli Hall, Camilla Acosta, Zanne Bedore, and Susie Stern.

We all gathered at the lovely home of Kelli Hall, who was so very gracious to host us, and we each brought print-outs of designs we were currently working on. Because the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge is one of Minted’s biggest and most competitive challenges of the year, sharing live critiques was absolutely invaluable. Being able to take a break from our computer monitors and interact with the printed, tangible work was a much needed, fresh perspective. We scheduled our critiquing meetup about a week before the day final submissions were due, so it was the perfect little boost to motivate us and carry us weary and cross-eyed through the finish line.

As there are quite a few Minted artists in the Atlanta area, we were fortunate to have veteran community members like Stacey Meacham (pictured above) as well as a few first-timers and recent first-challenge participants. Our hope is to see many new faces at future meetups as our talented community of independent artists and designers continues to grow.

Stacey said she enjoyed the holiday critique because it gave her the confidence to move forward with submissions that she was questioning. “I often have designs that linger on my artboards that I know have something but am unsure if they are finished or good enough,” she said. “Having in-person feedback from respected designers, friends, and artists is invaluable. Even if there are not changes that need to be made, just getting the confirmation that ‘yes, this is good—you should definitely submit’ is so helpful.”
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Baby Shower Invitation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prizes for our Great Expectations Baby Shower Invitation Challenge! Friends and family of expectant parents come to Minted seeking a baby shower invitation that not only sets the stage for this event, but is also special enough to serve as a cherished keepsake for the parents-to-be. We turned to you, our talented community, to shower us with the most unique baby shower invitation designs in the world! We were blown away with what you dreamed up for this challenge. Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up!

For the most design-forward, innovative baby shower invitation
Fresh Feathers by Simona Cavallaro


Runners-up: Agave Bebe by Marabou Design | Nesting by Anne Holmquist
Bohemian Babe by Lorent and Leif


For the best design specifically created for one of the Minted’s unique shapes
Welcome to the World by Laura Bolter Design

Runners-up: Up Up and Away by Baumbirdy | Baby’s Breath by Susan Moyal


For the best design that celebrates both parents-to-be
Good Sport by Shari Margolin

Runners-up: Brewing baby love by heythird | Baby Brews & BBQ by Sarah Brown


For the best design for an alternative to a traditional baby shower
Cool Little Reveal by Ashley Hegarty

Runners-up: Miles Apart by Sarah Brown | Box Reveal by Leah Bisch
Modern Sip & See by Hooray Creative

Click through for more special prize winners

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Minted Real Wedding: Angela & Brian in Aspen, CO

Angela Simmen and Brian Kelley, both resident physicians, first met while working in the same hospital. “We would catch each other’s eye while passing each other,” says Angela. After a romantic proposal during a ski trip to Colorado, the Michigan-based couple decided to host an intimate destination wedding and chose The Little Nell in Aspen for their celebration. Upon arrival, their 60 guests boarded a gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain to watch the couple exchange wedding vows, with stunning mountains views and changing leaves as their dramatic backdrop.

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

Bride and groom: Angela Simmen & Brian Kelley
Occupations: Resident physicians (her = OB/GYN, him = surgery)
Based in: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Wedding date: September 26, 2015
Wedding venue: The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Number of guests: 60
Minted wedding invitation: ”Delicate Dots“ by Ashley Hegarty
Wedding gown: ”Cassidy” by Amy Kuschel
Wedding planner: Bluebird Productions
Florist: Prema
Cake: d’Elissious Cake Studio of Aspen
Photographer: Rachel Havel

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

How did you and Brian meet?
We would catch each other’s eye while passing each other in the hospital, but it was an epic Halloween party that finally brought us together!

Tell us about the proposal!
February 16, 2015! It happened on the gondola during a ski trip to Keystone, Colorado. We had the gondola to ourselves, and I noticed Brian was acting a little strange. Midway up the mountain, he got down on one knee. Of course, I bawled the rest of the way up. It was perfect. Our friends Russell and Lindsay had gotten in the gondola in front of us and were ready to snap engagement photos at the top of the mountain. We loved having them there to share that perfect day!

How did you find your wedding venue The Little Nell?
Courtesy of my amazing older sister, Jen. Brian and I knew we wanted a small destination wedding and Colorado appealed to us for so many reasons. My sister started looking online right away and sent me the link to The Little Nell five days after our engagement. We booked it within a week!

What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
My mom Rosie and my sister planned a full two days of dress shopping in Atlanta. We never made it past the first shop, Kelly’s Closet, where I found my dress!

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

Click through to read more of Angela and Brian’s wedding story

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Graduation Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prize winners from our Head of the Class Graduation Challenge! Students and their loved ones will soon be searching for the perfect announcement or party invitation to celebrate one of life’s greatest milestones: graduation. Graduation is a large, important event in our customers’ lives and we looked to you, our talented Minted community, to help us freshen up our collection with the most original graduation designs our customers have ever seen. A huge congrats to all the winners and runners-up!


For the most design-forward, innovative graduation announcement 
Mixed Media“ by Alethea and Ruth

Runners-up: Painterly” by Chryssi Tsoupanarias | “Colorful Future” by Simona Cavallaro


For the best design featuring multiple photos
Eight Up“ by Hooray Creative

Runners-up: “Calendar Year” by Ashley Hegarty | “Boldly Stated Grad” by Jennifer Wick


For the best design that appeals to the male grad
Ombre Grad“ by pandercraft

Runners-up: On Campus” by Bonjour Berry | “The Classic” by Keen Peachy


For the best simple, modern design
Bright Grad“ by Bonjour Berry

Runner-up: Hip Type” by Carolyn MacLaren

Click through to check out more Graduation Challenge winners

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5 Tips for Refreshing Your Minted Artist Store in Q1

Ready to give your Minted Artist Store a seasonal refresh? To help you think through your merchandising strategy and the products to spotlight in your Store, we’ve compiled these five tips with the insights of Minted’s marketing and merchandising leaders.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya updated her Store shortly after New Year’s, prioritizing her winning Valentine’s Day designs and spring floral art.

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How to Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays

By Amy Schroeder

Now that you can curate your Minted Artist Store using Merchandising Tools to shape the look and feel of your artist brand, developing a merchandising plan is one of the first priorities to help you prepare for the Minted.com 2015 holiday sales season.

First Things First: Organize Your Tabs

If you already have a great number of holiday card designs and other holiday-themed products in your Store, we recommend organizing them into a “Holiday” section, and moving that section tab to the far left, just after your Home section (learn how in this FAQ). If you have a large assortment of products that make for great gifts, you may want to create a separate section tab called “Holiday Gifts.”

lulu and isabelle’s Minted Artist Store

Merchandising Your Featured Products and Sections

Merchandising varies for every Minted artist, and we recommend identifying a manageable number of key products that you want to promote most. Your Featured Products could be a combination of your top-selling products (or top-voted new products) and particularly unique designs that make a statement about you as an artist.

If you don’t have any Design Challenge–winning holiday cards, you may want to self-launch non-custom cards. (Learn more about self-launch products in Minted Designer FAQs, and remember that all self-launch products are non-customizable by customers.) If you have dozens of holiday-themed designs and cards or a series of giftable products, position your best eight products at the very top of your Holiday section.

To help you create your merchandising plan for the holiday shopping season, Minted’s merchandising leaders share their insights and predictions for the 2015 holiday season.

Radiant Joy” Foil-Pressed Holiday Cards by Olivia Raufman

Hot in Holiday Cards: Traditional Reds and Nontraditional Greetings

Get ready to show your cards. The prime sales season for holiday cards begins the last week of October and starts to peak the week of Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30), followed by a decline in mid-December, says Rose Shattuck, General Manager of Minted Stationery.

Recommended Holiday Cards to Spotlight in Minted Artist Stores

  • Custom is king. Customizable (challenge-winning) holiday cards will be in highest demand. Customers want to upload their own photo, family name, annual letter, and more. You should also feel free to self-launch and promote non-customizable non-photo holiday cards with genericized greetings for the customer who wants something simple and beautiful without spending any time on customization.

  • Red-y for the holidays. We find that many Minted customers gravitate toward holiday cards with red hues. That is, unless they’re shopping for Hanukkah cards or corporate holiday cards, in which case blues or neutrals are better.

  • Spice up the season’s greetings. Customers love holiday cards featuring unique messages, so we recommend featuring original takes on the standard “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas.”

  • Just about all styles are equal. No one holiday card style sells better than another. “Minted customers enjoy the full range of styles from traditional/classic, to whimsical, to modern, and edgy,” Rose says.

fa la la la” holiday photo cards by baumbirdy

Minted’s Top 6 Most Giftable Holiday Products

  1. Minted Art and Custom Art. “Art in which customers upload their own photos is an extremely popular gift during the holiday season,” says Ashley Ganz, Director of Merchandising for Holiday and Gifts. (Download the self-launch art print template here.)

  2. Personal stationery—especially foil-pressed. “Foil is always a top seller, so if you have a foil-pressed design in your Store, we recommend featuring it at the top,” Ashley says. (Download self-launch stationery templates here.)

  3. Wrapping paper (custom and non-custom) and gift tags (Download the self-launch wrapping paper template here and self-launch minicards template here.)

  4. 2016 calendars

  5. Notebooks, Day Planners, and Address Books. (Download the self-launch notebook template here.)

  6. Wedding products. “Don’t forget about wedding,” Ashley says. “The holiday season is the most popular time of year to get engaged, and Google searches for ‘save the dates’ spike the first week of December.” If you have a number of weddings products, you may want to position wedding products up high in your Home section or create a Weddings section.

Evergreen Wrapping Paper” by Oscar & Emma


This is the first article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. The next article will be published on in the Community>Resources section of Julep on October 6.

RELATED ARTICLES & RESOURCES
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

 

Published October 1, 2015

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