Joy Cho’s Lucky in Love Save the Date Pick

Back in August, we announced that Joy Cho would be the Guest Judge for our Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge. Joy Cho is the founder and creative director of Oh Joy!, a lifestyle brand that includes a product line at Target, lifestyle videos, and a daily blog. She has also authored three books and has consulted for hundreds of creative businesses around the world.

Joy selected The Adventure Begins by Kelly Schmidt. When asked why she chose this design, Joy said, “I love The Adventure Begins because it is truly a representation of the new chapter of life that marriage brings—adventures together, both big and small. Visually, I love how the typography is beautiful yet simple. It allows the photo to be the focus while also making it easy to find a photo that fits with the placement of the typography. I love everything about it!” Congratulations, Kelly!

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Meet a Minted Artist: Jessie Steury

Scroll through Jessie Steury’s Minted Artist Store, and you can see that she is a prolific illustrator. Since joining Minted in 2011, she’s built a strong reputation for her signature style of perky, colorful illustrations of animals, maps, trucks, and more. Hers is the kind of art that transforms a child’s room into a gallery of rainbow-colored wonders. Jessie’s illustration style is a mix of modern and vintage influences, a direct reflection of the things she loves in real life. “I love clean modern spaces, but I also like to spend my spare time searching thrift stores for silly old knick-knacks,” she says.

Funny thing is that Jessie never planned a career in illustration. “I’ve always loved drawing, but never thought I could actually do it for a living,” says the Indiana artist and mom of three. “This is where I owe another big thanks to Minted. Entering all these design challenges have really helped me grow and find my own style.”

In this interview, Jessie talks about her original career plan, life as a “farmer’s wife,” and how she developed her successful path on Minted.

Animal World Map” by Jessie Steury

Minted: Did you study art or design formally in school?
Jessie Steury: I did! I attended the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, with a focus on graphic design. It was such a great experience — both the formal education and what I learned while living in the city.

Animals of the World” fabric by Jessie Steury

Illustration comprises a lot of your work now. What were your “original” career plans?
Graphic design was the original plan. It seemed like a more realistic career choice — something I could do and get a job anywhere, even in an Indiana small town. I worked for a marketing company in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on projects like RV brochures and outdoor furniture catalogs. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. Looking back, I realize that before I left for college, I had no idea that the Internet would allow me to work with companies all over the country.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life now, as a Minted artist?
I’m happy to say there is no “typical” day, although, they are all probably pretty similar. It’s a mix of normal mom duties and designing on my computer. I really do enjoy the flexibility of working for myself. I don’t force myself to sit at a desk for a certain amount of time every day, and I probably never will. If I sit down to work and I’m not feeling it, I do something else — just until that creativity comes back. Usually a few minutes of housework, and I’ll quickly feel like getting back to designing.

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Save the Date Challenges: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the Special Prizes for our Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge and our We Belong Together Photo + Letterpress Save the Date Challenge. Your beautiful designs are sure to inspire soon-to-weds for a day filled with matrimonial bliss. Congratulations to all the winners!

We Belong Together Photo + Letterpress Save the Date Challenge

For the best design featuring chunky text or design elements that show off letterpress best
DESPINA by Melanie Kosuge

Runners-up: Candy Striped by Shirley Lin Schneider, Impressed by AK Graphicsaccentuated by Kimberly Chow,


For the most unique, original take on a Letterpress + Photo Save the Date that we’ve ever seen
Written by Annie Montgomery

Runner-up: sparrows in flight by Morgan Kendall


For a design that incorporates edgy design elements, bold colors, or other designs that are not typically seen in letterpress
Love Lines by Belia Simm

Runner-up: Modernist by Amber Barkley


For the design that best gives the impression of a full bleed photo (even though it’s not)
Refined by Sarah Brown


For the design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding
sacher by chocomocacino

Runner-up: Timelesss by Sarah Brown


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Sea you there by Gwen Bedat

Runner-up: Modern Romance by Nicole Barreto


Lucky in Love Save the Date Challenge

For the most daring, innovative take on a Save the Date that we’ve ever seen
wash of color by Karidy Walker

Runners-up: modern angles by Rebecca DurflingerCrossed Brushstrokes by Everett Paper Goods


For the best humorous or clever design that just makes you smile
In Tandem by Laura Moyer

Runners-up: Chemistry Love by Coco and Ellie Design


For the best design featuring non-floral, yet organic elements of the earth
Coastal Lines by Grace Kreinbrink

Runners-up: Mod Palm by Fig and CottonMarbled by Pine and Lark


For the most inventive and unique copy that shows an alternative way to say “Save the Date”
Definitely by Jennifer Lew

Runners-up: Cake (and a Wedding) by Up Up CreativeToss the Dice by Little Words DesignForever We Do by Ana SharpeSimply Best by Jessica Williams


For the best gender-neutral design that will appeal to both men and women
Stacked Banner by Amy Kross

Runners-up: Watercolor Edged Border by BaumbirdyModern Rusticism by Jessica OgdenSimply bliss by Seven Swans


For the best design featuring multiple photos
maybe im amazed by Bella Carta Boutique

Runners-up: Sleek & Chic by jomoloLove Square by Michelle Taylor


For the best Save the Date that doubles as a holiday card
Winter Day by Michelle Taylor

Runner-up: merry and almost married by Sara Hicks Malone


For the foil design that best lays the groundwork for a sophisticated, classic wedding
Have and Hold by Kimberly FitzSimons

Runners-up: Winter Foil by Susan Brown, Simply Striking by Stacey Meacham


For the Save the Date design which uses bold typography
Numerals by Up Up Creative

Runners-up: the big classic by Sara Hicks Malone, Bold & Gold by Meg Chalmers


For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s unique die-cut shapes in an original way
poised by Sara Hicks Malone


For the best design that puts the couples’ names or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Wildflower by Lehan Veenker

Runner-up: Fall Foliage by Lorent and Leif


For the best design from a first-time winner
Autumn Gold by Olivia Faye Design

Runner-up: Modern Landscape by seulghi


Collection Awards
The following 20 designs will each receive a guaranteed full wedding invitation suite collection, including a matching Wedding Invitation, Day Of pieces (wedding program, menu, place card, table number, favor tag (for non-foil), and favor sticker (for non-foil)).

Watercolor Edged Border by Baumbirdydistressed tile by Carolyn NicksOrnate by Nazia HyderElegant Monogram by Simona Cavallaro

Wildflower Floral by Katharine Watson, This Love by Eric CleggGemstones by Lori Wemplefloral vignette by Kristen Smith

wash of color by Karidy WalkerGilded Crest by Kelly Schmidt, Mod Palm by Fig and CottonCoastal Lines by Grace Kreinbrink

Marble Matrimony by AK GraphicsSweet Leaves by Ana de SousaGeo Chic by Hooray CreativeTropical Hibiscus by Smudge Design

Orange Blossoms by Susan MoyalParadise by GeekInk Designboho glam by Carolyn NicksOmbre by roxy

 

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For Minted, customer service is an Oscar-worthy performance

“Sir, I’m literally sitting on a bench with a gun on my lap. I’m calling you from a military phone in Iraq — regarding envelopes.”

That’s a slice of what an American soldier, a Minted customer, described to Donald Antoine, Minted’s customer service supervisor, in 2014. The calm-voiced soldier called Minted on behalf of his fiancée, who had ordered save the date cards for their forthcoming wedding ceremony back home in the States. They needed their return address corrected on their envelopes — and they needed it yesterday.

Enter Donald to the rescue. “Rest assured we’ll do everything we can,” Donald said to the soon-to-be husband. Donald corrected the address, reprocessed the order, and shipped the envelopes to the bride-to-be the same day. Three months later, Donald received an email from the Mrs., thanking Minted for its service.

Donald Antoine heads up Minted’s customer service team. Minted Customer Service not only benefits customers, but also our community of independent artists who produce the products you see on Minted. The Customer Service team helps “close the deal” with customers and retain them as loyal shoppers. By providing this service, we free up time for our community of artists to focus on their creative work and spend less time on administrative work.

This is just one of the stories Donald shared when we asked him to recall some of the most memorable customers he’s met on the job. Donald and his team of associates serve customers around the world, many of whom are celebrating life’s most memorable moments — weddings, births, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. “It’s amazing the people you come across,” Donald says, gleefully.

Donald retells a number of stories from the front lines of customer service with vigor, but one is particularly close to his heart. In 2014, Donald “hit it off right away” with a customer who was also a nearly-wed — this time, a Golden Girl who needed help with the process of ordering her wedding invitations online. She loved the elegance of many of Minted’s designs and knew she wanted crisp black text — but was searching for something a little more simplistic. Like a trio in harmony, Donald, the customer, and her fiancée talked on the phone for nearly four hours, throughout the course of a day. Donald helped to personalize the couple’s invitation design and message, and the more they talked, the more they got to know each other. Donald got choked up when he learned the customer’s first name — which is the same as his sister’s middle name. “My sister passed away in 2012, and we were very close. Then when we realized the couple’s wedding date was the same day as my sister’s passing, they started crying,” Donald says. “We established a wonderful relationship, and they invited me to their wedding.” Although he wasn’t able to attend, he’ll never forget the experience.

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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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Meet a Minted Artist: Kimberly FitzSimons

Kimberly FitzSimons spent a decade working in investor relations and product management for leading Fortune 500 companies before becoming who she is today: a successful designer and parent of two girls. Like many of Minted artists’ success stories, Kimberly’s career transition didn’t happen overnight. As a self-taught designer, she built her creative path from the ground up and got her hands dirty with her own letterpress company before focusing solely on the design side of stationery. In this interview, Kimberly shares the wisdom she’s gained from working on Wall Street, connecting with the Minted artist community, and “learning how to fly” as a designer.

Kimberly’s style is timeless and refined with eye-catching type.

Minted: What did you study in school?
Kimberly FitzSimons:
Finance. I spent 10 years working as an investor relations consultant for several public companies and then led a product management team for a large financial technology company before giving it up to be a full-time mom and part-time graphic designer.

While I was planning my wedding in 2007, I fell in love with the letterpress printing method. Not long after my wedding, I enrolled in letterpress printing classes at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College in Chicago. It was letterpress printing that ultimately jump-started my passion for design. I taught myself Illustrator so that I could have something to letterpress print in those classes. Eventually, in 2010, I bought a restored Vandercook (letterpress printing machine) and started a design and printing business for wedding stationery. My business grew very fast, and ultimately, I had to outsource the printing work to my commercial printing partner (Rohner Letterpress) and focus on design. My old Vandercook is still a workhorse and is now owned by Steel Petal Press in Chicago. I had a few very crazy but good years offering custom letterpress wedding stationery, but I closed my business in 2014 to focus on my family and concentrate on designs for Minted.

Fresh Christmas Wishes” holiday card by Kimberly FitzSimons

How has your former career in finance and tech shaped you as a designer?
All of my jobs within the finance and technology industries helped shape who I am today and how I think about my business. As an investor relations consultant, I worked with management teams of Fortune 500 companies and interacted with their large institutional shareholders. I learned so much about the financial markets and Wall Street, but I also learned very quickly how to ask questions, build relationships, and creatively spin a “story.” It was not always the easiest job, but it had it’s thrilling moments, like interacting with well-respected executives and helping companies plan their IPOs.

When I moved into product management for a financial technology company, I was able to use some of my previous market knowledge and relationship skills to help build and implement products for a web-based asset management and trading platform. One of my favorite parts of the job was brainstorming new product features with our engineering team in Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale, California). There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes to brainstorm, build, test, implement, and launch new products. It makes me truly appreciate all that the Minted Engineering and Product teams do for artists and their customers.

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2016 New Year’s Card Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We’re happy to announce the Special Prize winners of the The 2016 Cheers to a New Year! New Year Photo Card Challenge! Each year, more customers choose to send a New Year’s card to their loved ones to spread the holiday cheer in a festive way. We asked the Minted community to create fresh designs in celebration of the 2017 New Year ahead.

New Year, New Look Award

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you wouldn’t find on any other site.
Fireworks Frame by Iron Range Artery


Multi-Photo Award

For the best design that showcases multiple photos.
Staggered by Sara Hicks Malone


“2017” Award

For the best way of displaying the numbers “2017”.
A Bold New Year by fatfatin


Home is Where the Heart is Award

For the best design that showcases a specific state or location and could be used as a holiday card and/or moving announcement.
State of the Year by Sarah Brown


Funniest Award

For the best clever, witty or funny card.
Same Resolutions by Amy Payne


Copywriter Award

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent the typical New Year’s greeting (e.g. not “Cheers” or “Happy New Years”).
Sunshine by Olivia Raufman


Classic Elegance Award

For the most elegant, timeless New Year’s design that will appeal to more traditional customers.
Elegant New Year by Amy Payne


Dress Up Your Envelope Award

This award is for the most creative envelope design that adds something extra special to the card.
naturally by Shannon


Festive Full-Bleed Award

For the best full-bleed photo card.
Modern Cheers by Kimberly FitzSimons


New Beginnings Award

For the best design that celebrates what’s new and exciting in someone’s life – whether they’re newly married or have a new baby, home or pet.
All Is New by Oscar & Emma


Get in Shape Award

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes in an original way.
bloom by Elly


Curvilinear Award

For the best design that puts a name on a curvilinear path.
Branched Border by Kelly Schmidt


Newbie Award

For the best design from a first-time entrant.
Party Banner by Julee London


Congratulations, winners!

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Meet a Minted Artist: Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co.

Casual, bohemian, whimsical, vintage, organic. Those are the five words that Annie Mertlich uses to describe her style of design. As for the words we’d use to describe Annie as a person, we’d say prolific, hard worker, and unstoppable creative energy. Annie is the visionary behind Wildfield Paper Co. and the woman who works around the clock to build her brand that’s become known for breathtaking watercolor florals.

When Annie entered and won her first Minted design challenge in 2013, she was simultaneously working a full-time job that sucked the creative life out of her. About four months after winning, she quit her day job on what she calls a “hope and a prayer,” in early 2014. Although she says she wasn’t sure if she’d succeed as a self-employed creative, she was very optimistic and determined to make Wildfield Paper Co. a reality. “I had no idea at the time how big of an impact those early Minted challenges would have on the success of my business,” Annie says. Fast-forward nearly three years later, and she’s a creative force to be reckoned with. Here, Annie shares more of her experience of building her passion into a successful career as an independent designer and entrepreneur.

A Very Merry Christmas” and “Peace on Earth in Watercolor” holiday cards by Annie Mertlich of Wildfield Paper Co.

Minted: How did you discover Minted?
Annie Mertlich: I remember being so unhappy at my job and desperately seeking a creative outlet. I worked at a company doing creative work, but the environment was so toxic that I really needed something creative that wasn’t for that company. I remember browsing Pinterest for some Christmas decorating inspiration, and I came across a beautifully designed card and I followed it through to Minted. I read all about how Minted’s Design Challenges work and joined right away. The first challenge I entered was the 2014 big holiday challenge!

Did you study art or design formally in school?
I did classic training with a composite major in painting, printmaking, and drawing from Southern Utah University, a little university in my hometown. It may be a smaller university, but the art program is highly acclaimed, and they really push you to discover your potential. It was a wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. With a composite major, we really had to take a lot of different classes to fulfill the credit requirements. I ended up learning so many unique artistic techniques that I likely wouldn’t have explored otherwise. I never anticipated liking watercolor, but I was required to take the class and I fell in love. Bonus: I met my husband at SUU.

How many hours per week do you usually work, and what does “work” mean for you?
I’m honestly too scared to keep track — it averages at about 12 hours per day. During my busy seasons, it’s usually closer to 17 hours a day. I’m running the full business, so work is really everything from painting to posting on Instagram, billing clients to ordering shipping and printing supplies, and filing taxes to responding to emails. I wear all the hats.

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Behind the Design: “Joyful” Wedding Invitation

Chicago-based Minted designer Carolann Belk Parran of Pink House Press shares her vision and the creative process behind her hand-lettered wedding invitation “Joyful.”

hand-lettered wedding invitation

What was the inspiration behind this design?
I was in the middle of planning my own wedding, so I thought about what words I would want my guests to associate with my wedding from the moment they opened their invitation. I knew I wanted to do something fun with typography, so I decided to give the word “joy” the most prominent and central role so that the happiness of the couple could really come through. 

Describe your creative process – from initial idea to end result.
Knowing that I wanted to do something typographic for this design, I first decided on the wording and which words to make most prominent. I sketched out the design making the words “joy” and “marriage” largest, and filled in the empty spaces with the floral filigree. To finalize the design, I scanned in the words and floral pieces that I wanted hand-lettered, and positioned complementary fonts for everything else.

What are some challenges you faced as you were designing?
I wanted my hand lettering to look clean and smooth because I was mixing it with fonts, and that’s always difficult when moving from pen and paper to digital. I used the help of my Wacom tablet to digitize this design, but just purchased an iPad Pro and am excited to play with that to make the digitization process easier in the future!

Describe the type of bride or wedding you imagined this design would complement?
I envisioned this invitation for a sweet Southern belle whose spirit exudes the title of this design, “Joyful.” And with such a long season for outdoor weddings in the South, the floral-inspired filigree would perfectly suit an outdoor celebration (like my own!).

What wedding trends do you love right now?
I love that more and more couples are breaking from tradition or are putting a new spin on an old tradition to make their day more personal. And now that guests tend to be more spread out and have to travel farther for weddings than in the past, I love adding in a little local flavor in the form of wedding favors, décor, welcome bags, or food and drinks!

hand-lettered wedding invitation

Tell us about your workspace.
I was excited to get my very own home office when I moved to the Chicago area last year! I now have lots of storage space for my printers and presses, and a large desk where I can spread out my pens, brushes, and tablets. But realistically I usually meander over to the couch to work by the TV.

How did you come to design for Minted?
I had heard about Minted through the grapevine and knew they held design challenges, so when I had a little spare time from my then-day job I decided to submit a little watercolor illustration I did on a Sunday afternoon. I always think the best worst thing to happen in my Minted experience was that this very first entry got picked, because it made me think that winning challenges would be easy (spoiler alert: it wasn’t!).


More from Pink House Press:
• “Joyful” wedding invitation
• “Evergreen Wishes” holiday card
• Carolann’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Wedding Invitations
• Save the Date Cards
• Wedding Websites

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4 Pinterest Tips to Help Your Content Drive Traffic + Sales

Pinterest is a platform of discovery. In 2018, the Pinterest community has grown to 250 million monthly users around the world who use the social media network to find over 175 billion ideas for them to save, to try, and to purchase. It’s the only social network that people go to save ads. To help you generate traffic and sales, we’ve put together four Pinterest content strategy tips to help you cut through the clutter and advertise your products.

1. Know Your Keywords & Popular Search Terms

To generate traffic and revenue, you must generate awareness of your product pins through proper keywords and pin descriptions. Think like an SEO strategist. Wait, what is SEO? Search Engine Marketing. It’s a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. Check out the Moz beginners guide to SEO here and get familiar.

Once that’s out of the way, align your Pinterest profile, boards, and pin descriptions with the popular search terms under the umbrella of your products or services. If you align with the key terms, your pins will also show up in related or recommended pins. Not sure how to find keywords related to your product? Try the Pinterest search bar as a starting point. Type in a keyword and see popular associated searches.

Not only will you be found on Pinterest, you’ll also be found via the major search engines, like Google.

Additionally, artists who have their own professional website with ecommerce capabilities should consider adding Product Pins. Product Pins update keyword text directly from your website, which makes it easier for Pinners to find information about things you sell by including color, style, pricing, and availability. Alongside increasing searchability, Product Pins also enjoy more prominence on Pinterest feeds by offering eye-catching branding icons and bolded text.

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