I'm Only as Strong as My Manufacturers
I know that I have so much to learn. So much growth is still (and will always be!) needed. This business will ebb and flow and change with the season. But something I value so highly in this business of mine and something I refuse to back down from is the quality & ethicalness of my manufacturers. I only use the best because I want to provide the best for my customers, who are making the conscious choice to support me with their dollars.
To me, outstanding products are a combination of two things in particular: (1) The creativity and design that the “maker” puts into them (i.e. original artwork) and (2) The quality of machinery and materials used to reproduce said design (i.e. artwork reproduced as fine art prints).
Partnering with a manufacturer who is passionate about their quality of work is just as important as the quality of the original work you're providing the manufacturer.
High-quality products, products manufactured in ethical facilities, products produced with upmost care and love, a product based small-business --- 99.9% of the time products produced with these values will cost the consumer more than something they could buy at a large box store. Although I can’t speak for all small-businesses, I do know that when you buy from me you’re choosing: ethical manufacturing, supporting products made with love & care, helping fund mine and my husband’s adoption, our livelihood, job creation amongst my company (you’re helping provide jobs to two part-time employees as well as myself), and you’re helping fund jobs at the manufacturers that I use.
The statement “you vote with your dollar” is true.
My business would not be where it is today without these essential partnerships. So, here's my current manufacturer lineup, the STARS of this product-based-business -- and I can’t wait to add to this list oh so soon!
Printswell, Inc. produces the bulk of my products, and trying to keep my love and appreciation for them to a single paragraph is hard. They are a company built on quality and values, and wholeheartedly care about my products. They are ethical, loving, hard-working, and produce topnotch goods.
Amanda Klein Co. products produced by Printswell, Inc.: Fine Art Prints sizes 5” x 7”, 8” x 10”, 10” x 10” and 11” x 14” // All printed stationery notecards and greeting cards // Packaging stickers placed on notecard boxes and fine art prints.
Stationery HQ is an excellent digital printing manufacturer out of California. Although they only produce my 16” x 20” Fine Art Prints for me, they have so many awesome capabilities that I can’t wait to one day try (like wrapping paper! What?!?!).
Amanda Klein Co. products produced by Stationery HQ: Fine Art Prints sizes 16” x 20”
It took me almost a year to find Heinrich, and I’m so glad I did! Finding quality of envelopes that were manufactured in the USA was not easy and something I experienced a lot of anxiety over. Before finding Heinrich, I liked the envelopes I was using but they just weren’t up to the quality I wanted for my customers. I started ordering from Heinrich last fall, and I’m not sure I’ll ever order from any other envelope manufacturer. When I place an order with Heinrich my envelopes are made to order for my customers: the envelopes go from press, to packaging for shipping, and then are driven (via freight) from Minneapolis, MN to Birmingham, AL. How could I ask for more?
Amanda Klein Co. products produced by Heinrich Envelopes: all stationery envelopes
First off: SHOUT OUT to this company being a Woman Owned Enterprise! Second: They’re amazing! It took me a year and a half to find this company, and I’m so glad that I did. Manufacturers Packaging Services provides all of my shipping materials and supplies -- anything from mailers and boxes to bubble wrap to tissue paper (some of which is produced in the state of Alabama!). They have excellent customer service, fair pricing, and I’m so thankful that I get to use their products for all my shipping needs.
Amanda Klein Co. products produced by Heinrich Envelopes: all shipping and packaging supplies
I’ve been using ClearBags for several years for various items, but have only started using them professionally within the last two years. Handsdown, their backing board, cellophane sleeves and plastic notecard boxes are excellent in quality. I have been very pleased with how protected they keep my fine art prints & stationery.
Amanda Klein Co. produced by ClearBags, Inc.: backing board, cellophane sleeves, notecard boxes
Sticker Mule is a great company that has rapidly grown over the last few years. I have tried several manufacturers for my vinyl decals and just haven’t found the quality and care from others like I have from Sticker Mule.
Amanda Klein Co. produced by Sticker Mule: all Vinyl Decal Stickers
I can’t end my manufacturers list without giving credit to USPS, UPS, FedEx and Holland Freight. Since 90% of my business is e-commerce, my business would be almost non-existent without these companies. I do feel it’s okay to acknowledge that there have been “pain points” over the last year with two of the carriers mentioned above (see this post, here!), but I do believe that just like the rest of us they’re trying to survive and move forward. I am hopeful that these ongoing transit/shipping issues will soon be resolved (please oh please oh please).
Each time I drop off packages at USPS I make sure to tell them how much I appreciate them -- so many small-businesses across the USA rely on USPS and the work that they do. And for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.