In December of 2017 shortly after launching Wask, I was trying to figure out what type of route to take for the brand vibes. I made this animation with 3 little Unbreak My Heart Paper Clips sleeping soundly in a bed, but then they get ripped out by a giant hand!
It wasn’t really my vibe in the end so I never really finished it… but now that it’s 5 years later I feel like it’s fun to post it on the blog anyway!
Okay! So! A few years ago I wanted to create a unique postal stamp(s) using the custom stamp programs available in both the USA and Canada. Along the way, I discovered there were some rules about what can or can’t be on official stamps – such as the marijuana leaf, or inappropriate language, or basically anything that isn’t “family-friendly” – so I wanted to have a bit of fun with that and find a loophole to circumvent it.
Thus the Blasphemail Postage Stamps were born! By ordering one letter a time, the goal was to create the first ever set of stamps that contained swear words, in this case spelling out the letters F U C K !
A year ago I wrote about discovering that the official American version of the custom stamps program, “Stamps.com”, was no longer operating indefinitely and I wouldn’t be able to order any more American stamps in stock. 🙁
Yesterday, a customer had ordered 2 packs of my Canadian stamps and I realized they were the last 2 I had in stock. I wanted to order more only to discover that Canada Post has also discontinued their custom stamps program! 🙁
So I guess that might be it, forever.
I still have some American stamps in stock, but once those are gone, I’m considering looking into the custom stamps programs from other countries to see if I can at least keep them going in some sense!
Introducing our latest product, the Sinking Feeling Soap! It’s handmade by me and therefore may contain some small imperfections.
This soap is a long time coming. It started with an idea a few years ago to create soap with words on it that would change as you use it, but words are so small and detailed and I realized it would probably have been impossible to make with soap. So I went with a visual route instead – smileys!
I created the first prototype last year but it had a major flaw in it from the method I used to make it. Feeling defeated afterwards, it took me a long time to get around finally fixing it.
The soap consists of 6 layers of smileys (in the image above I conjoined the 2 middle sad smiles to represent one larger “layer” since they’re the same). I was originally going to simply have 3 layers starting from the top: happy, neutral, and sad. But since most people will use a bar of soap by picking up the bar and rubbing it from all around, I realized the design has to work from the outwards into the middle. So that’s why there are so many layers!
The soap takes forever to make. It has SO many steps! I’m currently pricing it at $40 CAD which is actually greatly undervaluing my time per bar – and therefore in the near future I will have to decide to either raise the price or turn this into a limited edition item. So grab it while it’s still a bargain!
The Out of Line sticky notes are my 2nd bestseller after the Think Twice Dice. One of the unique selling points of these sticky notes is that they’re a custom size and feature 3 punched holes on the left, and these little details also make a difference when it comes to finding a company to make them.
I’m actually on my 2nd manufacturer when it comes to these sticky notes. A general overview of each:
Manufacturer A: This was my first low quantity order. The manufacturer didn’t shrink-wrap the sticky notes as agreed. They were just placed straight into a box with no protection and therefore many were damaged. The printing on them was dark and desaturated. Although it’s normal for sticky notes to have a slightly bump or curve where the glue area is, these were extremely bent in a very unprofessional manner. The cherry on top was that the were hardly sticky at all! I couldn’t sell these, so I just keep them for my own desk notes and give them out to friends.
Manufacturer B: This was a big improvement from the first one! Every aspect was better: they only have a slight bump in the glue area, the printing looks more vibrant and correct, they were shrink-wrapped into their packs of two and they were stickier. Now a lot of the time when you re-order a product from a manufacturer, things can be a bit different the next time around (this happens so often!) and in the 2nd batch the red line was thicker and brighter. I actually like both versions of it.
So I’ve had a few people recently let me know that the sticky notes aren’t that sticky and may fall of the wall, so I wanted to dig a bit deeper into why and I asked my current manufacturer about this. I got a bit of insight about the 3 types of glue they use:
Chinese glue from Zhejiang. Apparently most sticky notes on the market use this type of glue (I’m assuming she’s referring to the smaller batch, custom made sticky notes). The viscosity is the worst of the 3 glue types and the lifetime is about half a year.
Chinese glue from Guangdong. This mimics 3M glue, but to use this type of glue, the company has a minimum order quantity of 10,000 units.
3M glue. This is the best one they offer which is the most expensive and also has a very high minimum order quantity (not sure how many).
I want to improve the stickiness of my current sticky notes but I feel like I only have two options at the moment. I currently only order small batches between 250 – 500 units, so one option is to keep working on my brand and building product demand until the time feels right to actually hit a 10,000 unit order. Or I can do a new outreach to a bunch of new manufacturers and see if I can find a better sticky note quality for a lower minimum, but that’s time consuming and also a whole new risk (minimums might be higher, there may be high “mold fees”, other issues could come up).
But I’ll keep my eyes peeled!
I’ll have to stick to the current manufacturer and method in the meantime, but if anybody knows of other good sticky notes manufacturers, please share!
So, how come the dice haven’t been in stock for months? Well that’s because the batch that I had ordered for this past selling period, batch 2, was unsellable. The reference photo above doesn’t tell the full story at all, but basically the main issue was that every single die had a defect on one edge of the plastic and I just don’t have the heart to sell that at full price. There were other things too, such as the colour being quite an unpleasant shade of ivory, and the paint still having some issues.
The latest batch, batch 3, is overall the best yet. Not as warm as batch 1 though, which I liked – but I realized it’s not easy for manufacturers to nail the colours.
For batch 1, I was basically fixing all of the dice by hand by painting each pip with paint and a tiny paint brush. I feel like I spent upwards of 100 hours just painting. 😖 It was exhausting, so I kept voicing that again and again to my manufacturer because if the paint couldn’t be improved then I’d have to be forced to find a new manu again because the thought of having to paint more dice makes me want to rip my hair out! 👺
So while the dice still have some various issues and many still fall into the “rejects” pile, batch 3 likely won’t need any hand-painting and to celebrate that I’ll be launching a sale starting tonight, so stay tuned.
Also you might be wondering how many “reject” dice I have by now. Probably thousands! Sometimes I put them up on sale on the website for a discount price, but I also don’t want to overwhelm customers with options so it’s typically not listed – but if you do want a discounted “flawed” set of the dice (or other product) then feel free to inquire!