The Woes of Printing

Okay, here's our latest confession: 

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Finding. A. Good. Printer. Is. The. Hardest. Thing. 

When you finally find a printer that has the quality you like, they end up being too expensive. And when you find a printer with good pricing, they turn out to be crap quality. The round and round battle is FREAKING EXHAUSTING. If you're dealing with this, too, you are not alone. So, it's time to take a walk down memory lane with our printing struggles, both local and online. 

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Our first battle: local printers. I kid you not, we spent MONTHS trying to find one—just ONE—decent local printer to work with. We got so many recommendations and all of them were much more expensive than we were looking for. At that point, having just started a company and with limited clients, we didn't have a ton of projects to give as reference, so we were asking most of the print companies for random pricing estimates...and they were not helpful in. the. least. How hard is it to provide an estimate, people? Help us out, here! Work with us! Early on, we were also printing a lot smaller runs for prints and one-off jobs, and none of them were willing to accommodate these smaller orders - as in, "this will be $100 for 10 8x10s." Um, no. We don't even charge that much for one so that's absurd. And while I totally get it that they need to make the print job worth it, it felt like we  just couldn't catch a break.

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After searching high and low, we realized the local companies were best used solely for larger invitation suite runs, and in doing this, we found the pricing to be much more reasonable. We settled in on two local printers in particular that worked well for our needs: Integrity and Christian Printers (both in the Des Moines area). All was smooth sailing for awhile...we got into a groove with our preferred paper needs and turnaround times and it seemed like we'd FINALLY figured it out. Until the issues started arising. Little things, like a few missing escort cards or inconsistency in the pricing or the wrong amount being printed (which, holy S&$#, we had some orders where we had seriously over 80+ extras...WHY?). And while they were quick to fix the issues and reprint, it still was a huge time-suck to have to correct this on our end while we were on a tight deadline. So, we decided, ya know what? We're going to get firm with them and demand to not have to pay for certain things when the issue was caused by them. And you know what? INTEGRITY DECIDED TO NO LONGER OFFER WEDDING PRINTING. JUST LIKE THAT! So, awesome. That's fantastic. And now we're back to square one finding a quick-turnaround local printer that can learn our nuances and work with us on our projects. We still work with Christian, and they've been great, but their turnaround times don't always work with some of our clients' needs. Super. Duper. So, the fight is still on.

Second battle: the online printers. To combat our previously mentioned issue of smaller-run projects, we turned to a few online sources.

  • District White Label - for smaller projects, folded cards, and other misc. print jobs
  • Fast Printing and Stationery HQ - for foil printing projects
  • CatPrint - for select foil projects

The reviews of them are as follows:

District White Label - easy interface for uploading, super affordable for small runs, shipping is free, AND they include envelopes. Downfalls - free shipping takes awhile...sometimes up to a week, which isn't great for quick turnarounds. We've had A LOT of issues with quantity and most recently, the scored cards were overscored (twice) and ripped when the bride folded them. So, that was fun. 

Fast Printing - AMAZING quality, especially for foil. Pricing is $$$ and takes quite awhile to ship

Stationery HQ - Also pretty good quality, and depending on the project, can be cheaper than Fast Printing, as they have standard sizes to choose from

CatPrint - not great quality, and can't print foil onto a color - only white. Good for smaller runs, though!

So...as you can see, our printer issues are far from over. Finding a company you can rely on is HARD, and the hardest part is, all of the final results are completely reflective of your company. The bride doesn't care about who you use to print, they just want their goods delivered efficiently and looking the same as how they ordered them in the first place (which really, shouldn't be so hard to do!). Any issues with the final delivery falls back on you as the company.

So, our newest endeavor - purchasing our own printer so we can be 100% responsible for the finished product. And this is FINALLY a reality after getting second place at the REV competition, put on by TS Bank - recap to come later this week! Onto the next battle - finding a great printer to purchase. Any suggestions? We're all ears!

What have been your greatest printing struggles to date? Have you guys found workarounds that have helped out your process? 

XO-
N&B

FDC vs. Online Wedding Invitation Companies (and Why We're SO Much More Bang for Your Buck)

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Okay gals…real talk for a sec.

Online wedding invitation companies. They’re great for a few things: mainly convenience, if you just don’t really care about your invites and want to check that little box next to wedding invitations on your Wedding To-Do Excel Doc (everyone has one of these, right?), or if you find a design on there that you LOVE – one that encompasses your day perfectly and makes your wedding feel whole. If this is the case for you, more power to you, that’s seriously great and so simple. Boom. Done. Check. BUT, if you want a cohesive, branded look for your day that can carry from everything from the save the date through to the favors and programs and signage…maybe online wedding invite companies ain’t right for ya. And maybe that’s where we come in.

“But it’s so much more expensive! We can’t afford it!”

We’ve had plenty of brides reach out over the past two years for pricing, and once receiving our basic pricing guide, they’ve said that we’re out of their budget and that they’ll have to use an online paper company instead. And while we totally understand the importance of sticking to a budget, there is a BIG misconception that these online services are cheaper. Sure, you go to the website and are sucked in with the pricing for 50 invitations. But bump that up to the actual amount you need and add in a few additional cards and woofta – that shiz adds up.

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For our upcoming REV pitch on Dec 1st (EEK WE’RE SERIOUSLY SO NERVOUS ABOUT IT), we put together a graphic that shows basic offerings from Minted.com and Wedding Paper Divas (both super popular online invitation companies that are often referenced by brides) compared against some of our standard pricing. Now, this doesn’t include all the bells and whistles, and yes, we get that these companies often offer discounts (um, we do too!) and free add-ons like foil or envelope addressing, but when it comes to the actual designs? Check that out. We’re cheaper.

And you know what else? These online offerings aren’t custom. And we are. All of our designs are unique, made to fit your specific wedding. So in reality, our prices should be more but hey, we love you guys, so we keep our pricing as affordable as possible so that we can be a part of your big day.

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Alas, I digress. The point of this blog post isn’t to bash these companies. I think they’re fantastic and prior to Flyover, I even ordered from Minted a time or two. Their quality is great and because of their company's size and resources, they are able to offer a few fancier design services at a premium price. What we’re saying is, not only is our pricing comparable (if not cheaper!), but we’re also providing you with a custom design - you’re not receiving a pre-designed piece that you simply swap out copy in (although we offer those, too – check them out here!). We’re creating paper goods created specifically for you, your wedding, your venue, and your experience. They’re custom and we work hand in hand with you until you get the look you’ve been dreaming of – the look that perfectly encompasses your vision. And the process is fun! We love working with our brides (and get all teary-eyed looking back on some of our faves!). It’s like making a bunch of new friends that in a lot of cases you’ve never actually met in person (plus getting to creep on weddings and see a bride’s full vision come to life is seriously so fun).

So, if paper goods are something you’re passionate about and you want that cohesive experience, contact us! We’ll work with you to try to stick to your budget and make your paper good dreams happen :)

 

Xo - N