Who and What I am into this Week: NYC Roundup

6a00d83451b62369e201a511bfcaf2970c-800wi  Papaya

My trip to NYC was a bit of a whirlwind, but all in a good way! I got a late start as I had to see my stepson graduate from High School on Sunday (so proud and happy) and then I hit the National Stationery Show and then skimmed through Surtex. I DID not get to see everyone I wanted to see at Surtex, total bummer. Everyone that I have talked to felt like the buyers were qualified and that it was a good show. I think that is good news for everyone.

I did round up some fabulous guests to bring on Smart Creative Women-always fun for me to do-now just to work around everyone’s schedules! Here are some quick highlights. I met Anahata from Papaya Art. She had set up an easel and painted LIVE in their booth! Ack! That is a brave, impressive (and smart) thing for an artist to do! I love Papaya because they are a brand that really evokes a mood.


Bella Pillar

I sat down and spent some quality time with Bella Pillar. I met her several years ago when I had a booth across from Magnet Reps booth and we hit it off. We were able to discuss fashion illustration in an in depth and nerdy way. I love to be able to sink it to conversations like that! She is surprisingly shy and I have been trying to get her to come on the show for sometime (hint:Bella-come on the show!!) Her work is as charming as ever.

bando  Ban.do

I got to hang out in the ban.do booth. I love this brand. It is so happy, quirky and fun. I feel like I know who they are and what audience they are going after.  I know that sounds simple, but it is not the easiest thing to do! I love following them on instagram (they just reached 40k followers!)


Ashley Goldberg

Enjoyed some new looks over at Surtex. Ashley Goldberg had a  really fresh looking booth. She is an example of what I talk a lot to my clients about-she does extraordinarily well on Esty (as in: She knows what her audience is buying) Surprisingly she does not have a designated website. In other words, even though having a website is a general rule of thumb, she did not let the fact that she does not have one stop her from earning money as an artist and showing up at Surtex to grow her business. You can see her art on Flickr and Etsy.



I found Nottene’s folder in the press room and it appealed to me. It contained a mini Q and A about herself and I thought it was a new take on the obligatory “bio” write up. It contained just enough to make her memorable and interesting. I also recognized her style and art on the great.ly site. There is something to be said for editing down your offerings when initially launch.


Kelly Ventura

You know I love my watercolor and Kelly’s work is just lovely. She also had a simple, no gimmicks press kit (looking at them was eye opening) She even included testimonials of people she had worked with.  I looked her up when I got home and her website is clean, modern and easy to navigate. I thought her booth reflected her look online so it was really a nice complete package!

I have super exciting news next week! So keep your eyes open. Smart Creative Women has been wheeling and dealing to try to bring you fresh and inspiring content! In the meantime I have been hard at play on my Pinterest boards and would love it if you would follow me over there: http://www.pinterest.com/monicalee/      I am not sure I have ever asked you to do that before, come play with me!!!!


Great.ly founder Sarah Bryden-Brown and her passion for connecting makers!

Last week, I told you about Great.ly and what this global online marketplace was doing for talented creative makers like yourself. Now I get to sit down with Great.ly’s founder Sarah Bryden-Brown and get  ALL THE DETAILS!

You HAVE to tune in to this one!!

First of all it is a terrific way to shop and help all your favorite bloggers who spend a lot of time scouring the globe for interesting and gorgeous items to make some income! And it can give you the opportunity to be one of the makers that gets introduced  to a global marketplace on a larger scale. Hooray!

I have told so many creative women (makers) to try to get their goods into the hands of bloggers who have spent hours and hours cultivating and gaining the trust of their audiences. Great.ly provides and easier  way for you to do that! You provide wholesale (time for you to think this aspect through) items into a Makers studio and then Tastemakers  market your items in their boutiques and on their platforms. You make, they sell and you both benefit.

In this interview, Sarah answers all the questions that I could think of (and you know I can think of ALOT!) She discusses how the idea originally formed, whom she has brought on board, what it means to have  certain items “exclusive” to a tastemaker.

AND in case you did not read last week’s post, I have my own boutique on Great.ly! You can shop via my boutique here. This means so much to me. I LOVE finding out just how talented the audience of Smart Creative Women is so it is a complete, full circle moment for me! This is a fabulous opportunity to bring your sexy, talented self to a new and exciting marketplace.

I am thrilled to have a site like this be introduced!  It really does connect the dots for people who love building communities and for people who to love to create! Tune in so you hear it all from Sarah herself.

You know my MANTRA: TELL A FRIEND, YOUR SISTER, YOUR MOM people who like to find unique items for their homes, for their children and for themselves!


I am trying NOT to get obsessed with the site, but admittedly, I am completely smitten! Come check out my boutique! 


And isn’t this press just  lovely? Check out this article featuring artisans from Great.ly on Elle Decor.




Who and What I am into the Week: Greatly

greatly1  shoe print by Monica Lee, vase by Jill Rosenwald, pillow by Ellie Bradley, girl with glasses print by Monica Lee

Oh boy, have I got some fun news for you! There is a new website in town and you need to check it out. Great.ly just launched and it is an online shopping experience  that gives “tastemakers” an opportunity to curate “makers” goods. When I first heard of this, I knew this was going to be a GOOD thing. I have a fabulous time telling everyone how talented you are and now I get to do it in my own curated boutique! I am very fortunate to have fallen under the “maker” profile as well. I KNOW how hard it can be to market your own creations and now I can help you do it through my shop! I am so excited about promoting and buying from artisans and owner operated businesses instead of big box stores (soul crushing.)

I am sure you have about 100 questions which is why…..next Tuesday I am interviewing the founder of Great.ly, Sarah Bryden-Brown. Yup! While I was in NYC for Surtex and the National Stationery Show, I nabbed an interviewed where I asked her all the in’s and out’s of her brilliant idea.  I believe it will be very good for bloggers and good for creatives! We all work so hard, let’s work together seamlessly at what we do best!

I even added a couple of new prints of my own into my boutique but I really want to be carrying art exclusively from the Smart Creative Women community! More on that later!


ginger jar print by Monica Lee, removable wallpaper by Chasing Paper, pillow Luru Home,  blue palm print by Monica Lee

Here is the skinny overview: 1. You must be priced for wholesale 2. You need to submit and be accepted (don’t let that scare you) 3. The curators get a percentage of the sale for marketing your work. So when you shop through my boutique (http://great.ly/t/monicalee) then I get credit for the sale and it helps me keep Smart Creative Women going, even if you click around to shop the site in general!


I am already getting to share some of my favorite makers goods, like Jenean Morrison’s darling coloring books and wrapping paper and Vana Chupp’s chic and custom cuff and necklace!

You will all get to hear it all first hand next week!!! In the meantime, check out my boutique! http://great.ly/t/monicalee


Who and What I am into this Week: Inspiration Interpreted into Stationery

I wanted to give a quick example of knowing what your style is and being able to interpret it can do for you. Here are three fabulous women who are showing at the National Stationery Show (and ladies I have interviewed!)

Eva at Sycamore Street Press. She has put her stake in the ground for her new line and look she calls minimal bohemian. She blogs about in detail, it is a fun read! She found shops and homes that spoke to and inspired her. You know, when something appeals to you and you just have to keep staring? She then set out to capture the mood of these settings! Below is a peek at part of her new line! They are in Booth 1851, stop by and look at the entire collection! You can see my interview with Eva here.




Cat Seto from Ferme A Papier. When I interviewed Cat, she talked about being completely inspired by her first trip to the French countryside. I was particularly taken with her vision of her travels, they were dark and lush and had a vintage almost masculine side. She was taken with the growth and garden aspect of her travels. She is in booth 1936 debuting a follow up to her first line. I found sneak peeks on her instagram You can see my interview with Cat here.


Emily McDowell in booth 1544! Well, she is just hilarious. Emily completely understands her mission of “chronicling the human condition.” She manages to say what we all really want to say. This was my very favorite card that I judged for the Louie Awards this year (It was in Feburary!)


She loves hand lettering type and she has something to say! She understands and is inspired by the awkward moments in life and interprets them so well! The fact that she understands herself and her style has parlayed her company to success.  You can see my interview with Emily here.


 Do you want to get a better grasp of your style?? Smart Creative Style is designed to help you! Sign up for the Smart Creative Style newsletter list so you don’t miss out on the next run of the e-course. It pays understand your aesthetic and how to be inspired by it!


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Jennifer Tress on her book You’re Not Pretty Enough

Want to know the power of a good cocktail pitch? When I met Jennifer Tress at a cocktail party recently, she told me she authored a book titled “You’re Not Pretty Enough” words uttered by her ex husband as an excuse to his infidelity. Wow! Bam! Instant sisterhood! Turns out her book is a hilarious anthology of all her life’s awkward turning points. What she did not realize was the how those words put together in a sentence were lodged in so many women’s minds.

Can understanding how people find you online changes lives? 

Turns out, yes! When Jennifer built her website to promote her book, she began to see people finding her through organic search engine phrases like “Am I pretty enough?” That started the You’re Not Pretty Enough Action Movement. Jennifer Tress is an independent consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, global non-profits and the U.S. Federal government. Her true passion is as a  writer  and in this interview she tells how self publishing her book via Amazon’s CreatSpace  has led to a national movement, speaking gigs andwait for it…a TV Show! Keep your eye on Jennifer, this girl is goin places! And did I mention that the book is really funny?! You can get it in paperback or in a Kindle version.



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Are you impressed with yourself?

When was the last time you actively thought, “Oh yeah, I am all that and more?!”  Well, it’s time you do!! It seems we are always waiting for our next great act without realizing that we have had some pretty stellar past acts. In today’s quick video, I am giving you permission to OWN JUST HOW GREAT YOU ARE! If you need a little visual here is one for you :) Feel free to pin it or instagram it!




(Maybe you would like to forward this post to a girlfriend that YOU Are impressed with-She just might need this bit of Monday Motivation herself!)


Heather Davulcu takes calculated chances!

So happy to have the sweet Heather Davulcu with me today! Heather, known online as April Heather Art, is an up and comer who is making her debut  this year at Surtex  in NYC. Heather is full of spunk and style! I love how she has put herself and her art “out there” pushing past any voice that might have told her to hide away in her studio. In this interview she talks about the rewards of being bold and consistent with her efforts. We all know it can be tough to show people what you do creatively, hopefully this interview will speak to you. It really does pay off to be brave and Heather is a terrific example of that. Mixed with sass and talent, I completely enjoy following her journey!

She took the  last run of Smart Creative Style class and had terrific energy and ideas. I loved what she added to her one of her “interiors that appeal to you” mood board. Tune in the see what I mean.

You can see her and her work in the Pink Light Design Booth at Surtex Booths 417 and 516 in NYC. Stop by and say hello to her agent, Mary Beth Freet and  to Heather, they both always have smiles on!

Branded Artists- A3 Collection Preview

AHD-NYC pink pattern

Branded Artists- A3 Collection Preview

When Heather thought of the interiors that appealed to her the most, she thought of her favorite movies! You know, they ones that you watch over and over again, simply because you loved the set design? Here is a  peek at her interiors board: Classic, Cottage and Romantic:


Her Art and Eras board was very interesting! All this tender nostalgia:


Heather’s art  has a romance  to it, it is feminine and innocent with  just a touch of  fun mischief. Keep an eye on her!

You can follow Heather on Instagram here and on Pinterest here.

You can sign up to hear  upcoming news about  the Smart Creative Style  Course here.

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