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Revelry Press Sells More Than Just Paper Goods

Melanie McIntyre Melanie McIntyre
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In this sluggish economic climate, where jobs are few and far between, one local woman has taken fate into her own hands, founding a business that combines her love of design with a passion for handcrafted goods.

Like many men and women across Ohio, Kate Bunge, a graphic designer, was laid off several months ago.

“The job market is daunting right now and in the spring, when I needed to find a full-time job, it was extremely hard to find a suitable one at a large corporation,” Bunge says.

“Revelry Press was always an idea of mine that I had tucked away in my back pocket for about a year or so, but it never really had an opportunity to come to fruition since I usually kept a full-time job,” she continues.

However, with more time suddenly on her hands −and an appreciation for entrepreneurship− Bunge forged ahead with her business plan and launched Revelry Press out of her home in Powell.

Why call the company Revelry Press?

“It was originally founded with the premise that I would design paper goods and invitations, which is something I have a lot of experience with,” Bunge says. “So I wanted a name that seemed synonymous with festivity. The “Press” was added to the end to denote a printing press sort of feel. The business has expanded way beyond invitations, but I think the name is ultimately still appropriate.”

One look around the Revelry Press online store, at revelry.etsy.com, and it is apparent that the company does indeed offer much more than invitations. Other products include custom coasters, mini chalkboards, digital art, photographic prints, T-shirts, gift tags, and flour sack towels.

Sales of the coasters, chalkboards, and recycled paper invitations − Revelry Press’s most popular items − ebb and flow, Bunge says. Right now, though, the chalkboards are the top sellers, according to her records.

Prices range from $2.50 for the “Fun Cards” she recently added to the site (“They have a vintage flair with humorous captions.”) to $29.95 for a set of four coasters decorated with four images of the buyer’s choice.

“As far as most of my products go, I believe they are very original,” Bunge says. “I have had more than one person say something like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before.’ I have a really high standard as far as what I will sell and what I won’t sell. And I’m constantly thinking about the dual functionality of an item and what would make it worth it to someone to spend their money on it.

“There are certain design trends that I refuse to put on any of my merchandise because, most often, trends oversaturate the market and it’s so unoriginal. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. While I’m all about giving the people what they want, I want them to come to me for something original, not recycled design.”

Bunge says her creative process usually starts with either a photo shoot, reflections on a specific aesthetic, inspiration from an image in a magazine, book or Web site, or merchandise in an antique store.

“I’m very inspired by vintage, rustic, gritty, or rural things,” she says. “Sometimes my ideas come so quickly that it’s almost too much, so I always makes sure I have something to write with. But I definitely have peaks and valleys. I’ve learned that about myself. So I realize when I’m on a creative streak, I need to run with it− and fast before it dies out.”

Once Bunge decides which artwork to use, she applies it to the product that best suits it.

“And then occasionally, images are used on multiple items because I like to have consistency in imagery sometimes,” she says. “That way, it gives a customer the opportunity to purchase a whole set of something that makes a nice gift for someone. For example, the Retro Rocket T-shirt and the Retro Rocket chalkboard make a cute set for a kids gift.”

In addition to sales at her online store (about 70 percent of Revelry Press’s revenue), Bunge makes money through local business merchandising and sales at craft shows, like Tiny Canary, which she participated in yesterday. (She also will sell her wares at the North Market Holiday Open House & Craft Extravaganza scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6.)

“I feel extremely grateful to have met such wonderfully talented people here in Central Ohio,” Bunge says, adding that she feels the locals have embraced her work with open arms.

“There is a wonderful indie community of artists and small business owners here in Columbus, and it’s been wonderful to network and really make friends with some of them along the way. As part of that community, I get the sense that we’re all excited to see someone succeed,” she says.

Bunge’s immediate goals for Revelry Press include surviving the holiday rush, expanding her product line, and building her promotional merchandising services.

“Because of my flexibility to provide options for imagery on multiple items, I think what I offer is a good fit for a small business owner needing to get their name out there,” she explains.

“My ultimate goal is to get my business out of my house, possibly have a brick and mortar store along with increasing online sales, and offer the best items in town!”

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