Nieves Uhl, one of the co-founders of Sawtooth Printhouse, and I go way back. Waaay back. We grew up in a tiny town about 20 miles north of Santa Fe, NM. I guess you could say we were...amazing. We brought the house down in competing dance numbers during the 5th grade talent show. She was part of a team wearing red tank tops and dancing to UB40's Red Wine. My ladies and I wore hot pink lipstick and Wet 'n Wild black eyeliner. Our little number was to the tune of Paula Abdul's Straight Up. I'm almost 100% certain that the only reason my friends and I entered the talent show was so we could wear the aforementioned eyeliner and lipstick. Oh, yeah...We also both wore rolled denim shorts. Duh.
1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?
I am Nieves Uhl of Sawtooth Printhouse. My partner Chris Cheney and I run a letterpress design studio in Nashville, TN. We do almost all our design work by hand with antique wood and metal type, illustrations, and hand carved images. We print all our own work, and sometimes we have plates made and print others’ designs as well. We also open up our shop to the community for letterpress workshops. Chris interned for almost a year while I was working at the historic, 135 year old letterpress shop Hatch Show Print. We stayed friends, and a few years ago he and his wife moved down the street from me and my husband. They had a great old workshop in the backyard, we joined forces, and the rest is history.
2. Where can we find you on social media?
We are on Facebook, Pinterest, and we have each have an Instagram account: @sawtoothprinthouse and @sawtoothprinthousenieves. We know we should probably have a twitter account, too, but c’mon, we’re luddites!
3. Why do you use social media?
We are still a new business, just finishing our second year, so we are always trying to reach new customers, and stay connected to old ones. And people want to know your Instagram name before a phone number these days. We had no choice!
4. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?
We mostly just use iPhone photos and our clever wit, but sometimes design and print something specifically to post if we’re announcing new classes or other important news.
5. What effect does social media have on your business?
Even though letterpress is an old design and printing process, we have to educate new clients on how labor intensive our process is, and that it’s worth the cost and time. We do a lot of wedding jobs and every bride or wedding planner I’ve known in the last few years has used Pinterest for ideas and planning. Pinning our work to our own boards is essential for making our business known to them.
We also like to be linked up to others in the letterpress community. If a shop is selling an old set of wood type we want to know about it, as we are always looking to increase our type options.
6. How do you measure success on social media?
I’m not sure how to answer that. We have a lot of followers and likes on Instagram and Facebook, some of which have turned into jobs. We’re still pretty new to the online networking, we’re still figuring it all out.
7. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?
We are a small two family company and we try to add our personality and our personal stories, but don’t want to get too personal. Finding the balance can be hard. I don’t want to bombard clients with too many photos of my son or his artwork! We also sometimes forget to pin new work to Pinterest. It’s difficult to manage our business, design and print, and remember to get out there on the interweb regularly. You’re only as interesting as your last cool post!
8. What makes you follow another brand back?
We’ll follow a company or person if we feel we can learn from what they are doing or just like their product or content. Or to make a connection to more type or clients.
9. Which brands have social media you admire?
Our pal Courtney at @heyrooster is fun to follow on Instagram. She runs Hey Rooster General Store, offering handmade goods here in Nashville. Also, @mypapercrane, which might be my favorite Instagram feed. Heidi Kenney does everything from designing, illustrating, sewing, embroidering, knitting, and collecting cool, old stuff, integrating it all. It’s interesting to see the person behind a brand.
10. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?
You just have to jump in and try it all out. Keep doing what works for you, what people respond to. Be yourself, but stay family friendly. Try to respond to people that comment on your content. It keeps followers engaged and interested.