Paper Party 2015 Invitations!

I’m honored to host a big party for the stationery industry during the National Stationery Show each May – and this year’s party took place on Tuesday night! I’m excited to share the party photos with you all next week, but in the meantime I thought I’d start with my favorite part of the entire party: the invitations! I was lucky to work with an amazingly talented team, including Moglea, Bella Figura, and Meant to Be Calligraphy – this year’s design features some amazing hand painted details paired with beautiful matte gold foil!

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-21

I’ve wanted to work with Meg from Moglea for years – and this was the perfect excuse! I love Meg’s painterly aesthetic and really wanted the invitation design to set the tone for the rest of the party decor. Meg hand painted the invitation background, which was digitally printed by Bella Figura on their new smooth cotton paper and paired with matte gold foil on the front of the invitation. I love the subtle shine of the matte foil against the dark navy and pale pink!

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-18

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-90

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-80

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-35

The amazingly talented Michele from Meant to Be Calligraphy addressed the envelopes in her Edwards style. We picked gold ink to complement the matte gold foil on the invitations and paired the gold calligraphy with new black and white floral postage stamps. Meg hand painted the STUNNING envelope liner design, which was also digitally printed by Bella Figura.

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-55

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-76

For a final detail, I borrowed a DIY trick from Meg and dip dyed each individual envelope in red Kool Aid! The dip dye resulted in such a subtle shade of pink – barely visible in the photos – but it really added a special touch to the envelopes and I love the way it looks with Michele’s calligraphy.

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-10

Hand-Painted-Paper-Party-2015-Invitations-Moglea-Bella-Figura-12

I really couldn’t be more thrilled with how the invitations turned out – I hope you love them as much as I do!

Design: Moglea

Printing: Bella Figura

Envelope Calligraphy: Meant to Be Calligraphy

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Café Au Lait Dahlias

The Café Au Lait Dahlia revealed my weakness for all things blush, peach and ivory this week. They are rapidly climbing to the top of my favorite list and as a bonus, they can grow to the size of dinner plates! Our paper blooms naturally followed, as these giants quickly overflowed a few of my favorite vases. I hope you enjoy their pillowy existence as much as I loved making them. They are currently bedside and making my tiny room feel a bit more cozy this May, no complaints here! Rachael

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia by Appetite Paper for OSBP

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia by Appetite Paper for OSBP

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia by Appetite Paper for OSBP

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia by Appetite Paper for OSBP

Fresh Cut Paper Flowers: Cafe Au Lait Dahlia by Appetite Paper for OSBP

Photo Credits: Rachael Baldwin of Appetite Paper

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press

Steel Petal Press began straight out of college from Shayna’s deeply rooted background in stationery. Read on as Shayna gives us a look into her schedule as she breaks down the different aspects of her business and shares how they came to life. She shares some of her favorite business tools, including the reason why her business has been successful! –Megan

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful PaperPhoto by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

My name is Shayna Norwood and my company is Steel Petal Press, a letterpress stationery studio based in Chicago, Illinois. I started Steel Petal Press when I decided to print holiday cards to send to friends and family living far away. At the time, I was new to Chicago in my first year at grad school earning my MFA in Book and Paper Arts, and far from everyone I knew. After printing my letterpress projects for school, I would use the school’s studios to print personal work in my spare time. I found stores to sell any extra cards I had printed, and the company grew from there.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

The first two years, I operated Steel Petal Press on very part-time basis. I focused on my schoolwork and other art projects, and would only print new cards when I had and the chance and inspiration. In January 2011, I went full time and haven’t looked back since. Fun fact: The very first card I ever printed is Love from Chicago Skyline and it’s still one of my best sellers to date.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

I offer letterpress printed greeting cards, wedding invitations, and personalized stationery. I print, package, and ship all my products by hand in house. It’s definitely a labor of love. I started off doing just greeting card, and then incorporated personalized stationery and wedding invitations after a year. When I started Steel Petal Press full-time, wedding invitations were maybe 80-90% of my income (the margins are just so much better for me), but I have really been working on developing the wholesale side of my business, which has seen some significant growth in the last year or two.

My studio is currently located in a large building full of creative businesses in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. It’s 500 square ft and I’ve been here for over two years. I’m just about busting at the seams and am looking to move into a larger space (hopefully a storefront) when my lease is up at the end of September. I own 2 printing presses, a paper trimmer, a paper cutter, and a manual score bar. The presses are both from the early 1960s. My Chandler and Price press is where I do most of my production work, and my Vandercook SP-15 is used to print larger areas, art prints, and wedding invitations.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

On a typical workday, I will wake up between 7-8 am. I try to exercise several mornings a week but this doesn’t always happen. After that, I usually spend a few hours on the computer: answering emails, working on client work, checking in on social media – my tasks vary depend on the day and the time of year. I head to the studio between 11 am – noon and do any number of tasks: working on the press, developing new products, designing new cards, working with custom clients, answering more emails, product photography or more social media.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper 187_SteelPetalPress

Photos by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I have a part-time assistant that helps ship out orders, manages wholesale accounts and inventory, updates my online shop listings, etc. Her tasks also vary depending on the day and the time of year. I also have two interns that come in weekly. I typically go home around 6-7 pm, but have spent my fair share of late nights at the studio working into the wee hours. In the evenings, I eat dinner, read books, watch Netflix, or see friends. Some nights I end up doing more work from home (like tonight, I am typing this at 8:30 pm), but I’m definitely getting better at separating my work from my personal life.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

A few of my favorite business tools are:
Stitch Labs – for inventory tracking
Trello – for project management
Dropbox – for file sharing
Google Voice – for a business line
Mad Mimi – for newsletter and email marketing
Square – for taking payments on the go

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I am inspired by humanity, connection, friendships, relationships, and communication. My ideas come from things I would want to communicate myself, and those ideas and phrases become the basis of my greeting card ideas. Once I have a list of ideas, I play around with the phrasing and typography to create a design that speaks accurately to what I am trying to say. I’ve found my most successful cards are the most authentic to my own voice.

My wedding stationery designs are more guided by visual inspiration. I spend a good amount of time looking at real wedding blogs and Pinterest. I try to keep up with the wedding trends and create wedding stationery that visually matches what’s going on culturally and in the wedding world.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Steel Petal Press

I really enjoy having both greeting cards and wedding stationery as equal parts of my business. Last year I did just about 60% custom vs 40% retail and wholesale. My greeting cards are my creative outlet, where I really get to experiment however I want. Working on weddings can be very rewarding, but it does have some creative limitations. Both aspects create a nice balance in my business between client work and greeting cards, which I consider my personal work.

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Steel Petal Press

Behind the Stationery: Steel Petal Press via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by Jennifer Kathryn Photography

I would not be able to balance all aspects of my business without the help of my assistant. She takes on a lot of the wholesale responsibilities, and helps with packaging cards, shipping out orders, tracking inventory, and ordering supplies. This leaves me more time to work directly with clients, to develop new products, to create new card designs and push the business forward.

Interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan@ohsobeautifulpaper.com.

Quick Pick: Modern Lore

Loving the new Spring releases from Modern Lore! The collection features copper foil stamped text paired with textured paper and contemporary photography from artists like Victoria Smith and Lisa Congdon. You might even recognize a few of the images – I’m beyond thrilled to have a few of my photographs in the collection! And for those of you attending the National Stationery Show you can check the new cards out in person in Booth 1662!

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-30

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-23

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-3Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-17

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-10Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-15

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-24Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-13

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-18Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-20

Sneak-Peek-Modern-Lore-Spring2015-25

Check out more over at Modern Lore!