Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co.

I remember meeting Sara back at Tradeshow Bootcamp in 2013! Her aesthetic and authenticity caught my eye and I have been a fan ever since. I’m honored to feature this new mother, entrepreneur, and friend on OSBP today. Sharing about her (mostly) family powered business and how she’s adapted her business since becoming a mom, here’s Sara from Constellation & Co.Megan

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Constellation & Co. is located in Seattle, Washington. Our storefront studio and shop is in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle in the historic Fishermen’s Terminal. The Fishermen’€™s Terminal is home to the Northwest fishing fleet – giant fishing vessels that spend fall through spring in Seattle and head to Alaska for the summer. We’re right on the water, and that’s been a huge part of what has inspired me this past year. There is nothing better than a mid-day walk on the docks, breathing the fresh air and letting the water calm me.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our space is naturally bright, with huge windows, pale blue walls and light wood floors. It has soaring high ceilings and a romantic spiral staircase up to our loft office. I remember the first time I saw the space, the way it made me feel. It was ripe with possibility, hopeful and beautiful. It was new and exciting, but also felt like home. It’s a gift.

It’s a creative space and I feel inspired when I’m there. It’s full of beautiful things – antique equipment, lovely people, and amazing products made by fellow artists and designers. When we moved in I wasn’t sure how it would work having retail, office, and production all in one space. We get to share the practical craft letterpress with the public, and connect with the people who buy our cards in a real way. One of my favorite perks is using our shop to do product testing. I can put a brand new card out on the rack as soon as I print it, and get feedback right away.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our loft office is all about practical storage. It’s a small space and it’s home to all of our paper and envelopes, including in-process and packaged cards. We’ve worked hard to keep the storefront space inviting to customers as well as practical for a working letterpress shop. It’s a daily challenge, but I think we balance it well. Knowing that the general public sees everything is a great way to stay organized!

The shop is open six days a week, with my beautiful team keeping the doors open and greeting customers. Our team consists of myself (owner/designer/printer), Chelsa (wholesale manager), Brooke (letterpress printer), as well as Meredith, Dorothy and Sam who keep the shop running and online orders going out (plus a lot of other things!). My mom, Suzi, is our bookkeeper extraordinaire. My husband Brad, dad Chuck, and sister Beth chip in too.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I became a mom a year ago, and spent the first six months at the shop every day. When my very sweet, very active son started crawling at six months, the plan had to change. Now I work from home four days a week, and have one full day of child care. I also work a lot of nights and weekends. I’ve found that being a mom and an entrepreneur is possible, but it is not simple. It takes a lot of planning, flexibility, sense of humor, and grace for myself and others.

None of my days are really typical, but these are some of my daily work from home rituals. I make and eat breakfast in the kitchen with my son. We listen to music and I do silly dances to make him laugh. He takes a morning nap, and I spend time answering e-mails and planning my tasks for the day. I listen to a podcast and work on creative tasks, like linoleum cuts for a project, designs for new cards, client work, etc. My little one wakes up and we eat lunch. If the weather is nice, we go for a walk or play in the yard. When he’s ready for his afternoon nap, I get started on necessary tasks – ordering paper, social media marketing, planning upcoming events and trade shows, jotting down product ideas, doing dishes or laundry, etc.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

On my in-shop days, my dad comes in the morning to care for my son. I run an errand or two and head into the studio. I love those mornings when it’s just me in the shop. I play loud music and sing my heart out. I open the mail, tidy the print shop, prepare my projects for the day, and start up the Windmill. My Heidelberg Windmill has been with me less than a year, but she’s become my special friend. Learning to print on a new press is a scary and rewarding endeavor! Brooke prints nearly every day on our platen press, and now with two production presses we can be really efficient.
Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

By lunchtime, there’s usually four of us working in the shop: Brooke and I printing, Chelsa and Dorothy (depending on the schedule) filling wholesale orders, packaging cards, and checking out shop customers. At some point throughout the day, I take a break to visit the boats. I print more or less all day, while answering questions, saying hello to visitors and trying to take enough Instagrammable photos to get me through the week (haha!). At the end of the day I’m missing my boy, and I head home tired but happy. I love my inky hands, tired feet and sense of accomplishment.
Most of our products start with a line of text scribbled in my notebook. I write everything down, and eventually come back to it. If it speaks truth to me the next time I see it, I’ll make it into something. If it feels lame when I come back to it, I let it stay in my notebook.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Before becoming a mom, most of our products were designed by setting lead or wood type. Many of our products are still (and always will be) printed that way, with hand-set type and wood engravings. Now that I’m working remotely most of the time, I’ve had to change tactics for new products. I’ve returned to my roots as a graphic designer, working in Adobe Illustrator and setting type digitally. I order the designs as photopolymer plates and letterpress print them. One of my favorite parts of designing new products is choosing the paper and envelope colors for each design. Once the card is finished, matched with an envelope and packaged in a clear sleeve, it all feels very official!
Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our line is focused on universal truths and simple beauty. Our process is simple because our products are simple! I want the words to shine, and for nothing to distract from the emotional honesty. Whether it’s silliness, expressions of love, or being there for someone dealing with tragedy and grief, it’s the connections between people that are important. If words from my heart and pieces of paper that have been lovingly printed in shop make a difference in people’s relationships, I’m a success.

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

One of my favorite new skills with the Windmill is die cutting. I’d never tried it before, but I was emboldened after taking the Windmill Workshop at Flywheel Press, and now I love it! I’ve ordered a few dies for cutting and scoring our A7 and 4bar cards, and I’m totally hooked. I’m thinking in shapes all of a sudden. It’s fun to see how my thinking changes with new skills and equipment. It’s an encouragement to keep learning, keep growing, and being open to try new things.

This year I’ve been working on a large series of linoleum cuts that will launch as a product in May. I’ve enjoyed having a physical component that I can work on from home. The design for that series still started as a digital design, and was transferred by hand to the blocks with carbon paper. A new trick that Sam from my team introduced me to is using a heating pad to keep the linoleum blocks warm so they carve more smoothly. I put 3 or 4 small blocks under the pad and swap them out with they start cooling down. What have I been doing all this time without this trick!?

Behind the Stationery: Constellation & Co. / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photos by Meredith McKee.

Interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column? Email Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautiful paper [dot] com.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type

I’m beyond thrilled to bring y’all our next stationer, Allison from The Social Type! Allison and Jess have created some of my favorite foil pieces and matchboxes and they are a hoot to be around. The Social Type is a creative manifestation of their friendship and they have been at it since working separate day jobs and being long distance business partners. From working together on designs to adjusting to being a parent, Allison is here to take us through their stationery business story! –Megan

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Hello from sunny Los Angeles! I’m Allison Brennan, co-founder of The Social Type. Jessica Tree and I are thrilled to be featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper, our go-to for all things paper related! Jessica and I founded The Social Type in 2009. We were already good friends and decided we wanted to do something creative together. Both eager to be our own bosses and business partners, we were excited by the idea of creating cards and products that we loved and wanted to buy. I had previously worked as a buyer for Jonathan Wright and Company and Minted.com. I was immersed in the stationery and gift industry, and there was no place I’d rather be. I had a desire to launch a wholesale line and Jessica was on board.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We really kicked things off in 2010 when we launched our mini-collection of letterpress and foil greeting cards at the Renegade Craft Fair in LA. Urbanic, in Venice, CA was our very first store. We dropped off some samples for Audrey right after Renegade and I think she purchased the entire line for her boutique. We were thrilled; that gave us the boost of confidence to keep going and grow our line further. Over the next year, we figured out how to fund a collection that was big enough to show at the National Stationery Show. Our first show in 2012 was a great success and this May 2016 will mark our fifth NSS. We are always excited to travel to New York City to be part of such an amazing show.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Social Type is a paper goods and gift company; we sell wholesale to boutiques and stores across the United States, Canada, and beyond. We also have a retail site where customers can purchase directly. We outsource all of our printing and most of our manufacturing primarily in the United States, and we ship all of our products from Los Angeles.

We are really crazy about foil printing. When we were conceptualizing our first collection, foil wasn’t a prominent printing method in the stationery industry. We love letterpress but knew we wanted our cards to have a little more sparkle, and foil was the perfect detail. It was a bit of a risk because the trend hadn’t taken off yet, but we were confident that it would catch on. Everything we print today, from cards to matchboxes, all involve some sort of foil printing. We haven’t met a foil we didn’t like. Right now we are mad for hologram; we really can’t get enough of it.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our studio is in Echo Park, Los Angeles, which is just a short jaunt from hip Silver Lake and booming Downtown. Jessica and I love LA, and it suits us both quite well. We are two midwestern transplants that can’t get enough sunny skies. Some days we head to the Echo Park Boathouse for lunch meetings to enjoy the lake or we’ll have a happy hour brainstorming session at L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake. Our surrounding neighborhoods serve as constant inspiration as they are home to many artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives like us. Los Angeles is such an exciting place to grow our company; we have lots of good friends that have their own companies here, too. We are lucky to have such a great support group.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our studio has a lot of natural light and great outdoor space, and we take our meetings in the courtyard whenever possible. About a quarter of the studio is dedicated to our own offices and the rest of the studio is comprised of fulfillment space and inventory, though the inventory is really taking over. We moved to the studio in August 2014 and are already outgrowing it. We are currently looking for space in the area where we might one day be able to have a retail shop, which is a dream of mine, as well as our warehouse and design studio.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our work day typically starts around 9-9:30 for the team. I usually sneak in at about 10 so I can spend a few morning hours with my daughter (and I’m grateful to have a partner who allows me to do so). Monday mornings we have a team meeting to discuss projects and schedules for the week ahead. Jess and I usually meet on our own and split up tasks for the week. Jess often focuses on design, deliverables for our licensing partners, and answering inquiries we receive through our website. I focus on some design, sourcing, and general operations. Our awesome fulfillment team handles everything else from order processing and packing to rep correspondence, processing payments, and shipping wholesale and web orders. From time to time, we bring in extra fulfillment help during busier seasons and for large key account orders.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Jess and I concept and design together. When I get stuck on an initial idea or design, I pass it off to Jess and she figures out what to do with it, and vice versa. We have worked that way since the very beginning, even when we were in different cities. Occasionally we license art from other artists too, and we really appreciate those partnerships.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Once a design is ready to be manufactured, I usually prep the design files to send to our printer and Jess will create or update our catalog and sell sheets for our reps and stores. Our products often go through several rounds of proofing before we sign off on them. Once we receive inventory at our studio, our accounts coordinator and fulfillment team handle the rest. They stock product, sleeve and label cards, pull and pack orders, and ship samples to our reps. Our team is small but growing, and that means we all wear a lot of hats – it’s a group effort. We work hard, but like to have a good time. It’s not unusual to find us blasting music, dancing about the studio, or cracking jokes.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

About a year and a half ago we started designing die cut cards and they’ve been really successful. We have fun designing them, too. Expect to see more die cuts, lots of hologram foil, and new matchboxes in May at NSS. We have some other goodies planned for 2016, including a line of candles and other party and gift items. Our biggest release comes in May of each year when we show off new product at NSS. We have two other smaller releases in early Fall and mid-Winter, though this year we will have a more sizable release in August since we will have our first solo booth at NY NOW. We love owning and operating our own business, but it’s not always cut and dry. As we grow, we occasionally run into obstacles but try to learn from our mistakes, which makes our partnerships and business stronger.

Behind the Stationery: The Social Type / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Thanks to Nole and Megan for letting us share a little glimpse of our company with you. We love what we do and are very fortunate to be part of an amazing network of talented businesses and individuals. We look forward to expanding our business this year and sharing new products with you. Don’t be a stranger, please keep in touch!

Photos by Stephanie Todaro

Interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to me at Megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com.

Behind the Stationery: E. Frances Paper

In honor of family, these three sweet ladies started the beloved E. Frances Paper. Sharing their beginnings story and how they collectively create as a team and family, Ali, Jenni, and Pippi are here to divulge their experiences with us on this installment of Behind the Stationery! –Megan

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

E. Frances Paper! It’s still fun just writing it, this real dream come true to work every day and run a business with your sisters. Well, we are technically two sisters and a cousin, but we’ve been so close the term “sisters” has always seemed more appropriate. (We carried our little Pip for so long her parents had legit concerns about her learning to walk.) We’re sure it’s a common feeling among those who have also started their own businesses… some days you have to give a little pinch to remind yourself you’re not just playing office… it’s all real!

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

It was never a stretch for Ali, our Creative Director, to enter the world of stationery. As far as we can remember, no piece of paper was safe from her grip. Our childhood soundtrack was one of scissors, tape and the crinkle of paper. We’ve seen entire boxes of tissues turn into parades, rolls of tape into paper fashion shows. Our parents have graciously lived through decades of homemade everything, especially cards. She grew into the world of fashion illustration, graphic design, and eventually her own design business, but we have always tried to think of the best way to exploit her talents. Eventually, it seemed cards were the perfect fit for her artwork and illustrations. A weekend in LA for Katie Hunt’s Paper Camp, and an early mentorship from Carina Murray (Queen of Crow & Canary) opened the door to the industry through which she skipped forward and never looked back.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Our factory is currently located in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s hilarious to look back on our past offices: from Ali’s guest room (“Dad, seriously just walk between Holiday and Birthday, the bed is in there on the left”), to an attic, to a basement, and we’ll never forget the storage unit where the lights went out every 90 seconds. The building we’re in now is an old Bubble Gum Factory built in 1912 which we love, because it was also run by women! We are happy to carry on the girl boss tradition. The gum produced was sent to soldiers during during WWI. It’s cool to be an all-women team in the same factory space. They did gum wrappers; we do cello sleeves. It’s basically the same thing.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

E. Frances is named for our Grandmothers, Elizabeth and Frances, who must be looking down on us and sending us the gifts from heaven that are our employees. We currently have three full time employees and two to three part-time stuffers we call the Pit Crew. To trust your entire company to girls you actually want to be around every day is a gift. Also, it’s a special atmosphere to work with all girls! Aside from when our favorite UPS guy Joe comes in each day, it’s a free atmosphere to discuss facial hair, coconut oil for everything, and wayward toddlers. The stationery industry in general is one that builds each other up. We’ve been grateful to find how open and helpful other stationers have been, both with advice and support. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

It definitely takes all three of us to come up with our product ideas. We always say we each have a third of a brain and it only works when we put them all together. The artistic third is Ali, amazing combo of brilliant artist and wicked paper dork. We try to balance our designs between beautiful and sweet and happy. We want our products to always feel positive. It seems easy to veer off in new directions, so to stay true to E. Frances, every product has to pass a little test we’ve created in order for us to print it. Sometimes it’s tempting to do something we think will sell well, but if all three of us don’t want to buy it ourselves, it gets the boot.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Ali does all the artwork in large, hand-painted watercolors, then scans them in to add text and get print ready. Everything is offset printed and foil stamped. Years ago when we started we were told that ‘watercolor’ has an old-fashioned connotation, but we believed in Ali’s modern, washy look. Today we see a lot of gorgeous watercolors out there, which is awesome. It’s not just a cliché – believe in yourself.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Along with our signature watercolor washes, we have our unique illustrated pieces. Pip and Jenni love coming up with new ideas and sending them to Ali. “Can you just draw a chicken who’s nervous, maybe a little shady, but cute and perfectly chubs?”

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

A typical day is…Ha! Nonexistent! Our days are constantly changing and in motion. Most days are spent fulfilling orders, packaging raw goods, organizing inventory, and lately, planning for the National Stationery Show this May (Should we change hotels this year in order to be closer to Whole Foods?). Aside from the painting, Ali is busy re-designing our website, sourcing everything, trying to be clever for social media, and keeping the wheels of new design ideas spinning. Pippi, with her insane talent of being able to do 21 things at once, manages the daily office, works with the bookkeeper, and usually has her leg up doing a barre exercise all while constantly on the phone with customers and reps. Jenni is presently on maternity leave so she spends most of her time ‘doing milkins,’ as her three-year-old would say. And the whole office runs on jelly beans.

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

There seem to be lessons and struggles on almost a daily basis. How many cards to order? How will we know which ones will sell better than others? Which of the kabillion shelves from Uline do we choose? Do we seriously need to actually count physical inventory again? What is girth? It’s a constant potpourri of unknowns and a lot of (we hope educated) guessing. But we’ve learned that guessing is an intrinsic part of it. Sometimes we’re very wrong, but you have to go for it. There has also been a lot of learning, and then then more learning on top of that! Balance sheets and budgets and bonus structures, oh my! We have made a lot of mistakes along the way but it turns out our moms were always right: You learn the most from the mistakes. There has definitely been a learning curve but we have truly enjoyed all of it. Ok… most of it. 🙂

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We want to grow bigger and bigger. We want to own a forklift one day and laugh at how excited we were when we bought a dolly and cheered we’ve made it! It’s a very challenging and fun dream to be living. We are grateful to be doing what we do – working hard alongside one another and our amazing crew, having our products in stores across the country and overseas, making new friends in the industry, and learning how to run a real business and say, “Whaaaattt?! We built that!”

Behind the Stationery: E.Frances Paper / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Thanks to Nole and Megan for letting us wax on about our sweet little company. We’d love to stay in touch with you through Instagram!

xo Ali, Jenni & Pippi

Photos by Maaike Bernstrom.

Interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery feature? Shoot me an email at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress

It’s a true honor to feature printmaker, designer, entrepreneur, business owner, and true craftsman Brady Vest of Hammerpress in our latest installment of Behind the Stationery. Today Brady takes us behind the scenes, talking about his staff, daily business, and how he started the company before the internet took over. –Megan

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I started Hammerpress in 1994 while studying printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute. The school had two letterpresses and some type that no one really used. I started working with friends on collaborative projects – mostly posters for local bands, record covers, etc. Once I graduated, I had no letterpress equipment to continue the work, so I began looking for presses and type. This was pre-internet and sources like Briar Press were non-existent. You would basically just walk into print shops and ask if they had any old equipment to sell. I lucked out when I was visiting my hometown of Oklahoma City and wound up scoring a bunch of type and other equipment. Then I got a studio space, and it was basically a word of mouth business. Again, pre-internet and pre-website for your business.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful PaperBehind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

In those first years we printed job work for designers around town, making custom wedding invitations & business cards. From there it just kind of slowly grew and morphed into what it is today. The big jump happened in about 2004 or so, with the help of a couple of good people, we decided to go to the National Stationery Show in New York. I think once we entered that world, Hammerpress really started to develop into more of a business. We now have over 300 products in our wholesale line, mostly greeting cards, but also prints, notebooks, postcards, gift tags & calendars. We have an amazing network of reps selling our product on the road, in their showrooms, and at trade shows, and we couldn’t do it without them.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We still continue to design and print work aside from the stationery line. Our custom work includes wedding invitations, business cards, restaurant menus, coasters, posters, and logo design. And we have our storefront, which is an important part of our local identity in Kansas City.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful PaperBehind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Hammerpress print shop, design studio & retail space exists in a 1950s building in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City, Missouri. We moved to this space in January 2015 after 7 years in our previous location. But Hammerpress has operated out of the Crossroads district since ’95 when it wasn’t more than auto shops and a few art galleries. The Crossroads now hosts a great mix of restaurants, lofts, galleries, bars, retail shops, alongside the glorious Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper / PHOTO BY LANCE FLORES

Photo by Lance FloresBehind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful PaperOur work - postcards in the shop

Our new building was vacant before – basically a giant open space with no walls and in need of a lot of attention when we moved in. With the help of some very talented friends and a lot of staring into space in an empty building, we turned it into a really wonderful studio space. The building’s architecture is characterized by a mix of mid-century modern and industrial manufacturing.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful PaperPressroom - preparing photo polymer plate for You Are My Sunshine card

On a typical day, a few people start work at 9 am, and few at 10 am. We like to keep a flexible schedule that accommodates different people’s needs. The press room is usually buzzing by time our storefront opens. You can see through to the shop from the storefront and get a glimpse behind the scenes. Our inventory and fulfillment department is located just behind the front counter. And the office is just beyond that. Currently the designers here at the shop are myself and Jenn Rogers. Britta Rice handles all of our wholesale business, working directly with our retailers, reps, and distributors. Ben Jones and Kate Morgan make up our production team. Debbie Swan and Olivia Tedford take care of order fulfillment and donation requests, and Elise Sanders manages our storefront.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Everything we make here is letterpress printed on recycled-content paper. The majority of our projects are printed on our three Heidelberg windmills. For more particular jobs, we utilize the automated Kluge press, or the two hand-fed Chandler & Price platen presses. And all art prints and posters are produced on our two Vandercook Universal I cylinder presses.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper / PHOTO BY LANCE FLORESPhoto by Lance Flores

With letterpress printing, you’re making a connection with all of the people who designed those machines, all of the people who built them, and all the people who made their living printing on them. And it’s a lovely reminder that there will always be a need for tangible things made by people.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper / PHOTO BY LANCE FLORESPhoto by Lance Flores

Our goal is to continue to make quality letterpress work that has a connection to the roots of letterpress printing, as well as the roots of Hammerpress. I began the company on my own and, whether by accident or by design, established a look and feel that is recognized as Hammerpress work. We strive to keep that connection to both histories while continuing to change and develop fresh ideas and new directions offered by others within the Hammerpress team.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We draw inspiration from so many sources that it’s hard to be specific. Each of us look at many different things – old sign painting, postage stamps, matchbooks, textiles, Russian posters, Cuban posters, Vaughn Oliver, Peter Seville, Bruce Licher, folk art, old science books, record covers, fashion, ceramics, etc.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Each product usually starts out as sketches or doodles with some loose ideas regarding color, etc. The design process can really vary depending on the type of project. There are some projects that I work on completely solo, without a lot of interaction or involvement from others. But for our stationery products, it’s a few of us collaborating throughout the design process. When we’re developing product for a new release, we meet twice a week for product planning and group critique.

Behind the Stationery: Hammerpress / Oh So Beautiful Paper

After all of these years, I think the most important thing about letterpress printing is the connection to the machine and your hands. As the business has changed over the past 20 years, the connection to the machine always seems to stay the same. We are choosing to take an old and obsolete form of printing and strive to make a living doing it. By this, we are paying an homage to an era of the past.

All photos courtesy of Hammerpress, except where noted.

If you’re interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column, contact Megan at megan[at]ohsobeautifulpaper.com!

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday

This installment of Behind the Stationery features a stationer who creates some of the most beautiful acrylic and gouache work I’ve seen. Patricia at Our Heiday is a talented artist who left the world of law to grow a stationery company in LA. This sister act has found great ways to break out responsibilities and grow the team. I’m so excited to have them here! Take it away, Patricia. –Megan

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Hello, friends! Patricia here, founder and creative director at Our Heiday. We’re so excited to give you a little peek into what goes on behind the scenes at our studio in downtown Los Angeles. I started this company in June 2014 after leaving two years of law school at UCLA. A lifetime of reading contracts or writing legal briefs was not a commitment I was willing to make and so pivot I did! Our Heiday is named after my mom and her four sisters who fostered so much of my creativity growing up. I’m a self-taught artist who draws so much inspiration for my family’s endless repertoire of painting, graphic design, dance, and film. My sister and I were given drawing pads before we could even write properly and working with our hands was part of the daily.

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

I spent about 9 months prior to starting Our Heiday refining the first release and because my mom had run a robust wholesale business my entire life, I knew that was the direction I wanted to take the company. When the website launched, I expected nothing more than to grow organically, one shop at a time, one order at a time. After months of running solo (read: living room was a warehouse, dining table a worktable, floors a packaging station), our “Ooh Those Baby Toes” card was picked up by Anthropologie in March 2015 and this gave me so much momentum heading into the National Stationery Show that year.

So much changed after May 2015 – we had an incredible experience debuting at NSS and after running the booth with me, my sister, Donna, also left her career in teaching to join Our Heiday full time. Working with family, let alone your best friend, has been the most amazing shift!

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

We moved into a separate studio space (my husband is still singing praises) immediately after we returned from New York and hired two more employees so that I could focus solely on the creative side. These big moments have shaped so much of how efficient and effective we’re able to be day-to-day. Prior to having a team, I was shouldering all of the daily responsibilities of running a creative business and being able to delegate was one of the best things that happened after the show. Amber and Megan head up packaging and production, making sure that all of our orders are fulfilled quickly and carefully. Donna handles all of our operations, accounts, customer service, and communications so that no one slips through the cracks. We wouldn’t be here without our customers and it’s so important to us that every one of them feels invested in Our Heiday.

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Details, details, we love them. From the branding stamps on our shipping boxes to the labels on our wrapping paper, each element is meticulously thought through before we send our products.

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Every week, we have a team meeting so that everyone is contributing to the conversations about new product releases, systems that need improving, projects with upcoming deadlines. Donna lives in New York currently and joins us remotely unless she’s in town visiting. This will change when she’s back in LA this August!

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Having a team means I can focus most of my time on creative and high level growth. I spend my days painting and lettering new work and making sure that we’re always coming back to the core vision of the company. I’m so grateful that my hands have been freed to do what they’re best at; it’s been the ultimate blessing. We currently offer cards, art prints, gift wrap, phone cases and table decor items, but my goal has always been to become a lifestyle brand, offering a wide-spanning range of products that elevate the everyday. We’ll be showcasing a new line of desk products full of fresh patterns and a calendar for 2017, which was so fun to put together. Sneak peek below!

Behind the Stationery: Our Heiday / Photo Credit: Lily Glass Photography / Oh So Beautiful Paper

Thanks so much for joining along today! You can shop all of our products including the newest release on our website at ourheiday.com and follow along with us on instagram, facebook, and twitter at @ourheiday.

Photos by Lily Glass.

If you’re interested in participating in the Behind the Stationery column, contact Megan at megan[at]ohsobeautifulpaper.com!