Behind the Stationery: redcruiser

I fell in love with Heidi’s yoga calendar and cocktail greeting cards at the National Stationery Show this year, so I’m really excited to feature redcruiser‘s behind the stationery story today on the blog! Heidi shares how a blog feature jumpstarted her stationery shop, what measures she’s taken to maintain a balanced life, and what inspires her most in Minneapolis.  —Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

Before I started redcruiser I was a full-time graphic designer. For over 10 years I worked at a variety of different design firms and companies, including Starbucks Design Group in Seattle and Little (design firm) in Minneapolis. Both Starbucks and Little were great places for me to explore my illustration and introduce them into many design concepts. While I loved working in a team based environment and as I was nearing the due date of my second child, I was beginning to realize I couldn’t do it all…and do a good job of it all – something had to give, so I decided to leave full-time work to be home with my little girls.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

While at home I had a lot more time to do the things I love – cooking, gardening, and drawing in my sketchbook. Before long I had filled a sketchbook with drawings from my garden with no real intention – but I really liked the feel of that sketchbook so I turned a lot of those sketches into illustrations and made a few calendars, art prints and greeting cards and started a little Etsy shop.

I sent an email to a design blog I read daily called design*sponge with photos of my garden calendar (of which I had 10 made). My calendar was posted on design*sponge the next day and my Etsy store had hundreds of orders, and that really began my transition into stationery. I’ve continued to approach stationery in this same organic way – I draw things I am interested in which keeps it authentic and fun for me.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

I still do a lot of freelance design and illustration so I’m able to be flexible on what I am working on and it keeps things fresh and new. My work days are so different each day, which is what I love the most about this career I have created — every day is different. It can be a little chaotic sometimes but usually I try to start the week off by planning out my schedule looking at different due dates for the week and planning around those using my weekly planner.
Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

Once I have a loose plan in place for the week, I really try to stick to my list and work through the various tasks or projects. From November until end of December, I am busy packing and unpacking for different maker or farmers markets as well as filling online and wholesale orders. From January to March, I try to devote the majority of my time to concepting and illustrating next years’ collection. Last May, I exhibited at the National Stationery Show with the help of my husband so there was a lot of preparation for that.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

The past two years we have exhibited at the NY NOW show in August so the amount of work in the spring and summer months usually depends on what trade show we are doing. I try to exhibit at a few farmers markets in the summer as well — Mill City Farmers Market is a great little market downtown that I love to do.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

I love being able to be home with my kids in the summer. This past summer I moved my studio back into our newly renovated basement of our Golden Valley home. I had a studio a few miles away for the past few years but found that I was slowly slipping back into that feeling of having too many things going on and not being able to do a good job at all of it. Making sure I reevaluate and make good choices in how, where, and when I work has been one of the most important things I do running this business.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

At this point in my life I like keeping it small (mainly it’s just me), but sometimes I collaborate with other designers and design firms or hire my brother, husband or friends to help me out with packaging. I use a great local book keeper to help with the business end of things — delegating the parts of the business that are not my strong suit is a great way to keep things running efficiently!

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser
Since I spend a lot of time by myself, I love to get out to farmers and maker markets in the city. It is so great to talk with my customers and make personal connections with them. Minneapolis has a really great maker community — there are so many talented, friendly and supportive people making some really great things here! It is so fun to connect with them at all these different shows and markets and talk about this unique kind of business we do.
Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser
I try to be really thoughtful about the products I create. I don’t want to just be making stuff to make stuff. I try to create products that aren’t out there and, most importantly, products that I would use in my life. All of our paper products are printed locally on 100% PCW recycled paper and are assembled by hand in my MN studio. Whenever possible, organic materials are sourced and we use a minimal amount of packaging for shipping.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

My design process always starts out with a sketchbook and pen. I love spending time in my sketchbook and drawing things that are a part of my life. I love to travel throughout the year and be out in nature to get some fresh perspective. A trip to California always brings so much inspiration! My family and I usually try to spend a few weekends camping or renting cabins in the summer in northern Minnesota as well. The North Shore and Burntside Lake in Ely, MN are my top picks. I also find inspiration doing things I enjoy, like cooking, gardening and entertaining. After I’ve given myself some freedom to explore I usually look for connections in my sketchbook and begin narrowing down my ideas into a few collections.

Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

I use a lot of different materials when creating my illustrations – paint, ink, pencils, charcoal and lots of different textures. Then, I scan everything in and finish up my illustrations digitally. Once I have some ideas solidified I like to show them to my husband (he’s also a graphic designer) and friends to get an idea of what they think — a kind of very loose focus group. After I have decided on designs, I start working with some great local printers I have developed relationships with. It has been really helpful to have these relationships; it’s great to work with a printer who can print samples, do small runs or large runs without having any difference in the quality.
Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser

I create a new catalog only once a year — it just has to do with my personal goals and what is the right amount of work for me right now. It’s really easy to get caught up with thinking there is a right way to run a stationery company with all the information we have with social media, but really there are so many ways to work in this creative field it’s all about finding the balance that is right for you!
Behind the Stationery: Redcruiser
All photos courtesy of redcruiser.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday everyone! Normally I do these link round ups on Fridays, but we had an assembly at my girls’ school and the day got away from me. So I thought I’d save it for Monday instead! Did you have a good weekend? We got our first little snowfall on Saturday afternoon, and my girls were in HEAVEN. There’s a chance we might get a bit more later this week – fingers crossed! But in the meantime…

Yellow and Pink Poinsettia / Oh So Beautiful Paper

…a few links for your Monday!

This California ranch is home to over 500 animals, and they just lost their entire ranch to the fires in the area. All the animals and people made it out safely, but you can support their recovery and rebuilding effort here

Baby2Baby has also organized an Amazon registry so you can help by purchasing items for families that lost everything in the fires.

This DIY “gingerbread” house idea is absolutely genius

My dream winter coat! It’s pink! There are ruffles on the sleeves! Be still my heart.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018. What are your thoughts?

Can’t stop watching this hilarious video

This dress would be so pretty for New Year’s Eve

Did you catch my little DIY advent calendar on Instagram? All you need is some watercolor paper, paint, and a star craft punch or a pair of scissors!

YOU GUYS. Have you seen this rainbow Christmas tree??? It’s incredible!

MAKE: Creamy sweet potato agnolotti


Last week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

New illustrated wallpapers for December!

Vintage-inspired dusty blue wedding invitations

Sweet and simple calligraphy baby announcements by Bourne Paper Co. and Anne Robin!

Winter wedding stationery ideas

Beautiful envelope inspiration

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Guess what?? If you’re in the DC area, we’re doing a special pop up with our friends Brief Assembly this Saturday from 2-5 pm! We’ll have some of our Liquorary vintage glassware and barware for sale, and I’ll even be there with some of our #OSBPxMonVoir art prints! Plus, we’ll have some brand new (!!) curated cocktail kits with our favorite syrups and bitters! (they make excellent holiday gifts, just FYI 😉) It would be so fun to meet you in person, and you can knock all of your holiday shopping out in one spot! If you can’t make the pop up in person, you can grab your own art print right here and our curated cocktail kits right here, but I really hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area! Details are below – see you there! But in the meantime…

OSBP x Liquorary x Brief Assembly Pop-Up!

…a few links for your weekend!

Loving this sweater – especially in pale lavender and that deep teal green!

Great ideas for using paper flowers in your wedding

I’m totally doing this next year: DIY ornament advent calendar

A geology birthday party! SUCH a great idea!

An historical way of looking at trickle-down economics

Attacks on hospitals led to the Geneva Conventions 153 years ago. It is the original war crime. Since 2011, the Syrian regime has conducted more than 450 attacks on Syrian hospitals, including NICUs, nurseries, and emergency medicine.


This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Gift Guides! We’ve done four gift guides so far: Home + Style Gift Ideas, Gift Guide for Creatives, Gift Ideas for Kids, and Cocktail + Entertaining Gifts. 

Gorgeous and classic ocean-inspired wedding invitations

Navy and gold foil agate-inspired wedding invitations

Behind the Stationery with bi-coastal stationery duo Anne + Kate

A thank you card round up to help prepare for post-holiday thank you cards!


That’s it for me this week! I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Last weekend, I hosted Jenna of Mon Voir at Common Room Studio to celebrate her new book, Everyday Watercolor. We had 60 people at the studio over Saturday and Sunday, and it felt so great to finally share the space with people! If you’re in the DC area, we have two really exciting workshops coming up over the next few weeks: an ornament painting workshop with Talia of The White Hearth on Small Business Saturday, and a holiday table styling workshop with Wld Wst on December 16 that we’re calling Architecture of a Table. I’m so excited for both workshops – they’re going to be so fun! But in the meantime…

Black Lamb Studio / Plant Lady

Illustration by Black Lamb Studio via #dailydoseofpaper

…a few links for your weekend!

The world’s most perfect pink coat (and it’s only $160!)

Thinking about giving this DIY holiday greenery chandelier a try

Sign up for the Antiquaria holiday card exchange!

Gimme this rainbow stripe sequin skirt

Still trying to wrap my head around this proposed idea for countering global warming

I may have completely lost my mind, but I really want these glitter duck boots for winter

MAKE: Breakfast pot pies (yum!)


This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Loving these quirky camp-theme wedding invitations

How to find the perfect vintage rug for your space

We rounded up some favorite Thanksgiving cards

Gorgeous calligraphy from Pink + Peach

Looking for some fall cocktail inspiration? Try the Jägerita!


That’s it for me this week! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Behind the Stationery: Fox and Fallow

Today we’re taking you all the way to Australia to meet Janet from Fox and Fallow! Her bright designs and style reflect her surroundings in Brisbane. Janet shares her schedule for creating new product collections, how she brings each new product to life from design through production, and how her team helps to get it all done and shipped out each day. Take it away, Janet! —Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

From Janet: My background is in graphic design and art direction but after spending 10 years in design studios and advertising I felt like I needed a bit of a change. I really wanted to build my own brand after so many years of building other people’s brands. I fell in love with weddings after designing our own wedding stationery and signs and in 2013 we began creating wedding stationery and signs for couples as a side project. After about a year and a half I really wanted to reach a wider audience and create products of my own. So in 2015 we jumped right into the deep end and we launched our brand at the National Stationery Show in New York in 2015 and haven’t looked back!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We’re located in sunny Brisbane, Australia. It’s a fabulous city, the people are laid back, the food and bars are great and we’ve got more sunshine than we can handle! Our style is bright, fun, intricate and we love foil, so most of our paper goods are offset printed and foil stamped. I like to design in collections, releasing 3-4 collections per year, each with a totally different theme and style. This keeps things fresh and interesting and allows us to keep evolving our style each year.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Our studio is part office, part warehouse. All the design work, invoicing etc. gets done in the office and orders and products are checked, assembled, packaged and shipped out of the warehouse.We make a wide range of paper goods including greeting cards, gift wrap, flat notes, gift tags, prints, journals, notebooks, notepads and calendars.

We also make clipboard packs which are a really fun gift item and we make the clipboards in house, which involves sourcing the wood from a local supplier, laser cutting and engraving them, sanding, riveting and shrink wrapping the whole pack together.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We take care of the design, quality checking, packaging and assembly but leave the printing to our local and offshore printers. We make most of our products locally in Brisbane or Sydney, but a few products we had to get manufactured offshore to make sure the price points work for our customers.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I usually start with a double espresso and an attempt to clean out my inbox (which rarely happens)! We’ll get any orders from the previous day and ones that have come in overnight to the team to pick and pack so they’re shipped out ASAP. We try to wrap this up by 2pm so they’re ready to be collected by our couriers. After the orders are done for the day the team often keeps working on quality checking, assembling and packaging products and anything else that needs doing before finishing up around 5pm. If we’ve got a big order to get out, it’s all hands on deck and we’ll do some pretty big hours to get it out in time, but it’s great we can be flexible and have our team take product home to package – which works great! No one wants to be working late in the office right?

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I’ll usually grab another coffee and get started on artwork, product sourcing, bill-paying and general day-to-day business things. Darrell and I are both night owls, so we usually work pretty late. I wish my days were filled with painting and making new products, but as I’m sure all creative business owners know, the creative part is a tiny sliver of the running-a-small-biz pie.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I start each collection with a bunch of random thoughts in a notepad file on the computer and on my phone, then I’ll scour Pinterest, Google or books for snippets to create a mood board. I like having the inspiration and colours for each collection all nutted out on a mood board so I can show Darrell and get his thoughts. Once we’re happy with the direction it’s a matter of more research, sketching, scanning, detailed ink sketches, painting, scanning, colouring and refining and deep-etching each element in Photoshop.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I like painting all artwork as separate components so I can change the colours easily in Photoshop and change the size if needed. If I’m working on custom typography I’ll usually start with sketches and then use a brush pen and ink before I scan each word and vectorize them in Illustrator. I composite all artwork in InDesign and send it off to print for the proofing stage. Once we’ve checked and approved the proofs we wait for the finished goods to arrive.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

This is the most fun part of what we do and it’s so rewarding when we see our retailers and customers loving our products. We love doing trade shows and pop up events as you really get to see people’s reactions to your products – it’s super valuable having that face-to-face contact. We love it when we meet people who are discovering us for the first time – it makes all the hard work so worthwhile!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

All photos by Fox & Fallow.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.