The Stationers Guild

Archive for 2014

Preserve Brands at International Gift Show

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

If you are planning to attend the International Gift Show at the Javits Center this week do make a point to visit Preserve Brands and say hello to Hank Beresin. Preserve Brands is located at Booth 7279 and I am sure that Hank would be delighted to introduce you to this exceptional new concept in paper products.

While both Sheila and I are a bit removed from the day-to-day happenings of the stationery industry, I still vividly recall the evolution of Preserve Brands which Hank introduced to last year. The company focuses on sustainable paper good products in an eye-catching way that is both fashionable and good for the environment.

Found below are a few quotes from a recent press release:

The product line includes “every day” and holiday gift packaging, wedding gifts and accessories, baby keepsake gifts, social stationery, writing journals, and a luxurious array of exquisite handmade papers. Preserve Brands’ product line includes exceptional keepsake products that can be used to celebrate special events or life milestones, as well as “PRESERVING” the memories that stem from them.

Preserve Brands products are sustainable paper goods, made from recycled virgin tee shirts, not trees. Our commitment to “Tees not Trees™” is heavily promoted to retailers and consumers and differentiates Preserve from some of the other fashionable, luxury products on the market today. All Preserve products are hand-made by artisans who practice the ancient art form of hand paper-making, a tradition the company intends to “PRESERVE.”

When we last saw Hank, the company was developing a fashionable line of papers, journals and some sensational boxes and wedding guest books.  We sold out of the boxes in a week and found that they are the ideal “enclosure” or “gift basket” for wedding photos or wedding favors.  I see that their new holiday papers strike just the right balance in joyful color and elegance and are sure to be a big hit this year with retailers and consumers alike.

While I wish the company would adopt a more memorable brand name, Preserve Brands is certainly a must stop for those that are looking for something truly original and eco-friendly as you seek inspiration for the holidays.

Tell Hank hello.

Richard W. May
Founding Member Stationers Guild

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Lallie and Stationery Fine Press at the NSS

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

First of all, I would like to thank all the great printing companies and designers for making the investment in time and money to raise their flag at the National Stationery Show (“NSS”).    It is a worthy and noble effort and encourages me – and hopefully many other stationers – to stand up and rejoice that “good taste” and “etiquette” will survive yet another year.   Also, kudos to the organizers of the NSS for making this great event possible.

For those independent stationers visiting the Javits Center, make sure you make a point of dropping into every vendor booth and thank them for attending.  As Sheila is often prone to say (at least in my case), “you will live much longer by spreading ‘peace and joy,’ rather than having suicidal thoughts while on yet another interminable hold for customer service.”   She is probably right, but it is often hard to do.

We just received a missive from Lallie and Stationery Fine Press – quoted in its entirely below – that the 2014 Lallie Holiday Album is ready to ship and other good news.  We are thrilled that Stationery Fine Press has “gone the extra mile” to preserve this iconic brand of fine stationery and invitations.  So if you have a chance, make sure you visit them at Booth 2655

QUOTE

We have exciting news about Lallie for you!
We are thrilled to be launching the first Lallie collection since Lallie arrived at Stationery Works!  The opportunity to continue the Lallie legacy in its new home at Stationery Works delights everyone here, and we hope you as well!
LOTS of news for you!
First, Lallie Holiday 2014 is ready to order!!!  The Gallery is attached as a PDF to this email for your review and enjoyment.  Forty-seven whimsical and beautiful holiday suites will be included in the new collection. Come see this new collection for yourself at the National Stationery Show – Stationery Works will be in Booth 2655.  We are excited to see you!
Not coming to show?  You can preorder by sending me an email to place your order!  As our thanks to you, our current Lallie dealers are being offered this collection for a special discounted price of $250.  We will ship the albums by June 30 in a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED order, so email or call today to beat the Stationery Show crowds!
Next, since Lallie is now a part of the Stationery Works family of printed collections, I am delighted to share with you some of the perks of being a family member!  You can look forward to:
-  pricing that is, on average for 100 pieces, about 15-20% less than prior card pricing.  Some cards are a bit less, some a bit more, but overall, your clients will enjoy savings with their Lallie selections!
up to 3 complimentary proof sets with each order, sent to you within 1 business day of us receiving your order or changes!
- our commitment to a quick turnaround for shipment of your approved Lallie orders – generally around 7 business days, although some orders may take a bit more if they are generously embellished.
- the option for Foil Stamping as another printing method!
- our stellar customer service!  We have a company-wide commitment to treating each order as if it were our very own.  You will enjoy this level of care with each of your orders, no matter how large or small.  We are proud of our work, and it shows!    :)
Coming up soon will be a Creative Library Resource which will be a “one-stop shop” for all your Lallie line options – paper and ink swatches, motifs, foil colors, etc., with which you can help your clients bring their vision to life!  This Creative Library will be necessary for each dealer to have – stay tuned for details!
Also coming to you will be a Pricing Summary with which you can easily price your own stationery selections.  No more need for quoting if you change a card from how it’s shown in the album!!  You’ll be able to knowledgeably share pricing with your clients as they are customizing their cards, working within their design options and budgets.
Many of you have expressed interest in becoming a dealer for Designers’ Fine Press, our letterpress album line.  We are debuting two new Wedding albums - The Felicity Collection (Wedding 6) that features beautiful letterpress and foil designs, and The Classic Collection (Wedding 7) that showcases gorgeous traditional wedding suites in Thermography, Letterpress and/or foil.  You can view these two new collections at http://www.designersfinepress.com/wedding6.php (Felicity) andhttp://www.designersfinepress.com/wedding7.php (Classic), and if you’re interested in carrying our line, let me know!  We would be delighted to serve you through Designers’ Fine Press as well as Lallie!
FINALLY, attached to this email is also the . . . . drum roll please . . . . Lallie 2015 Calendar Preorder Form!  Fill this out and give it to us at Show or fax it in to 513-831-0103 by JUNE 30 to place your Calendar order!  We anticipate them beginning to ship in late September!
Heartfelt thanks to all of you for welcoming us into the world of Lallie!!!
Sincerely,
Becky
Stationery Works
Home of Designers’ Fine Press and Lallie
513.831.0523 ring, 513.831.0103 fax
www.stationeryworks.com
Visit our booth at the National Stationery Show in NYC!
Booth 2655
May 18-21, 2014

We look forward to seeing you!
UNQUOTE
Our best to All!
Sheila and Richard May
Founding Members of the Stationers Guild

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National Stationery Show Turns a Corner

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Sheila and I are certainly looking forward to the National Stationery Show (“NSS”) this year and so should you.    Some of the heavy-hitters of previous years have decided to give the NSS a pass as they pursue business strategies that only time-and-motion enthusiasts find exciting.  Only time will tell if the “best and the brightest” can successfully navigate through their self-made maze of mediocrity and discover that there is a “real” world not shaped by Excel spreadsheets and endless  mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations.

While the masters-of-the-universe are still trying to establish a “new world order” of the stationery industry, many talented designers are busily revamping their operations to provide their clients with fresh new designs and printing options that dazzle.    For instance, Real Card Studio and Studio R are now adding engraving and digital printing options to their already stunning letterpress inspirations.    What a welcome relief!     We will certainly be queuing up to see these new albums at NSS.

Also, under the able leadership of Paul Wainman, Kleinfeld will be introducing their latest wedding invitation designs.   We were fortunate enough to get a sneak preview on some of  Kleinfeld’s wedding invitation samples and were certainly impressed.  Furthermore,  turnaround estimates are certainly far more reasonable than current industry standards.

Both Sheila and I are looking forward to seeing the new designs in invitations and stationery and hope that we will see  many fellow stationers at the show.  Looking forward to seeing you at the National Stationery Show.

Sheila and Richard May
Members Stationers Guild

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Therese Saint Clair is Sold

Saturday, March 29th, 2014


It is with mixed emotions that I report that Therese Saint Clair has been sold to Mr. Charles Hon. The sale was concluded on Friday, March 28th and we wish Mr. Hon every success in his new enterprise.

Both Sheila and I have taken great pride in owning Saint Clair for the past twelve years and – as most experienced stationers are aware – to share in the milestone events of our loyal and passionate clients. Quite frankly, there are few businesses which can replicate the intimacy and exhilaration of sharing important events in people’s lives.

Equally important, has been the joy of getting to know fellow stationers across the country. We will always treasure those memories.

Sheila and I plan  to work with Mr. Hon through the Stationery Show and I will continue to write articles on subjects that interest me for the Stationers Guild. There are many changes occurring in the industry, but I continue to be impressed with the resiliency of demand for fine stationery and custom invitations.

Our very best to all of you,

Sheila and Richard May
former owners of Therese Saint Clair
Founding Members of the Stationers Guild

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PhonoPhobia and Real Artistry

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

I spend quite a bit of time on the Internet, but I hate using a cell phone.   Now this may seem a bit strange, but I can either praise or trash my Dad for this “phonophobia” (don’t think this is a word).  

The story goes something like this:   In the seventies (yes, the 1970s), I was standing with my Dad who was in the process of checking out at a grocery store.  The clerk at the register stopped what she was doing to answer a phone and within 5 seconds my Dad simply split and walked out of the store with me in tow.   All of the food items were left at the counter.

When I asked “Why?” my Dad simply responded “It is rude to answer a phone when you are engaged in a conversation with another human being.   What this person is telling me by their behavior is that I am an inconsequential person.  Why should I waste my time with that person.”   To this day, I vividly recall this conversation  and simply smile as I watch dozens of people daily respond to rings, buzzes and vibrations as they interact with digitized voices rather than “real” people. I suppose this is progress, but at what cost?

Moods and Appetite

Now, I work with many talented artists and designers but to a person, these artists would prefer to see the “real” thing rather some abstraction on the internet.  Mind you, their internet representations are beautiful, but what internet image can compare to a painting at the MOMA or a music score written by Mozart that can be found at the J.P. Morgan Library?   That real-life experience is “priceless” to borrow a slick advertising tagline, but one that most true artists embrace.

One of my favorite designers is Inguna Trepsa of AnteMeridiem Designs.   I subscribe to her delightful Blog – Moods and Appetites – when I need a bit of inspiration. While I am in awe of her talent as manifest by her great visual representations, her Blog inspires me to get away from my computer monitor and the TV and “smell the roses.”   If you want to know what is going on in the world of fashion and color (with the occasional great historical and cultural insight), I suggest you sign up for Inguna’s Blog.

Now, Dauphine Press is doing a great job raising the bar on elegant design.  As a stationer, I am delighted to see stationery and invitations of great beauty and I am thrilled that Dauphine is taking the extra step in demonstrating how fashionable letterpress invitations can be – even on the Internet.  Here is a recent example from their lovely Blog on the Volusia Wedding Invitation:

Dauphine Press Volusia Letterpress Wedding Invitation

As a retailer, I love to promote the lovely designs of our vendors. Most of us don’t have a lot of time to do so and, as such, it is a great relief to get quality images linking beautiful images and stationery to trending fashion designs. Thanks Dauphine for leading the way. If you are a stationer, I suggest you sign up now for Dauphine’s informative and colorful blog. The only thing better are “real” letterpress wedding invitation samples from the Albums.

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

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Thanks, but No Thanks Thankster

Friday, February 28th, 2014

With calligraphy no longer being taught in our public schools, it was only a matter of time before a company would emerge with technology to “simulate real handwriting.”   Let me introduce Thankster.com who recently sent us an email suggesting that we might “up-sell” their product to our “users.”

Thankfully, our “users” are actually friends and customers who can write their own thank you notes.  Mind you, many of them may still find it difficult to turn on their email spam filter to screen out tedious emails from companies similar to Thankster, but most are capable of writing a meaningful thank you note.

Here is Thankster’s sales pitch to fellow stationers:

Thankster.com has built technology to very accurately simulate real handwriting, and brides (among others) use it to write their thank you cards.  Rather than write out every card by hand, which is very tedious and time consuming, they type their messages online (can personalize each one) and we print on the cards you sell them. Users pay an extra fee which we share with you.  If you don’t sell thank you cards, you can sell ours and receive a large share of that revenue.

I realize that some people may need a helping hand in writing a personal note, since “texting” and “tweeting” are not exactly fertile training grounds for inspired note-writing.   But honestly, why should stationers encourage our clients to “dumb-down” with such an insipid service?

While I can’t speak for all stationers, I say “No thanks, Thankster.   If I have something electronic to share, I will do it on my Facebook Page.”

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

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Prentiss Douthit Still Smiling

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

While transferring my photo gallery from one “smart” phone to a “smarter” one, I came across this delightful photograph of Prentiss Douthit and moi that was taken at the National Stationery Show in 2011.

Make no mistake, Prentiss is one of the most gracious and talented designers in the stationery industry.  After working for a couple of years with William Arthur, the smiling face of Prentiss will again be on full display with his “Everyday Collection” in partnership with The Boatman Group.

I don’t know about you, but I do plan to spend a few minutes with Prentiss catching up on old times and taking a gander at his new collection. Hint: I understand from the “powers that be” that Prentiss is also working on a Holiday Collection, so stay tuned.

Welcome back Prentiss; and a special thanks to Jane and Greg Geller for bringing this talented designer back into the fold.

Sheila P. May
Therese Saint Clair

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Kleinfeld Paper Fills the Void

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Just before Thursday’s big snow “event” Sheila and I received a very kind visit from Paul Wainman of Kleinfeld Paper and Karla Cushman of Studio Cushman who is responsible for a great deal of Kleinfeld’s new designs.   Paul, the former President of William Arthur, is very well-known in the stationery industry and it is great to see him leverage Kleinfeld’s considerable clout in wedding fashion into creating fine wedding papers for brides.

I try to avoid brand comparisons, since most fine paper designers have their own distinctive styles.   While Kleinfeld’s designs are certainly fashionable, I feel that the span of their designs, printing options and price points can only be compared to the lovely papers produced by Encore.  In effect, Kleinfeld is responding to a deep vacuum that has not been properly filled since Encore closed its doors in September, 2011.   In fact, I suspect that this is one reason why many stationery stores have found Kleinfeld’s Wedding Collection so appealing.

Paul and Karla shared with us a collage of  their new wedding collection called “Timeless” which will be released this Spring.   Clearly, this new album features more traditional and classic designs which have stood the “test of time” (sorry about that!) and are most certain to create some buzz leading into May’s National Stationery Show.    Nevertheless, these  ”Timeless” designs are edgy without diminishing the importance of the occasion.    Both Sheila and I were truly excited to see something new and are on the short list for the new album.

One of the great benefits of working Kleinfeld Paper is its ability to think outside the box and work with leading stationers to create truly unique designs for bridal couples.   While many printing companies seem unable to function outside pre-designed templates, Kleinfeld’s printing and custom design specialists are more than willing to explore the full potential of fine paper and custom design.   This is certainly most reassuring.

In addition to letterpress, engraving, thermography and digital printing,  Kleinfeld also offers “raised print” which is a form of digital printing that simulates thermography, but without its many limitations.

If you are a stationery retailer and wish to learn more about this exciting brand, please visit Kleinfeld’s retail portal.

Sheila and Richard May
Therese Saint Clair

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014

As you know, the Stationers Guild is devoted to honoring traditions. What better way say “Happy Valentine’s Day” than with a trip to the Tower of London? The Brits have such a great sense of humor in promoting their city.
London Underground Advertisement
Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. I am quite sure that Anne Boleyn packed light!

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Greeting Cards: A Failure to Resonate?

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Several hours ago, I received this interesting note from a recent Guild reader:

QUOTE

Dear Stationers Guild:

Crane cards are for stuffed shirts.

Looking for exuberant cards for holidays and your blog goes on and on about Crane stationers who make truly boring formal holiday cards for stuffed shirts.

Constance Kay Inc. is a lot of fun, but I also want alternatives and I am very tired of having to purchase Papyrus Cards in emergency situations such as I am working in some god forsaken place with only – horrors – Hallmark around.

Perhaps your blog isn’t a total loss and I will find clues as to get other fun things such as diffraction grating wrapping papers.

Regards,

UNQUOTE

Firstly,  I appreciate any relevant feedback from a human being since most feedback comes from spammers in Eastern Europe.

Secondly, I agree that there is a tendency to think formal correspondence (referred to as “Crane cards”) is something for “stuffed suits.”  I don’t happen to share this opinion, but clearly written correspondence doesn’t seem to resonate with the vast majority of our socially mobile population.

Thirdly, I feel compelled to tell the kind reader that I wouldn’t hold out much hope about finding information about “diffraction grating wrapping papers” anytime soon on the Stationers Guild website. It is a subject that I take as seriously as “Romancing a Snow Shovel.”

But more to the point, I think I would like to spend the next few paragraphs to defend the importance of a handwritten note. “Defend” is probably not the right word, since I know of no one – stuffed shirt or not – who wouldn’t want to receive a handwritten note rather than a banal Tweet –  Tweety Bird included!

Now Crane stationery or a unique greeting card from Constance Kay may not be the reader’s thing, but quite frankly both are far superior to the rather pedestrian greeting cards and stationery you can find at retail establishments.

The issue is generally not the quality of the greeting card or stationery, but one’s willingness to make an effort to meaningfully “communicate” with another human being. To say that “formal correspondence card” is for “stuffed shirts,” is akin to saying that Twitter is for “illiterate teenagers.”  I suspect that either assumption is probably wrong.

Making an effort to exchange a handwritten note requires a level of personal commitment to a relationship that many people feel is not warranted in today’s digital world.  I, like others, feel strongly about the importance of the personal expression achieved in a handwritten note and plan to continue the time-honored tradition of exchanging an annual paper holiday card with distant friends.

If others feel the same, write on!

Happy Valentine’s Day (a lovely letterpress greeting card from Oblation)

Richard W. May
Founding Member of the Stationers Guild

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