The Stationers Guild

Archive for February, 2014

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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