Paper People Unite
Feel It, Show It, Express It: On Paper
The National Stationery Show Opened Sunday, May 17
The Javits Center in New York City is now teeming with paper people—designers, buyers, manufacturers, attendees, and exhibitors at National Stationery Show, May 17–20. It’s a design-driven annual event that attracts over 11,000 visitors. This year, two independent stationery companies will be there, one as an exhibitor, the second as first-time attendee, and both print on Neenah sheets. This is a peek behind the curtain, a glimpse of what makes these companies tick in a digital world, and how they stay relevant.
“This show is important to our industry. Greeting cards are now all about quality and design—which means a catalog or online shop cannot portray the true quality of the product. Buyers like to touch and feel the papers, see the colors in person, see how it’s packaged and, more than ever, they want to meet the designers.” — Abbey Fowler, owner/lead designer, 6.25 Paper Studio
6.25 Paper Studio
If you’re planning to be at National Stationery Show, stop by booth #1944 and say hello to Abbey Fowler. She’s the creative force behind 6.25 Paper Studio. “To send a card or note or any piece of mail these days is like sending a gift,” Fowler says. “We all crave interaction and communication, but we’re bogged down by emails, messages and social media. When you really want to make an impact, to really say Thank You or make a friend laugh—an email won’t do your sentiment justice compared to a well-designed card.” [Note: All 6.25 Paper Studio images by Adam Bird Photography.]
She looks to Neenah for more than paper. Yes, 6.25 Paper Studio prints on CLASSIC CREST® Papers Cotton CV Bristol, 88dtc, recycled bright white; 100lb CORONADO® SST Stipple, recycled bright white; and ENVIRONMENT® Papers Concrete Raw 80C and 130DTC. However, Fowler moves on to explain, “I’m really happy with the service and quality. I especially appreciate the sustainability efforts that Neenah strongly advocates and the natural characters of their papers, especially the new choices in the ENVIRONMENT® line. The online store is easy to use and ships super quick. Plus, from the beginning, Neenah has always been supportive!”
Of course, the paper is just part of her creative equation. She adds a big dose of laugh-out-loud humor to 6.25 secret sauce. “Our approach is to make people laugh—really laugh, gasp, then fall on their asses with laughter,” Fowler admits. “Once I started being true to my own humor, this line of cards just started flooding out. Our cards can be a little rowdy—pushing the line of appropriateness a bit, but honesty is what people crave and enjoy. The slap-in-your-face honesty-comedy cards are always the best sellers in our store.”
Fowler sells stationery through her brick-and-mortar store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wholesale, online, and through catalogs. This is not her first time exhibiting at the NSS. She understands its value in this industry. “At my last show in 2013, after placing an order with me, a buyer said, ‘Abbey, I come to this show to meet people—I don’t just buy cards, I buy the person who makes them. This relationship is very important to my business.’”
Gramr Gratitude Co.
In business for just about a year, Gramr Gratitude Co. began as a Kickstarter campaign by Matthew Ryan Richardson and Brett McCollum. “Gramr was borne of a desire to encourage the kinds of correspondences that are held onto, remembered, and cherished,” Richardson says. “We observed two things: First, there was a trend in conscious consumerism which, placed a primary emphasis on generosity as its core tenet, while gratitude (an equally important virtue) was not represented materially or commercially anywhere. We believe that gratitude is among the most important habits people can build into their lives, and we wanted to help make this as convenient as possible. Secondly, we were (and are) growing tired of the fracturing social networking sphere, which is a response to the human desire for community and connection. It seems like every new social network that crops up actually removes us another degree from meaningful correspondence toward ephemerality.”
As you’d expect, adding value to thoughtful correspondence is a priority and Richardson and McCollum found Neenah provides an unmatched balance of premium quality at scalable prices. “We were looking for a heavy, bright-white stock, with a very particular finish—one that was best suited for putting pen to paper, and one that wouldn’t smear,” Richardson explains. “We decided to work with CLASSIC CREST® Papers Avalanche White, Eggshell, 130lb.
“Our first line of cards were flat cards, so in order to lend a premium feel and quality to them—and have them double as prints—we printed on 130lb. paper. The finish that suited our needs best was Eggshell; and the brightness that really allowed the images on our cards to come to life was Avalanche White.”
Since they started the Gramr Gratitude “Your Habit for Happiness” Kickstarter campaign, they’ve experienced steady growth. This is the first of many NSS for Richardson and McCollum. Gramr has been working with influential artists on a new, soon-to-be-released line of (even more premium) cards that are coming down the pipeline. “We are also modifying our subscription service and flipping to a new system shortly,” he says, “in order to make it easier for people to build a habit of gratitude—in a way that is both convenient enough to stick and takes enough time to have real ‘timeless’ value.”
Color & Texture Can Help Express How You Feel
Read more @ Color & Texture in High Value Print Applications.