Featured Retailer: The Paper Merchant

If the bright yellow bike parked out front at The Paper Merchant doesn’t make you smile, then what’s inside definitely will.

Along with room after room of paper, greeting cards, gifts, wrapping paper, journals, books, and calendars, you might also find a rubber chicken or two. That’s because it has become the owners Stephen and Patricia Burnham’s signature gag gift, and they sell a lot of them, along with of course, paper.


Residing in a historic Gothic Revival house on bustling Third Street in Geneva, Illinois, this big little stationery retailer has been printing and selling fine stationery for over 30 years.  The house itself has an interesting style which seems to suit the creative atmosphere of the Paper Merchant perfectly.  Built in 1869, it was originally a summer home for a Chicago attorney and later converted into retail space.

Custom printing makes up a good portion of the Paper Merchant’s business. Equipment is housed in the store’s basement, and depending on the time of year, custom invitations can be turned around quickly, sometimes within a day.

Many a customer has come to the Paper Merchant following a disappointing experience with an online retailer.  “Buying online has its place, but this is a tactile kind of business and customers want to touch the paper, feel the weight and texture, and compare colors… in person, not on a computer screen,” said owner Steve Burnham.



The Paper Merchant sells a steady stream of Italian designed Rossi products including wrapping papers, gift tags, albums, file folders, and notepads. Customers seem to quickly sense the difference in the quality of Rossi stationery, even its product packaging.




Steve says: “The Rossi products are always a mark above the rest. When we tell customers they’re manufactured in Italy, they seem surprised and take a step back.”

Their best-selling Rossi design is the iconic Fashion decorative paper with its distinct mid-century vibe. “To me she represents Italian style and fashion, where it all started. Our customers love that paper,” he adds.

The Paper Merchant seems to have figured out what customers want. In today’s market, that’s unusual. But then so is the Paper Merchant, a Geneva treasure.

aSarah, owner Steve Burnham, and Dawn at The Paper Merchant, Geneva, Illinois

For more info about The Paper Merchant, visit http://www.papermerchantgeneva.com/

To view a video of the Rossi1931 collection, click here.

For more information, visit http://rossi1931.com




Letterpress: Italian Style


As usual, Rossi put their own spin on the collection, producing patterns with a bold contemporary flavor.
Rossi put their own spin on letterpress, producing patterns with a bold contemporary flavor.

As you might have heard, letterpress has been enjoying a renaissance in the last decade or so. Beautifully tactile and simply exquisite, letterpress printing has a rich elegance that one can’t help but appreciate.

Last year, Rossi introduced a letterpress collection featuring 16 classic designs.  That collection, which included Italian designs dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, surpassed expectations and now in 2013, has been expanded, this time with a more contemporary and modern feel.  MG_0201[1]

Letterpress is both an art and a science. It’s just the type of printing that Rossi excels at because it requires a high level of craftsmanship and great patience to produce. To create the collection, Rossi’s own vintage printing presses were brought out of retirement and put to work.

Prints are made one-at-a-time with each print having its own unique variations of ink coverage and depth of impression. Registering the color on press is critical, especially when the motifs are tight and complex, as they are with the Rossi patterns.

key closeupA high quality and heavier weight paper that will not tear or collapse when pressed is generally used for letterpress.  Rossi 1931 uses a perfect type of paper containing fibers that are soft and readily accept an impression.  Needless to say, the prints are luxurious and the telltale impression the press leaves on the paper is sought after by stationery fans everywhere.

These distinctive prints are available in a large size of 20 x 28 (50 x 70 cm) making them ideal for invitations, book covers and albums, greeting cards, and personal stationery, even framed prints.  Here’s a sneak peek of the new collection:



A large selection of Rossi papers are now stocked stateside in Florida, making shipping and delivery a breeze throughout the US. For a list of retailers carrying Rossi papers, please click here.

For more information, visit http://rossi1931.com

Featured Designer: Scroll Book Arts

It’s always fascinating to learn about entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into thriving businesses. It’s even more interesting when you discover that Rossi decorative papers have played an important role in their businesses!

That’s the case for Kris Stewart, a talented bookbinder from the Pacific Northwest who has been designing exquisite books and albums for the past 14 years. Last year, she designed two of her best-selling albums using Rossi decorative papers: a beautiful blue peacock feather motif with shimmering gold accents and a weathered gold brocade on a white background.

Happily ever after: a popular Rossi sheet used for a wedding album Happily ever after: a popular Rossi sheet used for a wedding album

Kris describes herself as a “maker” and a “designer.”   She says, “When I was really young it was construction paper with tape and staples (way too much tape and way too many staples!)  Then it was coloring books filled with abstract patterns just begging for the right combination of crayons. Next it was grand architectural plans for houses I wanted to live in when I grew up, complete with furniture arrangements and landscaping.”

A brilliant Florentine pattern, traditional and modern

“Now that I’m an adult, I may not live in any of those houses I designed as a child, but I am still a maker and a designer, happily working at the intersection of beauty and function.  Bookmaking  became a passion when I happened onto a class 14 years ago. I researched new techniques and tried new ideas and now specialize in paper covered albums and scrap books which I sell through my Etsy shop, Scroll.

Kris says she is very fortunate to work with the world’s most beautiful papers every day: “How lucky I am!  I get the opportunity to work with papers from around the world, including Italian-made Rossi  Papers.  They have become some of my best sellers!  One of my favorite things is to go to the paper store and pull out one big drawer after another, looking at and feeling each paper.”

Kris says that the design process for an album’s cover starts with choosing the decorative paper.  She states: “That seems like it would be the easy part, but really, there are too many choices!   So much beauty, so little time.”

Kris is a master at combining materials like this sand-colored binding paired with a Rossi seashells paper.

Her plans for the 2013 line of custom wedding and baby albums are coming along nicely, and lovely Rossi papers will once again be represented.  The new albums will debut in mid-January and she looks forward to another exciting year of bringing smiles to customers’ faces.

Kris Stewart’s books can be found on her Etsy store, Scroll.  For more information, please visit Scrollbookarts.com

To see a video of the Rossi1931 collection, click here.

For more information about Rossi1931, please visit http://rossi1931.com/


Think Outside the (Gift) Box!

There’s no reason to follow ALL the rules at Christmas, especially when it comes to wrapping presents. In fact, it’s the time of year when you can get a little crazy with the wrapping!

Go beyond green, red, and gold and consider some of these Italian-made decorative sheets from Rossi1931. Superbly printed, Rossi is well-known for producing a dazzling array of decorative papers featuring subjects as diverse as shoes to wine labels to vintage airplanes to Pinocchio figures.

So as you begin your marathon gift-wrapping season, think outside the box this year, and consider a few of these exciting choices:


Is there a traveler on your list?  This sheet is all about color and fun!   What boy wouldn’t be excited to open this on Christmas Day?

shoe 1

A girl can never have enough shoes, (or shoe paper for that matter!)


I cannot tell a lie, I love this paper! The beloved story of Pinocchio is a best loved paper from Rossi.  And it practically begs for you to tell your little ones the fable of Pinocchio!


Stylish, retro and chic! The fashionista on your list will appreciate the vintage feel of this.

That’s just a small sampling of what is available from stationery maker Rossi 1931, a family owned company based near Florence, Italy. An icon of Italian design, Rossi has been making stationery products since 1931.  Now in its third generation, the company continues to craft its traditional designs, but adds innovative new designs every season. Every product is designed and made in Italy—a true artisan product.

A large selection of Rossi papers are now stocked stateside in Florida, making shipping and delivery a breeze throughout the US. For a list of retailers carrying Rossi papers, please click here.

To view a video of the Rossi1931 collection, click here.

For more information, visit http://rossi1931.com



Be Merry and Bright with Rossi Holiday Papers


Thinking of your holiday gift wrap already?  If you’re looking for some stylish ways to dress up Santa’s presents, holiday themed papers from Rossi 1931 can make your gifts extra special.

‘Tis the season for poinsettia, holly and mistletoe! This Italian-made collection strikes just the right note of classic and holiday.  With brilliant colors and festive patterns, the Holiday papers are some of Rossi’s oldest and most cherished designs. Choose from a large selection of merry and bright colors, like these elegant holly, poinsettia, or mistletoe papers.




Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!


Don’t forget the finishing touch….add a bit of flair with matching Holiday cards, gift tags and place cards.  It’s as easy as finding the right match for your greetings!


Known for its vibrant patterns and rich colors, Italian-based Rossi has been producing fine papers since 1931. That’s when the Rossi family opened its doors near Florence, Italy and began creating traditional Florentine stationery, popular with American and British communities living nearby.  Today the company is run by a third generation of the Rossi family, still committed to producing the traditional patterns but adding innovative new designs to the mix every year.

The best part?  A large selection of Rossi papers are now stocked stateside in Florida, making shipping and delivery a breeze throughout the US.  For a list of retailers carrying Rossi papers, please click here.

To see a video of the Rossi1931 collection, click here.

For more information, please visit rossi1931.com




Rossi 1931 Launches New Blog

Italy-based Rossi 1931 has launched a social media program designed to provide timely, educational resources for consumers and retailers, as well as its international sales team.

The “Italian Stationery Blog” is being developed as a primary communication tool for Rossi’s social media efforts. The blog will feature customer profiles, company news and updates, and will share ideas and inspiration from projects using Rossi papers.

Mattia Rossi, Sales and Marketing Manager for Rossi said: “We recognize that more than 90% of internet users regularly visit social media networking sites. We hope to engage our customers on our blog with conversation, stimulate discussions and questions, and showcase all the great work that our customers do.”

Rossi’s many excellent retailers are listed separately on the US Retailers page.

For a video of Rossi’s paper collection, visit: http://youtu.be/1isRttYkxjw

For more information, visit: http://rossi1931.com/




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