Rossi 1931: On Location

Last July, in the magnificent location of the Museum Villa Bardini in Florence, (www.bardinipeyron.it) chosen for its stately location and its extremely beautiful and monumental park, the first Rossi 1931 advertising spot was filmed. We are thrilled to announce its launch soon in 2016. The entire production was coordinated by Maestro Luca Palatresi….. Three days of filming among the gardens and statues, employing beautiful models and actors, including a staff of over 15 professionals. Read More

A very brief history of letterpress

history-letterpress

Letterpress is a form of relief printing in which the raised surface of text and images is inked and then pushed onto paper. The resulting print can be a deep impression, easily felt and seen on soft paper. Although the impression was not initially a desired effect by trade printers, today it is one of the most charming and interesting characteristics of craft letterpress.

As far back as the eighth century, the Chinese were performing woodblock printing. In fact, it is believed that a Chinese man named Bi Sheng (c. 990-1051) invented movable clay type in the 11th century—a painstaking process that involved placing thinly cut pieces of baked clay upon an iron

plate covered with heated resin and wax, and then pressing a board upon it to form the print. Read More

Featured Retailer: VERTECCHI, Rome icon

The next time you find yourself in Bella Roma, make a point of having lunch or a caffé macchiato in the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). Then head 3 blocks towards the Piazza del Popolo, and take a left on Via della Croce. There you will find, (not only a fabulous chocolate shop), but the most well stocked cartoleria (stationery shop) in Rome. For anyone who confesses a penchant for paper, a wonderful place to feed ones addiction is Vertecchi.

 

Over the last 60 years, Vertecchi has become a benchmark in the stationary industry, thanks to its impeccable assortment of products which are thoughtfully selected and displayed. Not only is it the place to go for every celebration, whether decorating for a party or looking for fabulous Christmas ornaments, but you will find sections for fine arts, technical, office supplies and a huge selection of exquisite pens, in its own sub-store. Rounding it all out are sections of gifts and leather goods, decorative packing, and all that is paper: writing, greeting and wrapping. It is a paper lover’s dream. If you are a tourist, pick up some of their own lovely blank books covered with pen and ink designs of all the historical sites of Rome, both in water color and black and white. They come in all sizes and make terrific gifts. This will definitely set you apart from the typical touristy souvenir giver when you get back home.

 

The business was founded by Sergio Vertecchi during the 1940s in an architecturally lovely storefront in Via della Croce, 38, right in the historical center of Rome near Piazza di Spagna. Within a few years, more space was added to adapt to an increasingly demanding clientele. One standard that was never compromised was the retail space itself. Period buildings dating back to the 15th century….with marble columns and vaulted ceilings were acquired every time another store was added. It was to be a space to reflect the distinguished products and clients.

In the beginning, sales were limited to supplies for nearby schools. Within a few years, brother Luciano, (today sole director of Vertecchi) had joined. The brand established itself in the Roman market as a leader in the stationery industry. Vertecchi was ahead of the curve, as they became fully computerized in the early 80s, to the benefit of customers who find the store fully stocked and if not, able to order anything quickly.

In 2008, it established itself on the international market via the internet.The ecommerce channel now covers more than 16,000 products for office supplies.

That year they also introduced innovative products for retail designs and store interiors, which operates out of the shop at Vicolo del Lupo, 10 (in the historical center and upscale shopping district). The Vertecchi team installs exterior and interior decorations of public spaces, shops, restaurants, hotels and homes.

Vertecchi continues to be the choice of architects, artists, students and professors of the Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, as well as painters and designers, such as Gaetano Castelli, a famous Italian set designer and producer.

The business model, the growth of Vertecchi and quality of products was soon recognized by Italian Institutions. Luciano Vertecchi was elected as a Knight of Commerce in 2011.

 

They now have three stores in the city center of Rome (Via della Croce, 70 – Vicolo del Lupo, 10 – Via Belsiana, 96C) and another in the Flaminio area (Via Pietro da Cortona,18). The family business remains strong in the capable hands of Lucianno Vertecchi’s children: Giorgia, Sergio and Anna.

 

Their selection of Rossi1931 products is extensive. Anna says, “Our customers…both local and especially the tourists, love Rossi.” The shelves at the front of the store are full of notecards and journals and writing paper. “Anything Florentine has a great appeal, as a gift or for personal use.”

www.vertecchi.com

Rossi 1931: The Gift of Christmas

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

 Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

For many of us–whether we choose to admit it or not–Christmas is about presents. Children eagerly wait in anticipation of Christmas morning. Far-sighted adults start stockpiling on-sale gifts early in the summer. The procrastinating multitudes flock to the mall in the week or days before Christmas. However, gift-giving did not become the central Christmas tradition it is today until the late 18th century. Stores began placing Christmas-themed ads in newspapers in 1820. Santa Claus, once and still known in some cultures as St. Nicholas, the increasingly popular bearer of gifts, started popping up in ads and stores 20 years later. . But despite the Christian roots of gift-giving, the practice ultimately steered Christmas closer to the somewhat secularized holiday it is today. By 1867, the Macy’s department store in New York City stayed open until midnight on Christmas Eve, allowing last-minute shoppers to make their purchases. Today, Christmas is the ultimate gift-giving bonanza.

Holiday gift giving began long before Christmas. The Romans would give gifts to one another on pagan festivals like Saturnalia, the winter solstice, and the Roman New Year. The tradition of gift giving became associated with Christmas because of the Three Kings’ offerings to the infant Jesus. The magi traveled to Bethlehem to present the gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.  Early on the Church discouraged the practice of gift giving because of its pagan associations. But by the Middle Ages the tradition had become so popular that it became a mainstay of the holiday season. It was during that time that St. Nicholas, a Christian Bishop in Turkey, known for his generosity, was giving to those less fortunate than he. He also gave to children of all backgrounds, simply because he felt they needed to savor their childhood, and have joyous times to remember. The most common gift given were homemade foods and sweets, oranges, a rare treat. It moved throughout the world very quickly, and before the 10th century it is known that nearly every country was participating in this exchange on St. Nicolas’ Eve.

Although the tradition of gift giving has a long Christmas history, those gifts being presented in colorful paper and tied up in curls of ribbon is a relatively new practice. While Christmas cards began to be sent in the mid-nineteenth century it wasn’t until many years later thatdressing up presents in Christmas finery caught on.

Early on gifts were wrapped in simple tissue paper or more sturdy brown paper. In the nineteenth century, gifts were sometimes presented in decorated cornucopias or paper baskets. The technology did not exist to mass produce a decorated, foldable, paper until the 1890’s, when developments in printing presses allowed colored ink to be printed fluidly on stiffer papers. Before the introduction of scotch tape in the 1930’s gifts were tied up with string and sealing wax.

Over the years the look of wrapping paper changed as well. The first wrapping paper was decorated in the ornate style of the Victorian era. Gilded flourishes of cherubs, birds, and flowers draped across sheets of popular wrapping papers. 

In the 30’s and 40’s, patterns became more stylized due to the popularity of Art Deco.

Decorations moved away from nature to symbols we commonly associate with Christmas today

collage

Popular patterns included ice skaters, snowflakes, Christmas trees, and candles. It was during these decades that Rossi’s decorative paper was born, inspired by traditional Florentine designs of the Renaissance. Later on they included contemporary alternatives

featuring little details that add up to big impact: small hits of brilliant gold and silver metallic ink, finely detailed and multi-layered illustrations, delicate flourishes and stunning patterns and colors.

Aficionados rejoice! Next year’s Christmas papers are a combination of two techniques; letterpress and a heated application of gold, producing a very special outcome. 

 

We here at Rossi are truly blessed to be able to do what we love and share our products with you. Thank you. Have a joyous Holiday season.

 

“We wish you light snows and twinkling lights. A home alive with cookie smells. A child to play with, a dog to pet and the hope of answered prayers.”

 

Sharing the stage: OrangeArt, one class act.

An interview with Carol Mackin of Orange Art, Woodstock, CT.

“Our roots are deep in paper.” ORANGEART has been a family run, wholesale, fine paper business for three decades. Once strictly a distributor of art products and material, OrangeArt now offers its own line of letterpress products.

Through Orange Art, many fine retail dealers have been able to find stationery products from around the globe which are far from ordinary.

 

Why or how did you pick the name Orange Art?

Actually, we bought a tiny rising art paper distribution business in 1983 already named OrangeArt. We have enjoyed the easy marketing the name provided.

You have a direct sales force. Yes? How many states do you cover?

We do the selling ourselves in New England and New York and employ Reps in other parts of the country. John has been personally visiting many of our customers in the last few months. He also has a new Prius hybrid which is a good incentive to get on the road.

Any plans for expansion going forward? Speaking of which, did I understand you now have an online “store”?

We are expanding our trade show presence. We will be in Atlanta Gift in January. We have always been at the NYC Stationery Show and Gift Shows (now called NYNOW).

Yes, our online sales are growing very fast which has changed things. We used to be entirely direct sales/phone/fax. Many of our customers, especially wholesale print paper customers, like our Rossi customers, prefer to order online after working hours. We have an easy online ordering system that sets up an account page for our customers with their order history so they can re-order quickly.

How do you decide what lines/products to distribute? I like how you say, “collect” unique social papers. And speak to the difference between being an agent and a “collector”.

What we did in the fine art paper and materials business for 30 years was “distribute” which we sold in 2010. We were a regional distributor of art products to retailers in New England and New York. That means there was no personal involvement in the product design and choice.

However, since the beginning of OrangeArt in 1983, our stationery business has always been based on our choices. We manufacture and design our own products.

We also represent some European lines in the USA, exclusively. That is what an “agent” is.

How has the computer impacted your business?

Only is good ways. I love the immediacy of it. We can service faster and we can show our customers what is new online immediately

In this economy, do you see a trend that more customers are making their own social items (invitations, etc.) from your papers rather turning to custom designers like Crane or Wm. Arthur?

Digital printing has become less expensive and more accessible. That has changed the way stationery papers are personalized, forever. There is no excuse for a badly done business card or note!

Since we have now being living with technology for some time now, do you see any traditions coming back that once were lost? Any new ones beginning?

A personal, hand-written note or paper invitation is finding its modern place in our lives. It is something distinct from email which has become too banal. It is now communication “etiquette” to write and invite in this “personal” way. It takes time which is a gift in and of itself. The paper, the stamp, are a reflection of the personal taste of the sender.

I think that people are happy to spend more money on a well-designed card, journal, etc. Again, it is a little exercise in design much like their choices of home décor.

How, and when did you find Rossi?               

We have stocked Rossi products since 2006. We travelled to Borgo San Lorenzo to talk to the Rossi’s about our interests and paper background, which included 12 years of experience with another, similar paper also made in Italy. We really know how many ways our customers can use this versatile, beautiful paper. Our experience has taught us how to support sales with thoughtful templates and well versed customer service who can explain an album fold from an A5 sheet, convert metric into inches and always make sure they are ordering the right envelopes!

We appreciate all of the Rossi products. By the way, their warehouse packing is the BEST! Everything arrives correctly and un-damaged. No one appreciates that more than the people who receive, stock and re-ship it.

What does the future hold for Orange Art?

Well, we did recently sell the “big” business and as I said, we are in transition in a good way. The reason we did OrangeArt together, here in this beautiful place, was to control the way we were going to live and raise our two children.Now we can be smaller and more focused.We would like to find just a few more exclusive lines, and maybe tiptoe into complementary products. I keep imagining a beautiful desk we could all use in our lives to keep our “stuff” organized and allow us to write, think and look out the window at nothing at all. What would be on it?

Behind the scene: Joka Belgrado

 

Mrs Joka Belgrado

Anyone who has ever contacted Rossi1931, by phone or through the website has, no doubt, pleasantly encountered the sales, marketing and linguistic wizard, Joka Belgrado.

Joka has been with Rossi since 2007 after she and her husband had moved from Florence to the beautiful area of Tuscany known as Mugello, ( a beautiful wide green valley north of Florence) After commuting to Florence for work for several years, she decided,” enough of commuting!” Her husband told her of a local radio station that had been advertising different jobs. She signed on to their website one day and noticed there was a job very close to home with Rossi. “They were looking for someone in the export dept. with a good knowledge of English and German. I sent in my resume, was contacted and after 2 weeks I was working here.” A lucky day for Rossi, indeed. Not only does Joka speak English and German, but Dutch and Italian as well. She says,” years ago I spoke 6 languages, but when you don’t use a language for many years, it kind of sinks away.”

Joka was raised in Holland and Curacao, Dutch Antilles which was still part of the Netherlands at that time. After high school, she took a “gap” year and lived on a kibbutz in Israel. She liked the idea because she could work 4 hours a day and learn the language during the other 4. When she later transferred to the advanced language class in a different kibbutz near the sea, she met a wonderful young man from Italy and today they have been married for 38 years. After they returned from Israel to Italy, where she began college in Florence, they had 2 lovely daughters. Both out of the nest now, Claudia is an architect and lives in Sardinia and Sylvia, a nurse in Florence.

She loves her time with Rossi; “I handle the US and Canada markets, as well as the German speaking countries in Europe….Austria, Switzerland and Germany. I have daily contacts with customers and reps, research to find additional customers and sales representatives in selected areas, and do translations into English and German when needed. “A lot of potential customers find us through our website and sometimes I find them. Either way, I include them in mailing lists and when we send out warehouse catalogues.”

Her favorite part of the job: “The relationship that I have established with some of our customers and reps, which go beyond work”. She never gets bored. “I enjoy talking to potential new customers, explaining how we operate, encourage them to try our line. When they do and it works out for them, it’s a satisfaction and pride for me. They become a regular customer and I feel that I have made a contribution to the company.”

One would think time differences would be a major problem, but Joka handles it with ease. The internet of course helps, as she can simply email customers while she is at work and they are still sleeping. ” I prefer email by far, as the Romans said: scripta manent”.  (Loosely speaking: ‘spoken words fly away, written words remain’). ”In my previous job we always had to confirm phone conversations in writing. It was a lot more work and they had offices all over the world”.

With all the positive growth in design and products at Rossi, Joka says there has been a lot of challenges, as well: ”The last 5 years has been difficult for many companies, everywhere. Italy is no exception. It has been very hard for small companies to stay alive and many have found it tougher to survive. Basically, I have seen that those who did not export have not made it. Rossi has been exporting for decades and that, in addition to making qualitative investments in IT, has kept the company alive and healthy. I feel very fortunate to work here.”

Outside of the fact that her job is only a 10 minute commute now, the best part of her time with Rossi is that she “is trusted and valued” for what she contributes and has “ a lot of independence in handling the job. I had never handled paper products in my career, so I had to learn the product first. It then became automatic to look at similar products in the shops. Now that I have some experience in the category, I think stating Rossi is at the top quality- wise is not an exaggeration. “

When asked to name the product she loves the most: “The letterpress design called Venice in the navy/mauve version. I like the fact that the design is 500 years old. I also like the idea of a new use of the vintage letterpress machines that Rossi kept”.

letterpress stationery

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Perhaps”, she muses,” I also like it because it’s called Venice, my favorite city in the world!   “

Joka can be reached at: joka.belgrado@rossi1931.it

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...