“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”

Ah love; never is it more expressed than in February. The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. There were 3 different saints named Valentinus or Valentine.

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One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

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Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

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With the day fast approaching, some of us are struggling to find just the right gift to express our feelings. Studies show the top Valentines gifts (for both men and women) are cards, flowers, chocolate, lingerie, jewelry, personal items and wine.

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We are highlighting a few of the gifts that we like this Valentine’s Day, using our Rossi 1931 papers. Feel free to use our ideas if you are still searching !

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www.mastbrothers.com 

Annie Howes

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

fine-stationery

Welcome to Paperworld!

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Once the holidays are behind them, paper retailers and manufacturers, one might think, are taking a breather. Not so! The ubiquitous trade shows begin and none as big as Paperworld.

 

On Jan 25-28… 2,967 exhibitors and 83,206 visitors from all over the world begin the new business year in Frankfurt, Germany at Paperworld, the world’s largest marketplace for all things paper and paper related. Retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, corporate buyers and importers will come together in a festive global celebration of paper.

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Every year at this time, Paperworld brings together suppliers and buyers; Here is where opportunities happen and buyers can discover the latest innovative products in the world of stationery (both hands on products and digital), writing instruments, greeting cards and accoutrements from across the globe.Theyexchange ideas and information with business peers across the world. It is also a time where manufacturers can meet business leaders and develop and establish joint ventures.  It’s an amazing place for a business to expand their reach for new and international customers.

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The products presented are unparalled in terms of breadth and depth and are a key source of inspiration, for not only buyers, but for producers as well. Here is  where a meeting of the minds takes place and a sharing of ideas as far as developing global trends. Those trends are then applied to one’s own business in their particular part of the world. Many advancements take place in this sector over the past year and this show will bring market leaders together with small and innovative companies under one roof.

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For retailers, the globally unique product spectrum, absorbing lectures, and special exhibits  all add up to a truly rewarding buying experience. They discover here, what shapes,colors and materials will be in demand and style for the coming seasons.  
There is also a sub show called Creative World, for the hobby and craft trade and artists.

In addition, sustainability remains a central issue at Paperworld. Relevant approaches and concepts, both in terms of the products themselves and in terms of their production, as well as at company level, are presented and developed

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Trade fairs have always been an integral part of Rossi1931 to showcase our collections and introduce our newest products in an environment that is both operative and optimal. Our booths are extremely accessible for our visitors; we want people to feel comfortable and welcome. Detail is paid to open space to enable people to move around easily, while giving maximum exposure to the products. We invite customers to touch, feel and appraise our papers and products.

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Multilingual personnel are present to assist. In addition, some members of the Rossi family are always in attendance to offer guidance and share some history of our exquisite stationery.

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How exciting for all of us as consumers, to see the new innovative products in the stores in our own neighborhoods and online, in just a few short weeks. Now you know, the inside scoop of where and how those products were introduced to the world!

A world of exquisite stationery is waiting for you at our stand!videoinfo

Frankfurt am Main, 25/28 January 2014
Hall 6.1 Scriptum, Stand B29

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PREVIEW OF ROSSI NEW COLLECTIONS

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

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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.”

 

The heart of Harvard square: Bob Slate

“Bob Slate Stationer is a magnet for Harvard students–and college students in general. After all, Boston is crammed to the gills with colleges and universities.”

It’s been called, “the miracle on Brattle Street”…

Harvard Square pen and stationary lovers had reason to celebrate one morning in autumn 2011, when Bob Slate Stationer returned to Cambridge under new ownership. The iconic Cambridge institution left the area in March 2011 when co-owners Mallory and Justin Slate closed the three Cambridge Locations.Their father, Bob had opened the store in the 1930s to supply the paper needs of Cambridge residents, Harvard students and faculty. With declining sales as a consequence of both the tech age and big box stores and their own advancing ages, the brothers held a giant inventory sale. Soon the doors to Bob Slate locations were about to be shut for good, when in walked Laura Donahue, a self-described “pen addict”. “I was horrified to find the store closing,” she said. “I thought to myself that we just can’t let this one go.” Surrounded by devastated patrons like herself, she marched to the back of the store, to inquire about purchasing it.

 

Donahue was first introduced to the store in 1981, when she was a freshman at Harvard. “It was like a treasure hunt every time I was there,” Laura said. “This place became my Cheers; a place where I went to feel good, enjoying pretty things and friendly service.”

 

Now 20 years later she stood, pen in hand, signing the papers to buy Bob Slate. She reopened the store at 30 Brattle St. “I’m deeply honored that the Slate family has entrusted their name to me”.

 

To keep customer service top-notch, Donohue has rehired five former staffers, including a 28-year veteran. Coupled with new staff, who bring in fresh ideas to keep the product lines current….it’s an unbeatable combination. Together they bring expertise to design, sourcing, and technical which helps consumers understand the different ink and paper types which when combined give the perfect “look”.

Of course their product selection is a huge draw:distinctive wraps , elegant stationery, fine writing instruments, journals sourced locally and from around the world, elegant engraved papers, delicate letterpress and vibrant watercolors, blank and greeted cards and earth friendly products. Rossi transitions well into almost all of these categories.

 

Of course being in a college city, journals and writing notebooks are a big draw; ”Based in the heart of Harvard Square, we have a real writing-oriented audience, so the journals sell quite well. Anything with the marbled or Florentine prints sell very quickly, with the letterpress prints becoming new favorites.

 

The store is quite festive right now with their beautiful display of Rossi boxed Christmas notes and cards near the front window where one can gaze out into Harvard square. In addition there is a vivid display of letterpress and seasonal decorative papers. “The Rossi individual sheets of gift wrap are seen as a real treat for customers at the holidays — many love to complete a favored gift with the hand-marbled prints”, states Laura.

slate cardsThis time of year can be quite challenging for a busy retailer.” The holidays present a host of challenges, from betting on which styles will be successful in a given year, to estimating quantities and volumes, to finding creative ways to utilize space in the store to present the additional merchandise to its best advantage, to maintaining staffing levels with the appropriate expertise to answer technical product questions. It is very tiring but also exhilarating to hear the customers rave about our excellent product selection.”

“We hear from customers that they are desperate to find quality & style, and don’t mind paying an extra dollar or two to have paper worth writing on. Our customers are constantly sneaking open the stationery boxes to feel the paper inside, and are very clear about their preferences for quality paper. Rossi provides us a great offering to customers. Thankfully, Rossi is maintaining its standards unlike some other small vendors who feel compelled to compromise their quality to meet the demands of the big box stores.

Is she still happy she happy she bought the store? ” Buying this store has absolutely been the right decision for me. It is an iconic brand that stands for quality and distinctive products and quirky individuality! — I hope that I can do it and the family justice.

·         30 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-547-1230 www.bobslatestationer.com