Featured retailer: Two Hands Paperie

Our goal is to help you make things with your own two hands.  

Two Hands Paperie began on Pearl Street, in the beautiful city of Boulder, CO. in 1993 as a small bindery with a few hand-bound books and a small rack of decorative paper. Mia Semingson and Gerald Trainor took over the store in January of 2010, “Mia and I both shopped at the store just about from the time it opened in 1993, says Gerald. “ Mia apprenticed with Diana (the founder) as a bookbinder and worked in the store for many years. We also did custom printing and bookbinding from our own studio for the store before just taking over the whole thing. So, we were intimately associated with just about the entire process and most of the products before we became the owners. It was a sort of natural progression. “

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Featured Retailer: Mockingbird Paperie

Nestled in the college town of Ithaca, New York, Mockingbird Paperie is based on the premise of love. Not only named after the owners favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, but begun from a love of paper and a love for her husband. Owner Suzanne Loesch says.” Hmmm, where to start…Well I guess the beginning is the best.  I have been a paper lover, crafter and artist for my entire life.  I got into paper when I fell in love and began writing to my husband.  There was a period where we were separated and we both spent most of our days writing to each other and it was then that I discovered the love and art of writing a letter. The content maybe a poem, an angry note, a testament to our love… Each envelope had to be a work of art.   Now when we open that giant trunk full of letters we are struck with its romance, but even more, what it really meant to sit down with a special pen and a few sheets of special paper and pour our hearts out to each other”.

That was the beginning, what brought us here today was a little store on the Commons “.  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

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

The THANK YOU NOTE in 3 easy steps: Make it quick. Make it easy. Make it classy.

Be careful not to overlook an important aspect of the gift-giving season: thank-you notes.

The thought behind the thank-you should be equal to, or greater than, the thought that went into the gift. But it does not have to be the chore we all dread. In fact, if you follow the “3” rule, you can have this chore beat in no time.

In 3 days… Ideally the thank you note should be written within 3 days of receiving the gift. However, even if it’s much later, it is still special.

On 3 lines… That’s all it takes. (Not including the salutation or your signature)

Make 3 statements

·     Acknowledge the gift, (“How thoughtful of you to remember that I love teapots.”)

·     Explain what you will do with the gift, (“I have a box of Earl Grey that I am dying to try.”)

·     Express a future meeting or hope of a meeting, (“Looking forward to seeing you at Jack’s party in a few weeks.”)

That’s it. Sign your note. How easy is that!?

Now, there IS one thing more thing that must be done…but this is the fun part! No matter the occasion, start with the paper, the actual card.

When choosing the perfect stationary, look for one that’s elaborate in detail and intricate in design. Envelop lining and artwork, heavier card stock, decals, embellishments and gold leaf script, always boast well. Once retrieved in the mail, it will stand out from the mundane and make the recipient feel special.

Emily Post suggests,” the letter you write, whether you realize it or not, is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste and character.”

What a joy to receive a rare treasure —a handwritten thank you note from a family member or friend. No one has to know just how easy it

was!

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

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?