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As we walked the aisles of the National Stationery Show, Julie and I had the great fortune of stopping to chat with a seriously lovely couple – an exuberant and animated gal named Juliana and the oh-so-sweet and engaging Ryan. We talked snail mail, humor, young love and commitment to charitable giving. Julie and I walked away in love with their card line Good Juju Ink, and with the couple. These two dynamos are two thirds of a stationery company that is all about humor, positivity and spreading good juju (of course). Marina is the third member of this awesomely creative and exceptionally savvy team (and boy does she have amazing credentials – she is a force to be reckoned with!)

Juliana is the artist and illustrator for the stationery line. Her drawings are oft paired with funny sentiments sure to make you giggle. Nature and animals figure heavily into the designs, in part due to Ryan’s passion for wildlife. Inspiring words grace cards and prints. Designs are lovingly letterpressed on a Heidelberg Windmill press. Good Juju Ink cards are created with the hopes of spreading joy, and adding a little magic to someone’s day. I had the chance to interview Juliana and Ryan to learn more about their passion for stationery, art, and building connections through paper.

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I love the notion that Good Juju Ink is about getting modern people to slow down and to write a letter.  What is it about jotting a note and sending mail that you think is important in today’s fast-paced society? 

Where do I even BEGIN!? First and foremost, when something isn’t convenient, when it literally takes you out of your daily routine and requires you to get stamps and a verified address, the act becomes innately special. It becomes a gift –  a gift that doesn’t need you to spend a huge amount of money but that requires you to know what’s going on in the life of another person, to know a little bit about what matters to them. Writing a letter is actively giving a piece of yourself, your heart, your time to another human being. The physical gesture of writing a note doesn’t allow you to speed through your thoughts. Unlike an email sent in haste, a note really requires you to think about what you’re going to say. Even if that note brings up a topic that is rather difficult to broach with someone you know, the act begs you to be considerate, no “angry” word vomiting allowed. Writing a note is a physical art form. It lives. The note itself is a real thing and is physical proof of someone’s mind-to-hand soul. 

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What made you, Ryan and Marina decide to create Good Juju Ink? What lessons did you take from your previous careers that you’ve been able to apply to the world of stationery?

This is seriously, like, a seven-hour long conversation that involves a myriad of magical stories and circumstances. Ideally, I would open a giant bottle of Pinot Noir and put together a splendiferous cheese and charcuterie plate as we unfolded the various chapters of our responses to this question. HA! But to make an exceptionally long story short (and if you would like to read the long version, read this blog post), I came from the entertainment industry where I felt myself slipping into a world of slimy superficiality, frivolity, and narcissism. I was saddened by what I saw and experienced as an artist in that microcosm, and I wanted nothing more than to make people laugh and feel loved again. Ryan had decided to go to Stanford Business school in 2012, and in 2013 (after I found out my television series was not picked up by the network), I joined him in Northern California and become reconnected with nature, quiet, and with a different part of my creative self that I’d ignored for some time: my love of drawing.

Ryan met Marina in his second year at business school and she quickly became a very close friend to both of us. I was so impressed with all that Marina had accomplished in her young life as a businesswoman; she absolutely inspired me to start looking at my own life differently. By the end of the Ryan’s second year of school, I decided to launch an Etsy shop selling my cards–mind you, I only had three cards to sell at that point. Six months later, we formally asked Marina to join our team. Marina is a savvy businesswoman who also happens to be obsessed with paper goods and stationery. I mean, what are the chances? The three of us have such different backgrounds. Ryan was a consultant for Bain and Company before business school, and his ability to analyze and assess markets he otherwise had never ventured into before is incredible. He’s a brilliant numbers person. I am not a brilliant number person. In fact, numbers give me hives. Just ask my dad.

Coming from an artistic background made the transition into stationery not all that difficult (though certainly different). I’m used to creating my own schedule and being in charge of my own inspiration and incentivizing. I’ve never had the cushion of a stable income or an annual salary. I’m used to eating noodles. I’m very grateful that I’ve seen, for many years now, what kind of risks it takes to make art your life. It’s not easy. It really, really isn’t. But I couldn’t do anything else.

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Juliana and  Ryan, we simply adored you when we met you at NSS. Did you both have an affinity for stationery previously? (Please tell us that you two lovebirds have a history of sending each other cards!). 

Ryan and I were TOTALLY those people that spent hours in card stores searching for just the right card for one another (and for all humans in our lives, really). We often bought multiple cards for one occasion, because OBVI there needed to be the funny one and the sentimental one. Especially with our relationship, we like a little bit of salty to go with the sweet. And actually, now that I think about it, Ryan’s mom and my mom also buy multiple cards for one occasion. I mean, one is just never enough, right?!?! I’ve been saving cards since I was eight years old. There are baskets of them in an attic somewhere in Pacific Palisades.

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What does your creative process look like? How do you go from idea to illustration to finished card? 

I used to tell Ryan, even before Good Juju Ink was a glimmer of a thought, that on any given day I had about 7,000 creative concepts swimming in my head that were all fighting for first place in the ideation line. The second I sit down at my dining room table (I swear, no matter how many offices and studios I’ve had, it ALWAYS starts with the dining room table) my hand begins to guide my mind. Specifically, with designing cards, I love to get inspired by wildlife and the natural world. Ryan is an avid outdoorsman and animal aficionado. He opened my eyes to animals in a way I had never experienced before. From the moment we started dating (almost a decade ago, good lord), I have been inspired to bring more animals to more humans, to show the connectedness of all things. Often times, now, I look at National Geographic photos of different species before I start working on a card—I zero in on what makes that creature relatable to the human experience and try to capture that essence in a design.

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What advice would you give others on how to pursue their passions? 

 My advice with regard to pursuing passion is very simple. Passion means different things to different people. For some, it’s building a card company from scratch and drawing elephants into the wee hours of the night. For others, it’s maintaining a really balanced and strictly delineated personal and professional life. For others, it’s being a nomad, always being in a new place. For others, it’s nurturing and raising a healthy, loving family. Don’t ever let the world tell you what passion is or what it’s supposed to look like. Pursuing a personal passion innately means doing YOU the best you can, whatever that looks like. That being said, here are two important things I’ve learned about pursuing a creative business:

1. No one can do anything alone. Don’t try to be a hero/martyr/mad scientist/artist/accountant/brand expert/marketing guru party of one. I know. It’s so, so, SOOOOO scary and embarrassing and awkward to ask for help, especially when you don’t always have something to compensate for other peoples’ time besides a super awesome hug and maybe a cup of tea. But help is how we build. Help is how we see beyond ourselves and our limitations. EVERYONE has limitations. Even Steve Jobs (just ask anyone who ever worked with him). I never thought Marina or Ryan would be interested in joining Good Juju Ink. They went to one of THE top business schools in the world, they had enormously successful careers in tech and consulting before they went to Stanford, why would they want to help out a teeny tiny, artsy fartsy, burp of an operation like mine? Well guess what: YOU LITERALLY DON’T KNOW UNLESS YOU ASK.

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2. Never, ever think there is one “official” and “right” way to go about a business or that you need a strict list of credentials to participate in any given industry. For the first year of Good Juju Ink, I had to teach myself graphic design, digital software, printing techniques, marketing, social media networking (which is HUGE for the stationery community), brand development, general business practices and terminology (there are a lot of acronyms in business), shipping/packaging operational procedures, all on top of trying to actually DESIGN for my company. The demon in my head kept saying, “You don’t belong here! You never went to school for this! Who are you to think you can be a business owner in a field you have zero experience in? And you’re probably not even funny. You just think you’re funny. And so does your husband which obviously doesn’t mean anything because he’s legally obligated to laugh at your jokes.”   …Well. Guess what? Tell that demon to shut the eff up and suck on a popsicle. In two years, we are carried in stores all over the country, including 113 Paper Source locations. Hear that demon? Shush yo’self.

3. If the joy outweighs the schlep, you’re in the right place :). 

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Your company logo features an elephant as do many of your designs. What does the elephant mean to you? 

Elephants were the first animals I started drawing when I moved from LA to SF. It’s like they just started coming to me as a symbol of joy and wisdom, as a creature that is as hilarious as it is deeply regal and majestic. Elephants are otherworldly to me. They encapsulate the great and the small, the sense of power and powerlessness we have in life. They are also a token of good luck in many cultures around the world.  And after having come face to face with them on our honeymoon in Africa, I certainly understand why that is. It’s like they know something we don’t…you can see it in their eyes. I love to think that elephants teach us to be strong and silly as we move about our clumsy existence on this planet. 

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We love your humor! We were tickled by your Hanukkah and Christmakkuh cards and love Francois le Frog. What inspires you to share your sense of humor?

As I think is the case with many Jewish families, I grew up in a household where having a sense of humor wasn’t a bonus—it was an absolute necessity. No really, I’m totally serious! Once at a parent-teacher conference, my dad told my elementary school teacher that with regard to his hopes for my academic achievement, as long as I was funny—I had succeeded in life. I doubt she had many parents who gave her that kind of feedback. And actually, on my first date with Ryan, it was his sense of humor that “had me at hello”, so to speak. I surround myself with people who see the humor in the life, and that is the lens through which I am constantly seeing the world and relationships. Animals are also downright HILARIOUS. They are a wonderful metaphor through which to examine our own faults, nuances, quirks, and lovable oddities. Animals are also completely unapologetic for being themselves. I love featuring animals in my designs for just that reason.  I also just feel like it’s my duty in life to make people laugh. I was a comedian and actress for the majority of my life—and that hasn’t gone away. Bringing people an explosion of laughter has such a powerful healing property, one we can’t have too much of in my opinion.

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 What is the most memorable piece of mail you’ve received?

I’ve received numerous letters over the course of my 31 years that have had a significant imprint on my being. I was a sleep-away camp girl who wrote letters to her fellow camp mates during the course of the school year. My father often wrote me letters when I was growing up as a way of encouraging me through challenging times. There is a recent one in particular, though, that stands out. Just over two years ago, while I was in the depths of my depression over feeling so disgruntled with the entertainment industry—-I received a card from one of the students in Ryan’s business school class who I had met only a handful of times. She was not, nor had she ever been an actress, and she was not familiar with being a professional creative person. But she was literally the only person who wrote to me when my show was cancelled and told me that this would not be the end of my creative road. This was not the end to what I had to give to the world. Art takes many forms, and she was there to offer me support through this difficult time in any way that she could. I was stunned. I still have that card. I cherished every word and kept it by my bed for months before I decided to move to San Francisco to start a new life with Ryan permanently. Fede, I love you! (For the record, many of the women in Ryan’s business school class encouraged me to be a business owner when I never thought it was something I was capable of doing.)

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Good Juju is about spreading good energy and love through sending cards, and charitable giving. Please tell me more about your commitment to charitable giving. 

From the moon, to underwater creatures, to our beloved elephants, nature has been a major inspiration for Good Juju Ink’s designs. On top of that, everyone at Good Juju Ink has a major appreciation for nature…sure, I (this is Ryan speaking) might be the most obsessed (I even have my own nature and underwater photography website), but it’s something we all care about here at Good Juju Ink headquarters. So, whenever you buy a Good Juju Ink product, a portion of the proceeds goes to The Nature Conservancy, an organization that is doing amazing work to ensure humans and nature live in harmony for many generations to come. To us, there’s nothing more meaningful than giving back. That’s what spreading good juju is all about. However, we recognize that giving back can mean different things to different people – it can be volunteering at a local charity, helping out at your kid’s school, raising awareness about a cause that matters to you, or donating to one of your favorite non-profits. Regardless of what “giving back” means to you, we hope that when you buy a Good Juju Ink art print or receive a Good Juju Ink card in the mail, it does 2 things: 1) Makes you smile; 2) Reminds you to give back in whatever way you can, even if you think it’s small. Through Good Juju Ink, we want to show that if we all give back just a little bit, together we can have a huge impact!


il_fullxfull.905667628_14x3Enamel pins are everywhere. And, we can’t get enough of them. From food, to unicorns to pop culture icons – these pins are the cutest adornments for jean jackets, lapels or totes. It’s hard not to be obsessed with collecting all the pins.

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ilootpaperie’s fries are adorable. And, the little snail mail pin has to become part of my collection, because snail mail. Everyday.

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Hello!Lucky makes some of my favorite cards, charming, funny and altogether fantastic. Their mini line of enamel pins is no different, and the packaging is perfection.

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It’s hard not to love everything Greenwich Letterpress. Their pins are no exception. A bowl of ramen – yes. Nachos? Definitely. But, I like these two best.

Many pop culture figures have been immortalized as enamel pins – Kim, Kanye, Macaulay Culkin, Leonardo DiCaprio. And of course, there’s Drake. This Views pin from Diamond Donatello perches perfectly on a jacket pocket.

And then, there’s food. So many adorably cute, food pins to choose from. The ice cream truck by Lucky Horse Press is my fave…and the tv dinner. Lucky Horse designer Michele is pretty darn brilliant, and her pin packaging is A+.

queenie’s cards’ happy mail pin is the cutest thing I ever did see. Except for maybe the chocolate bar, pizza, watermelon…all of them really.

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Studio Vcky’s strawberry milk is adorbs, and the little cactus. How can you resist?

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Animal lover? The Good Twin has you covered.

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We Canadians celebrate Canada Day today. In addition to bringing you maple syrup, basketball, Drake, The Weekend, Ryan Gosling and Pacey Joshua Jackson, the country is home to loads of fab greeting card designers. I can’t possibly cover all of the talented purveyors of paper, but I can do a round up of just a few of my faves. (And – shameless plug – if you want to curated Canadian stationery sent your way, Q&A Letterbox has you covered year round).

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Tough Luck Co.’s Sandi Falconer is a master of screen printing. In addition to her fun and fantastic paper goods, she also has a line of rad apparel.

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il_570xN.956941362_twahOh My Inspired is a line of stationery and prints created by Karen Wong Chiu. Combining watercolor painting with inspirational quotes and hand lettered text, Karen’s cards are a thing of beauty.

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il_570xN.953344472_6s1lMelissa is the oh-so-talented calligrapher behind Olive Branch & Co.  A portion of the sales of her gorgeous stationery are donated to charity. Melissa also does custom work and teaches calligraphy workshops. She is currently Vancouver-based.

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Designs by Val is a whimsical and joyful line of greeting cards designed by Vancouver-based Valerie Lau. These vibrant cards combine bright colors and designs with pretty script.

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il_fullxfull.994552717_nemoWrinkle and Crease  is a luxury paper line that combines letterpress and simple, classic designs. The designer behind the line, Kayley, is a lover of handwritten notes and seeks to encourage people to write more and type less. 

BD039SP018That Sky Blue Letterpress is a gorgeous line of letterpress stationery designed by Litsa, a Montreal-based designer dedicated to the preservation of letterpress.

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Created by artist Ken Yuen, dreamsouth is a line of stationery featuring watercolor greeting cards and postcards. Ken draws inspiration from his surroundings and creates beautiful depictions of natural and urban landscapes.

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Double Dare Print Studio is a sweet stationery line designed and screen printed by twin sisters Alyssa and Bryanna in Halifax, NS.


When I first began 8Balloons over 5 years ago, the idea of attending the National Stationery Show didn’t even factor into the grand scheme. I was just hoping to create great content on my favorite greeting cards. I have been so happy to see the progression of designers over the past few years and am so grateful to see how large my community has grown including meeting one of my closest friends and partnering with Andrea on the blog. This year, both Andrea and I were able to attend the show and see some of our favorite people and their greeting card lines, while also being introduced to new ones. There are just so many to share that both Andrea and I will be curating our finds throughout the month.

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Amy Heitman
is a purveyor of beautifully-designed stationery. She pairs her illustrations, oft inspired by florals and nature, with classic type. Amy’s designs are seriously pretty, with a charming style that evokes days gone by. She took part in the National Stationery show for the first time this year, and her booth was simply gorgeous, wallpapered with her sweet gift wrap. Amy is just as lovely as her designs – read on!

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You studied art education at college and subsequently became an elementary school art teacher. What did you learn about yourself from this job?

I loved teaching.  I taught first through fifth graders and was constantly inspired by my students’ unadulterated creativity and their ability to look at things from so many different angles.  It was so inspiring to see their different solutions and unique outcomes to the same assignment and I learned how much I really appreciated art and creativity in its simplest form.  I also learned how much I loved being a part of a creative environment, and how much I loved just making and creating things.   I would find myself up late many nights a week after school working on my own personal paintings and projects after finishing all of my planning and grading.

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What did your artistic journey look like? How did you know it was time to pursue illustration and design full time?

I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember.  I have always known that I wanted a career doing something creative but never really set out to pursue illustration and design full time. I really loved my job as an art teacher but left teaching to stay home after my first baby was born.  I had done mural painting throughout the school district I worked for, as well as a few smaller jobs in our community, and thought that pursuing more mural work might serve as both a good creative outlet and a way to supplement our family income.  So I created a simple portfolio website and included some illustration and design work I had done for some friends and family.  I didn’t receive any requests for mural work, but quickly began to receive a bunch of requests for custom wedding stationery.

One of my husband’s co-workers at the time ran an Etsy shop and she suggested I put some of my designs  there, so I did (despite not being too familiar with it at the time).  At the time, I was pregnant with my second baby and just a few weeks later I was placed on bed rest and told I was going to lose the baby.  I spent the next five months that way and my Etsy shop was such a huge blessing to me during that time as I began receiving so many requests for custom work. It not only gave me something to focus on and fill my days while I rested,  but it was also during that time that I really fell in love with stationery design and began to focus on developing my own aesthetic and creative voice.  (That baby is now healthy, happy and about to turn FOUR!)

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What made you decide that you wanted to  transition from custom work to starting your own stationery line?

I spent several years doing primarily custom work, and while I loved it, I was receiving many more requests than I could take on.  Upon learning I was pregnant with my 3rd baby I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep on the same custom work load on my own and began to think about growing my business in a different direction.  My sister had been begging me for years to create a greeting card line, so it was something that had been on the back of my mind for a while.  I spent most of the 9 months of my pregnancy learning as much as I could about the stationery industry and creating my initial product line, and launched the line when he was a few months old.

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What do you love about greeting cards and snail mail?

I LOVE how a simple card or note has the power to brighten and transform someone’s day.  Everything in our culture is so instant because of technology –we have the ability to send an email or text to anyone at anytime and they can receive it instantly. I feel that makes the act of taking the time to hand write a note and send it in the mail that much more special and meaningful. When I was on bed rest with my son, I received so many cards from friends and family and people in our community who I didn’t even know saying how they were thinking and praying for me, and it was so meaningful to me to be able to read those cards over and over again. I have a huge box of cards with sweet messages I’ve saved from friends, family members, coworkers, students, and mentors over the years that I love to look back on occasionally.

Being a mom of three must keep you on your toes. What is your secret for maintaining balance?

I don’t have a ‘secret’ for maintaining balance, but I strive to keep my priorities in line.  My faith is most important to me and I try to make sure seeking God first is my number one priority every day, followed by my marriage and kids.  I feel that loving and serving my family is my most important job right now, and I am incredibly thankful for grace because I definitely don’t always get it right.

We package and ship everything from our home studio downstairs, and, though it can be hectic at times, I am so grateful to be able to work at something I love while being surrounded by the people that I love most.  I have two amazing studio assistants that work for me keeping things organized around the studio, managing wholesale accounts, and packaging and filling orders. Then I do a lot of work during nap times and do all of my design work at night after my kids are in bed. Sometimes I actually set an alarm at night to remind myself to stop working and go to bed.  My husband is amazingly supportive — he works full time at another job but is really involved with the business and kids when he is home. And my kids always love to help out in the studio and be involved with everything that is going on!

Flora, fauna and animals are often featured in your designs – where do you draw your inspiration from?

I love finding patterns in nature, and am always inspired by being outdoors.  I also love looking at vintage children book illustrations, and vintage textiles and wallcoverings.  I love old things that are filled with nostalgia yet still have a quality that feels current and fresh to them.

A portion of the sales from each of your cards is donated to support the INK Foundation. Please tell me why this is important to you.

When I launched my card line I wanted it to have an impact beyond just the reach of one card from one person to another, and as a woman and as a mom of a young girl the issue of human trafficking is something that has always been heavy on my heart, and I believe everyone deserves the chance to live in freedom and justice.

 


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Aparna Varma is the sweet as sugar designer behind Green Bean Studio, a Toronto-based stationery line and design studio. Aparna’s personality comes through in her cards, which are sure to make you smile with punny sentiments and hand drawn characters inspired by her background in animation. One of my favorite parts of the Green Bean line is a series of 3D cards, that come with glasses! These cards are super fun and innovative, a guaranteed hit with recipients of all ages.

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You studied to be an animator, and in 2013, decided to start Green Bean Studio. What made you decide to turn your drawing talents to greeting cards?

Designing characters and story lines for TV shows/movies was a lot of fun and I considered it to be my dream profession. During my post-grad I attended a class on illustrating children’s books (which I want to do sometime in my life) and it made me realize that I missed the feeling of having a tangible finished product in my hand. Something I could feel, send and share with other people – like the cards I had been making for friends and family for their birthdays for as long as I can remember. I never knew it was an avenue I could really pursue until I moved to Canada a few years ago and attended a few craft shows, which opened my eyes to this wonderful world of possibilities…

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Tell me where you draw inspiration for your cute characters from. 

From childhood toys (I had so many!) to books I read as a child – mostly fairy tales, all which had this magical yet innocent feel. I try to incorporate all that into my cards. I guess I try keeping even my ‘adult’ cards pretty much cute and audience friendlygreen-bean-studio-com-intro-gifGiven your animation background, do you begin to imagine story lines for the characters in your cards? 

Most definitely! There is usually a whole family of characters for one card –all with unique stories and names.

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You have a seriously cool series of 3D cards! Where did this idea come from?

 Most of my friends are working on TV shows/movies all with super cool effects/CG/3D – I wanted to incorporate that new age ‘cool’ factor with an old school kick to the cards – and so 3D cards with glasses came to life!

It made a simple card more interactive, not only for the person receiving it, but also for everyone watching the receiver try on the glasses and look amazed – everyone wants in on the fun experience!

Please tell me about your creative process. Do all of your pieces start as drawings and evolve to paintings?

Ideas come to me at the most random time – I always keep sketchpad to write or sketch them. Every 2 weeks or so these ideas make it into my IDEA BOOK – from where I choose one to work on. Then there is more doodling, sketching, assembling references for color, composition and then I lay it down using acrylics/gouache after which it is scanned and digitally corrected for print bringing my characters to life. I usually have more of a creative week or two where I finish 5-6 designs.

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Your cards incorporate your hand lettering – how have you developed your lettering style?

My own handwriting had to adapt to different geographical preferences: as a kid growing up in India there was a lot of emphasis on practicing cursive handwriting in school and during summer holidays. I then moved to Botswana with my parents for a few years where the emphasis was on printing. I had to adapt to these varying styles resulting in a very flexible style, which I can switch easily as per need.

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Any new projects in the works?

This summer I am working on range of 3D cards –which I promise will be so much fun! Keep and eye out for tote bags and lapel pins too!


Father's Day Paper SourceWith the excitement of Mother’s Day and the beginning of summer, we often times forget to have the same momentum for Father’s Day! It’s just as important to acknowledge dads and/or father figures so we got you covered with these cards, both funny and sentimental.

first image via Paper Source

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Ink Meets PaperTiny Gang Designs Father's DayTiny Gang DesignsPower and Light Father's DayPower and Light PressRexmake Father's DayREXMAKE


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Paula & Waffle is a super sweet line of whimsical stationery designed by Paula with inspiration from her sidekick Waffle, a four-year-old Havanese pup. Based in New York City, Paula draws on the city and walks with Waffle for creative fodder. Her cards  range from witty and adorable to pretty patterns and florals, with designs for all occasions. I adore Paula’s patterns (many of which can be found on her fab gift wrap!) and her script lettering.

You started Paula & Waffle in 2014 – what made you decide to make the jump from your career in online marketing to building your own stationery line?

I was always into the arts in high school. I spent my summers at art camps & classical music festivals and honestly thought that I was going to pursue a career in teaching & performing classical music. Long story short, I went to college in NYC and ended up going into ad tech right after graduation. I loved the fast pace of the industry, worked on amazing ideas and loved working with insanely smart people, but part of me always missed using the creative side of my brain. One day I woke up, thought about where I wanted to be in 10 years, and just couldn’t see myself going down the career path that I was on. I decided to take two graphic design classes at Parsons and absolutely loved them! I left ad tech a few months after that and started Paula & Waffle.

Where are some of your places to sketch and draw inspiration from?

In the summer, Waffle and I often go to Central Park, where he squirrel-watches and I sketch. I also often sketch from various cafes in NYC and outdoor museum spaces. We’re lucky to live in such a vibrant city! There is inspiration everywhere – from the conversations we have to the dramatic architecture, to the diverse art and food; there is so much that we draw from and are inspired by in our work.

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Tell me a bit of your design process. How do you go from idea to finished product?

I always have a sketchbook or notebook nearby so that whenever inspiration hits, I jot down a quick note or a doodle. About once or twice a month (depending on how busy we are!), I compile all of the ideas and start putting together an informal mood board with colors, musical inspiration (a lot of the colors and themes we choose are drawn from the music that I’m listening to at the time!) and sit down and begin seriously drawing and designing. I go through periods of intense focus, so each series of 8 – 12 cards is usually created in 3-4 days. Once the drawing phase is done, I then scan all of the work and digitally color and edit the designs for production. In-between designing cards, I also do a bit of custom branding and wedding work, which is a lot of fun for me!

You’ve released a series of new designs for spring 2016, which debuted at the National Stationery Show. What is the experience of exhibiting at NSS like?

NSS is an amazing and intense experience. It’s amazing because you have so much talent and creativity in one place. I’m always so awed by the smart ideas and gorgeous collections that I see from other designers. It’s also super intense because there is so much paper and so much variety that the first time you walk the show, it can be a bit overwhelming both visually and mentally (but only because it’s so awesome!).

Dachs-2-2 I love that you named your line after yourself and your super cute pup, Waffle.  What does a day in the life of Paula & Waffle look like?

We usually kick off our day around 8 a.m. Waffle and I walk about a mile every morning through Riverside Park, then head to our studio in Long Island City where we might fill orders, design, or any combination of the two. We go home around 8 p.m. most days and watch some bad (sometimes good) TV 😉

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Please finish this sentence: Snail mail is…

Snail mail is our favorite form of communication!

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Any dream collaborations or projects in your near future?

We’re currently working on our first wedding collection, which I am sooo excited about! We’re aiming to launch it a bit later this year – stay tuned for more details!

 


il_570xN.980490862_j57i Bremelo Press in collaboration with Leigh Riibe

Let’s talk letterpress. The feel of ink engrained into paper is a stationery lover’s dream. It appeals to the analogue lover in me, setting and inking type and pulling prints. It’s no wonder I was so taken with the letterpress stationery lines at last month’s National Stationery Show (NSS). Some of the designers there were familiar favorites, while others were delightful discoveries.

It goes without saying that I couldn’t help but gush when I met the creatives behind stellar lines like Egg Press and Hello!Lucky. These gals are just lovely, trendsetting creatives with a passion for stationery and  sending snail mail. These are my kind of people.

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Hello!Lucky

There was more gushing when I happened on the Hammerpress booth. I am such a fan of this design studio established in 1994. One of their postcards sits on my desk, truly it is a work of art. I adore the vintage style of many Hammerpress designs as well the typography and patterns.

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I loved checking out new designers like BRYLO, created by designer Chaz, who debuted her line of letterpress cards at NSS. These modern designs are flora and fauna inspired, simple and classy.

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The painterly feel of Tack and Ward’s designs really appeals to me. The combo of swishes of color and unique hand lettering is on point.

Bremelo Press charmed me with sentiments like “it’s better than i imagined” and “build a fort, take a nap”. These cards (with a serif black type) are, for me, almost like bits of an e.e. cummings poem, type fragments that evoke a sweetness. Bremelo also has a great collab with artist Leigh Riibe.

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I immediately gravitated toward Richie Designs‘ “OK, if we get caught, here’s the story” card – because we’ve all been there at one time or another. These designs are quirky and funny, sure to make you grin.

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RifleRifle Paper Co. 

What a whirlwind (and all we did was walk the show)! The National Stationery Show (NSS) was four days of inspiration in one of the world’s best cities, the Big Apple. NSS is a trade show for stationery buyers, an opportunity for designers to showcase their new paper products. NSS was a visual feast, with designers from across the US, Canada and internationally featuring their stationery lines and related products. There are so many great moments to share, which are impossible to encapsulate in just one post, so stay tuned for more!

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For the last few years, Ink Meets Paper creates a new design for their Text Less, Write More postcard. A piece of letterpress art, this postcard is my mantra. I love this year’s design (possibly too much to send out).

Steam Whistle Letterpress is simply the cat’s pajamas. Designer and printer Brian Stuparyk uses vintage type and images in his designs, which he describes as a throwback to the days when letterpress was king. He wins for most inventive business card, which actually folds up into a whistle (and it works!).

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Before getting married, my husband and I were in a long distance relationship (or LDR as the kids call it). Sometimes, we went months without seeing each other (cue violins) and it was tough on us. Tiffany, the fab and talented maker behind Shifting Status Kuo, has designed a line of cards that is perfect for couples in different area codes.

Amy Heitman is sweet as pie, and her designs are gorgeous. An artist and illustrator, Amy creates beautiful prints, cards and wrap with thoughtful sentiments. I adore her florals and use of color.

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August Paper Co.‘s Marissa created a seriously cool tissue paper collage backdrop for her booth at the show. She starts each card with a tissue paper collage, which is photographed and printed, and then uses a letterpress to add sentiments to each design.

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More posts to come, as well as some interviews with the designers we met!