Featured Designer: ILootPaperie

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Doris and Alice are the creative sisters behind the funny, cute and all around fantastic ILootPaperie. Their designs range from hilariously punny to cheeky, with gems like ‘thanks for being my super gyro’. Hula hooping unicorns and surfing cactuses make their way onto greeting cards, sure to make you smile. In addition to seriously cool paper products, ILoot offers up apparel for your small fry and adorable enamel pins.

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I’m a sucker for a good pun, and your cards make me giggle. Tell me about your creative process. (I’m imaging you sharing your sketchbooks and coming up with witty one-liners for the illustrations you create.)

Doris: I really wish we did share sketchbooks! But in reality, we actually come up with one-liners wherever we go and throughout the day, i.e. in supermarkets, on the way to card drops – often times, in the car because that’s when we both have time to sit down. We have collected lists and lists of witty (or at least they crack us up) sayings or puns that are our concept start points. From there, depending on various circumstances, we collectively determine which concept will be brought to life with Alice’s quirky illustrations. 

Alice: It’s often a very sporadic process consisting of excitable exclamations, texts and emails back and forth. It’s intensely collaborative – and a loose workflow. Sometimes we have a subject matter in mind and have an idea of what the illustration or doodle would look like, and then we work backwards to hone in on the perfect tagline. 

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ILootPaperie took shape after you created custom wedding invitations for good friends. How did this foray into paper inspire you to start your own stationery line?

Doris: Designing custom wedding invitations for our close friends allowed us to get our feet wet with key aspects of the paper world – the beautiful array of papers and card sizes, working with printers – we were definitely smitten. We realized we particularly drawn to the process of putting together the Thank You cards concepts that complemented each set of invitations. And we’ve always loved cards. From there it occurred to us that creating our own stationery line would allow us focus on putting to paper, the cheeky thoughts and visuals that make us laugh. 

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Why stationery? What do you love about snail mail?

Alice: Email is great and definitely has its place in the world; but snail mail is communication on a tactile level. We love being in an industry that encourages people to stop and take time to reach out in a way that let’s the other person know that you are really thinking of them. That effort to write a little note is taken for granted. When you do take time to make that connection, you realize that little bit of effort can make a big impact in someone else’s day. It’s magic. And – we really do firmly believe snail mail is the best mail.

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What inspires you?

Doris: Anything and everything! We both firmly believe that even the most mundane, everyday routine things can be a source of inspiration – you just have to pay attention and think fun thoughts!

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Please tell me a bit about your artistic background.

Alice: Neither of us went to art school. Though I’ve always been drawn to the creative process – we were encouraged to pursue art as more of a side hobby.

My exposure to design was based in commercial fashion. I learned illustrator at my second job out of college, doing flat sketches and creating line sheets when I worked at a women’s swimwear design company. We started Ilootpaperie in December of 2010, when I was at my third job working in marketing and design at a women’s shoewear company. The artwork I created for our own stationery line was a combination of my doodling, my vector art and light experimentation with other art processes.

We realized slowly that everyone draws upon what they know to shape their illustrations to give voice to the ideas in their heads. Or in this case, to the ideas in our heads. I am now taking some classes at Art Center at Night. It is both inspiring and intimidating!

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What is it like partnering up and working with your sister?

Doris: Not going to lie! It’s awesome – we can’t imagine it otherwise; because we’ve grown up together, we have similar references and tend to be on the same page on various things especially when it comes to things we find amusing. But at the same time, we feel comfortable enough to voice concerns and work out conflicting opinions, which is often needed to help make the right decisions for the company.

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I had the pleasure of meeting you at NSS this year. Please share a bit about the NSS experience. 

Alice: It was tough! but we survived. And although there were definitely times during set up when we weren’t sure if we had bitten off more than we could chew, it really did help push us to achieve and complete many of our business goals that we had laid out for the year on an accelerated timeline, for example, moving from 4bar to A2 card size. For an existing collection of 100+ designs that was a daunting task to complete especially with an addition of 30 completely new designs – and we did it!

NSS also really re-affirmed our appreciation for the stationery industry – meeting so many like minded peers, fighting the good fight! Snail mail lovers unite.

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In addition to stationery, you’ve added some apparel and pins to your line. Any plans to expand this component of your line?

Doris: Our forays into apparel and buttons and pins has been well received – it’s definitely areas we will continue to develop. We’re always tossing around ideas about other products to add to our existing product line – we don’t have any concrete plans or works in progress currently but I wouldn’t be surprised if a new product offering or two popped up around the holidays!

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Any dream projects?

Doris: Ilootpaperie is really a dream project in it of itself – Alice and I take turns, stepping back in between the deadlines, to remind ourselves that we’ve built an amazing network and platform where we are able to create and share products that help us connect with so many over a shared laugh. We are grateful that we can explore and experiment with various designs techniques and products that make us feel like anything is possible and the world is our oyster.

Photos: Michelle Nicole Photo

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