Starting a business is hard. Really hard. I can’t tell you the countless hours I’ve spent developing the concept behind Parse & Parcel. There are so many details and a ton of planning involved. And no matter how much you plan, things are always changing. The tough part is how to plan for change without knowing exactly how things will change. This is a problem every business faces, but it’s especially difficult when you’ve got a physical product and you’re trying to find the perfect packaging solution – and you’re a start-up.
I first learned about the talented creative team of Oat when I was writing about their work for a feature on Oh So Beautiful Paper. The brand identity work I profiled was such a great example of the kind of print results that can be achieved when combining different paper stocks and production techniques. Jennifer Lucey-Brzoza and Rory Keohane are the principles of Oat, a multi-disciplinary design studio in Massachusetts. It was during this process they shared they were getting ready to launch their new stationery line, NOAT. Turns out I was already a fan of NOAT and didn’t even realize it.
Oh, really? Tell that to Jessica Hische. She’s built a pretty fab career designing book covers (among other things) for Penguin and Chronicle Books, with the sole purpose of being judged.
The reality is our work is being evaluated all the time. And I can think of no other profession where judgment is more intense than in graphic design. When someone is paying you to literally make their brand look good, you can believe they’re judging you and your work long before you ever meet them.
I love sending cards. I think it’s one of the most sincere ways to convey a sentiment. Whether it be an expression of gratitude, joy or love – it truly is the thought that counts. But I confess, I am not a fan of card shopping. Mainly because I struggle to find one that’s equally appealing in graphics and message. And don’t even get me started on the envelope. For me, a card is a reflection of the giver and just like choosing what outfit to wear to a shindig, requires a careful amount of thought and creativity. This process would be so much easier if I could just take the image in my head and create my own perfect card and envelope. Well it just so happens that a small group of creatives and myself were able to do just that. Inspired by the arrival of The Envelope Kit from Neenah, Parse & Parcel hosted a Valentine’s Day themed Crafty Hour in the sample studio this week.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a sucker for a nice looking foil stamp. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that shimmer that gets me every time. It’s kind of like in high school when you find out the boy you’ve been crushing on is going to ask you out. It’s just so fun and exciting. Well, I get the same fluttery feeling every time I see the sheen of a foil stamp. I know something special is in store. And that’s exactly the feeling we wanted to share with our latest subscriber exclusive – foil stamp thank you notes!
It’s no secret, I’m nuts about stationery. I’ve been collecting it since I was a kid, my BFF Cindy got me into it when I was 8 or so. We’d beg our moms to take us to the local stationery store so we could stock up on all our faves – Suzy Angel, Ziggy (it was the late 70’s) and anything with Snoopy on it we had to have. We each housed our collection in a shoe box we covered with gift wrap. And we were constantly sorting them, arranging them by size, color and order of importance. But the best part was the trades. We’d pour over each others collection and then offer up trades trying to get the other’s prized possession. For me, it was always this yellow notecard with an illustration of a girl on the front holding a fish bowl (I think). Don’t ask me why but I had to have it. I’d offer up 9 or 10 different cards in exchange for just that one, but Cindy never budged. Eventually more important things diverted our attention (like boys) but my love of stationery never wavered. So you can imagine my excitement when Parse & Parcel was asked by Legion Paper to collaborate on a promotion commemorating the 70th year of the National Stationery Show in a special The Legion Paper Trading Card Pack!
One of the things I love about having my own business is the fact that I can create the kind of projects I like. There are a few types of paper promos I adore, and gift wrap is at the very TOP of my list. So when it came time to think about the holiday promotion for The Parcel this year, I knew what I wanted to do. As luck would have it, literally the day I started planning the project, my friend Christine Wisnieski, sent me an email about paper recommendations for a new product line for her shop, gilded gift wrap, and a collaboration was born.
It took a while but the dog days of summer are finally here. In a summer where we’ve had more spring like temps than sweltering heat, I for one welcome its arrival. Mainly because it means I get to enjoy drinks on the patio while my husband grills up dinner (it’s too hot to cook indoors). But it won’t be long before the lazy days are over and the back-to-school frenzy begins. While we can’t do much about the start of another school year, we can help when it comes to getting organized with your school supplies, paper resources. The Sample Studio is open for business.
It’s true what they say about side projects – you never know where they will take you. I knew in my heart I wanted to make Parse & Parcel a reality, but taking that leap can be scary. Lucky for me I have some amazing people on my side that have made all difference. For me one of those people has been Christine Wisnieski, an incredibly talented multi-discipline designer based in Cleveland, Ohio. I first met Christine when I was her paper rep, together we got to work on some pretty awesome print projects. She’s always been one of those designers that gets it, especially when it comes to paper and it’s importance when designing for print. So when I finally decided to bring this passion project to life, she was one of the first people I enlisted for help.
I knew at the onset the look and feel of Parse & Parcel had to be perfect, after all it’s a business geared to the design community. I felt Christine perfectly captured the spirit of Parse & Parcel and created a beautiful brand for my business, but was I biased? While supplier feedback had been positive and subscriptions steadily increasing, I couldn’t help but wonder if the industry understood it. Any doubts I had were put to rest earlier this month when Parse & Parcel won Best of Show at the AIGA Cleveland Design 730 Competition. Somebody pinch me.
Cleveland designers, join us in The Sample Studio on June 3rd for an AIGA Reverb all about paper. I’ll share my story on how my paper obsession evolved into a business helping creatives gain unique access to the latest trends in paper, print and design. Joining me will be designer Christine Wisnieski (the creative talent behind … Read more