Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

First of all, I would like to thank all the great printing companies and designers for making the investment in time and money to raise their flag at the National Stationery Show (“NSS”).    It is a worthy and noble effort and encourages me – and hopefully many other stationers – to stand up and rejoice that “good taste” and “etiquette” will survive yet another year.   Also, kudos to the organizers of the NSS for making this great event possible.

For those independent stationers visiting the Javits Center, make sure you make a point of dropping into every vendor booth and thank them for attending.  As Sheila is often prone to say (at least in my case), “you will live much longer by spreading ‘peace and joy,’ rather than having suicidal thoughts while on yet another interminable hold for customer service.”   She is probably right, but it is often hard to do.

We just received a missive from Lallie and Stationery Fine Press – quoted in its entirely below – that the 2014 Lallie Holiday Album is ready to ship and other good news.  We are thrilled that Stationery Fine Press has “gone the extra mile” to preserve this iconic brand of fine stationery and invitations.  So if you have a chance, make sure you visit them at Booth 2655


We have exciting news about Lallie for you!

We are thrilled to be launching the first Lallie collection since Lallie arrived at Stationery Works!  The opportunity to continue the Lallie legacy in its new home at Stationery Works delights everyone here, and we hope you as well!

LOTS of news for you!

First, Lallie Holiday 2014 is ready to order!!!  The Gallery is attached as a PDF to this email for your review and enjoyment.  Forty-seven whimsical and beautiful holiday suites will be included in the new collection. Come see this new collection for yourself at the National Stationery Show – Stationery Works will be in Booth 2655.  We are excited to see you!

Not coming to show?  You can preorder by sending me an email to place your order!  As our thanks to you, our current Lallie dealers are being offered this collection for a special discounted price of $250.  We will ship the albums by June 30 in a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED order, so email or call today to beat the Stationery Show crowds!

Next, since Lallie is now a part of the Stationery Works family of printed collections, I am delighted to share with you some of the perks of being a family member!  You can look forward to:

–  pricing that is, on average for 100 pieces, about 15-20% less than prior card pricing.  Some cards are a bit less, some a bit more, but overall, your clients will enjoy savings with their Lallie selections!

– up to 3 complimentary proof sets with each order, sent to you within 1 business day of us receiving your order or changes!

– our commitment to a quick turnaround for shipment of your approved Lallie orders – generally around 7 business days, although some orders may take a bit more if they are generously embellished.

– the option for Foil Stamping as another printing method!

– our stellar customer service!  We have a company-wide commitment to treating each order as if it were our very own.  You will enjoy this level of care with each of your orders, no matter how large or small.  We are proud of our work, and it shows!   

Coming up soon will be a Creative Library Resource which will be a “one-stop shop” for all your Lallie line options – paper and ink swatches, motifs, foil colors, etc., with which you can help your clients bring their vision to life!  This Creative Library will be necessary for each dealer to have – stay tuned for details!

Also coming to you will be a Pricing Summary with which you can easily price your own stationery selections.  No more need for quoting if you change a card from how it’s shown in the album!!  You’ll be able to knowledgeably share pricing with your clients as they are customizing their cards, working within their design options and budgets.

Many of you have expressed interest in becoming a dealer for Designers’ Fine Press, our letterpress album line.  We are debuting two new Wedding albums – The Felicity Collection (Wedding 6) that features beautiful letterpress and foil designs, and The Classic Collection (Wedding 7) that showcases gorgeous traditional wedding suites in Thermography, Letterpress and/or foil.  You can view these two new collections at (Felicity) and (Classic), and if you’re interested in carrying our line, let me know!  We would be delighted to serve you through Designers’ Fine Press as well as Lallie! FINALLY, attached to this email is also the . . . . drum roll please . . . . Lallie 2015 Calendar Preorder Form!  Fill this out and give it to us at Show or fax it in to 513-831-0103 by JUNE 30 to place your Calendar order!  We anticipate them beginning to ship in late September!

Heartfelt thanks to all of you for welcoming us into the world of Lallie!!!


Our best to All!

Sheila and Richard May
Founding Members of the Stationers Guild

Monday, September 30th, 2013

In July I was terribly disappointed to report that Southworth was closing Lallie.    I am now thrilled to report that Stationery Works Inc. has “purchased” Lallie and as Owner Shannon Reber reports “There are busy days ahead as trucks with equipment, inventory and design files make their way from Massachusetts to Ohio starting this week!”

Needless to say, those in the industry who treasured Lallie’s distinctive line are thrilled.   Ms. Reber asks all Lallie dealers to save their Albums.  Sadly, we have pitched quite a few, but still have our Christmas and Moving albums.

In any event, let’s toast the resurrection of Lallie and give thanks to Stationery Works for recognizing the beauty and originality of this iconic line.

Richard May
Therese Saint Clair

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Today, I received the sad news that  Southworth would close Lallie.   Lallie was acquired a couple of years ago by Southworth who concluded that it “was not able to grow total sales or improve production the way we hoped we could.”

Lallie was established 35 years ago by Nancy Lashley and quickly established itself as one of the edgier lines in custom invitations and fine stationery.  Lallie’s success was clearly a function of Nancy’s vision, creativity and delightful sense of humor.   These are traits that cannot be enhanced or nurtured within a corporate environment.  Lallie was cutting edge because its designs came from the heart and not a printing press.

Au revoir Lallie, you will be missed.

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Sheila and I just received an autographed copy of Marjorie Maxfield’s delightful new book entitled The Write Stuff:  A Modern Guide to Personal Stationery & Weddings.  With accolades from Brian Lawrence of Encore Studios and Nancy Lowell Lashley of Lallie (among others), this short and entertaining book is an educational quick read for those interested in fine stationery and custom wedding invitations.  With etiquette and civility often overlooked in today’s wedding planning, The Write Stuff is a useful guide to help  bridal couples cope with the demands on their time and sensibilities.    The Write Stuff: A Modern Guide to Personal Stationery & Weddings may be purchased online for $19.95.  Found below is a recent interview with Marjorie on a Fox affiliate in Houston, Texas.

In The Write Stuff, Marjorie offers some practical and helpful advice with wit and charm to help plan a successful wedding.   With over 20 years experience in the stationery business and the former owner of Tanglewood Gifts and Stationery, in Houston, TX, Marjorie’s client list includes Presidents and First Ladies, astronauts, sports and rock legends and celebrities from literally all walks of life.  Now a professional guest speaker, Marjorie will be a featured guest speaker at Bridal Showcase productions in Baltimore, Richmond, Washington, D.C. and Denver in the coming months.

The twelve chapter book (excuse me, Twelve “Cantos” which in Latin is cantus and in Sanskrit means chapter) covers such topics as “e-business communiques,”  “the art of being remembered,” and “a modern guide to wedding stationery.”   One area that was certainly music to my ears was her section on “Stationery Stores are the Brides Best Friend.”    ”The staff will listen to your thoughts, understand your timetable, and translate your tastes into something beautiful and within your budget.  They will share with you their knowledge of wedding stationery and social etiquette, and basically guide your every choice.  The advantages of a stationery store?  Priceless. I promise.”  Marjorie said it far better than I could:  Maybe that is why she is on the speaking tour!

Cover of The Write Stuff

Marjorie is refeshingly hip and deftly moves between the traditional and what’s in vogue in wedding stationery etiquette without losing her balance or sense of humor.  Sophisticates from the Northeast might quibble at some of her etiquette suggestions, but The Write Stuff has been put together with grace and elegance and certainly deserves exposure in leading stationery stores throughout the US.

Thank you Marjorie for this precious contribution of “Wed-etiquette.”  Bridal couples can save themselves much angst and many wrong turns by purchasing Marjorie Maxfield’s The Write Stuff.

Sheila and Richard May
Therese Saint Clair

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Many people have opted to purchase their birth announcements from online printing companies.   Sadly, many proud parents are overlooking the great possibilities to craft a truly memorable custom birth announcement.  Whether you are looking for a traditional birth announcement or something more contemporary, I strongly encourage you to shop at a store in your neighborhood to see the many splendid samples of baby announcements.   Online companies simply offer you a cookie-cutter solution, while an experienced stationer can help you create a unique announcement that is well within your budget. 

Parents claim to find it “more convenient” to purchase their baby announcements online.   I find this surprising, since couples who purchase their baby birth announcements from a reputable stationer will often receive their envelopes and address them well before the baby is born.  Gosh, I wouldn’t want to spend the first few days with my new baby scrambling to address birth announcements.

Our family is very traditional.  In fact, for our two daughters, we have used the same Crane & Co. engraved birth announcement that was used by their mother and grandmother (Sample BC4021 in Crane’s Joy Album).

Crane Pink Baby Footprints

 While Crane & Co. has some more contemporary designs, there are a number of talented new designers who have created birth announcements rich in customization features.  Change the card stock, the motifs, ribbons, die-cut motifs to create a memorable baby announcement that will be cherished for generations.   Some of our client favorites are Lallie, Luscious Verde, Page and William Arthur.

William Arthur Giraffe Baby Announcement

Contact your neighborhood stationer now to create your custom baby announcement.   Don’t settle for low resolution images and template-based customization options:  Your new baby deserves a far better introduction to this world.

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Sarah Schwartz, the talented editor of Stationery Trends magazine, gave two standing-room only presentations at the National Stationery Show last week.  The topic was Stationery Trends for 2009.  There was so much useful and practical information crammed into Sarah’s colorful presentation that it was sometimes difficult to keep pace with her rapid-fire overview of 2009 stationery trends.  With apologies to Sarah for missing something significant, I would like to comment briefly on the six key themes highlighted in her presentation.  I am doing so without graphics since I don’t want to overload the server.

Trend 1 – The Value Proposition:  Clearly, the economic recession has had a marked impact on consumer purchasing decisions.  There were numerous examples of companies offering different printing alternatives (flat-printing or lithography vs. letterpress) to provide more affordable options for the consumer.  Along that same line, several companies were offering less expensive substitutes.  For instance, Demby and Solomon have an attractive line of return address stickers rather than the generally more expensive printed envelope.

Trend 2 – Colors to Covet:  Purple is emerging as a “hot” new color.  Orange and yellow have been around for several years and both remain popular choices for today’s young consumer.  Gray features in many upscale designs.

Trend 3 – New vs. Old Patterns:  Several companies have created a modern twist on old patterns.  For instance, Elum Designs has created some truly contemporary stationery letterpress designs using old patterns.  Lucky Onion is another company that comes to mind that is producing some “hip” invitations using traditional designs.

Trend 4 – The Perfect Green Storm:  Many companies are offering Eco-friendly stationery or invitation papers.  Playing the “green” card has become quite fashionable.  I did give the papers made from elephant dung a pass, but Night Owl Paper Goods has some attractive greeting cards and invitations made from wood.

Trend 5 – Designer Cachet:  A number of fashion trend-setters have added their name to stationery and invitation lines.  Vera Wang branches into new territory with the debut of Wedding Invitations II in June.  This follows Vera’s very successful Wedding Invitations I with William Arthur in 2005.  Martha Stewart has partnered with Crane & Co. to produced a line of 24 wedding invitation styles.  Lilly Pulitzer, MOMA and several others are adding their own distinctive touch to new stationery and invitation lines.

Trend 6 – Design Trends:  Sarah cited so many design trends that I will only highlight a few.  Animal prints (particularly wild animals), birds and butterflies are popular across many invitation lines.  Cityscape patterns found in Lallie and Faux Designs are also proving to be quite popular.  For me, the most distinctive trend was the introduction of texture into the design process.  Lattice, lace, damask and toile were evident across may lines and in some cases, like the new Vera Wang wedding invitation line, were the most riveting feature of the stationery ensemble.   Personalization, through monograms or names, continues to a growing trend in stationery.

Sarah seminar is clearly a must-see for those who are looking for something new and distinctive.  While the National Stationery Show was somewhat smaller this year, I did manage to discover 10 new companies that were not on my initial target list.  Thanks Sarah for a great introduction to this year’s National Stationery Show.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

We have just received word that the talented stationery designer Lallie will supply ”The Calendar” for 2010.  Following the unfortunate closure of the esteemed Consortium group late last year, Nancy “Lallie” Lashley has been fielding phone calls from distraught dealers all over the country to fill the void left by Jansson’s coveted calendar.  Not one to step away from a challenge, Nancy will debut her distinctive Lallie Calendar for 2010 at the National Stationery Show which opens this weekend.

Lallie 2010 Calendar Prototype

Sources close to the Stationer’s Guild inform us that the newly designed calendar will incorporate a bit of the Lallie flair but remain true to the original design and functionality of the Jansson calendar.    We understand that the calendar will be presented in its own gift box at a terrific price point of $24.  We would love to show you additional sketches from the interior of the calendar, but don’t wish to compromise our sources or get on the wrong side of Nancy.  In any event, Lallie will unveil the new calendar in just a few more days.

Lallie’s 2010 calendar promises to be a great gift item for this holiday season, so get in line for what promises to be one of the highlights of the Stationery Show.   Contact a Guild Member store in your neighborhood to get on the waiting list for Lallie 2010 Calendar debut.

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

“You never have a second chance to make a first impression.”  I can’t remember who had this sage but practical piece of advice, but nothing could be more true in today’s electronic workplace.  With website page views clocking in at 1.8 seconds and a “twit” on Twitter limited to 140 characters, you’ve got to make a strong positive impression from the get-go.

With your social and business network persona on display 24/7, one might ask if the business card is still relevant?  Thank you, it is!  In fact, we are seeing a resurgence in consumer demand for tastefully designed calling cards and business cards.   Despite the down economy, customers at Therese Saint Clair are trading in their fast-print cards for more distinctive business cards.  Business professionals recognize that their non-descript business cards just may not make it to their recipient’s Rolodex.  Maybe it makes sense to invest in a little image-building.  One way of doing so is to have an elegant business card printed on fine paper stock.

While Crane & Co. has long been the company of choice for fine business stationery, many other companies are now introducing their own distinct lines of business stationery.  William Arthur has a good selection of business cards printed on 96# paper stock to go along with a growing selection of fine stationery.  Smock Paper has a stylish but somewhat pricey line of letterpress business cards printed on bamboo paper.  Lallie and Encore have some great designs for truly distinctive business cards.

If you feel your stationery is not making that right “first impression” then perhaps a visit to a Stationers Guild member store is in order.  There you can work with experienced stationers to custom design a business card of your choice.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

There is a huge difference between designing a custom wedding invitation with an experienced stationer and populating a website template supplied by an Internet dealer.  While you may have some initial ideas in terms of colors, time of the season or, perhaps, you have seen a sample invitation in a bridal magazine, most young couples will use a search engine.

“Custom wedding invitations” must be a very popular search term as evidenced by the fact that there were more than 2 million pages listed on Google when I entered that phrase into the search bar today.  While there are many websites competing for your eyes, the question is whether they are useful.  I guess it depends on what you are searching for and whether you wish to play a meaningful role in designing your wedding invitation.

Based on the sheer number of websites that appear in the top listings for organic search (not paid), it appears as if the vast majority of these websites represent online printers or online resellers.  Customization to an online printer or reseller means selecting from a number of sample images on their website and then filling-in an online template for the wording, font style, inks colors and quite possibly the printing process.  While some of these websites are very sophisticated, the process is similar to painting by the numbers.  I have written previously about the pitfalls of selecting wedding invitations online, but this approach may work for some people.

For those seeking a truly “custom” wedding invitation, I strongly recommend that you consult an experienced stationer in your neighborhood.  You may find one of these stationers by entering your zip code or city and state in the search bar on the StationersGuild website.  These stationers carry a number of samples provided by leading designers and fine paper companies in the industry.  Many of these companies such as Arabella, Smock, Page, Mr. Boddington, Oblation, Lallie, Prentiss Douthit, Encore and Julie Holcomb do not sell online and instead rely on their authorized dealers to act as an interface between the client and the printing company.  Seeing invitation samples from a variety of designers and paper companies is essential to help refine your customization options.  While at first it may seem a bit overwhelming, when your work with a leading stationer you will be able to narrow down your options and discuss ways to add your own customization ideas to create a truly personalized invitation.

While leading companies such as Crane & Co. and William Arthur have a large network of qualified dealers, they also allow you to create your wedding invitation online.  While some people may find this more convenient, all of their online customization options and many more can be obtained by working with one of their qualified dealers.  As Sheila May of Therese Saint Clair points out, “99% of my wedding invitations contain one or more customization features that are simply not available in the samples provided by my fine paper companies or online.  Most brides want to stamp their personality on the event with something meaningful or of special significance to the bridal couple and their families.”

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Known for its distinctive style and playful designs, Lallie is one of the most sought after holiday card lines.  In fact, Lallie generally turns away all new orders well before the end of November.  This year, you can get a leg up on holiday stress for next year and save 20% by ordering now from their stunning 2008 Holiday Card Album.  This special promotion qualifies for all orders submitted by February 1st, 2009.  In addition, Lallie is also providing a free return address on all stationery orders in January.  Contact a Guild member store in your neighborhood who carries the Lallie line for more details.

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