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

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I rarely let people talk for themselves, since I have succumbed to that dreadful habit of talking before listening.  I planned to do so once again when reintroducing Jamie Ostrow to stationers and consumers who hunger for contemporary design, but I was left speechless at the beauty of her new albums (Bar & Bat Mitzvah, Social Stationery and two Wedding albums).   Wow!! – is the only word that describes these stunning designs.   I leave it Jamie to explain herself:

Most of you have landed on this webpage because you are familiar with Jamie Ostrow from having stationery or invitations or holiday cards designed and printed by us Perhaps you visited our store on Madison Avenue in New York City which we had for 15 years or today you shop in a store that carries our products, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with our work please indulge me and allow me to tell you who we are, what we do and what we think.

I decided to go into this business when I realized that what the personalized stationery and invitation world was missing was good contemporary design. Everything was dated or boring (or both!) I knew that I could create colorful exciting designs that would be simple, sophisticated and elegant but fit in, in today’s modern world.

For the past 30 years I have remained true to this goal. Our designs continue to be fresh without being contrived or ever over done. Our designs are as timely as they are classic, incorporating the “in” colors and styles of the seasons with designs that are ageless.

This is not the site for flowers and flourishes – All our products are crisp and clean – relying on the use of typography as the focus of the design. This, along with our use of color and texture in both paper and ink are what make Jamie Ostrow stationery and invitations stand out from the rest.

No one has ever received a Jamie Ostrow invitation that popped – up, dropped – out or otherwise made you think “how gauche”. Nothing over-the-top – just understated, pleasing to the eye and always in good taste.

I would have included a few images to accompany this article, but I hardly know where to start.  I suggest you take a look at Jamie’s website and see for yourself why that edgy New York contemporary design is so refreshing and unique.   From my perspective, it’s the difference between “grown-up” stationery and wallpaper.

In a world where most designers are chasing the Walmart model of creative obsolesce, it is reassuring to see a few true designers and craftspeople that refuse to compromise on the integrity of their vision and art.  Welcome back Jamie!

Richard W. May
Therese Saint Clair

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Arzberger has become the new “go-to” resource for engraved stationery and custom invitations.  Currently, Arberger is overwhelmed with new business now that Crane & Co. has decided to implement their recently announced “back to basics” strategy.

Stationers across the United States are still reeling from Crane’s decision in late December to significantly reduce customization options, ink colors, paper stock and envelope linings in an effort to reconfigure their business.  Many in the industry had expected that Crane’s acquisition of  William Arthur in November signaled a major push by Crane to dominate high-end fashion stationery and custom invitations.   This is clearly not the case.

While Arzberger’s printing business has increased, I was informed by a spokesperson for the company that they still welcome new business from stationers and clients who seek quality and time-tested printing and classic designs.   I was reassured that Arzberger has more than enough printing capacity to fill the vacuum left behind by Crane.

Azberger has produced finely crafted wedding, personal and social stationery for customers throughout the United States since 1922.  From design to shipping, everything necessary to produce your stationery is done by us in our facility in Charlotte.  Just because we have been doing this forever does not make us boring or dreary; to the contrary, it makes us one of the only companies in this business that has consistently been getting it right.  For more information on their philosophy (which most quality stationers share), please visit their website.

For those searching for a world-class printer and design company that can easily fulfill the needs of your current Crane clients and to establish an ongoing relationship for future custom business, please acess the attached contact information for Arzberger.   I will be providing additional information in later posts, but I have been overwhelmed with requests from dealers across the United States seeking alternatives to fill the vacuum left behind by Crane.  Based on my initial conversations with Elizabeth Edwards, I am confident that Arzberger is more than capable of meeting the expectations of your most demanding clients.

Richard W. May
Founding Member of the Stationers Guild

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Today thru April 2nd, Crane & Co. is offering good cost savings on all customized stationery sales and customized invitations. Select 75 or more units from Crane and receive 25 absolutely free.

If you are shopping for new stationery or have just become engaged and should post a save the date invitation or wedding invitations. Today is the right time to buy your stationery or invitations and benefit of this exceptional promotion. Crane’s sale is easily available to you through authorized Crane retailers in stores close to you or at Crane’s website. Shop locally with the help of a skilled stationer to view the wide selection of Crane’s personalization options and printing methods or check out Crane on the web.

Crane & Co. has been manufacturing high-quality stationery and custom party invitations for well over two centuries. This Dalton, MA firm is known for its exceptional engraving, hand-painted edges and great assortment of 100% cotton cardstock. Now through April 2nd you can shop for Crane’s stylish stationery and save yourself money at the same time. Please don’t wait and visit a Crane store in your community or shop online. You will be glad you did so.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Today thru April 2nd, Crane & Co. is giving you great savings on most customized stationery sales and custom invitations. Buy 75 or more units from Crane and receive 25 totally free.

Crane Stationery and Invitation Promotion

Maybe you are on the lookout for new stationery or have just gotten engaged and will want to send a save the date announcement or wedding invitations. Now is the right moment to order your stationery or invitations and take advantage of of this fantastic promotion. Crane’s promotion is easily available to you through listed Crane dealers in retail stores in your town or at Crane’s online storefront. Purchase in the area with the help of a seasoned stationer to see the extensive range of Crane’s personalization options and printing alternatives or check out Crane on the internet.

Crane & Co. has been producing exceptional stationery and custom wedding invitations for well over two hundred years. This Dalton, MA firm is well known for its exceptional engraving, hand-painted borders and great range of 100% cotton papers. Now through April 2nd you can buy Crane’s fashionable stationery and spend less money as well. You shouldn’t hold back and visit a Crane dealer in your community or go shopping online. You will be pleased you did so.

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Now through August 2nd, received 25 FREE thank you notes or personalized stationery from Crane when you order 75 or more.  This great summer promotional offer is available at Crane dealers in the United States or at Crane online.   We recommend shopping locally at your local stationery store to see Crane’s great new designs and customization options.

I’ve always had a love for cotton paper and eye-catching patterns. I still recall how stimulated I was by the engraved crest of a European family that appeared to float on a correspondence card. My ardor has not yet diminished through these years and I’m fortunate to own a stationery store and can indulge my interest.

You will discover something very special and completely unique about making the effort to send a hand-written note to a loved one or close friend. I opt to make use of a half-note with my personalized monogram while my husband prefers the correspondence card with his name engraved across the top edge. We each enjoy the luxury of switching our stationery every couple of years whenever we get tired of the color styles or a particular envelope liner. As such, we were excited to take delivery of the newest Personal Stationery Album from Crane.

For more than two hundred years Crane & Co. has elevated the bar for personalized stationery and custom invitations. In June, Crane launched its latest Personal Stationery album that contains almost everything a customer really needs for communicating in style: foldover notes, correspondence cards, thank you notes, jotter cards and note pads. Crane has rejuvenated many of its vintage stationery styles and designs as well as incorporating a number of fresh modern designs which are certainly very likely to catch the attention of stationery lovers.

Crane’s Personal Stationery album contains a brand new page layout displaying a comprehensive stationery wardrobe for both business and social stationery. Its straightforward product presentation shows many color selection and paper-size options as well as features call-outs highlighting premium features, craftsmanship, etiquette and design ideas.

The latest stationery album also provides a helpful summary of Crane’s premium papers, double hand-bordered cards, engraving and monograms. There are approximately 80 envelope lining alternatives to pick from in addition to Crane’s proprietary fonts and motifs. In short, this is a virtuoso showcase of Crane’s rich traditions in making exceptional stationery.

Sheila P. May
Therese Saint Clair

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I realize it has been a long winter, but the cold and snowy months of January and February are months for reflection and catching up on correspondence.  This thought came to me while Sheila and I were relaxing and catching a few “rays” between snow storms.

While most of our neighbors spend the winter in Florida, a few hearty (read “foolish”) souls grit it out in the northeast.  We are often so worn out by the holiday season, that we don’t get a chance to read Christmas cards and holiday greetings until early January.   For me, there are few things better than sitting down in front of a roaring fire and leisurely work through a mountain of cards from friends and family. 

“Catching up with the Jones family” may seem rather banal in today’s digital society, but I have found that reading a short note or the occasional letter to be a comfortable and reassuring form of communication.  Other than using exclamation points and the occasional hashtag or asterick, I have found it difficult to express feelings or context in a 140 character text message.  

As I read through the letters, I am often prompted to pick up my pen and dash off a short note congratulating new grandparents on the birth of their first granddaughter or offering sympathy to a friend who had lost a loved one during the previous year.   Frankly, there is something intimate and civil about using a handwritten note for those occasions.

Fortunately, many fine paper companies offer stationery promotions during January and February.  I still believe that Crane’s free die promotion is one of the best sales events of the season.  Simply order 100 personalized notes and cards and receive  free name and address dies (a $96 value).  Similary, William Arthur and Vera Wang will provide you with 25 free pieces of stationery with any order or 75 or more.  Writing those handwritten notes has never been easier or less expensive.  So don’t let the winter get you down and “cut yourself some rope” by getting personal with personalized stationery.

So hang in there and get busy writing. It can be infectious.

Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Last weekend, a woman walked into Thérèse Saint Clair looking for ecru sheets that matched the engraved, double hand-bordered sheets of her personalized stationery.   It isn’t often that you see engraved stationery of this quality and I commented on its elegance.  She explained that her husband had bought the stationery for her some years ago in London and that sadly all she had left were a few envelopes.

Her husband arrived shortly thereafter after parking the car in snow-challenged Greenwich and brought with him the matching envelope.  As I suspected, it was engraved stationery from Smythson of Bond Street.   In recent years, Smythson has been a playtoy for investment bankers, but was acquired last year by the Italian group Tivoli.    I tend to think of Smythson more for their leather products than their stationery, but Smythson craftsmanship and paper quality remains high.

Unfortunately, we were not able to match Smythson’s paper (color and size were a bit off), but I did suggest that Crane had some beautiful hand-bordered papers and could certainly match the color palatte of her existing stationery.  For those not familiar with hand-bordering, the video clip below shows Crane’s experienced and talented artisans demonstrating how card stock is hand-bordered.  This demo took place at the 2010 National Stationery Show:

In a world of flat-printed Photoshop cards, it is a breath of fresh air to see skilled artisans practice their trade and produced hand-bordered stationery of exquisite beauty. To see examples of Crane’s elegant stationery, visit a stationery store located in your neighborhood.

Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Now through March 28th, Crane & Co. is offering a free name or monogram die and free return address plate (a $96 value) with any order of 100 printed cards, fold-over notes, folders or sheets and envelopes that are engraved of printed in letterpress.  This is Crane’s signature stationery event and a most popular one for those looking for beautiful engraved stationery printed on 100% cotton paper by Crane.  So popular is this stationery sale, that we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your local stationery store and see hundreds of sample cards and notes printed in letterpress or engraved on Crane paper. 

Engraving is one of the oldest and most elegant processes for reproducing images on paper.  Engraving  etches an image onto a copper plate. Ink is then applied to the copper plate or die where the ink gathers in the engraved cavity. Cotton paper is then pressed into the cavity of the plate, resulting in a raised right-reading image on the front and a slight bruising on the back where pressure was applied.   

Engraving is used for all types of events on many forms of stationery. Every piece of engraved stationery is fed into the engraving press by hand. Because there is no mass production in engraving, each impression — be it a note, invitation or card — is a customized one. The most elegant invitations are engraved. Wedding invitations, in particular, are commonly engraved. The finished product has a warmth all its own that conveys an unspoken message of distinction and timelessness.

Sheila P. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Vanessa Redgrave is my favorite actress and I have had a crush on her since the mid-60s when I saw her perform opposite David Warner in Morgan.    I make it a point of seeing every film she is in and when asked to see a sneak preview of Letters to Juliet (the Juliet of Romeo and Juliet fame) on Mother’s Day, how could I resist?

Now some might argue that Letters to Juliet  is a chick-flick, but any film set in Verona, Siena and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany can’t be all that bad.   With the exception of the dewey-eyed Vanessa and a cameo appearance by Franco Nero, most of the performances were Hollywood-lite but who cares as long as there is a happy ending.  I certainly didn’t.

The plot – if you can call it that – revolves around a young American girl on a pre-honeymoon trip with her boarish fiance.  While touring Verona, she notices many young women posting letters on the wall underneath Juliet’s balcony.   In much the same way people write to Ann Landers, women of all ages  seek advice from Juliet on “matters of the heart” and appear daily to blanket the wall with their letters.  While some may find this behavior somewhat bizarre since Juliet  has been dead for over 500 years and was only 13 years old when she stabbed herself with Romeo’s dagger, I find the ritual charming.

Each day at dusk the self-appointed secretaries of Juliet take down the letters and retire to a nearby palazzo to answer these letters on behalf of Juliet.  These lovely ladies give hope to these heart-stricken women by sending a hand-written note, no doubt written on Juliet’s engraved stationery.  In fact, the young American woman finds a letter hidden behind a stone written 50 years earlier by Vanessa who asks for Juliet’s advice on whether to settle for a conventional English marriage or run off with a young Italian man with whom she was passionately in love.  I won’t spill any further details.

Now imagine if this lovely ritual could occur in today’s digital society.  I suppose one could Tweet Juliet or become a Facebook Fan if Juliet has a “Fan” or “Like” Page, but it hardly seems the same compared to penning a letter in a small courtyard under the most famous balcony in the world.  I guess today’s techies could leave behind a RW CD or, perhaps, a USB port under the balcony in the hope that some “New Age” secretary would would care enough to send an e-mail.  Alas, I think not.  But imagine how rich our lives would be if a perfect stranger – in the interests of “love” – would simply pen a note and let you know they hear you and wish you well. 

Oh, it’s only a film.  We have little time for romance and passion in today’s world.  How sad.

Richard May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I was recently at a cocktail party exchanging the usual banalities when a young woman (early thirties) asked me what I did? I told her that my wife and I owned a stationery store in Greenwich. Perhaps feeling sorry for me, she enthusiastically responded that “some of best friends use stationery.” Helping her to feel more comfortable with her obvious embarrassment, I explained that I had arthritic thumbs and couldn’t text all that well and found that the occasional handwritten note on engraved stationery was a good way to stay in touch with friends.

Proving that all good samaritans now have an iPhone, my enthusiastic new “friend” promptly explained that “the iPhone has this new app (read application) which allows you to speak into the phone and it will automatically post your Tweet.  No need to struggle with your disability.  Doesn’t Apple think of everything?”   

Not one to miss out on continuing this informative conversation with Generation Y, I explained I had heard of Twitter, but “was looking for a more meaningful form of communication than 140 characters.”

“Oh, don’t be silly,” she responded. “It’s not what you say, but how often you say it.  It’s all about being connected with your friends.  Sending a note is cute and sentimental and all that . . . but imagine being able to chat with all your friends  instantaneously.”

Feigning ignorance, I remarked “I had never thought of it quite that way.  I suppose none of my friends really care to be that – oh, how shall I phrase it:  ”intimate?”  Doesn’t it bother you to be on call 24/7 and what about privacy?

Not one to be deterred, “Twitter_Lady” quickly picked up on the privacy issue.  “It used to bother me until I learned how to create circles of friends and small groups on Twitter to share my thoughts.  I mean you don’t have to share everything with everybody, it is really pretty cool how you can be as open or as private as you need to be.”

“I find the subject very interesting. Perhaps I could drop you a note and you could let me know what I need to do to get connected on Twitter,”  I suggested.

“Oh, it’s not that difficult, just go to Twitter.com and set up an account,” she said.   Once you’ve got your Twitter name, just send me an email Tweet @jtpapertiger and I’ll add you to my followers.

To paraphrase the eighth Century poet Han-shan

“There was an old woman who lived east of me She laughed at me for falling behind I laughed at her for getting ahead We laughed as though we would never stop

She from the East and I from the West.” 

Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

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