The Paper Fold 's Private RSS Feed for Sarah Schwartz
Rosanna Kvernmo of Shorthand
Hold onto your undated planners everyone, Rosanna is here, and my, does she have a lot to spill! When I last checked in with her, pre-pandemic, the founder of this letterpress brand and Los Angeles shop had just lost her husband and co-founder Joel to brain cancer, leaving their 18-month-old daughter Judith behind as well. Our stationery community is such that we rallied around Rosanna from around the nation however we could, but it was Rosanna's fortitude and mindset that enabled her to triumph.
Not only has Rosanna survived, she and Shorthand have thrived, with the latter growing according to the traditional definition of a corporation — "work being done by a group of people that cannot be achieved by an individual" — and she proudly and stably employs an ever-growing team of LA gig-economy creatives.
Shorthand also has a new official name as well as its largest release ever this summer, exhibiting at the Dallas and Atlanta markets respectively in June and July and Shoppe Object in New York in August. So just like the office goods and stationery Shorthand lovingly creates and curates, there is a lot more going on here than initially meets the eye. This episode takes a deep dive into life, love and letterpress, and as such is not to be missed!
Wendy Hind of Tiny Poetry Project
We all know that a life lived in letters is a far richer one, but what about the letter itself? Former university vice president, professor, policy advisor, attorney and poet Wendy Hind tackled this question, and you may be surprised at the results.
The mission of her Tiny Poetry Project is to give, not receive, so for her poems printed on plantable paper, being stationery is just one step in its circle of life. After being read and digested, each notecard or postcard can be planted to yield wildflowers; any envelopes are 100% recycled and card sleeves are plant-based and compostable. Tiny Poetry cards are kind to our hearts and the environment, Wendy emphasizes.
The tagline of Tiny Poetry Project, medicine for the soul, alludes to Wendy's attachment to narrative medicine, which began after her own son was born with a life-threatening congenital heart condition. This medical approach utilizes patients' narratives in clinical practice, research, and education as a way to promote healing, and Wendy also conducts narrative medicine workshops and contributes to various poetry and medical humanities blogs and podcasts.
So, although Wendy is brand new to the wholesale stationery game, her perspective may just leave you rethinking not just your approach, but the magical potential of the medium to connect and even heal.
Bonnie of The Bonnie Marcus Collection
Every last woman stationery maker you see today is building her brand upon the shoulders of the women who forged their paths before them — and the younger generation may not even know it. Bonnie Marcus has been a prominent figure in the stationery and gift industry for 20 years, counting celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Kathryn Heigl among her custom clientele and snagging the prestigious American Express “Make Mine a $Million Business” contest for women entrepreneurs.
Yet it only appeared easy from the outside; as Bonnie was building the Bonnie Marcus Collection of invitations, stationery, partyware and gifts, she was also raising three sons. For years at National Stationery Show, she would duck away from her booth while writing wholesale orders for baby shower invitations and announcements to nurse in the restroom next door. Such is the Mom-friendly spirit of our paper community that the booth space itself was implemented onto the show floor by management just to accommodate this new Mom's needs!
Today, two of those sons are college age, and Bonnie has shifted much of her wholesale business to the licensing model, but she still brings her unmistakable sense of style — to say nothing of hard-won wisdom and a surprise or two — to The Paper Fold.
Michelle Angenent of 417 Press
So, you think you can write a clever card, the kind that makes you laugh uncontrollably and that you just HAVE to send your friend, who will totally get it? Maybe you should think again — it's not nearly as easy as it looks.
Just ask Michelle of 417 Press, who has been letterpressing her signature blend of wit and wisdom since 2015. The graphic designer first discovered letterpress while planning her own wedding — but soon realized she has a special affinity for one-liners.
So, quicker than you can say "good thing you're hot because your farts are nasty," an award-winning range was born. Now this fellow INFJ and GenXer swings by to discuss building a range, quickly transforming pop culture trends into cutting-edge messaging, and turning life's challenges into the correspondence that connects us.
Ken and Rachel of The Lobster Studio
If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere ... and that truism definitely applies to The Lobster Studio. This brand first came to life organically, as a hand-drawn, homemade Valentine from Ken Crossland to his wife Rachel Lauren James. It depicted the tails of the cats in their newly blended households forming a heart.
That one card became a small collection, and in 2018, The Lobster Studio was officially born. Since then, the lifestyle range has grown slowly and organically alongside Ken's other career, designing New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal winning children’s books, and Rachel Lauren's, as an actor and producer.
The lovebirds drop into The Paper Fold to discuss how a personal connection to nostalgic childhood properties like Winnie the Pooh can be reinterpreted into a loveable cast of characters who feel simultaneously familiar and fresh. Best of all, mirroring the animal menagerie that appears on Lobster Studio merchandise, Ken and Rachel are part of a real-life Stationery Gang, populated with makers from several other growing stationery brands. Just like a card, this gang provides key support behind the scenes to help them all grow, thrive, and in turn connect others through their offerings.
Leah and Grace of Tiny and Snail
Like many stationery brands, Tiny and Snail is a family operation. Sisters Leah Nixon & Grace Nixon Peterson launched this brand in 2017, with both designing their initial 13-card signature collection, paint stroke by keystroke.
But everything flipped upside down in an instant when Leah, AKA Tiny, was crushed under a telehandler at her day job, building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Leah's right leg was amputated and she is paralyzed from the armpits down.
Out of this life-altering tragedy came a miracle ... Leah was still able to paint! Yet rather than soldering on stoically and trying to work around their new challenges, Tiny and Snail is both informed and inspired by the catastrophe.
"We didn't realize it at the time, but we were building a life raft that could keep us afloat with hope, purpose and an income after Leah's accident," Grace and Leah explain in Tiny and Snail materials. "It's been a brutal, beautiful journey. We remain so grateful for the gifts of life, art and sisterhood."
With a mission of putting artful keepsakes into the world to help foster connection and bring light to a weary world, Grace and Leah have built a thriving, powerful community around them, one devoted follower at a time. It's very hard to not be inspired by this sister act, who are forging their own maker path as they remind us all of the potential of a single card to infuse the mail with magic as it fosters human ties, one magnificent painted envelope at a time!
Girl w/Knife is your incredibly sharp new stationery BFF. Check out this award-winning, ultra-polished range that everyone's talking about — it slays on several brilliant levels!
Music Credits: “Your Treasure is Your Self”; written and performed by Sharon Glassman; Courtesy of Sharon Glassman/Smile Songs. smilesongs.com
Outstanding, never disappoints.
I relish the time I carve out to listen to the Paper Fold with charismatic host Sarah Schwartz. I enjoy her selection of guests, the interesting conversations and all the new paper insights I come away with, plus it is very entertaining.❤️❤️
An Industry Must!
As someone who has been in the stationery industry for many years (never mind how many, Nosy Parker), I can say that this podcast is a wonderful addition to our world. For anyone who’s been doing this for years or someone just starting out, it’s so interesting to hear of others’ experiences along with some of the pitfalls. And Sarah Schwartz, who loves paper as much as we all do, is the perfect host! You can see her journalism background shining through.
Lover of stationery
I am a consumer of all things paper. I stumbled across this podcast and enjoy the lovely banter between Sarah and her guests. It is both entertaining and interesting! Thank you for creating this podcast—it’s perfect for all of us “paper nerds”.