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Smock donates letterpress printing to the Nest, a cool nonprofit – lovely letterpress love cards!

We’ve been fans of the Nest for awhile — they’re a great nonprofit who gives micro-credit loans to women artists in developing countries, and they’re funded by products sold on their web site. And we love to donate our letterpress printing and design to causes we believe in. So we were thrilled to design and print (pro bono) these lovely letterpress cards, to help the Nest with their donation campaign (the design is based on one of our new letterpress greeting cards).
Letterpress love cards for the Nest - donated by Smock
Letterpress pro bono printing for the Nest - donated by Smock
The Nest very sweetly sent us these cool travel mugs – one for every person in our print shop. The red color makes up so happy while sipping our herbal tea (or, okay, we sip coffee in them too).
Cool travel mugs from the Nest
Read about another pro bono letterpress printing project that we donated to the Amazon Conservation Fund. And learn more about the Nest and the good that they do here.

Smock letterpress cards & gift wrap help women artists get micro-loans via Nest

Smock + Nest
If you’re still looking for unique holiday gifts that help save the world, go right this minute to Nest ( Nest is a nonprofit who gives micro-credit loans to women artists in developing countries, and they’re funded by products sold on their web site. We were excited to learn about Nest for a lot of reasons (inspiration! cool gifts! women helping women!), but also because developing countries are often where drastic environmental mis-uses are occurring, simply because there are not enough economic opportunities other than clear-cutting, etc. On Nest, we’re selling a selection of Smock letterpress note cards, letterpress thank you cards, letterpress gift tags, and 100% post-consumer recycled gift wrap. A percentage of every sale goes to fund the hard and good work that Nest is doing. Nest was recently picked by Oprah as a “Gift that Gives.” Thanks to our new Smock wedding dealer, Debra at Luxe Expressions, for turning us onto this cool organization!

Black and Gold Art Deco Wedding Invitations

Anna and Peter customized our Emory design for their LA wedding at the Cicada Club – an art deco venue with vintage 1920’s flair. They chose a classic color palette of black letterpress with gold matte foil stamped accents for their invitations and incorporated an art deco patterned border on their reply cards to keep with the theme. They complemented the set with a striped patterned envelope liner, printed in black ink on metallic gold leaf paper for a subtle yet glamorous finishing touch. 

Black and gold art deco wedding invitations from Smock

Black and gold art deco wedding invitations from Smock

Black and gold art deco wedding invitations from Smock

letterpress ink color: black | foil color: gold matte |  fonts: Smock Plaza + Inigo | paper: 1-ply ivory bamboo | size: S-8 + S-5 | envelope liner: Seneca stripes pattern in black on metallic gold leaf paper | customization #34568 | William Ernest Brown

Smock Store Spotlight on The Stationery Station

Today we’re shining the spotlight on The Stationery Station, a paper + gift shop based in Highland Park, Illinois celebrating 40 years in business! We sat down with the owner, Sheryl Oberman, to learn about the shop and how everything got started. 

Sheryl Oberman, owner of the Stationery Station

I have loved paper and party planning since I was a child, watching my mom, who had some flair, create accessories for events she would host. She also planned a beautiful wedding for me! My college degree is in teaching high school English, with a minor in Rhetoric – so you can see where this is going. I took that background and love for paper several steps beyond. Totally by coincidence a friend, who also loved paper, went to a local shop to buy party goods for me since I had just recently moved to this town and had a newborn baby and was having a party. I knew little about our neighborhood and could not yet get out to explore. She came back and told me the lady was selling her business. Without blinking an eye I said, “let’s buy it!”. The shop was in a converted old home and I suggested the name Stationery Station and my partner agreed, with the stipulation that we use a station master as our logo. We had a lamp post out front so we hung our sign and suddenly became stationers!!

A peek inside The Stationery Station in Highland Park, Illinois

Our husbands were agreeable and the former shop owner mentored us for a few months. My partner was pregnant at the time and once her child was born we alternated days and our babies napped in a crib we added upstairs. When the babies were a bit older they sometimes crawled around the carpeted floors as we worked with customers! My daughter once chewed on a package of napkins. Later on, the kids were with day care, our families, or preschool.  After about 3 years we split up and I moved the shop to the main street a block away.

About 20 years ago I opened a second store in Chicago with someone who had worked for me as a teenager. I licensed my name to her and she had the shop for several years until she started a family and moved back to our town. 16 years ago I moved the shop a few doors away to our current location. It was 2 shops so that our retail merchandise could be in one room and our custom invitations in a smaller room. This allowed us to offer a quieter area to give total attention to our customers with a more personal touch.

The Stationery Station in Highland Park, Illinois, was featured recently by the Daily North Shore newspaper

Two years ago I recognized that children’s invitations were not selling well and had become more of an online item. They were displayed on 2 units so that was my cue to downsize! We linked up on our website with a few large vendors that sell the kids’ items and that is working out nicely. The “old” store still offers cool desk accessories, leather items, notepads, and my favorite – ribbon and wrap! The custom room has imprintables along with a few other related items but primarily has many, many invitation albums, as well as loose samples from Smock, Bella Figura and other vendors. Brides, in particular, like to view loose samples, and we also show these on a screen and in boxes so that their customization options are evident. 

I enjoy creating invitations and bringing a customer’s vision to reality. It’s rewarding to me to know that someone puts our store on their list of places to go on any day. My education and knowledge of proper etiquette and grammar, combined with our design sensibility, plays a part in our status of being one of the finest stationers on our North Shore.

A peek inside at the ribbon wall at The Stationery Station in Highland Park, Illinois

I believe that being able to open a shop 40 years ago and calling it our own was and is special. The freedom to be able to pursue a course that was never clearly my dream but became my love is genuinely amazing to me. Women at this time were teachers, as I was initially, doctors, attorneys, and so on… yet owning a shop seemed rare and slightly difficult to explain to the bank. One last love about the store is to be still creating an invitation or even wrapping a gift for our customers and seeing them genuinely thrilled! A recent customer just wrote me a wonderful note, and these testimonials and calls make us feel respected and rewarded. It is a heartwarming business and our goal is to fulfill a customer’s vision and offer them our valued advice.

 Does your store support any charities or special causes? We offer a donation or place an ad nearly every week with several charities, schools, and local or needy organizations. At the time of our 35th anniversary, we donated a portion of our sales to a group that supports women getting into the workforce. This year I am considering other options. One of the retail lines I carry is called Monkey Business and we sell their beaded animals and a few bowls made from phone wires. They are in South Africa and the company benefits the women who make these. Many of our customers who have traveled to Africa recognize these and buy them or comment on how wonderful it is that they are so well made and the women reap the benefits.

A peek inside at the selection of custom stationery albums available at The Stationery Station in Highland Park, Illinois

If someone is visiting your shop, what are the other essential stops in your neighborhood? Our town has wonderful cultural features. One is actually across one of our town’s main streets in the next town but it is literally 5-10 minutes away. This is the Chicago Botanic Gardens. They feature exhibits throughout the year, events take place there and it is truly a beautiful, cultivated sight. I run there in the warm weather on one of their tree lined paths! Another is the wonderful Ravinia Festival. It is an outdoor performance venue featuring major symphonies, renown musicians and performers. There are children’s features throughout the year as well. Tickets may be purchased for a covered pavilion or many, many people from all over the Chicago area come to have casual or elaborate picnics on the lawn. Restaurants are plentiful in all price ranges and it is an amazing feature in our town.

Since Highland Park is located on Lake Michigan we are very excited to have stunning beaches. One was redone recently with walking trails, bluffs, rock formations and a lovely glass building in which they offer children’s classes. Last June I made myself a birthday party on the boardwalk (luckily on a beautiful evening) and was joined by my amazing staff (see below). 

Stationery Station staff celebrates owner Sheryl's 70th birthday last summer

 In my shop, I love my ribbons and wrap. I do custom gift wrapping and was chosen and flown to NYC along with 7 other people a few years ago to be in Scotch brand gift wrap contest. It was very exciting and although I did not win, being chosen as one of 8 was very cool! 

The Stationery Station's entry into the Scotch most gift wrapper contest

Our current favorite trend is really a trend I was naively offering my customers and yet had little knowledge of 35 or more years ago! I love combining letterpress with foil stamping. It adds just the right amount of flair when done subtly. In our early years we worked with a man who owned a foil stamping company, and since he lived in Chicago we became friendly with him and he would print our stock for note cards or invitations. At that time, we carried Crane and a vendor called Fante. Once in a while, we would need to go to his home to pick up an order and he would show us his machinery which in those days used individual pieces of lead. He showed us how he pressed these pieces of lead into the machine! Aha! Letterpressing! He would remind us to limit the copy on an invite so he would not run out of letters!

Many thanks to Sheryl for giving us a glimpse inside her shop – and congratulations on 40 years in business! Here’s to many more! 

Paint Party from Press Paperie

Remember these adorable paint party invitations that we created for Drue’s 4th birthday? Well today we’ve got photos from the actual soirée! When she initially came across the shirt that would eventually inspire the entire look of the celebration, Drue’s mother, Shelby (owner of Press Paperie in Fort Worth, Texas) thought it would be the most darling shirt for an art party – and we couldn’t agree more! Shelby put on the cutest celebration for Drue and friends, complete with festive painterly decorations, embroidered art smocks, and a canvas for each guest to create a masterpiece! We love how she used the theme to inspire the decor – especially the hand-painted table runners and the paintbrushes nestled into the floral accents. What a fun theme for a birthday party!

Custom painterly birthday party invitations from Smock
Paint party birthday girl
Vibrant floral wreath with paintbrushes | Paint party decor
Canvas + artist's smock for a paint party
Birthday girl in Kate Spade
4 year old birthday paint party
Painterly birthday party + bubbly
Paint party centerpieces
Paint party decor
Paint party birthday

All photographs courtesy of Press Paperie 

Custom hazel wedding invitations

We worked with Kara at Nest Paper Studio to create these custom wedding invitations for a November celebration at the Annesdale Mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. In order to create a thick, 2-ply piece, we digitally printed both pieces of the invitation in a flood of hazel ink, then duplexed the two pieces together. The invitations feature our popular tawny matte foil stamping for both the text and the edge treatment, adding a sophisticated metallic touch. A hazel watercolor envelope liner tied the entire set together, which set the tone for this elegant fall affair. 

Digitally printed + foil stamped wedding invitations from Smock Digitally printed + foil stamped wedding invitations from Smock Digitally printed + foil stamped wedding invitations from Smock

letterpress ink: hazel | digital ink: hazel | foil color: tawny matte | fonts + design: lilla + sans capitals + mason, custom library-based design | paper: 2-ply ivory (duplexed invitation) | size: S-8 + S-5 | envelope liner: water color 9 pattern in hazel | customization #28643 | Nest Paper Studio

The 2015 National Stationery Show

We’re back from another successful year at the National Stationery Show! This year we moved to a larger space, so we took advantage of the opportunity to redesign our booth. We wanted the space to feel open and inviting, so we created a back wall the ran the entire length (40 feet) of the booth, with both ends open and accessible. The back wall of the booth was covered with a textured charcoal fabric, to which we adhered our product samples — the dark background really made everything pop! When it came to our favorite part — the decorative elements — we drew inspiration from some of our new cards and opted for a party-like theme, creating enormous ribbon curls with our gift wrap that spanned the length of the booth and covered an entire panel of our display.

Smock at the 2015 National Stationery Show
Smock at the 2015 National Stationery Show

We created a custom box tree to showcase our nested sets of keepsake boxes, and perched flags with our booth number on top so that we were easy to spot from a distance. Every year debut a variety of new products at the show, and this year was no exception: we introduced new gift wrap patterns and keepsake boxes, lots of new cards, calendars, art prints, coasters, gift tags, and more. We also launched two new albums at the show: Smock Wedding Volume 6, as well as our first ever Holiday album. These new custom designs, as well as our new Everyday offerings, will be available on our website soon!
Smock at the 2015 National Stationery Show
Smock at the 2015 National Stationery Show
Smock at the 2015 National Stationery Show
Smock + Bella Figura at the 2015 National Stationery Show

In addition to the 2015 National Stationery Show, we were excited to be a part of another event: Paper Party! Smock sponsored the amazing event, which is hosted each year by Oh So Beautiful Paper. Our BFF Bella Figura printed this year’s invitations, and we created paper chandeliers to help decorate the event.
The invitations for Paper Party 2015
Paper chandeliers at Papery Party 2015

Many thanks to Nole at Oh So Beautiful Paper to inviting us to be a part of the event, and thanks to all of our amazing dealers who made time to see us at the show! We can’t wait for 2016!

Custom navy letterpress Bar Mitzvah invitations

These sophisticated letterpress Bar Mitzvah invitations pair modern, minimalist fonts and classic navy ink on our white bamboo paper. The monogrammed suite included an invitation, reception card, and reply card, along with navy lined envelopes. We also created flat, monogrammed social notes to match the invitations for a completely coordinated set.

Custom letterpress Bar Mitzvah invitations from Smock

letterpress ink: navy | fonts:  hesse + peale | paper: 1-ply + 2-ply white | sizes: S-8 + S-5 | envelope liners: seneca pattern in navy | customization #: 22147 | William Ernest Brown

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