Skip to the good stuff!

Our office will be closed on November 26-27. Happy Thanksgiving!

Modern offset wedding suite in taupe + apricot inks

This trendy text based offset invitation suite was submitted to us by our wonderful friend, Liz at Gus & Ruby Letterpress in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  We were told the couple was looking for a type driven suite with a playful type – and we think this invitation encompasses that vision perfectly.  We’re loving the cool hues and the simplicity of this creative suite.  Our taupe and apricot inks simply blend so beautifully on our ivory bamboo paper.  When picturing your own wedding invitation – you should toss in a bit of your own creativity to match back to your wedding venue or personalities.

inks: taupe + apricot | font: coco | paper: 1-ply ivory | printing: offset | size: s8

custom typography wedding invitations

Smock Travels – Portsmouth, NH

Last week my husband and I had the opportunity to visit our favorite place on earth (New England!) in celebration of our first wedding anniversary. I thought I’d share a few highlights from our trip – including visits to a handful of amazing Smock dealers! We stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the Ale House Inn, an independent, locally owned and operated hotel with a commitment to sustainability and eco hospitality practices. Residing in a renovated old warehouse (kind of like Smock!) the hotel features gorgeous rooms boasting a blend of urban and vintage decor and the best hotel staff I’ve ever encountered.

Portsmouth itself is an appropriately named port town with an active and bustling port. It was settled in 1630 with many of the original homes still intact today. There is great food with plenty of options for a vegetarian like me and streets lined with local, independent shops.


Smock Store Spotlight – Gus & Ruby Letterpress in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Two creative women after our own hearts, owners Samantha Finigan and Whitney Swaffield, were inspired by their shared love of letterpress, stationery and great design when establishing Gus & Ruby Letterpress in a quaint storefront in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Having met when working at the same advertising agency, the two bonded over mutual affection for their dogs before realizing they had so much more than that in common. Newly opened, their shop is not only named after their lovable dogs Gus and Ruby, but also a true reflection of Samantha and Whitney’s mutual passion for all things letterpress.

Smock Store Spotlight - Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Back before Gus & Ruby was born, Samantha and Whitney used to talk about their love for letterpress while walking their dogs. With a family history in printing that now dates back three generations, Whitney was able to get her hands on an old press. She and Samantha took a couple of classes and started letterpress printing cards, invitations and announcements they would design for friends and family. While launching their own stationery line was something their loved ones encouraged them to do, Samantha and Whitney are self-described paper hounds and wanted a way to share their love for some of their favorite letterpress lines. The result? A beautiful boutique on Market Street in Portsmouth where they sell beautiful cards, gift wrap and wedding invitations from a carefully curated selection of artisans.

Smock Store Spotlight - Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Recognizing that no one in their area was offering design-forward artisan-crafted stationery to the local market, Whitney and Samantha set about carefully selecting only their very favorite paper vendors and stationery lines to carry in their shop. Every item in the store was lovingly hand-picked and is something they personally love and want to share with their customers. Great design and fine craftsmanship is at the heart of what Gus & Ruby stands for and the process of choosing product was a very involved one that Samantha and Whitney loved. While they continue to do custom design and printing on a very select basis, their true love comes from sharing their favorite stationery vendors with the local community.

Smock Store Spotlight - Gus & Ruby Letterpress

The selection of exquisite stationery is not the only aspect of opening shop that had Whitney and Samantha working hard. Even the physical design and layout of the store carries their thumbprint. All of the furniture was custom built to fit the design aesthetic they were aiming for and the two women readily rolled up their shirtsleeves and tackled all of the spackling and painting on their own. After a year of intense research, business plan writing, dreaming, and crossing fingers, the shop is finally open and all of that hard work is paying off as their shared dream becomes a reality.

In true Smock fashion, we had to know a little bit more about Portsmouth and Whitney and Samantha’s picks for the top things to see and do while visiting their beautiful little town. Their recommendation? Stop by Flatbread Company for lunch followed by an afternoon shopping along Deer Street and ice cream at Annabelle’s. For the ladies, a stop at Making Faces, a lovely cosmetics boutique can’t be missed and taking time to visit Prescott Park promises to be a highlight of any trip to Portsmouth. (Aside from your visit to Gus & Ruby, that is.)

Smock Store Spotlight - Gus & Ruby Letterpress

While Whitney continues honing her expertise as a designer and letterpress printer, Samantha has taken to the forefront in helping to tackle the business and marketing side of keeping the Gus & Ruby operation moving forward. She was more than happy to share a bit more with us…

If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? What would you do? Who would go with you?
I’d go back to the Okavongo Delta in Botswana and I’d go with my children (this would need to happen in the future…when I have kids someday!) I had the great great fortune of going to Botswana on safari with my mother after I graduated from college. Standing smack dab in the middle of the African wilderness – I have never felt more a part of the world community, more connected to those around me than I did in the delta. I observed herds of elephants grazing, listened to the lazy evening calls of hippos, watched a pair of cheetahs hunt and kill an impala – it was a pretty incredible experience and made me remember what a small, perfect world we live in. Hugely humbling and inspiring – the idea that I could ever share something as amazing as what my mother shared with me makes me weak in the knees with hope and gratitude.

What are you top 5 prized possessions?
This is too hard a question! But, here goes…
1. The photo albums my mother created for me and my brother of our various family vacations. Looking at them never fails to remind me of how much we laugh together.
2. A collection of notes my father has written me over the course of my life. He used to travel a lot for work when I was young and every single trip he went on, he would leave a little hand-written note under my pillow before he left that I would then find while he was gone. They aren’t fancy – mostly just little “sweet dreams” notes written on scrap paper – but they mean the world to me.
3. My grandmother’s ring. It’s as sparkly, unique, and treasured as she was.
4. My saddle – there is nothing like the smell of worn leather or the feel of galloping around on a pony. Riding horses reminds me that no one is really better than anyone else when you’re up to your ankles in manure while cleaning stalls.
5. My cupcake pans. I love love love to bake!

If you could describe your personality in letterpress, which Smock invitation would you be and why?
I’d be the Haddington invitation with Spencerian style calligraphy complete with verbena edge painting and a  rousseau lined envelope in verbena. It’s bright, cheery, and classic. The calligraphy adds a personal, loving touch – but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I couldn’t be black tie. Could I be “comfy shoes recommended”?

Thank you, Samantha and Whitney, for allowing us to take a sneak peek into the inspiration behind Gus & Ruby – congratulations on your beautiful new store!

{All photos by Emilie Inc. Photography}