Chris Sargiotto of Apartment 2 Cards not only creates his own greeting card line, he successfully reps — that is, wholesales — several other small greeting card lines to retail businesses within probably one of the more challenging greeting card markets: New York City.
The companies Chris reps can be seen on his Sales by Apt2 site; the group encompasses some of the most interesting talents in the industry, including: J. Falkner; Ilee Papergoods; Anemone Letterpress; Red Oak Press; Sky of Blue Cards; Paisley Tree Press; Ruff House Art; Fresh Frances; Bella Ink Designs; Paper & Ink Studio; Cardtorial; From Frank; Improper Greetings; and Olive Sandwiches.
Here’s a few colorful designs from Apartment 2. I’m a little partial to the Oy Vey! design.
And these letterpressed designs, from Ruff House Art, yield what is pictured when planted.
That represents just a tiny taste of Sales by Apt2 and Apartment 2 offerings. With that kind of perspective, Chris makes a great Five Questions subject. And, Apartment 2 will be exhibiting in booth 1951 at National Stationery Show, now a section within signature mix marketplace.
1. SS: How did you get into this crazy business?
CS: I started out studying design and illustration in art school. My next 15 years, working for the same company, took me on a path that eventually strayed away from these interests, so I decided to figure out how to get back to doing what I enjoyed. Months later I had my first 48 greeting card designs and took them to a small gift store in Brooklyn, where I made my first sale. I was thrilled! Exhibiting a month later at NSS helped me find my way into some impressive stores like the American Folk Art Museum and The Breakers in Palm Beach. That gave me the confidence to pursue this full time. It wasn’t until three years later that I thought about taking other lines with me when meeting with buyers in the New York area. That’s how Sales by Apt2 was started. I was lucky enough to find really great lines by some amazing artists, and it’s been a lot of fun showing these lines over the past year. Buyers have been thrilled that I have so much more to show them when we meet.
2. SS: Are there any design or lifestyle trends you are finding yourself particularly intrigued by these days?
CS: Lately, I love anything hand drawn. Cards with bright colors and mixed up type fonts. Anything with animals, or better yet, animals doing something you wouldn’t expect. One of my favorite cards is from Ilee Papergoods. It has a quartet comprised of an alligator, a bear, a raccoon and a rabbit. It’s so fun!
3. SS: What letter, card or invitation first comes to mind as the best you’ve ever received?
CS: There’s a holiday card by Anemone Letterpress with an illustration of Yul Brynner that reads “HAVE A COOL YUL” that I remember being so much fun to receive! I have since started to rep the line and Carrie’s quirky but sweet designs are so much fun.
4. SS: What are your three favorite paper lines apart from your own?
CS: I was very excited to start repping the J. Falkner line about a year ago and it’s still one of my favorites. Jason’s designs are clean and modern. Everyone seems to love his cards, and you can’t get much better quality.
I like Sky of Blue Cards, especially the new designs that Karla is introducing this summer. I also appreciate that her cards are usually greeted inside, which you don’t always see with letterpress.
I also love Red Oak Press, especially some of their newest designs that they created this year!
5. SS: Is there anything you do personally to keep card-sending, invitation-using and letter-writing alive?
CS: I have to admit that I usually don’t get birthday cards in the mail on time, which makes me happy that there are so many great belated birthday cards out there to choose from. I send thank you cards for just about everything. I also love to give stacks of cards from my own line to family and friends so they can use them on their own.