I was really, really excited to hear a few weeks back that Boatman Geller announced a long-term agreement to exclusively manufacture and distribute the Whitney English Stationery and Gift Collections. I have loved Whitney’s work since I first saw it many years back — I think of her as an arbiter of modern Southern style, a little bit preppy, a little bit sassy, but always fun with a surprise twist here and there. And Boatman Geller is an incredible line as well — think Ralph Lauren in paper form — so the two together just seems a natural fit.

The first release is the Whitney English 2013 Holiday Collection, Whitney’s first collection since 2011. It includes over 50 photo cards, full of lively touches like monograms, enticing color combinations and patterns as well as gold foil. Here are several adorable samples from it, but you can see it all here.

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If you are interested, go here to find a local stationer, or you can find a good selection here as well.

Whitney herself is a bona fide dynamo — I never know what she’s going to do next (which is probably why I selected her as a Stationery Trends Designer to Watch in 2010, the first year we did them). Her stationery dreams were born at age 15 when she began working — where else? — at a stationery store. She launched her wholesale brand in 2002 with “baby-sitting money and elbow grease.” A decade later, Whitney had the wisdom and courage to shutter the company to focus full-time on her family (she has three wee adorable tykes, you can see the whole family just below) and to encourage other creative entrepreneurs as a co-host of Stationery Academy. With all that on her plate, you can imagine I’m thrilled to land an interview.

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1. SS:What has it been like to design a collection after a two-year hiatus?

WEK: I have absolutely loved designing after a break. There was so much creativity just waiting to be maximized. I had so much fun doing this release!

2. SS: Do you have a favorite piece from it?

WEK: So hard to pick. I think I love the multi-colored “Merry Happy” (shown above, mocked up with different names). My kids are at an age where everything is multi-colored, and I hope we can use this card for our personal holiday photo.

3. SS: What letter or card comes to mind immediately as the best you’ve ever received?

WEK: Julie Goette, from Ten Four Paper, sent me a thank you note after attending her first Stationery Academy session.

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4. SS: Is there anything you do personally to keep letter-writing, card-sending and invitation using alive?

WEK: I believe that one thing that keeps the hand-written note alive is gratitude. I try to daily practice the discipline of gratitude, reflecting on people who make my life better by the little things they do. In the 2014 version of the Day Designer, I’ve even incorporated a little spot for “daily gratitude!” I try to sit down and write thank you notes every month. I keep stamps and stationery on hand, and I take my Boatman Geller Carrie & Tuck (shown below) on trips so that I can write notes on the airplane!

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5: SS: You work with so many designers and have so much insight into what goes into their lines — can you name me three emerging paper lines you love?

WEK: 1) Amy Kinslow’s line, Southern Fried Design Barn. I love how Amy owns her brand — her dream is to have her products in Cracker Barrel! I want to help her make this dream come true!

2) Fraser & Parsley. Josie Parsley, based in Texas, and Rachel Fraser, based in the UK, are the dynamic duo that makes up the incredibly refined Fraser & Parsley brand. It is quintessentially elegant!

3) Tickled Peach Studio. Kathy Sanders has a line of adorable placemats that are great for teaching kids. I can’t wait to get my hands on a set! I think these are a unique take on the laminated placemat trend, and they fill a huge void in cute educational products for kids.

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