Hi. I’m Sarah. I started covering the stationery market for a major gift trade magazine in 1997, and I haven’t been quite the same since. What began as a job morphed into a passion and even a lifestyle as I fell in love with the paper medium — as well as the brilliant, quirky people who create it. I have become convinced that there is something truly American about launching a stationery line — all you really need are some clever ideas and a good printer.
My perception of paper has changed as I’ve grown from an unencumbered, 20-something Manhattanite into a suburban, work-at-home wife and mother. When I first began covering the industry in 1997, I had a consumer mindset and accordingly divided product into what I personally liked and didn’t like. After a while I began to get a sense of trends — how they slip in, (sometimes) flower, go mainstream and slowly disappear, only to be replaced by new contenders or even evolutions of itself. The art of trend-spotting is always interesting as it reflects the ever-changing landscape of popular culture; I always marvel at which ones take hold and which ones are rejected by consumers.
After a few years of covering the industry and traipsing to gift shows around the world, I began to really get a sense of what is so special about paper. What other medium is there that transmits sentiments and heralds milestones — and then preserves them for posterity — in a way you can touch and feel? Paper doesn’t change over time, but you do. For that reason it can be a time machine. Take your high school diploma, for example. When you first got it, you were probably busy with end-of-year parties and summer plans and pretty much tossed it aside. Years later you stumble across it and read the gorgeous calligraphy you barely glanced at before. As you really look at it for the first time, you remember your friends, your room, your favorite jeans, what you were looking forward to back then. You may not have thought about any of those things for years, but suddenly it all comes back to life and feels like it all happened a few weeks ago. While photographs physically preserve the moment (and these days, thanks to digital printing, they’ve been integrated into correspondence), paper — like an old letter from your best friend — really presents a window into a long-ago moment in time.
I begin this blog as a completely distinct side project from my “day job” — editing Stationery Trends, which I had the amazing pleasure of helping establish in 2008. We are an award-winning, design-focused trade quarterly, which I love being a part of, but a lot comes across my desk that I don’t have room for in the magazine. I’d like to share it here, and also present snapshot profiles of industry folks and stores … plus I’ve got a few other ideas up my sleeve. There may be an item here and there from my other life, as a wife & mother.
I really want to emphasize that while stationery is a commodity and we are all consumers, I am far more interested in quality over quantity, authenticity over expenditure. Buy only what you love, what speaks to you and what best represents you. I hope to share some of that with you here. So please let me sincerely welcome you and invite you to come back to visit often.
Image courtesy of Mr. Boddington’s Studio http://mrboddington.com