HOW A PASSION FOR DESIGN AND LETTERPRESS BLOOMED INTO A BUSINESS WITH SUGAR PAPER LA

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Chelsea & Jamie of Sugar Paper

There’s a beautiful romance to Sugar Paper‘s stationery: each piece of paper is hand fed into a vintage letterpress, before it is hand stitched, hand lined or lovingly hand packaged in their Los Angeles studio.

With a deep love for beautiful stationery and hand-written notes, close friends and graphic designers Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker are here today to share their story on how it all began and why they are passionate about keeping the tradition of letterpress printing alive:

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1. First off, we absolutely LOVE your stationery! Can you tell us a little about how Sugar Paper got started, and what you offer?

Sugar Paper was a happy accident. Jamie and I are friends from college. I decided to buy a letterpress and we learned the art together. We started printing for friends and essentially the business found us. We made a commitment early on to use high quality materials so that Sugar Paper would be made to last. We are a stationer in the traditional sense – we make each card the old fashioned way. By hand, on a letterpress, one piece of paper at a time. Our specialty is bespoke invitations and announcements, but we also have a readymade line of exquisite paper goods.

2. Where does your design inspiration come from when designing your stationery?

At Sugar Paper, we believe that love is in the details. We make products that are timeless, high quality, and designed beautifully.  We believe that form follows function, and we take the time to ensure that our products are thoughtfully designed to work well and look beautiful. We have a tailored, clean, and decidedly feminine aesthetic.

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3. What is your favorite stationery and why?

My personal stationery. It is letterpress printed in black ink with gold bordering and a black and white pinstripe liner. It’s very Sugar Paper, and very me. Personal stationery is one of life’s little luxuries.

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4. Can you tell us who is your target market for your brand?

We have two different clients – our core client in the luxury market and our aspirational client (Target). Our diffusion line at Target allows a whole new population to experience the joy of fine paper goods.

5. Technology seems to be taking over everything! Including the art of handwritten letters.  Do you love giving and receiving letters by snail mail?

Yes. A handwritten note says I took the time to carefully write this, seal this, and send it via post. We started Sugar Paper to further the art of the handwritten note. Sending letters is a tradition – one that carries with it a heartfelt and authentic connection that cannot be replicated online.

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6. Can you tell us why you chose stationery for your business?

We both have a background in design and we both have mothers who taught us to write thank you notes. We began making stationery for friends and found that people loved what we were making. Before we knew it, we had a business on our hands.

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7. What is Sugar Paper’s mission for your clients?

Our biggest priority when working with clients is that they’re nothing short of thrilled with their Sugar Paper experience. Whether they’re walking into our store, purchasing a card online, or designing stationery with us, we do our best to delight them no matter how big or small their level of interaction is. We want them to walk away from every experience knowing that each time we pore over a detail or spend hours tweaking and perfecting something, it’s because we want them to feel special.

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8. Do you design all of your stationery?

Yes, all of our stationery is designed and printed in-house, here in our Los Angeles studio. Jamie and I have always had our hand on every part of the design process. We’ve had plenty of cards that have gone through five or six iterations before being approved. We have a very strong sense of our aesthetic and put in our due diligence to make sure that everything is up to our standards before we send anything out the door.

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9. What is your favorite thing about Sugar Paper?

Having the resources to create the things that we want in our lives! That is a huge upside to owning a company that is so accurately rooted in our personal style and taste. We wanted the perfect pen, so we made it. We saw a gap in the industry for the perfect high-end agenda, so we took care of that as well. Then, to top it all off, we get to test all of the new pieces first. It’s really quite a wonderful set up.

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10. What is next for Sugar Paper?

We were in NYC for the Stationery Show this year and someone told us that we are “always evolving, but never changing.” I loved that. We pride ourselves in staying true to our aesthetic instead of swaying with the trends, but we are always pushing the envelope with what we’re producing. Creating high-end Italian leather pieces this year was a huge step in a brand new direction for us, and we love challenging ourselves to come up with pieces that are new and fresh without losing what’s at the core of our business – tastefully designed high-quality paper.

 

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