Friday, January 29, 2010

Papel New York

Following the paper trail of Papel ...

There's a new shop in town and I couldn't be happier :) Papel (Spanish for paper) is a Brooklyn based paperie filled with some of my favorite card and stationery designers.
The space is perfection and the owner, Raegan Hirvela is natural and friendly. I stumbled upon Papel yesterday walking down Court Street. To me it was like walking into a candy shop!

This is Raegan above. When I handed her my card, she recognized it from Fat Cat (yes, my exhibit is still up, thanks for wondering ;) It turns out she lives in (owners) Miki & Daniel's building a block down from me. It's such a small world!

I had the chance to sit down and ask all about her start. Her hometown is Queens and although she's always been crafty, she is not a designer herself. She's lived on the West Coast as well, but hard for any self respecting city girl to stay away from NYC too long ;)

After spending years working predominantly in fashion and corporate retail, when her wedding approached, she decided to design her own invitations, place settings and all correspondence. Her designs were a Big Hit and the responses overwhelming! I have to think that all that positive feedback contributed to the confidence it takes to follow a new path.

* Above some colorful calendars and recipe cards by Dabney Lee, local designer in Dumbo.

Realizing she'd like to run her own business, Raegan began researching two years ago and incorporated herself while still working full time. She began contemplating ideas and researching the neighborhood, while attending classes & seminars in her spare time.

On a ski trip in Vermont, it was her husband Jeff who asked,
how about paper products? It was that simple. As serendipity would have it, she soon partnered with her instructor of a free entrepreneurial class offered by the city. She was off and running! 1st stop, the business plan.

*I am a big fan of Andy Pratt Designs, especially the vibrant city scenes on his cards, notebooks & journals. I was charmed by his Silvercup letterpress below, since I often work on those stages.

Again, timing seemed to work to her advantage. Raegan found out that her full time position would be coming to an end in May '09. Fortunately, she and Jeff had been saving up for a year in anticipation of their new venture and in August she began purchasing her stock of stationery and cards. By the end of September she found her storefront (within walking distance from home) signed the lease and opened her doors December 11th, 2009 :D

My favorite story is how she branded her store. Her friend, Soosan Joon whose artwork is on display (paintings above) teaches at The Art Institute and asked if her students could brand her company free of charge. 20 talented design students competed and it was narrowed down to 3 teams. Her choice in the end was the little paper plane. The logo is simple and communicates her concept in a light and playful way :) It definitely caught my eye walking along Court Street.

It's an inspiring story because she mixed passion with practicality and took the time to decide what interested her most and what would work well in this part of the neighborhood. When the time came, she took the plunge!

There are no other stores like it around, specializing in high-end, eco-friendly stationery, customizable invitations and extraordinary papers.

*Charming hedgehog notebook by Girl of All Work Accessories, they also designed the fabulous page flags and piggy post-its above :)

*Wrapping papers by Seltzer Goods, Waste Not Paper & Snow and Graham who also sell their lines of cards here.

*Honey Bee Calendar above by Hammerpress Love their style!

*Canisters with cute growth charts by Rag and Bone Bindery :D

*Adorable vintage inspired cards by Writeables, not sure if their images are vintage or inspired by the style. If you know, I'm curious. They're all super sweet.

Above is a binder full of samples for custom invitations. She currently works with about 8 specialty vendors including Dabney Lee (located in nearby Dumbo), Wiley Valentine and Dauphine Press. The books I saw would make deciding on just one quite difficult. Some are sweet and whimsical & others simply gorgeous and elegant. We talked about how nice it is to not only look at selections, but to feel the paper, weight and finish of each. Raegan can meet with you and give you a quote in 2-3 days, itemizing exactly what is included.

*I purchased some cards myself and the one above is by another fave, Dutch Door Press

*Some very funny cards available by Offensive and Delightful (above) and 9 Spot Monk with statements like "Dad Wishes You Were Good at Something" ;D

*Another company I love is Hello Lucky and I had to have "I Stink" above!

*More from the delightful Snow and Graham and Hammerpress above.

*Below are some samples of my cards from Night Owl Paper Goods. I adore their letterpress cards and inventive prints on wood veneer. I gave a friend their precious 2010 critter calendar and it looks like more are in stock :)

*Below is a card by Naoko Stoop for Brown Paper Bag Collection. Darling scenes with hooded girl and tiny bunny :)

Time to celebrate!

This last tip is for all of you interested in starting your own business. Raegan highly recommends New York City Business Solutions entrepreneurial program at The Levin Institute. She took the 6 day boot camp (2 full days a week) *Fast Trac New Venture and says it was "Unbelievable. One of the greatest experiences she's ever had!" *You have to apply and the new deadline is for Feb 2nd-- Get Started!!

Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-7p / Sunday 11a-6p

I hope you enjoyed this story about a gal and a paperie dream ;) She has a lovely store and the course she set for herself seemed destined to happen. As Deepak Chopra would say, "the world organizes itself around your intentions" or is it the Universe? I often wonder if this is true and for Raegan, it sure seems so.

* There are so many wonderful card lines sold here and I couldn't show everything, so I will list some others here-- there's Eggpress, Little Oranges, Modern Printed Matter, LilyWillow, Spitfire Girl, Backyard for Bongo with fun Mad Libs style fill-in-the-blanks by a Brooklyn Heights couple. You should visit their site, if only to check out Bongo, their dog :D

Stop by Papel and take a look at everything for yourself! Website will be up & running soon, too.

xo, Allyn

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

I've worked countless scenic & mural painting jobs in these shoes above by Steve Madden. Impossible to see a brand name now, sort of shredded off years ago and the soles are close to being completely worn too. Not sure how many more projects these shoes will see, but so far nothing has surpassed them in comfort! I wanted to celebrate them by posting a photo here :)

Recently came across these Coney Island pictures from a few years ago. It was a stormy looking day and I went with my friends, Melissa and Lance, Mirabelle & Odille. If you follow my blog, you know how close I am to them all! Amazing how fast kids start to mature.

Below an even younger Mirabelle pushing her stroller with mannequin head ;) Melissa Zexter is a professional photographer and she is particularly skilled at capturing mystery in the everyday world.

Melissa took this eerie picture of me at the Sacred Heart Church which sits atop Tibidabo amusement park in Barcelona. It was a very foggy day. Below, a much brighter look.

hi - hello there - save me ?

Onto other big wheels, I loved the size of this tractor wheel parked at Broadway Stages in Greenpoint yesterday.

These stages are situated directly across from a major sewage treatment plant. Yes, sometimes you can smell it, but it's a state of the art building, with a very important job! Looks very cool at night.

Now for something completely different...

Today I received my little package of adorable fabric and trim from This and That from Japan on Etsy. I'm not yet sure what I will be making, but I just love their selection. You can see some of my picks below which includes Little Red Riding Hood, i love donuts and German patchwork. They also sell craft books, kits, stamps and more!

Speaking of cute things from Japan. I am in love with this series of books by Paumes This is Petits Appartements a Paris and it's full of inspiration. Everything is written in Japanese, but you really don't need words when you have such fantastic photographs. This one is full of creative decorating, great color and overall charm you'd expect from a petite apartment in Paris!

I bought these 2 books at Kinokuniya, a wonderful Japanese book store across from Bryant Park, NYC. If you haven't been and you're a fan of stationery & products by Sanrio or Shinzi Katoh, it's a must-stop!
Also found out about the London shop, Lapin & Me from Ohdeedoh blog couple weeks ago. Fortunately, they have an online shop and also sell Paumes editions. Take a look if you love cute things like this Lapin Lamp below :)

Above is Maisons de Campagne des Parisiens. This is also a beautiful little book full of gorgeous country homes, furniture and color. You can imagine having a glass of champagne on the veranda, shopping the fresh markets, eating a great meal or just reading in a cozy library. Blissful images :)

Back to my neighborhood, here is Yesterday's News Everyday, you'll find a new selection of furniture and funky objects & books lining the sidewalk just waiting for you to take notice!

Above is Midnight, the softest cat I have ever met. She is a real sweetheart, too! She lives at my corner bodega. It often takes me a loooooong time to pick up a few items, because it's so hard to leave her. Of course, she has many admirers so I can't feel too bad ;)

Two of my favorite "Car Guys" Kal and Abraham are dispatchers at Court Express Car Service across the street from my apt. I've known them a long time now and I take a car whenever I have the extra money or have something to lug around ;D

Interesting lawns in Spring :)

I want to give a big shout out to Margot for starting her blog Margotk in 2010! These are photos from a craft fair last year in Beacon, NY with her son. She makes precious bags and coin purses, plus takes some beautiful photographs for her new blog. I see on her latest post she has some brand new pieces!!

I particularly like her attention to detail and the fun fabric linings :D

I decided to come full circle and share a small part of one of my very favorite buildings. Above is the archway to Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain. It is a real beauty by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner who also designed the equally wonderful Palau de la Musica de Catalana.

Have a Splendid weekend! xo, Allyn


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