In today’s digital world, a pair of Seminole Heights designers are banking on the old-school beauty of paper greeting cards.
Saucy cards and bold prints from Print Farm Paper Co. developed by friends-turned-business partners Chris Kelly and Brittany Meronek are on their way to racks in West Elm shops throughout Florida, by means of the merchant’s Local program.
West Elm, a furniture and home goods store owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM), released its Local program in 2013 in an effort to bring more regionally sourced items to its shops. Ten Print Farm products six cards and 4 posters have been approved by West Elm, and its eight Florida shops will purchase from those items.
The set was introduced to West Elm through a mutual pal who worked at the Hyde Park store, stated Lilly Althauser, assistant store manager. Althauser invited them to participate in a pop-up occasion around the 2015 holidays.
” They was available in, showed me all their work, and I definitely loved it,” she stated.
It’s a major turning point for Print Farm, which Kelly and Meronek established in early 2016 after their products were a hit at local craft programs. If the cards succeed, there’s an opportunity they might be gotten in West Elm shops nationally. It likewise provides more exposure for a growing brand, as Kelly and Meronek are preparing to pitch their products to Urban Outfitters.
As of mid-May, they ‘d sold about $5,500 worth of cards and posters. They anticipate the cards will be their significant driver of development.
Besides national merchants, they’re likewise pursuing boutiques, with the cards currently sold in local shops in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Boca Grande.
‘ We’re both pretty mindful’
Still, success is far from ensured: Many start-ups have been crushed by major offers that might have paved the way to prosperity other than that the demands were too steep and the business owners too inexperienced to manage the workload.
Kelly and Meronek state they’re careful about growth. They don’t sell their cards in packages because they’ve yet to discover a product packaging system they’re comfortable with. Kelly says Print Farm’s current orders are “barely scratching the surface area” of what’s possible at its printer, C&D Printing Co. in St. Petersburg. C&D prints and folds the cards; Kelly and Meronek package them in cellophane.
They’ve currently considered they made need aid with that, if the West Elm orders take off, and have numerous colleagues who want to come on board on a part-time basis to help.
” We’re both pretty careful,” Meronek said, “and when we enter something, we want to do it right.”
Althauser says West Elm does its due diligence on business it features in the Local program. “I would only ever recommend somebody if I understood they had the ability to perform,” she stated.
From puns to revenues
While Print Farm is progressing into a practical business, it began as a pastime for Kelly.
In late 2015, Kelly wished to design some posters to cost a pop-up shop at The Independent Bar and Cafe in Seminole Heights. He asked Meronek, previously the art director at Dunn & Co. in Ybor City, and another artist good friend to create some welcoming cards to complete his offerings.
A series of succulent puns was the very first big hit “Aloe there,” featuring illustrations of, you guessed it, aloe plants. An apology card reveals a sad-faced cactus planter with the line “Sorry I was such a prick.”
” There’s a certain belief when you send a physical object to someone,” Meronek stated, “and greeting cards are the easiest thing to send.”
For Meronek, a long-lasting fan of paper and handwritten correspondence, the concepts come simple. There are now 50 different cards available from Print Farm.
” I’ve constantly wished to do this,” she stated, “and the moment something enters your mind, I jot it down.”
At very first blush, Print Farm is a company improved an archaic mode of communication: Paper. Think about the success of Orlando’s Rifle Paper Co., a stationery brand name established in 2009 that sold 2.8 million greeting cards in 2014, according to Vanity Fair, and uses 185 people.
While the imaginative styles are different, there’s a parallel in the courses of both Rifle and Print Farm: Neither turned to Etsy, an online market for arts and crafts, releasing their own sites and going straight to huge national names. Rifle landed in Anthropologie stores quickly after its 2009 inception.
Print Farm doesn’t aspire to be Rifle, Meronek said at least not precisely. Rifle has actually become a lifestyle brand name, designing everything from stationery to apparel to iPhone cases. When Print Farm does expand, she states, it will be in paper goods, like planners, notebooks and calendars.
Rifle’s success isn’t really lost on the pair, Kelly stated.
” It was a model of possibility,” he stated. “It helps when you see exactly what other people are capable of.”
Meronek mentions they didn’t introduce Print Farm to construct an empire like Rifle’s.
” It would be incredible, but it wasn’t the drive to start this,” she said. “Urban might pick one card and bring it, which’s enough for me.”