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The 14 Stationery Companies Elevating the Art of Letter Writing

The 14 Stationery Companies Elevating the Art of Letter Writing

Who doesn’t get a rush when they find a handwritten card in the mail? Just knowing that someone took the time to put pen to paper feels warm and authentic and sometimes even a little emotional. Whether your preferred method is on a modern notecard or heavy stock paper embossed with your initials, there are stationery companies—some new, some old—that can turn the simple act of writing a note to a friend into a work of art.

New (er) Kids on the Block

  • Connor

    Connor

    You instantly know a Connor card: its bright white stock; impeccable, jewel-like design at the top; and rich, textured feel. Artisans in Paris engrave each design in steel before hand-stamping it on the highest-quality paper. Connor is sold exclusively at Barneys, and just the packaging alone—a light-grey box closed with a ribbon—makes writing a letter more compelling.

  • Moglea

    Moglea

    The story behind Moglea goes like this: Meg and Chad Gleason graduated from college, got married, moved to a farm in Iowa, and started a stationery business. A lifetime of crafting and love of watercoloring was all the inspiration they needed. The result: exquisite, handmade cards that, despite being made on an antique printing press, feel absolutely contemporary. (The wrapping paper is also wonderful, and it’s all shipped from the Midwest.)

  • Poketo

    Poketo

    A testament to owners (and real-life couple) Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung’s creativity and taste, this color-happy shop in LA’s Little Tokyo somehow manages to look entirely different from visit to visit. While the core categories—home décor, stationery, accessories, and kids—stay the same, the assortment is constantly updated to keep up with the latest and greatest in design and still meet Poketo’s playful aesthetic. Expect to find Japanese stationery, tabletop pieces from Danish firm HAY, beautiful art books, and so much more. There’s also several sister locations, including one in Culver City and one in the Line Hotel.

  • Rifle Paper Co.

    Rifle Paper Co.

    Every angle of the collection celebrates the art of putting pen to paper, from its vibrant, whimsical designs to its seemingly endless personalization options—and the customer service is stellar. Not bad for a line that’s only ten years old. While its roots are in stationery, the company also extends its aesthetic to the world of online invitations via its collaboration with Paperless Post.

  • StudioSarah

    StudioSarah

    We all love getting a personal note in the mail. But Sarah Silver—the owner of this small British label—actually loves sending them. After working in the world of editorial as well as fine jewelry, Silver founded Studio Sarah five years ago. Her designs are understated, feminine, and delicate, with soft greys, pastel pinks, and unexpected gold touches. The collection includes notebooks, personalized notecards and stationery, paper accessories, and leather goods.

  • Sugar Paper

    Sugar Paper

    Sugar Paper is known for its modern and considered letterpress stationery. But the company also offers excellent holiday cards, wedding invitations, and monogramming. In 2003, Jamie Grobecker and Chelsea Shukov founded the collection in Los Angeles—and the duo continues to design and manufacture its bespoke goods in their LA studio. The company has since grown, with shops in the Brentwood Country Mart and Lido Marina Village that offer cards and paper goods from Rifle Paper Co., Kate Spade, and more, as well as a space in Harrods in London.

  • The Chain Press

    The Chain Press

    The best businesses are born out of need. The Chain Press is one such example. Masterminded by Naoise McGee, an Irish émigré who missed handwritten letters, the company celebrates old-fashioned craft and encourages the simple gesture of sending a note or invitation on proper stationery. McGee works with clients to create designs and monograms that reflect their personalities and passions. Aside from bespoke personal stationery, the Chain Press also designs custom wedding invitations, announcement cards, even accent pieces for the home, all handmade by McGee—a one-woman show—on a midcentury Vandercook cylinder press in her new Los Angeles atelier.

    OG

    • Benneton Graveur

      Benneton Graveur

      Benneton Graveur has been quietly producing the most classic, utterly luxurious stationery since 1880. It’s been run by the same family since its inception, and traditional techniques like brushed stamping and hand-painting are still the norm in the Paris atelier. For those who take their ancestry as seriously as their stationery, Benneton Graveur will paint your family’s coat of arms on a parchment scroll or as your letterhead. Yes, really.

    • Crane & Co.

      Crane & Co.

      In the late 1700s, Stephen Crane supplied Boston newspapers and activists (one being Paul Revere) with his 100 percent cotton paper—an endeavor that blossomed into a full-fledged paper mill business based in Dalton, Massachusetts. The Crane family continued to produce exclusive paper products, which are regarded today as the Cadillac of stationery. The designs are classic, and the quality—thick, sturdy—is excellent. The items range from jotter cards to wedding invitations to kids’ stationery, all of which can be personalized.

    • Mount Street Printers

      Mount Street Printers

      The window display makes you look twice. Across the threshold, it’s a hive of activity with salespeople working on orders and advising customers on personalization. But downstairs is where the real action happens. As the basement proves, the property has always operated as a printer—even before the current owners took it over fifty years ago. Antique presses, monogramming machines, and stacks of thick-cut paper fill the space. Every Londoner that loves to put pen to paper has Mount Street on speed dial, and with their digital offering, this service has no borders.

    • Mrs. John L. Strong

      Mrs. John L. Strong

      Nothing much has changed at Mrs. John L. Strong since 1929. Founded by Flora (Strong), the artisanal techniques of hand-engraving, hand-bordering, and hand-lining each card and envelope are still the standard operating procedure. You can custom-create your own stationery, but the ready-to-write collections embossed with whimsical motifs of animals, snowflakes, crowns, and occasional ballerinas may encourage a change of heart. The company also has an “entertaining” collection which features the most elegant invitations, place cards, and coasters embossed with gold emblems and turns of phrase to dress up your table.

    • Pineider

      Pineider

      A small storefront tucked into a corner of Florence’s Piazza della Signoria is where you’ll find some of the most beautiful stationery and writing instruments anywhere. Pineidar is been handmade in Italy since 1774—and the company’s exacting standards are in evidence everywhere. All the colors are naturally made pigments, and the motifs of city scenes, animals, and flowers are unmistakably Italian. For those who really take their desk game seriously, Pineider have crafted a leather-and-wood box, designed purely to hold fountain pens.

    • Smythson

      Smythson

      Frank Smythson is credited with designing the world’s first practical, portable diary (designed to be compact enough to fit the breast pocket of a gentleman’s suit jacket without stretching the fabric). So it’s no great leap that his company would become an official stationer to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Times have moved on, and Smythson has moved with them, adding journals, pens, leather items, even writing trays to its lineup. For personalized stationery and business cards, this heritage British brand is still the gold standard.

    • Terrapin

      Terrapin

      The coolest thing about this well-established brand is that despite its age (it’s been churning out engraved and embossed paper goods for more than a hundred years), it manages to stay relevant with its modern, witty sayings (the “WTF” and “F%*k yeah” notecards are staff favorites). This is thanks to the collective vision of Ted Harrington and his parents, Lloyd and Cathy, who purchased the company from its original owners in 1990 and have since strived to keep the timeless process of hand-engraving alive.

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