One of the most read and commented posts on Style Me Pretty actually took place on our Behind the Scenes blog, Backstage. It was a quick look at how I started a stationery business and the response that it garnered was crazy. So any chance I get to go behind the scenes with a stationer, I quickly jump on. Especially when said stationer is the lovely and talented Kelly Scarborough Watson of Winifred Paper. Read on to see how she built the beloved brand that she has today!
SMP: Tell us about Winifred Paper and how it came to be?
WP: Winifred Paper is a boutique design + letterpress studio based in Washington, D.C. We design and create timeless social stationery and paper for impeccable affairs. We are known for a love of unexpected details. It’s what we think sets us apart!
I have an unabashed obsession with paper, and have since childhood. Growing up, I would chat for hours with my grandfather about building a business, but never did I think I would marry the two. It all happened very organically. I learned letterpress in 2010 and was doing small jobs on the side for friends. Winifred Paper grew out of that. The most amazing thing about stationery is that it spreads like wildfire. One person finds you, and their 100 holiday cards or wedding invitations go out to their friends and family, and it just keeps going.
SMP: How many people do you have on staff and what are their primary roles?
WP: Until this year, it was a one-woman show– plus of course my dear husband, who has assisted from the beginning. I designed, printed, packaged, and managed both our wedding and business clients. Now our growing little team is just amazing. Currently there are three of us that work out of our design studio in Georgetown handling all design, managing our wedding invitation and business design projects, one remote, and our new pressman that’s starting in our tiny production studio just outside D.C.
SMP: What drew you to letterpress? Do you do your letterpress in house?
WP: I wanted to offer all brides the best stationery options possible. Our goal is to create letterpress that in and of itself was worth celebrating! It’s the tactile nature of letterpress that drew me in. That bite. The smell of ink. Swoon!
Our quality must be impeccable so we keep as much of our production in house as possible. We tend to mix letterpress with engraving and foil stamping and partner with some wonderful engravers and finishers. We couldn’t do it without them, too.
SMP: How do you use social media to support your brand? Favorite pinners? Favorite instagrammers?
WP: Social media is such an invaluable tool to reach across and connect with clients and our industry. When it came to designing our studio, we couldn’t have lived without Pinterest. And as we get to know our clients, we love to take a look-see at what inspires them!
I adore Instagram, it’s the big one for me at the moment. The brands that inspire me the most are those with positivity and realness to share. Sinclair and Moore, Emily Ley, Society Social do this well. They are a must follow!
SMP: What’s your greatest Achievement with WP?
WP: It’s right at this moment. We just moved in to this dreamy studio in Georgetown’s equally dreamy Book Hill neighborhood. We have more lily-gilding yet to do, but opening those doors in the mornings and chatting with the small businesses that line our street; it’s the bee’s knees.
SMP: What does your day to day look like?
WP: No two days are alike! I’ll tell you about a day we had last week. I started out early and headed over to press check a couple projects. As we are in the middle of producing our own collection and completing orders, I spend most mornings overseeing production. After giving feedback, I headed into our studio.
With a flurry of pantone chips and plenty of espresso within arms reach, mornings in our design studio are bustling and buzzing with activity! Much of my morning is spent catching up on emails, storyboarding and chatting with our custom wedding clients, sourcing, and keeping up on inventory. Our newest intern just started, so we went to lunch to get acquainted. Our design studio happens to be above Britt Ryan boutique, so after lunch, I took 10 minutes to pop down, chat over business and exciting holiday projects, and browse the new fall line. The afternoon is spent in a design meeting and packaging outgoing orders. A little later, I met with a local client picking up her darling Jewish New Year’s holiday cards. She came up with the most clever wording – “challah back, y’all!” – and it was wonderful to see her adore the finished product.
I finished up the last of my to-do lists, and headed home. I tend to get back to work around 9 for a couple hours at least. I’m a night owl through and through and I find the most inspiration in the wee hours. That’s when a lot of my creative and design work happens!
SMP: Biggest lesson learned in business?
WP: Listen to your gut.
SMP: One sentence (or a few words) that defines the kind of business owner you are or want to become?
WP: Do good and love what you do. Philippians 4:8.