I have a slight addiction to stationery. I physically cannot pass by a card store without stopping in, just for a peek (am I totally weird? Surely there’s someone who understands!) I often find myself splurging on my faves. And after recently being introduced to Ferme à Papier, I’m not sure I’ll be able to control myself. We recently caught up with the whizz behind this bizz – who is also the lovely lady behind the beloved namesake brand Cat Seto – and have an AMAZING giveaway to share.
SMP: How did you get your start in the stationery industry?
I was on a grant to write the “great novel” but had horrible writer’s block! I started crafting finger puppets during my empty writing hours until I was staring at a drawer filled with hundreds of them. They became illustrated into cards that expanded into stationery line. When I debuted the line, Anthropologie became one of my first clients and my stationery business began.
SMP: From where do you draw your inspiration? What’s your creative process like?
I am inspired by my surroundings and I feel so fortunate to be living in San Francisco. My studio is open to the public and I love greeting customers, going out for walks into the microhoods or along the water. Ferme à Papier was inspired by my first trip to Paris last year where I visited biodynamic farms, ate my way through patisseries and admired the ways in which chic Parisians interpreted plaid. For each collection I will leaf through books, magazines and keep notes from my travel that follow me around the house or even to work. I’m completely open when I am searching for inspiration but I become very introverted during the actual drawing process. I usually start sketching very late at night (often 1am) when my son is asleep or will put headphones on and keep the curtains in my studio office closed.
SMP: Any tips for someone hoping to start their own paper line?
This is the case whether it’s design, illustration or writing : having a forum or group where you can bounce ideas off one another or share daily business tips has been essential to my stationery line. My peers keep me motivated to stay focused and will give me candid feedback on whether my point of view on a collection is spot-on or needs further refinement. Often it’s the latter and I am thankful for this extra “push”!
SMP: What matters to you most as an illustrator?
That the recipient receives some joy or loses themselves in the moment of the work as much as I did while creating it.
SMP: The best part of your job?
Waking up everyday and being able to create something with my hands. Feeling grateful and authentic about what I am doing.
SMP: The worst?
When you are a small business owner you juggle everything. I certainly don’t get to create on a whim all of the time. Many of the creative aspects of my job are pushed to the back burner during big deadlines and I have to stay focused and determined to get everything back into balance.
SMP: What’s the greatest lesson in business you’ve ever learnt?
A majority of your time, even if it’s a creative entity, is spent on business. If you don’t learn to accept this, you will not be fulfilled with what you do.
If that wasn’t inspiring enough, it gets better. The sweet Catherine is generously giving away a $300 Ferme à Papier giftcard to use towards any stationery or flat cards in her shop! This mayyyyy be your chance to stock up on those holiday cards (and stock up in serious style while you’re at it).
In addition, now through December 10th you can take 15% off your order using the SMP15 promo code at checkout! XOX