Monday, July 11, 2011

Calligraphy for Rich People!

In the last few posts about social correspondence for the rich, I've annoyed you with RSVP invitations and Regrets, Thank You notes, and fine stationery for the rich. But now for the last part we have to talk about hand writing styles and Calligraphers.

If you’re blessed with an elegant writing style and can be of help to your employers in this area, this needs to be way up high on your resume. Unfortunately my handwriting is pitiful if not illegible, so I must rely upon the services of a good Calligrapher. And just to let you know, I made this clear in the original interview but my employers didn't seem to mind.

We have a wonderful Calligrapher nearby who will address an envelope or write a Thank You note for a reasonable price. In fact, she does so much work for us that she keeps a supply of our thank-you notes on hand at all times, so all I have to do is call her up with the needed address and inside message.  

When I first took this job and found out it was my prerogative to acquire all the stationery needed, I suggested Park Avenue Standard as a lettering style for this family. They seemed pleased, and we've used it ever sense - not only for stationery and cards but even on hand towels, cocktail napkins and matchbooks.

But there are many wonderful fonts out there besides Park Avenue: Venetian, Balmoral, and Florentine, to name a few. You just have to find one you like, and one that will serve you and your employers well. In fact, for a fee, many fonts can be downloaded and used anytime you wish on your own printer, with your own expensive paper. (But a word of warning; a discerning eye can certainly tell the difference between a downloaded font and one designed by hand.)

It’s not at all hard to find a good Calligrapher in your area. Just Google “Calligraphy in (your city)", wherever you might live. Most of them have websites so you can see their styles and fonts, as well as the embellishments that any good Calligrapher can provide.  

And thanks to Fed Ex and UPS overnight deliveries, you’re not confined to your area alone, not at all.  You want the best Calligrapher possible to suit your needs, no matter where they are.

I hope I've not bored you to death with all this, but social correspondence for the rich is a very serious business. One's social position is always on the line, and sometimes judged by the way one communicates.
Thanks for dropping by tonight, 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stationery for the Rich!

We've talked about RSVP to Invitations and Regrets, and just a few days ago I mentioned Thank You notes. But what kind of paper is needed for all this correspondence? There are some definite stationery requirements in this world of the rich, but first I want to get the correct spelling underway:

Stationery (with 'ery') is paper you write on. Stationary (with 'ary') means sitting on the sofa all afternoon, watching a football game. You'd be surprised how many people get this wrong, even by stationery sellers themselves. With that out of the way, now to the subject of what kind of stationery rich people buy and where it can be found. Here's some things you'll want to consider first:

- Paper Content:   Pulp, rag stock, 100% cotton, or blends.
- Paper Weight:    Heavier is generally considered of greater value.
- Paper Color:        White, colored or Ecru.  We choose ecru.
- Watermarks:       This translucent mark will identify a quality manufacturer.
- Printing Style:      Lithography, Thermography, Letterpress or Engraving.

This can become an intensely interesting topic, going all the way back to papyrus in ancient Egypt. And for those who want more in-depth information about paper quality and where to find it locally, I’m going to refer you to the Stationers Guild. Their motto is: “To help discerning buyers locate highly experienced stationers in their neighborhood, and assist them in crafting their personalized stationery.” Here’s the Stationers Guild link.

Now the truth is, as the Guild says, buying stationery is a very personal and tactile experience. You'll want to see, touch and feel the paper, and how it bends and folds. And you can’t do that online, can you? Which is why I’m recommending you start with the Stationers Guild first, to find local outlets. Once you decide upon what you like, then the online descriptions will be understandable and you can order from anywhere, even old-world stationers in Europe.   

But where do I buy stationery for my rich employers, you might ask? Because I already know the touch, feel and texture of what my employers want, I always go online to the renowned Crane & Company, an American paper manufacturer dating to the Revolutionary War.

This company has a world class reputation for fine stationery and engraving, and does in fact manufacturer the paper that is used for US currency(The fact that the American dollar is so devalued these days should have no reflection upon Crane.)

In this house we always choose (a) 100% cotton, (b) ecru in color, (c) weights ranging from 32 pounds for stationery to 92 pounds for fold-over notes, and (d) as for printing choice, it's always engraved. 

Each one of the above choices means the cost goes up and up and up. Here’s a link to something similar we get from Crane and Company. You'll have to type a number in the "Quantity" box to get an idea of price. The more you order, the lower the cost. But just start with 100. As you can see, it's not difficult to pay around $4.50 per letter or note card, or $450 for a box of one hundred.

So we’re looking at slightly over five dollars here (including stamp) to write one letter to one person by mail. Formal Invitations, of course, cost considerably more. So if you’re sending out a thousand invitations for a Christmas party, this can run into real money.

Thanks for stopping by tonight.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Thank You" Notes and the Rich!

If you’re already among the ranks of High Society or perhaps on the way up, you’re aware of the absolute importance and necessity of hand-written social correspondence - and lots of it.  

I've already mentioned Invitations, RSVP and Regrets. But what about Thank You notes? For any gift you receive and the effort made on your behalf, hand-written Thank You notes are in order, if not mandatory. And there are some definite rules:

1)  The note should be short and not gushy.
2)  You’ll need to state the person’s name.
3)  You must definitely mention the gift by name.
4)  Then explain very briefly why you like or need it. (Lies are entirely acceptable among the rich, as long as they're timely.)
5)  And you'll want to send this note promptly, within a week after the horrible gift was received.

Once you or your personal assistant get the hang of it, this is not difficult at all. Here’s an example:

Dear Mrs. Huffenbitch,
     Thank you so much for the live skunk you gave us for our anniversary. The deer have been destroying our gardens this year, but I'm sure this dreadful odor will correct that in no time. Will see you again soon.

Andrea  and John Richascrap

See how easy that is? As the butler here, one of my seriously important responsibilities is to see to it that any gift that comes through the front door has a name attached, or else there’s hell to pay. I keep some post-it notes nearby just in case. However, most rich people are cognizant of this never-ending ritual and usually attach their own note cards, in full expectation of acknowledgement and reply. 

But still, there are always those scatter-brained guests who barely arrive on time and hand you a bottle of unwrapped brandy at the front door. So be ready for that!

Hope this has been helpful, and thanks for dropping in.