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.
Andrew

4 comments:

  1. You are soooo helpful

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  2. Thank you for saying that.

    This learning experience has all been so fascinating to me, and I just want to share it with others.

    So your comment has made the effort worthwhile.

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  3. THANK YOU ANDREW FOR THIS ARTICLE!

    I'm a house manager like you, but I'm stuck out in the middle of nowhere on a huge ranch in Montana. A family of five and thirty-seven staff to run this place. There's not a stationer anywhere near us! So your advice is most welcome. At least UPS knows where we are out here. DK

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  4. Hello DK!

    Dear God! Thirty-seven on your staff! I'm assuming you're talking about all the ranch hands as well as household staff, right?

    No matter where you are in the world, even on a ship in the Mediterranean, you can order online and have things delivered.

    Good luck out there, and hope you stay in touch!

    Andrew

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