January 15, 2021 • Sarah Schwartz
A Range is Born: NIQUEA.D
Dominique Schurman’s newest card collection embodies understated, artisanal elegance.
In September, IG Design Group Americas announced the launch of its NIQUEA.D greeting card collection by Dominique Schurman. With Schurman, formerly of Schurman Fine Papers, at the helm, the exquisite range is poised to redefine the modern handmade card just as snail mail is receiving renewed interest from a distanced populace.
“In a world where so much is impersonal and driven by technology, we crave genuine and tactile experiences that are real, personal and lasting,” described Schurman, vice president of NIQUEA.D, Design Group Americas, and founder and president of Larkwood Studio, “The right greeting card, at the right time is a priceless and timeless gift that elevates us, creating a technology-free, memorable moment in our lives. More and more people are looking for ways to express themselves in a more personal way, and NIQUEA.D offers them that opportunity.”
Schurman sat down with ST to share more about the range’s origins and direction.
ST: Highlighting vibrant color and touch-me textures, the range features artists carefully curated from around the globe. While the moods vary greatly, from simple to modern to quirky, how would you define their unifying aesthetic?
DS: The unifying aesthetic could be captured as “understated elegance.” The line is sophisticated and is designed to let the art shine through. Of course, the diverse looks offer so many choices and will provide consumers with the opportunity to find the perfect card for their individual needs.
ST: You’ve included value-added elements like gold envelope seals and colored envelopes with nearly every offering, with many designs having lined envelopes as well. What other features have you incorporated?
DS: The brand showcases many wonderful features. The use of varied treatments and techniques offer a visually exciting range. Special treatments include letterpress, tip-ons, unique application of glitters, foil and embossing, embroidery that is truly frameable, layered laser-cutting, die-cuts, vellum paper sculpting, and perhaps the most remarkable technique, quilling. Quilled cards are truly works of art, as each card is created by using many individually rolled pieces of colored paper to create shapes and images. These cards are mesmerizing and stunning, each one a masterpiece.
ST: Do you have a favorite? What makes it so?
DS: It is so hard to pick a favorite, and the cards speak to me in different ways. If I had to pick one, I think it would be Mosaic Peacock. I just love the unique combination of techniques that give this card a 3-D look, and the subject matter of peacocks just makes me happy. They are such spectacular creatures, and I am proud that this card does them justice. I also love having special blank cards in my home so they are at-the-ready for that spontaneous need.
ST: The range is a celebration of the handmade card category. With so many cards having gone digital, this is an artful and brave step in the opposite direction. How do you see the demographics of the current handmade card customer? Is your customer base expanding?
DS: These cards are designed for people who are looking for a memorable and lasting experience. Giving a card is such a personal expression. It captures the giver’s taste, and the card they choose to give, shows how they feel about the recipient.
Taking the time to personally select each special card, then giving it with your heartfelt thoughts, can be one of the most sincere and special moments we have. A card can brighten someone’s day like nothing else, and having a beautifully handmade or artistic card that resonates with you is a treasure to be cherished. So many of us save those special cards that meant so much to us, and reading them years later brings back the magic of the moment when we first read them. So, I believe strongly that having a remarkable and stunning card to share is important, lasting and meaningful.
ST: Do you think our socially distanced times are also building a renewed appreciation for the handmade card?
DS: Yes, in this socially distanced world, we are all trying hard to stay connected. Sending or giving a beautiful, handmade card is a wonderful way to stay in touch, let people know you care, and connect in a meaningful way. Imagine the joy of receiving a special card in the mail right now; it means more than ever!
ST: From conception to shipping, how long did this range take to produce?
DS: This range took about 10 months to create. It has been a passion project, imbued with love and care.
ST: What kind of response has the range received so far?
DS: So far, we have received rave reviews of the range! It is thrilling to hear the excitement and enthusiasm! I have had many people tell me how much a brand like this is needed in the market right now, where there has been little innovation for quite some time.
ST: When will new releases be introduced?
DS: We are already working on new releases. Spring and seasonal ranges for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Graduations are being finalized now, and a supplemental release featuring boxed notes, gift bags and more cards is in the works!
ST: How do you recommend this range be promoted and merchandised at retail? Online?
DS: The beauty of this brand is that it can be merchandised in many ways. It can be shown in a gallery-style presentation on a wall, as well as on free-standing fixtures. It can also be merchandised by occasion, such as birthday or friendship, or by “look” as there are many boutique-style collections within the overall range. For example, if a customer loved letterpress, they could feature (that) look, or similarly, with a look like quilling, the same curated presentation could be created. I also think the cards will sell very well online, as each treatment’s unique features show well and can be highlighted on screen. The online channel also provides the opportunity to tell the stories behind the creations, such as background information about the artists and techniques.
ST: Is there anything else you would like to share with Stationery Trends readers?
DS: This brand is a very unique collection. It reflects my many years of experience, having literally grown up in this business, spending many years learning about what makes a card the special and meaningful product that it is. I have watched, learned and listened to customers share how the perfect card changed their lives and touched them in a way that nothing else could. I hope this new brand will provide the spark to enable people to share a little piece of their hearts with another person, thus enriching the world with good, genuine and heartfelt thoughts. Only wonderful things can come from this!