Designer Profiles

April 23, 2014 • Sarah Schwartz
Jodi Bos

What happens when an exclusive event planner decides to start letterpressing invitations herself for those events? She may well find her new business booming to the extent that she has to step away from the events. At least, that’s how it’s unfolded for Jodi Bos, proprietor of Gwyneth Paige {Couture Letterpress}.

“Gwyneth Paige is not just a letterpress print shop creating great pieces. Rather, we’re event designers creating great event looks through invitations and paper pieces,” Bos observed.

Now the company has a released a new collection, Fête by Gwyneth Paige, a comprehensive, luxe line of ready-to-buy party invitations and coordinating accessory pieces. “With Fête, we want to take the event design guesswork out of the equation for the consumer,” Bos explained. “We want each design to be used as a springboard for a stylized party or event.”

Each collection includes invitations with lined envelopes, RSVP cards with lined envelopes, tented place cards, coasters, drink straws with flags, cocktail napkins and thank-yous with lined envelopes. Lavish details, like three color schemes per design, combine with practical ones, like the ability to buy pieces à la carte, to make the entire collection that more enticing.

Stationery Trends interviewed Bos to learn more about all of her offerings, and where she’d like to take them.

Paper Prowess

ST: Can you share a bit about your background?

JB: Educated in the field of public relations, for the past eight years I’ve owned and operated a luxury wedding and social event planning firm, In Any Event, taking on parties and events with a minimum budget of $100,000. Gwyneth Paige {Couture Letterpress} was founded about four years ago.

Initially, it was a way to support my event planning and design business. We weren’t able to find invitations that perfectly fit the aesthetic of (our) events, so we started to create our own. We created our first wedding album three years ago and our mitzvah album two years ago. It’s been an amazing journey thus far. Last year, I decided not to accept any event work in 2014 so that my team and I can focus 110 percent on Gwyneth Paige.

ST: Please briefly describe Fête.

JB: Fête by Gwyneth Paige (includes) 30 collections available in volume i. All pieces are available in boxed sets of eight, with the exception of the cocktail napkins, which come in a boxed set of 16. Pieces are (also) available à la carte, so a retailer and consumer can pick and choose which pieces they want.

The unique thing about Fête is that it was designed with the actual party in mind. We thought about how the table will look, how the floral centerpiece will feel and what the linen and china might be. We truly took a holistic approach to the design of this collection.

ST: Where would you like Gwyneth Paige {Couture Letterpress} to be in five years?

JB: I would like us to be several volumes into the market with Fête by Gwyneth Paige. I foresee this becoming the bulk of our business. I also see look books filled with inspirational tablescapes using our products to inspire and excite our consumer.

Additionally, we plan to continue to grow our wedding invitation offerings. We’re releasing volume ii of our wedding album at NSS this year. We’ll also continue to grow our custom design work. We love working with our stores and brides to create gorgeous and unique looks through paper. We love hearing about dresses, linens, china and flowers and then translating those elements into gorgeous letterpress and foil suites.

Personality Plus

ST: Do you personally collect anything? If so, what?

JB: I collect a number of things … it’s become an occupational hazard since I’m surrounded by pretty all day long! I have an extensive collection of vintage English tea cups/saucers and various sized mismatched vintage plates. I also have 10 sets of complete vintage china patterns. My favorite and largest collection is definitely my Candlewick pattern. I just wish I had more time to entertain and use (it) all!

Another favorite collection is double-handled ironstone pottery. My collection lines the top of our kitchen cupboards

ST: Can you describe a typical day?

JB: After I get my kids off to school and my husband to work, I brew a quick cup of coffee and begin my day with devotions. This is also the time that I map out my day and make a to-do list. The time I spend doing this is crucial to the success of each day. I do this quietly in my living room, all alone, before I head into the office to tackle organized chaos.

I’m usually the first in the office, so I brew a pot of coffee, open my computer and start with email. My day is filled with job quoting and order filling, dreaming about designs I’d like to see our creative director tackle, marketing, sales and putting out any fires that present themselves. Truly, there is never a dull moment and not enough hours in the day to do all I want.

ST: What is your favorite aspect of running your business?

JB: My favorite aspect is mapping out the creative direction and course the company will take. Looking at the big picture and dreaming and deciding where we’re headed invigorates me. I love thinking about new products, and how those products will ultimately help support a consumer in his or her party design efforts. We have a mantra around here: If a product does not somehow help to support a party or event, then it isn’t a product we want to design or produce.

We want to be sought after for our understanding of the role paper pieces play in the overall aesthetics of an event. You will never see things like single cards with cheeky sayings coming from us. While we love and admire these pieces, it’s not our niche. We know what we’re good at, and we’re very comfortable with who we are and confident in where our strengths lie.

ST: What advice would you give to new stationery or gift designers?

JB: Find your niche. Really ask yourself what you can offer that’s different. Admittedly, this took us a bit longer than I would have liked. We kept searching for the answer, and all along it was right in front of us.

ST: What trends do you currently find interesting?

JB: I have always been inspired by interior design, and it heavily influences my work and the work of our team. We do a lot of pattern mixing, and that definitely comes from my love of fabrics. I love to fill rooms with a variety of patterned and complimentary fabrics, and we take that very same approach when creating invitations.

ST: What other stationery companies do you admire?

JB: I will forever be grateful to our friends at Boxcar Press. Harold Kyle, owner of Boxcar/Smock/Bella Figura, truly helped me get my start in the letterpress invitation business. Harold was so generous with his time and talents.

ST: Is there anything else you’d care to share?

JB: I see a new type of invitation retailer emerging, and it’s exciting! I’ve spoken with numerous boutique owners in the past few months who, like me, are former wedding planners. Because so many have transitioned to stationery, I predict we’ll see a real shift in the way invitations are designed and sold.

To compete with this emerging retailer, retailers need to take a more holistic approach in their consultations. (They) need to examine with clients how the paper pieces fit into the overall event theme. This is going to be key to future growth and success within this industry, both for the retailer and the designer/manufacturer.

Jodi at a Glance

Q. If you could travel through time and space and land anywhere you desire, where and when would it be?

A. I would want to land inside “Downton Abbey” as a member of the Crawley family. The tea, the china, the parties and the formality … I love it all!

Q. How would you define your signature style?

A. I have a very classic style; tailored, refined but understated … never fussy or trendy.

Q. What is new in your paper offerings?

A. We will be releasing a second wedding album as well as volume ii of our Fête by Gwyneth Paige line. In volume ii, you’ll see more specific party invitation suites like adoption showers, tea parties, New Year’s Eve parties, derby parties and Fourth of July celebrations, just to name a few.

Q. What one product from your 2014 releases has turned into a bestseller?

A. We did a soft release of volume i of Fête in December ’13/January ’14 to current and select prospective retailers. We were so excited that it met with rave reviews and lots of orders. This soft release allowed us to work through the kinks, refine the product line and perfect it for national release. I think in 2014, Fête will undoubtedly be our bestseller. It’s flexible and reasonably priced. It’s also unlike anything on the current market.

Q. Which piece reflects the overall direction of your line?

A. Our Edith suite is definitely reflective of where we’re heading with our line. There’s a sophisticated refinement to that collection that truly speaks to the creative path we’re on and the type of bride we have in mind when we’re designing.

Q. Do you have a personal favorite from your current offerings?

A. I absolutely love our Emily design. It’s sophisticated and romantic without any fuss. It’s a classic.

Q. What other designers, music and movies inspire you?

A. I’m a huge fan of interior designer Sarah Richardson. I also identify with the timeless and classic work of Tory Burch and wedding dress designer, Rita Vinieris, who creates for the label Rivini.

Q. If you couldn’t do this, what would you do instead?

A. I would open an interior design boutique and fill it with all the things I love: great furniture pieces, fabrics, tableware, and decorative accessories.


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