stores we love

Postcard heaven in Vancouver
August 12th, 2011
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When people hear that we run a card company, the conversation often turns to postcards. As in: what ever happened to all the wonderful postcards you used to be able to send? Well, now I know. They’ve all gone to postcard heaven: Stella Chapman’s tiny (and by tiny, I mean no more than 10′ square) little shop on Vancouver’s Granville Island.

We felt like Dorothy falling down the rabbit hole into a magical place. Unexpected postcards and the little stories they all hold. It was hard to stop at four.

Clockwise (from top left): a typically quirky Elliott Erwitt photo from ’56, a delightful Dutch fashion pic from the 60s, a charming doodle from the French illustrator Serge Bloch, and a piece of advertising from the 70s designed to look 30s from Jean Villemot. Villemot is a discovery for me. French, 1911-1990, the master of many Orangina posters in the heyday of French poster art. He’s very collectable these days.

Serge Bloch is fast becoming one of our favorite illustrators. That French ease and insouciance charms us. Check out his site here.

Elliott Erwitt’s website is also well worth visiting. Yes, he’s the guy that took that famous shot of the couple kissing in the car’s mirror.

* The Postcard Place, The Net Loft Building, Granville Island, Vancouver. 604 684 6909

New York windows: A trio of shoes
August 11th, 2011

We have always had a bit of shoe addiction, but when we started to realize how much ink and paper we could buy for a pair of Pradas or velvet slippers from Stubbs, we had to curb our ways. So now we’re firmly in the window-shopping camp. (So occasionally we slip. Tell no one.)

Believe us, having styled a fair few accessories shoots in our day, shoes are among the most challenging. How to enhance them with props, without overwhelming them. Here are three recent ‘windowscapes’ we loved. Left to right, Cole-Haan with a jar of paint brushes, little girls’shoes swim with jellyfish at Bonpoint, and tiny men try to commandeer a pair of Prada flats at Saks. This last one was a particularly clever use of scale — you are immediately drawn into the fine details on the bow of an otherwise simple shoe.

Stand-Out Shop: Green Cottage, High Falls
August 4th, 2011

We were recently staying with friends in the Catskills, and this gave us the chance to visit one of the stores that carries our cards. Green Cottage is refreshingly true to its name: it is indeed a charming little cottage painted green — and just the kind of shop you hope to find when you are winding through the sunny, rolling roads of upstate New York.

This is a store that reminds us just how pleasant and recreational shopping can be, far from the urgency of 5th Avenue. And, yes, it certainly helps when you are greeted at the front door by a life-size deer in dayglo orange.

Dennis Nutley and David Urso created Green Cottage back in 1997, combining their worlds of flowers and jewelry, respectively. These two categories still inform the store and it boasts some of the most marvelous flowers and lovely jewelry in the area. But it’s remarkable what else they pack into a relatively small space.

Candles of all shapes and sizes? We love the orange tapers from a Danish company Erik & Ester. Lovely tactile clothing? A friend found her favorite paisley scarf here. One-of-a-kind art? That white bust (top right) is actually a vase from local artist Lora Shelly. And a card to go with that last minute hostess gift? You are spoilt for choice: our line, but also charmers like Rifle Paper Co., and Austin Press.

What inspires us: the unapologetic use of color (chartreuse with purple and red trim? sure!), and the product-packed environment that encourages the eye to explore. It reminds us how pleasures can be amplified when they are unexpected. It is in the charm of a little unnecessary detail.

* Green Cottage, 1204 State Route 213, High Falls, NY 12440. (845) 687 4810. Thegreencottage.com

Stand-out Shop! Petite & Sweet, Toronto
June 23rd, 2011

Ok, we confess: we love stores. To us, finding a perfect shop is a little like discovering a wonderful story. Which is why we’re introducing a new series to our blog called ‘Stand-out Shops’.

A stand-out shop is one that, through its mix of merch and interior design, genuinely inspires us. We see colors, shapes and textures that make us want to run back to our studio and create. Naturally all these stores carry cards (and sometimes ours!) but they are not always stationery stores.

Petite & Sweet is full of light and charm: delicious coffee, chic desserts, colorful ribbons and wrapping, and unexpected gift items – for example, who wouldn’t adore these white owls? Petite & Sweet run a very successful event company and, just 3 months ago, they created this retail space in Rosedale (a tony Toronto neighborhood).

What inspires us? The delightful use of colors, the streamlined black and white decor, the sense of whimsy in the party decorations (old fashioned candy bags and straws!), and the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it realistic silk flowers (made on-site). And how adorable is their logo?

As well as our line, they carry the enchanting letterpress cards from Mr. Boddington’s Studio.

* Petite & Sweet, 420 Summerhill Ave, 647-348-7700. www.petiteandsweet.ca