We’ve evolved and grown by about 2000 pounds of cast iron joy. 2017 has held a lot of growth and change for us, but by far the biggest (and COOLEST) has been bringing home Winnie, our first press.
We scoured the internet for a long time before finding her eBay listing. See, they just don’t make presses like they used to. (I’m allowed to say stuff like that now.) You can’t stop by the Press Store or go online and get one on Amazon Prime. You have to find an individual person — or auction — who happens to be selling one, hope it’s in decent condition, and cross your fingers that it’s physically close enough so you won’t have to pay five grand to move it a few states over.
We’ve been scouting eBay and Craigslist for a nearby working press, and just about fell over when we found one listed in Gladwin Michigan, just a few hours north of us! Winnie, named after the town we found her in, had lived in a tiny print shop since the 1960s. She was in excellent condition — a welcome change from all of the presses we’d seen that had sat outside and rusted for years.
Isn’t she a beaut?
This whole thing was a whirlwind. And I hate using that word, I think it sounds super cliché, but that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s not even like I’ve been dreaming of this for years… I always thought having my own press would be amazing, but it was never an end goal. Or something that I ever thought to be realistic.
Until I had a phone call with my then-shiny-new-friend Lauren of Darling & Pearl. (New paragraph for emphasis. GAMECHANGER.)
She helped me plant the seed that this was a thing I could do. It wasn’t impossible! It was a real thing that could happen, a new adventure, and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I just assumed it would be. I casually brought it up to Max that night — so I’ve been thinking about what if we had a press, wouldn’t that be cool haha, so crazy lol — and he immediately was on board. No convincing required. He’s a true craftsman at heart, creative in all the ways that I’m not. Perfect fit. He did all of the research necessary and made this whole thing a reality that transformed our garage into a fully functioning print shop within a couple of months.
It means Paper & Honey® 2.0. An upgrade from a design studio, to a fully-fledged design and print studio.
It means that I’m able to meet my mission more fully: that every single wedding suite that goes out the door is a true heirloom. Not just meaningful, not just beautiful, but printed and produced timelessly. Letterpress is classic. You hold it in your hands and it feels special — it feels like something you want to keep and run your fingers over. It feels like heart and enchantment and careful attention to detail.
It means I have a lower overhead, which means I’m able to offer my couples upgrades I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Working on an invitation that would be next-level if we could add another color? Boom. Done. Can do. Now every project can be a Dream Project. And my couples have an even more phenomenal experience with us.
It means Max is a more equal partner in P&H. It’s less my business and more OURS. Which is everything to me. You know how special it is to be able to collaborate with my husband within the company I built over the last five-ish years? That he’s now so involved and “in it” that he actually knows what I’m talking about when I tell him I need more A7 Lettra in Pearl. Or ask his opinion on adding blind press to a design. Or when he comes to me with his own big ideas and where he dreams that Paper & Honey® is heading. His dreams are my dreams are our dreams. And that’s invaluable to me.
It means I feel LEGIT. Look at me! I can print whatever I want! (These are mental points I tally in my head and that’s it, but hey, it’s something.)
But perhaps most importantly, it means having full control of what I can offer my clients and my couples. I won’t have to outsource printing and pray that what’s shipped back to me meets my standards of excellence — instead, I have my hands on every single detail from start to finish. I’m a perfectionist. Winnie allows me to have an eye on every step, from design to the finished product, and ensure that each and every print is flawless. I pour so much energy into what I do, so much time and thought and heart and soul, and I’m beyond excited that I can now pull that energy through every step of our process. Every print of every insert is printed by hand, inspected with a sharp and discerning eye (Max wishes I was a lot less perceptive on days I make him print over and over and over again because it just isn’t quite good enough yet), and given the Laura stamp of approval. Stamped with a whole lot of love, Bob Marley on the radio, and sunlight streaming through those two huge windows of ours.
Man, this feels good. Thank you for being here, thank you for reading this blog post, and thank you for being a part of this entrepreneurship journey with us, even if just for a few minutes. We’ve got big things coming up, and some pretty cool projects for even cooler couples. Want to count yourself among them?
If P&H were a Pokémon I’d say this is our… second stage evolution. We’ll see what the next few years hold. xo