In a fast-paced world dominated by technology, why launch a business that could be considered old-fashioned at first sight? Sugar Paper took just such a chance, focusing on stationary. In defying the odds, the L.A.-based brand found immediate success.
“In 2003, we started tinkering with a letterpress and helping our friends put beautiful paper in the mail,” say Sugar Paper cofounders Jamie Grobecker and Chelsea Shukov. “It’s hard to explain why we thought it was so important and why we felt such a connection to it. Maybe because our mothers always told us how important thank-you notes were or how much we loved her handwriting, and the fancy pens and paper they used.”
Going beyond simple words, every message conveys an emotion and is truly personal. “As each bespoke piece was sent, more and more people inquired,” say the founders. “So more and more stationary was made.” Today, the brand has a presence in thousands of stores across the United States and around the world, including an international shop-in-shop at Harrods in London. Its two Southern California boutiques—in Santa Monica and Newport Beach—invite passersby to discover brand’s unique, subtle aesthetic.
The white background of Sugar Paper spaces foster an overall feeling of airiness, despite the storefronts’ small size. Perfectly curated, products are harmoniously staged with a great sense of detail. Soft blues and pinks combine with touches of gold to create a cozy yet glamorous atmosphere, reminiscent of the pre-Internet age.
“We took a risk and stayed focused on building our business offline, making beautiful, tangible things by hand that would far outweigh anything in the digital space,” say Grobecker and Shukov. Quality, creativity and personalization are at the heart of the Sugar Paper concept.
“There is something special about personalized paper,” Shukov explains. “It’s a simple luxury that feels elegant.” With every card designed and hand-printed at the brand’s Los Angeles studio, Sugar Paper uses extra thick paper and subtle variations in ink, and every envelope is lined by hand. Candles are individually hand-poured and available in two scents: crisp white linen and pale pink petal, reflecting the beauty of the handcrafted.
“Good things take time,” say the cofounders. “We believe love is in the details.” The collections also comprises baby books, wedding planners, notebooks, pens, journals, calendars, phone cases, place cards and key fobs. “At Sugar Paper, we make practical things for busy people,” note Grobecker and Shukov. “When no one in the studio can live without something we’ve made, we know we’ve created something special.” Helping people get organized, connect with others and be inspired, Sugar Paper is also a way to go back to basics. It’s a breath of fresh air in an era when many people are rediscovering the beauty and value of small, well-made things. sugarpaper.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF SUGAR PAPER