Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paper Airplanes Not Stationary with Crane's Thesis!

Well fold my wings! Who knew that a 100% cotton paper specified around the country for college and university thesis reports would have a secret second life.

According to Howard Fink, paper airplane expert and competitor in this Saturday's Milennium Paper Airplane Contest, to build a quality paper flyer, you should start with Crane's Thesis Paper.

Really; I don't make this stuff up! Here's a link to the event in Time Out New York.

And should you still be in doubt, here's Howard:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Statue of Liberty debuts on Crane Stationery

On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland. As with so many other notable events in American history, the invitation was presented on Crane paper.

Here is one of several invitations held in the Crane archives. I bet you didn't know the full name of the Statue of Liberty.

Disney Stationery Collection Brightens a Day

Let me set the scene for you. It's 41 degrees and pouring. There are still leaves on the trees and there's a Nor'easter on its way. I can't finish stacking the four cords of firewood because my back is killing me. I could go on, but you get the picture.

I'm cranky.

But Walt Disney makes me smile. Even today.

Crane is launching the new Walt Disney Signature Collection on its website today, and flipping among the designs is just a happy thing to do. It recalls the launch at the National Stationery Show and how well the collection was received by the media. It brings back fond childhood memories.

Walt Disney’s legacy has lasted more than 80 years, and his life inspired generations to be innovative and creative. The Walt Disney Signature Stationery Collection celebrates Walt and his creativity with three distinct and elegant lines including: The Executive Collection, Sleeping Beauty Collection, and Fantasia Collection. In order to authentically interpret Walt Disney’s brand essence, designers from Crane were provided special access to artwork from the Disney archives.

There's a lot to look at and admire in this collection, but I can't do justice here to the beauty and elegance of my personal favorite - Fantasia Fairies. The images on these cards and notes are stunning. In my opinion, they represent the height of the art of engraving. You'll understand when you see them in person.

Here's a look at some other highlights of the collection:

And though the new Mickey Mouse Initial Notes are not officially part of the collecton, I think they're pretty special and will be very popular this holiday season.

Oh, almost forgot. Check out the "Buy 75, Get 25" stationery sale.

And finally, Ms. Bliss (she's keeping her maiden blog persona) is back from her glorious honeymoon, nesting away in northern Vermont. On Friday, she posted a link to one of my favorite things I need to avoid: chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.........

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Ties Between Fashion and Stationery

One of the aspects of blogging I enjoy most is getting to interact with a wide range of people with whom I never would have come into contact without the blogosphere. There is a certain affinity not just among bloggers, but among those who blog and those who follow blogs. I do both.

I had one of those "out-of-the-blue" encounters recently with Stuart Hotchkiss, who started his neckwear business - Capital Ties - in 2005. Based in Washington, DC, as you might imagine, Stuart has rolled out the "Nick Hotchkiss" collection of ties in honor of his great uncle, Elmore "Nick" Hotchkiss Jr. (1883-1947).

Nick Hotchkiss was a member of an old Southern family and long prominent in business and social interests in Richmond, VA. He was a former president both of the Commonwealth Club and the Country Club of Virginia and had for some years been secretary of The Richmond German. He was was also a close friend of golf legend Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones and was invited by Mr. Jones to become a charter member of Augusta National Golf Club on May 16, 1932.

Upon perusing the Nick Hotchkiss Collection, it dawned on me that, in this instance as with many others over time, there is a very close relationship between fine fashion and fine stationery.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Business Lessons from the Great Depression

A very interesting and timely article was posted this afternoon on Business Week Magazine's website.

I was called by writer Stacy Perman earlier this week, asking if Crane could provide guidance to other companies experiencing serious financial downturns for perhaps the first time. Because Crane has been around since 1770, it has seen more than its share of historic downturns. So why is Crane still here, and how does it continue to be as relevant in the 21st century as it was before the American Revolution?

As Crane's historian, I was happy to help with some historical perspective, but most notable is how the Crane family continues to view its business, as told by Crane CEO Charlie Kittredge, a seventh-generation descendent of the family's first papermaker:

"Our company has the luxury to think and plan for the long term, so that when the hard times come, we don't feel required to slash the workforce or make all sorts of cuts [that] diminish the value of our company over time. We feel we can keep our people employed. We care about our community and employees and think about how a downturn impacts them."

You can read the entire article here. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Politicians: Do You Think We're All Brain-Dead?

I'm about as apolitical as a guy can get, but I like to be informed. So I watch the local and national news; I check out Wolf Blitzer and what's happening in The Situation Room; I tolerate Lou Dobbs for a few minutes; and I always tune in to what Ali Velshi has to say.

And, of course, wanting to be the informed citizen, I turned on the tube last night to watch the final debate.

This was my reward for wanting to be an informed voter:

I'm ready to be a Good Vermont Woodchuck and crawl down my burrow until November 4.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Steam Roller as Letterpress on Crane Paper

In late September, Crane was the sponsor of an annual street event in San Francisco called Roadworks, put on by the San Francisco Center for the Book.

The Center "is a place where you can learn about the many arts and crafts of the book. Through workshops, exhibitions and public events, the SFCB promotes both knowledge of traditional book arts and exploration of experimental book forms."

The organization holds "hands-on" classes on letterpress printing and bookbinding throughout the year and also has exhibitions of various subjects relating to books, of course. The Center is well know among the graphic artists in the area.

Participants created letterpress linoleum prints and large posters by closing off the street by the facility and renting a steamroller. Several artists created linoleum cuts that were poster size that will be auctioned off at a fundraiser in October ( last year several posters went for over $1500). They also had clients of the Center make smaller prints of their own. Vendors included local artists selling items from tee shirts to letterpress prints and greeting cards. The day-long event was well attended by several hundred patrons of the arts, books, and letterpress printers.

I love San Francisco, and this is just another in a long list of reasons why I've got to find an excuse to get there. Thanks so much to Chuck Schmidt from Crane Business Papers for the photos and write-up. I think Chuck had fun.......

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Junior League: Manners to Achieve a Mission

By Guest Blogger Mindy Lockard

As an etiquette consultant, I have the privilege of working with a wide range of people from the fifth-grade boy who doesn’t know how to use his fork to professionals wanting to give back to their community! Recently, I had the honor of speaking to the members of the Junior League of Portland, Oregon, to help them kick off a new year by focusing on applying manners to their mission.

The Junior League is more than ladies of leisure sipping tea in white gloves and pearls. It is an organization of women who have been actively working in the trenches of their communities, providing relief and education on behalf of the underserved for 107 years. The mission of the Junior League provides a fantastic glimpse—for everyone, not just women—of what it means to volunteer and the impact that every man, woman, or child can make on his or her community.

“The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

As an etiquette consultant, I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of using manners to achieve a mission. Here are a few manners to think about as you serve or if you are thinking about getting involved:

Brag a Little! Yes, this is an etiquette consultant telling you to “flaunt your philanthropy!” Since so much of our volunteer service goes on behind the scenes, you have my permission to inform everyone what you’re up to and how much fun you’re having as a volunteer. Humbly and with good manners, tell your neighbors, friends, cousins, and the barista at Starbucks—anyone who will listen. After all, your enthusiasm is contagious, and we all need to catch a little of the giving-back bug!

Keep It Up! Let’s face it, we’ve all had days when we wake up late only to fall behind schedule or spill coffee on our best white button-down and the last thing we want to do is encourage someone else, but do your best to stay upbeat and uplift your fellow volunteers. You’ll add cheer to their day—and yours! Lend a helping hand if a fellow volunteer seems to be overloaded. Take the time to share gratitude verbally at a meeting or over the phone, and never underestimate the value of a handwritten note of thanks or acknowledgment.

Give Your All! Before you take on a volunteer position, investigate whether or not it is a good fit for you. Once you have committed, you must follow through. Don’t discount the importance of your work because a paycheck isn’t attached; the organization that you have committed to depends on your service. Show them respect by arriving on time and returning telephone calls and e-mails in a timely fashion. Speak up when you have taken on too much, and ask for help if you don’t understand.

Aside from the fact that giving back is good manners, the futures of our communities depend on us doing so! When we use our manners and abilities to improve our communities, our giving back makes a difference—and we receive far more than we give!

From Peter: Many thanks to Mindy for stepping in while I try to get rid of something that closely resembles the flu.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Inc. Magazine Profiles Crane & Co.

The October issue of Inc. Magazine contains an extensive feature on Crane & Co. as told by its CEO Charlie Kittredge. Charlie was interviewed by writer Adam Bluestein earlier this year for this recurring feature. I got in a quick snapshot of Charlie during a photo session at Crane.
Here is Adam's introduction:
Everyone knows we're moving toward a paperless world, right? Well, not so fast. One of the oldest names in papermaking, Crane & Co., best known for its high-end stationery, is literally printing money. The company, based in Dalton, Massachusetts, and run by the same family since its founding in 1801, has a lucrative contract to manufacture currency paper for the U.S. Treasury and print money for countries such as Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and India. And by adapting papermaking technology to create a range of new products, it has moved into markets as diverse as energy, environmental services, and office furnishings. CEO Charles Kittredge talks about Crane's 200 years of winning bets and his strategy for the next hundred.

Here's a link to the online version.