Retailer Profile: Aileen Invitations

Aileen Invitations
2584 Miami Gardens Drive, No Miami Beach, FL 33180
Year Established: 2008
Store Owner: Aileen

Brag a bit about yourself and your company. What would you like people to know about Aileen Invitations? What are you most proud of?
We have the best selection of up-to-date invitations, are very selective on what we have in our store and order what our clients ask for. We take extra time to help our clients. We have an interior design background so we love to customize invitations. Our employees work hard to become friends with our clients and make our store very comfortable. We invite customers to come in, hang out and take their time looking around to get what they want. Letterpress is the most popular and we love to show them all the fun options available.

What makes you different from other stationery shops? What makes you unique?

I think we’re young and fresh and up-to-date on trends. We’re all very fashionable and do a lot of research to stay ahead of the rest. We’re not only an invitation store, we also have other fun paper products as well. We try to read the client on what they want so we can set the tone for their event.

What is your favorite Spark design and why?

Margaret – I did it for a client in Napa. It is so beautiful and I love the detail of the design.

What are some current trends you’re noticing in the stationery world?

Weight of the card is becoming more important to the customers. If it were more affordable, they would like more of a heavier cardstock. This year there were a lot of elegant and formal designs.

2012 is approaching quickly. What do you predict will be the biggest wedding or stationery trend for 2012?

I think people are definitely still going with letterpress. Mixing letterpress and foil is becoming big and being requested more. So I think foil will be bigger in 2012. People are slowly moving away from the elegant and formal designs and going more towards modern, fun and casual.

Retailer Profile: Landis Gifts & Stationery

Landis Gifts and Stationery
Established in 1990
Edie Frere, Owner
138 N. Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Brag a bit about yourself and your company. What would you like people to know about Landis Gifts & Stationery? What are you most proud of?

(Allison) Not only are our employees knowledgeable and helpful, but everyone who works here has great taste, which is invaluable when it comes to designing your own stationery/invitations.
(Erin) And in addition to stationery we carry a variety of gifts, from deliciously-scented candles and monogrammed silk pouches and bags to beautifully packaged soaps and so many fun little odds and ends.
(Joanne) We are a store who takes time to know our customer. Some of the people who come to the store just come to chat and ask what is new in the store.

What makes you different from other stationery shops? What makes you unique?

Twenty years of experience, to start. Also, we offer invitations and stationery by a wide variety of companies, as well as our own designs, so there is something for every desire and budget.

(Joanne) Some of our staff live in the area and know many of the people that live in our area, which makes our store more neighborhood friendly.

What is your favorite Spark design and why?

The fun die cut shapes for business cards and holiday cards are my favorite. No one else has fun shapes like these so they are fun to see.
Lucinda – I love the bark’s texture.
I love the chipboard paper so much I bought Spark business cards using it!
I’m torn between the Ava and Joy styles. The peach and pink are just lovely, especially for springtime or summer weddings or soirees.
I like the transparent silver ink. To me it looks blind embossed which is a look I always liked.

2012 is approaching quickly. What do you predict will be the biggest wedding or stationery trend for 2012?

We still see lots of plum and green combinations, and also a trend toward black and white. Simple elegance seems to be the biggest trend. There is a definite trend toward relating the Save the Date cards with the wedding location, and sometimes with the wedding invitation.

(Joanne) Something that catches the eye and allows the engaged couple to put a personal or unique style to the invitation. Affordable but not cheap looking.

What are some current trends you’re noticing in the stationery world? Colors, designs, papers, etc.

(Allison) Modern shades of purple are popping up more and more. Also, business card-sized enclosures with the couple’s website info in wedding.
Personal calling cards, with just a name and perhaps an email address.
Letterpress invitations, as they are becoming more affordable, more popular. Bold pattern borders or a bold motif seem to be chosen more often.

The staff at Landis Gifts & Stationery offers so much creativity and stationery expertise. Stop by and talk to them about your next stationery project! Please tell them Spark sent you!

The Dandelion Patch and Spark Impress

The Dandelion Patch, Vienna, Virginia Location

Thanks to The Dandelion Patch for the above photo.
Left to right: Heidi Kallett (Owner),
Valerie Carlson, (Spark Art Director),
Chen Li (Winner of Free Invitation Suite!)

Thank you so much to all of the staff at The Dandelion Patch for having us at their stores last week. Valerie and Andrea enjoyed meeting the staff, taking part in a special paper party event and offering individual stationery consultations at three of the four store locations in the DC area. The Dandelion Patch staff are truly experts when it comes to creating custom stationery, which is why all of us at Spark enjoy working with them.

Spark sponsored a giveaway at the paper party, a FREE 1-color letterpress invitation suite. The lucky winner will be working with the staff at The Dandelion Patch to create her custom Spark look. Congrats to Chen Li and her fiance!!

During our visit, we were proud to introduce our new luxury line of custom stationery - Spark Impress. Check out these quick shots below of the new designs taken at the paper party last week. The Impress designs are fully customizable, featuring new papers and envelopes, custom luxury envelopes, laser wraps, foil stamping, jewels, color edging and more. There will be a total of ten Impress designs, and we can't wait to show you more!

Impress will be available in select retail stores soon. If you would like more information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

The photos below feature Whitney (black & white), Mia (beach theme), Daphne (die cut letters mailed in silver tin), Gemma (purple and gold trifold), Chelsea (coral foil magnolias) and Katherine (elegant scroll). Don't worry, more photos and details coming soon!

AIGA Minnesota Design Camp!

Normally we leave the shop about once or twice a year, which I realize is not nearly enough by my calculations nor the standards of a normal person. So if we are going to venture out we want it to be worth our while.

Design Camp was all that and more for us. The event was well-organized, full of awesome printed lovelies, and there were happy designers conversing and finding inspiration in every direction.

Spark was thrilled to host three letterpress workshops. We had two projects: a calendar and a set of coasters.

For the calendar, we made a 15-month wall calendar printed on various stocks. It had the words I am knocked out of a vintage Minnesota map. We did a split fountain from silver to copper and went for a very deep impression. We were very pleased with the results and were excited to get it into the hands of our workshop attendees. We brought along photopolymer stamps that completed the “I am” statement. Things like married to my iMac, creative, honest, caffeinated at all times, a Minnesotan, etc. Everyone had fun adding these words and phrases to their calendar. We had a few attendees who did not want to disturb the beauty of the calendar and that was cool too.

The coasters project was a simple one, but oh-so-fun. Before camp we printed up coasters in two colors – a minty green (with an opaque white base) to match some of the print materials and then black. The coasters featured some of über-awesome icons created by the Target In-House team. Then at camp we letterpress printed the AIGA Minnesota Design Camp 2011 logo in the upper left corner of each one. It was great fun to see the workshop attendees carefully pressing their coasters. This year we were the only hands-on workshop so I know it was an exciting break for all who came.

We’ll do a separate post to tell the story of our C&P Pilot because that has its own storied past.

Images in this post are courtesy of Lisa Valley.

Here are a few more pictures from the event courtesy of @iBran (Brian Douglas Hayes):

And even a few more pictures that we took:

Thanks again to everyone at Design Camp for making this our amazing outing for the year. We hope to see you again next year!

- Valerie & Jim

Spark Visits Virginia and Washington, DC!

If you live in the Washington, DC area, don't miss your chance to meet Spark's designers in person for a paper party sponsored by our retailer, The Dandelion Patch! We are giving away a FREE Invitation Suite on Thursday, October 13th and you must be present to attend. In addition to our special giveaway, we will also have some other special offers and letterpress lovelies.

Here are the details:

The Dandelion Patch Paper Party with Spark

When: Thursday, October 13th
Time: 6-8 pm in our (newly renovated)
Location: Vienna Location, 111 Church Street, NW, Ste 101

Details: The Dandelion Patch will be hosting Spark Letterpress and offering an educational and entertaining invitation workshop. All attendees will have the chance to enter into a FREE invitation suite give-away*! This is a $1000+ value!! (A 100 quantity, 4-piece set in 1 color letterpress.) Winner must be present to win and you must register for this exciting evening at The creative designers from Spark will also be on hand for personal consultations (please register!), and everyone will leave with a SWAG bag full of goodies! If that isn't enough, Spark is also featuring their new couture line - Impress - that shows what affordable luxury is all about.

Spark Stationery Consultation Sessions at Reston

When: Friday, October 14th
Time: 5-7 pm
Location: Reston, 11923 Market Street

Details: Spark will take personal consultations at their Reston store (ask for a time slot when you register), and every bride that orders will receive an additional FREE 1-color letterpress insert for their custom suite (not including reply). To register, email

Spark Stationery Consultation Sessions at Georgetown

When: Saturday, October 15th
Time: 1-3 pm
Location: Georgetown, 3222 M Street NW, Ste W-055

Details: Spark will take personal consultations at their Georgetown location (ask for a timeslot when you register), and every bride that orders will receive an additional FREE 1-color letterpress insert for their custom suite (not including reply). To register, email

For more information about The Dandelion Patch, please visit their website. We hope to see you there!

Letterpress Elegance - How to Customize

We talk a lot about customizing your invitations, but what does it really mean? Does it have to be a complicated process? Absolutely not! Take the above invitations as an example. The first image shows our Margaret design, taken right out of our custom wedding album - the only thing that has changed are the inks and papers. The client also mimicked the invite design on the reception card.

The second image is a customized invitation, not featured in our custom wedding albums. The design is inspired by our Margaret suite, with the following changes:

- Chandelier artwork added to top (pattern removed)
- Pattern at bottom changed to our lovely "Brocade" pattern found in our design book*
- Burgues (swoosh) font toned down a bit
- Paper changed to grout gray, ink is warm gray

*All of our retailers have a Design Book they can share with you during your consultation, providing additional choices for papers, inks, fonts, patterns and other artwork. If you are working with us directly, we can send you a PDF with your customization options.

Whether you are working with Spark directly or through one of our retailers, let us guide you through the customization process. Don't hesitate to ask questions, we want to hear your ideas and inspire you to create something one-of-a-kind!

Holiday Special - 15% Off!

We love holidays, so take advantage of our special holiday offer good through October 31st - 15% off all holiday card orders. We have a variety of holiday card designs to choose from or create your own custom holiday card using our collection of patterns, holiday art and more. For an additional $75, print your holiday card design on one of our die cut shapes shown above. Not finding what you are looking for? Ask us how you can create a custom shape.

Spark provides additional holiday finishing services such as photo printing and adhering (custom sizes available), ribbon tying, paper mounting, envelope liners, sewing and more.

This offer is good through any Spark retailer or by working with Spark directly if you do not have a retailer near you. Visit our website for more details about this promo. Cheers!

Save the Dates - Keeping it Simple

We've been seeing more save the date inquiries and orders now that we are at the end of Summer and couples are planning for 2012 weddings. The save the date, like the rest of your wedding stationery, should reflect your personality. For some couples, keeping the design and message simple on the save the date is a perfect fit.

All of the designs featured in our letterpress love albums feature save the dates. Many of our couples mix and match our design patterns and artwork to create a save the date that is personal to them. Below are just a few save the dates that we find endearing in their use of color and design. Need more inspiration? Visit our website or preview our photos on our flickr page.

Happy Wedding Weekend, Joy!

All of us at Spark would like to wish Joy and Adam well as they are married this weekend! What better way to acknowledge their grand affair than by showing off Joy's wedding stationery.

Featured above is their save the date, printed on bright white cotton stock in royal and fuchsia inks. The photos were supplied by their photographer, Despres Photography, and Spark did our magic to make the photos letterpress ready. We love how the finished save the date looks - showing off the happy couple!

Their invitation stationery was inspired by our Margaret design and printed on Lapis Lazuli metallic paper (pocketfold and envelope liner), soft white cotton stock, and fuchsia paper - all in royal ink. The pocketfold is printed with the Margaret pattern on the front flap in a tone on tone look and tied off with our string and button closure (button in silver metallic and string is fuchsia). We especially love the icons used on the wedding day weekend card!

Best wishes to Joy and Adam from all of us at Spark!

Photo credits: Sara D Harper

Spark Promotions - Free Insert Card and 15% Off!

The Special Promotions listed below are redeemable through a Spark retailer near you. If you do not have a retailer in your area, please contact Spark to work with us directly. Both offers are effective today and valid through October 31, 2011. Our promotions are not retro-active for orders already placed whether in the design phase or production phase. Only one Spark promotion may be used per order received.

Free Insert Card

Spark is offering a free insert card when you order any 4-piece invitation suite (invite panel, printed invite envelope, reply card and printed reply envelope). The free insert card is a flat A2 size (5.5x4.25) card or smaller, printed in one color letterpress on any of our standard 1-ply papers. This insert card must be printed in the same press run as the rest of the invitation suite, and is valid for the same quantity as the rest of the order. Upgrades are available with this offer. Please reference "Spark Free Insert" on your order form to redeem.

15% off the purchase of 2 event day-of items

Spark is offering 15% off when you order two or more printed event day-of pieces. Day-of items can include programs, menus, placecards, gift tags, coasters, table cards and thank you note sets. This special does not apply to rush orders or design only orders. Please reference "Spark 15% Off" on your order form to redeem.

Contact Spark if you have any questions!