Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx with paperedtogether

Today’s Indie Artist Fixx interview is with Krista Stout of paperedtogether. Paperedtogether is a line of sweetly charming letterpress coasters, notecards, cards, CD jackets, bookplates and more. Krista also offers custom designs including invitations, birth announcements, save-the-date cards, favors, business cards, business branding and more. Bursting on the scene in 2006, paperedtogether started out as a relatively small Etsy shop, but quickly grew into a successful press with goods now being sold in online shops and brick and mortar shops around the world. Both Krista’s whimsical childhood and beautiful organic designs are a major reason for that success. You can take a look at her work at paperedtogether.com and in the paperedtogether Etsy shop. I guarantee you will get hooked!

Learn more about Krista and paperedtogether in my interview with Krista below.

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1. What’s the name of your business and what do create and sell?

paperedtogether is a letterpress studio based in Minneapolis. I design and print custom wedding invitations, birth announcements, CD jackets, you name it… as well as a complete line of greeting cards & coasters.

2. Tell us how you got started with your indie business.

Honestly, I cannot remember where I first came across letterpress printing. I think a friend sent me a letterpress-printed card and I just thought it was the best thing ever and I said, “I am going to do this!” My dad was actually an offset printer for most of my childhood, and my grandfather was a newspaper printer as well, but it was never a part of my consciousness and I certainly never once imagined I would be one. paperedtogether as a business was really sort of a whim… I started printing stationery designs digitally, with the idea that as soon as I made enough money I would buy a letterpress. I launched an Etsy shop and it really wasn’t long at all before the perfect little press came my way. The business has really grown organically: I’ve never taken out any loans, and I’ve always had enough business to take me to the next step. I’ve been lucky to have some great features from the {design} blogging community, as well as some print write-ups as well. I had no start-up costs, no business plan, no nothing- it just happened. 🙂

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3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?

Especially living here in the Midwest, my life and art are continually influenced by the seasons. Plants, animals, weather, light, and colors all play big roles in my work. I also have three amazing kids, so simple, sweet images of children are often present. Although we live right in the city, we sleep in a tent most of the summer and our chicken coop is right out beside my studio, so there is always plenty of dirt in my life. Vintage art, antiques, and alley junk are always big inspirations as well.

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4. Are there any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share with newbie indie business owners?

Well… I think Etsy is a great, great way to get a business established. It is as easy as can be to open up shop, and the traffic is amazing. I don’t know how I could have made this paperedtogether thing happen without it. In the beginning, all of my wholesale orders, custom orders, etc. came directly from Etsy. Also, of course, you should be sure that the business you choose (or the business that chooses you) is something you like to do (and something that will actually make a profit). You might love knitting that organic wool poncho, but when you get orders for 100 of them, will you still want to make them? And, if you plan to really grow your business, naturally be aware that it is a lot of work! paperedtogether is often more than a full time job, and I have another part-time job, and three kids as well (and am a full-time stay at home mom to the youngest). So maybe don’t expect to ever sleep again or clean your house. 🙂

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5. What three things can’t you live without?

My press, music, my family (ok, maybe my Mac as well-though I hate to admit it)

6. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?

My favorite parts are designing & printing. My least favorite—by far- is shipping orders (sorry to those people waiting on packages right now!)

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7. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?

Design*Sponge, souleMama, oh joy!, dwell, Poppytalk, Indie Fixx. I have a serious thrift store weakness.

8. Were you an artsy craftsy kid? If so, what kinds of things did you do?

I guess I’ve always been ‘artsy’; I’ve bounced around a lot from batik to sewing to sculpture to crocheting to painting—and lots in between. My mom always did handiwork and various projects with us, and my dad was more of the mad-scientist type, making sculptures out of dinosaur bones he excavated in the desert, so I was always around something ‘creative’.

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9. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

I’m kind of a chicken & goat person- but definitely more cat than dog.

10. What are you reading, watching and listening to?

In the shop, it is never quiet. I might be listening to Greg Brown, Laura Veirs, The Pines, Jolie Holland, Bon Iver, Tom Waits, This American Life. When I had time to read I liked John Fante, Anne Lamott, The Grapes of Wrath, books about food, Richard Brautigan, a little Bukowski, some Pablo Neruda. We don’t have a television in our home, but I have been known to watch really junky TV shows on my laptop out in the studio on long lonely nights.

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11. What’s new for 2008? Any new plans or products that you want to share?

The letterpress ‘market’ is changing/growing so much (right now), I feel a bit of outside pressure to come up with some new, trendy products. But…I think I’ll likely just keep doing what I’m doing, and stick with images and colors and papers that really speak to me. I’m starting to work on my 2009 calendar (and the holidays of course) and I hope to work on more limited edition items/collaborations just to keep things fresh & new. 🙂

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