Art Materials Retailer - Fall 2011

Everyone Is Chasing Paper

Tina Manzer 0000-00-00 00:00:00

As the popularity of fancy paper continues to unfold, new ways to use it are invented every day. Great news, AM retailers! Today’s great paper chase is bringing all sorts of consumers right to your door, so we hope you’re ready with the products they’re pursuing. To discover what those are, we turned to paper vendors in our industry and a creator of how-to books. They discussed what they’re providing to whom, how they’re using it, and the best ways to sell it. Here’s what they had to say. WHO’S USING DECORATIVE PAPER THESE DAYS? WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH IT? From Suzanne McNeill, Design Originals, an imprint of Fox Chapel Publishing “There is a long list of paper enthusiasts that includes collage artists, mixed media artists, art journalists, book binders, printmakers and painters. They love the possibilities of color and texture together. Paints add Color. Paint mediums add texture. Papers do both. “Handmade papers are inspiring. Whenever I walk in an art store and see those colorful prints and enticing textures, I just want to feel their beauty. Then I want to take some home for future use. The right paper makes me want to start a new project right away. On impulse, I may purchase just one more sheet (or two or three) to add to my collection. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to use it, but it is safe in my stash just waiting for the perfect project.” From Lauren Pearlman, Paper Connection International “Crafters, of course, are using decorative papers, along with book restorers, graphic and interior designers, writers (who are all artists certainly), commercial printers and hand letterpress printers. Creative people are sewing, weaving and creating sculptures with papers.” From Vicky Mihara Avery, Mountain Valley Paper “Users range from artists to product packaging professionals, but the average retail customer working on a project – their wedding, for instance – needs beautiful papers for invitations, favors, menus, place cards and gift wrapping. People are also using it for origami, and making greeting cards and books. Other creative uses I have seen lately include lampshades, and creative wraps for votive candle holders, soap and even bunches of flowers.” From Greg Bérubé, The Japanese Paper Place “Every day there are more innovative ways to use paper. We have seen Japanese Papers used in food industry styling, for bookbinding, in jewelry making, for large-format printing and for interior design. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TRENDS IN TERMS OF COLORS, TEXTURES AND MOTIFS? From Suzanne McNeill “Special textural properties like a translucence, embedded strings, and swirls or dots in rice paper are especially appealing to artists. Paint or glaze can be added to make any paper the needed color. “Also inspiring are beautiful large papers that feature decorative maps, colorful butterflies, allover graphic drawings and alluring antique images. They’re wonderful As backgrounds for collages and glazes. Small areas of paper can be torn or cut, then used to add upscale images to collage or mixed-media pieces of art. “Something new that we’re writing about is resin paper. It’s a technique that makes any paper into a glass-like surface with the paper embedded. It’s an easy process. Check out ‘resin paper’ in our book Stash & Smash.” From Lauren Pearlman “Honeysuckle pink was big this year, and it will continue to be popular into 2012. But we have noticed that our earthier colors like taupe, beige, custard and moss are also doing well. “For us, anything new and different is good. At Paper Connection, we are always searching for unique, sometimes one-of-a-kind sheets that no other distributor carries. “As far as motifs, many of our clients like dots, circles and stripes.” “We believe our collection is fashion forward. The papers relate to a color trend, in addition to having a textilelike quality in some cases. They can be used to decorate the interior of your store, for instance, and to create a mood.” From Vicky Mihara Avery “Chocolate, turquoise, green and naturals are very popular right now. Our new leaf-heavy papers have a lot of texture and are selling well for fall.Consumers these days are becoming more eco-conscious, and our papers are mulberry based, a tree-free renewable resource. From Greg Bérubé “Trends, color, texture and motifs change with the seasons. Right now, autumn colors with texture are popular. Designers are preparing for the holiday and party season, when traditional holiday colors will be used. “Japanese paper really doesn’t succumb to trends. It’s a traditional product produced in an established manner, so cultural trends do not influence it. Most of the influences come from time-honored methods from medieval Japan; they reflect patterns from kimono. The base papers are created from renewable plants so they’re ecologically sustainable.” FOR RETAILERS WHO SELL DECORATIVE PAPER, WHAT TOOLS OR OTHER ITEMS SHOULD THEY ALSO OFFER? From Suzanne McNeill “Gel mediums for adhesion to canvas or board, glaze mediums for tinting with color, and transparent fluid acrylic paints are a must. Rotary cutters, cutting mats, Xacto knives and punches make cutting paper easier.” From Lauren Pearlman “Along with decorative papers, we recommend carrying adhesives and starches for stiffening. “Always round out your paper stock with non-decorative papers. Paper Connection actually sells more non-decorative or ‘fine art’ papers. We have become known for our‘serious’ papers used for conservation and repair,graphics, printmaking, painting and drawing.” From Vicky Mihara Avery “Push sales by showing examples of how to use the papers. Also, make sure to have a selection of ‘how-to’ books, especially on origami and card making. You can wrap a Gift box with layers of paper (check out my DVD, The Japanese Art of Gift Wrapping), and/or fold an origami box and give away the instructions with purchase. You can find one on our website, www.mvpaper.com.” From Greg Bérubé “Special products to use with Japanese paper do exist. They include a measuring device, glue sticks and rice paste, plus a bone folder for smoothing and creasing. It’s a must.” WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO MERCHANDISE DECORATIVE PAPER? From Suzanne McNeill “Make beautiful papers available to see and touch using waterfall racks with dowel rods. If you’re worried about papers getting damaged in your store, cover an entire wall with a waterfall display and number each style of paper displayed. Customers can request the numbers they want, and you can pull the clean papers out of horizontal filing drawers. “Clipping large papers on a revolving rack makes a handy display.” From Lauren Pearlman “Here’s my list. • If your store is small and you need to store most of your stock in flat files, hang one stunning sheet over the register and wait for this comment, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I just have to have it!’ • If your store is larger, a set of rungs or dowels hung flush against the walls or free-standing units work well for display. We do not recommend tent- Shaped racks. They take up too much floor space and they’re easy to bump into. • If all your paper is stored in flat files, it won’t sell unless you have great samples in a binder on the counter. • If you have a framing department and wall space for display, put decorative sheets in frames and sell them as decorative art because they are! • Paper Connection is willing to sell single sheets of our higherend lines of paper to smaller stores so they can test them out. Our minimum per SKU is only five sheets anyway, which is very easy to meet. • Use paper anywhere and everywhere in your store. It can be laminated to floors, countertops and practically any fixture.” From Vicky Mihara Avery “We love how ladder racks show off papers. It can be as simple as dowels tied at 3-inch intervals and hung from the ceiling or against a wall. Rolling sheets up at the point of purchase works for some stores, but damage can occur easily unless they are also put in a poster tube. “Don’t fret if you have damaged papers – you can always cut them into smaller pieces and create a scrap-pack assortment. Sometimes simply hanging your favorite papers as display backdrops or in a row from the ceiling will catch your customers’ eye.” From Greg Bérubé “Maintain a well-stocked variety in a well-organized fashion. Make sure to change your papers seasonally for fast sales, and to keep shoppers’ inspiration piqued.”

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