Brand Friend Spotlight: Brett Braley-Palko

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

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We are delighted to introduce you to Brett Braley-Palko as part of our Brand Friend Spotlight Series. Based in Pennsylvania, Brett works as a marketing manager while writing, baking, and tending to his farm and animals.

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll?

Actually, it was through an Instagram rabbit hole. I have always been a huge fan of stationery, but living in in a more rural setting, I rarely get exposed to brands outside of big box stores! Now that brands are more readily accessible online, I’m able to find ones I love and stick with them, including Dempsey & Carroll. It was love at first sight! The crisp designs, the craftsmanship that’s evident, the little bit of irreverence in some of the marketing. I really loved it all.

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Do you have any favorite Dempsey & Carroll collections that helped to draw you in?

I think the collection that I first liked was the John Derian collaboration, particularly the Fly Fisher set. Derian has been a favorite store of mine (particularly the Papier-mâché animal heads and the collection of vintage Christmas ornaments they stock), and the collection was just right up my alley in classic and whimsical style. I also liked the mixed-media usage in the Lingua Franca Collection. So cute and innovative!

 

How do you make traditions modern?

I think about this a lot and I think, for me, it’s about injecting tradition into the small moments of the day. Whether it is writing a thank-you note to an old friend or taking a few hours to bake some bread instead of buying a loaf, I try to step back and appreciate what brings me joy in slow, intentional ways. I think that’s what tradition means to me these days.

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Can you recall the most memorable letter that you’ve received (or sent)?

To be honest, I don’t receive as much exciting mail as I’d like (poor me). Hardly any of my family writes, and I notice that letters tend to not act like boomerangs in that they’re almost never returned automatically. I’m going to turn this question on its nose a bit and say the most memorable letter(s) I’ve received actually came by request. I’m currently working on a project of collecting letters from literary and aristocratic figures of Early 20th Century Britain — think Nancy Mitford, Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, Heywood Hill, James Lees-Milne. As it turns out, the most exciting letters being sent my way are archival scans from Yale, Oxford, and Princeton these days.

We’d love to hear more about how got involved with this interesting project! What inspired you to start collecting these letters?

It kind of came out of nowhere! For the last couple of years, I have read quite a few books regarding the Bright Young Things and aristocracy in early/mid-20th Century Britain. I just really love that time period. When I strayed away from biographies and started reading more letter compilations, many of the prefaces would thank specific archives.

Being a lover of stationery, I was extremely curious about what their stationery was like; the paper colors, fonts, sizes. I was especially curious about the heading conventions for aristocratic figures (do they have their official title on the top? Their birth names? Just a location?). My hope now is to work with a stationer to design my own stationery in this same vein – simple, but not performatively “retro” – just to the bare bones of quality and design. Further, I’ll be pitching some ideas I have brewing of how these design elements have changed and what has stayed the same, such as the beautiful collections Dempsey & Carroll has maintained for 140 years!

 

 Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

Working from home means I’ve really carved a space for myself in our little house. My desk is an ancient and comically large work desk. It was my husband’s college desk and it kind of floated into our spare bedroom. It houses a scattering of iPhone cords, a typewriter, a thousand little notes to myself, and a few dozen library books that are surely overdue as I type this sentence. But it’s mine and once the door is shut, I’m able to get to get right to work while nursing my morning tea.

Brett at Desk

 

 What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time?

Reading is a big pastime for me, so I aim to read at least a half hour before bed each night. I’m also trying to be fluent in French, so you’ll often hear Duolingo from my office. I live on a 5-acre farm in Pennsylvania, so much of my spare time goes to cleaning the house or taking care of our animals. We have 27 chickens and 3 spoiled dogs, so you can imagine most of my time goes to them. I’m also an avid baker, but just easing myself back into baking after a year hiatus (we got married in November, so most of 2018 was spent planning and staying busy with “life” things).

Tell us more about living on a farm! Is farming a main profession or just a hobby?

It’s just a hobby for now! After living in California for about five years, we were happy to move back and claim a piece of land for ourselves. My husband and I are both from this area of Pennsylvania, so once we maxed out a few credit cards and had a couple of nieces and nephews to meet, we decided it was time to return. A farm just seemed like the next step, being able to stretch ourselves out over the land versus being stuffed into another apartment (our landlord lived in our backyard at our last house).

With three dogs, I wanted them to have the freedom to run and play and exhaust themselves on the little plot that’s theirs as much as ours. I work full-time as a Marketing Manager from home, so my days are flexible enough I get to punctuate my breaks from conference calls between the barn and the yard with the dogs.

While farming for me will never be a large-scale operation, I’d love to transition into a more professional role with the farm. I’d like to write on the subject in more freelance work, and some of my work is actually being published this month in the Greenhorns Almanac. My goal is to carve out a space for myself in the farming community to speak of my experience and my philosophy behind animal rearing and stewardship.

But, alas, for now, the eggs we get are sold to librarians, my in-laws, and a select few neighbors!

 Thank you so much for sharing with us, Brett! Keep up with Brett on Instagram @brettfbraley, Twitter @brettfbraley, and brettfbraley.com!

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Learn more about being a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend!

Brand Friend Spotlight: Danielle Murdock

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Danielle Murdock as part of our Brand Friend Spotlight series. Based in Connecticut, Danielle just completed her Masters in Education at the University of Hartford and is an avid blogger, traveler, and fashion aficionado.

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How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? Are there any particular collections that stood out to you?

I originally learned about Dempsey & Carroll through Instagram. I knew that there was something innately charming about the Dempsey & Carroll “look,” and once I experienced the quality of the paper myself, I was sold!

I was first intrigued by your beautiful holiday card collections because I love classic stationery and Christmas is extremely important to me. There are so many family traditions around the holidays, and handwritten Christmas cards are always an essential part of the season. A handwritten holiday card is a personal well wish to a loved one to let them know that you’re thinking of them during that magical time of year.

 

 We’d love to hear more about your love of letter writing! How do you make traditions modern during the age of instant communication?

I have always been a paper person, particularly when it comes to handwritten correspondence and journaling. There’s something refreshing about writing a letter; it provides a more personal touch than an email or text. My boyfriend and I write thoughtful cards for every birthday, anniversary, or “just because,” and each one is really special to me. It’s far more romantic and meaningful, and it serves as a reminder of what we mean to each other.

 

Can you recall the most memorable letter that you’ve received (or sent)?

One of the most memorable letters that I received was my acceptance letter to New York University (my dream school) back in 2013. It was a stressful time as I was in the process of transferring schools, but I will never forget the shock and happiness I felt when I saw the word “Congratulations” on the page. Receiving that piece of mail changed my entire life and it gave me the opportunity to fall in love with New York City. Although it wasn’t the most personal letter I’ve received, it certainly had the most impact!

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Where is your favorite place to write and catch up on correspondence?

My favorite place to write is my vintage desk that was given to me by my boyfriend’s mom. She’s an expert on all things vintage, and this piece was such a special find for a history-obsessed girl like me. It’s the perfect area to store my pens, stationery, and journals; it’s my go-to spot for letter writing, blogging, and more. The desk is in such pristine condition, and it makes me feel like I’m in a different time period.

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 What are a few of your favorite things to do in your spare time?

I really am a writer at heart–I love to blog and read in my spare time. Fashion is important to me, and my joy in clothes was actually the basis for starting my blog, The Minty Pink. Trends come and go, but classic pieces never go out of style!

I spend a lot of time hanging out with my family and friends; I’m quite social and seeing people I care about is a must! My friends and I have a lot of game and movie nights and we take weekend trips in the warmer weather. Just like everyone else, I enjoy my fair share of TV in my downtime – Game of Thrones, The Crown, Crime Documentaries—the staples, of course.

 

We’ve heard that you’re planning moving closer to New York City (our home)! What are a few of your favorite things about New York and what made you want to move back?

I’m head over heels for New York City. Having gone to NYU for undergrad, I really was able to take in a lot of different parts of the city during those years. I consider it my “second home” and have yet to find anything that comes close. For starters, the food is unbelievable! I have a handful of favorites, like Patsy’s in Harlem for pizza, and the Union Square Greenmarket for fresh produce and local goods.

One of my favorite things about New York is being able to take long walks from the east side to the west side to take in the history and beauty. Exploring the streets of NYC is such a fun activity because it changes so much from neighborhood to neighborhood. Although I don’t know where I’ll be moving, being closer to the city is an absolute must in my book!

 

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Danielle! Keep up with Danielle on Instagram @danimurd, Twitter @themintypink, and The Minty Pink blog!

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Learn more about being a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend!

Brand Friend Spotlight: Jon Prince

With the launch of our Brand Friend program, we’ve been able to connect with others who love the art of the handwritten note, our products, and our brand. If this sounds interesting to you, learn more about how to be a Dempsey & Carroll Brand Friend on our website!

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Jon Prince as part of our Brand Friend Spotlight series. Based in Pittsburgh, Jon is a world traveler, candy expert, long-time Dempsey & Carroll fan, and more!IMG_4912

How did you learn about Dempsey & Carroll? 

While attending boarding school in the early 80’s, I took a trip to Washington, D.C. and stumbled upon Dempsey & Carroll (Editor’s note – Our only Dempsey & Carroll store is in New York City, though we used to have a Washington, D.C store as well).  Ever the fan of the written word, I treated myself to a few boxes of beautifully made stationery – I still remember that it had a Jockey motif – and the brand has remained a favorite ever since.

 

Do you remember the first letter that you sent on your new stationery?

I recall I sent my parents a letter on my new equestrian emblazoned stationery, thanking them for letting me put the purchase on their charge. Kidding aside, if memory serves me, it was to a woman in Pittsburgh that I had a crush on who always commented that I used “beautiful stationery.”

What’s the most memorable handwritten note you’ve received? 

As a young man, I received a note from Gary Trudeau, author of Doonesbury. I also received a handwritten note from Walter Annenberg which I treasure and is tucked into the desk blotter in my office.

Where is your favorite place to catch up on correspondence?  

I enjoy catching up on correspondence at home in my study, often in the early morning hours. There is something cathartic about putting pen to paper while the house is quiet and life is at a temporary standstill

Pictured below, I have the Annenberg letter along with a letter from the chef of Tailevant Restaurant in Paris wishing me a happy 40th birthday (amazing meal). The wine vintage chart given to me by a dear friend and mentor who is deceased.

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Some of the coolest mementos on my desk include the actual diploma given to JFK when he got his honorary degree in 1963 from University of Galway, Ireland as well as a picture of my dad in basic training in the 50’s.

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We know that you have a pretty sweet job! What is your role at Candy Favorites and what are your main goals at work?

I am the President of CandyFavorites.com, the first online candy store. I am also the Vice-President of McKeesport Candy Co., which is the oldest wholesale candy company in the nation!

Robert Rauschenberg once said that his role was to “work in the gap between art and life.” I wear many hats, but my job is to bridge the gap between old world customer service and the impersonal nature of the internet to create an online experience that goes beyond selling a commodity.

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An insider look at the Candy Favorites warehouse

What does “making traditions modern” mean to you?  

Much like running my business, I love finding ways to keep old world traditions alive while embracing changes in social mores and technology. I loving sending handwritten notes to customers, and I always send notes to friends the day after a party or special meal.

Where business is concerned, most transactions occur on the “great electronic divide” and you can’t imagine the response when someone receives a well-written, witty note. It is a personal connection and bridge to a bygone era when saying “thank you” was the norm and not an exception.

I also have a stationery travel set and nothing is better, or less expected, than slipping a note under a friend or family member’s hotel room door or sharing your appreciation to a hotel, restaurant, or venue where you had a special experience.

I have received a few “thank you” notes via text and consider it a faux pas as it lacks effort or permanence. There is something intimate about choosing appropriate stationery, finding an elegant stamp, and making the effort to find a mail box.  Often, effort is as much appreciated as outcome.

What are a few of your favorite things that you do in your spare time?

I collect art and wine and I love to exercise, read, travel, and keep up with my two boys (aged 9 and 15).

My wife and I recently traveled to Cuba which we adored. It was akin to taking a step back in time and is a place where even the most mundane subjects make for beautiful photography. The colors are breathtaking and the people charming and hospitable!

Most summers, we take a family trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer in the South of France and were thrilled to see our favorite beaches emblazoned on the lining of the envelopes of your Cote D’Azur stationery.

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As an avid swimmer, I sent a note from this collection to a friend and drew a line showing where I swam across the bay! This, along with your baseball motif cards, served as a call to action for our boys to get into the habit of putting pen to paper!

 

Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences

In a recent piece on Psychology Today’s site, Author Christopher Bergland asks readers:  “When was the last time you sent someone a handwritten ‘thank you’ note of gratitude or appreciation?”

Throughout the article, Bergland references a fascinating new study on the underestimated benefits of handwritten letters and the importance of putting pen to paper. This study, “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation,” was led by Amit Kumar, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Texas, and Nicholas Epley, Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago.

One of our favorite points from the research is how the action of expressing gratitude in a handwritten letter is proven to boost positive emotions for both the writer and the recipient; it’s a win-win situation!

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“We looked at what’s correlating with people’s likelihood of expressing gratitude—what drives those choices—and what we found is that predictions or expectations of that awkwardness, that anticipation of how a recipient would feel—those are the things that matter when people are deciding whether to express gratitude or not,” Kumar said in a statement. “What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones. It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect.”

Over here at Dempsey & Carroll, we always love reading about the positive feelings associated with handwritten letters. We invite you to read Bergland’s full post, “Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences,” so that you can get inspired to put pen to paper!

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140 Years of Dempsey & Carroll

In honor of Dempsey & Carroll’s 140th Birthday, our CEO, Lauren Marrus, wanted to share a few words on how we are continuing the legacy of our founders while making traditions modern. Cheers to 140 years! 

140 years ago today, two men, John Dempsey, a talented engraver, and George Carroll, a savvy businessman came together to found Dempsey & Carroll.  Their mission still remains at the core of our business today:  to provide luxury writing papers along with advice on etiquette and proper decorum in a variety of social settings.  To the founders, the social institutions of correspondence and etiquette were inseparable, and they saw Dempsey & Carroll as the ideal marriage of the two.

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Today, we celebrate both how far the business has come in these 140 years, and how dedicated we remain to our craft – many of our presses from the early 20th century are still in use today.  And, while, we are no longer on 14th Street in Union Square, we still call New York City our home.

Our team today uses the core values that John Dempsey and George Carroll put in place over fourteen decades ago to work together with our clients to make traditions modern.  The calling cards of John Dempsey and George Carroll’s time meant to announce a visitor are now used to share Instagram handles.

Formal dinners, once a regular event, are now more relaxed and seating arrangements and place cards are more about lively conversation and table adornment than matchmaking and social status.

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The impression of the handwritten note on the finest engraved paper has never been more meaningful.

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We thank you for being a part of our history and we invite you to join us in making traditions modern for many years to come.

— Lauren Marrus, CEO of Dempsey & Carroll

Spotlight on Sister Parish Design

In honor of our new collaboration with Sister Parish Design, we had the pleasure of interviewing its President and Co-Founder, Susan Crater. We learned about her decorating style, inspirations, and the lasting influence of her grandmother, legendary Designer Sister Parish.

We are thrilled to bring the Parish-Hadley design legacy to paper with the launch of our Desmond and Serendipity correspondence card sets!

What inspired you to revive your Grandmother’s work and start Sister Parish Design in 2000? Did you always know that you wanted to work in the design field?

The truth is that I did not always know that I wanted to work in the design field. I did always know that I appreciated a beautifully decorated room, and especially appreciated and loved the rooms that my grandmother and Albert [Hadley] designed. It is these rooms that inspired me to create this collection.

Many of your patterns are from the Parish-Hadley archives, though you have also launched new patterns along with a home accessories collection. How do you find a balance between honoring the Parish-Hadley tradition while continuing to update your offerings?

We look to the rooms that Parish-Hadley decorated and we look to the rooms that inspired Parish-Hadley to guide us in building our collection. How are textiles being used and what types of textiles are being used in these rooms?  Will decorators today want to use these textiles in the same way or will they want to use them differently? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves in order to build a collection that will continue to honor the Parish-Hadley legacy.

What is your favorite piece of decorating advice that you like to share with friends and clients?

“Innovation is often the ability to reach into the past and bring back what is good, what is beautiful, what is useful, what is lasting.”  -Sister Parish

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Sister Parish, 1974

What do you think that everyone should avoid when decorating a home? Do you have any design-related pet peeves?

One thing my grandmother taught me was the importance of scale. Overly large and overstuffed furniture will ruin a room.

 You have a gorgeous house up in Bedford, New York!  How would you compare your personal design aesthetic to that of your Grandmother’s? Do you have any favorite pieces of hers that you have out in your home (furniture, decorative pieces, etc)?

I’ve always wanted to create the same comfortable and beautiful rooms for my family that my mother and grandmother created for theirs.  I’m particularly in love with a green velvet Lawson style sofa designed by Billy Baldwin. Baldwin was small in physical stature and would use the Lawson sofa as his bed in his studio apartment. The same green velvet has been on the sofa since the 1980’s and it has only gotten better with time!

We’d love to hear a bit more about the Desmond and Serendipity patterns that are featured as part of our collaboration. How did you end up choosing these particular designs?

Both Desmond and the Serendipity are small all over prints that make a big impact. They are tried and true patterns that have added depth and sophistication to many rooms over the years. We knew they would have the same effect on stationery as they’ve had on rooms.

You have priceless handwritten letters from First Lady Jackie Kennedy to your grandmother in your archives—a perfect tie-in with our partnership. Why do you think that handwritten correspondence is still important in 2018?

A beautifully handwritten letter is like a beautifully decorated room. If properly cared for, it will last forever!

Where is your ideal place to sit down and write a letter?

My porch in Maine.

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Susan and her daughter, Eliza, at the Dempsey & Carroll office during the photo shoot for our collaboration

Many thanks to Susan for taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to shop our collaboration on our site here!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is right around the corner, but there’s still time to find a noteworthy gift from our collections.  Follow along to see a few of our top suggestions to fit any Dad’s style!

 

John Derian Fly Fisher

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Lure one in with our John Derian Fly Fisher Set. Go Fish! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Caitlin McGauley Fox

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Dapper style can continue from the closet to the desk with all of the colorful patterns by Watercolor Artist Caitlin McGauley. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Happy Hour

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Most Dads know that a well-crafted cocktail is often the perfect punctuation mark at the end of the day. Say cheers to Dad with the engraved silver bar set from our Happy Hour set! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Handsome Notes

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Keep it classic with the stately motifs from our Handsome Note Collection, a must-have for the Dad who knows less is more. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized #7 Monarch Cards

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At 7-1/4” x 3-3/4”, the Monarch Card is wider than our standard correspondence card and is sure to make an impression. Pricing begins at $405 for a set of 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized Jotter Notes

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These 3” x 5” sheets can be personalized with a name or monogram and are perfect for quick notes on the go or at the desk. Helpful Hint: All bespoke stationery orders are completed within our standard 4-6 week timeline, though you can gift your dad one of our Leather Jotter Note Holders as a preview of the delights to come!  Pricing begins at $305 for 100 engraved jotter notes, shop here.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

With Mother’s Day coming up in a little over two weeks, we wanted to share our top gift picks from our collections. Whether your Mom favors bold colors and patterns or more subtle tones, we’re certain that you’ll be able to find something to fit her personal style!

Jet Set: Paris

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Jet Set: Paris 

The City of lights comes alive with our Eiffel Tower motif and dreamy vignettes of Paris. C’est la vie! $60 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

Caitlin McGauley Cheetah

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Caitlin McGauley Cheetah

Mom will love the whimsical Cheetah and bright patterns by Watercolor Artist Caitlin McGauley. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Monogram Cards and Sheets  

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Custom Monogram Stationery

You can choose from our standard monogram templates or create something completely new depending  on your Mom’s taste. Pricing begins at $375 for 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Maryn x Caitlin McGauley  

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The Maryn x Caitlin McGauley

Our nautical collaboration with The Maryn Shop features original art by Caitlin McGauley. Take a trip to the seaside! $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

J.McLaughlin Correspondence Cards 

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J.McLaughlin Correspondence Cards

The classic prints by J.McLaughlin take on a new form with this fashionable collection. $25 for a set of 5 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Custom House Vignette Stationery

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Custom House Vignette Stationery

Your Mom can work with our team to create a custom motif inspired by home (or anywhere meaningful). Pricing is available upon request and it is dependent on the intricacy of the project. Please contact us at info@dempseyandcarroll.com to learn more. 

National Letter Writing Month 2018

There are countless reasons to send a well crafted letter, whether it’s pages long or just a quick note. In celebration of April being National Letter Writing Month, we wanted to share a few reasons to pick up a pen and write!

 

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Congratulate someone on their new home

 

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Thank someone for great cocktails at a much needed Happy Hour

 

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Reminisce about a recent road trip with friends

 

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Remind someone that you’re thinking of them

 

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Write a love letter

 

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Wish someone good luck on their upcoming audition

 

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Send a letter from a new city in a foreign language

 

How are you getting inspired to write during National Letter Writing Month? Use the #writeitreal hashtag and tag @dempseycarroll on Instagram to share your letter writing inspiration with us!

Write it Real

We’ve always thought that an important part of writing a well-crafted letter begins with the space that you’re in–from coffee shop corners to cozy places at home.

As winter came to a close, we partnered with five lifestyle influencers to share how they like to write it real.  First, our partners started off by sharing photos of them in their favorite writing spaces along with reasons why they love to write.  The following week, our partners posted photos that featured handwritten lists on their favorite Dempsey & Carroll stationery of where they wish to visit and write from this year.

We hope that our friends’ posts inspire you to share your own writing adventures with us in 2018! #writeitreal

Beth and Danielle, @palmbeachlately

Favorite Place to Write: The beautiful Town Square Park in Palm Beach

Favorite Stationery: Jet Set: Paris

Where they hope to write from this year: Paris, Positano, Nantucket

Janelle Ho, @yay.janelle

Favorite Place to Write: Cozy NYC coffee shops like Toby’s Estate

Favorite Stationery: Jet Set: New York

Where she hopes to write from this year: Morocco, Peru, New Zealand

Caroline Bramlett, @lcbstyle

Favorite Place to Write: Her inspiration corner at home in Birmingam, Alabama

Favorite Stationery: The Maryn x Caitlin McGauley

Where she hopes to write from this year: Palm Beach, Nantucket, Capri

Kim Nyguyen, @kimmyn_

Favorite Place to Write: One of her favorite coffee shops in Boston, Tatte Bakery and Café

Favorite Stationery: The Initial Note Write Away Collection

Where she hopes to write from this year: Austria, Paris, Denmark

Maggie Tate, @blushandblooms

Favorite Place to Write: The inspiring Cadillac House in Manhattan

Favorite Stationery: Jet Set: Paris

Where she hopes to write from this year: Paris, Charleston, London