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.

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 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!

Our Annual Sale 2019: Frequently Asked Questions

The beginning of a new year means that it’s time to start things off with a new note!  That said, we’re thrilled to share some answers to some frequently asked questions regarding Our Annual Sale (the perfect opportunity to update your stationery wardrobe with new notes of your very own).

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What is the Dempsey & Carroll Annual Sale?

Our most popular correspondence cards are offered at special pricing during the month of January.  Pricing of $295 (regularly $480) includes 100 #3 3-ply engraved correspondence cards, 100 plain envelopes, and a new one-line engraving plate.  Not sure what any of this means? Don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy-lifting for you. You’ll be sure to impress anyone with this classic choice.

 

Can I use any ink color or typestyle for my new cards?

This year, we are offering a selection 9 ink colors and 9 typestyles as part of the sale pricing. The 2019 offerings are listed below and on our website!

Correspondence Card Sale 2019 Offerings

 

What if I already have an engraving plate that I’d like to use? Is there an additional discount?

You are more than welcome to use an existing name plate for your sale order. Your existing plate can be in any typestyle.  There is no additional discount offered when you use an existing plate.

 

Can I add a return address to my envelopes?

Yes, you can certainly have your envelopes engraved with a new or existing return address plate.  The pricing for a quantity of 100 engraved cards and engraved envelopes with an existing return address is $490 (regularly $745). A new return address plate can be purchased at our normal pricing for an additional $190.

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Will I receive a proof for my sale order? 

A design proof is not included with your sale order, though you may choose to purchase a proof with your order for an additional $10.

 

I am planning on using my cards for more formal occasions like sympathy notes and professional correspondence. Do you have any ink color suggestions?

We would suggest using a more neutral ink color like Black, Regent Blue, Baron Gray, or Hunter Green for formal correspondence.

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Our Annual Sale is available through January 31, 2019
Please feel free to email us with any questions: info@dempseyandcarroll.com 

 

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!

#makingtraditionsmodern

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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

What’s in the Box?

Sure, we love keeping our note cards and sheets in our Keepsake Leather Boxes, but once our papers run out, we often wind up using our signature boxes for all kinds of fun storage needs. If you’re nearing the end of your stationery supply here are a few tricks we’ve been using ourselves that we thought you all might enjoy!

  1. Some of our favorite pens and a few forever stamps – perfect for when we’re writing a note. All of our supplies are in one place!
  2. A few of our favorite necklaces and rings to keep them from getting tangled in a larger jewelry box lb11
  3. Scarves — Summer, winter, you name it. Our boxes have everything from wool scarves to silk scarves stored in them.
  4. Lipstick – sometimes we’ll use a few boxes depending on the lipstick color. One for reds, one for pinks, one for clear glosses.
  5. Buttons – finally a place to keep all of those extra buttons from new sweater purchases.
  6. Photos — Retro, we know. Our boxes are perfect for any old photos, or even new ones (some of us still get them printed)!
  7. Letters — A given coming from us, but a very true statement. We LOVE saving letters and invitations from friends and family. Our boxes are the perfect place to store them.

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We’d love to hear about how you would use your Dempsey & Carroll Keepsake Leather Box. Purchase your own box on our site and share with us on Instagram @dempseycarroll.

 

Gifts for Grads

With graduation season in full swing, we wanted to share our top gift picks from our collections in celebration of a noteworthy life event. A recent graduate could be starting a new job, traveling around the world, continuing their education, or taking time to figure out the next step. No matter what the “real world” holds, fine stationery is something that can be put to use for any occasion!

 

Initial Note Cards

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Initial Note Cards

These engraved correspondence cards are perfect for sending thank you notes with a personal touch. A portion of the proceeds from the Initial Note Cards benefits Jumpstart, a national organization that is working toward the day that all children enter kindergarten- their “initial” school experience- prepared to succeed. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Jet Set Collection

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The Jet Set Collection

Sometimes a semester abroad can inspire a greater adventure, whether it involves a job in a new city or a gap year overseas. Graduates will be ready to take on the world with inspiration from our Jet Set collection! $60 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here for Paris, London, Los Angeles, and New York.

 

Personalized Correspondence Cards

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Our #3 Correspondence Cards

A recent graduate will always make an impression when they send handwritten notes on personalized correspondence cards. Pricing begins at $480 for 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Write Away Collection

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The Write Away Collection with matching leather enclosures 

They can take their correspondence on the go with one of our Write Away sets.  Our handsome leather envelopes are paired with five bordered correspondence cards and five envelopes hand-lined with colorful tissue paper to make for stylish travels. $105 for 1 leather envelope and 5 cards and 5 envelopes, shop here.

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

Want the House? Write a Letter!

As our CEO Lauren Marrus was catching up on her reading over the weekend, a headline in the Wall Street Journal caught her eye: “Want a House? Write a Letter.” As it turns out, a writing a letter might just be the key to securing real estate in a bidding war.

In a bidding war, penning a note to the seller can dramatically boost a buyer’s odds of success. Leigh Kamping-Carder’s article goes on to present quantitative evidence about the importance of adding a note to your offer to purchase a home.

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Kamping-Carder continues, “ In addition to flattering a seller’s ego—or assuring him or her the home will be cared for—a letter can also signal that the buyer is serious, which translates into a willingness to follow through even if hurdles come up in the sales process.”

I promise that we do not have a direct line to the Journal, but I can say that it’s still a real thing to write a note or letter to make a point.  Now in the time of instant messages, text messages, and email, a handwritten or personalized note or letter rises above the noise more than ever.

If you’d like to write this note on Dempsey & Carroll papers,  we’re here to help! If not, we still encourage you to pick up a pen and #writeitreal.

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Hill House Home x Dempsey & Carroll

Our celestial-inspired collaboration with our friends at Hill House Home has been on our shelves for a few weeks now and we are so in love. The charming bedside tablets, and the dreamy coasters are the ideal way to dress up your nightstand.

We first met the Hill House Home team over coffee at The Crosby Street hotel. It was a match made in heaven. We had been following the brand since its inception and were thrilled to finally get our teams in the same room. Once they told us about their plans to open their gorgeous shop on Bleecker Street, we knew a holiday release would be perfect.

A few weeks later, we were all uptown and Nell, Katherine, and our Creative Director, Leo, had come to a decision on an exquisite collection featuring the perfect dressings for a bedside table.

Our party at the HHH Bleecker shop was a fabulous way for us to toast the collection, and begin stuffing Christmas stockings near and far! We’re excited to share some fun photos with you from our gathering the other day – we hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the celebration!

 

Shop the collection here!

For the Love of Script: The Importance of Teaching Cursive Writing in Schools

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles shares his thoughts on the importance of script and how cursive writing should always be taught in schools.

I know there’s a lot of debate about teaching cursive writing in schools, but studies have shown that when notes are taken by hand (versus notes typed into a device), the information is much better retained. Furthermore, writing in cursive is fast and efficient, while block printing tends to take more time.

I can’t imagine someone not having a cursive signature. Though digital signatures are now legally binding when necessary, something important like a condolence letter should always be handwritten and sent through the post. A Facebook message or email is never acceptable for serious, life changing matters.

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When I was searching for my last two jobs, I would apply electronically and then send a printed hard copy in the mail. I know that the electronic applications to several companies were completely overlooked while the printed ones got me in the door. At the bottom of those printed cover letters, you must have a cursive signature to finish it off. Following a job interview, a handwritten thank you note will be noticed and remembered far longer than an email.

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Dempsey & Carroll always gets busy in the early fall with parents ordering engraved correspondence cards for their children. It’s school application time and those kids will all be following up with handwritten thank you notes after interviews. Cursive writing is a must if you’re looking to impress admissions at prestigious schools.

reply-card-1.jpgWhile a few of our clients do send digital save the dates, everyone sends a printed wedding invitation. As the recipient, you will need to send back a reply card, and a cursive signature is going to look very appropriate after that “M” prompt on many R.S.V.P cards.

 

 

If my child’s school did not teach cursive writing, I would teach it to her myself. Good social skills and dexterity never go out of fashion!