Holiday Photo Cards:  Behind the Scenes

Holiday Photo Cards: Behind the Scenes

A few weeks ago, I sat down to sketch new holiday photo card ideas (hard to believe it’s already time for that again, isn’t it?).

Sometimes the end result is quite different than the original sketch, and sometimes they’re almost exactly alike.  This year, several designs ended up close to the original, so I thought it might be fun to share. It’s pretty interesting to see how an idea comes to life, don’t you think?  Can you spy the original sketch for each of these?


You can see all of our holiday photo card options HERE (use the code: EARLYBIRD to save 25% – sale ends November 14, 2015).

One of my favorite new cards this year is this one, simply because of the clever verse that @kelseylainee came up with:

selfies holiday cardFunny, right?  Everyone can appreciate a little pop culture humor during the holidays.

Happy holiday card season, friends!


New Fall Stationery?  Check.

New Fall Stationery? Check.

buffalo check stationery

Buffalo check, in fact.

This summer we basked in the glory of cabana stripes, but as we transition into fall – we knew it was time to switch things up a bit.  The design inspiration for this collection came from a few different sources.  First, the current series of Target commercials.  They’re just so… PLAID (and fun)!  In fact, once we noticed their commercials, we started seeing plaids/checks everywhere (including Glamour magazine and this great calendar from 1 Canoe 2).

1Canoe2 Calendar

A simple plaid or check pattern is perfect for fall.  It reminds us of flannel shirts, cozy wool blankets by a bonfire, or a stunning statement jacket.

Can you dig it?  If so, pick up your initial for just $12 (10 cards and envelopes), and if you need a quick gift – add a matching Le Pen for just $1.99!

buffalo check stationery

Want to see the Target commercials that got our creative juices flowing?


and this

and this

Cue the Confetti!

Cue the Confetti!

Have you heard the news?  Barque was just named Trendy Stationer of the Year by Stationery Trends Magazine!  We’re honored and excited and feel very blessed.


We love our customers and what we do every day, but it’s nice to be recognized by our peers in the paper industry too.  Our goal is to cultivate a modern love affair of paper in our community and customers.  No atter what you hear, paper is NOT going out of style.  In fact, in this age of technology, it leaves an even bigger impact!  You can only keep a test as long as you have that phone, friends.  Say it on paper instead (and makes someone’s day in the process).  Carry on paper people.  And cue the confetti!

National Stationery Show 2015 Recap

National Stationery Show 2015 Recap

Every May when I board a plane for NYC to attend the National Stationery Show, I get “first day of school” jitters.  I’m anxious to see what new products I discover, nervous that the trip will be worth the time and expense (plus time away from work), and downright excited for the show – and great restaurants!


This year I went with a slightly different focus in mind – instead of invitations, I was on the hunt for greeting cards – and lots of them.  After the “The Switch” last April, our greeting card sales have skyrocketed.  It’s wonderful news, but now the pressure is on.  We love when customers tell us we are their go-to place for cards – we just can’t let them down now!


This year’s show did not disappoint in the greeting card department – we found several new lines and had great response to sneak peeks we posted on Instagram (@barquegifts).  Here are a few discoveries that will make their way to our shelves over the next few months:









wimpyCards from:  Emily McDowell  /  Paper Bandit Press  /  Ladyfingers Letterpress  /  McBitterson’s  /  Farewell Paperie6.25 Paper Studio  /  Paper Bandit Press  /  Paisley Tree Press  /  Paisley Tree Press

Don’t you just love these Social Preparedness Kits from Egg Press?  The little fiberglass tray can be used as a catch-all once the stationery is gone.  Brilliant!


And this adorable onesie from Lionheart Prints?  Awe… (Also available in pink – coming soon).


NSS is such a great place for inspiration too!  I probably stared at this booth display wall from Smock for at least 10 minutes.


And finally, I ordered personalized stationery albums from Haute Papier.  Man oh man, the stock is high quality and really sharp – and colorful envelope and liner options really send it over the top!


My personal award for the Most Startling Card goes to this one from Ghost Academy… Yes, it pushes the envelope a bit (I shy away from the F word – my grandma shops with me!), but I just couldn’t stop laughing at it.  So of course it’s on order.


This trip was especially fun because my friend Christie from Stationery Academy joined me to walk the show. I told her it wouldn’t be a trip to NYC without good food, and she was more than happy to be on board with that.  For lunch on Saturday, we got our NYC pizza fix at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square, near our hotel.

Reservations for dinner at Saxon + Parole will definitely be happening again.  The food was delicious and the atmosphere/decor was very creative and fun.  (Our favorite dish of the night was a pot of chicken liver mousse, red currant, and pepper jelly served with toast – highly recommend it.) saxon

On Sunday after walking the show, Christie and I attended a lovely Stationery Academy Alumni Soiree at Kari Joy’s Apartment near Central Park – isn’t her balcony space charming?


That was such a fun night – laughing and chatting with stationery friends – now that’s a special group of ladies right there!

On Monday, Jennifer joined Christie and I for dinner at Gato – Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  It was amazing all around – fantastic food, a comfortable atmosphere and definitely a highlight of the entire trip.  (If you’re going, I recommend the roasted Octopus and Avocado Fava Bean Salad!)


Great cards, hanging with my paper peeps and amazing food?  Yep, I think this year’s trip to NSS was a success!

Just for the Summer – Cabana Stripe Initial Note Cards

If you’re a regular shopper, then you’re familiar with our grab and go initial note cards.  These are a great quick gift for $12, and they’re even better tied up with a matching Le Pen.  For a limited time (just this summer), these initial notes are available in bright and beachy cabana stripes!


When summer’s over, they’ll go away, so get a set for yourself or a friend while you can!

National Stationery Show 2014 Recap

National Stationery Show 2014 Recap

Last weekend, I made my annual trek from West Texas to the Big Apple for the National Stationery Show (#nss).  It was a last minute decision to attend this year (after the added expense of store renovations this spring, I wasn’t sure I could afford it), but when I realized that I had enough airline miles to fly for FREE (plus a small “redemption” fee), I decided to make it happen.

I left EARLY Saturday morning… and one planned layover, two flight delays, one flight cancellation, an extra flight to Chicago and one standby flight to La Guardia later – I made it.  A 17 hour travel day wasn’t what I had in mind, AND all of the travel hiccups made me miss my dinner plans at BUTTER (pouty face), but at least I made it to NYC.

photo 1Sunday morning when the show opened, I had the pleasure of walking the aisles with my Stationery Academy friend Kari Joy.  As I’ve mentioned before, I power shop when I’m in “buyer” mode, so we made one quick lap up and down the aisles before I really dug in and started burning up the credit card.

Overall, the show was good, but I can’t say that I was overly impressed – by anything in particular, really.  It was all kind of the “same ole” thing – A handful of really talented (and well known) brands, even more very talented (lesser known) companies, and then lots of… how do I say it nicely?  Junk.  (I’m mostly referring to the “fresh off a boat from China” section when I say that.)

The truth is, there are A LOT of great vendors who exhibit at the show, but a retailer can only have so many greeting card/paper lines.  While I do appreciate seeing new, clever designs, that doesn’t mean that I can actually order all of them.  I only took on a few new vendors, and for the most part, I reordered lines that I already know will sell well in my store.  The addition of Etsy Wholesale was nice, but since they were mixed in with regular exhibitors, it didn’t make too much of an impact on my buying strategy, which consists of me asking these three questions:

1.  Do I need it? (Or do I have too much already like it? No need to trade sales.)

2.  Can I sell it?  (Is the price point – and content – marginally appropriate and current?)

3.  Who else has it?  (I love area protection – I work too hard to find something new and different to have it snaked by copycats)

So what DID I buy?  Greeting cards, journals, calendars, note pads, gift wrap (that’s a new one for us!), great prints, tea towels, straws and washi tape to name a few. Here are just a few of my faves coming soon to the shop:


Featured:  Ladyfingers Letterpress / Wild Ink Press / 1Canoe2 Letterpress / Knot and Bow

If you want to see more products as they arrive in the store, you can follow us on Instagram (@barquegifts).

One highlight of the show was seeing the Stationery Academy booth with more SA friends – Stephanie Creekmur, Jennifer Faught, Josie Parsley and Amy Kinslow.  These ladies worked hard to pull everything together, and I think they did a fantastic job!

You know that dinner I was so disappointed to miss?  Well, it almost made up for it to see Alex Guarnaschelli in the flesh (walking down the street right next to our taxi).  I also had a delicious, impromptu dinner on both Sunday and Monday nights, so it worked out being a nice weekend for my palette too.  I loved trying the oysters and seafood at Jeffrey’s (much more fresh than what we get in West Texas!).  My favorite detail?  Sea salt wells right on the table.  I’m just a salt nerd like that, I guess.



As always, it was a quick trip, but one that left me hungry for more – both paper AND delicious dishes.  Until next year, NYC!