By ANNA CATE LITTLE
When two former Southern Progress graphic designers come together to start a business, a creative enterprise is sure to emerge. In its second year of production, Pinwheel Press is delivering fresh, charming stationery and gifts to customers as far away as Australia and Asia. And it all began right here in Homewood.
“We did a show in May that was a big success and another show in July in Trussville that was also a big success,” said Pinwheel Press Co-owner Dawn Curtis of Homewood.
From calling cards, labels and notecards to invitations, banners and cupcake flags, Pinwheel Press knows two things very well: paper and parties. For the holiday season, the company offers 36 Christmas card designs as well as unique gifts such as kids’ laminated placemats. Also available are personalized sticky tags for gifts as well as a stationery gift pack that includes eight notecards, 24 enclosures and 24 labels (for $30).
An October Open House gave the business a jump start on holiday orders, but more importantly, it gave customers a chance to “see and touch and feel the cards,” said Co-Owner Lauren Wade of Bluff Park.
Curtis and Wade have designed more than 200 products, which are available on etsy.com and bigcartel.com. These sites were instantly successful.
“We reach an audience that we never would have reached,” said Wade.
“It helped us build a foundation,” Curtis said.
When ordering, customers have plenty of color, font and wording options. Or, for a meager $20 fee, Pinwheel Press will design a completely unique invitation or stationery piece, which is very popular for birthday parties.
As anyone who shops for stationery knows, there is virtually a sea of options available, so what sets Pinwheel Press apart?
“We have a really good price point,” said Curtis.
For example, the Christmas cards are a fixed $1.25 each. And they take pride in quality control. Because most customers send in photos for greeting cards, they will proof each photo at the printer before carrying out the order to “make sure it’s the highest quality.”
“There are a lot of stationery businesses, so it’s easy to get lost,” said Curtis. “We’ve really leaned on the textile inspiration. That’s what really makes our patterns sell.”
Patterns such as chevron, trellis and herringbone make for clean, modern designs, while simple, yet fun graphics add flair to invitations and holiday cards.
While their first year in business brought about 350 orders, Curtis and Wade hope to expand their offerings in the future. Higher quality papers, possible water color designs, an e-commerce website and more shows in Birmingham and beyond are all possibilities.
And with all those orders pouring in, they both agree that it’s nice to have each other to fall back on. As two savvy ladies who love the design process, it’s no wonder they chose a pinwheel for their logo.
“Pinwheels are just crafty,” said Curtis, “like us.”
Pinwheel Press will be taking Christmas orders through December 7. For more information or to order, visit www.thepinwheelpress.etsy.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.