The Perfect Book for the Gift Industry
Fans of the blog will probably know by now that I love books. Real, hold-in-your-hand, tactile books (not eBooks!) and that I’m also a huge fan of stationery and paper goods.
So naturally, when I heard about a book that not only focused on paper but had a party angle, (which is just perfect for the gift industry) I couldn’t wait to see it!
Paper Parties by BerinMade’s Erin Hung is a treasure trove of ideas for creating paper goodies to celebrate all of life’s special moments. It also doubles as an excellent gift idea for anyone who likes crafts or bringing a party atmosphere to every occasion.
To find out more about the book (and the story behind it) I posed a few questions to Author Erin, who was kind enough to share how this beautiful book came to be.
So let’s take a closer look at Paper Parties…
Can you tell us a little about your background & What inspired you to write Paper Parties?
My background is in Fine Arts and Contemporary Art. When I started thinking about uni, I got it into my head that I needed a very fancy art degree (and a Masters too, eventually) to get a job in the arts.
I did work in contemporary art in an auction house a while before starting my own business. At the time I was itchy to move on because I really missed making art. During that period, things on the internet were very exciting, with the rise of blogs, Pinterest and a general online community of artists who promoted themselves and broke out of the mold.
The company had its start in designing wedding invitations because I had just gotten married. There was an explosion of wedding blogs in the UK, and running a one-woman studio meant I didn’t need any inventory or much capital to get going. It didn’t take long to build up a following and a portfolio of private clients.
Now we carry a whole range of products like greeting cards, gift wraps, DIY kits, and a book too, so we’ve got a whole other warehouse and productions team; our operations are generally bigger.
However, I think my start in weddings is telling – I’m passionate about lifestyle, celebrations, design, and making it relatable and accessible to people. In essence, Paper Parties is an amalgamation of all those ideas. It features over 50+ projects for every celebration, and my aim is to inspire readers to take the opportunity to celebrate all kinds of milestones in their lives with their loved ones.
How did your experience help you in creating the Paper Parties book?
When I started my studio, I didn’t have a lot of equipment and resources to fall back on. There were a lot of things I had to pick up myself, such as basics of photography, styling, marketing, project management and pitching ideas, all with the help of the internet. Of course, I didn’t always get everything 100% right, there were a lot of days where I felt like the learning curve was too steep. But it did breed a can-do attitude to at least try and give it my best. And, you just meet people along the way doing something you could watch and learn from and some of them become really good friends and you pull each other up along the way.
By the time I pitched Paper Parties to Pavilion Books (my publisher), I had already done a few trade shows, got our products in major department stores in the country, collaborated with brands internationally. I saw all of these as building blocks in that every time I met an obstacle, I knew I could stretch myself a little more to get there. I’m really proud of Paper Parties- we had a very brilliant hand-picked team behind it such as the styling and photography, and we all put our very best behind it.
There are over 50 paper projects in the book, how did you develop these unique ideas?
By the time I got to sit down and write down my ideas — which was when Pavilion offered me the project — I had already worked in weddings and events for over 4 years with brides, grooms and different kinds of events professionals. I had quite a strong sense of what my readers might be looking for in terms of decoration ideas, colour palettes, unique twists, as well as how to forecast trends that might be going strong in the coming couple of years.
The actual list of ideas took only a few days to write down but of course, we then fine-tuned and tested the over months after, some of them right up to the day before the photoshoots.
Tell us about your business BerinMade, how did you get into designing paper goods?
BerinMade has its roots in custom weddings and events stationery, and we eventually branched out to lifestyle stationery which is now carried in shops.
As a young girl, I was obsessed with notebooks, jelly pens, and washi tapes. This was back at a time when stationery was not trendy – it was very much a thing of school girls with their stickers and stamp collections, maybe as an escape from the humdrum of the classroom. It’s the nostalgia of having a coveted item of stationery, beautifully printed and fresh out of its plastic. It just made life a little more fun. I think a lot of women our age can relate to this even now!
If you had to pick 3 or 4 highlights or “best bits” of your business to point out to a customer, what would you tell them?
The moment we received our first order from Liberty was definitely one of the most memorable. They ordered the complete range of our offering to be stocked in their stationery hall and I remember so clearly that day what I was wearing, the weather, how I felt. By then we were already working with Oliver Bonas and Urban Outfitters (who are amazing and we still supply to them), but being stocked in Liberty was one of those lifelong dreams and pinch-me moments.
Last Christmas, I also did my first national TV appearance as a judge on Channel 4 with Kirstie Allsopp (Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas) which was very surreal but made me think about all the amazing places running this business has taken me so far. I didn’t watch myself on TV when it eventually aired, it was too weird!
And of course, the moment my agent called with the offer of my book deal for Paper Parties. I was in Paris with my husband and daughter taking a short break- when I hung up, my husband said straight away “Right! We need to celebrate!” That night, we moved out of our Airbnb and moved straight to the Intercontinental! The next morning, my 4-year old was beside herself with excitement over the breakfast buffet. I remember thinking, this is really special and I’ll remember this forever.
Find Out More
Paper Parties is published by Pavilion Books, to find out more about the title and how you can stock it in your shop please visit the Pavilion Books website.
To find out more about Erin and her business and other products please visit the BerinMade website.