Our guest blogger today is Deborah Meijer, who spoke to Connor Stationery Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner.
Shortly after the marriage proposal takes place, the wedding date is bandied about. And after the wedding date is finalized and wedding venue chosen, the next logical bridal step is choosing the invitation. For that, if you need wedding stationery befitting your Haute Couture Chanel wedding gown, Connor Stationery is the place to go. Just as fashion has inspired table centerpieces, dinnerware, color palettes and wedding cakes designed to match your dress, that A-list bridal dress you splurged on certainly deserves the finest lifestyle brands.
First, a few things the company is not, according to Connor’s Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner:
“We are not your grandma’s dusty stationery with ornaments, bows and ribbons. We are not your neighborhood stationery store. We are not just a service business. We do not just sell paper.”
That straight, Richter-Werner tells us what Connor is:
“Connor is a modern and unique lifestyle brand, one that delivers the finest, most incredible and superior dimensional engravings. With Connor, it’s as if Tom Ford wanted to design stationery. We are Lesage to Chanel, what Hermès is to leather goods, what Connolly Leather is to Aston Martin or Rolls Royce. What Connor aims to supply to its clients is an unsurpassed level of taste and quality.”
With embossed images ranging from custom-designed elephants balancing on a ball to a pistol shooting xoxo, it is apparent sooner rather than later that Connor is not your grandmother’s pastel, bordered note card with the swirly ball of embossed entangled initials.
“Other stationery companies simply provide a service. Connor’s point of view is to deliver the unexpected, the unique, the lifestyle. It’s lunch at La Grenouille versus lunch at Panera.”
Richter-Werner’s analogy to a French restaurant is an apt one, since all Connor Stationery engraving is done in Paris.
“I have met with engravers from England, Germany, Spain, and I will soon visit Argentina, all in an effort to look for new ways of executing one-of-a-kind engraving,” says Richter-Werner. “The way I look at it is: I craft simplicity with the limelight on engraving,”
Richer-Werner and his business partner, Justin Felber, started Connor a few years back, and just this past fall, moved to Barney’s in New York City. Future plans include targeting other luxury accessory markets and expanding to the digital word down the road. But for now, they are content to make sure their brand reflects the level of perfection their high-end clients demand. Whether it be an A-list celeb, Graff Jewelers, or even an invitation they produced for a recently-held Blenheim Palace Foundation dinner attended by the 11th Duke of Marlborough, Connor seems to be the go-to company for high-end commissions.
“For the Blenheim Palace invitation,” says Richter-Werner, “we used a new technique. We weren’t happy with the standard ink colors available for engraving the Blenheim Palace image. So we mixed inks to achieve a color we call graphite-silver. This color had never been done before. But we wanted to achieve a different look, one befitting the finest example of English Baroque design in the United Kingdom, the palace birthplace of Winston Churchill and World Heritage Site. We spent our own funds to achieve the quality we needed for that commission.”
Speaking of quality, the tiny dot that appears on their website as well as embossed on each card and envelope, is a Trademarked Connor design, designating the finest workmanship and taste that money can buy, according to Richter-Werner, and will be instantly recognized by the true connoisseur.
Although Connor is known to dictate its artistic point of view, whenever possible Richter-Werner likes to meet Connor clients in person.
“We take direction from the client. We like to see their sensibilities. Are their glasses contemporary or vintage? Do they mix a white gold watch with yellow gold rings? Are they chunky jewelry, Chanel traditional, Staurino? I look at accessories, even nail polish—is it Rose Insolent or the edgier Blue Boy of Chanel’s latest season? As I talk with the client, I am subconsciously noticing all these things.”
Their designs are noticed as well, particularly by luxe brands such as Manolo Blahnik and VanCleef and Arpels. Both have commissioned Connor to design cards to celebrate an anniversary, to give as a preferred client gift, or to invite treasured guests to a party.
“These luxury brands see that we craft a work in the language of fashion,” says Richter-Werner. “Van Cleef hired us to design a holiday card. We designed a hot-air balloon that was one-of-a-kind, not just in the execution, but also in the design. We pay close attention to minute detail with dimensional engravings done in hardened steel, as opposed to photoengraving. We use 4-ply stock with embossed and raised dimensions of impressions that are superior, in our opinion, to any other engraver.”
And Connor looks at big-picture design. “If you examine our website, you will see that it reflects our point of view and quality,” says Richter-Werner. “You know you are in a world of luxury and refined taste. There are hundreds of paper companies out there, but our website alone shows what we represent.
“In addition, we take a cohesive approach to our product. When we are designing, say, a wedding invitation, we will also link that design to your save the date, to your thank you cards, and we even keep in mind birth announcements, should you need them sometime in the future.”
To sum up the design philosophy of the haute couture of stationery, Richter-Werner points out that, “Anyone can buy the best paper. To that, we at Connor add the best and most desirable design.”