ELISABETH ROSE | PART 1
For the next few weeks we are going to bring you into a four part series on how Elisabeth Rose came to be what it is today; the history behind the name and the faces. We’re excited to take you on this trip down memory lane with us, and to give you a look into all the things to come.
One of the questions we get asked most is “who is Elisabeth Rose” and quite frankly, it all depends on who you ask. Most of our staff will tell you it’s our founder and lead designer Elisabeth Rose Connolly. But if you ask while our little lady Rosie (Elisabeth’s daughter) is in the shop, she’ll say that she is the Rose of the company. Very valid.
In part one we’re going to share a little about how Elisabeth got into the stationery business and what that has entailed. The how’s and why’s, if you will. Now, without any further ado …
What made you decide that you wanted to do stationery for a living?
I studied fine art with a concentration in photography. I took the film photography route in school and fell in love with working with my hands and creating art. When I graduated from college I worked in the wedding photography industry for a few years, but photography soon became a bit repetitive and I wanted to be in a field that had more creative flexibility. I loved the idea that creating stationery for the client would help set the tone for the wedding and found a lot of fulfillment in the challenge of capturing each clients personality on paper.
Where does your love for paper come from?
My mom instilled the love for all things paper and correspondence in me when I was young. She had all three of us kids write letters weekly to an elderly relative. My assigned relative was my dear great Aunt Cindy (whom my own daughter, Cynthia Rose is named after). We wrote back and forth for years which led to a very close relationship where she taught me everything I needed to know about etiquette and beyond to help me later run a stationery company.
At what point did you realize that this could be your full-time gig?
Thanks to social media it happened very quickly — one video / photo post of me running the letterpress led to multiple jobs in a short amount of time and grew from there.
Sitting in our storefront is a cast iron 1881 Samson Letterpress that was formerly homed on a U.S. Navy Ship based in Annapolis, Maryland. It wasn’t until 2011 that this press made its way to Charlotte by way of Elisabeth, her husband Michael, and their best friend Zach. Elisabeth began teaching herself the ways of the press through trial and error, eventually starting her business on the plates of this press.
Have you always wanted a letterpress? Had you used one prior to this?
Not always. I have always loved creating and the printmaking studio was a close second to my first love which was the photo and alternative processes lab at school. When photography went almost entirely digital and I didn’t have a place to process my own film — acquiring a letterpress became a bit of an obsession.
What sparked your interest to get one? How many invitation suites did you print on it?
That aforementioned love of creating a product with my hands. Also a fascination with going back to the analog way of creating art. I wanted a fully manual, antique press and was very lucky to find one! I printed about 10 paid jobs (and many, many, many, many test projects) on it before I had to start outsourcing to keep up with demand.
Do you still run the 1881 Samson?
Sadly, no, but for a great reason — we’re just too busy! We leave all of our letterpress printing to full-time letterpress experts these days. I would love to get it up and running someday to do demonstrations on!
Next week we’ll be sharing details on the renovation process that went into making this brick-and-mortar shop the creative space that it is.
Have questions? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them in a future post!