Q&A with Bianca of Kid Icarus

Kid Icarus is a favourite shop of Toronto paper and contemporary craft lovers. Founded by designer Bianca Bickmore and master screen printer Michael Viglione, this sweet storefront and studio in Kensington Market is home to a well-curated selection of greeting cards (featuring some of our fave Canadian and international designers), books, twine, washi tape, gift items and wrap and posters screen printed in house. In short, it’s a stationery lover’s dream – and you won’t be able to leave empty handed. Kid Icarus creates and prints its own line of stationery, which we adore. They also offer screen printing and lino cutting workshops. Q: You left a corporate design job to start Kid Icarus with Michael almost 10 years ago, and the studio/shop has become part of the fabric of the Kensington community, and well-loved by Torontonians who appreciate cards, craft and great design. What made you decide to embark on this adventure? A: At the time, there wasn’t many places to purchase contemporary handmade goods other than Etsy and a few craft shows. The business started by offering screen printing as a service. Once there was enough business, we started collecting a lot of studio prints that we were able to sell. We like brick and mortar retail, and the social aspect of a small shop always appealed to us. Most print studio’s had seasonal or yearly open house sales, but we thought, why not sell all year? The answer at the time was easy – it wasn’t sustainable. The average person then didn’t even know what screen printing was. As technology became more prevalent, most people were able...

Q&A with Kat of Edgar & Martha

Love handmade and fun patterns? You’ll definitely be a fan of Edgar & Martha, a newly launched Etsy shop featuring coasters, change purses and quilts, handmade in Toronto by fabric lover Kat Akerfeldt. We couldn’t resist Kat’s coasters sewn out of paper-themed fabrics, perfect for celebrating National Letter Writing Month in April! Q: You recently launched your Etsy shop, Edgar & Martha, with a delightful line of hand-sewn goods include coasters, quilts and change purses. How long have you been sewing for? What made you decide to create your own line of items? A: One of my earliest memories is sewing. I was waiting to greet my new baby brother home from the hospital. While I waited, I sewed over a drawing I had drawn on paper, to colour it in with thread. Like a lot of teenagers, I would tear apart and reconstruct thrift-store treasures, or make outfits from Fabricland remnants. Once I made a pair of jeans into denim shoes. I can’t remember why that seemed like a good idea. As an adult, I suddenly realized that sewing classes were a thing, and set myself to learning garment and pattern design and construction, and, more recently, quilting. I had planned to start selling goods for a long time, as a creative outlet. But I could never make my mind up about what my shop would include, thinking that I should be very focussed on one product. Finally, I decided that I would only list objects that I enjoyed making, giving, and having. Having Edgar and Martha means that I have an excuse to practice and improve on...

Q&A with Marisa of Omiyage

A DIY force to be reckoned with, Marisa Edghill is an author, blogger, purveyor of washi tapes, craft supplies and stationery. And that’s not all. Marisa is also a creative collaborator on a variety of projects that encourage people to try their hand at various craft forms. I was lucky enough to come to know Marisa through a shared love of snail mail, and continue to be in awe of her ability to transform a wrapped package into a thing of beauty, as well as her gorgeous snail mail and the various creative challenges she sets out for herself. If you aren’t already reading Marisa’s blog, check it out! Full disclosure: I am lucky enough to collaborate with Marisa on a project called Pretty Postal (read more about it below). Q: When did you discover washi tape and add it to your craft arsenal? What about it appealed to you? A: I discovered washi tape about 7 (or 8) years ago when I was in the beginning phases of starting my business. At that time, it was known as Japanese masking tape and was popping up on popular design blogs as they discovered the joy of pretty tape! Intrigued, I picked up a bundle of “mt” tapes on my first Japanese sourcing trip and fell in love with the quiet beauty of the designs as well as the versatility. I knew right away that I had to bring this fabulous supply to Canadian customers. Of course, this was before it was available everywhere and in pretty much every colour and pattern! Q: Anyone who reads your blog can attest to the fact that you are...

Q&A with Storm and Shadow of Mythical Matters

Mythical Matters‘ cards feature the cutest teeny drawings accompanied by sweet, fun sentiments. It’s impossible not to be drawn in by these cards illustrated by Storm, one of the magical Mythical matters duo.  Shadow is Storm’s partner in paper, and key to the creative process as the two work together to come up with new ideas for their stationery line. In addition to cute cards the oft feature animals, Storm and Shadow sell old map prints featuring Canada and beyond. Follow their adventures on Instagram, and you’ll get a sense of this playful and mischievous pair. We loved the time they decided to mail a mailbox to the Postmistress at Toronto’s First Post Office (you can indeed mail a mailbox, in case you were wondering).   Q: How did Mythical Matters come to be? What inspired you to start your own stationery company? A: We love the notion of trading in sentiments and ideas, and paper is the perfect medium for that. Every business brings you into contact with different kinds of people, and paper lovers are a wonderful and intriguing bunch who are all about communication, so the stationery business definitely feels like home. Sentiment and symbolism is very important to us, so it’s a perfect fit, really.   Q: You create cards with the sweetest itty bitty drawings and handwritten sentiments – what appeals to you about small-scale drawings?  A: Thanks! 😊 It’s been something I’ve done since I was very young. When I was a kid, I’d make walnuts into tiny spaceships with wee animal pilots. I’d take whole walnuts, split them open along their seam to get...

April Reveal

Hello Letter Writing Month! April is a pretty big month for snail mail lovers worldwide. We join together with our stationery paper pals to participate in the 30 letters in 30 days challenge! So we wanted to give you plenty of supplies to start your writing adventure 🙂   Clockwise from the top right, we have Mythical Matters; “Pen Pals Make the Best Pals!” card, Kid Icarus‘ Anatomy of the Typewriter card, Sea & Lake‘s “Wish You Were Here!” card, Edgar & Martha‘s hand-quilted coasters, and Omiyage‘s washi pack. *** Q&A Letterbox, Quarterly Subscription Starts in May! If you haven’t heard, Q&A Letterbox is going quarterly! Our new format will be implemented shortly. Starting in June we will be sending you a box of paper goodies every 3 months! For more info, visit our website and we will continue to announces news on social...

Q&A with Brian of Baltic Club

Q) What made you and Melanie decide to create your own line of paper products back in 2014? Melanie and I LOVE working together. We also have a design company (Glasgow Studio) and our dream at this time was to work on projects we chose instead of projects imposed to us. That day, we were in a restaurant, surrounded by illustrations on the walls and I asked Melanie: « Would you like to exhibit your drawings one day? », she answered « Sure! ». I secretly organized her first exhibition there, it went so well and everything began that day. Q) Please share some of the lessons you have learned as entrepreneurs. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Never think it’s already won. Consistency is the key. We’ve also learned to think with our brain, our heart or our guts depending on the situations. Q) Many of your designs feature nature and animals – what do you do to feel inspired?  We have a dog, Lola, she’s beautiful and kind. We make her « talk » often. We also love science and nature documentaries. Nature related topics are solid common points between the two of us. As a child, Melanie wanted to be a veterinarian, I wanted to take care of endangered pandas. She loves to take care of plants too and water them always too much 🙂 Q) What does your design process look like for a typical greeting card? We live in a parallel universe and have totally absurde discussions all the time. That makes us laugh a lot every day since 3 years that we know each...

Q&A with Lily Kao

Q) What made you decide to design a line of stationery? I was working as a freelance designer after I graduated from University and had some free time on my hands. I’ve always loved painting and thought I could get away from the digital work and get back to more traditional drawing. I started painting Alphabet illustration charts based on different theme (Birds, Dogs, Marine life etc) and selling them as art prints, and thought I could explore other paper products, such as greeting cards to expand my product line. Q) Where do you draw inspiration from when creating your designs? Who are some of your artistic influences? Instagram is a big source of inspiration for me. There are so many talented and amazing illustrators, artists, and makers sharing their process and work on the platform. Every time when I’m doubting my work or feeling uninspired, I would go on the app and leaving it feeling ready to get back to creating again. Some illustrators/makers I love @kelzuki @quillandfox @ourheiday Q) In addition to creating stationery, you do product design and branding – and work on a mobile app – how do these various projects influence each other? I actually try to separate my graphic design work from my paper goods creations. The style between these projects and my stationery creation are quite different, because one is mainly created digitally and the other is hand-drawn. However, my background in graphic design has really helped me in creating my company’s (LKD) branding, and layouts for the cards and art prints. Q) What is the most memorable piece of snail mail you...

Q&A with Karen of Oh My Inspired (V. 2)

Q: Please tell us a bit about your journey starting Oh My Inspired. What made you want to create your own line of paper products? I grew up writing notes on lined paper to my best friend, and we would exchange them once a week whenever we saw each other at church. We would doodle on them, draw pictures, write down our hopes and dreams of marrying a Backstreet Boy. (no shame there! haha) I still have all our letters in a binder. Needless to say, handwritten notes and stationery were always dear to my heart. So one day I decided to start designing simple note cards where people can write their thank you(s) and encouragements for their friends and families. With technology, we’ve lost a bit of the human touch I find. If I am able to contribute to the “old fashioned” way of communicating in some way, then why not! Q: What appeals to you about watercolour as a medium? I find it therapeutic! By nature, I like structure, schedules, and to-do lists. But with watercolour, I love how sometimes you can’t think too much about it; you just have to trust your feeling and go with the flow, literally! And when the colours blend together in a way that you intended it to flow, there is something so satisfying about it. Q: How has your training and work in the interior design industry influenced you and your designs? The elements and principles of design was something that I learned early on and so naturally, I apply things like balance and proportion into my designs and layouts...

March Reveal

Let’s Beat Those Winter Blues! We are anxiously waiting for spring to arrive, so to help beat the winter blues we chose specific designs that will get you excited for sunny adventures to come.   Clockwise from the top right, we have Baltic Club‘s Tropical card, queenie’s cards “don’t be blue!” blueberry card, Lily Kao‘s “Let’s go on an adventure” card, and Oh My Inspired‘s camper van gift tags.   Q&A Letterbox, Quarterly Subscription Starts in May! If you haven’t heard, Q&A Letterbox is going quarterly! April will be our last monthly edition, starting in June we will be sending you a box of paper goodies every 3 months! For more info click here and we will continue to announces news on social media. Enjoy, and don’t forget April is Letter Writing...

Q&A Letterbox is going Quarterly!

We have a huge announcement! Q&A Letterbox is going Quarterly! We want to provide you with more snail mail but realize if we add to our current monthly editions the cost for you would increase, and we also didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much stationery and not enough time to send them out. This way, every 3 months we will have time to curate and send you more products! With a new pricing structure, we are able to explore additional goody options that our flat mailers didn’t allow. Yes, that’s right, we will have actual boxes! Please stay tuned for more info as we transition to the new format. For those of you that have purchased 3 or 12 month subscriptions, worry not! You don’t have to take any further actions, we will amend the changes accordingly. We are also improving the website to better your navigation. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns at all, we are happy to chat! We will be updating you with news in the next few weeks. Thank you for sticking with us on this incredibly fun adventure! We are nearing our second anniversary this May (!!!) and our Quarterly Box debut will ship out for June. Lots more to come!...