Cincy Chic: Tell us about all your current ventures…
Kristen Folzenlogen: It may seem like I have a lot going on, but each new venture has somehow developed out of another. My original venture was Letter Heads, which focused primarily on custom-designed event invitations and allowed me to utilize my background in graphic design. Letter Heads’ niche turned out to be weddings, and I began to find trends in stationery – colors, fonts, patterns, which then inspired me to partner with our letterpress artist and create Cardiology Cards.
Cardiology launched last May in NYC and are now found in 18 states, three countries and 60+ stationery shops. Our letterpressed greeting and notecards are angled towards brides, expecting and new mothers, bachelors and of course everyday holidays. With weddings and stationery under our belt we jumped at the opportunity to purchase an established and much-admired stationery boutique, Poême. Poême is the perfect platform to further develop our retail offerings, finding other talented wedding and stationery designers, and to expand our own custom-designs to a wider market – corporate events, branding and identity.
Poême is located in Hyde Park, while Letter Heads’ studio is in the Covington Wedding District in a beautiful historic rehab called The Bridal Studio. Both locations are very unique. Poême of course carries Cardiology Cards and Letter Heads designs, while the Bridal Studio is a stylish setting for custom consultations and intimate events. Currently, the Bridal Studio hosts a Wedding Cafe once a month for brides to meet and greet various wedding vendors, we are busy planning our second annual Bitter Bridesmaid Bash fundraiser and gearing up for Wedding University, an educational program for brides-to-be on planning and organizing for the big day! We are also excited to host Tara Geurard, a South Carolina-based event planner and accomplished author for a book signing in March.
Cincy Chic: How did you get into the stationery business?
Folzenlogen: I used to work for a corporate and event communications company in Chicago and one of our clients was getting married. I offered to design her wedding invitations as a gift. Being the director of marketing for her company, she began to do what she did best, and told everyone about her wedding invitations. I started getting phone calls at my office (my first from a bride in Florida) to design their invitations. It grew by word of mouth and within eight months I had to make a decision to quit my job and “get serious” if I wanted to keep up with the projects coming in.
Cincy Chic: What are all the products/services you provide at Poême?
Folzenlogen: Poême is a stationery boutique but we not only carry a wide variety of greeting cards and paper goods, but also the accessories to go with it such as fashionable pens, beautiful leather goods, agendas and journals and unique gift items. We pride ourselves on keeping professional items that are not only functional and of excellent quality, but also stylish. Our customers are always commenting on our focus on colors. We have two designers available for all of our custom projects such as wedding invitations, baby announcements and corporate projects, as well as a wide variety of other designers’ portfolios to customize for brides, new babies and events.
Cincy Chic: Now that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, what items at Poême do you suggest for last minute gifts?
Folzenlogen: Of course we have a wide array of Valentine’s Day cards for lovers, mothers, fathers, friends – you name it. As far as gifts, we carry anything from inexpensive keepsakes and momentos, to sassy desk accessories, personalized stationery sets, collectible pens, and frames and photo albums. We pay special attention to gifts for men, for all seasons – stylish wallets, computer accessories, pens inspired by Porsche designs – really unusual but personal and functional pieces.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day card on the shelves right now?
Folzenlogen: I’m going to dodge this question by answering that the most “popular” Valentine’s Day card is the “Happy F*%ing Valentine’s Day” card. It really says it all and we can’t keep it in stock. People you least expect to find it appropriate buy it all the time, and it’s really the only card we have that can work on so many levels, It’s just funny. Such a sweet, loving holiday and it really makes everyone laugh – men, women, husbands, girlfriends, friends!
Cincy Chic: We’re in the midst of the wedding season as well, so tell us about some trends in the wedding stationery world – anything future brides need to know about before stuffing those envelopes?
Folzenlogen: Brides should be happy to know that there are very few restrictions these days on wedding stationery – it seems like everything is in, as long as it works with everything else in the wedding. Colorful, or black and white – shimmery and metallic, or organic and textured, traditional and simple, or over-the-top and contemporary – I’ve seen it all this season. I do think that some forethought is necessary to make wedding invitations a functional yet fun design that not only tell the logistics about the event, but also stylistically introduce your guests to what they can look forward to – formal, casual, indoor, outdoor, daytime, evening.
Cincy Chic: You just got back from a huge stationery convention in NYC. Tell us about some neat things you saw there that we might soon see at your store…
Folzenlogen: Everything at the New York Gift Fair this year was GREEN, GREEN, GREEN! Any way a company can feature a product that is produced by alternative energy sources, with recycled and recyclable materials and is delivered with the least amount of petroleum is very in! It was actually overwhelming how important it was – in fact we have come back with several new lines of stationery and greeting cards printed on 100 percent post-consumer recycled papers with soy inks. Our most exciting purchase we cannot wait to get in the next month is a full line of bulk papers in 19 different colors and a variety of extremely well-designed patterns from the Green Paper Company, a brand new company just launching its product! Six of the colors are 100% post-consumer recycled papers, and the remaining colors are 30-60 percent post-consumer recycled papers. The envelopes are very unique and the whole line is perfect for wedding stationery and corporate branding. We will be using it as material for our own designs, and it will be available in bulk for customers to purchase to use for their own projects.
Cincy Chic: Tell us about the last card you received.
Folzenlogen: The last card I received was a thank you card from a bride that we had designed! It’s always fun to see your designs at work, and it’s also good to see people taking the time to write a hand-written note instead of an email.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Folzenlogen: I think the thing I like most about Cincinnati are the people. We have the opportunity to meet new people every day, whether they are simply shopping at Poême, or coming in to plan their wedding invitations, or developing a brand for their company and almost everyone we meet has a genuinely positive attitude. Everyone’s at so many different stages in their lives whether it be young couples starting families, singles focusing on careers, city dwellers, suburbanites, etc. but everyone tends to be very laid back and seemingly comfortable doing what their doing. And although I have lived in both Miami and Chicago and find them both very exciting and challenging, people just aren’t as settled and comfortable. I feel settled here.
Click here or press the play button below to view a Webcast with Folzenlogen as she gives you an exclusive look into Poême in Hyde Park.