Haley George Photography
Bekah Wertz :: High Fancy Paper
How did the name “High Fancy Paper” originate?
I was chatting with my coworkers one day, and was trying to describe something as both “high class” and “real fancy”. The two phrases got jumbled in my head and what actually came out was “high fancy.” We laughed about it, but the more I said it, the more I realized what a perfect name it was for my business.
What motivated you to start your business, and how has it grown since it began?
I started designing wedding invitations for a few friends on the side of my day job. Once I had a few under my belt, people started referring me to other brides, and I was able to start charging for my services. Weddings turned into parties, showers and all of the decorations that came with it.
My next step was starting an Etsy shop. Doodles turned into prints and cards that I started selling to the public. When I moved to Nashville, I still didn’t know a ton of people, so I started exploring new areas and checking out local shops. My dream was to sell my paper goods in stores around town, so I worked on the artwork and approached some local businesses to gauge their interest. The first order placed with with White’s Mercantile in 12 South. I still remember how giddy I felt, knowing that my product would get to sit alongside other artists I’ve admired for years.
Since then, we’ve expanded our line and increased our orders with shops around Nashville. Back in August, I approached my friend, Sarah Cox, about coming on board with High Fancy Paper to help me run the business side of things. She agreed almost immediately, and has been the most amazing source of encouragement and drive ever since. We have plans in the works to move into new cities, expand our product line, and partner with local shops to create items that people can connect with. I can’t wait to see how HFP grows this year!
*If you have a shop in your city you think would be a good fit for High Fancy Paper, let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
How has the Nashville community embraced your business?
This community has embraced me wholeheartedly! Moving here a little over a year and a half ago, I was unsure about what it would be like to establish myself as an independent business owner and creative in a new place. The people here have blown me away with their generosity, kindness, and support. So many people have been in my same shoes and want to extend the same helping hand that was shown to them when they were starting out. I couldn’t imagine starting a business in a better environment. From shop owners, to printers, to fellow designers, I’ve made meaningful connections with individuals who have rooted me on and taken a chance on High Fancy Paper.
Is there any way that your business has given back, to the community or in some other way?
Back in April when the first earthquake struck Nepal, I created a print that we sold online and through Instagram. We donated all the proceeds to Unicef, directly aiding the relief efforts. We are always looking for new opportunities to give back and partner with local or global organizations.
What is special about the way you create your prints and why do you do it this way?
I do a lot of my artwork by hand. It may start out with a picture or a computer sketch, but most always ends with lettering and illustration done with a brush, pen or marker of some sort. I have a strong appreciation for simple and clean, but my work never seems to be finished unless it has a touch of “humanity”.
Is there a certain person or style that inspires you as you create your work?
My grandmother, Mama Doc as we affectionately called her, continually inspires me in my work. She was an amazing woman with an incredibly strong work ethic and generous spirit. She worked with her hands, creating, crafting and cooking for both loved ones and strangers. Growing up on a farm in Western Kansas, and living through the Great Depression, she learned how to be resourceful with what she was given. Mama Doc was into recycling before it was the trendy thing to do! I still remember her pulling out her reusable bags from the trunk before heading into the grocery store.
She was able to make things beautiful out of simple materials. When I’m creating a new design or assembling a set of invitations, I feel like I have a piece of her with me. She put her heart and soul into what she did. It wasn’t about perfection, but embracing the perfectly imperfect that made her so dynamic. I only hope that I can carry on that same legacy through High Fancy Paper.
Watch this sneak peek of the heart behind High Fancy Paper [click on image to play video]:
Elizabeth Olmstead | Film Maker