Rifle Paper Company is dear to my heart because, as any fellow floral fanatic knows, they have some of the best prints and patterns on the block (and their other oh-so-pretty illustrations ain't bad either). People are OBSESSED with founder Anna Bond and her hand painted work - and rightfully so, it's gorgeous. Little did I know that the company offers custom hand painted portraits. What follows is the story of how my beloved RPC beauties came to be.
I've had a love of pretty paper things for some time now. It started with handmade cards and stationery, which were a gift giving staple for my family and friends by the time I hit middle school. I continued feeding the obsession over the years - a postcard here, a box of envelopes there, and slowly but surely an entire closet became stuffed to the brim with various gift wrapping supplies (much of which are now stored at my mother's house. Sorry mom!). By the time time I walked into Ann Arbor's newest retail spot in June 2012, I was pretty sure that my whole "love of all things paper" thing was here to stay.
Up until that point, I hadn't really defined this whole paper love of mine. Sure, I constantly ooh-ed and aahh-ed over stationery, but back then I don't think I would have even called it a hobby. Almost two years ago, I had a serious spell of burnout and began thinking more and more about what I wanted to do, not only with my life, but with my career and free time. And that's when I stumbled into Rock Paper Scissors.
RPS is a stationery lovers heaven, where a full wall display isn't large enough to hold the ever expanding inventory of cards. I was instantly obsessed and started plotting ways to balance a part-time retail gig with my full-time day job. It was a bit of a balancing act, but it was well worth it - my time spent at RPS is one of the best decisions I've made to date. Going to work meant talking to people about invitations, unpacking new stationery and organizing items from awesome designers - and in addition I made lasting friendships with truly inspiring people, including the store's owner, Lisa.
So what does this have to do with Rifle Paper's painted portraits? Well, when I decided to move to San Francisco, there were lots of tearful goodbyes - including my final shift with my beloved fam at RPS. As a farewell present, Lisa surprised me with a stationery set and pack of business cards featuring my big 'ol mug, complete with a full pout and a mop of blond curls (which I try to replicate whenever I'm motivated enough to actually do my hair). I was blown away.
In case you ever need to know what to buy a stationery aficionado: this is the end all be all gift right here. (And in case you like what you're hearing about Rock Paper Scissors and live in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area - they happen to be hiring).
The custom portrait service from Rifle Paper Co. is just that - a custom, hand painted portrait of amazingness. The illustration is done in signature Rifle Paper Co. style and is based off of photos you submit either of yourself or of the intended gift recipient - in my case, Lisa got creative and took images from Facebook, so I never suspected a thing.
According to a recent post from Anna Bond herself, there's been more than 1,000 custom portraits completed so far.