How your clients refer to you:
Cheree (shuh-ree), but I answer to any pronunciation.
Cheree Berry Paper (CBP)
Ph. (314) 533-6688, Email: email@example.com
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
CBP’s operation is located in St. Louis, Missouri, but ironically, the majority of our clients are on the east coast, specifically NYC. I started freelancing in NYC before I moved home, so in some ways it’s as if I never left. I go there about five to six times a year to meet with clients.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
It started with my love of paper and art projects as a child. Oh, and throw in letters and cards. From there studying graphic design in college and working for Kate Spade as a lead designer on the company’s stationery line (a collaboration with Crane & Co.) sent me on my way to start my own graphic design firm/stationery company.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
We love surprises and will include them in design wherever we can. We know snail mail is not as commonplace as it once was, so we continue to stay on top of it. We are aware that you can get a nice, printed piece from large, online retailers, so at CBP we offer an experience – we offer interactive pieces, whether it’s a fun format, a pop-up element, clever copywriting, etc. There is nothing template about our work and we thrive on that!
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
We love what we do. We bring a uniqueness to this saturated market. It’s the combo of our clever and unexpected designs coupled with our attentive customer service and relationship building that keeps us a couple of steps ahead of the rest.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I hope we impact our clients by executing the best design for the success of their event, company, website, etc. And, I think we empower them to think creatively. We feel like we’ve figured out what questions to ask to create what our clients need.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Art direction is my most favorite part of the job, but the minute I say that, I’m reminded of how much I love to meet with clients and learn about them. Oh, and there’s the brainstorm sessions and travel. And photo styling for photo shoots. I love it all, I really do.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
We have our NYC CBP meetings at the Harvard Club. Our CFO/COO, Kristen Armstrong, is a Harvard business school grad so we are happy to have this location at our disposal. We meet our clients in the Charles River room on the second floor and I can assure you that we do not blend in. We conduct our fun-filled stationery meetings sandwiched in between talks of mergers and acquisitions but it’s a great place to spread out and talk paper. My other favorite not-so-secret spots: all of Central Park, Dover Street Market, and Balthazar (I can’t get enough of their petite fours!).
How do you benefit mamas?
We design baby announcements, holiday cards, family stationery, birthday invitations, mitzvah invitations, etc. for moms all the time! We make the process super smooth for moms whose lives are busier every day. In addition, we want to make sure that another mom in the same play group isn’t going to run the risk of having the same invite design. We pride ourselves on highly-customized work when the budget allows.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
The best feedback is when clients say we’ve exceeded their expectations. Or, that working on the paper part of their event journey was the best part of the planning.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
I’m very lucky to have met Darcy Miller, the editorial director at Martha Stewart Weddings, about a decade ago. She has been a great friend and mentor to me. And my daughter Biz has the best wardrobe in St. Louis, thanks to the amazing hand-me-downs Darcy sends my way.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
We promote the note! We revel in the touch and feel of paper, obsess over postage stamps, and at times, defy the 2-D nature of paper. Weaving in unexpected details is expected. We are adept in typography and daredevils in design. A lot of time, talent, and gold foil has gone into the making of CBP, and we will continue to keep stationery alive and innovative design at the forefront.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
When it comes to getting my kids on schedule – I turn as much as I can into a game. I use plenty of reverse psychology. And well, let’s be honest, the pantry is full of marshmallows for those occasional bribes. Having a third child has been a game changer. I used to laugh at those Campbell’s soup-on-the-go commercials where moms were drinking their soup behind the wheel. Now, #thisisme.