In today’s world of emails, texts, and 140-character posts, it may seem incongruous to launch an upscale stationery business catering to the seemingly lost art of the handwritten note. Don’t tell that to Larchmont resident Janine Serio Durso, owner of Sweet Jane Paperie, a line of luxurious, custom-made fabric-backed notecards and invitations. “I think, especially today, people want to communicate their heartfelt feelings in a way that is more elegant than an email,” Durso says. “When you get something in the mail that’s handwritten, it’s always the first thing you go to, because you know the person sending it put in the effort to do something special.”
Durso is cashing in on that desire for elegance with Sweet Jane, which she designs and sews herself (in addition to juggling a full-time advertising career and a one-year-old daughter) and sells online (www.sweetjanepaperie.com). The business recently got a boost when it was selected to be part of the “swag bag” given out to the nominees at the 2014 Oscars. “It was a huge opportunity, and so much fun to do,” Durso says of the personalized cards she made for Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and several others. The modern, graphic fabrics she used for those stars are now among her most popular designs, and one Oscar-nominated director (she couldn’t share the name) has promised to place a future order. Orders have doubled since the awards, but Durso has no plans right now to go mass-market, as she wants to hold on to the custom approach she feels is her trademark.
With pricing starting at $95 for a set of 10 cards (they come packaged in a ribbon-tied box within a gift bag), and a lead time of three weeks for an average order, Durso knows this is a “want” and not a “need” item. But she’s confident about her line’s place in the market: “Doing this is my passion, and I think it shows in the product,” she says. “These cards help people stand out and make a distinct impression.”
We’ll take that over a re-tweet any day.