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Barbara McGrath and Kleinfeld Paper
When legendary bridal gown retailer Kleinfeld went looking for a partner to create a personalized stationery design business segment, Barbara McGrath and her team had only one reply.
The most fitting thing that can be said about Barbara McGrath’s involvement with Kleinfeld Bridal is that it’s indeed a beautiful marriage.
McGrath, a New York City-based design entrepreneur, and Kleinfeld, the fabled Manhattan bridal salon, have teamed up to launch “Kleinfeld Paper,” a brand-new invitation and stationery complement to Kleinfeld’s celebrated wedding dress business. Equally instrumental in the “marriage” is LookLoveSend LLC and its CEO John Barry. But more about that later.
As the Kleinfeld Paper website www.kleinfeldpaper.com explains, the new business branch offers “a world of style and finery on paper.” As it happens, many of McGrath’s designs for the Kleinfeld work make use of FiberMark paper and covering materials.
“Look, Love, Send”
Kleinfeld is renowned as to the largest retailer of high-end wedding dresses in the country. The shop’s gowns have graced the nuptials of thousands of radiant brides since the mid-1940s. McGrath, who is under contract as the Director of Design and Creative Services for a web-based printing specialty company called “LookLoveSend,” began discussing the launch of a complementary invitation business line with Kleinfeld last year. LookLoveSend.com offers customers a unique, memorable invitation or announcement, a fully customized piece designed and printed on top-quality paper.
“Our story at LookLoveSend is simply about ‘passion,’” McGrath explains. “We have a collective passion for beautiful design, for fine paper, for superior quality and service, and for innovation. It’s that same idea of passion that we sought to bring to Kleinfeld Paper.”
At “LookLoveSend,” McGrath assembled and leads a team of 19 designers and illustrators to develop a collection of more than 2,000 special-occasion stationery products which are then sold on the website. She is responsible for the visual content on the site and the ongoing challenge of making the adjustments necessary to compete in the online marketing arena. “For the Kleinfeld project, we are leveraging our LookLoveSend’ technology and capabilities to give us an even greater position in the online stationery marketplace,” she notes.
As background for her work with Kleinfeld and LookLoveSend, McGrath spent many years operating her own company, ThinkSpot, where she focused on providing corporate clients with beautifully executed premiums and customized presentation materials designed to heighten brand awareness. With ThinkSpot, she brought her unique design sensibility to the production of a wide range of products that make use of paper, board, print and bindery applications, including box manufacturing, die-cutting, embossing, on-demand and traditional printing, hand assembly and fulfillment. And it is with ThinkSpot that McGrath first engaged with FiberMark. As McGrath notes, she has enjoyed an extraordinary ‘partnership’ with FiberMark through many years. “Their materials and substrates are second to none and perfect for when high-end brands are looking to make a strong statement in their marketing and packaging materials,” she says, emphatically.
The new Kleinfeld Paper business line has particularly excited McGrath with its possibilities, she says. “Kleinfeld Paper brings the legendary Kleinfeld brand of superior customer service to this subset of its wedding gown business,” she explains. “We offer this same level of excellence to brides- and grooms-to-be, creating beautiful designs on exquisite paper, and then printing them with perfection.”
Building the ‘Black Box’
The Kleinfeld Paper line offers everything from save-the-dates, wedding invitations, ceremony and reception cards, to thank you notes—all of them beautifully designed and coordinated to customers’ specifications. Designs range from classic elegance to modern chic and everything in between. To kick off the new business segment, McGrath conceived a black organizer fashioned from FiberMark Pellaq® Mallory to contain specially designed and wrapped invitations and note cards that were delivered to members of the media. “It’s a ‘sampler’ of sorts that gives the media a feel for the nature of the Kleinfeld Paper offering, what the new line offers,” McGrath says. “We knew that we needed to do something special to announce Kleinfeld Paper in a powerful way that captured the media’s attention. So we ran it, assembled it, shrink-wrapped all the different cards, tied everything together with a beautiful bow and put it in a branded shopping bag. The bags were then hand-delivered or mailed to editors and writers both here in the city and outside.” McGrath says that the FiberMark Pellaq component added considerably to the high-quality look and feel of the organizer. “I needed a ‘finishing touch’ to tie all the elements of this project together into a really presentable and practical package,” she explains. “And Pellaq, with its strength and durability and all its other features, was the perfect choice.”
Although McGrath used Pellaq as a covering material for the decorative black box in this project, she explains that she often specs it for an array of other applications, including envelopes, envelope liners, stationery box sets, greeting cards, invitations, photobooks, album covers and journals. “Designers around the world seeking something unique, eye-catching and impactful in their designs are really drawn to FiberMark and Pellaq,” she adds.
With the black box and its contents, McGrath correctly reasoned that the members of the media needed to see and feel the various components to understand their uniqueness. “The special beauty of these materials is difficult to describe in words,” McGrath says. “We included in this box cards showing different print processes, like letterpress and raised ink, all on an array of different paper weights and options. There’s a pre-invitation tool kit and a ‘to-do’ pad in there as well, all printed in-house.” As a result of the promotion, articles on the new Kleinfeld Paper business have been appearing in trade, consumer and business media.
“This is only the beginning,” McGrath says of the Kleinfeld venture. “It’s a part of awareness building for this very important addition to the Kleinfeld Bridal brand.” She adds, “It’s a natural fit, because Kleinfeld is such a strong player in this market. They’re magic, and it’s an amazing brand to be a part of. That’s the excitement. So gaining traction and building brand awareness that they’re now in the invitation business is our number one job.”