Minted Launches Art Prints.

We’ve finally done it after dreaming about it for three years: Minted has launched a unique, carefully curated selection of art prints from our talented global community of designers and artists.  It may come as a surprise to lots of folks that inside the company, we have never thought of ourselves as a stationery retailer, but instead as a design community.  With the launch of our art business, we’re thrilled to provide further access to exposure, income, and community to creative geniuses everywhere.  We know consumers are interested in the work of independent artists; with Minted’s art collection, they can access the work of independent artists but also enjoy the trusted printing, paper, and customer service quality that Minted has come to represent over the past four years.

Christy Turlington Burns and Mariam Naficy at Minted's art launch party.

We are also thrilled to announce that we are partnering with Every Mother Counts, an organization dedicated to reducing the deaths of women and girls worldwide due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth.  Every Mother Counts was founded by Christy Turlington Burns, the model, yogini, and director of the documentary film “No Woman, No Cry”.  Christy founded the organization after experiencing a life-threatening complication during the birth of her daughter. Minted will be donating 50% of the sales of our children’s and nursery art collection to Every Mother Counts in the months of May, June, and December 2012, and 6% the remaining months of the year, all the way through May 2013.

To celebrate the launch of our art business and our partnership, Christy and I co-hosted a party at my home in San Francisco last week.  Minted community designers ERAY (Eric Comstock) and Hello Hailey (Hailey Myziuk) were flown to San Francisco at Minted’s expense to attend the party, based on their performance in a recent art competition.  I thought you might enjoy pictures from our very fun day:

2:30pm: Christy stopped by Minted headquarters in San Francisco to speak to our employees about maternal mortality and what they could do to help.

Art prints at Minted

Art prints at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns speaking at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns speaking at Minted

Christy Turlington Burns with the Minted.com team

(L to R): Janae Leininger, Mariam Naficy, Christy Turlington Burns, Niniane Wang at the Minted office

4:30pm: we traveled to my house in San Francisco.  Minted asked interesting people from the technology and design communities to curate art from our collection, and we displayed their picks throughout my house.  Jeremy Stoppelman, the founder/CEO of Yelp, Marissa Mayer,  VP at Google, Tabitha Soren, the former MTV VJ and now amazing fine art photographer, Victoria Smith (the blogger behind SFGirlbyBay), and Alison Pincus, the co-founder of online decor site One Kings Lane, all picked beautiful curated sets which were displayed on the walls of my house (I’ll do another post about framing and creating those collages later!).  When we walked in, this was Christy’s reaction to the art (you can see the wall she curated in the photo at right – her choices fit perfectly with the style of my home!)

Christy arriving at Mariam Naficy's house

Christy and Erin arriving at Mariam's home

Christy Turlington Burn's art choices from Minted

Christy's curated art picks from Minted's collection

Christy changed into a very gorgeous dress, then we sat down to discuss details of our partnership.  Here are Erin Thornton, the executive director of Every Mother Counts, Christy, and I sitting in my living room.  Erin and Christy are incredibly bright, caring, dynamic women.  The Minted team learned so much from them about global maternal mortality – more than one thousand women die every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and more than 90% of these deaths are preventable.  Christy and Erin recently launched a No Mother’s Day campaign to remember moms who are lost every day, leaving families behind.  We brainstormed ideas including fielding San Francisco and New York Marathon teams to raise awareness and funding.

5:15pm – Minted community designers Annie Clark, Hailey Myziuk (Hello Hailey) and Eric Comstock (ERAY) arrived at my house – they were pretty excited to see their art up on my walls!  It was really meaningful to the entire Minted team to be able to celebrate the launch with them.

Hailey Myziuk (Hello Hailey) and Eric Comstock (ERAY) with Christy Turlington Burns and Mariam Naficy

Hailey Myziuk with her piece "Elegampersand"

Hailey Myziuk with her piece "Elegampersand"

Eric Comstock with his piece "Fun Games that Make You Laugh", which we hung twice in a row for effect.

Annie Clark with her piece "In a Row", which was chosen by Yelp's CEO as part of his curated picks.

Here I am standing in front of selections from Minted’s children’s art assortment, one of my favorite things we have launched.  I think people have been looking for a personal connection to art for a long time.  Our customizable art is still indie chic, but allows the customer to make it her own by choosing colors and text personal to her and her particular space.  Our customizable art includes family trees, maps, wedding celebration art, and more. The children’s selection is fresh and modern, and includes a variety of customizable and non-customizable prints for children’s rooms and nurseries.

Mariam Naficy and Minted's children's art collection

Mariam Naficy and Minted's children's art collection

6pm – The party was in full swing, with an interesting mix of design, technology, and retail people turning out to see Minted’s art collection and to hear more about Every Mother Counts.  All of our guest curators came to explain why they chose what they chose.  Hiroki Asai, the head of graphic design at Apple, was there and a hit with the designers.  Bloggers Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day and Victoria Smith of SFGirlbyBay were among those to make it to the party.

Alison Pincus and Gary Friedman

Ali Pincus, founder of One Kings Lane, and Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware, in front of Ali's curated picks.

Alison Pincus, Tina Sharkey, and Dick Costolo

Alison Pincus, Tina Sharkey, and Dick Costolo

Victoria Smith, the blogger behind SFGirlbyBay, chatting with Mariam

Hiroki Asai, head of graphic design at Apple, and his wife April.

Hiroki Asai, head of graphic design at Apple, and his wife April.

Lara Deam, founder of Dwell Magazine, in front of art selection curated by Marissa Mayer

Lara Deam, founder of Dwell Magazine, in front of art selection curated by Marissa Mayer

And finally… here is a shot of the extremely hardworking, fabulous, intelligent Minted team at the party.

Minted team with Christy Turlington Burns

Minted team with Christy Turlington Burns

I would love to hear ideas as to how Minted can continually improve its art business and also how we can all help Christy and Every Mother Counts.  Please feel free to leave your comments here!

PS – Minted prints art on museum-quality, cotton rag archival paper.  The initial offering will range in size from 5”x7” to 44”x60”.  Crowd-sourced from an ever-growing community of thousands of artists and designers, the Minted art collection will be continually refreshed.  All artwork is available in several colorways, in order to allow customers to match art prints to their home décor.

PPS – Except for the photos of the Minted team and Lara Deam, which were taken by Drew Altizer, all other photos were taken by Elisabeth Fall.

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Party invitations guest judges’ awards.

Today we’re excited to announce our judges’ picks from the Party Invitations Design Challenge!!

Stephanie Brubaker is the culinary and aesthetic genius behind StephModo, a pretty blog with original recipes, valuable tips and a healthy dose of “pretty.” Steph chose Element of a 16 birthday party invitation by Eunice Kindred.

Says Steph: “Loving this age-appropriate, modern invitation that boasts just the right amount of “cool”.  It emits the right amount of sophistication without being overly so.  He is still technically a ‘kid’ after all!  What a top-notch option for a stylish, fun-loving teenager that isn’t into skulls or cross bones.”

Our judge Liz Stanley is the creative, DIY force behind ‘Say Yes to Hoboken‘, a style and crafts site, when she’s not camping under the Golden Gate Bridge with her husband and son or digging for treasures at local thrift stores.

Liz chose Science by Kristen Kern.

“This one really stood out to me for it’s solid design elements and unexpected color choices,” says Liz. “I want to throw a science party  just around these invites!”

She also really liked Sweet Treat by Natalie Peoples.

“The simplicity of the design, fantastic font choices and fun summer colors–I’m a sucker for all things turquoise made this one a winner for me,” says Liz.

And last, but certainly not least, balloon bear by kadie foppiano.

Liz says: “I love the nostalgic, vintage feel to this invite and the colors combined with the text are just perfect.”

A very big thank you to these lovely ladies, bloggers, and mums for taking the time to pick out party invites that both they and their children will love!

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Snippet and Ink post: What type of bride are you?

Our creative team did such a brilliant job putting together inspiration boards for a recent sponsored post on Snippet & Ink, which by the way if you haven’t checked out this inspiring wedding blog, you simply must; Kathryn is beyond adorable and has the best eye! Her inspiration palettes are tops. The boards were a fun little series inspired by different types of brides: whimsical, rustic, classic, modern and elegant.

Clockwise from top left: ChalkboardElisabeth Millay via Style Me Pretty

The chalkboard theme is such a fun one and what I love about this design by Alethea & Ruth is that it’s a little more subtle than most… and there are so many fun ways you can incorporate chalkboards into the event’s decor: placecards (as pictured), menus, signage, even favors.

Clockwise from top left: Mr. LaurenceBrandon Witzel via Green Wedding Shoes, via Postcards & Pretties

Moglea’s design is a feast of pretty typefaces and the backer is the perfect rustic, fall color palette to work with. I love all the rich colors pulled out in the tabletop above right.

Clockwise from top left: Just My TypeMolly EganGrand LaceJessica Johnston via Merci New York

Ann Gardner’s invite is just so classy!! I love the idea of bringing in ivory and light peach florals with it. Adn isn’t that plaid backer just perfect?!

Clockwise from top left: Circle the DateGabriel Boone via BridalHoodMy SunshineSwoon by Katie via Wedding Chicks

I know you wouldn’t think of it at first, but circles, inspired by Kimberly Fitzsimons’ design, are actually a motif in and off themselves. I love billy ball flowers–the perfect little yellow balls above–in fact I had them at my wedding so I may be a little biased. I also love the idea of doing some circle banners.

Clockwise from top left: Charming Go LightlyRebecca Wedding Photography via 100 Layer Cake, via Flora Fetish

Again, I think it’s really nice to have a classy front to your invitation and then to have a more playful backer. Here, cheree berry’s chevron is pulled into a table runner and it’s just perfect!

I hope you enjoy these fun boards as much as the team enjoyed putting them together!

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Purple blue and green wedding inspiration.

Recently Annie Clark’s Winter Flourish wedding invitation was photographed for a shoot by Elisa B Photography that was featured on Once Wed.

I thought these pretty pictures might brighten your Monday morning!

Aren’t those flowers really just beyond lovely? They seem perfect for this time of year, too.

Cutest ring bearer ever!

I actually think that in various colors this invite is perfect for any time of year.

This bride is a real stunnah!

Vintage stamps, white calligraphy and lavender sprigs really take the suite to another level.

And isn’t the car just perfect?

Photography: Elisa B Photography // Floral Designer: Toast // Invitations: minted // Wedding Dress: La Soie Bridal // Calligrapher: Plurabelle // Makeup Artist: LunaBella Make up and Hair // Men’s Attire: MeandMatilda // Bakery: Crushcakes // Paper props: The Paper Nickel Stamp Co.// Equipment Rentals: Chez Renee and Archive Vintage Rentals

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Journals in Country Living’s May issue.

We were thrilled our journals were included in Country Living’s fresh picks in their May issue.

Wildflowers by j. bartyn design and  grey stripe notes by alethea and ruth were pictured.

And the timing couldn’t be better; our journals are such great gifts for Mother’s Day… did you see all of our adorable matching journal / stationery sets?

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Gender neutral baby shower.

A very sweet gender-neutral baby shower inspired by Moglea’s Simply Stork baby shower invitation was recently featured on On To Baby.

The event planning was quite a feat: Laurel Anderson of Esla Events: Planning + Design threw her big sister Lindsey a beautiful shower from across the country. She packed up twelve dessert platters, 150 cookies and brownies from Batter Bakery, 350 yards of ribbon, and one darling little baby hat and flew from San Francisco to Denver.

Aren’t the little blocks super cute?

Everyone always appreciates knowing what exactly they’re eating so these little tags are both cute and helpful!

I love how they pulled the little heart from the invite for this sandwich flag.

And aren’t these sweet little ribbon flags the perfect touch?

This is a very manageable little DIY detail project!

Write a little note for the ‘Mom & Baby’ is such a sweet activity. And I love how the birds were pulled into the paper on the table and the little silver card holder.

The favors had such a fancy matching box!

A happy presents-opening shot!!

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Take Note! Women’s Stationery Challenge Special Prize Winners

We can never get enough of beautiful stationery. Whether you’re sending a formal note or just saying ‘hi,’ chic, modern stationery is the perfect way to do it with a bit of class and personality. That’s why we asked the Minted Community to design women’s personal stationery like we’ve never seen before. Below are the special prize winners that stood out in each of our categories. Congratulations, winners!

The Perfect Gift Award for stationery that would make a perfect gift for many women

White Flowers” by Four Wet Feet Design

The delicately framed monogram, calming color palette, and heart-shaped petals work together beautifully to make “White Flowers” a perfect choice for the special ladies in your life. We really adore Shannon’s playful floral illustrations.

Runner Ups (from left): “Daydream” by b.wise papers | “Simply Succulent” by Frooted Design | “Beaded Swag” by Laura Hankins

Typography Award for the best bold, simple, and modern design relying on typography to showcase a name

Write On Me, I Dare You” by Christopher Morben

We love the contrast of large, yet subtle type in Christopher’s “Write on Me, I Dare You.” The big name and business title flawlessly worked into the background (with modern type accents just below) make this great personal stationery for a chic professional.

Runner Ups: “All Lined Up” by Amber Barkley | “Ampersands” by Sarah Brown | “Antique Monogram” by Laura Hankins | “Hello, You” by Lisa Nelson

Modern Businesswoman Award for the best design for a businesswoman writing a note that demonstrates her unique style, and that she can send to both women and men

Business or Pleasure” by Up Up Creative

Julie’s “Business or Pleasure” strikes a great balance between the two. Her clean, simple background is definitely fit for a business setting, while the unique layout of her stacked-type adds a very modern twist. The subtle use of color adds character, without detracting from the sophistication of the design.

Runner Ups: “Entremet” by chocomocacino | “Write on Me, I Dare You” by Christopher Morben | “Two Feathers” by Jody Wody | “Dotted” by GeekInk

Colorful Award for the design that best uses bright, strong colors

Victorian Mod Floral” by Alethea and Ruth

We love the rich pops of color in “Victorian Mod Floral.” Rachel’s stylized flowers and bright little berries make this one very beautiful piece of personal stationery. The unusual layout of her bold, but delicate flowers over a classic cream background give the design a contemporary feel.

Runner Ups (from left): “Up” by VOSS | “Beaded Swag” by Laura Hankins | “Garden Party” by Jennifer Wick

Text with a Twist Award for the best design that uses curvilinear text to create unique shapes or unusual layouts

Here Comes Sunshine” by Jennifer Wick

Jen’s designs always seem so lighthearted and this is no exception. The flowing lines of her lovely hand-drawn “hello” give so much life and personality to the card (the bright, friendly yellow helps too!). We love how effortlessly her text follows the smooth curve of her “hello.”

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Thinking of You Badge” by Serenity Avenue | “Just a Floral Banner” by Hooray Creative | “Dream a Little Dream” by Roxy | “Keepsake” by nocciola design | “Bonjour” be Melanie Severin

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Birth announcement photo tips.

Although we don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding an adorable birth announcement design (check out our assortment here!), we know photographing your wee one can be a wee bit overwhelming! So we’ve asked professional children’s photographers Moss & Isaac, whom I met at ALT back in January, to give us some pointers–whether you’re hiring a pro or doing it yourself, we’re sure you’ll find their very practical tips helpful.

All photos by New York City-based Moss & Isaac.

What is the ideal age to photograph a newborn?
We like to photograph newborns roughly between 7-10 days. We like to give mom and dad a week to get settled and comfortable. Shooting within the second week is great, because their skin is usually better and they sleep a lot, hopefully. A sleeping baby makes it much easier for us to move them around without disturbing them.

What do you recommend for various outfit changes for the little one?
Starting out nude is always best. We ask to start with a warm room so that the little one stays nice and cozy while naked. Gather some baby blankets and fabrics that you like, to swaddle the newborn for different looks. When choosing clothing, whether it is an heirloom gown or it’s a brand new outfit, make sure it is easy to change in and out of. From experience, we found out that babies don’t like being changed! We suggest no more than two outfit changes, unless you want a grumpy little one on your hands. Also, make sure the clothing colors are bright jewel tones or light pastels. That goes for the parent’s clothing too. Dark colors such as black, navy or dark brown tend to make a baby’s porcelain skin look pale.

How do you coordinate a date for the shoot when the due date isn’t known until after the child is born? Do you tentatively set it up with the parents before hand?
We are full time photographers, and this flexibility helps immensely when setting up a newborn shoot. We do prefer that a couple contact us prior to the delivery, as it gives us time to work around other shoots or meetings when needed. We like to keep in touch, that way as soon as we know the birth date, we can set our shoot date.

What are some of your favorite sets / motifs / locations / props for newborn shoots?
Personally, we don’t work with a lot of props. We always shoot in a room that has plenty of natural light, whether it is the nursery or another room in their home. Colored or wallpapered walls, dressers, blankets, hats, hairbows and baskets are always great to work with.

Some of our favorite items consist of family heirlooms, whether it be a quilt, an outfit, an antique rocker or crib…we think it makes the photographs more special when we can include items that are meaningful. Capturing the family in their home is so special to us, we love to create a story with our images. We want to photograph the parents, the favorite stuffed animal, the baby quilt, and even the family pet, so that when the family looks back on the photos, they will remember that time in their lives with affection and joy.

How long does a typical newborn shoot take?
Hours! If a baby is having a good day and sleeping soundly, then our job is easy and we can be done in one hour. We arrive at nap time, just after a feeding, so that our chances for a sleepy baby are strong. However, as any parent knows, a baby is sometimes unhappy no matter what. In that case, we stay until we feel we have captured the family successfully. Sometimes that takes a few hours. A good photographer can capture a serene and beautiful moment, even if it only lasts a few seconds! Preparation is key, we always send out a list of tips for parents to read before we show up for the shoot. A few items such as a white noise machine (or radio) and a heating pad can make the shoot go much smoother! Prepping for the shoot beforehand helps us do our job quickly and gives the parents peace of mind.

How does a flash affect a newborn? Do you try to shoot without one?
We love to shoot without a flash if possible. Natural light is our favorite, it is so soft and enveloping. If you are shooting in natural light and it still seems dark, go to your local drugstore and get a large white or matte silver piece of poster board. You can use it to reflect natural light on the baby and create a more pleasing photograph. Sometimes we do have to use artificial light, so we have both flash and constant light sources to work with. When we use flash, we integrate the natural or lamp light in the room. We never use our flash directly on our subjects, we bounce our light, so the newborn usually is not affected at all.

Are you often asked to involve an older sibling? What are the challenges of that situation? Any advice?
Sibling photos are great! They are part of the family story we want to capture. Certain ages can be tricky. If a child is too young, they don’t always hold a newborn the safest or the most attractive way. We utilize soft chairs or a couch to support them both. If that doesn’t work, lay the newborn down on it’s back, and have the older sibling lay down beside them. Stand directly above the children and shoot down. Encourage the older child to hold the baby’s hand, or whisper in it’s ear, you’ll get some really cute expressions and they will both be safe and sound. Make sure that the older sibling has something to look forward to after the shoot, so they don’t feel left out. Try to have someone or something to occupy them during the majority of the shoot so your attention can stay focused on the newborn.

Any other tips?!
Be sure to ask your photographer for any suggestions he/she has on how to prepare. If they have any experience with newborns, they will know exactly how you can get ready. Look around your home, and maybe other family member’s homes to find objects that are meaningful and precious to you and gather those items ahead of time. Make sure your home (at least the nursery) is clean and picked up. And if you are looking for unique items, Etsy.com has tons to choose from.

Thank you so much Moss & Isaac for all these helpful tips!! We appreciate your taking the time to enlighten us on some of the techniques behind your masterpieces.

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Engagement photo tips.

As you all know from last week’s post, we just wrapped up our 2012 Minted Top Model Engagement Photo Contest. So many beautiful photos were submitted and we really appreciate everyone sharing their special moments with us! We wanted to share a few engagement photo learnings from all the great contributions… so read on if you’re newly engaged or just looking to capture a few tender shots with your sweetie.

  • Although it sounds obvious it’s hard to remember when a camera is clicking away at you, but you don’t have to look at the camera! I think we’re all quite used to staring straight at the shutter and giving a big smile… but let’s be honest, most of us aren’t models, and that’s not usually our best angle. Plus, it’s most likely to look staged, because it is staged!

Jenni Olson’s photo (above) shot by angela & evan photography is a great example of looking at one another. After all, more than anything, everyone wants to see that special spark between you two love birds!

Equally adorable is when the Groom looks at Bride (lovingly, of course) and the Bride smiles at the camera. Jennifer Cardall Jacobson‘s shot (above) is a great example of this… while in motion!!

And lastly you don’t have to really be looking at anything at all — it’s enough to be in the same space sharing a moment together. Isn’t this a sweet candid moment captured by Katy Melling of this happy couple (Katiuska Flynn).

  • It’s definitely not the only way to do it, but if done right it can be just so sweet: get in close!

Natasha Uspensky and her fiance look stunning closely cropped. You see just enough of that special moment. The texture of his sweater works well here… especially when shooting black and white, keep not just color, but also the texture of what you’re wearing in mind.

  • Although you are obviously the center of attention, you don’t actually have to be in the center of the photo. And in fact, off-center shots work especially well with many of our save the date cards with left or right justified text.

Lauren Maxwell and her sweetheart stand to the right here.

Isn’t this just lovely? Ink roll by phoebe wong-oliveros.

And to the left we have Ashley Barker and her fiance.

Don’t they look great in Alex Elko’s love bop save the date?

  • Great photos are all about great light. A very sunny day can result in a slightly faded image… which is both very pretty and puts the emphasis on the date!

Kirsten Fox‘s engagement pic by Lauren Reynolds Photography looks great in jill means’s retro numbers save the date.

  • We’re definitely not all about being matchy-matchy, but sometimes one common color between the Bride and Groom can look quite sharp.

The deep red in her dress (Dana Hanegraaf) and his tie lie this effusive photo together.

  • If there is a place that holds sentimental meaning for you as a couple, definitely consider it as a back-drop for your shoot. Perhaps it’s where you met, where you got engaged, where you first knew they were ‘the one’!

This shot of Meagan JenningsAdam Berg in the Boston Public Library in Boston is just breathtaking. Photo courtesy of Heidi Vail | Photography.

  • Accessories count big time;  don’t forget about the shoes! Think carefully about shoes, hats, necklaces, bangle bracelets, ties, watches and of course don’t forget the ring!! Even if the ring doesn’t end up in your final pick for your save the date, you’ll want to have a few pictures documenting it for posterity’s sake. Or perhaps you can use it as an inset image on one of our signature photo backers?

In fact, that’s all you can see in our winner Katherine DeJulius’ photo. Even if you decide not to go with a shoe-only shot, accessories can really make or break a photo.

  • And last, but not least! Have fun and try your very best to relax… you’ll look your best when you’re comfortable and being yourself. Don’t try to overstage something if you’re already nervous or shoot in a super public area if you’re really a shy person at heart. While an awesome setting can be really awesome, you really don’t need anything more than a plot of grass or a colorful door.

Don’t Emma Metcalf and her sweetie look really stunning before this red backdrop?

And piggy backs are always fun!! Spencer Combs captured this playful moment between Kaylee Graham and her Groom-to-be.

Do y’all have any fun couple shot tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thanks!!

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