The local letterpress legends of Hello!Lucky are just one of the San Francisco based small businesses participating the latest SF Made pop-up shop. Being such big fans, we thought we’d press the issue to find out what goes into making such stunning stationery.
Banana Republic: How have you enjoyed being part of Banana Republic’s SFMade pop-up shop?
Hello!Lucky: We love being a part of the pop-up shop! Banana Republic and SFMade have done such an amazing job of representing a good mix of local talent and products and we’re so honored to be featured alongside such great businesses. We have also loved seeing how the visual merchandising pros at BR have displayed our product, we’re stealing some of those genius ideas for future displays!
BR: How did you get started in the letterpress business?
HL: Eunice and Sabrina (sisters and best friends) founded Hello!Lucky in 2003 when Eunice’s obsession with letterpress collided with Sabrina’s business skills and passion for working with artists. All printing was done on one vintage Vandercook in Eunice’s garage and they started with a line of just 8 greeting card designs.
BR: For those not familiar, can you simply explain what letterpress is?
HL: Letterpress is a form of printing where almost every step is done painstakingly by hand. Letterpress printing refers specifically to the process of using a press to ink up an image or words and running paper through the machine to press the paper on to the inked up form. This creates the reproduction of the image as well as the impression of whatever was printed.
BR: How many letterpresses do you have in your SF studio?
HL: We have 4 presses in the studio: two Heidelberg Windmills, a larger format Heidelberg that we use to print our greeting cards and a Vandercook 4, a hand cranked press that was our very first press.
1. Eunice and Sabrina, founders (and sisters) 2. Valentine’s Day Card 3. Press 4. Hello!Lucky offices 5. James on press
BR: What sets Hello Lucky apart from other stationery providers?
HL: We’ve been doing it for close to ten years and we really do live and breathe great design. We offer a large selection of designs as well as the option for a completely custom design (you name it, we can come up with just the thing!) and we offer both digital printing and letterpress printing. All of our letterpress printing is done in house by James & Max, who are both incredibly talented artisan printers.
BR: Can you tell us what the creative process is like when starting a new design?
HL: It all starts with a brainstorming session. The first thing we do is come up with a concept and put together an inspiration board to help guide the design. We pore through books, blogs — inspiration can come from anything. We’re huge fans of the Alameda Flea Market as a place to find ephemera and other inspirational bits. Once we have a concrete concept, we start designing — sketching and drawing for patterns and illustrations and laying out several different directions of the invitation and from there we tweak and play with the design until it’s perfect!
BR: Where can people buy your stationery, greeting cards, etc?
HL: All of our greeting cards, personalized stationery, and wedding invites can be purchased on our website. But our greeting cards can also be found in Paper Source, Kate’s Paperie, Books Inc., Therapy, and Terrain, along with a ton of great independent specialty shops in cities all over the country.
Hello!Lucky stationery is currently available at the SFMade Pop-Up shop — open daily in our Grant Avenue Banana Republic store in San Francisco.
Photos by Julie Bullock and video courtesy of Hello!Lucky.