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Every Little Something Turns Stationery into Hand-Crafted Souvenirs

Every Little Something Turns Stationery into Hand-Crafted Souvenirs

Written by Diane Helentjaris | Photos courtesy of Every Little Something

Nicole Ferguson’s dream is coming true. On May 23, Every Little Something The Shop, her first brick-and-mortar store, will open at 109 W. Washington Street in Middleburg.

She wants it to “be your neighborhood stationery shop, your source for one-of-a-kind gifts, for connecting with your loved ones with a note … a neighborhood paper shop with an old-world experience and high-end gifting. … Everything is stationery and writing focused.” The shop will offer, along with luxury print design services, items for everyday needs. Customers will find curated wrapping papers, pens, desk décor, and more.

Left: Pink and green are a classic wedding color scheme. Right: Sweet custom gift boxes guests are sure to appreciate.

One of life’s simplest delights is reaching into a mailbox and finding something other than a bill. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of Americans collect their mail the day it is delivered and spend around a half-hour perusing it. To receive a hand-addressed envelope is a special pleasure. They have cachet and reflect the sender’s willingness to invest time in communicating.

Writing carries benefits lost in email, texts, and social media posts. Letters and notes can convey an intimate, personal message. They are experienced through multiple senses — touch, sight, smell, and even hearing as the reader rustles one page to reach the next. Neuroscience confirms that tangible media stimulates and leaves a deeper impression in the brain than reading an electronic message. Paper missives can be saved, tucked into a drawer or special box to be relished and read again and even passed down to future generations. Few are storing emails for their grandkids to read.

This impact of the written word is, at least partly, the result of its rarity. In 2011, the U.S. Postal Service found that the average American household received a personal letter only once every seven weeks, down from once every two weeks in earlier surveys. Over 37% of adults, according to a CBS 2021 survey, had not received or written a personal letter in more than five years.

Ferguson wants to help people reconnect with letter writing. Back in 2014, she realized that she missed the tactile experience of hand printing. She had earned her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, concentrating her studies on graphic design and advertising. After marrying and starting her family, she realized she missed making “tangible goods.”

This couple opted for a “something blue” theme.

Every Little Something, Ferguson’s business dedicated to designing and printing luxury stationery and invitations, began as a part-time hobby. Ferguson does all the art, design, layout, and calligraphy. All art is hand-drawn. Ten years later, her home studio-based company has blossomed into a full-time venture with a global reach. Over 100,000 aficionados of beautiful paper products follow Every Little Something on social media. Ferguson’s handmade, one-of-a-kind creations have been featured in Vogue, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, and Style Me Pretty, and Every Little Something has been recognized as the Best Wedding Invitation Designer in the greater Washington, D.C., area.

To accomplish her high-level artistic work, Ferguson relies on a combination of talent, technical expertise, and a very careful attention to detail. She discusses printing techniques and paper weights with enthusiasm and the expertise of a civil engineer discussing types of steel. Every Little Something invitations and stationery are made by process printing. Plates and dyes are used in techniques going back to the days of the Gutenberg Bible. Letterpress printing creates debossed designs in paper which can be felt by running a thumb over them. Foil printing uses heat and metallic foil for razor-sharp calligraphy and designs. Embossing, usually multitiered, produces a sculpted effect. Most of the papers are imported from places like Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and India, though Nebraska is a favorite source for handmade paper.

Ferguson works closely with her clients to craft invitations and stationery which reflect their taste and vision. When asked about her design aesthetic, she describes it as “very detailed, very ornate, very attentive to detail. … My job is to bring to life the vision you have in your head, collaboratively.” For example, for a couple marrying in Tuscany, invitations to the welcome dinner were dye-cut in the shape of a cluster of grapes. The white cards were embossed so each grape and leaf was sculpted in low-relief, along with a calligraphic message. For another client, Ferguson used collage to make a delicate floral border for their bespoke invitation. Tiny vintage flower images, multicolored and dainty, were combined in a delicate, intertwined garland which surrounded the invitation’s printed message.

Custom botanicals and butterflies make a beautiful invitation suite.

No detail is too small. Ferguson’s vision encompasses even the postage stamps on her custom invitations. From unused, vintage stamps out of circulation, she puts together a set for each envelope which underscores the invitation’s artistic theme.

Her work is “hands-on” in the truest sense of the term. It is Ferguson’s fingers tying the slender gold cords on wedding invitations. Even more, she knows guests and the wedding party will hold it in their hands and likely tuck it away as a treasure from a memorable day. Something tangible, lovely, and just for them.

As she prepares to open in Middleburg, Ferguson says, “I’m your neighborhood stationer and I want to sit with you and design something beautiful together.” ML

Every Little Something
109 W. Washington Street
Middleburg, VA 20117

Published in the May 2024 issue of Middleburg Life.

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