[November] You're in luck for a real treat with this month's Vendor Spotlight!
Meet Alexandra (Alex) & Craig, the owners of the boutique letterpress shop, The Aerialist Press, which is housed in an artsy district in downtown Emeryville. I loved everything about my visit with them and by the end of this post I can almost guarantee that you'll find something for them to create for you!
As I walked up to the door, I could hear the old press chugging along and right then I knew it was going to be good. As I stepped through the door, Bun, their friendly bunny greeted me and then I was instantly captivated by their turn of the century gear (not last century, the one before!!).
They have 2 printing presses, one of which is their primary press, a massive machine of steel, gears, levers and a fast moving belt which is happily in place for a long time since any decision to move it requires a crane and rollup door. The machine was built in 1899 and yes I'm going to say it... things just aren't built like that anymore!
Each invitation, announcement, thank you card or business card is made one at a time and each color requires an additional pass through the machine. It's truly a labor of love! As Craig feeds each cardstock into the machine, Alex stands diligently, almost hawk-like inspecting each and every piece. Every now and then she'd toss one into the discard pile and I quickly picked it up expecting to see a noticeable blemish. Seriously, I looked closely and saw nothing - it looked perfect!! So I asked her why it was discarded and she'd point out the tiniest imperfection that I strained to see.
Despite the old age of the press, modern technology definitely has its place. Designs are created through the modern world of graphic design on a computer and then once the design is absolutely ready, a custom "plate" is made. What is so exciting about this blend of old and new is that you get that old quality paired with modern style such as fonts, designs and even company logos can be easily made into letterpress.
Their business began nearly 2 years ago, the same way many great businesses start. They had a need for letterpress for their own Napa Valley wedding but could not find anyone that fit into their budget. With Alex's artistic background, it was decided that they'd make their own - thus the business began! Their early days had those same humble beginnings, similar to the stories we've heard of Bill Gates' start. They didn't start in a garage, but they did begin with the press housed in a 5x8 storage unit with no power. Without power, the press foot peddle could not be operated so Craig and Alex painstakingly made every one of their invites (and favors) by Craig spinning the belt by hand. Craig confessed with a little chuckle that the experience nearly killed them (figuratively speaking).
After one more move they eventually landed at their current location, a trendy loft that also serves as their residence, a luxury from the old 1-2 hour commuting days. Now they can start work early, break for lunch, and continue on as late as their energy takes them.
Everything they create is impeccable and completely customizable!! From the 100% recycled fiber paper to the custom ink colors, to traditional or funky designs. Whatever you can imagine, they can create! Keep in mind that a 4-6 month lead time is ideal but they might be able to work with you with just a couple of months notice, or for that matter will happily work 1 year out. Their clients literally span the globe so if you're out of state or country, they'll gladly work with you too. Some ideas...
Wedding Favors (coasters, bookmarks, place settings, etc)
Anniversary or Birthday Party
Thank You Cards
Thank you Alex and Craig for letting me peak into your very interesting world and I can't wait to work with you more!
Today's post by Megan Clouse
Sonoma | Napa | International | Wedding | Photography