Tired of looking for special occasion cards and only finding the same cookie-cutter cardboard on the shelves? So was Smudge Ink Stationary and Gifts, a company started by two women looking for more personal and unique cards.
Kate Saliba and Deb Bastien are the two creative minds behind Smudge Ink. The letterpress-printed cards are each as artistic as their creators.
Both Saliba and Bastien were involved in all sorts of crafty pastimes throughout high school and college.
“We consistently spent much of our free time (pre-Smudge Ink) getting our hands dirty making furniture, creating cards, painting rugs, the list goes on!” Saliba said.
Saliba and Bastien kept their hands working for years before finally opening their letterpress studio in 2002. The company is based out of Charlestown, Mass. and has offered its products to over 900 stores across the U.S., in addition to stores around the globe. Surprisingly, the Smudge Ink team truly only boils down to a team of about 10.
Smudge Ink’s products have increased in variety as well.
“Our product line has expanded to include gift wrap, stationary sets, notepads, notebooks and an extensive collection of flat printed boxed notes,” Saliba said.
Smudge Ink takes gift-giving one step further to make more than just the card artfully and sentimentally created.
Smudge Ink is eco-friendly as well.
“I would say 95 percent of our products are printed on post-consumer recycled paper,” Saliba said.
The remaining 5 percent is simply due to logistics: “Obviously, there are factors like price and availability that can make this challenging, but most of the time we are able to make it work,” Saliba said.
Smudge Ink is thoughtful in more ways than one, and helps its customers be thoughtful too. As the old saying goes, “it’s the thought that counts.” Smudge Ink really takes this to heart.
Smudge Ink wanted their cards to avoid what many big-box stores had been doing with cards.
“None of them felt special and the sentiment was always overly emotional,” Saliba said.
While Smudge Ink’s greetings may be simple, the artwork is rather intricate.
“From the beginning, we differentiated ourselves by using bright colors and larger imagery –– both of which can be challenging to achieve on press,” Saliba said.
The artistic craftsmanship of Smudge Ink cards is the answer to the constant question Saliba and Bastien keep in mind for Smudge Ink: “What would make them hold onto the card?”
Smudge Ink prints pieces to collect and keep. What might begin with an occasion is made a lasting memory framed in the art of its products.