Vendor Highlight | Champagne Press
Champagne Press is a design and print shop located in Stillwater, Minnesota run by husband and wife team Ben and Julie Chaet. They specialize in wedding invitations and paper goods for your big day. In addition to wedding invitation collections, they also offer wedding day paper goods such as wedding programs, menus, escort/place cards, table numbers, thank you stationery and more.
Everything is printed in-house on their digital presses, built by hand and packaged by the two of them. Read more about Julie and how she creates these beautiful pieces of stationary!
Champagne Press | Julie Chaet
Tell me about you and the start of Champagne Press.
Champagne Press started when I was pregnant with our firstborn, Michael. I was teaching dance at the time, NOT drinking champagne like usual (ya know, prego!), and I was busy crafting thank you cards for all the showers and gifts that come along with your first baby. My friends started requesting handmade cards which quickly bloomed into an Etsy shop. After our first Christmas card season, an appearance at a West Elm market, and pulling all-nighters to ship all over the world we made our first wedding invitation and the rest is history. After our beginnings with very intricate handmade designs, I dug a little deeper to realize what I would want as a Bride. We purchased commercial printing equipment, began sourcing fine papers, fell in love with calligraphy, the perfect fonts, and so much more!
What makes you stand out from other stationary companies in the area?
I don’t think there’s another market in the country like Minneapolis for weddings, honestly. The stationery companies here are all so wonderful and put out really great work. I would say we stand out for being approachable, customer service focused and caring tremendously for the precision and quality of your final product. I also think we make really beautiful and elegant wedding invitations but of course, I think that!
What do you think the best part of your job is?
In the last couple years, we have become a lot more local. We still serve couples all over and have the email/digital world approach down really well but lately, I am loving meeting couples in person. Each couple is so unique, the conversation about likes and dislikes with papers, color, fonts, design, etc. really moves the conversation along quickly, and I am really finding a lot of joy in that collaboration. I LOVE hearing about all the details and dreams they have planned for their wedding day and if I get to see a dress picture I am pretty much in heaven!
Tell me about the makeup of Champagne Press - who is in charge of what exactly :
We’re a husband and wife team. I do all the design work, sales, customer service, and social media/marketing. Occasionally Ben will give a quote or shoot off fast email replies when we’re in the thick of it but one thing I think is really cool for our couples is that I’m involved from the moment you email or call and we’re instantly chatting about the potential project together. Once the couple hires me I design the stationery, do all the purchasing needed for the paper goods, oversee the print proofs, and if there are ribbons to tie or some unique handwork I’m your girl!
Enter Ben who does all the printing and production and runs the back end of the company. The boring stuff that keeps the lights on ;)
We also have some really unique and special team members. My Aunt, a retired teacher, is our honorary “Angel” and works with us once a week helping with assembly. She’s extremely detail oriented and has a lifetime of crafting under her belt. If we’re lucky she brings her dog Lily and her homemade cookies.
This past season we also starting working with my cousin Sara who is a talented artist and she has become our in-house illustrator. She’s doing incredible work for our couples which has been a really exciting change and is really making our custom designs that much more special.
My crafty best friend Abby who works for champs or a homemade meal shouldn’t go unmentioned
What piece of stationary making do you love doing the most
Each piece of stationery comes together to make this really beautiful package but I guess I would say the invitation because I think everything else should play off of that piece. It’s also the piece of stationery that becomes the keepsake so if we’re going to splurge on some fancy print method or luxurious paper this is the one to do it on. I also happen to know if a Bride is going to cry happy tears during the process it will be seeing their invitation names together in print so I will always choose the invitation!
You have competition with online stores lately. What is the difference in overall customer experience that a client has when they work with you versus ordering from online?
It’s just so much more personal and we’ll manage your timeline for you which I think is invaluable. Nothing is going to be forgotten because I’ll be reminding them of print dates, making sure they have a plan to get guests to their tables, and lots more. Navigating the world of wedding stationery can honestly be a little intimidating too. What is an escort card vs. place card? What is an enclosure card and why would I need one? Having someone to talk those things over with I think is really helpful.
What has been your favorite change in business this past year?
A lot has changed in the last year. Specifically, we moved to Stillwater and opened up shop here but my favorite thing has easily been doing a lot more custom design work. We have really great collection invitations that are ready to customize which I love but creating from scratch, unique paper goods, for the couple’s unique and special day has really been refreshing and rewarding. I can say for sure this is the direction we’re heading with Champagne Press and I love it.
What are some trends you are seeing in invitations and paper goods for weddings in 2018?
I love the way things are trending and ultimately I think the biggest trend is CUSTOM. Couples want their wedding to be unique and their invitation to stand out in the mail. The designs are moving to be more modern and minimalist while still using lots of calligraphy to maintain the romantic feel, handmade paper remains popular, and the trend to bring in other textures like ribbon or a wax seal are going strong. I think the more “luxury” couples are thinking totally outside the box and printing their invitations on acrylic, glass, wood, laser cutting and more. Earthy textures, marbeling, custom illustrations, and watercolor are still here and in general people are using more colors in their wedding design which is finding it’s way onto the paper goods. Oh and black. Black is back!
What are some styles or techniques you are incorporating more into your work this year?
I’ve been experimenting a lot with designs incorporating foil stamping, letterpress, printing on acrylic, using handmade paper, die cutting and more. We just purchased a hobby letterpress so I’m excited to see where that leads and I’ve been getting a lot more involved with digitizing calligraphy which has made for some really great custom projects. Ultimately the technique I’m planning to use the most is good design, everytime. I just really want every couples invitation to be really special and unique for them and in turn get their guests really excited for their event when they receive this special package in their mail.
What are some necessary Day of Wedding pieces?
Escort cards and table numbers are the essentials to get your guests to their assigned seats although this could be replaced with just about anything – a giant calligraphy mirror, hanging acrylic pieces with the guest names and table numbers, a framed seating chart poster, the list goes on. I wouldn’t go without a ceremony program and have another opportunity to carry on your visual branding from your wedding stationery I would make sure to have a menu or favor tag, laser cut placemat, or some cool element to finish the look of your table. Also, order thank you stationery and you’ll be ready to rock once your day is over (wamp, wamp..).
What are some things you want to educate clients about when it comes to stationery?
Everything I can for as long as they’ll listen to me, ha! I want clients to know all the possible pieces of their invitation suite and wedding stationery and why they could potentially need them. I would like to educate them about the etiquette of their invitation wording and envelope addressing and probably most importantly I want them to know the power of a really beautiful wedding invitation and what it will do for the momentum leading up to their event.
What else should we know about Champagne Press?
A fun fact - A close runner-up for our company name was “with love by Jules” because we really are doing this with lots of love.