| Alischa Herrmann
As the year draws to a close and we ready ourselves to shut the office doors, I find myself reflecting on the whirlwind that was this incredible year!
Bespoke Letterpress celebrated its 15th year in operation, and what a year it turned out to be. We achieved some significant milestones, notably the much-anticipated launch of our wallpaper collection in collaboration with Milton & King.
A highlight for us was introducing our gift wrap rolls earlier in the year. This project was years in the making, with the goal of producing environmentally friendly, 100% biodegradable wrap in a roll format. It took dedication, including having 10 tonnes of paper exclusively made for us - but we did it, and we couldn't be more proud!
Our collaborations with talented artists like Christine De Carvalho, Kelly Ventura, and Misha Harrison were a true joy. The fruits of these partnerships are evident in our 2024 Planner collection, our 2024 Calendars and the "Christmas Garden" collection, and we can't wait to share more in 2024, with more beautiful works by these artists in the pipeline!
This year, we expanded our linens range, bringing out the most beautiful linen tea towels and our dreamy Summer Peonies tablecloth, as well as beautifully vibrant tea towels with Misha's stunning artworks. We adore working with Linen and it is such a privilege to be able to extend our stationery collection also into items for your home.
Taking a few bold steps, we ventured into uncharted territory by releasing our first-ever Teachers' Planners and a Christmas ornament commemorating the year 2023. Both products sold out, reaffirming our belief that calculated risks, coupled with a commitment to elegance and simplicity, are well-received. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who embraced these new additions to our range.
One of the highlights of the year for us was the introduction of two cherished features. Firstly, we are loved the addition of foil monogramming on all our bound books, adding an extra touch of elegance to your favourite pieces.
Secondly, the joy we experienced in unveiling custom laser engraving for our Enamel Ornaments of your children's hand drawings, hand writing and the sweetest little messages. I can't begin to share with you what it privilege it was to receive your children's files. With many Mother's here in our office and warehouse, seeing those sweet drawings and being entrusted to engrave these was such an honour, oh how we swooned enbracing their cuteness. We hope these become treasured momentos you can reminisce upon each year as you decorate your tree.
Behind the scenes, there were significant company improvements, including moving all our facilities to now being based in The Southern Highlands. We built a new office last year, and this year, we took it a step further by bringing warehousing and dispatch in-house, removing our Sydney warehouse. The transition wasn't without its challenges, especially during the Black Friday Christmas rush, but our dedicated warehouse team pulled through admirably. We appreciate our customers' understanding during this busy period.
Our team welcomed new members, including Michelle as Senior Designer, and our Operations Manager Mel continued to play a pivotal role in our day-to-day operations. This allowed me to focus on what I love most—creative direction and generating exciting ideas for the future. How thankful I am to the incredible woman who surround me supporting me to help us grow and further cement Bespoke Letterpress into the global stationery community.
In terms of retail, we didn't take it slow this year! In a single week in October, we opened not one but two new stores in Chatswood Chase and a pop-up in Westfield Warringah Mall, bringing our total store count to 5. These achievements are monumental and deserve acknowledgment, as they are the result of months of planning and building. Creating our stores is an investment, and I'm immensely grateful to our teams who brought them to life.
On a personal note, this year presented its share of challenges. The loss of my father to skin cancer in April was profoundly difficult, and I am forever in awe of his strength, his incredible patience, his courage and his determination. He battled for many years without complaint, and his courage was beyond admirable. I will forever miss him terribly and I extend my thoughts to others who also lost loved ones this year. It serves as a stark reminder of life's fragility and the importance of cherishing each day.
This year, we faced challenging times when our eldest son experienced what would generally be a minor accident at school. However, the repercussions were profound, leading to multiple and extensive surgeries and much time away from school and the activities he loves. We applaud his resilience, courage, and remarkable attitude throughout this ordeal. Witnessing the strength and character he has shown during this period fills us with immense pride.
On the home front, our home also underwent the start of massive renovation, which we've been documenting on Instagram. The speed at which our builders have been working is nothing short of impressive, and I'm excited about the beautiful space we're creating. You can follow along in our Instagram Stories where I have been popping sneak peeks of the progress.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to those behind the scenes who contribute to making our business appear seamlessly beautiful. From our beloved photographer Lean, to the talented stylist Imogen, the incredible Camilla at Bunya House, and our external marketing experts Isabelle, Sam, and Dan—thank you for turning my humble ideas into magic.
As we prepare to close the office, our warehouse team will continue to dispatch orders daily, and our retail store teams are gearing up for Boxing Day sales. So it is business as usual across most of our channels.
This year we are spending Christmas with family, and Christmas morning holds the promise of joyous chaos as the kids unwrap their gifts—a scene of childhood captured under the tree. Followed by ham and cheese toasted on muffins, many trips out to the recycling bin with arms laden with paper, and the sweet innocence of joy of the most magical time of the year.
For me personally, This summer, we're taking a break for some well-deserved family time. January, our most favourite month, is a time to recharge, enjoy each other's company, and let my creative brain recharge for February, bursting with new ideas. I very much look forward to some precious time with our children, The demands of running a family business often mean they miss out on shared family time, making these moments all the more cherished when they come.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude for being part of this incredible journey throughout the year. It's a privilege to share these moments with you, and I never take for granted the support we receive. Without you cheering from the sidelines, making a purchase, or sharing our story, we wouldn't be here designing and creating the prettiest of goods. A big hug and thank you to each one of you—we are forever indebted to your support, encouragement and love for Bespoke Letterpress.
Warm wishes to you and your loved ones for a Christmas filled with safety, warmth, and beauty in the company of your nearest and dearest.
With much love,