Meet the Maker: Elizabeth Weil of Paperwheel Press
One of the best parts of my journey with Brit + Co. so far has been the opportunity to discover so many talented makers. Along the way I’ve seen everything from beautiful handmade jewelry to 3D-printed baked goods. I’m constantly inspired and humbled by the people who are redefining what it means to make every day, and we’re excited to continue featuring the experts who have really stunned us with their creative skills.
Give us a brief intro of yourself.
I grew up near Sacramento, California. My mom is a 2nd grade teacher and my dad, a marine biologist. I started a woodworking business when I was 9 and was one of those kids that saved every penny. I came to Stanford and majored in Economics and got my masters in Engineering. I never left the Bay Area after that. I started my career in tech startups, then venture capital. When Twitter started taking off, I jumped to start the CorpDev team there in 2009. Recently, I came back to the venture capital world, where I’m currently a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. I started Paperwheel in 2006 when I could feel the right side of my brain yearning to build something and create. My letterpress business now provides the crucial balance I crave.
How did you first get started with letterpress?
It all started with a single business card. I was at a business lunch, and someone handed me their card. I noticed the unique beauty and asked what type of printing that was. The person said it was “letterpressed” and then I tucked away the card. I remember getting home and looking up everything I could about letterpress, the history, how it is done, and why it is so unique. Over time I started hunting for a press and found an 85 year old man selling his. It was still covered in red ink, but my husband knew me well enough to force me to purchase it–saying I’d regret it if I didn’t. That started it all.
What kind of press do you use?
I print on a 1923 Chandler & Price letterpress. A “C&P.” It weighs about 1600 pounds. I hand-feed each individual piece of 100% cotton, thick paper into the press by hand.
How do you come up with your witty designs? Do you design them yourself?
Everything is designed in-house! My best designs have actually come from cards that I’ve wanted to send someone. For example, the “I love you more than this: [iphone image]” card was actually something I designed as a joke. I printed it and told my husband that I thought he should give it to me. He tweeted a photo of it, and the demand started to fly from there. :)
Which project are you proudest of?
I love the wide swath of work I’ve done for both well-known tech companies on their corporate printing, as well as for individuals that take pride in having exquisite personal stationery to write handwritten notes. I love when these relationships start with one project, and then continue on to personal wedding invites, then baby announcements, party invitations and more.
How do you maintain a side hobby and a full time job?
Less sleep, focus on efficiency, and always feeling like I’m doing a bad job at everything. :) Oh, and lots of list making. The busier I get, the more I weed out what isn’t important. I don’t watch any of the random YouTube videos my husbands sends me. I also find it amazing how much one can cram in each day, when you just know it has to get done.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
I’m an ultramarathon runner, so I’m not sure if that is creative, but it does provide a good “away” outlet where I can think. Some of my best design ideas have come from the middle of LONG runs. I do love to cook and entertain. At Twitter, I was fortunate enough to be able to focus on employee experience design. I love thinking through the “little things” and the ways we can charm and delight people in unexpected ways.
How do you think the analog world is changing as the digital world continues to boom?
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the art of the handmade. I’ve always defended my need for essentially two careers because of the right brain/left brain balance it provides me. I think this translates to a balance that people so digitally connected are finding that they crave. As technology takes over nearly every area of our lives in some way, I find that people start to appreciate the time, quality, and care that goes into making something by hand. I even look at it like a badge that shows that you have awesome taste, and are cool enough to have slowed down paid attention to detail. :)
Now we’re on to the best part! Elizabeth put together a Geek Letterpress Bundle exclusive to Brit + Co. readers. For just $24 you can get 5 of Paperwheel’s cutest and geekiest cards. That’s 5 cards for the price of 4. We highly recommend heading grabbing this bundle before they’re all gone!
Hi, I'm Brit, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co. I'm a young mom of two, tech nerd and design-inclined lady who has a zillion hobbies and curious about... just about everything! My mission from the beginning has been to unlock women's creativity and courage to try new things so that they can find the path to their true passions.
The idea of home took on a whole new meaning as soon as sheltering in place and lockdowns became a regular thing in 2020. And it wasn't all bad. We got back to cooking at home, bonding with our partners/families/housemates and pets, and we did a bit of redecorating. In fact, home decor and furniture sites saw huge growth (more than a billion global visits in March 2020 alone) as a result of the pandemic.
The New Hygge<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4NDU0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDc3NzY4NH0.b5mMkAr53ylATx1FegOBQ82rORssRzwzb5mnDnh9v2I/img.jpg?width=980" id="018a4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="83ebde83c7fe24dc26f3daaa7b1af7b2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1100" data-height="1650" /><p>"2021 will be about creating connections to each other, to ourselves, to nature," says Etsy's trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson. "We're embracing <em>friluftsliv</em>, the Norweigan concept of getting outdoors – think of it as the new hygge." That means turning your home into a nature haven, with <a href="https://www.brit.co/easy-to-care-for-indoor-plants/" target="_blank">indoor plants</a> that clear the air, provide peace of mind, and hint to the great outdoors, especially giving us a boost during grey winter days.</p>
Spaces Reimagined<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4NzkxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODU5Mjc5Nn0.WgkbktVSlXqGCnNT2UhoIliWO5XiIcre48caYgoPK1Y/img.jpg?width=980" id="76852" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ca514cb2b31357e78a497bda001dcb12" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3200" data-height="4800" /><p>"We added workspaces to our living rooms, classrooms into our kitchens, and gyms to our bedrooms," says Isom Johnson.This year, she says we're reimagining our homes and incorporate pieces that help restore balance to our multi-functional spaces. (On Etsy, there has been a 399 percent increase in searches for wall or foldable desks, a 159 percent increase in searches for Murphy beds, and a 134 percent increase in searches for room dividers.)</p><p>"Halls and entrances now have a new function: sanitize ourselves before entering the rest of the house, plus a place to store loose items we don't want to bring into our clean areas," says Alexa Backal, head of design for <a href="https://casai.com/en?currency=USD" target="_blank">Casai</a>, a boutique travel rental company, which brings us to a new Covid-era of design.<br></p><p><br></p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SHOP FOR THE HOME</strong></p>
Grandmillennial<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4OTc1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTQwMTY5Nn0.nZqEgs6NFRmJrw9e-dos53XWsY423940LmI9iMSxV6A/img.jpg?width=980" id="9fa52" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a65d79167844cfcb8385749390e443f2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1920" data-height="1440" /><p>From cottage-core to crochet to neoclassical design, millennials are feeling nostalgia for (and coveting) their granny's decor in what some are calling <em>Grandmillennial</em> style. "I think Grandmillennials and sustainability actually go hand in hand. This trend is all about younger generations who love design and decor that we might culturally view as "old lady" or grandma-ish," says Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at online interior design service <a href="http://modsy.com/" target="_blank">Modsy</a>. That means ruffles, Victorian wallpaper like William Morris prints and antiques, anything you'll find at a flea market or your grandma's garage!</p>
Art Deco<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4MDc1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjQ3NjMwM30.RvCyBBpv0YcYWCM-6Zwr3tPOEAG7QHTdSz3UzhgimSg/img.jpg?width=980" id="31b79" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0ad097073d69d3108491bb37d1a39c80" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="5087" data-height="3634" />
Photo: Marius Chira<p>"Art deco is here to stay in 2021," says <a href="https://nylonconsulting-dot-yamm-track.appspot.com/Redirect?ukey=13SlMtNZ76DV52bZyncUCPPsHCtfpzs3A1r9yZk0xJSo-831740962&key=YAMMID-22079569&link=https%3A%2F%2Falexanderdohertydesign.com%2F" target="_blank">Alexander Doherty</a>, interior designer based in NYC and Paris. "Art deco design works very well in contemporary decors because of its sleek minimalism and the quality that comes from the pureness of lines. It is the mixture of what is old and new that gives a space character." After all, it is the roaring '20s!<br></p>
Joyful Botanicals<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4MTAxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzkxMTg1N30.p669TTpFJHTRZqoemHVmQKRjW2s2VAfjHgWXmARn7JM/img.jpg?width=980" id="b257d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="34ccde6398e515c833739e0b86c8cf37" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2400" data-height="2833" /><h1></h1><p>Get ready to embrace blooms in winter and beyond. Botanical walls, bedding, upholstery and more are making a big comeback. Barbara Karpf, founder and president of DecoratorsBest, says wallpaper like this <a href="https://www.decoratorsbest.com/products/york-garden-party-mural-ri5190m-wallpaper" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">York Garden Party Mural</a> ($128) are an affordable way to add drama to your home. "Murals are art in their own right. They cover the wall and provide unique art at the same time," she says.</p>
Flexible Design<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTE4MTI1NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjEwMTY0Mn0.8FFkw5ekcndjbALUND8nW-vcKMqjjAFMJcjtFu4WVVk/img.jpg?width=980" id="2a5e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1cc77c1b0fcce3a4f67d32cbaf8d158b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="4500" />
Photo: George Ross<p>"I am seeing a lot of enclosed kitchen spaces as opposed to large family room/ kitchen areas that are open to the rest of the home," says CEO and cabinet designer <a href="https://nylonconsulting-dot-yamm-track.appspot.com/Redirect?ukey=13SlMtNZ76DV52bZyncUCPPsHCtfpzs3A1r9yZk0xJSo-831740962&key=YAMMID-22079569&link=https%3A%2F%2Fpeacockhome.com%2F" target="_blank">Christopher Peacock</a>. But within the closed kitchens are more open plans and less built-in cabinetry. "An eclectic organic feel of mixed textures and materials is very welcoming and bistro like, and this is certainly popular," says Peacock.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>SHOP FOR THE HOME</strong></p>