Paper Trail: Haute Papier's Founders Show Off Their Newest Wares

We always feel a surge of pride when we see local gals make good — and Washington has loads of smart, stylish, business-savvy women who are making a name for themselves as entrepreneurs. Because we like to tip a hat to all things (and people) awesome in this town, we had to give a shout-out to the founders of Haute Papier, who turned a college friendship into a successful small business. The charming duo of Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller spend their days creating beautiful letterpress stationery and paper goods, and their pretty creations are sold all over the country, and even in Australia. So, naturally, we had to ask: How'd they do that? We got Walsh and Miller to share their secrets for working together, turning a creative hobby into a full-time gig, and more — read on for their insider expertise.
group1 Photographed by Marshall Johnson/The President Wears Prada; Photo: Courtesy of Haute Papier
How did you meet?
Miller: "We worked together while Sarah was in college — I was just out of college and we became instant friends."
How did you get into the stationery business?
Meyer Walsh: "Haute Papier came to be in 2006, when I was designing my own wedding invitations. One of my Junior League friends asked if I could do her invites, and I thought to myself, 'I could do this for a living.' The rest is history!"
If you weren't creating beautiful paper goods, what would be your dream job?
Miller: "I would run a grocery co-op. Though I know nothing about being a grocer, I do appreciate fine foods and a sense of community."
Meyer Walsh: "Do I have to pick just one? Let's see ... Restaurant designer, cookbook author, fabric and textile designer, photographer ... It changes daily."
Photo: Courtesy of Haute Papier
What's it like being a young entrepreneur in a creative industry?
Meyer Walsh: "The stationery design industry is full of enthusiastic and inventive, if you will, individuals with a passion for their trade."
Miller: "There is a great deal of camaraderie and competition, which constantly keeps us on our toes. It's also nice that young individuals can bring a fresh look to the industry and get recognized for their talent."
Meyer Walsh: "For example, we were elated to win Best New Product for our Foil Stamped Enclosure Notes at the 2011 National Stationery Show, which is the industry event in New York City."
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business?
Meyer Walsh: "Be prepared to work hard and put in more hours than ever before. And remember that no one is ever going to work as hard at your business as you will."
Photographed by Marshall Johnson/The President Wears Prada; Photo: Courtesy of Haute Papier
What's the best part of your job?
Meyer Walsh: We feel so fortunate to do what we love everyday! I love when we get to design for a client who trusts our design ability and knows that we understand their personal style and vision — that allows me to be my most creative. I also love when I get to run one of our presses — either Gretel, our new Heidelberg Windmill, or Gertrude, our trusty workhorse Chandler & Price 8x12.
Miller: "I like when we get positive feedback from one of our over 200 vendors around the country, or one of our couture brides. Just a simple thank-you can really make your day!"
02_DSC_0670slidePhoto: Courtesy of Haute Papier
What has been the biggest challenge that's come with running your own business?
Miller: "I think the biggest challenge is keeping up with the pace of the growth. We've been so fortune to grow at a rate that requires constant transition. Each step of the way has presented us with its own unique growing pains — that's when you come to appreciate adaptability skills."
Your biggest accomplishment so far?
Meyer Walsh: "The growth of our company in general is something we're very proud of. We just celebrated our fifth birthday with a big birthday bash, and look forward to many, many more years of growth, both here in the Washington area and nationwide."

More from Home

It's safe to say that a home — especially in New York City — will be one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make in a lifetime. But let's be real here: ...
Lady Gaga is known for her unique, eccentric, and sometimes downright insane sense of style. So it makes total sense that she would purchase a mansion ...
Take a peek at any design-forward apartment, and we dare you not to spot at least one Ikea item. Like classic wardrobe staples, there are certain pieces ...
Rest assured: Stains are not always your fault. Sure, you experience a clumsy moment from time to time, but you also can’t control the actions of others, ...
Lighting candles is a great way to relax. The luxurious scent, the small burst of warmth, and the dim light all come together to help you unwind. But can...
A change of season means a change of style. It's the perfect time to update your wardrobe with the newest fall trends and freshen up your home with some ...
If you've rented an apartment, chances are you've had a kitchen like redditor ElizaB's, which she described as "yellow and sticky and ALWAYS dirty." Not ...
(Paid Content) August is a turning point. It might still be peak summer, but all the summer Fridays in the world are not enough to keep our fall fantasies ...
Time to celebrate, little spoons: There's a chair that will literally cradle you. A student in Moscow delivered the design for our dream lounge chair. ...
Though Ikea offers stylish home furnishings for insanely affordable prices, a visit to the store can be a true test for any relationship. The hordes of ...
In 1998, not too long after the release of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio put his well-earned Jack Dawson money toward a beach home in Malibu. According to ...
Harry Potter fans know that the worst years of the boy wizard’s life were spent living at 4 Privet Drive. There, he was neglected and mistreated by his ...
If you've ever watched an episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper, then you're most likely a major fan of the show's hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines. The Texas natives...
For most people, cleaning the house is no fun. The less time spent with the Swiffer, the better. But there is good news: Keeping your apartment spic-and-...