Paper Eskimo is the brainchild of Michelle Farrington (L) and Lama Perin (R).
Paper Eskimo has dusted off the perception that partyware belongs in party supply stores,
taking this category to a new level and created a designer partyware market for boutique retail stores.
Lama admits she’s always been a stationery devotee. This stylish mum to Paris, 14, and Oliver, 9, remembers visiting overseas stationery stores as a little girl with her father. There, she would pore over the various colours and styles of notebooks, pencils and erasers and finally select a few to take home – but she never used them. “I have always had a passion for stationery,” Lama says.
“I would just collect notebooks. With their gorgeous covers and crisp pages, they just seemed too beautiful to use.” Now, Lama gets to create her own stationery. “We get to create whatever we want, it’s my dream job,” she says. “We bring out a new product and I simply fall in love with it. That childhood passion hasn’t gone away. Each day when I come to work, I know I’m in the right place.”
When Lama became a new mum with her daughter Paris, she discovered a gap in the market for chic stationery. But her foray into the industry was purely accidental. When a magazine asked the Art Director to create several children’s invitations to fill an editorial page, Lama soon began getting calls from mums on the hunt for gorgeous invitations. What began as a hobby quickly developed into a fully-fledged children’s stationery business.
Lama’s intricate, hand-made designs found a large following and Lama was soon working through the night on her stationery business, Paris&Oliver, while trying to maintain her Sydney day job.
It wasn’t until she met Michelle Farrington that everything finally began falling into place. Michelle, a designer and art director and growing up with a mum as an award-winning artist, it was no surprise that Michelle would follow in her creative footsteps.
Michelle moved to Sydney where she landed a coveted position at Australia’s then largest stationery company, The Ink Group. “As a designer, I was hoping to create beautiful stationery though I found most of the design work too constraining due to the structure of the business.”
Now, Michelle has the best of both worlds. “I can finally design a range of stationery and the only limit to my creative freedom is my own imagination,” she says.
Michelle worked in the advertising and marketing industry on boutique brand accounts before launching her own communications business. Still unfulfilled, it was a trip to Africa that prompted Michelle to redirect her career away from advertising, back to her artistic foundations. Inspired by her backpacking adventure, she began work on a children’s book and rediscovered her passion for illustrating.
Then in 2003, Michelle and Lama met while working together on a major advertising project. With Michelle’s love of design and Lama’s passion for stationery in 2004 Paper Eskimo was born – taking party stationery and partyware to an unprecedented new level. Their luxe designs, at affordable prices, were an instant success as Paper Eskimo struck a chord with design-conscious mums, keen to coordinate all the finer details of their celebrations. Nine years down the track, the collection continues to grow with an exciting future ahead. Paper Eskimo is a dream come true for these party princesses who won't stop until they've sprinkled a few sparkles into every little person's life.