Annabelle’s Creations Celebrates Their First Decade in Business
With 10 years in the stationery industry, a Louie Award Honorable Mention and Co-Presidency of the Invitation and Stationery Alliance under her belt, Annabelle Stefanski of Annabelle’s Creations knows a little bit about what it takes to remain relevant to stationery consumers today.
Inspiring Yourself and Others
While expecting her first child in 2000, Annabelle reconnected with her creative drive. “I had always been into drawing so it seemed natural to use that interest and ability in creating Daniel’s birth announcement,” she says, modestly noting that the cards were so well received and the experience was so rewarding, “I decided to continue doing what I love.” With the help of her father, a die-cut designer and maker, Annabelle moved from the pen to the press.
In addition to pulling inspiration from her family, Annabelle looks to her everyday experiences and her customers for ideas. “I would have to say that life itself is pretty inspiring,” she muses. “Sometimes it’s seeing an attractive pattern on the street. On other occasions, it’s helping one of my clients create a distinctive piece for their event.”
At the heart of Annabelle’s Creations is one drive – to provide exceptional customer service. “I thoroughly enjoy working with Annabelle’s Creations,” says Peter Turkell of All the Best Invitations. “I always know I can count on Annabelle and her staff to pull through for me always! I was stuck over the holidays with an order and Annabelle really helped me out.” Despite being closed for the season and battling the flu, Annabelle personally fulfilled the custom order and shipped it earlier than expected. “We were thrilled, but not at all surprised. That’s the level of service she provides.”
But service is much more than delivering stationery with a smile. While designing her Wedding and Bar & Bat Mitzvah albums, Annabelle took the time to consult a number of her retailers with regard to what their customers were looking for. “The stationery industry is built upon a foundation of communication. I’m always talking to my retailers about what they hear, what their clients want, issues they’re facing, et cetera.” Using this information, Annabelle sought to find a flexible solution that would provide a benefit to her devoted fans without sacrificing the quality and service for which she is recognized. “For me, the obvious solution was to take my product – which has always been very customizable – to the next level and giving customers different price point options to choose from. They still get the design they love, but at a price that is a little more approachable for them.”
Always Be True
Perhaps the greatest lesson learned in her first decade with Annabelle’s Creations can best be summed up by the old adage “to thine own self be true”. Annabelle knows that her greatest success is doing what she loves and doing it well. Not only is there a personal reward for focusing on timeless, highly-customized layered pieces, customers have reacted best to design reminiscent of some of Annabelle’s Creations classic looks. “I started this business because designing and creating is what I love; it’s who I am. People who have known me since grammar school always say they are not at all surprised by what I do.”