Big Box, Bigger Vision: St. Louis Designer Cheree Berry Takes Her Stationery To Target

Visit Target anywhere in the world today, and you’ll find a snippet of the Midwest within its aisles. St. Louisan Cheree Berry—founder of the eponymous paper company—recently launched a collaboration with the Minneapolis-based big-box store. Seven exclusive cards for baby announcements, save-the-dates and the like can be found online and in stores from New York to Nepal. The partnership brings about the kind of exposure that is an artisan’s dream.

We sat down with Berry to discuss how she took her style worldwide, what inspires her and what we can expect next from the designer and her brand.

How did the Target collaboration begin?
A colleague had a contact at Target and felt our work would be a great match. A meeting was set, and I came in with numerous designs to start the conversation. More meetings followed, and here we are. It was a one-and-a-half-year process. We are honored to have a space in their stationery aisle.

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What’s your vision for the Target collection?
Our vision was to use the same Cheree Berry Paper (CBP) design aesthetic and sensibility that we use in our core custom invitations business—conceptual designs in fun formats that are full of unexpected details, clever copywriting and whimsical illustrations. Currently, our Target products include stationery for weddings and baby showers; next, we plan to explore more everyday stationery and other celebration paper goods.

How is designing products for a big-box store different from creating your signature line? How is it the same?
We wanted the end results to be the same. It’s different from our signature line because the personalization has to be incorporated by the consumer. There are fill-in moments where the customer writes in his or her details. But we made this a low-maintenance commitment. You might call it “light DIY.”

Where did you find inspiration for your designs?
Design inspiration is all around us, and each team member has her own methods. Combined, we always have endless ideas. Think nature, vintage ephemera, fashion, food, family, children, books, candy packaging and much more.

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Paper may be your first love, but what’s the next frontier?
Yes, paper is my first love. I can’t imagine letting it go. But thoughts of adding other mediums are always a possibility. In fact, we recently partnered with a moccasin company to put our designs on leather shoes for babies. We’re an all-female company—many of us are moms—so this was great collaboration in terms of lifestyle as well. I am the world’s worst cook, so you won’t see us coming out with a line of patterned stove hoods, for example.

Who are you design heroes and mentors?
My mentors include fashion designer [and Kansas City native] Kate Spade, author and illustrator Darcy Miller, artist David Starr and calligrapher Bernard Maisner. Some of my heroes are Tim Burton, designer Andy Spade, designer and writer Debbie Millman, writer Mo Willems and graphic designers Cipe Pineles, Tibor Kalman, Paul Rand and Michael Beirut.

Your brand’s legacy is closely linked to St. Louis. What do you love about the city that is reflected in your paper products?
CBP started in St. Louis; I’m originally from a town near St. Louis; I went to Washington University in St. Louis; I live here; and one of my sisters is here. It’s a family thing and a central thing. But I love this city! I love hitting Dewey’s Pizza [in University City and Webster Groves] with the whole fam, Pastaria [in Clayton] when the kids have all had naps, Sidney Street Café [in Benton Park] for date night and Winslow’s Home [in University City] for breakfast with a client. I love our weather; we practically live at the Botanical Gardens for 9 months out of the year. We are happiest during Muny season.

St. Louis fixtures that have been featured in our work for weddings and corporate and nonprofit events include the Arch, the skyline, Forest Park, the Saint Louis Zoo, the riverboats and other cultural spots.

Collect all of Cheree Berry Paper’s designs for Target here.

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