Getting to Know: Invitations from Carlson Craft

Whether you’re previewing Graduation Announcements, Wedding Invitations, Bar & Bat Mitzvah Invitations, Holiday Cards or Quinceañera invitations, you’ve most likely run across a large collection of invitations from Carlson Craft. That’s because Carlson Craft is the largest producer and supplier of social stationery products in the world!

Founded in early 1948, Carlson Craft, at the time called Carlson Letter Service, began operations under the steerage of Bill Carlson as a part-time venture with his wife operated out of their home. They offered one style of wedding invitation, white paper printed with black ink.

Antique Printing Press

An original Carlson Letter Service printing press
on display at Carlson Craft in North Mankato, MN

The business blossomed within six months into a full-time retail service and by 1962 they employed 50 staffers and a variety of Carlson Craft social stationery was available for sale in 26 states.

Carlson Craft Wedding Album

The first Carlson Craft Wedding Invitations album is on display at Carlson Craft in North Mankato, MN

Over the past 60 years, Carlson Craft has grown to offer a variety of personalized products, including wedding invitations, holiday cards, birth, graduation and anniversary announcements, bar and bat mitzvah invitations and any type of party invitation imaginable through their network of retailers spread out across the country in all 50 states. The company now employs multiple hundreds of people in its 200,000 + square foot building in North Mankato, Minnesota.

Invitations4Less.com is proud to have been a dealer for Carlson Craft for over 19 years and we’re happy to assist you with placing an order for any Carlson Craft item your special day calls for.

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Weekend Update: Our First Video!

A lot of mention has been made recently of the trip Jeanne and I made to the National Stationery Show earlier this month. It was a fabulously fruitful trip during which we signed on with a new account at PrintsWell and attended a couple of seminars about stationery trends and working with brides of each generation.

If you’ve never heard of the National Stationery Show before, you may be wondering what a trade show for stationery purveyors may look like or how we could fill days of time just wandering the aisles of the show talking about stationery. Just for fun, we’ve created a short video to introduce you to the experience.

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We’re making the process of getting your invitations out easier than ever!

You’ve chosen the perfect invitation and now you can’t wait to receive them and send them to your guests. But the process of assembling, stuffing envelopes and getting the invitations out in the mail is a bit overwhelming to you?

If the answer to that question is yes, we have good news for you!

Invitations4Less.com is thrilled to announce a suite of new services offered to our busy customers:
– Addressing outer (and inner, if applicable) envelopes in your choice of elegant machine calligraphy typestyles
– Assembling of invitations, including folding, ribbon-tying and layering
– Stuffing of envelopes in the proper form
– We can even mail them for you, utilizing your choice of postage

What could be easier?

You may choose any or all of these options to utilize the level of service most appropriate for you. Pricing and production time will vary depending on the options chosen.

How can you obtain a quote?
When ordering your Wedding Invitations, Bar & Bat Mitzvah Invitations and Holiday Cards you will be given the opportunity to request information on this service at the end of the ordering process. When ordering Quince Años Invitations, Graduation Announcements or Birth Announcements, you may request a quote in the Special Instructions field at the end of the ordering process. Or Contact Us at any time for more information!

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A Visit with Carlson Craft

I was recently lucky to be one of four members of the Invitations4Less.com team to have the pleasure of touring the leading wholesale social printer in the U.S., Carlson Craft in Mankato, MN. It was an awe-inspiring day and gave us great insight into the procedures and future of printing of such products as Wedding Invitations, Bar & Bat Mitzvah Invitations, Graduation Announcements, Quince Años Invitations, Holiday Cards and Birth Announcements..

To see how this giant in the printing industry operates like clock-work to get your invitation order from concept to finished product was indeed a privilege, but to meet the faces behind the creativity and productivity was the greatest pleasure of our visit that day. Every step of the way, a department head was at the ready, proud to show off their role in the process. It’s amazing to realize the work that goes into processing over a thousand orders per day. And to meet in person our customer service representative, Tiffany, who assists us on a daily basis with moving things along smoothly was a real treat!

Although it was an excellent opportunity for us to understand the process of fulfilling your orders efficiently, our greatest excitement came from previewing the future. We were able to stand over the shoulder of Kim in Marketing as she flipped through the pages of a forthcoming album to show us what’s next in the fashion of wedding invitations, witness the assembly of albums that will ship to dealers beginning in January and speak with the president of the company, Barb Kaus, about ways to strengthen our relationship with Carlson Craft.

Overall a great day with memories to last!

A Visit with Carlson Craft

A nice welcome as we entered the front door.

 

Old Printing Press

Old Printing Press  -An original printing press is on display at Carlson Craft.

Carlson Craft Wedding Album

A Carlson Craft Wedding Invitations sample album from 1957. To paraphrase my dad, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s white”.
New Letterpress Wedding Invitation

And a sneak preview of what’s to come. We all “oohed and ahhed” over this forthcoming Letterpress Wedding Invitation on textured ivory stock with mocha and sage wildflowers. Can’t wait to see the rest of the album in person!

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Envelopes Come In All Shapes and Sizes

While deciding on just the right invitation, whether you are a bride, a graduate or a Bat Mitzvah mom, at some point, you will also have to consider the envelopes. They are offered in all shapes, size and colors. Whether you are planning to enhance your envelopes with liners and calligraphy or keep it simple and classic, there are some important guidelines you will want to keep in mind.

Whether you are shopping for your invitations online or at a local invitation shop, it’s important to know the size and shape of the invitation and envelope. The dimensions will determine the cost of postage. In most cases, it is noted on the description of the invitation, if not remember to ask the associate assisting you. It will be helpful in estimating the cost of postage and keep your budget inline. I always suggest to my customers that they refer to the post office for guidance when purchasing stamps for their invitations. Before you purchase your stamps, have one fully assembled invitation with the envelopes weighed and measured at the post office. Remember, it’s not just the weight that will determine the cost of the stamp; the size and shape do as well.

While you are at the post office, remember to check out the latest designs in stamps and personalized stamps. You may also want to inquire about the post office hand cancelling your invitations. Hand stamping will keep your invitations from going through a large machine, which can damage thicker or non-traditional shaped invitations. Hand stamping also gives your ensemble a personal touch.

There are basic guidelines you will want to follow when addressing your envelopes.
-You will want to avoid using abbreviations other than “Mr.” and “Mrs.”.
-Guidelines suggest that words such as “Road” and “Avenue” are spelled out, not abbreviated. That applies to the State name as well. It’s also very important to include the zip code on the same line as the city and state.
-The inner envelope should include the last name of your guest and their title (Mr. or Mrs.).
-If children are being invited, their first names are to go under the parents’ names. If the child is over 18, then technically a separate invitation should be sent.
There are protocols for just about every scenario when addressing invitations and great resources are out there to assist you.

How do you plan to address your envelopes? If you want to stick close to etiquette guidelines, they need to be hand addressed or addressed by a calligrapher. Calligraphy is beautiful and will turn any envelope into a work of art. It can also be expensive and many are looking for ways to save money these days. Most printers nowadays offer an address printing service. If you supply them with your guest list in a particular format, they will print the addresses for you. The cost varies depending on the invitation and printer you are working with. The font can match what you have chosen for your invitation wording, or a more calligraphic font may be used. This option is usually less costly than a calligrapher and will give your envelopes a sharp, classy look that will get noticed by your guests. Invitations4Less.com can offer this service for you, just remember to ask your representative for a price quote.

Assembling your invitations and stuffing your envelopes is a big job, but it can be fun. I have talked to many brides throughout the years that make this into a fun evening event with their bridesmaids and friends. It’s a quick way to get the job done and enjoy a nice evening together. However you opt to complete this task, remember there are guidelines when stuffing your envelopes. Many invitation orders will arrive with instructions on how to assemble and stuff. If they don’t, just ask the person who assisted in ordering your invitations. The instructions are readily available and easy to follow.

What are those inner envelopes for anyway? Many invitations are still offered with inner and outer envelopes. There is a history to the double envelope. At one time, invitations were hand delivered by a footman. Once it was delivered, the servant that answered the door would remove the outer envelope and the inner envelope would be delivered in pristine condition, to the appropriate members of the household. The job of the outer envelope was to clearly note the house address so it could be delivered and protect the inner envelope and its contents. In most cases, the actual recipients wouldn’t see the outer envelope. Therefore, the inner envelope was lined, waiting to be opened by the recipient. It’s important to remember, when you order lined envelopes and the invitation is offered with double envelopes, the inner envelope will be lined. If the invitation is offered with a single envelope, then it will lined.

Your envelopes will unveil the details of a very special day for you and your family. As you plan your event, remember that the day your invitations arrive in the mail your big event has been launched!

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