Falling in Love with Frankie Baby Paper

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I met Lizzie of Frankie Baby Paper at Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco. I was immediately drawn to her bright and colorful designs and nostalgic illustration. We got to talking and found out we had a ton in common! Both of us have pets named Frankie and grew up in Minnesota! Instantly I knew we were kindred spirits.

When our retail shop opened last year, Frankie Baby was the first paper brand we carried. Since then, we have collaborated on numerous projects, from our gift certificates, to a candle label design, and all of my paper needs for my wedding! She also teaches our popular Brush Calligraphy Workshop. Lizzie is a creative force!

I was thrilled Lizzie agreed to do our window installation this month! We had a moment to sit down and chat about her inspirations and history.

1. Tell us about your business! How did you start Frankie Baby Paper?

Lizzie with her cat, Frankie

Lizzie with her cat, Frankie

I’ve been in love with everything paper since I can remember but it wasn’t until I worked in a stationery store when I was 18 and saw all the beautiful work stationery companies were making in cards and custom invitations that I realized I wanted to study Graphic Design. Since then, it’s always been my dream to own a business like Frankie Baby.

I either tried or wanted to try multiple times over the years to start this business and Frankie Baby (named for one of our cats) finally became a reality in 2016 with major help and continual support from my husband, Corbin. I love making things with my hands that make people smile, that they can use to connect and share with family & friends. Business ownership feels a lot like a roller coaster but it’s so rewarding to put time and energy into things I love to do—like illustration, lettering, and printing—and see it reflected in how people respond to my cards and prints.

2. The installation you did for our shop window is incredible. You truly are a paper master! Can you tell us more about how you created the installation?

Thank you so much! I was SO excited when you first talked to me about the opportunity of doing a window display. I absolutely adore your shop and was so happy to think about Jenny Lemons and the space you’ve created while making a huge heart. I wanted to make something that shows how much is contained in your store—not just great gifts, art supplies, and clothing, but also the opportunity to learn new skills from local artists through workshops.

I did a lot of planning before I started actually making the heart box and chocolates- from sketches to a 2D mockup in Illustrator and testing how I'd make the chocolates three dimensional with tiny pieces of paper. I used foam board and mat board for the structure of both sides of the heart, covered that with paper, and added decoration like ribbons, trim, and type before filling it with paper chocolates, which I lettered with white calligraphy ink and a brush.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and delighted and overwhelmed by the response to it!

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3. What do you love most about paper?

Maybe it sounds cliche but I think what I love most is the opportunities that are in front of you with a blank sheet of paper. It can showcase drawings, paintings, lettering or be folded and cut and transformed into something else. Most of all, I love the craft of printing on paper and that what’s behind it is the sharing of ideas. 

The internet is a great democratizing force in many ways, but there’s something special and important about the process of thinking of someone, physically writing on paper, stamping and mailing it or handing a card to them. And on the receiving side, it's so nice to hold a message from a friend in your hands!


4. Your designs are so sweet and colorful. Can you share a little about what inspires your work?

I’m inspired by nature (flowers!), people & things around me, and probably most by nostalgia. I’m a pretty sentimental person and I love to make things that people can connect with on that level of like “ohh I remember that!” or even if it isn’t that overt it hopefully makes you smile to look at. I want to make cards with a handmade feel that you can send to everybody! From your Grandma to your coworker to your best friend.

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5. What are your top 3 favorite things to do in San Francisco?

We are so lucky to live in a place where we are surrounded by fun things to do! Choosing 3 is hard.

1. I love going on city hikes (long walks up and down our very hilly streets) with my husband and stopping at different parks along the way to take in the views. 

2. I love going to Giants games during their season, especially on our very-SF cool, sunny days.

3. Being almost surrounded by water is one of my favorite parts of living here, so I love walking along Ocean Beach. Lately we've been cruising out there in the baby blue '67 Ford that was purchased by my Great Grandpa and was so beloved by my Great Aunt who owned it for almost 50 years. Now Corbin and I are caring for a true family heirloom! Don't be surprised if you see a blue car pop up in some future designs :)