Behind the Brand: Kali Stileman Publishing
What inspired you to start your business/brand?
Kali founded the brand back in 2002, following on from a career in botanical illustration and teaching. After going to her first trade show, she realised that there was a real gap in the market for good children’s greetings cards, and so Kali Stileman Publishing was born!
What are the values that define your brand?
Our goal is to produce good quality, colourful, design-led greetings cards and wrapping paper, with a nod to a more retro style and colour palette. In addition, we’re female-led! As a mother and daughter team, we really value being a small woman-run business, based in rural Dorset.
What is your biggest motivation behind your brand and your product(s)?
Our drive has always been about creating lovely, good quality, design-led greetings cards and wrapping paper designs that we love and would want to buy.
Where did the inspiration for your product(s) come from?
Our inspiration comes from anything and everything! Gorgeous colour combinations, interesting patterns and textures; Kali is always coming up with new ideas.
Can you highlight a memorable moment since starting your brand?
A question for me (Kali) I think…The biggest thing for me was Jemima, my daughter, coming on board. It happened during lockdown when we were crazily busy; Jemima was home from Italy and isolating with us. She helped out and when Covid was over, she stayed and took on a bigger role in the business. It gave me a new drive as I was building things to pass on to her not just to keep it going for me.
What advice would you give to business owners, creators, designers and brand owners just starting out?
Ultimately, just go for it! It can be a daunting leap but it’s a lovely industry to be a part of; everyone is always happy to chat if you ever need advice. I’d also always recommend staying true to your personal style. It can be tempting to follow the trends, but your designs will always come out best when it’s a style that really suits you and what your brand represents.
At the Spring/Summer edition of Top Drawer, will you be launching any new collections and if so, can you give us a sneak peek?
We’re thrilled to be exhibiting at Top Drawer in January! Found on stand M58, we have new greetings cards and wrapping paper galore. Our latest card collections include lots of our best-selling Tiddly Widdly mini cards; from more gold foiled numbers and smilies to gorgeous bubble occasion cards and grown-up alphabet designs. As requested by our customers, we also have loads of new occasion cards! These greetings cards feature all manner of occasions, with everything from bon voyage and happy retirement to ‘wishing you a speedy recovery!’
What is your personal favourite from your new collection?
Expect to see lots more wrapping paper designs from us in January. Our current favourites include a delightful road wrap featuring all sorts of transport, trees and buildings, and a gorgeous people paper! This design features lots of friendly faces (and even a few familiar ones!) on a muted blue background.
How does your brand promote sustainability in its operations?
All of our cards and wrapping paper are printed on card and paper with FSC accreditation and are sourced from sustainable forestry. We also give our customers the option to have their cards packed in cello-free packaging.