Behind the Brand Feature: Sugar Paper

 Chelsea Shukov & Jamie Grobecker, co-founders Sugar Paper

Chelsea Shukov & Jamie Grobecker, co-founders Sugar Paper

Today marks the first day of a new feature to The Brand Synergist Blog!  It’s called “behind the brand,” giving you an inside look at how some of my favorite brands use their brand clarity to make important business decisions daily.

First up, Sugar Paper!  

I first met Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker, friends and co-founders of Sugar Paper, when they were guest speakers at a Bossladies Fireside Chat a few months ago here in LA.  

And what did I do?

I promptly fell in love with their brand, and them!  And I booked them as my featured guest speakers at my Brand Clarity Workshop coming up on Sept 23, 2017 in downtown LA.

 Sugar Paper, Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach CA

Sugar Paper, Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach CA

If you don’t already know, Sugar Paper was born in 2003 as the result of Chelsea and Jamie falling in love with the simplicity and nostalgia of letterpress printing. They take pride in designing exquisite social stationery that shines a spotlight on a beautiful and under appreciated art form.

What I immediately appreciated about Chelsea and Jamie is their attention to detail when it comes to their brand and how they use their brand consistently and strategically to grow their business everyday.  

Here’s a sneak peek of how they think about their brand:

Sugar Paper’s Key Brand Words

Timeless  |  Feminine  |  Classic  |  Clean  |  Edited  |  Quality


You see all these attributes reflected gracefully in everything they do, from their products to the experience of their brick and mortar stores, and how they approach partnerships.


Mission: We make beautiful things for thoughtful people.

Most brands are trying to work out what their ideal audience’s struggles are so they can create a brand that is the solution to their audience’s problems.  Chelsea and Jamie realized from the beginning that what they have with Sugar Paper is a luxury brand. No one has a letterpress problem.

Sugar Paper is a brand selling a luxury good.  So the questions they ask themselves are:

  1. What do I want on my desk?
  2. What notecards do I want to send?
  3. What do we find beautiful?
  4. Is there something signature you do so people will know it's yours?
  5. Is it high quality? We have a culture rooted in quality because it matters.

Brand Vision: The future of the Sugar Paper brand.

Chelsea & Jamie say that in 10 years they’ll have to get big or get small and they don’t want to get small.  Their plan is to get bigger to support the distribution of products, but they won’t get inauthentic.  

Remaining authentic was a key reason behind their decision to move their brand out of Target and open their 2nd brick and mortar store.  They wanted to control the experience their customers have with their brand.  

A brand is way more than buying a card online.  They know their ideal customers well.  Allowing people to have a moment in a Sugar Paper store, picking up and seeing the beautiful products up close & personal, their customers can imagine the person they’re going to send that card to.  That’s a moment that matters, and that’s part of what Sugar Paper believes in.

They just opened their 2nd brick and mortar store in Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach and that decision was made because they know their brand so well.


What keeps this dynamic Sugar Paper duo inspired by their brand?

"I think at the root of it we just love paper,” says Chelsea.  

To learn more about Sugar Paper, you can hear it directly from Chelsea and Jamie at my upcoming Brand Clarity Workshop where they’ll be sharing how they began their brand, how they’ve successfully grown their brand and how their brand clarity helps them evolve and pivot their business as needed to remain consistent with who they are for their customers.  


Sugar Paper
225 26th street, #27, Santa Monica, CA 90402
3431 Via Oporto #105, Newport Beach, CA 92663


Hilary HartlingComment