With Christmas fast approaching, Nicely Made in China (NMiC) wondered how to wrap the gifts which will go under the tree. The choice on offer in shops was disappointing – until we stumbled upon Papertiger wrapping paper and cards. This brand has not been around for very long but is already making its mark on the wrapping paper market in China. NMiC sat with the owner-designer, New-York born Lucy Young –daughter of mainland Chinese- discussing the link between card and paper design and Shanghai architecture!
Lucy, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started Papertiger?
I arrived in Asia –in Taipei- in 1993, working in marketing for Hilton hotels. I subsequently lived in various cities around Asia, moving to China 5 years ago. Almost as soon as I arrived –in 2006- I started to explore the idea of creating cards and wrapping paper. I was looking for paper myself and could only find badly designed Western influenced stuff. I had a strong vision of what I wanted to see and buy, and I had lots of friends also looking for the same thing, willing to pay for quality paper. I thought there was definitely a market.
How did you source a printer and a paper maker?
I had met a reliable printer while in my previous jobs. I brought him some samples and told him that I wanted recycled paper. At first we had a hard time sourcing that, but the printer finally found a source in Japan. The ink we use is soy-based.
Who designs the patterns on the paper and cards?
I do. I have never studied design but I am a very visual person and I like architecture.That interest in architecture spills over into my designs. In fact, all my designs are inspired by it. Shanghai for me is eye-candy. I like to take traditional architectural design and turn it into contemporary form. Recently I have begun to collaborate on some projects with British designer Zara Arshad.
How often do you come up with new designs?
I launch four new designs a year – two in the spring and two in the fall. I have to manage my calendar carefully, to take into account how long it takes me to design, to produce and get to market.
Where can NMiC readers find your products and at what price?
In Shanghai you can find them at Nest in Taikang Lu, 100%, Cava Cava, Liz Décor and Moca giftshop.
In Beijing my paper and cards are at The Bookworm, Trend’s Café at The Place, The Cottage, UCCA, GI at Europlaza in Shunyi and Tai Tai.
The wrapping paper costs 15 Rmb per sheet (60cmX87cm and almost 2mm thick) and is double sided. The cards cost 40 Rmb for a series of 5.