Whimsical Stationery and Gifting Goods in a Palette of Colors
Kelly Alford is the sole creator and designer of Iota, a proud purveyor of colorful and whimsical stationery and gifting essentials. Named after the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, Iota means “a very small amount or thing, a jot, a whit,” which is infused in every aspect of their design and quality. Iota presents a new collection of fresh patterns annually (based on a palette of nine colors) for their stationery, journals, notebooks, eco-friendly tote bags, kitchen collections, paper tableware, and gifting essentials. Their motto is “every iota makes a difference.” At the time Kelly launched Iota, she had already been a private client graphic designer for fifteen years and her youngest child just started school. She was ready for something new and to be her own client after many years of designing for others. As a lover of paper and stationary as well as color and pattern, she felt the urge to create what started out as a small stationery company. Kelly attend the national stationary show in New York a year before starting Iota to scope out the industry and her potential competitors, and the following year, she was an exhibitor.
At a very young age, Kelly loved any activity that exercised her creativity, from painting watercolors and making handmade cards to writing in her journal and cooking. She has always painted, sketched and doodled and has loved sewing and playing with fabric since elementary school. Kelly is a self taught graphic designer and artist and considers herself most happy and centered when she is creating something. Majoring in religion at Princeton University, Kelly focused on the universal, collective human yearning for meaning, significance and belonging. In her view, the creative life is one of the simplest and purest forms of spiritual practice because it is open and available to everyone at all times. “My hope is that the world of Iota can amuse, entertain and inspire others to live well designed, creative lives,” she shares.
For personal stationery, Iota offers boxed notes, thank you boxed notes, foldover notecards, and self mailers. We selected a few of Iota’s Boxed Notecard Sets as Editor’s Picks for their creative designs and brilliant assortment all tucked away in a colorful and handy box. First, is their fabulous multi-purpose Assorted Boxed Notes, complete with 12 foldover notecards and colorful envelopes in a ribbon-pull drawer box. Choose from a variety of sets, each featuring four cards of three different designs. The Design Four Assorted Boxed Notes (BN-04-SET12) includes an artsy and preppy selection of impressionist-like color circle swirls, a bell bottoms floral motif, and a madras plaid print. Perfect to keep around when you want to give a special note, these designs are lively yet mature. Another great boxed set is the Design Three Assorted Box Notes (BN-03-SET12) with a square tiled pattern of colorful floral filigrees, colored stripes, and kaleidoscope pattern. We love how the colorful floral filigrees are both delicate and alive as well as the robust and unique kaleidoscope patterns overlapping one another. For notecards to keep around on hand, you cannot go wrong with these sets as they will serve any purpose imaginable.
Iota also has Specialty Boxed Notes, which also come with 12 foldover notecards and envelopes in a ribbon-pull drawer box. We love the Joan’s Geraniums Notecards (BN-JG-SET12) as they feature four cards each of three floral designs. Inspired by summer’s floral bounty, the notecards showcase adorable bunches of geraniums in different colors against summery bright backgrounds. These possess a more feminine and cutesy feel and will be sure to keep your spirits in full bloom. Since everyone knows that sending a quality thank you card is proper etiquette, Iota has done their share by providing Thank You Boxed Notes so that you can have a variety to choose from. Each set comes with a keepsake box filled with folded thank you notecards and colorfully lined envelopes. Choose from various sets as each box comes with three different designs. Our Editor’s Pick is Renaissance Spectacle Thank You Boxed Notes (ICT46-7184) with its modern and traditional vertical colored stripes, diamond rainbow pattern, and color wheels. Your recipient will undoubtedly feel extremely special when they receive this card with its high quality paper, bright design, and “Thank You” displayed in the center.
Kelly shares, “At Iota, we strive to maintain a brand that is original, fresh, and unmatched in the marketplace. Our design look is bold and colorful, and our outlook is straightforward, slightly irreverent, and always questioning.” While they have encountered imitators and quite a few design copyright infringements, Kelly is confident that if she can keep herself and her outlook fresh, while engaging in her daily practice of making one kind of art or another, she will continue to grow as a designer and create fresh and original designs for Iota. It is hard for her to choose favorites since she considers them all to be “her children.” But she is extremely excited with the new textile offerings coming January 2011.
To suit the writer in everybody, Iota has a great selection of mini pocket journals, artist's bound journals, legacy journals, tall notebooks, pocket organizers, and address books. The Kaleidoscope Mini Pocket Journal (IJ3-7162) is our Editor’s Pick because it is so versatile, useful, and can be thrown in a purse or bag. Now you can keep your important thoughts in a safe and stylish place on the go. This lively design has a pretty array of kaleidoscope flowers overlapping, white the inside covers feature the same print in a soft peach pink. Measuring only 3.25 x 5.25, this mini journal has lined pages on the inside with a satin ribbon bookmark to keep things in place. The inside back cover even has a gusseted pocket to hold receipts, notes or business cards. The modern American poet, Billy Collins, carries a small iota pocket-sized notebook.
Iota is sold at a wide variety of stores from small, high-end specialty stores to larger, regional and national stores like the Container Store, Wegmans, and Bloomingdales. Their retailers always focus on offering discounts or promotions during holidays for customers. Kelly hopes Iota will become an internationally recognized lifestyle brand in the future and that it continues to create fresh and original patterns, designs and products. One of Kelly’s favorite things in life is hearing from a friend or friend of a friend, telling her they saw Iota products in one corner of the world or another, like Washington, San Francisco, New York, or Toronto. She says, “I once had a friend email me to tell me that she was served a homemade apple tart on iota dinnerware at a dinner party in Annecy, France. Those are the stories that make my day.”
If you are not a boxed set kind of writer and prefer to be unrestricted when it comes to selecting stationery designs of your choice, the Foldover Notecards are just for you. Send a note with a splash of color, style and whimsy as each package comes with 9 folded notecards and real curve envelopes. The Zebra Leaf Folder Notecards (IFN-7168) have such a unique design that we simply had to mention them. Various sized leaves with zebra stripe patterns in calming blue, green, purple and orange hues create a mural against a simple white background. Soft on the eyes and simply serene, these creative zebra leaves are a must have. Iota also makes for a great gift during the holidays or special occasions as they have eco-friendly tote bags, coaster gift sets, gift boxed mugs, fabric aprons, oven mitts, dish towels, recipe box and cards.
For the gift giver who likes to make an impression, Iota offers everything one could possibly want; gift bags, wine bottle bags, gift wrap, and gift tags, in a variety of designs and motifs. And if you love being the hostess with the mostest, you should surely take advantage of Iota’s collection of holiday themed partyware, which launched in Spring 2010. This year’s holiday party will be a show stopper with Iota’s holiday themed items from their Seafoam Yuletide collection. This lovely holiday pattern is featured on gift packaging, ceramic dessert plates, bottle toppers, napkin rings and trivet, and paper tableware.
Kelly is inspired by her everyday life, which includes her four children (two boys and two girls), hiking and running in the beautiful natural around her in Colorado, her husband and home life, as well as cooking, shopping, gardening, and sewing. Ending her interview, Kelly says, “I would like to encourage the readers to think about the moments in their everyday lives that provide choices – points at which they can make a conscious choice to be positive and creative – in other words, to have a well designed day!” What fabulous words to live by and to add a touch of color and design to your life, visit everyiota.com.