Fall 2022 - 29

COMING TO LIFE
committed to creating small works of
art that empower people to connect
in meaningful ways while printing on
100% recycled paper and donating one
percent of our sales to nonprofits, " he
recalled.
The Waterknot vibe evolved over
time, as well. " Originally, the line was
established around a handful of themes
near and dear to my heart - love, music,
food and drink, gardening and outdoor
adventure, " Nusbaum described. " We
had especially good success with some of
our first outdoor designs (so) we pretty
quickly narrowed the focus to embrace
outdoor adventure, exclusively. "
However, Nusbaum eventually
questioned that direction, he shared.
" My idealistic notions about the kind
of positive impact a business could
make were met pretty quickly with
the realities of actually running a
small business. To make the kind of
positive impact I'd always dreamed
of, Waterknot would have to serve a
wider audience (and) I knew I'd need
more help. This dovetailed perfectly
with my desire to help other artists.
As an artist myself I am all too familiar
with the uphill climb that is finding a
way to make a living creativity. So
partnering with more artists seemed
an obvious choice. "
To Nusbaum, " really becoming a
publisher and licensing work from
independent artists feels like a winwin.
Waterknot provides opportunities
for artists and those artists, in turn,
help Waterknot diversify our themes
and product offerings and expand
our catalog. "
Since most transitions entail growing
pains, Stationery Trends interviewed
Nusbaum to learn more about this most
artful evolution.
ST: When did this evolution start
and why?
JN: Last year, because while we were
achieving our goals in the outdoor
sector - for instance, I was getting
to create a lot of art for national
parks, which personally felt like a
great accomplishment - Waterknot's
presence in the larger world still felt
really limited.
ST: So, how does one broaden a
brand's vibe?
JN: A return to our roots was in order.
We started exploring multiple themes
again, not just outdoor adventure.
For example, we knew that food and
drink, music, gardening (to name a
few), could be great complements to
the outdoor niche, especially since
our target consumer shares many of
these interests. In other words, there's
a lot of overlap. An avid hiker might
also be an enthusiastic cook. Hardcore
backpackers might garden. Beyond
that, gardeners, musicians, foodies, etc.
may not have picked up a Waterknot
card because they were too outdoorsy.
Our hope is that having wider appeal
will help us grow. We are only a few
months into this transition, but initial
results are promising. It's exciting.
ST: What qualities were you seeking
in new artists that hadn't been present
before?
JN: Initially, we cast a pretty wide
net. The defining characteristic was
simply to have a different aesthetic
than Waterknot. I have to admit I
became my own worst kind of design
client. It's infuriating when someone
says, " I don't know what I want
but I'll know it when I see it. Just try
some stuff. "
But I am also taking a different
approach than the standard design
brief/spec work model, so I'm not
making anyone crazy. This gives us a
lot of freedom to experiment. As an art
director, curator and publisher it's been
interesting to see how I still gravitate
toward what I know best - nature and
narrative. That said, it's also been really
fun to explore abstract designs and
patterns, and to fill in some holes that
have been empty a long time.
ST: How many artists have you
taken on, and what product have they
contributed?
JN: So far, 18 artists. Initially, it was
only for greeting cards. But our May 2022
release included notebooks and stickers
that highlight their work, as well.
STATIONERYTRENDS.COM
29
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Fall 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fall 2022

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/fall-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/summer-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/fall-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/summer-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/fall-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/summer-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/fall-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/summer-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/fall-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/summer-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/spring-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/STAT/winter-2019
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