Lovers of things small and artisan, we here at Mouth love a good story of the little brand that could. Few beat the humble way that the now global stationery and partyware brand Meri Meri began.
Looking for something to do while raising her family, Meredithe Stuart-Smith (Meri Meri was her childhood nickname) started making cards at her kitchen table in L.A. in 1985 with nothing but scissors, pens and a pot of glitter. When stationery stores in the area bought them all up, Meredithe enlisted the help of some other moms. They set to work at their own kitchen tables, and in 1987, she presented a small range of handmade cards at the National Stationery Show in New York. When heavy-hitting stores like Bergdorf Goodman came calling, the brand took off and grew to accommodate the incredible demand. Now Meredithe oversees a studio of more than twenty designers and artists in the US and the UK (where she moved in 1997), but she still likes to look back and marvel at how far she’s come.
Whether it’s a watermelon-shaped napkin or a gold foil pineapple-topped swizzle stick, color, sparkle (remember the glitter?) and fun are at the center of all of Meri Meri’s designs. They delight children and adults equally and are sensible yet stylish with just the right touch of fancy (scallop-edged napkins and gold-tipped wooden cutlery, for example). And it’s surely no accident that nothing is overly gender-specific or holiday-specific, so you can stock up on cups, napkins and placemats and use them year-round. In fact, it’s the type of partyware that brings on the party just by setting it out.