Friends of TPFC: Chatting with the Crepe Paper King
LISTEN TO PAPER TALK - EPISODE 2: Chatting with the Paper King, Mike Benson
In our second podcast, we are chatting it up with the king of crepe paper (at least on this side of the ocean), Mike Benson of Carte Fini. Carte Fini is based on San Diego, California and it is an online distributor of Cartotecnica Rossi Italian crepe paper and ships worldwide.
We first met Mike at the 2019 Masterclass in Monroe, Washington, where he generously sponsored part of our swag bag for the attendees. He even enthusiastically participated in paper flower making for the first time (and did a darn good job!). Mike is an ardent supporter of our craft and has made it his mission to work with our community to promote emerging and established artists alike.
Listen to Mike as he talks with Quynh, Jessie and Priscilla, about his entry into the paper flower industry, his involvement with artists, and his take on the growth of the crepe paper community in the PAPER TALK PODCAST.
In addition to having a candid conversation with us, Mike was kind enough to address our pointed questions offline:
1. Can you tell us how Carte Fini first began and how long have you been in business now?
Our company has been in business since 2008. I first began Carte Fini after acquiring the inventory and original business plan from a friend that decided to exit their business for personal reasons. The “original” business strategy focused on fresh flower florists as an alternative wrapping to the traditional and popular tissue paper. However, we quickly learned that it was the crafting community that embraced this sturdy, stretchable and high quality crepe paper…. this continues to be the primary and growing mark.
2. Let’s talk about your paper. What types of crepe paper do you carry and where can people buy your crepe paper?
Carte Fini specializes in the finest quality Italian-made crepe paper. Our supplier has always been Cartotecnica Rossi that has manufactured their product in Arsiero Italy since 1878. Currently we offer the very popular heavy-weight 180 gram, 140 gram water-resistant, and lighter-weight 60 gram crepe papers.
3. You have so many beautiful colors of crepe paper and we want to know if you have a plan to expand your color line - is there any color that you are retiring?
With very few exceptions, Carte Fini carries ALL of the colors that our supplier offers in the weights described. In the last couple years, Cartotecnica Rossi has been busy adding additional colors on a seasonal basis that we readily include in our own offering. We have no plans on retiring any of the colors that we offer as long as they are relevant to our customers.
4. What’s your relationship with Cartotecnica Rossi?
Cartotecnica Rossi has been our supplier and partner since the beginning. We are happy to be their primary distributor and seller in the United States!
5. Now that the paper florist industry is getting more popular and more people are starting to sell paper, how does Carte Fini stand out and stay at the head of the crepe paper industry? Any tips for paper florists facing similar situations as our industry grows the field gets a bit more crowded?
It is wonderful that we are seeing the paper florist industry growing at such a robust pace. Carte Fini is proud to have been one of the early players and sources for the kind of materials that these talented crafters and artists are seeking for their creations. Our intention is to continue to be the most relevant and useful source of products, inspiration and support for our existing and new customers. As for the many paper artists that are currently working in this industry and those that may be just be starting out, we’ve always found that you will succeed by emphasizing your own, singular value. For paper florists, everyone's creations are uniquely their own and that distinction alone will set them apart. And, of course, providing the best customer service possible will build a strong reputation and referral base well into the future.
6. We love that you support the Paper Flower Community so much by highlighting so many amazing paper florists’ works every day via Instagram and your on your website. If a paper artist wanted to get a feature on your IG - what’s the best way to tag you to get noticed?
The best way is to tag us in your post as well as to use the hashtag #cartefini or #cartefinicrepepaper - However since a lot of people are doing that already, reaching out via Instagram Direct Message would be your best option. We are always happy to help support any of the great artists via social channels and love discovering new talent.
7. What are other ways that Carte Fini supports artists?
From the very beginning, we have always teamed up and worked with artists. For example our relationship with Tiffanie Turner actually goes back 8+ years and we are so proud and happy to see how far she has come with her business and art! As many of you may know, Tiffanie has actually helped design and curate her own collections of colors that are extremely popular! We also recently started working more with new artists. Each collaboration is unique and different.
We encourage paper artists to reach out to us if they are interested in working with us. There is almost always some way to collaborate and we are always open for new ideas. We are also currently in the process of developing an artist profile feature on our website. If that sounds interesting, please reach out directly to me at email@example.com.
8. What are some questions that you might have for the paper florist community?
We would love to know what they want more of? And if there is anything we could improve - we are always open for constructive feedback and comments.
9. What are some things you’d like people to know about Carte Fini that we haven’t already covered?
If you weren’t aware of it already, for customers that live in the continental US, you get FREE shipping for 8+ rolls! Also, be on the lookout for new segments on our website that will include regular Artist Profiles, Listings for upcoming workshops throughout the United States (and world!) and more DIY tutorials!
10. Where do you see Carte Fini going from here?
We will continue to support our customers with the products, informational content and inspiration that they are most interested in. At the same time we will strive to encourage new and existing artists, crafters and anyone that seeks to become part of this creative and supportive community!