We had the good fortune of connecting with Jillian Soprano and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jillian, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from a town just south of Scranton, PA, and as a professional in the paper industry, the irony of that is not lost on me. But it wasn’t The Office that shaped my career. It was a small, handmade workbench in my grandparents’ basement. I spent the best days of my childhood tinkering on that table and watching my pop build beautiful things. He always built from a place of joy and generosity, and seeing the impact each piece had – from tiny wooden lawn pumpkins to his signature porch swing which can be seen on porches all over the neighborhood – shaped how I viewed the way we use our talents. I knew if you could make something that brought joy to others, doing so was fulfilling a deep purpose and it has to be done. I’ve always wanted to make beautiful things for good people just like my pop. But instead of wood, I chose paper as my medium. I bought a 134 yr old letterpress, and the rest is history. I now wake up everyday and look forward to making exciting things that will be found in mailboxes all over the world.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At Studio Soprano, I design and print luxury letterpress stationery. Letterpress is one of the oldest printing techniques, and with it’s pillowy impressions and beautiful textures, nothing compares to it. My press (Gordy), which is 134 years old, is manually operated. I pedal it by foot to keep it running and each sheet of paper is hand fed into the machine. It’s a very involved process, and I often tell my clients: you’re not sending out pieces of paper, you’re sending out small works of art.

I initially started with hand making cards and pieces of artwork. Friends and family would see the calligraphy or craftsmanship and began asking me to make more formal things like wedding invitations or special birthday cards. It slowly formed from a hobby into a career. Once I knew I wanted to make stationery my profession, I bought my letterpress.

The easiest part of the whole process has been following the inner callings and saying yes to new opportunities. What’s hard is staying focused and learning to say “no” when needed so that I can grow a sustainable business. I intentionally surround myself with people who not only inspire me to reach higher, but that can help guide me back when I get a little off course. The main lesson I’ve learned so far is that you can’t do it all alone. You need a community of people, and you need to give into that community just as much if not more than you wish to get back.

One of the primary reasons I do what I do is to bring more joy into the world. And for me, that happens in the mailbox. Whether it’s a beautiful wedding invitation, or a funny greeting card, I want to make sure that people are finding more than bills in the boxes outside their homes. As a result of the pandemic, I even created a greeting card subscription that makes it so easy to do just that – the Better Mail Club. Everything the Better Mail Club stands for is the soul of my business and I’d love for readers to check it out.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Mavro Kafe in Mar Vista is a must. In fact, that whole intersection of Venice Blvd and Grand View is filled with amazing venues: food, beverages and shopping. If you come on a Sunday the farmers market is there, and you’re certain to find something you can’t leave without. (Pop into Brenda’s Flowers to find Studio Soprano greeting cards!!) Everyone loves to go see all the action at Venice beach, but I don’t let them leave without visiting Small World Books! It’s tucked away so well that it’s easy to miss!
For all our nerdy friends who visit, we take them to the International Printing Museum down in Torrence and do a drive by of the Falcon9 booster outside of SpaceX in Hawthorne. Sit outside at Eureka to watch planes land while you’re dining!!
The rest of the trip would be filled with pit stops at breweries. LA has some of the best. My favorites at the moment are Golden Road, LA Aleworks and Highland Park Brewery.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this shout out to my dear friend, and center of my support system, Sarah Knight of Eat like a CEO. Sarah and I first bonded over starting businesses in the face of a pandemic. We’ve seen each other through the darkest days that can bring, and have celebrated together when we hit any milestones. She’s a brilliant nutritionist, who’s also gifted with words and full of compassion. In addition to keeping me healthy, Sarah has helped me through some of the most critical moments of my business journey. Studio Soprano would not be where it is without her friendship and support.

Website: www.studiosoprano.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/studio.soprano/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StudioSopranoPrinting/

Other: Learn more about the Better Mail Club at studiosoprano.com/better-mail and use code SHOUTOUT for $5 off your first month.

Image Credits
Credit for first image (with me in it): Lady Brand Boss Photography All other images: Studio Soprano

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