Ahhhhh, Prague! It’s such a beautiful and charming city! I began my sabbatical in Prague and was more than thrilled to have found three local businesses I could feature in my new Editorial Branding Photography portfolio. I had the opportunity to meet the fine people of Bohemia Paper, thanks to a new friend who connected us. Bohemia Paper was incredibly receptive to what I had in mind and so that’s where it all began 🙂

Can you imagine coming to work every day in that building? I think that’s heavenly! It’s a constant reminder the history that surrounds and defines this fabulous European city! international editorial branding photography boutique businessorganic branding portraits for small business boutiques

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Tucked away in a corner of the main Old Town Prague, Bohemia Paper resides in the historic National Gallery. It seems to be a fitting location for the fine stationery boutique that is steeped in tradition.

Hana welcomed me with a warm and inviting vibe, and an espresso. So gracious! That gave me a first impression of how she treats her clients. I say clients because there is a distinct difference in how small business owners relate with others when they have clients versus customers. Clients are based on relationships. These relationships require trust, nurturing, and genuine interest in helping people find the right solution for their needs.

Hana lit up when she shared the joy she finds in the relationships she builds with her clients. For her, the relationship begins with the first important announcement of people’s lives and that can vary across different clients. It may begin with a wedding announcement, followed by a birth announcement, followed by a graduation announcement, followed by wedding announcement. And you get the idea of how that works! I felt there was a great similarity between her approach and relationship building that I’ve experience over the years with my wedding and portrait clients.

We found a quiet spot near the front window overlooking the plaza for a few portraits of this businesswoman in action. Enjoying an espresso and penning a letter by hand. She is very passionate about the importance of continuing communication in this world, keeping tradition alive. I think that is incredibly important too. I can get quite nostalgic about missing the days of receiving a special hand-written note from someone.

As we sat down, we chatted about Hana’s family business that she runs with her son, Adam. And then we got into the history of letterpress and embossing in Czechoslovakia. The world slowed down for me as she took me back in time to tell me of how these beautiful forms of art and communication were strictly prohibited during communist reign because they were considered extravagant, showy, ostentatious, unnecessary, and even threatening.

Wow. It never occurred to me that this type of work would be suppressed under Communist rule. But when you think about it, a letterpress machine could be used for anything, meaning underground newspapers and anti-communist propaganda that would go against the message the government was providing the people. In addition, during this time, Czechoslovakia began emphasizing the rapid development of heavy industry, following the Soviet Union’s model of Communism. Many privately owned businesses were prohibited. They were taken over by the government for nationalist profit and control. Art was heavily controlled. Artisan activities were running underground and punishable by law.

Once communism rule ended in Czechoslovakia, the people worked to bring back this form or artisanship and craftmanship, as well as many other forms of art, ensuring it was not lost for good.

Hana now runs a family business in the heart of the city, creating beautiful art that is enjoyed by citizens and tourists alike. That is something to be thankful for. This is something that would not have been a possibility in the not-so-distant-past. She has her sights set high on growing her local fine stationery boutique into an international brand, competing in the global market. How exciting is that? I was especially inspired by this goal considering just a few short decades ago these things would have been impossible.

Bohemia Paper’s work is beautifully exquisite, offering well-executed letterpress, embossing, and printing services. Their finished pieces are classic and timeless with a little twist of modern flair. They’ve printed for the former President as well as countless clients who value artisanship and importance of honoring life’s most precious occasions with style and reverence. I look forward to following Hana and Adam’s business growth. I hope that the Editorial Branding Photography I’ve created for them gets them one step closer to that goal!

Cheers!
Betsy

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© Editorial Branding Photography by Vida Passport/La Vida Creations 

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