Grace Notes

Lana's Shop wants to make you smile

Nice matters: That’s the guiding philosophy of artist and happiness purveyor Lana Effron, who founded a paper goods business in hopes of making the world better. “I’ve always wanted to make beautiful, feel-good products that people can share with other people and bring smiles,” she confesses, as her five-month-old baby gurgles on a mat beside her.

Lana Effron is a living dream at her Denver workshop. "All of the artists and creatives I know here really support each other in such a beautiful way," she says

Lana’s Shop is a sunny second-floor workshop and retail boutique located in Denver’s hip Art District on Santa Fe, a space that’s as fresh and adorable as the products she creates: greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift tags and note pads embellished with whimsical beasts, botanicals and patterns. “I always dreamed of having an actual storefront where people could walk in and maybe sit down and create at a table, or kids could explore, and it’s just a happy place to be,” she explains. “That was my original vision; it just kind of felt like me.”

Effron uses high-end digital printing technology and top-quality cotton paper to create her holiday cards and gift wraps

"They bring you into the simple things in life—love, and friendship and family," she says. "It's such an inexpensive, kind way to show you're thinking of them and caring about them."

Effron got her start in New York, where she worked for a time as a graphic designer at Vogue magazine. “A lot of my love for stationery stems from there,” she says. “Whenever it was a publisher or a sales rep’s birthday, I would illustrate cards for the entire staff to sign, and I’d go around the office and see everyone’s smiles—everyone really enjoyed that they were handmade.”

After a stint at Gap in San Francisco, Effron relocated to Colorado. “I always felt connected to the West,” she says. “I know that’s where I’m supposed to be.” The mountains and forests of her new home sparked her creativity. “Inspiration is always around me now,” she says. “I’m surrounded by beauty and happy people and energized life.”

Effron designed "Peaceful Forest" wallpaper for her nursery. "I love the idea of a baby's space feeling calm when you walk in, and really having your personality," she says

Opening her Denver shop in 2012 fulfilled Effron’s long-standing goal. “We’re all about ‘nice matters’ around here,” she says. “We want all of our products to feel special and uplifting in a non-cheesy way—to surround people with kindness.” In addition to her range of ready-made paper goods, Effron enjoys collaborating with clients on special events, especially weddings. “I use gouache paint; it’s a little thicker and more vibrant than watercolor,” Effron explains. “My favorite thing is when people think it’s the original on the card, because that’s my goal—that every piece feels like an original painting.”

Effron's approach to each project is meticulous

Creating whimsical custom maps, often for weddings, is one of her favorite challenges. She says, "We're creating a piece of art that they can keep forever and ever."

What’s next? New holiday cards and gift wraps are coming, and Effron is launching a custom wallpaper line too. So, what about those rumors that paper cards are on their way out? That question makes the usually cheerful Effron feisty. “That is not true!” she insists. “When is the last time you got a card in the mail, and how did it make you feel compared to a text message? It made you feel great, right?” And she has a point. It may sound old-fashioned, but nice never goes out of style.

Categories: Artists & Artisans