TENAFLY, N.J. -- If you're going to use snail mail to send something these days, that "something" has to be fabulous. So said Serina Canciglia, the owner ofTenafly's Petite Paperie, which is why the invitations she sells need to be works of art.
Canciglia said the "back room," as she calls it, which employs two graphic designers, is all about creating special one-of-a-kind items. Bar/bat mitzvah and wedding invitations along with "Save the Dates" tend to make up the bulk of the orders but there is also logo work or anything else a customer desires.
"Can you imagine if I just sold gifts?" she said of her business, which is fairly evenly divided between gifts and invitations. "I'd be chasing people down the street trying to sell them a candle."
Instead, she's doing a booming business selling a bit of both. The store, in existence 10 years, moved down the street to its larger space a few years ago. Canciglia attributes the store's success to its personalized customer service.
The Tenafly resident, who has a fashion and retail background, grew up here and so knows what her customers want (and don't want).
"I think any successful business today needs to have two or three businesses within a business," she said.
As for the gift side of the store, she said Dylan's Candy tends to sell really well as do Lafco candles -- she's already sold out of "Ski House" twice. She also does a big business with frames and scarves; she has some from Italy with scenes of New York City.
Also popular: Gianna Rose soaps, an Oprah "favorite." Tabletop is another big seller and recently Canciglia has gotten her design team creating centerpieces.
On her list of goals for 2016: finally putting together a website and publishing a children's book.
Canciglia said she wrote "The Adventures of Harriet Small" based on her son's experience in her fiancé's car. "I don't have a GPS but when you get in his car, it starts talking to you," she said. "My son was fascinated."
The story centers on her family of five that loves to drive and the voice that comes out of the car's console. Naturally, the story takes place in New Jersey -- "Teeny-fly" to be exact.
Petite Paperie is at 23 Washington St. (201) 503-1221.
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