The Rise of Terrapin Stationers. | A Continuous Lean.

The Rise of Terrapin Stationers.

Jul 10th, 2013 | Categories: Made in New York | by Michael Williams


In 2010, a friend of mine told Ted Harrington of Terrapin Stationers that he should reach out to me about his century old engraving business. Our mutual friend thought Ted’s company would be of interest to ACL. It was indeed.

FROM TED HARRINGTON: Sent Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 8:42 PM

I’m a Big Fan. I own a stationery business in mid-town called terrapin stationers. the website is lame and not functioning yet. I think you would really appreciate the 100 year old engraving presses we use to produce stationery and invites. mostly for fashion clients. If you would like to come over and see the shop, it would be great to show you what we do.

FROM MICHAEL WILLIAMS: Sent Friday, April 02, 2010 11:01 AM

Ted, Thanks for your email. I was traveling when you sent it and in the madness of getting back to work I forgot to respond, my apologies. Your company sounds amazing — I would love to come and check out the shop. Would sometime next week work for you?

A few weeks later I went to check out Terrapin and eventually this was published.

Terrapin3 Terrapin1

We have been fast friends ever since. I felt that engraving is, at this point, basically a lost art and something worth supporting. It’s a lot like tailoring when you think about it. Both involve high skill levels and there are only a few companies in NYC still practicing either of these arts.

When I met Ted for the first time the economy was shit, and Ted’s company and my company had both struggled during 2009 and 2010. It was stressful and we were both on the same page there with all of that. Despite everything that was happening Ted and I just clicked, and we got to talking with him nearly every day and have ever since. I now consider him one of my closest friends.

Along the way, Ted’s been a presence at nearly everything ACL has done. He’s a natural at social media (some would classify his heavy Instagram use as borderline obsessive) and now Terrapin continues, stronger than ever.

Today Lauren Sherman published the definitive Terrapin Stationers story on the Daily Beast. Its the classic 100-year-old-company-overnight-success story. In a world of nastiness, terrible people and throw away everything, Terrapin and Ted Harrington are the antidote. Anytime I tell anyone about Ted, I say: “Ted gives me hope in humanity.” And I absolutely mean it. The fact that Terrapin has been embraced and supported to the extent it has —by so many of you out there— gives me hope for the future. [TERRAPIN STATIONERS]


All photos by Brent Herring.

Comments: 14

14 Comments to “The Rise of Terrapin Stationers.”

  1. corey
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 11:12 AM

    Ted’s the fucking man.

  2. Benne
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 1:13 PM

    Well Done! I read ACL to find out about companies like Terrapin Stationers and learn about guys like Ted. Hope in humanity, Indeed! And might I add in American business, too.

  3. Aaron
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 4:08 PM

    ‘You want the best stationery? You just found it.’ Best copy ever.

  4. F.A. Morales
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 4:27 PM

    But seriously – F#ck Gary.

  5. Matthew Pike
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 5:27 PM

    Didn’t catch it the first time so it’s been good to get up to speed. Sounds like a really sound fella

  6. Noble County Gold
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 5:42 PM

    One of your best posts since launch. Top 5 for sure!

  7. Ray Hull
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 6:16 PM

    Great to know of this resource. I have a nearly full box of engraved Cranes left from years ago…and my plates; so, maybe someday…


  8. Nick
    on Jul 10th, 2013
    @ 6:30 PM

    As a 4th generation engraving ink manufacturer, it’s great to see businesses like Terrapin still surviving. Ted’s modern touch is a breath of fresh air to an aging industry.

  9. Ted
    on Jul 11th, 2013
    @ 1:28 AM

    Thanks so much Michael. @nick what ink co?

  10. DSRG
    on Jul 11th, 2013
    @ 5:42 PM

    Mr. Williams – you need to put Ted in touch with Draplin. ASAP. Sure, a special engraved edition of Field Notes x Terrapin would be nice, but I’m certain the two of them together would create some fantastic f#ckin’ designs for all of us old-school stationery nerds who still prefer pen and paper.

  11. Nick
    on Jul 11th, 2013
    @ 9:19 PM

    @Ted – email sent

  12. Bruce
    on Jul 12th, 2013
    @ 9:22 PM

    I called Ted about some business cards…first call was like talking to an old friend. Great guy, great made right F’ing here goods.

  13. Larry F.
    on Jul 15th, 2013
    @ 4:17 PM

    Great company, great man.

  14. justin power
    on Jul 26th, 2013
    @ 11:03 PM

    #summerofted What a great guy. Love what Terrapin stands for, and in my limited interaction with Ted through social media, I couldn’t be happier for the guy and his business. Ain’t that America…