If you love vintage postage as much as we do, then this guide is for you! We have Loly of Little Postage House here today, answering 8 FAQ's about vintage postage! From how many you need, applications, cost, curation, and more! Without further ado...
Hi there! My name is Loly Orozco and I am the owner and founder of Little Postage House, where we tell our clients’ unique stories through postage and paper design. Little Postage House is a one stop shop and resource for brides. We do everything from wedding invitation design to vintage postage curation. All of our invitations are designed and printed in-house (we digitally print, letterpress, foil stamp, you name it!) With vintage postage, we work with couples to curate custom postage collections that reflect their wedding themes and stories.
Starting with a super basic question, what postage “options” do brides have to choose from?
There are currently two categories of postage stamps to choose from: modern stamps (these are postage stamps that are currently available at the post office) or vintage postage stamps (these are unused stamps that were originally issued by the United States Postal Service (“USPS”)).
There used to be a third category of postage stamps, which you may have heard about and they were “custom” stamps. These were stamps that could be printed with your personal photos or artwork on them. However, in 2020, USPS discontinued the custom postage programs. It’s unclear whether USPS will ever bring this program back or not, so for now we only have modern stamps and vintage postage stamps to choose from, which still leave us with a ton of stamps to play with!
So what is the “right” postage amount to send out wedding invitations?
It depends! The amount of postage that you need to mail out any letter (regardless of whether it is a fancy wedding invitation or a regular piece of mail) will depend on the weight and the shape of the mailing. Most wedding invitations require extra postage due to the number of inserts, weight of the paper used, and the embellishments (e.g., silk ribbon, wax seals, etc.)
Calculating the specific postage rate for a wedding invitation can be tricky because so many factors can impact it (e.g., the size of the envelopes, paper weight, whether you use a wax seal, etc.) As a general rule of thumb, if an invitation uses a heavy cardstock, is square shaped, or has a wax seal (or anything that makes it rigid/lumpy), you’re going to need extra postage (at least 75 cents under the 2021 rates and possibly more depending on the details).
As part of the design process, I estimate the required postage amount for all of my clients (both our full wedding invitation design clients and our postage curation clients) and will walk you through the process!
You just mentioned “2021” postage rates, do postage rates change periodically?
Yes, I was just getting to that! At the end of each year, the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) reviews postage rates and determines whether or not to increase (or decrease) their prices. The proposed changes are announced at the end of each calendar year and usually take effect in late January of the next year. So it is important to always confirm the postage amount with USPS prior to mailing out your invitations. If you follow me on Instagram or are subscribed to my newsletter, I always send out alerts regarding postage changes!
You are known for “postage curation” in the stationery world. What does that mean? Why is it special and what does that process entail?
Postage curation is a term that I coined when I first started my business in 2016 and was trying to describe to someone what my business did. I was picking out postage stamps for couples to use on their envelopes and arranging the stamps and suggesting a layout for them. When I really thought about it, it was like art curation, so I started calling it postage curation. I get to know my couples, their stories, and vision for their weddings and will then select, organize and design postage collections that bring all of those little details together. I have curated collections for foodies, world travelers, lawyers, teachers, dog lovers and so many others. One stamp at a time, I will weave together postage collections that tell their stories.
Postage curation is incredibly special to me because I want guests to stop to admire the envelopes (the stamps in particular) and appreciate that they were receiving something truly special. Over the years, I am proud that my work has become known for this storytelling aspect and its ability to encapsulate an event or client’s story. I get emails all of the time from brides and moms that are ecstatic by the compliments that they receive on their postage collections and hearing relatives that immediately pick up on the significance of the stamps that we used in the designs!
Our curation process is simple and straightforward. There is a questionnaire on my website that you can fill out to get the process started. Based on your responses, we will curate unique postage collections for your review and feedback!
Are large quantities ever a problem when you’re using vintage? What if a bride has 200 invitations? Can she still use vintage postage?
That is not a problem at all! I keep thousands and thousands of vintage postage stamps (and modern postage stamps) in my collection and work with brides, stationers, wedding planners, and calligraphers on all postage things! If you are ever looking for something specific or would like me to curate a postage design for you, just send me a message!
I have seen vintage postage stamps are only worth a couple of pennies in postage, but I don’t want to have a million stamps on my envelopes. Can we put together a postage design that only uses 2 or 3 stamps?
Absolutely! The number of stamps that we use depends on the amount of postage that you need and your design aesthetic. Some couples really like the big, postage collection look, so the more stamps the merrier for them. While other couples want simpler designs! It’s all a matter of preference.
I heard that you have to lick vintage postage stamps . . . is that true?
Ha! I mean, licking them is an option if you really want to, but there are other ways to adhere them! The first thing that you have to know is that the overwhelming majority of vintage postage stamps are not self-adhesive. Instead, most vintage postage stamps have a gum on the backside that becomes sticky when moist. This may sound complicated, but adhering vintage stamps can be a super simple process.
I think that there are basically four ways to adhere vintage postage stamps:
(i) a good old fashioned lick (this method does not require any tools at all, but it may be tough to do if you are working with a large number of envelopes), (ii) using a regular glue stick, (iii) using a slightly moist sponge (you just tap the back side of each stamp on the moist sponge to activate the glue on the stamp) and (iv) using an envelope moistener (envelope moisteners usually have a little glue mixed into their formula, which is a great way to strengthen the bond between the stamps and your envelopes).
If our community takes away one thing from this interview, what would it be?
I guess the one takeaway would be that postage rates are not one size fits all and it all comes down to the details! If you have any questions, you can always email me! I’m always happy to help!
Thank you, Loly!
We loved learning more about vintage postage, and hope you did too! If you're looking to shop vintage postage for your envelopes, check out the shop! We have some beautiful (and exclusive) curated collections from Little Postage House!
Questions? You can email us at email@example.com
The ARTISAIRE Team