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The Forecast is Summersalt’s global content hub for all things travel, packing, style, and discovery, packed with informative and inspirational pieces for (and featuring!) women who are going places.

Meet the Stationery Designer Who Helped Decorate the Obama White House

Gabrielle Kirlew

Cheree Berry has always been a creative mind. As a child growing up in small town Missouri, she knew that she wanted to tackle a creative role like an advertising executive. When it came time for college, she headed to St. Louis to attend Washington University. After graduation she moved to NYC to pursue graphic design roles first with Pentagram and then Kate Spade. After a six year stay in the Big Apple, she ultimately moved back to St. Louis and started her namesake brand, Cheree Berry Paper. At conception, Cheree Berry Paper focused solely on custom stationery, but in the last 13 years has become a full design agency. Read on to learn more about Cheree, her travels, and her amazing accomplishments.

What inspired you to launch Cheree Berry Paper?

When I worked at Kate Spade, I helped develop the brand’s first wedding stationery line. I got so immersed in creating occasion-focused designs and loved it. When I left Kate Spade to move to St. Louis for love, I decided to start Cheree Berry Paper to continue what I was doing at Kate Spade – print and invitation design – but on a custom level. Printed invitations are alive and well!

What do you find most rewarding?

When I get in a room with my design team and we brainstorm ideas, the results are astonishing! And I love developing as a leader. The leadership bug started in the early days when I ran for student council, mostly because I loved designing and making the election posters and also because I thrive on connecting with people.

What are you most proud of?

Being the Commencement speaker for Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Art and Design in 2017. And I suppose decorating the East Hall of the White House with custom snowflakes during the Obama Administration in 2015 is up there as well!

Image Courtesy of Cheree Berry Paper

Let’s talk about “going places.” What’s on the horizon for you?

Although the bulk of our business is custom design work, we are developing and expanding our off-the-shelf wholesale retail line in 2020! Stationery lovers, get excited! 2020 will be a year to do something big.

Tell us about the last adventure you took:

Over the July 4th holiday, we took a family trip to WaterColor, Florida, located in Seagrove Beach. It’s a newly developed community with all the charm of the olden days. If you want to lay eyes on the country’s cutest Post Office, go to WaterColor. It’s a wonderful place for kids and families with gorgeous beaches and great biking.

What is a destination you’ve been to that you’re always telling people, “You have to go there!” 

If you have kids, my answer is always Disney World! I’ll never forget the look of awe and wonder on my kids’ faces when they saw the castle for the first time. It made me cry! I dropped any pretense of being cool and urban and just enjoyed the whole experience.

What do you never travel without?

A sweater for the plane.

Got any great advice for solo travelers?

Enjoy the solitude! Pack lightly. Eat dinner at the bar of a fancy restaurant. Sleep in the middle of the hotel bed.

Fill in the blank. I fell in love with traveling when:

My parents took my sisters and I on a Western USA road trip when I was about 10. We were gone for two weeks, and besides hitting every gas station west of the Mississippi for candy and Diet Coke, we saw more than 10 states. I remember my dad with his AAA triptik spread across the dashboard making sure we were on the right path. We strapped our luggage to the roof of the station wagon for extra “fort space” in the back. The highlights include being in four states at once (Four Corners!), Mesa Verde, Mount Rushmore, a dinner stop at Casa Bonita, the Painted Desert, and the Trail of Tears.

What’s your favorite Summersalt travel piece?

The matching Mama + Minis swimsuits.

Got any go-to podcasts, albums, or books for passing time on a plane?

Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs and Becoming by Michelle Obama. Design Matters podcast by Debbie Millman. How I Built This podcast by Guy Raz.

Share your most valuable travel hack:

Crowdsource! I never love social media more than when I’m going to be in Miami for 24 hours or Austin or San Diego or somewhere unfamiliar and I ask for recommendations for where to eat, where to stay or what to do. People are amazing — and passionate — about passing on their favorite places! You really do find little gems that would be hard to discover on your own in a short time somewhere!