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10192018 Rifle Paper's Anna Bond Brings Her Art to the Floor in New Loloi Rugs

By Carol Tisch

Amir Loloi and Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. greet guests lining up to meet the artist who launched her first rug collection with Loloi at High Point Market.

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- With Loloi's uncanny knack for picking licensing partners that bring built-in fan bases and unique style to the table (think Ellen DeGeneres, Joanna Gaines and Justina Blakeney), it's no wonder market shoppers queued up to meet illustrator Anna Bond, founder of Rifle Paper Co., at last week's debut of her first-ever area rugs and pillows.

The Florida-based stationary and design boutique, known for its heartfelt note cards, quirky journals and iconic illustrations, brings that whimsical aesthetic to its first three area rug collections by Loloi dubbed Rifle Paper Co. x Loloi (read full story). The latest partnership joins a roster of collaborations with companies from Keds to Anthropologie to wallpaper label Hygge & West.
 Rifle Paper Co.'s iconic illustrations get recast in the company's inaugural Les Fleurs rug collection created in collaboration with Loloi. 

With nearly a million followers on Instagram, Bond has quite the loyal following. In fact, on opening day of High Point Market, her single post announcing the Loloi collection garnered 65,000 'likes' and 1,742 comments. 

What's more, at 34, she embodies the Millennial consumer (born between 1981 and 1996, according to Pew Research) which home furnishings e-tailers long to rein in. Indeed, nothing beats understanding the customer more than being part of the target audience. 

Rifle Paper Co.'s loyal fan base, counting some one million Instagram users, were "liking" her first rug collection by Loloi.

Oddly, the successful Rifle Paper empire built by Bond and husband Nathan Bond began with items not typically associated with Millennials: greeting cards, thank you notes, aprons, recipe cards. An element of nostalgia defines her work, her style, her persona -- even her long, printed red floral dress at the Loloi opening.

"She looks so young" was a common refrain at the High Point party, where instead of a book signing, Bond held an art signing for guests who quickly learned that the award-winning entrepreneur with 150 employees and 5000-plus retail doors worldwide, is business-savvy far beyond her years.

Anna Bond, the creative force behind Rifle Paper Co., greets fans at the Loloi High Point showroom, where her first rug designs debuted.

In this exclusive interview, sits down with Bond to delve into the strategy behind her style, and to learn how area rugs became the ideal canvas on which to bring signature look to art for the home.

How would you describe your style?

AB: The Rifle Paper Co. style is whimsical and timeless, and a bit modern at the same time. And it's very feminine and colorful.

What was your strategy behind the creation of Rifle Paper company's rugs?

AB: For our first collection with Loloi we wanted to showcase the vibrant florals you would expect from our brand, but also more neutral palettes that could be versatile and fit in any home. Throughout the collection we tried to find a balance and make sure we hit a spectrum of color palettes and moods.

The power-loomed Nairi collection by Rifle Paper x Loloi brings Anna Bond's illustrative style to classic Persian designs.

Did you have to adapt your design process to work with a pile/textured surface as opposed to paper?

AB: Yes! One of the biggest challenges for me was scale. I hand-paint my illustrations with gouache and typically paint products in the scale in which they will be produced. Of course, that is not quite possible with rugs so I was continually tweaking and leaning on Loloi's expertise to make sure the designs would execute properly in a larger scale. We also had to work to recreate colors and painted texture within each construction method as each has its own limitations to color, hook size, and so on.

The nostalgic Rifle Paper art prints translate to printed rugs brimming with detail and depth in the new Palais collection by Loloi.

What were your criteria for a licensing partner in rugs?

AB: One of the most important things when looking for a partner is that they share the same vision and excitement. Loloi immediately recognized that we could bring something new and different to the industry. Loloi is also known for their quality, craftsmanship and innovative design, which made them a perfect fit.

What are your favorite designs in the new collection?

AB: One of my favorites is the navy Nairi rug with illustrated wildflowers, because it balances our illustrative florals with a traditional style and layout.

What's next on the horizon -- are you planning to expand licensing into more categories?

We hope this is the first of many more collaborations to bring the Rifle Paper Co. aesthetic into the home.

Rifle Paper Co.'s Anna Bond signs her iconic illustrations for fans who stopped by to check out her new area rug collection at Loloi's HP showroom.

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