A Brief History of William Ernest Brown Stationery
With a 48-year-old history in Los Angeles, William Ernest Brown began with it's first brick and mortar shop located in Beverly Hills. The owner, and namesake, known simply as Bill Brown by customers and friends, was a true artist. Bill was an innovator in the world of custom stationery, designing and producing only the most unique, high-quality sets of invitations and personal stationery possible. He invented new ways of printing to make engraving possible on extra heavyweight card stock, to achieve the most elegant, striking invitations in town. Bill continued as a contributor after the business undertook new ownership, and a second location was established here in Brentwood. After a few years with two stores, the Beverly Hills location closed, and the focus turned to the Brentwood shop.
In the summer of 2014, the owners prepared to retire and the decades-old business was set to close altogether. Determined to continue on with Bill's legacy, Karen Rosenberg stepped in as the new owner, and kept the shop alive. Along with graphic artist, Elizabeth Barbaglia, Karen moved full steam ahead establishing what is now called William Ernest Brown Stationery Studio. Specializing in custom invitations & announcements for special events, and personal & business stationery, W.E.B. offers clients the option of customizing and ordering from a variety of albums by top-notch designers, or the opportunity to create something completely custom from scratch, in-house. Above all, their focus is on impeccable customer service, putting heartfelt care into every detail, with the goal of creating beautiful paper & a beautiful experience for the client. Just the way Bill did.
• Our Team •
• Owner | Buyer •
For Karen, owning a charming stationery design studio was a natural progression in a career that began as a freelance Graphic Designer and Calligrapher. Upon moving into a successful design career in the advertising industry, Karen was able to mix her natural talent and flair for typography with her overall sense of design and account management.
Karen eventually took her passion for type & design into the paper and invitation world, working with clients to create custom cards and invitations. After years of working with several top custom stationery companies, her expertise in both design and customer service led her to run industry leader William Ernest Brown - a sophisticated shop with heart, soul, & inspiring creativity!
• Creative Director •
Beginning her career as a Display Artist and Fashion Stylist, Elizabeth brings a unique perspective and broad scope of design sense into her passion for designing stationery. After many years of creating window displays for luxury retailers such as Barneys New York, she began freelancing for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. This work eventually pointed her to a focus on boutique brand development, and graphic design for special events and custom stationery.
Along with her role as Creative Director of W.E.B., Elizabeth is also a certified Yoga & Meditation Teacher. Her service and contribution in this field stem from her own heart-based spiritual practice that is rooted in love, music & the creative healing arts.
• Design Director •
Our Location ~ The Brentwood Cottage
Our shop is located in The Brentwood Cottage, which was originally a private home. The owners estimate it was built in the 1920s and was part of a line of cottages where Brentwood Gardens now stands. They all eventually went commercial – there was a bookshop, a bakery & caterer, among others. The door of our shop was the front entrance of the home, passing through to the living room, which is now Tobi Tobin. Next door, presently Susan Foster Jewelry, was the kitchen & dining room. The back portion, where Brentwood Mailbox resides, was a sitting patio and behind that, the original garage.
It was the last private home between Barrington Avenue and the islands of Hawaii, before the Western half of Brentwood became residential. An electric trolley traveled down the center of what is now San Vicente Boulevard, and then on to the dance halls, and the several carnival piers in Santa Monica and Venice.
The cottage has a rich history. It was the voting location for the area, while still a home. It was the first location of S.Christien of Copenhagen, a gift shop, that eventually went world wide. It was a travel agency and a real estate shop... a film rental shop and a nail spa. The Cottage makes a brief (1 millisecond) appearance in the movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, through the window of the burger stand that used to be across the street. The property is unique as it passes through to the street at the back, providing access from the rear and a walk through to San Vicente Boulevard.
The charming little building resisted the charge of Brentwood Gardens, as the owners refused to sell when they were building. They undertook quite a battle, but survived. We are so proud to be a part of this little corner of Los Angeles with such incredible history.