UNWRP’s Ashley Fouyolle Wants To Create a Hallmark For a Whole New Generation
by Rudy Sanchez on 11/09/2021 | 5 Minute Read
Ashley Fouyolle didn’t initially set out on a design path, but it always seemed like the universe was giving her a nudge.
“I was the master at Microsoft Paint,” she says. “You look at my MySpace or any of my old social media, and you would see these beautiful collages that I created in Microsoft Paint. Even early on, I was making magazines as a child, just cutting things up and creating collages or designing my own type. I did it for fun but didn't know that design was truly what I could do in the future. It was just a hobby at the time.”
Since wowing her top eight on MySpace, Ashley founded UNWRP, a premium gifting supply brand that focuses on quality, from materials to the immaculate designs she dreams up. Started in 2017 out of her Brooklyn apartment, she saw a void in the market for the kind of luxe wrapping paper she envisioned. In four years, Ashley has since expanded the brand to cover other gifting essentials, creating a high-end one-stop shop for greeting cards, textile wraps, notebooks, and, yes, wrapping paper. Her extraordinary papers are also stocked by Target, Macy’s, West Elm, and others.
When it came time to start college, Ashley originally decided to pursue marketing, but it didn't seem like a fit for her. “I went to Baruch College, a really high-profile Business School here in New York," she says. "I was stumped at a math class and couldn't go any further because that's a prerequisite. So I thought, 'OK, college math is a little difficult. Maybe we have to change majors and explore other options.' I've always dabbled in design. Maybe I can try my luck. It also didn't require math, so I knew I could graduate on time."
Lucky for Ashley, Baruch offered design courses. "That was the greatest decision of my life," she adds. "Design is my true passion. Remembering my childhood, I was always designing. I just didn't know that that was a career path that was achievable.”
But it was also at Baruch that Ashley had thought of the idea of developing beautiful wrapping paper for an elevated gifting experience. Once time and circumstances aligned—and, you know, being a designer who also wants an income—Fouyolle drained her 401k and set up shop in her apartment, printing out orders as she received them.
In addition to using quality paper and textiles, UNWRP collaborates with other artists to bring high design to wrapping paper. Their gifting range is miles beyond the standard wrapping paper, creating a higher level of excitement in receiving a present. The patterns are inclusive and not always holiday-specific so that a favorite design can get used in almost any gifting occasion.
Beyond paper goods, UNWRP also offers a reusable textile wrap inspired by Japanese furoshiki, hemmed pieces of fabric, typically square-shaped, expressly designed for wrapping and protecting items. An UNWRP fabric wrap can also be a gift in itself and used as a hair tie, fashionable accessory, or even framed art, something many UNWRP customers do, according to Ashley.
“Honestly, most customers buy it just to frame because the paper is actually artwork," Ashley remarks.
The furoshiki-type wraps are a sustainable way to wrap a gift, but UNWRP’s paper products are produced with the environment in mind, as well. The paper gets made with 30% post-consumer material, FSC-certified, fully recyclable, and carbon neutral. You can technically chuck UNWRP paper into the blue bin, but you probably won’t want to.
Its obvious recyclability aside, Ashely tries to give her creations a second life. UNWRP’s paper design for Ada Twist, Scientist, an animated children’s show produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company, features a coloring page on the reverse, inviting kids to find another use for the gifting paper, extending the life of the material.
“We are educating customers on how to repurpose not only the fabric but the papers as well. When it comes down to the actual plastic that UNWRP uses, we’re making sure that it's not a single-use plastic, and we make sure it's compostable,” Ashley explains. “When it comes down to our shipping boxes, I designed it in a way that once you turn and flip it inside out, you can reuse it and repurpose it as an actual gift box. So I'm definitely intentional about all the different pieces and the assortment. That way, we offset the environmental impacts.”
Being incredibly Instagramable has no doubt contributed to the attention and customer appreciation for UNWRP’s gifting products. But besides being like bait, they sweeten the gifting interaction. Using beautifully designed wrapping paper communicates attention to detail and caring enough to use premium wraps. After all, the gift wrap is the first thing a recipient interacts with when receiving a present. Seeing and feeling UNWRP's papers boosts the excitement and anticipation for discovering what’s inside the box.
UNWRP has struck a chord, and others in the branding world have taken note. Ashley has partnered with brands like Sprite and Netflix and has featured on Beyonce’s “Black Parade” directory of Black-owned businesses.
So what does Ashley have in mind for the future?
“I want to make UNWRP as accessible as possible. I want to make UNWRP a household name,” Ashley says enthusiastically and with an energy level known of New Yorkers. “I don't even remember the first time I was introduced to Hallmark, but it stuck with me. I think of being Hallmark for the newer generation, and I want to make that connection. I want them to know UNWRP as the go-to for all of your gifting goods. Wrapping paper, greeting cards, notebooks, you name it."
"I want UNWRP to become a household name and make design assessable because it shouldn't be something that just a small group knows," she adds. "It should be worldwide and attainable.”
Ashley Fouyolle wanted to let designers and artists reading about UNWRP in Dieline that her company is always looking for collaborators. You can reach out by emailing contact@UNWRP.com.