Featured Tin Shingle, Kalyn Johnson
Her weakness is paper. She'll tell her you that her weakness is Hermes scarves, but really, it's the personal touch and visual excitement that paper stationery creates between two people that led Kalyn Johnson, a lawyer by training, to start paper stationery company, effie's paper.
We'll let Kalyn tell you how she got started, what her biggest challenge has been, and more in our interview with her. And when you're done reading, indulge in her lines of stationery and write someone a thank you note!
What inspired you to get started?
Two summers ago, I was sitting at my desk writing thank you notes, surrounded by stationery, and a light bulb went off in my head. I guess you could say it was my AH-HAH moment. I've always loved pretty paper and I've always had a pretty good stash of personalized stationery, but, I didn't have any stationery that made my heart leap. So, in that moment, I decided that I wanted to create my own line of stationery. I wanted my line to be modern, chic and fun. A stationery company seemed like the perfect marriage of my love of all things stylish, pretty paper and letter writing – in that moment, a snap decision became effie's paper.
The company is named after my grandmother, Mrs. Effie Hayes. She’s the person who helped to foster my fascination with stationery. When I had my AH-HAH moment, the name effie’s paper just came to me. My grandmother was a very determined and stylish lady; from her I learned tenacity, how mix high and low style, grace under pressure and the importance of sending handwritten notes!
It was as simple as that and here we are a few years later.
What was your background? Was it in what you were doing now?
I am a lawyer by training, but I left the practice of law 5 years ago and started STYLE by Kalyn Johnson, a fashion styling consultancy for busy professionals. While I love working with clients and helping people look their best, I knew shortly after I started my styling business that I wanted to expand it into a lifestyle brand. I've loved fashion and design since I was a little girl, I guess you could say I took a circuitous route and ended up exactly where I am supposed to be.
What challenge have you had to face that led to a big growth for your company?
Like many small businesses, identifying who our core customer is has been crucial. When I started the company two years ago, I knew that women would be our core customer. However, what I didn't do was really drill down and assess "HER" – why she buys, when she buys, who she buys for, etc. Once I sat down and really analyzed who was buying our products, what she was buying and who she was buying them for I got a lot of clarity about the types of products we should be offering. This clarity has definitely led to an uptick in sales for us.
What do you have going on in your business right now that you're excited about?
We just launched our OhBaby! collection, a collection of note cards we designed with the modern mom in mind. I believe that children’s note cards should be modern to match their mother’s sensibilities. Our collection of children’s note cards are perfect for the mom who’s looking to break out of the traditional mold. And as little something extra, we added Mommy Calling Cards - because whether you work part-time or full-time, or are a stay-at-home mom, every mom needs a business card. Mommy Calling Cards are a simple way to get in touch with other parents you meet. No more rifling through your bag for pen and paper to exchange information.
In addition, the holiday season is huge for us, so we're getting geared up; we've got a line for 'Tweens coming out soon, cellphone cases and a few other goodies . . . Honestly, there's never a dull moment!
Where would you love to see your business in 5 years?
Five years from now, I'd love for effie's paper to be the go-to stationery company for those in the know. Our products are beautiful and high quality, perfect for those who want sophisticated yet stylish stationery. And I'd love for that exposure to lead to the licensing of our designs with some furniture and design companies I admire. Our next territory is textiles, I am excited about the prospect of seeing our designs on wallpaper, pillows and upholstery fabric. I think our Anguilla pattern would look really cool on a Kartell Mademoiselle Chair in someone's posh living room or dining room!
Inspire yourself by shopping at effie's paper online!
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