Walk with me inside Paperie and Pen and you're bound to experience the same glee that I'm enjoying at this moment. The bright white space, the open ceiling, the expansive windows and yes, yes the colors, brought to you by all the amazing paper products and goods that is exquisitely curated by the owners Frannie and Nichole. The space brings out all the happy inside me and who doesn't love a dose of happy.
Paperie and Pen is the creative genius of Nichole Schoener and Frannie Wilson. In 2009, Nichole and Frannie were in the process of getting their graphic design degree. The two formed a partnership and took their freelance wedding photography into a full steam ahead business, giving life to Ampersand Studios. They realized through trial, error and effort that they loved weddings and the process of creating these mini branding moments. Nestled in their 500 square foot studio, their business evolved into customizable wedding invites in the Fall, wedding shows in the Spring and Photography in the Summer.
When the girls heard that their paper supplier "Paper Express" was going out of business, the questions started to rattle off in their heads about the items in the store, especially the paper cutter. They soon realized the daunting task of moving said paper cutter and went for the whole kit and caboodle. In 2013, Paperie and Pen was born, standing on it's own to offer amazing design services. Their custom invitations quadrupled once they opened to the public but they soon realized that they were a bit stuck with the status quo of what the existing clients expected from the store. Intent on gaining their trust and employing their own path, they took the leap and leased the amazing space we all enjoy now at The Village at Meridian. Is it that simple? HELL NO!! Bankers, investors, financial agreements and trusting each other were all needed to make certain their ducks were in a row.
We got a bit deeper to learn how they created their dream so you can perhaps create yours :) Read on my peeps.
What experience did you want to give your customers in the design of your beautiful store?
Frannie: "When designing the layout of our store, we knew that we wanted it to be very bright, fun, and inviting. We chose to paint all of the walls and ceiling stark white and furnish it with light colored natural wood so that all of the colorful products would really pop and speak for themselves. We are not merchandising experts and we don't have a corporate handbook to follow- therefor, it's ever-evolving and we are constantly changing the flow of the store. This is our happy place and we just want it to be yours! Plus being moms, we knew that we wanted the store to not be too cluttered and make sure that there is room to get around with a stroller. It's the little things :)"
What advice would you give someone wanting to launch their own business?
Nichole: "Say goodbye to your life..." Haha jk...
Seriously, I don't think that people realize the sacrifice that comes with "being your own boss"- there was a lot of time where we didn't get paid at all (actually for the first 2 years). Thank you side hustle, i.e waiting tables and ramen noodles. Being able to realize that the success of your business directly affects YOU is something that can be difficult to grasp, especially if you are used to getting a regular paycheck. There are a lot of expenses and necessities that come in the backend of small businesses that can be detrimental if you are not aware or prepared for them. It is all a learning experience. I think that that most important thing is that you are PASSIONATE and in a long-term love with your concept, because you will be tested. Also, to make sure that you always maintain a humbleness and have integrity with what you do- you have to earn and maintain your business. Nothing is ever guaranteed."
What sets Paperie and Pen apart from the rest?
Frannie: "We simply are not aware of anyplace else that you will find the curated selection of purely FUN products and custom design services. Our passion is for paper and good design. We love getting to sit down with brides and customers who are planning a big event to get to the bottom of their vision. A lot of times people don't even know what they're looking for and we get to create something that never existed before. Many times, our clients will tell "This is exactly what I didn't know I wanted!"
** LET'S PAUSE FOR A LITTLE DANCE PARTY SHALL WE** I suggest you hit PLAY and start moving!!
WOO!! That was fun! Who doesn't love a little dance session. Now back to the real talk.
What fuels you every day to get through the hard parts of running a business?
Nichole: "Honestly, I think it is because I love my job. As our business has expanded and changed- we have realized we can't do everything. So realizing what we are good at and being able to let go of the things we don't have time for or don't like doing is difficult, but crucial to success.
How do you balance being a mom, a wife and running a successful business?
Frannie: "I work my ass off all week so that when I am home with my babies I can soak up every minute. Of course being a business owner means that your phone WILL ring on your day off and employees WILL need help, clients WILL need questions answered and fires WILL need to be put out now and then. Our husbands understand this- although it took a few years to condition them! But the children haven't known any different.
I was raised by Realtors, and my mom is the hardest working person I have ever seen. She can hustle like a boss and still make time for vacations and family time. Growing up, when we went on family vacations-- she had about 5 suitcases. (That was before airlines charged you for extra luggage.) Anyway... 3 were clothes, 2 were shoes, and the others usually had a full-on fax machine and files for all of her clients. If a client wanted to make an offer at 8pm after Disney Land, we knew that had to happen. I never resented her for working so hard and I never felt like she wasn't there for my childhood. I always understood that her hard work is why we got go on fun trips. My dad was always doing the same things - more behind the scenes but together they raised us in a way that I strive to achieve for my own children. I want my kids to see how hard I work, but more importantly how hard I play. To love your job and create the life you love, is something that not everyone is fortunate enough to experience so we are grateful for what we've created every day."
What's around the corner for Paperie and Pen that you want to share with your customers?
Nichole: "We love our city, and being Boise natives it is important to us to have involvement in the community. With our new (and beautiful) permanent classroom, we will be holding even more workshops and events, including: kids activities, date night activities, as well as more free paper crafts for people who love our store! Also keep your eye out for more of our in-house designs of cards, stationery, and apparel! Made in Idaho!!!"
What has been a great business moment for you so far?
Frannie: "Every time we get an email from a client or an online review after they pick up their invitations saying "We absolutely LOVE our invitations- and everything was perfect!" are the greatest business moments. Those moments feel like the first time every time and make us remember why we hustle so hard every day."
"I guess if I had to pick the most pivotal moment for us- it would be the day that we decided to make the move into our new store in the Village at Meridian. Nichole and I are not very sensitive people most of the time- and unless we just watched a Lifetime movie marathon, we aren't really huggers and criers but I remember when we signed the lease and sent it off- the deal was done; we looked at each other with "OMG we're really doing this" in our faces and cried and hugged a little. We really don't like to talk about it."
What are you crushing on right now?
Nichole: "Lately I am all about environmental spaces that make me happy. I want to be surrounded by the people and things that I love all of the time. I know that sounds really broad. But it is what I think about always- I want to walk into my home and love my environment, I want to walk on my patio and love my environment, then I obviously have a beautiful place to work. I feel that since I have made this a priority, to feel inspired by my everyday life, I am a happier and more creative person."
What's your favorite quote?
Frannie: "Sometimes you just need to put on lipgloss and pretend to be psyched." - Mindy Kaling
Going after what you want means taking risk and not taking no for an answer. We all have a passion that we want to build on. Whether that's in a business format or just acting on it to enrich our lives. Frannie and Nichole shared some great insight into making it happen for themselves. The passion and talent is what ignites the journey. Along the way, it will take a whole lot of hard work but I think it's safe to say, It's SO worth it!!