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Shen Dove Style: Shop Profile: The Papery

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shop Profile: The Papery

Papery Profile 1
There are so many great local business in the Philly area and I love to feature them occasionally here on the blog.  The Papery of Philadelphia is an invitation design studio and gift boutique located in the Midtown Village section of Center City.  The Papery's owner, Carolyn Brandhorst was kind enough to sit down with me earlier this fall to chat about her business and the services her store offers to its customers. Now on to the interview! 

Shen Dove: What inspired you to start your business?

Carolyn: The Papery is actually a family business, my uncles started The Papery a long time ago in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Before deciding to take over the business, I worked with my Dad in advertising and I worked in retail before that.  I always loved the shop and decided I needed a change from working in advertising.  My retail experience paired with the print and design experience I developed while working in the advertising field, made the business a natural fit for me.  It became a creative outlet for me to combine the two major  areas of my professional experience.

Shen Dove: What types of services does The Papery offer?

Carolyn:  We offer invitation personalization and custom invitation for weddings, special occasions, Bar/Bat Mitzvah's...basically any kind of party you can think of.  Other services we offer include customer service for helping people find the perfect gift.  We also do gift wrapping.  Our main service is the invitation end of the business; helping a customer create that perfect invitation for whatever the occasion might be.

Shen Dove: Your store relocated earlier this fall to Midtown Village.  How does your new location differ from your previous location in Old City?

Carolyn: Earlier this year, our lease was up in Old City, we had been there for ten years.  That location really put us on the map locally during our time there.  But our business model changed a bit over the course of the past decade.  We got more involved on the invitation end of the business with customization and assembly.  The Old City location was suited for more of a retail focus.  We didn't have a particular location in mind when we decided to move, but we found this space and we love the neighborhood.  You know how you just walk into a space and you know this is going to work?  We definitely felt that way when we moved here.

Shen Dove: What do you think sets your business apart from some of the other invitation and paper goods stores in the area?

Carolyn: I think our creative ability, and our customer service set us a part. We just really have a knack for sitting down with customers, brainstorming with them, and coming up with original ideas for their perfect event.  The atmosphere of our store is really welcoming; people feel good in here.  We attract a lot of unique clients and cater to them.

Shen Dove: Do you have an example of a project you worked on with a client that you really enjoyed?

Carolyn: There's so many different ones!  If I had to pick one, it was a while back, we created invitations with a Lost theme from the TV show.  The client was taking their guests on a cruise for a Mitzvah celebration.  We came up with a custom made wooden box that housed each invitation.  Inside was an invitation that looked like a Passport and it also had a message in a bottle.  The invitations were delivered to each guest.  So that was a pretty fun, creative project to work on.

The more simple projects are also fun to work on.  I enjoy working on the classic,  traditional wedding invitations also.  I recently worked on printed materials for a wedding that is taking place in Majorca, Spain.  We designed fun things for the invitation like hot air balloons and other cool graphics for that project.  We also worked on the Save the Date that included a custom map of Philadelphia (where the bride is from), New York (where the couple now lives) and Spain (where the wedding will take place).  The map shows sites and places wedding guests can visit while in Spain as well.

Shen Dove: That's definitely a practical keepsake for guests!  What do you think sets Philly a part in terms of being a business owner here 

Carolyn: I can't speak for other areas, but we were previously located in Marlton, New Jersey and there is a slight difference between the brides I worked with there compared to Philly brides.  You have a more educated, older bride in Philly in comparison to our previous location in Marlton, New Jersey.  So you have to be on top of your game, because you have a busier bride, that has a career and not a lot of time, so they rely on you to do a lot efficiently.  I might only meet with a bride once and then never see her in person again because of schedule constraints.  We typically met with brides a few times in New Jersey.  We have also noticed that we do more urban, contemporary designs as opposed to classic, traditional designs in Philly.

Shen Dove: Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners?

Carolyn: You need to love to working and love what you do.  Because when you are growing your business, that is all you'll be doing. You have to be passionate about your business or it will be less likely to work.

Shen Dove: Thanks for the interview Carolyn!  If you are in the Philadelphia during the holiday season, check out The Papery for your invitation needs, holiday gifts, stocking stuffers while you're there!

The Papery
Address: 1219 Locust Street [Midtown Village]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: 215.922.1500
Hours: Monday and Tuesday 11am-7pm // Wednesday 11am-8pm // Thursday and Friday 11am-7pm Saturday 10am-6pm // Sunday Noon-5pm

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At December 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM , Anonymous Lyddiegal said...

Such a great interview Shen - I love paper invitations and gift wrapping, I hate to see more and more people moving away from it. the papery is definitely a place i would like to visit! There need to be more small businesses with such passionate, creative people at the helm,.

At December 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM , Anonymous Alex said...

This store looks like heaven! I really love digital, but I pretty much collect stationery and pieces of paper and gift wrapping that I like. I have boxes full of it in storage!

At December 12, 2013 at 7:46 PM , Anonymous Alice said...

Wow, this looks like a store I could spend hours in! Thanks for sharing; it's so nice to hear about businesses not too many people have heard about. You may not have heard of us--we're a shaving company called Dorco. We think everyone should be able to afford high quality razors, so our prices are 30-70% lower than leading brands. See them for yourself and read what other people think about the quality of our product at DorcoUSA.com. Thanks again for posting; what a great store!

At December 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM , Anonymous ShenDove said...

It's such an adorable store! I need to get a better camera so I can go back and take photos.

At December 14, 2013 at 11:09 AM , Anonymous ShenDove said...

Thanks Lydia!


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