Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful (and restful) holiday weekend with friends and family – and wish those of you traveling for the holiday a safe journey!


Lettering via Cautiously Obsessed

In lieu of weekly links – a few holiday events and sales from some of my favorite shops and stationers! I may add a few more here between now and Monday if you want to check back!

Silhouette America is offering several options for OSBP readers through Monday 12/8 at 11:59pm MST – just use the code IHEARTPAPER to access all the sales below!

  • Portrait Bundle: Portrait machine & 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99
  • CAMEO Bundle #1: CAMEO machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust Cover, 4 Tools and $25 Download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99
  • CAMEO Bundle #2: CAMEO machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99
  • CAMEO & Portrait Bundle (One for you, one for a friend!): CAMEO machine, Portrait machine and 2, $25 Download cards to the Silhouette Design Store for $299.99
  • Already a Silhouette user? Use my code to receive 40% off at SilhouetteAmerica.com (*excluding machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards) PLUS Free Shipping on orders over $25 for the lower 48 states
  • 50% off all designs at SilhouetteDesignStore.com – no code needed!

Cyber Monday Sales!

  • 9th Letter Press is offering 30% off for Cyber Monday (with code CYBER30)
  • Almanac Industries is offering 25% off through Monday (with code givethanks)
  • AHeirloom is offering 25% off (with code AHcyber25)
  • Angela Liguori is offering 15% off through Monday (with code grazie14)
  • Ban.do is offering 25% off the entire site through Monday – no code needed!
  • Betsywhite Stationery is offering 30% off on Monday
  • Blabla is offering 20% off on Monday (with code wow20)
  • Blackbird Letterpress is offering 20% off Friday through Monday (with code xmas14)
  • Brightroom Studio is offering 20% off through Thursday December 4 (with code SHOPSMALL)
  • Britt Bass is offering 20% off through Monday (with code HOLIDAY HANGOVER)
  • Dinara Mirtalipova is offering 15% off Friday through Monday (with code BLACK15)
  • Egg Press is offering 30% off on Monday (with code cyberfunday)
  • Emily McDowell is offering 20% off everything through Monday (with code IGFOODCOMA)
  • Farewell Paperie is offering 35% off through Monday (with code YAYINTERNET)
  • Fig.2 Design is offering 30% off on Monday (with code CYBERMON14)
  • Forage is offering 35% off the entire site (with code HOLIDAY) and free shipping through December 8!
  • Graceline Illustration + Calligraphy is offering 30% prints and classes on Monday (with code shopsmall)
  • Hammerpress is offering 20% off (with code THANKYOU20)
  • Hello Tosha is offering 20% off on Monday (with code THANKFUL)
  • Honeycomb Studio is offering free shipping through Monday (with code shopsmall14)
  • Idlewild Co is offering 30% off + free shipping (with code BABYITSCOLD)
  • Julie Song Ink is offering 25% off her Etsy shop (code BLACK14)
  • Knot and Bow is offering 25% off through Monday (with code 25PERCENT)
  • Ladyfingers Letterpress is offering 30% off plus a free letterpress surprise through Friday December 5! (with code OMGDEALZ)
  • Linda & Harriett is offering 30% off through Monday (with code THANKS)
  • MAIKA is offering 40% off through Monday (with code SOTHANKFUL)
  • Mon Voir is offering 25% off her shop (with code BLACKFRIDAY)
  • One Canoe Two is offering 25% off on Monday (with code CyberMonday25)
  • Our Heiday is offering 30% off (with code CELEBRATE30)
  • Parrott Design Studio is offering 30% off Monday through Thursday (with code HOLIDAYCHEER)
  • Postable is offering 26% off on Monday (with code CYBERMON)
  • Printerette Press is offering 30% off in their Etsy shop (with code MONDAYMONDAY)
  • Rifle Paper Co is offering 30% off site wide through Monday – no code needed!

10 Tips on opening a retail shop | Urbanic


In the course of having Urbanic over these last 8 years I’ve had many people come to me for advice in starting their own business. I’m guessing there are more of you like this out there, so I’ve come up with 10 quick tips that hopefully will be helpful if opening a shop is something that you’re considering.

The  identity of your business will be apparent in the product that you choose for the shop and the way you display it. Your edit will be key here! The best shops are the curated ones which provide the customer with a shopping ‘experience’.  There is nothing worse than going into a shop that is all over the place with confusing product categories and placement.  It’s best to keep your business model and concepts unique to who you are and what you are passionate about.  Challenge yourself to come up with original ideas instead of copying the work of what is already out there. Keep your offerings on point with your business model and if it helps you get started, create a mood board and mission statement in addition to your business plan!

It is extremely important to know you are targeting.  Awareness of who you want to target is a good thing but it’s best to make sure you know where these people are  –  and this takes research!  If your business style is edgy, you need to know where these like-minded people are shopping.  If your taste in product is on the more expensive side, then it’s imperative to do you research about household incomes and financial demographics in your area. Documenting who your target customer is will be a crucial part of your business plan.

Once you know who your target customer is and have found out where they shop, you’ll want to make sure that you choose your location with all things in mind. You’ll be working hard enough to build your business in the beginning (wherever you are!) so visibility and street presence weigh a lot to the initial launch of your store.  If you are pioneering an area that is off the beaten path or is potentially up-and-coming, have your promo and marketing plan in place to best get the word out to your target customers. We opened Urbanic on a great street, but at the time our location was on the end of the block that had much less foot traffic. Before we signed our lease, we sought out advice from the local realtors to learn about the growth of the block over the past few years and get insight on the real estate forecasting. We also considered the other businesses that were slotted to open near our location, all of which was helpful in making our decision.

We learned from experience that this is not a good place to cut corners! If you are signing a lease, make sure you have a lawyer look over it first.  If you’re not great with numbers, hire a bookkeeper & accountant that has great reviews from other retailers. If you are offering custom work, make sure you have the proper contract in place to protect yourself and your business. Believe me when I tell you this stuff can be a huge can of expensive worms that you don’t want to open if not set up properly from the start.

A Point of Sale System is essential for entering and receiving inventory, pricing goods, formulating financial reports and keeping track of vendor & customer information. There are many options out there to choose from, so it’s important to make sure that you are doing your research and considering one that has all that you need to get started.  ie. – Are you wanting to access your POS from home? If so, a cloud based system would be best for you.  Do you need your POS to integrate with your e-commerce shop? Make sure that the one that you’re considering is compatible to your shopping cart platform.

The way you engage with the people surrounding your business will determine the personality of your brand. Our goal at Urbanic is to treat each person that walks through our doors as a special guest. We love greeting our regular customers by name and catching up with them if we haven’t seen them in a while.  Our store events have allowed us to get to know these people in a new way, and the relationships we’ve built with folks over the years make this whole experience more valuable and priceless than any bottom dollar ever could.  Joshua and I are firm believers that if you love your staff, – show them! At Urbanic we celebrate birthdays, work-a-versaries, and host staff parties twice a year. We have a coffee meeting every month and are going to our first team building outing to decorate cakes together next week.  We operate in a family environment which in turn makes our customers feel at home when they shop with us.

Getting to know the other businesses in your industry and neighborhood can be hugely rewarding and lead to great things. Consider teaming up with other brands who have a business identity that compliments your own. In working together you can point business to back to one another and grow.  Over the years, we have found great collaborations with calligraphers, printers, planners, bloggers, designers and photographers to name just a few!

I’ll be writing a little bit more about this  in tomorrow’s post, …. so stay tuned!

It’s always good idea to make sure you have a product mix that works for a variety of different people and budgets.  You don’t need to sacrifice your identity in order to do this,  just make sure you are thinking through your offerings so that you don’t pigeon hole yourself into a corner. For example, if you have mostly expensive items you may want to mix in a few great things that are less pricey as well so that you don’t become off limits for people. If you have mostly feminine products, but find that men are shopping in your store as well, create a handsome section just for them.

If you have been desperately wanting to open a retail shop and it’s a burning desire within you, you’ll need to get to a place where you are ready to take a risk.  When we signed the lease 8 years ago, it was the biggest decision I had ever made in my life and by far the scariest. Although I didn’t know exactly what I was doing at the time, I realized I would rather die one day having tried to move forward with my dream (whether it was going to work or not),  instead of wishing that I would had tried the rest of my life.

– Audrey


Hand Lettering by Gold Press Paper


Events at Urbanic

Hi everyone! In yesterday’s ‘Day in the Life at Urbanic’ post, I mentioned that some of our back-end creative work that we do is for the events that we host at Urbanic. When Joshua and I first opened the shop, we knew going into it that we wanted events to be a foundational offering of what we were about as a brand. We both love hosting, but even more so, we love watching people come together to get creative and social, forming new relationships in a fun environment. There are so many of us that sit behind a computer all day long, and we wanted to make sure we were creating special opportunities for people to connect and celebrate. Over the past 8 years, we’ve hosted Summer Socials, Winter Socials, blogger meet-ups, book release parties, and have recently added workshops to the mix! Click below for a peek into some of our calligraphy classes!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?&autoplay=1&controls=0&showinfo=0&rel=0&v=4Vz4X4cGJ3Q&w=640&h=360]

When we first got these events going they were a TON of work. It was work that we wanted to put in, but extremely hard on our schedules to juggle everything and do it at the creative level that we envisioned. Over the years we discovered that bringing in like-minded sponsors and partners made the whole process so much better on every level! Our collaborations have allowed us to work with the most amazing planners, photographers, florists, caterers, videographers and media sponsors. I’m not going to lie, the events are still a huge undertaking, but the work of all of these talents together makes for the best events! You can click here to see photos from some of our past Urbanic events and if you’d like, and click here to see videos. I’ve attached one of my faves into this post below from a Summer Social.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?&autoplay=1&controls=0&showinfo=0&rel=0&v=FMbiOisK-F8&w=640&h=360]


More coming up tomorrow with 10 tips on opening up a retail shop!

– Audrey





A Day in the Life of Urbanic

Hi Everyone! Our new baby has arrived – so I’ve asked some of my favorite creative mamas to help out while I’m away on maternity leave. This week, one of my favorite ladies and the owner of one of the most amazing stationery stores – Audrey from Urbanic – will be sharing a few posts, from birthday parties to thoughts on running a successful business. Thanks Audrey! –Nole

Hello Hello!  It’s good to be back here guest blogging again, and even more wonderful for such a special occasion! It’s a true honor to fill in for Nole while she takes her maternity leave. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Audrey Woollen and I have a shop in Los Angeles called Urbanic Paper Boutique. I’ve known Nole for many years and really value our friendship. It’s a rare and amazing thing to find a person in this world that shares the same passion and enthusiasm for paper! I contribute a post here monthly, called Urbanic Faves which is a round up of inspiration that we’re feeling in the shop, but for this weeks posts Nole suggested that I take you on a journey with me of what life at Urbanic looks like. This week, I’ll be giving you a glimpse into the front and back end of our retail shop as well as a peek into our family life.  I will also be sharing some tips of things I’ve learned along the way!  First up, a typical day in the shop… A Day in the Life at Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper A typical day starts at 9am. We officially open at 10 am, but have found that an hour of prep time before our doors open is hugely beneficial for progress. There are usually 2 and sometimes 3 of us working at a time. With so many different facets to the running the shop (many of which often happen simultaneously) it really takes a team to keep this going.  I am extremely grateful for the 5 amazing staff members that we have. Each person plays a big role at Urbanic and it’s our talents combined that make us who we are as a brand. Each day we kick off with front end presentation. Every detail matters here, from cueing up our curated tunes, lighting our featured candle, product entering, tagging, merchandising, and most importantly, working with our customers! There is a slew of email correspondence which takes place daily, as well as our client gift wrapping service, both of which we handle collectively.

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

In the back of the shop we host the ‘Urbanic Wedding Lounge‘. This is our by-appointment suite where we work with couples creatively to choose and customize wedding invitations and personal stationery. We have a design library with of a wide selection of options that we’ve hand-picked from the best designers across the country. Our team assists with design concept, layout, proofing and project management of the orders. We often work with couples for a few months throughout the process and build relationships with them along the way. It’s the BEST feeling when a bride comes in to pick up her invitations and we get to see her eyes well up with tears of joy upon receiving them. There are usually hugs all around and we feel privileged to have had a part in such a monumental event in their lives.

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

The creative process behind the business is enormous, but also my favorite part about the environment! There is always a work in progress happening with new things forming. These projects show themselves in many different ways! Our store windows entail brainstorming, sourcing, crafting and then finalizing the plan with the install. You can see some of our favorites windows here. When merchandising around the shop we like to constantly re-invent ourselves with new concepts and fresh displays. We work creating blog posts, newsletters, promotions, store events, collaborations, and of course there is the buying and curation of the merchandise we carry. In addition to all of this, we’ve recently started making little video promos of happenings around the shop. Here’s one below of one of some of the amazing mail we’ve been receiving.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0&autoplay=1&v=AbvF5rRiJlU&w=640&h=360]

A Day in the Life at Urbanic Paper Boutique via Oh So Beautiful Paper

My husband Joshua and I built Urbanic together in 2006. Since then, we’ve had 2 little boys, and together this is our family business! Joshua and I handle the not so glamorous parts of the company (finances, lease, building maintenance, operations… oh I could go on.) Although he is working more on making videos these days he is still a huge part of all that happens here.

As you can see, a lot goes down each day around here at Urbanic! We keep a digital store log where we document everything. This communication is key to keeping us all on the same page and helps us keep track of customer orders, daily interactions, basic store functioning and the progress of projects. Towards the end of the day the log is finalized, the sales are counted, the orders are faxed in, and the doors are closed… all in preparation for the next day.

photos by Joanne Pio & Jessie Webster


Happy Weekend!

Hello again everyone!  Do you all have fun plans for the weekend?  I'm actually looking forward to taking it easy this weekend – well, that and the National Book Festival on Saturday.  It's one of my favorite DC annual events and it looks like the organizers have got a bunch of really great authors lined up this year.  In the meantime…


…here are a few of my favorite links from this week:

That's it for me this week – I'll see you all back here again on Monday!

{image credits: Flowertoss Photography via Snippet & Ink}