Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to be honest – we’ve had a rough week over here. Sophie is going through some typical two year old tantrums (we’ve started referring to her as our “twonager” since it’s a nice little preview of what she’ll be like as a teenager), and when you combine that with a needy newborn you get two very tired parents. I know this is just a phase, but I feel like I could sleep for about a week straight if given the opportunity! For now I’ll just settle for (hopefully) a few extra minutes this weekend, but in the meantime…


Photo by the incredibly talented Thuss & Farrell

…a few links for your weekend:

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Check back soon for this week’s cocktail! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here next week! xoxo

Farm Fresh Birthday Party

Hi guys! It’s been so fun guest blogging over here this week! I am beyond excited for Nole and Andrew and cannot wait to meet their newest little cutie pie! For my last and final Urbanic guest post, I’ll be sharing yet another birthday party we hosted, but this time for my younger son Ian who said he wanted his party to be “like a farm.”

Farm Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper

Since Ian has an October birthday, the weather this time of year made the perfect canvas to serve yummy farm fresh foods. We had fried chicken, mac and cheese, buttermilk biscuits and a cranberry pecan salad. We also had the popcorn machine popping and some jars of red licorice around for the adults. We sourced a few giant hay stacks at a local feed ranch and decorated the yard to compliment them with blue gingham linenes, fall flowers and little plastic farm animals. We made tiny hats for the animals and placed them around the party, amd on the food tables to accent the arrangements.

Farm Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper Farm Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper

We were so blessed that a  good friend of ours made the adorable ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ game just for Ian! It worked perfectly when we put it into an old frame. We had a bandanna print hair-band which made it easy for kids to slide it off and on for their turn. After the party was over, each of the little ones took home a farm animal favor bag that we crafted out of brown paper bags and construction paper.  It was a perfect day on the birthday farm!

Thanks everyone, I’ll be back again soon.



Bug Birthday Party

Hi there, Oh So Beautiful Paper readers! Audrey here again, and this time I’m giving you a peek into some of my family life at home when I’m not working at Urbanic. When my eldest son Javin came to me and said that he wanted a ‘bug party’ for his 6th birthday, I admittedly wasn’t too excited about this. I imagined that it was going to be tough to find a way to keep this party from becoming overly cutesy or un-attractively creepy. I spent some time searching for design inspiration and came up with a plan to make it work with a little bit of crafting and some food fun.

Bug Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper

For decor, I mounted plastic insect ‘specimens’ to hexagon colored card stocks and strung a bitten leaf  birthday banner which we had punched lots of holes in! All of the foods were healthy small bites inspired by insects. We had ‘lady bug bites’, ‘caterpillar kabobs’, ‘ants on a log’, and then sang Happy Birthday with a ‘dirt cake’ made up of chocolate mousse, whipped cream and cookie crumbs. The kids each had their own adorable serving crowned with a gummy worm! Bug Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper

The activities we hosted for the children consisted of a bug bounce and a bee toss. We also made kids sized play stations that involved little games and challenges with plastic bugs.

Bug Theme Kids Birthday Party by Urbanic via Oh So Beautiful Paper

For favors, we punched holes in the lids of mason jars and turned them into lady bug habitats. The kids got to take them home and release into their yards. We added a little legend to each jar about how special lady bugs are and they ways they can benefit a garden. They whole thing was so fun … except getting those lady bugs into the mason jars!



PS Here’s where I found everything: ladybugs , dirtcake, cute signage,  spaceships & laserbeams invitation download,  plastic bugs, mason jars + magnifying glasses



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


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