Friday, January 29, 2010

Papel New York

Following the paper trail of Papel ...

There's a new shop in town and I couldn't be happier :) Papel (Spanish for paper) is a Brooklyn based paperie filled with some of my favorite card and stationery designers.
The space is perfection and the owner, Raegan Hirvela is natural and friendly. I stumbled upon Papel yesterday walking down Court Street. To me it was like walking into a candy shop!

This is Raegan above. When I handed her my card, she recognized it from Fat Cat (yes, my exhibit is still up, thanks for wondering ;) It turns out she lives in (owners) Miki & Daniel's building a block down from me. It's such a small world!

I had the chance to sit down and ask all about her start. Her hometown is Queens and although she's always been crafty, she is not a designer herself. She's lived on the West Coast as well, but hard for any self respecting city girl to stay away from NYC too long ;)

After spending years working predominantly in fashion and corporate retail, when her wedding approached, she decided to design her own invitations, place settings and all correspondence. Her designs were a Big Hit and the responses overwhelming! I have to think that all that positive feedback contributed to the confidence it takes to follow a new path.

* Above some colorful calendars and recipe cards by Dabney Lee, local designer in Dumbo.

Realizing she'd like to run her own business, Raegan began researching two years ago and incorporated herself while still working full time. She began contemplating ideas and researching the neighborhood, while attending classes & seminars in her spare time.

On a ski trip in Vermont, it was her husband Jeff who asked,
how about paper products? It was that simple. As serendipity would have it, she soon partnered with her instructor of a free entrepreneurial class offered by the city. She was off and running! 1st stop, the business plan.

*I am a big fan of Andy Pratt Designs, especially the vibrant city scenes on his cards, notebooks & journals. I was charmed by his Silvercup letterpress below, since I often work on those stages.

Again, timing seemed to work to her advantage. Raegan found out that her full time position would be coming to an end in May '09. Fortunately, she and Jeff had been saving up for a year in anticipation of their new venture and in August she began purchasing her stock of stationery and cards. By the end of September she found her storefront (within walking distance from home) signed the lease and opened her doors December 11th, 2009 :D

My favorite story is how she branded her store. Her friend, Soosan Joon whose artwork is on display (paintings above) teaches at The Art Institute and asked if her students could brand her company free of charge. 20 talented design students competed and it was narrowed down to 3 teams. Her choice in the end was the little paper plane. The logo is simple and communicates her concept in a light and playful way :) It definitely caught my eye walking along Court Street.

It's an inspiring story because she mixed passion with practicality and took the time to decide what interested her most and what would work well in this part of the neighborhood. When the time came, she took the plunge!

There are no other stores like it around, specializing in high-end, eco-friendly stationery, customizable invitations and extraordinary papers.

*Charming hedgehog notebook by Girl of All Work Accessories, they also designed the fabulous page flags and piggy post-its above :)

*Wrapping papers by Seltzer Goods, Waste Not Paper & Snow and Graham who also sell their lines of cards here.

*Honey Bee Calendar above by Hammerpress Love their style!

*Canisters with cute growth charts by Rag and Bone Bindery :D

*Adorable vintage inspired cards by Writeables, not sure if their images are vintage or inspired by the style. If you know, I'm curious. They're all super sweet.

Above is a binder full of samples for custom invitations. She currently works with about 8 specialty vendors including Dabney Lee (located in nearby Dumbo), Wiley Valentine and Dauphine Press. The books I saw would make deciding on just one quite difficult. Some are sweet and whimsical & others simply gorgeous and elegant. We talked about how nice it is to not only look at selections, but to feel the paper, weight and finish of each. Raegan can meet with you and give you a quote in 2-3 days, itemizing exactly what is included.

*I purchased some cards myself and the one above is by another fave, Dutch Door Press

*Some very funny cards available by Offensive and Delightful (above) and 9 Spot Monk with statements like "Dad Wishes You Were Good at Something" ;D

*Another company I love is Hello Lucky and I had to have "I Stink" above!

*More from the delightful Snow and Graham and Hammerpress above.

*Below are some samples of my cards from Night Owl Paper Goods. I adore their letterpress cards and inventive prints on wood veneer. I gave a friend their precious 2010 critter calendar and it looks like more are in stock :)

*Below is a card by Naoko Stoop for Brown Paper Bag Collection. Darling scenes with hooded girl and tiny bunny :)

Time to celebrate!

This last tip is for all of you interested in starting your own business. Raegan highly recommends New York City Business Solutions entrepreneurial program at The Levin Institute. She took the 6 day boot camp (2 full days a week) *Fast Trac New Venture and says it was "Unbelievable. One of the greatest experiences she's ever had!" *You have to apply and the new deadline is for Feb 2nd-- Get Started!!

Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-7p / Sunday 11a-6p

I hope you enjoyed this story about a gal and a paperie dream ;) She has a lovely store and the course she set for herself seemed destined to happen. As Deepak Chopra would say, "the world organizes itself around your intentions" or is it the Universe? I often wonder if this is true and for Raegan, it sure seems so.

* There are so many wonderful card lines sold here and I couldn't show everything, so I will list some others here-- there's Eggpress, Little Oranges, Modern Printed Matter, LilyWillow, Spitfire Girl, Backyard for Bongo with fun Mad Libs style fill-in-the-blanks by a Brooklyn Heights couple. You should visit their site, if only to check out Bongo, their dog :D

Stop by Papel and take a look at everything for yourself! Website will be up & running soon, too.

xo, Allyn


Carola said...

Hi Allyn,

Really enjoyed your story and the photos. I also love stationery and this store has been in my radar for a while. Unfortunately, each time I walk by, I am either with tons of groceries or with a tired baby... Will make a point to stop by.

Allyn said...

Thanks Carola. Know what you mean, was one of few times I only had couple small bags with me. You'll love it when you get the chance to stop in! Should be around awhile :)

janelorenzo84 said...

Great post Ally! I liked reading about the store's beginnings mixed in with all the nice product shots. I see a visit to Papel in my very near future!

naoko said...

Hi Allyn, PAPEL is a great addition to the neighbor. Thank you so much for introducing my note card! Naoko Stoop

Night Owl Paper Goods said...

Hi Allyn, what a delightful introduction to Raegan and Papel. We do so LOVE her store!

Thanks so much for highlighting our eco-friendly wooden, letterpress and hybrid cards. You are such a sweetheart!

For those readers who may not be in the Papel neighborhood or might like to browse before heading to a local retailer, feel free to pop in and view our entire selection online at With Valentine's Day right around the corner, our LOVE cards are flying off the shelves!

raegan said...

Thank you again for writing this amazing article about my shop Papél New York. You truly captured my story and I am forever grateful.


kristine said...

Great blogging Allyn. You really do such a thorough job of selling Brooklyn, as well as your gorgeous aesthetic!


Related Posts with Thumbnails