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The Business of Stationery with Paper Gold Co

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Katie Almazan is the Founder and Designer of The Paper Gold Co. She is a proud wife and stay-at-home mommy to two amazing boys Julian (2) and Jordan (6).  Katie found her passion for carving and creativing stamps two years ago, and began selling her custom designs on Etsy with the goal of being able to work from home. The Paper Gold Co quickly grew into a thriving online business with an international following. They lovingly donate 15% of their profits to local and global charities and families.

Katie will be teaching a session during our live online workshop, The Business of Stationery. The workshop will give you an inside look at how three stationery designers built their career from the ground up. We interviewed Katie about how she started her business, and asked her to share some advice for other people interested in starting a stationery business.

What is the name of your business? And what do you do?
Our business name is The Paper Gold Co and we specialize in custom and predesigned lasered and hand-carved stamps. We also offer logo design and branding services as well.

When did you start your business? What inspired you to do so?
The business started about 2 years ago after my son was born- however not intentionally. Being home with a brand new baby boy was absolutely amazing- I was truly soaking up every part of him. However this was my first time being out of the workforce and I began to get a little stir-crazy. I needed something to keep me feeling normal and not just like a house slave/feeding machine. Since I loved making handmade cards, I figured I would make them in-between feedings and his naps. A friend of mine I went to high school with, Molly had just started selling handmade goodies on Instagram. I thought it was such a great idea so I began selling my cards since I was getting some good feedback on them from family and friends. I began only on Instagram and was spending loads of money on stamps to create these cards. My husband after seeing how much stamps cost, suggested that I learn how to hand-carve my own stamps. I thought he was out of his mind! I completely disregarded what he said and went on my merry way. But of course that’s not the end of the story.

 A few days later I was at one of my favorite local craft stores and guess what had just arrived- stamp carving kits! I could have sworn my husband was in cohorts with the store. I let out a good laugh and bought it to humor my husband. Excited to see what this was about, I opened it up that night and gave it a try. 

It was as if the stars aligned, carving into the soft rubber instantaneously became this magnetic passion of mine. Proud of my creation, I posted a picture on my owl stamp on my card Instagram account. Within hours some other businesses were asking if I could carve THEM a stamp. I was blown away! New to this whole carving thing, I agreed. Fast forward two years later and we are now a full-blown stamp company selling not only hand-carved stamps but also laser engraved stamps, designs, and more!

Did you always know this would become a full-time business?
Absolutely not! I really was just trying to find some sort of creative outlet. Little did I know that what started as posting pictures on Instagram of my crafting would turn into a business. Once I began to see the positive feedback from our stamps, I decided that this was what I wanted to pursue and gave it everything I had.

How did you find your first customers?
I will elaborate more on this in the workshop, but I began to follow and become interested in other creative shops and artists. I wanted to become a part of the handmade community that I admired for so long. As I became interested in others, they became interested in our work and that is how our customer base initially started. Our customers were found through social media and majority still are today.

How did you come up with your first product idea?
We originally began by selling handmade cards- something that I had done as a hobby since I was young. As I was creating these cards, I would constantly use stamps. As my stamp collection grew, my interest in them increased. My husband gets all the credit for suggesting I create my own stamps! Our business didn’t start the typical way so our product ideas were more organic rather than planned.

 

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How often do you launch new products?
How many products do you carry today? We have been working with some really incredible artists from all over the country in our collaborative stamp collections. We are now releasing new products monthly and sometimes biweekly. We always try and keep our shop fresh with new stamp designs so we can keep our customer’s interest and give them something to look forward to! We now carry over 150 different stamp designs.

Where are your products sold?
Our stamps can be found at Once Around and soon to be at DISPLAY. We function primarily online however do numerous pop-up shops in the Sacramento area as well!

What type of marketing activities have had the biggest impact on your business?
My mom and step-dad both own their own business so a lot of our marketing advice and tips come from them who have been in business for over 25 years. They are an incredible source of information and advice and have so much wisdom to share. Other than that, connecting with other creative’s has been so inspiring and helpful!

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own stationery business?
Don’t give up. There are so many learning experiences both good and difficult that will surface once you begin. But remember, great things take time, work, a little bit of letting go, a touch of tribulation, and a whole lot of grace.  Stay true to your passion and why you wanted to begin in the first place and realize each journey is unique. Also don’t forget to sleep and have fun. That’s a big one! 😉

Katie will be teaching a session during our live online workshop, The Business of Stationery. The workshop will give you an inside look at how three stationery designers built their career from the ground up. We interviewed Katie about how she started her business, and asked her to share some advice for other people interested in starting a stationery business. Sign up here.

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