We are going to start highlighting boutique stationery shops around the country that bring beautifully designed goods to their community and we think our first store spotlight deserves some major kudos for their fun environment, fast growth and some major hustle!
PRESSED is on a mission to create brands and images that carry lasting meaning and value and we absolutely LOVE that about them. The owner, Ashley Thompson ended up in North Carolina as a military spouse. When her husband was deployed overseas in 2011, she used it as an opportunity to engage her creative spirit and passion for design by founding PRESSED — a design agency. Pressed has a strong focus on building brands that stand for something and works to connect these unique, purpose-driven businesses with people in the marketplace who are motivated by their stories and mission. Their goal is to connect entrepreneurs with people who live the lifestyle that the brand embodies.
Wanting to go a step further to inspire her community through exposure to design, she opened PRESSED – A Creative Space just last year in historic downtown Fayetteville. It is a mix of uniquely curated and crafted stationery and gift items and also functions as a space to host events and creative workshops. They (like us!) believe in the power of creating time and room for creativity, to empower their community by exploring a new skill, and simply the beauty of hanging out with friends in an inspiring space!
I had the opportunity to ask Ashley a few questions regarding her shop…
You have a background of graphic design which your studio still focuses on, so how did you end up opening your brick and mortar shop?
I started out in design and creating my retail store was really a passion project for me. I always was a fine of stationery, beautiful items, artisan made items, inspiring brands. I love it all! I saw the opportunity to turn this dream into a reality and jumped on it.
How do you choose who to carry when there are so many makers these days?
I choose makers a few ways. I like to find things that are really unique, so my customers get to see things they won’t see anywhere else. I also like brands and companies that have a story behind it. I talk to a lot of the makers I have at the store, and if they have a great story behind what they do, I am much more likely to want to have them in the store, because I get to tell their story to even more people. I also go to handmade markets, art shows, and other unique shops because I am always on the lookout for the next thing that grabs my attention.
What has been your favorite creative workshop you hosted?
I love our Calligraphy workshop! There are so many things you can do with calligraphy and it is a great skill to have!
What has been the biggest blessing and challenge of opening up a retail location?
The biggest blessing has been the overwhelming positive feedback I have gotten. I have gotten emails from customers I never knew before, telling me how much they love my store. For them to take the time out of their day to write me, just to tell me how much they like the shop is so humbling. The first email I got like that is actually printed and hanging in my office. It is really what keeps me going!
The biggest challenge has been the hours. I have been working from 9 in the morning until midnight for about 7 days a week since we opened. I spend a lot of time in my store because I love it, but there have been a lot of really long days keeping up with how quickly our store is growing. It is a lot different from working from home, like I used to do. I actually have to put some pants on and go into work!
You awesomely host our product, how do you feel your customers respond to it?
Our 6.25 Paper section is where all the fun happens! Whenever I hear people laughing out loud I know they are looking through all the 6.25 Paper cards. It brings a smile to everyone’s face and is just a fun part of the store to be in! That is what drew it to me so much, it is funny in a way that it says what everyone is thinking but doesn’t always say out loud …. or in a card!