This blog post is a little bit different to usual. I interviewed the lovely Zoë from Pretty Space Shop all about how and why she started her online stationery store and what she loves about it. This is what she told me about what its like to have your own online stationery store. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own stationery shop? Read on to find out.
Hi Zoë, great to finally interview you! Could you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi everybody! I’m Zoë, a 25 year old creative entrepreneur based in New Orleans. Alongside being the owner of Pretty Space, I’m a devoted dog-mom to Beans, and I enjoy nothing more than meeting new people. I believe friendship is the spice of life, and am always seeking to surround myself with positive, like-minded people.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I tell people, “I had no business starting a business.” I jumped into this having never taken a single business course, graduated from Earlham College in 2015 with a dual degree in English and Women’s Studies. My credentials don’t exactly scream ‘business owner’. With that in mind, after college I worked in higher education as support staff for a scholarship program. I adored my work and my students, but my introduction to office life was far less glamorous than I had expected. Pretty Space was started from pondering a simple idea – that office products shouldn’t be so boring.
I believe your workspace or office should fill your cup, spark joy, and inspire creativity. Most people don’t think much about the traditional boring office supplies – the bland hourly calendar, the black mesh pencil cups, the professional, yet snooze-worthy decor. But if we consider how much time we spend in our office spaces, it seems crazy that we’d settle for anything other than our ideal. I began Pretty Space with a mission to bring colorful, exciting, and surprising professional products to anybody who was ready to say “bye” to boring work spaces.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
When I tell people I’m a business owner, they often respond with things like, “wow that’s so exciting.” While it definitely is exciting, I wasn’t prepared for all the back-end logistical work is took to run a business. Learning about the tax code for a business and navigating the complex world of digital marketing have been my biggest challenges. I’ve learned SO MUCH since starting Pretty Space – it’s truly been the most rewarding educational experience of my life. The “boring” part about running a business (tax codes, accounting, data analytics, etc) have been my biggest hurdles. I thrive on the creative aspect of my business – product development, social media marketing, design, etc, and learning all the complexities of business hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.
What have been your best ‘wins’?
Honestly, my biggest win has been my belief in my own self. Starting a business is incredibly intimidating, especially since I had no history in the field. Lots of people have dreams of starting their own businesses, but actually making concrete steps to bring ideas to fruition is the first and biggest challenge of any entrepreneur. The day I launched Pretty Space in November of last year, I remember sitting on my porch and just thinking “Wow- I did it.” Of course that was only the start of the work, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to pour my soul into something as big as this.
My greatest win has been the simple belief in my own capability. I’m a living example that if I can do this, anybody can.
Have you always been a stationery lover?
Absolutely! I’ve always adored stationery and products of the like. I remember in 10th grade history class, I decided to start playing with different colors in my lecture notes to make them more engaging. That was the start of a lifelong love of creative writing tools, sticky notes, and chic office supplies. I love surrounding myself with colorful and creative tools, and my personal office reflects that passion for stationery.
What’s your favourite piece of stationery that you sell in your Pretty Space shop?
That’s a difficult question! I LOVE our Never Brand of products – they’re the cutest stationery sets with the some of the best designs I’ve seen in this industry. For example, we carry the Never Marble series, which is composed of faux marble essentials, like staplers, notebooks, and pencil cases. Each series has products with a matching design, and they’re my favorite way of having an eye-catching cohesion in a workplace. We carry a few of each series including a floral design (“Rosebush Series”) and a rose gold line (“Rose Gold Series”).
Obviously your shop is digital based, but do you still use analogue methods like writing lists for example to help you with your business?
I will always be a task list writer. One of our best selling lines is our ring planners, and I’m very proud that we’re helping people carry on non-digital ways of staying organized. I’m old-fashioned in the sense that I don’t believe anything can replace just simple pen and paper. I use our daily planners religiously and it’s my favorite way of keeping my life in order.
Why do you think we love stationery so much?
I think stationary blends a few things that people love – it uses aesthetic pieces to cultivate a sense of productivity. If there’s something I’ve learned in this business, it’s that people love feeling like their life is in order, both personally and professionally. Stationery allows us to enact control over our lives in a very aesthetic way. For example, a matching stationery set can transform a boring office into a unique and colorful space, and that inspiration will in turn motivate us to be more productive.
What are some of your current favorite stationery trends?
I’m still wrapped in the world of rose gold and marble, even though I know that trend is dying. And nature inspired stationery! I love some succulent-themed supplies!
What do you think the next big thing is in the stationery world?
I think there’s a big push right now for people to return to old fashioned methods of keeping organized. It seems everywhere I look, I see new niche-focused daily planners popping up. I think more and more people are realizing that while our smartphones are excellent tools, pen and paper organization really can’t be replicated. I think we’re going to continue to see this trend grow alongside the boom of the digital world.
Have you got any big plans for Pretty Space? What would be your ultimate goal for your business?
I adore what I’ve created alongside our followers at Pretty Space. My ultimate goal would be to have an inclusive and supportive community of women (and anybody else!) who have a passion for creative workspaces. Building a business isn’t just about providing excellent products. While that’s certainly a cornerstone of a successful business it’s really the story the brand tells that’s important. I hope to share more of my life, even the not so glamorous parts, with our growing community. I love engaging with followers and hearing other’s experiences with how stationery has changed their world, and I’d love for Pretty Space to be a larger community focused on uplifting others through our work.
Check out Pretty Space here and find your new favourite piece of stationery!