I have always been envious of people who know from an early age what they want to be when they grow up. They hold a sense of confidence in their purpose. You know the people I am referring to, the ones that can tie their career and success to something they have been doing since they were a small child.
But, what I have recently realized is that I have no reason to envy those people, I am already part of their club (and maybe you are too!).
“How can you be so sure,” you may be asking? Let me explain how I started to pull the pieces of my life and my love of stationery together.
Perhaps you have read the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek or seen one of his TED Talks,“; which ranks as one of the three most popular TED Talks of all time. After you listen, you will understand why it is so popular. Simon’s message is simple, “people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the ‘WHY’ behind it.”
I get asked all the time “why” I started Hampton Paper Designs. I can tell you my face lights up, and my demeanor changes as I launch into the story of “why” I started Hampton Paper. The full story is here but in summary, my response begins with how I was looking for stationery for my newborn son, Jackson, and unfortunately, I couldn’t really find what I was looking for. I ended up purchasing a few things, and “truth be told,” I didn’t love them, and they were expensive. I wanted something uncluttered and classic. I wanted something that reflected my personal style, understated and simple, yet timeless.
On a whim, I decided to create my own line. Hampton Paper Designs started with an idea to create something I couldn’t find in the market, and over time I expanded the product line and portfolio on that very foundation. As I have mentioned before, many of the products were inspired by my children and my own life. I wanted to plan a party for my children where I could have the invitation match the “thank you” notes and the stickers for the goodie bags. I wanted to be able to simplify the party planning process without compromising style. I wanted gift giving to be personal and elegant because everyone loves something with their name on it. I know. As a new mom, I wanted my kid’s names on everything!
Even today, over 10 years later, nothing brings me more joy than seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they arrive at my house and see there is something that was made just for them with their name on it. I believe what makes a great party are the people. Being surrounded by family and friends is the essence of a great party, and every person that attends should be recognized as a VIP.
My heart warms when a friend tells me that the Hampton Paper made her husband’s retirement party fun and memorable or when I receive emails from my clients (who have become my friends) in May asking when our best selling desk calendar for the following year will be available for purchase. It makes me laugh and beam with pride that they love it so much they want to make sure they order it as soon as possible!
But, one thing I have never shared before is the real reason why I love stationery or that my love of stationery dates back to my early childhood.
I have loved stationery since I was a small child. Even in the 70s and 80s, I was designing stationery. I was a huge investor in “Paper by the Pound” when it came out. If you are not familiar with “Paper by the Pound,” it was released in the 1980s and offered a vast variety of colored paper and envelopes in different shapes and sizes that you could mix and match. Essentially the “paper lovers” version of heaven on earth! (Think Paper Source’s predecessor) The stacks of colored paper made me giddy.
In addition to my love of paper, I also loved stickers. Every penny I had growing up was invested in stickers. I loved the scratch and sniff, the googly-eyed ones, the puffy ones, the sheets that came in a set of 4 for $1.00 at Hallmark. But those all paled in comparison to when I found Ms. Grossman’s. They were my favorite. I can still picture those rolls all lined up at my favorite stores in New York City.
I spent hours buying the supplies, designing stationery and then writing a letter on the card. Because even back then, I took pride in everything I did. Creating something unique and special to present to someone else was very important to me. The design time reflected the level of importance.
So, why was stationery so important to me?
My parents divorced when I was very young, and I didn’t live near my dad. In the 70s and 80s (long before Facebook and Instagram) there were only a few ways to communicate with someone; an in-person visit, a letter or a phone call. You may remember that you used to be charged for “long distance calls,” fees lowered if you made the call after 5:00 or business hours. I still think it’s so funny that there was a charge associated with a phone call!
So, as a small child, letter writing was the primary form of communication I had with my dad who lived hundreds of miles away. And that is the reason I love stationery.
Simply put, stationery isn’t just about writing a letter, it is about connecting with someone. It is, in its purest form, an opportunity to tell someone you are thinking about them, you care about them, you miss them and more.
I still have a copy of what was the first stationery I owned, shown above. I loved those cards mostly because I thought the girl on the front looked like me and that inside of the card was hot pink.
You might be wondering what a 4-year-old child could write in a letter that had any significance. Honestly, most just said “Love, Krissy” which goes back to my point and my “why”, writing letters was really just a way to connect.
My vision for Hampton Paper Designs was to enable other people to create personal connections through letter writing, hosting a party or gifting that could be done easily without compromising style.
Perhaps my story resonates with you. Think for a minute, what have you always loved spending time doing? What was your hobby growing up? Maybe your idea for a business is already in you simply waiting for an opportunity for you to launch it. If so, then you know my next question, What’s preventing you from moving forward?