Industry Profiles

November 7, 2014 • Kim Baker
Audrey Hoffman

Audrey Hoffman

paper & i

Marshall, Michigan

1. When and how did you start working in this business?

Owning a store has always been a dream, even as I worked in my profession of nursing for more than 30 years. A side passion was always crafting and sending handmade notes or unique stationery via the mail. A year and a half ago I took the leap, with the support of my husband and children, to pursue a dream of owning a stationery and paper gifts, wedding invites (handmade and DIY) and paper crafting store.

2. What are your three top-selling vendors?

Top selling stationery vendors are the unusual and stand alone items — Blackbird Letterpress, Moglea and A Girl of All Work.

3. With so many new product developments, how do you recognize quality and what will work best for your needs?

Quality is the vendor who meets our personal needs for the store we have. They usually have a passion and love for what they do, which shows in their catalog, website and work, and that translates to a positive and happy exchange. I believe that connecting with the owner(s) of the vendor companies via phone and e-mail builds our relationship and translates to our customer satisfaction.

We love working with other small businesses who keep in touch, care about our satisfaction and strive to improve and develop new, thoughtful and quirky products. In a busy world it’s a pleasure to work with such strong, caring individuals. Quality products come from quality people.

4. What trends have you noticed or do you predict for the coming months?

Wall quotes remain a steadfast favorite, along with a new style stationery (by shape or artistic talent), tag, bag or item that speaks aloud. I personally believe that getting to know the customer and learning about their needs and likes allows us to connect them to the perfect products.

5. Please share the most helpful advice you have received.

My parents followed their dream and were entrepreneurs in the insurance business. They loved what they did, and their passion, endless energy and love of their jobs created a wonderful environment to grow a business and be successful. “Customers are our important!” was a usual statement heard around the house while growing up. My parents are my gold standard.

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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