December 10, 2017
Industry Profile: Lion in the Sun
Melinda Morris | Lion in the Sun, owner
Tell us a little bit about the history of your business. I opened the Park Slope shop in 2002 after a career in nonprofit event planning. I realized that there was a real need in the neighborhood for a great paperie with cards and gifts and stationery and especially custom printing. There were so many young couples in this growing neighborhood and I knew they needed to go somewhere for wedding invitations and birth announcements. From day one I have made it a mission to focus on local artists and new and emerging brands, not all local. Offering a curated selection of small growing designers along with the more classic stationery manufacturers is where we have set ourselves apart. Fifteen years later, we are proud to still be the go-to in brownstone Brooklyn for quality design and printing with really well educated staff and exceptional customer service.
Describe your retail neighborhood. Park Slope has a wonderful small town feel within the City of New York. As a historic neighborhood of primarily small brownstones, stores tend to have smaller footprints and therefore cater to more mom and pop shops, although this has changed dramatically in the last five years. We do also have Prospect Park/Grand Army Plaza, a large hospital and two large schools close by, so we also get a lot of shoppers from other neighborhoods and tourists. I have always been so proud to live here and contribute to the community and the neighbors repay us with that same loyalty. They really support the privately owned businesses and are appreciative of a well curated selection that they can’t find in the big box retailers.
What kind of a product mix do you carry? We focus primarily on paper and related goods, greeting cards, gift wrap, stationery, prints, notebooks and journals and desk/office items. But we also carry gift items such as tote bags, candles, small jewelry and accessories and books
What is your store’s specialty? We specialize in custom printing unique and very personalized designs and printing for special occasions like weddings, parties and Bar and Bat mitzvahs. 60% of our business is focused on all elements of custom designed and printing related items.
What is your favorite part of owning a store? Being able to curate my own vision of what I think people will enjoy and make them happy, of fulfilling a need, of supporting other small businesses and independent artists as well as being a voice for support and change locally and globally. I love that I can express my focus on items (cards, books, gifts) that maybe raise money for a cause I care about and think are important to support or that give a shout out to social justice issues and supports and educates at the same time (sometimes with a sense of humor, which always helps).