CUSTOMERS have been known to tear up at specialty stationery shop Honest Paper.
The simple but thoughtful messages that adorn the gift cards in the Junction Fair shop can be moving in a good way, and that’s the whole point, say Honest Paper founders Gabi Graham and Bella Cauchi.
“I don’t think people are around kindness as much as they should be,” says Mrs Cauchi, who has offered her shoulder to many a customer.
“When you encourage people to go down that path, they start to write on cards and really go out of their way.
“A gift doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, it might be a message in a card, it’s the simple art of giving, how it used to be.
“Giving can be a joyful thing, fun and silly too.”
Life celebration is key at Honest Paper, which describes itself as Newcastle’s only specialist stationery store.
Mrs Cauchi and Mrs Graham met via their church group about five years ago and soon Mrs Cauchi agreed to mentor her younger friend in graphic design and, more specifically, in printed products.
“I had started a business at 17 doing graphics for friends and I was working in that field when we met,” says Mrs Cauchi.
In late 2014 the two women, by then sole traders of their own graphics’ businesses, decided to ditch their safe office jobs on a whim to start Honest Paper, debuting their merchandise at The Olive Tree markets.
“It was like ‘what if we can make money from greeting cards,” says Mrs Cauchi.
“In two weeks we registered the business and rallied our husbands and said ‘we are going to do this’.”
The feedback from market patrons was strong and the women realised there was a niche for “beautiful, simple and encouraging stationery”.
“A lot of stationery is basic, with messages like Happy Birthday, but our cards are blank, we want to leave room for people to write and put meaning into their messages,” says Mrs Cauchi.
After a year doing the markets, the women leaped at a chance to open their store at Junction Fair in March.
The heart of the shop is to inspire people to go beyond the “standard” with their giving, to help people to encourage more, bless more and give in a meaningful way.
Honest Paper stocks stationery including cards, gift wrap, office stationery, diaries, notebooks and gift ideas including candles and art. Many items are designed in-house, most are locally made and all stock is hand-picked by the women.
“Most of the brands we've discovered ourselves and purchase directly from the artist/designer: it makes for a very beautiful range,” says Mrs Cauchi.