In January 2020, Victoria Venturi, founder and creative director of Paper Epiphanies, was enjoying a great trajectory with her fiery, distinctive letterpress cards and stationery. Her designs were in over 2000 stores across the country, thanks to the pithy feminist humor and wisdom that put Paper Epiphanies on the stationery map.
By April, more than 95% of those retailers had closed, and Venturi’s accounts receivable was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, a spike in direct to consumer orders showed that her cards — and perspective — were still in demand. Victoria ignored all conventional retail wisdom and opened her flagship in Portland, Oregon.
Venturi lavished attention on every last detail. Most important was “a badass card wall,” she explained. “Without a doubt that was the MUST HAVE that trumped everything else. We wanted to create a card wall that was simultaneously familiar and completely new.”
Venturi carefully considers how every last SKU relates to her tagline of “Cards. Gifts. Girl Power” — especially books. “This category choice was a combination of personal interest and a desire to tell a larger story. For us, the books we choose speak for themselves and encourage shoppers to look deeper. As a result, “Books are FLYING,” Venturi enthused.
Accordingly, Venturi’s top three gift products are: This is for the Women Who Don’t Give a F*ck book by Janne Robinson; Neon woven baskets from an African women’s coop; and the M.I.L.F. Candle by Fvith. Her top three paper products are: Paper Epiphanies greeting cards; Moglea hand-painted journals; and Paper Epiphanies Boxed Letterpress Notecards.
Watching customers has informed Paper Epiphanies’ evolution, Venturi observed. “We often get asked for more product for people with cancer. It’s a sad reality, but support and sympathy is a growing category for us. Aside from that, we listen by watching what people buy: Follow the money.”
Looking ahead, Venturi plans to focus on growing her ecommerce business exponentially this year, and hopes to open a second location in 2023.