Lovely Paperie & Gifts brings curated, sentimental gifting to Cleveland
Kate Fortney Horne knows how to lead a business with heart.
In 2013, Horne, a young graduate living in Chicago at the time, found herself at a crossroads: She was looking for a career change, and her dad was sick. Horne decided to come home to Cleveland, and that’s when the magic began.
As a Chicagoan, Horne loved the city’s shopping scene. She also recognized an unfilled space for similar shops in the Cleveland area. After moving back home, she founded Lovely Paperie & Gifts — situated just west of Cleveland in the charming city of Rocky River, Ohio.
“I felt Cleveland needed a gift shop like the one I was aspiring to open, and the perfect corner retail space happened to open up on the same weekend I was visiting Cleveland, I snagged that location right away and I was on my way to opening Lovely,” Horne said.
She added: “When I say the stars aligned, it was more than just the retail space opening up. My condo in Chicago sold right away, and I closed on Oct. 31, 2013. We got the keys for the retail store on Nov. 1, 2013 — perfect timing. I met my now husband a few weeks after moving home, and I was home for the last year of my dad’s life. My dad, an entrepreneur himself, helped me get my business off the ground and taught me a lot about starting a business in general.”
If one thing’s certain, it’s that Horne was spot on in her observation that demand was high for a gift shop like hers in Cleveland. Excitement from shoppers brewed, and Lovely was named “best gift shop” by Cleveland Magazine in 2014.
Lovely features a wide range of items for shoppers, including apparel, accessories, home décor, tabletop and stationery — just to name a few. It carries lines such as nora fleming, Lilly Pulitzer, Rifle Paper Co., Ink & Alloy and more.
For Horne, life has always been about celebrating, and her goal at Lovely is to do the same.
“We believe that clients can find something for almost every occasion at Lovely,” she said. “We have wedding, birthday, anniversary, retirement, new job, graduation and more — something for every occasion.”
When a customer enters Lovely, they simply can’t miss its massive, iconic card wall. Horne said she goes about sourcing greeting cards for Lovely in a variety of ways, including attending markets, visiting representatives, wholesale websites and even Instagram. She explained she is always on the lookout for a good card, no matter where she is.
The wall includes greeting cards to commemorate just about every moment of life, including the more painful moments such as divorce or death. Its selection includes serious and inspirational cards, as well as those that trigger a belly laugh from customers.
“We try to cover all the occasions to send a card — even the ones that are hard to send — and we look for cards that will start the conversation that the gifter will continue when they write their message,” Horne explained. “We love a good letterpress card or when they include something a little extra like envelope liner or gold foil. We want unique designs, messages and high-quality papers.”
BABYCAKES CHILDREN’S BOUTIQUE
As Horne continued to invest into Lovely’s gift selection, she noticed — both through customer sentiments and her own personal experience — that baby and plush items were in high demand.
In 2017, she expanded Lovely into a larger space just a few doors down and used the original location to house its newly founded sister business: Babycakes Children’s Boutique, a store entirely dedicated to adorable clothing, accessories and gifts for babies and children.
The store offers unique items such as bamboo clothing and BPA-free toys, and it carries lines from Jellycat, The Beaufort Bonnet Company, Copper Pearl and more.
“I had just had my son in October 2016 and knew the need for a baby store,” Horne said. “I used my experience as a new mom to help fill the store with unique, high-quality baby items. I have three children now; being a mom to three young kids helps me find better merchandise for Babycakes, because I use my life experiences with my kids to buy for the stores and for planning events, too.”
A DECADE OF GROWTH
Reflecting on the last decade since Lovely’s founding, it’s apparent that the store grew up, evolved and blossomed in tandem with Horne’s own life.
Between moving, grieving, falling in love and raising a family, the heart that Horne has poured into Lovely’s and Babycakes’ selection is tangible through its products. From the most celebratory highs of life to its deepest lows, Horne is passionate about offering something to commemorate the situation.
“My dad always told me, ‘First find something you are passionate about and love to do; then, find a way to make money doing it,” Horne said. “The stars aligned when I decided to take my love for shopping and open Lovely Paperie & Gifts.”