Retailer Spotlight: Ladyfingers Letterpress, Colorado Springs
Ladyfingers Letterpress, Arley-Rose Torsone and Morgan Calderini, owners
“Being able to see the presses where the cards are printed is a big selling point.”
— Arley-Rose Torsone, co-owner
At Ladyfingers Letterpress, customers happily browse in the store to the sound of presses whirring in the background. The downtown Colorado Springs shop opened in June 2016. In the five years of business before launching the retail space, Ladyfingers had functioned as a design and letterpress studio that produced custom and wholesale work from a location that was not open to the public.
“We had operated our business from five different studios in two states before landing our permanent flagship retail and studio location on East Bijou Street,” Torsone said.
Owners Morgan Calderini and Torsone met while working at an arts nonprofit in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2007. Morgan started the community print shop and Torsone was the in-house graphic designer. After a few years of working together, they knew they had something special when their very own wedding invitations went viral in 2011. They officially launched Ladyfingers in the month after their wedding, and their custom wedding invitation business quickly grew. Clients often returned searching for letterpress stationery and other paper goods, so in 2013, Ladyfingers Letterpress debuted their line of greeting cards at the National Stationery Show. Their line has expanded over the years to include a list of over 600 retailers, including their flagship location in Colorado Springs.
The shop employs three people, including the two owners. “At one point we had seven employees and we quickly learned that we preferred a much smaller operation,” Torsone said. “When we first got started, we were under the impression that having a lot of employees and growing very quickly was a sign of success, but since then we have discovered that being a large company does not equate happiness for us.” (This can be cut if needed.)
Located in bustling downtown Colorado Springs, among many retail businesses and restaurants, they are perpendicular to the main shopping artery known as Tejon Street. “Our block of East Bijou Street has experienced a particularly exciting growth spurt, thanks to a grant from the Downtown Partnership (of Colorado Springs) to renovate many of the storefronts, as well as a few new businesses and residential enterprises that have sprung up since we moved in,” Torsone said. “In what was once a dull area that we were warned we’d never have any business if we relied on foot traffic, we’re experiencing a continuous flow of both new and returning customers.”
The Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs does an amazing job of igniting interest and bringing foot traffic downtown. There are always events happening and initiatives to invite people downtown to experience the local flavor that only small businesses have to offer.
Operating a design studio and letterpress shop in the same open air as the retail location makes for a unique mix that shoppers enjoy. “Being able to see the presses where the cards are printed is a big selling point. We also host events such as gallery openings and special markets that help build community around our shop,” Torsone said.
The best part of operating a retail store, both owners agree, is getting to meet the people who love their work, and seeing their reactions to the new products.
Best-Sellers at Ladyfingers Letterpress
- Home Décor: Prints by Paper Ghost and Cavallini
- Kitchen: McBeard Ceramics
- Stationery & Greeting Cards: Ladyfingers Letterpress
- Apparel & Accessories: The Universe Conspires (Jewelry)
- Candles & Home Fragrances: Tatine
- Baby & Kids: Pipilo Road
- Miscellaneous: Buttons by The Beedle