Back in Virginia, my office was a few blocks away from Rock Paper Scissors. I'd often take walks down to the store, to shake out my brain and inspire it with their oh-so-clever card lines. Of course, I'd do some aromatherapy—sniff a few candles—too.
When we moved to New Orleans, one of the things I missed was popping into the shop for the perfect card. Because they always had the perfect card.
As I got deeper into the details of launching, building and running Hem + Haw, I came to admire what Dani and Heather have created with RPS even more than appreciating their store product selection and service.
We're thrilled to launch out into the world from the floors of Rock Paper Scissors, surrounded by beautiful things and people, on October 13. Hope you're coming!
What's your favorite thing about running RPS together?
Dani: I think Heather and I are really fortunate as business partners in that, while we have a lot of similarities as far as taste and overall aesthetic, our strengths are in different areas which allow us to have pretty clearly defined roles. All the while it makes our business that much stronger than if we were just one person.
Heather: Yes, some days I play good cop and she plays bad cop; other days, I play bad cop and she plays good cop. But many of our decisions are group decisions, and we're usually in agreement, which is perfect because it makes us feel extra confident in our answer. We've been asked before what happens when we don't agree — well, we talk it out. And as a result, we typically have a much more thought-out response or answer, which just strengthens our business — it's a win-win.
Dani: Yes, having a business partner takes a little bit of the stress off. It's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
What do you love about being in the stationery biz?
Heather: The number of people who walk in our door and say, "i think i'm the last person who writes letters anymore"...so if lots of people are saying that, it means that A LOT of people still write letters!! One of the neat things about living in an increasingly digital world is that sending cards or a thank you note carries that much more meaning. I like doing something that has meaning.
Dani: On the custom side, I really enjoy working with a bride from start to finish — on save-the-dates to wedding invitations to "day of" materials. I love the initial meeting — either in person or on the phone, where we dive into how a couple a met, or the floral decor for the wedding, or the pattern in a family heirloom china set, or the lace overlay of the bride's mom's dress... we use these details to weave it into the fabric of their story, so to speak, and the resulting wedding invitation suite. It's rewarding to have such a creative outlet; and i always look forward to where the next bride will take me on her journey.
What are some of the big lessons you've learned since taking ownership of RPS?
Heather: Being an entrepreneur is hard work! I have such a bigger appreciation for my dad and all of his years running his business. But there are lots of adages you could surmise from running a business. My dad, an architect and general contractor, used to say, "Measure twice, cut once." In our business, the equivalent is "Proof twice, print once." Communication is also extremely important.
Dani: It can be hard in a detail-oriented business to let go of the little things, but i think it's important to step back and see the forest for the trees. Sometimes we get so locked in on one thing that maybe didn't go exactly as planned, but usually that turns into happy little accident that enhances some other detail! And I think we've both learned that it's essential to take time away in order to "recharge" the creative tank.
Got some recommendations for cool fall products folks should look for/you're selling?
Heather: Of course! The holidays are around the corner so we're gearing up and getting in TONS of product!! How do i pick just a few? I'll try to focus: for the upcoming Presidential Elections, we have some pretty hilarious chewing gum — 2 versions of course, 1 with someone vomiting into a toilet that says, "I kissed a Republican" and then the opposite, "I kissed a Democrat"; and also pack of business-card sized handouts that say "vote."
We have some great items that would compliment a Thanksgiving table setting, including place cards, Thanksgiving "crackers," and cards that say "i am thankful for..." that give space to be grateful! Plus tons of 2017 wall calendars are coming in, 2 of my faves: Rifle paper co constellations, and Idlewild Ladies of Literature.
Dani: i think Heather's covered it! I do love the simplicity of the Appointed wall calendar! And i'm selfishly pleased that we now sell micron pens, since i often use them to draw.