Stationery enthusiasts have long been aware of the importance of experiential concepts that retailers are just cottoning on to: slowing down, creating small moments of joy, celebrating beauty and practicality. Independent Christchurch retailer Pepa Stationery shared more with The Register.
Owner Hannah Hutchinson took over the two-year-old business from founder Amy Muir in February. As a core member of the team under Muir, Hutchinson has watched Pepa grow and says she was ready to step in when Muir decided to concentrate on her other businesses and young family.
She ended up taking over the business the same week she got married.
Hutchinson, who has a background in design, says using beautiful stationery to put pen to paper is important in a world where digital communication is so dominant. Writing allows consumers to create a “slow moment” in lives that are fast-paced and stressful.
With Pepa Stationery, she says it’s about creating a space where people can escape busyness into a calm and relaxed environment.
Stationery also allows people to communicate with others and organise their lives, Hutchinson says.
Hutchinson’s immediate goal for the business is to grow its ecommerce arm, and eventually to create Pepa Stationery’s own stationery designed in-house. She also hopes to host intimate events in the store, citing Pepa’s letter-writing initiatives encouraging customers to write to strangers as one of her favourite parts of the business.
“With Pepa, it’s a passion project, it’s what I want to do.”
Hutchinson wants to introduce more sustainability elements to Pepa Stationery, and encourages other retailers to embrace meaning through their businesses.
“Retail is awesome and it’s great to be in this beautiful space and share beautiful goods, but it can be more than that.”