As we all know, great brands not only create great products, they create a great experience, and Mattie of Puddleduck Paper Co. has done exactly that. Puddleduck is a snail mail shop based out of Athens, Georgia that I have been secretly in love with for a while now. I can't remember exactly, but I am pretty sure that I found this gem of a shop via Instagram and I am so glad I did! I have purchased quite a few pieces from Puddleduck and each time I get a piece of mail from them, I fall in love even more. From the perfect packaging to quality products, Mattie's shop is a go-to when I am in need of a pretty paper parcel. I recently had a chance to chat with the lovely owner, Mattie, to get to know this shop a little better. Here is a little bit from our conversation about Puddleduck and how it has come to be one the most beautiful stationary shops around:
Describe your brand in 7 words or less.
Fresh, modern, fun, simple, cheerful
Where did the name for your shop come from?
As a child, my favorite books were from the Peter Rabbit series by Beatrix Potter. My favorite character was Jemima Puddleduck, which turned into my household nickname. When I opened the shop in college, my mom suggested the name and 9 years later, it still stands!
Why did you decide to open a shop?
I have always been a "maker". I'd rather get my hands dirty and create something than watch TV or read a book. I opened Puddleduck as a way to share these creations with other people and hopefully spread a little joy.
What or who inspires you?
I feel most creative and clear-minded when I'm in the mountains. My husband and I love to hike and camp with our pups and I so hope our dream of owning a little mountain house becomes a reality one day. I am also so inspired by my creative friends. Watching people you love do what fires them up is beautiful. I am so blessed to be surrounded by passionate and wildly-talented women.
What's one thing that no one knows about your shop?
Hmm. I try to be very transparent about my journey, in hopes that it can help other creatives. But, I guess something that no one knows is that this whole adventure stemmed from scrapbooking. I never planned on it becoming anything more than a hobby and would just spend my spare time making memory books and cards with ribbons and stickers. You know, it was a thing back then. I always loved the patterned paper the most. Puddleduck was born when I began creating my own patterns.
What's a typical day for you like?
Working from home is a bear. I think it's what most working adults view as ideal, but it's hard! Separating work life and home life is no easy feat - for me, anyway. Last year, I moved my home office to a shared studio space a few miles away and it has been so wonderful. I try to get out of the house by each morning and spend intentional time in the car preparing my mind for the day. I spend the first hour or so answering emails and then work on commissioned projects until lunch. I keep tabs on my to-do list so I don't get caught up in one task all day. I also try to take time each day to create something just for fun.
What have you learned about yourself since starting your business?
I was just thinking about this the other day. I've learned (among a zillion other things) that I was made for this. I so enjoy weekends with my husband and family/friends, but I am always itching to get back to work on Mondays. I love what I do because it's mine. I have worked in several different realms and I have never felt more alive in my job than I do now. I think that's what we're all striving for, right?
What is your favorite product in your shop?
Probably the You're So Hot Greeting Card. Half of the cards in our collection are those I originally made for my husband and later realized that people loved them. This one makes me smile every time I look at it.
What has been your greatest success so far?
This whole thing, really. I still don't quite believe I do this for a living. My friends and I talk a lot about how we define success. We all agree that no one 'successful' event defines our businesses and that we hope we never 'arrive' at success - if that's even possible. This mindset allows me to maintain a grateful heart and still push myself creatively.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering opening up their own small business (of any kind)?
Jump in! You don't know what you don't know and you won't know until you try. I learned 90% of what I know now by trial and error. You can totally do it. And, if you want it bad enough you'll make it happen. I get lots of questions about starting a creative business and always felt like I was giving blanket answers to very detailed questions. So, a few months ago, I put together a super detailed e-course called Strong Shop with resources, advice and action steps on everything from branding, legalities, and photography to accounting, Etsy shops, and marketing.