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Small Business Spotlight: Effie’s Paper brings the power of connection to this year’s holiday season

For founder Kalyn Johnson Chandler, having the perfect stationery meant more than having a visual backdrop for her handwritten letters. It was an opportunity to deeply connect with loved ones in a way that reflected her personal values.

Stationery has always been central to Kalyn’s life – one might even say it’s ingrained in her DNA.

During her childhood, Kalyn’s grandmother Effie worked at a greeting card company and would often come home with new paper, ribbons, and supplies, which fostered Kalyn’s love for all things stationery at a young age.

Cut to several years later, in the midst of planning for her wedding, Kalyn realized she was missing one vital element: the perfect stationery for her invitations. One London-based graphic designer, an India-based printer, and several paper designs later, Kalyn was able to create the perfect wedding stationery suite that relayed the same joy and excitement she had for her big day.

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This experience lingered with Kalyn as she sat down to write her thank you notes six months later, but the stationery she was writing on didn’t fill her with the same magic spark. Her answer: If she couldn’t find it, she would make it herself. In honor of her grandmother’s legacy, Effie’s Paper was born in 2011, with the mission of creating beautiful stationery for women and their everyday lives that reflected the power of personal connection.

But turning her vision into a reality proved to be more challenging than it seemed. While her transition out of corporate America after a decade-long career as a lawyer gave her the skills she needed to start a business, she lacked the technical graphic design skills to create her products. As a short-term solution, she worked closely with a graphic designer to create her first 10 stationery designs.

Shortly after, Kalyn set out to test consumer demand at a national women’s convention in her hometown of Detroit, armed with 200 boxes of brand new stationery. By the end, she had completely sold out.

As Kalyn grew her business, she also grew her graphic design skills through online lessons and networking with other industry professionals. Before she knew it, she had the tools and resources to not only create beautiful stationery, but also expand her offerings into unique accessories for work, travel, and everyday style.

At first, Kalyn believed the common misconception that small business management would be easy. In reality, it was everything but. With lots of moving parts – from maintaining the website to managing orders and product inventory – the processes Kalyn created to run Effie’s Paper were complex. To help simplify her business and take it to the next level, Kalyn participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2018, where she was first introduced to QuickBooks® Online.

Today, Kalyn uses QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Payments to streamline her ordering and invoicing processes. With QuickBooks, Kalyn can easily keep track of her online orders and business costs with automated reports and easy-to-understand data. This was especially important during the last year, allowing her to shift her time and attention towards managing new challenges brought on by the pandemic, such as supply chain delays, shipping, and product production.

Effie’s Paper is featured in the QuickBooks small business holiday shopping guide that makes it easier for shoppers to find fun and unique gifts for their loved ones, while supporting small businesses at the same time.

Effie’s Paper is a go-to source for gifts that are elegant and engaging. To shop from Effie’s Paper, visit the guide here.

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