The Stationery Cupboard
Not content with one business here at the Eco Village, lovely Charlie has two!
Already the owner of The Conscious Sewist, Charlotte saw a gap in the market when setting up her Sewist space here at the Village. With three weeks to go before opening and a blur of orders, meant a brand new venture for Charlie into the world of magazines, greetings cards, craft supplies, and beautiful eco stationery. And oh, how we adore them.
How it all began for The Stationery Cupboard.
As with almost everything here at the Village, most ideas start with a random conversation with The Beths!
After working for, and with, Refill Revolution for a number of years, Charlie was heavily involved with setting up the Eco Village (and with most other things since, she can't say no!).
An entwined love affair with Paperchase for many a year meant Charlie has always had a healthy obsession with good stationery, combined with a keen eye for beautiful design.
Charlie follows a fantastic low-waste ethos at home (she is the creator of household reusable textiles, after all), and was perpetually frustrated with the ongoing battle with her children and kids magazines. Namely, with the wasteful 'free' plastic gifts given away on the front, all locked within an outer plastic wrapper.
Telling The Beths they really needed someone stocking plastic-free magazines, and probably some hoodoo magic from Beth L later, lead to Charlie thinking "I could do that." And off she went to look into it. Three weeks before the Eco Village opened. Sure.
A little research, some beautiful discoveries and a few orders later, The Stationery Cupboard launched on the Eco Village opening day!
Why the Eco Village?
As we know, Charlie was in from the beginning. She loved the concept, recognised the need for more sustainable shopping options, and was excited about the potential.
What started as a shared unit space with Planet Picnic on opening day, Charlie stocked a small range of plastic-free magazines, and some brown paper tape, and has rapidly grown from there. RAPIDLY!
Soon outgrowing the shared space, The Stationery Cupboard now frequents a whole corner of the Village, and is now bursting at the seams here, too!
The range has expanded to include a whole host of incredibly beautiful stationery, craft supplies, and a greeting card range like no other in Market Harborough. Aimed at adults and kids alike, each item provides an outlet for other artisans, makers, and small businesses; all with beautiful designs, colours and features.
With her range, Charlie is searching for the perfect, triangular, eco-focused, formation -
- Beautiful things created with great style.
- Ethically produced.
- Products with a longer lifespan.
So, The Stationery Cupboard is about beautiful things, sure. But it's not about following the latest fashion trends, but about items with a much deeper thought process. Something that is considered, has connection, and isn't mass-produced in volume resulting in a greater level of waste.
Sustainability factors for The Stationery Cupboard.
The beginnings of The Stationery Cupboard meant a focus on magazines in the first instance. It is extremely important to Charlie that the publications she stocks, particularly the ones for children, are gender neutral and diverse. Her wish is for the business to empower people, champion positive changes, and be fully reflective of wider cultures and experiences.
Charlie has spent many an hour since launching The Stationery Cupboard researching and working with her suppliers to ensure her range is as sustainable and low-waste as possible, all from fully ethically-sound businesses.
The crayons she stocks are made from FSC Certified wood, and she ensures all greetings cards are without cellophane sleeves, or with a biodegradable alternative instead.
Supporting UK artists, and local makers wherever possible, Charlie checks that the products are UK-made too, and not just designed here which can often be the case.
A recent addition to the range is some children's modelling clay made from renewable raw materials, and packaged in cardboard rather than plastic pots. (It's great too, doesn't dry out and flake everywhere - absolute winner!).
Charlie is the first to admit this isn't an easy process, by making mistakes, learning, and finding alternative solutions she is really making headway on challenging her suppliers too.
Horrified to see her first delivery arrived completely shrink-wrapped, Charlie is working with suppliers to ensure plastic isn't used for other stockists either. Something we have huge respect for here at the Village. These small steps to change make a huge collective difference and is the greatest way forward in our humble opinion.
Future goals for The Stationery Cupboard.
Although she'd NEVER agree, Charlie is an entrepreneur. Someone that can see a gap and start a retail business in three weeks is a true entrepreneur in our eyes!
Hesitant about future plans; the first year of trading (also during a global pandemic) has meant these twelve months have been something of a whirlwind for The Stationery Cupboard. Coupled with running (and stitching all the stock for) The Conscious Sewist, having a family, plus a side-order of homeschooling, means Charlie is looking for a calmer second year with the business.
Following such a rapid expansion, Charlie would now like to focus and ensure all basics are covered properly, before any future growth.
And we almost believe her. Almost.
More things you probably didn't know about Charlie...
- Charlie has two kids, a dog, and a husband.
- Charlie gave birth to her second child on the lounge floor. Luckily it was her own lounge, or that could have been awkward.
- She can knit, and is currently making a woolly hat. We think for her, but it depends on how many stitches she drops.
- She used to ride horses and have ponies. And no, she's not like the image that conjures up.
- Charlie used to play the drums. (Told you she's not like you imagined!).
- She played right up until she was 34 weeks pregnant when she had to stop as she could no longer sit on the stool.
How to find The Stationery Cupboard.
The Stationery Cupboard is located in a corner (which is why we all think it's called Stationery Corner, always), directly opposite the entrance into the Main Room. Just keep your eye peeled for beautiful things, and you're there.