In the beginning.....

How it all started…..

I started my official career in Atlanta after graduating from Florida State University. I joined a Federated Department Store called Rich’s. It was an iconic name in Atlanta, having started in 1897 and with 13 of the 23 stores located in Metro Atlanta along with the Corporate Offices and Buying Office.

 

I had interned at the Rich’s store in Birmingham, Alabama while still in college and just loved the history and culture of the company.  I received several job offers during my last semester of school- The Gap, Burdines, Parisian. But Rich’s just felt right.

 I joined the Executive Trainee program in the Fall of 1989 (wow, I sound old). The program was designed to give new management candidates an overview of the buying office and store management before deciding a path. So, it was typical to work 18 months in one area and then transfer to the other side. I started on the buying side as an assistant buyer in Ladies Swimwear.  I learned so much and was lucky to have a buyer that included me in many aspects of the business.

About a year a half later, I became a Department Manager at Lenox Mall in Better Sportswear- this was a high profile department in a high profile store. An “A” store, it was called.  (We had A, B and C stores depending on volume). I LOVED my time in the store- loved my staff, the customers and the merchandising.  I stayed in the stores for a couple of years and eventually found my way back to the buying office, this time in Men’s Dress Shirts. I stayed in the buying office until my decision to leave and move back to Tallahassee in 1995 to open my first retail store, a baby boutique.

You see, my dad had passed away while I was living in Atlanta and suddenly, my priorities shifted.  I wanted to get back home, be closer to my mom and brother and own my own store.  So, my mom and I sat at her kitchen table trying to decide what type of store I should open…. And we tossed around a couple of options, but we kept coming back to a Baby Store. I had worked at a local baby store while in high school, loved the merchandise and there was a real need for one in our city. So, I spent about 6 months planning the store, figuring out the assortment, finding a location, making trips home on the weekends all while working my full time job.  It was A LOT. And while my friends were going out on the weekends, I was pouring over spreadsheets and catalogs. When it was finally time for me to be in Tallahassee and finalize the store, I resigned from my beloved Rich’s and moved home. I felt this huge sense of fear and excitement all at the same time. I was fulfilling a dream- yes- but I was taking a huge risk.

I remember the night before our grand opening. We had advertised for two weeks in the local paper (this was before social media). We had told our friends and family. We had rented a Peter Rabbit costume for a friend to wear. And I couldn’t sleep at all because I was SO worried that no one would come. What if no one came? What if I had just spent all this time and money and no one even showed up? I was so nervous.

But, they did come. They welcomed us and supported us that first day and I knew it would be ok.  It was a great little store with loyal customers and precious boutique finds. I ran that store for 3 years until I got married and wanted to start a family.

So, fast forward about five years….. My husband and I have one son and I am a stay at home mom, but always doing “something” on the side. I kept other children for a while, had a baking business, cleaned houses…. I did a few things while he was young in order to have a flexible schedule but still contribute to our income.  But then, he starts kindergarten.  And I am home most of the day with not enough to do. I’m still cleaning a few houses and being room mom, but I want more. I am not good at sitting still.

I started playing around on the computer, designing invitations. I designed my son’s birthday party invitation. Then a neighbor asked me to design her son’s birthday invite. Then thank you notes…. It all just happened very organically. 

{The Early Days of PDP....Taking a phone order from my home office}

I started thinking bigger and planned a home show- similar to a Pampered Chef party- and it was a success. Then, I offered “hostess benefits” for friends to have a home show.

{Good Friends and MOM...I relied on both heavily for home shows!}

Home Shows gave me the confidence to do bigger shows, like Junior League shows and larger craft-type shows.  My wonderful mom would help me load up our car and set up our booth…it was very grueling work, but we always had such a positive response.

{ A Junior League Show Booth}

Finally, I took the leap to open a physical location for my stationery business. We started SMALL with a one room "studio" above another store.   

{The first store space...so small, but a good start}

And here we are, 7 years later.

Our assortment has grown to include many different types of personalized products, from cutting boards to bath robes, but the core of the business consists of stationery, invitations and all things paper. I love that we get to celebrate life’s moments with our customers- from high school graduation to weddings, baby showers and everything in between. Many customers become our friends and we get to know them in a personal way. 

{These sweet customers brought us presents before they moved to another city}

 

Our tag line “We make it Personal” is so true.

March 01, 2018 — Kim Williams

Comments

Diane Ormerod

Diane Ormerod said:

My sister gave me FSU note cards and personalized note paper for Christmas. I loved them! Now I will use your online site to order sorority (Chi O) note pads and more personalized stationary for my friends and family. Love your line of products!

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