As Dotty about Paper celebrates 16 years of business, our founder and Director, Lisa Forde, takes a look at where it all began.
The Card Gallery (Dotty about Paper's former name) began during the sunny month of June 2004 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Our pretty little town holds a Friday and Saturday market in the High Street. It was here that I began selling handmade cards to local residents and tourists.
Being a stationery addict, and having always wanted to run my own business, it was a match made in heaven. Our small spare room made a great office, and with a phone and a terribly slow internet connection (lots of buzzing and bleeping!), I set about building a website and eBay shop.
At the beginning it was all about passion. I was focused on the designs and quality of what we offered, finding the right price, and trying to create the best experience possible for customers. Very little has changed! These are still our core values. The team and I are still fanatical about the thickness of envelopes, the colours of items matching, and the packaging looking ‘just right’!
My Mum was my first helper, helping to make and pack cards. My husband would also often get roped in as sales started to grow!
Fast-forward 16 years. Add in two premise moves, a team of fifteen more staff, an Amazon shop, and a lovely new brand name, ‘Dotty about Paper’. Now, here we are!
It’s been a wonderful journey, don’t get me wrong. Some years have felt more like a roller-coaster with the ups and downs of running a business, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve helped thousands of customers with stationery for their special celebrations, as well as providing lots of gorgeous desk stationery and, more recently, greeting card ranges. It's something I had wanted to do for many years.
High points have also included recruiting lots of lovely team members (some of whom have been with us for 10 years), plus helping lots of apprentices (nine so far). My husband Brendan has also recently joined the team. We moved into a gorgeous Grade II listed building, which we’ve decorated with bunting and pretty things. Because of this decoration, work feels like a very comfy place!
Sixteen years feels like quite a milestone, especially in the midst of COVID-19! It’s you and all of our customers who have helped us to both survive and achieve so much. Thank you for all of your support, purchases, social likes, and shares... It really does mean so much.