Client Profile: Paper & Ink Arts

In 2011, Jennifer Allen was a Middle School teacher who liked her job but was ready for a change. That’s when she had the opportunity to buy Paper & Ink Arts, a wholesaler and online retailer of calligraphy supplies-from inks and paper to custom made pen holders.

Jennifer is part of a growing trend: entrepreneurs who don’t want to build a start-up, but are willing to take over from a founder who is ready to retire. Buying an established business wasn’t free of challenges. From building product knowledge to updating inventory and systems, Jennifer had to strengthen many skill sets during that first year.

Luckily, a large community exists around calligraphy. Jennifer was able to tap into this network during her first year of ownership, when a traveling instructor set up a residency at Paper & Ink Arts. This relationship helped Jennifer improve her skills while learning about the tools and products. She built confidence, which helped her build her business.

Since 2011, Jennifer has grown from 3 to 8 employees by significantly expanding inventory and sales – both nationally and abroad.

This summer Jennifer was a member of our Mastermind book club, which read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. This 6-week course, challenged Jennifer to think about the next phase of her business. What does growth look like? A larger space? A return to offering classes?

Jennifer was able to work through these questions with Pathway WBC Director, Mildred Walters, who helped her think strategically and move to a more proactive and intentional way of managing the business and its success.

We’re glad to have Jennifer as a client, and we were really excited to visit her storefront! If you’re interested in learning more about calligraphy, or are already a practicing artist we suggest you visit Paper & Ink Art online. They’ve got a great website and blog from where you can start your journey! Find them online at: www.PaperInkArtsBlog.com or www.PaperInkArts.com