Despite all the technology that surrounds us on a daily basis, not everything has to be digital. The husband and wife team from Hen Pen Paper Co. believes this and their beautiful, handmade greeting cards retain that traditional charm that we are all so familiar with. Learn about how they started their paper goods business in this week's family feature spotlight!
Q: What's the story behind your business, and how did you get started?
A: Hello! I'm Lara Henning and I own and design for my Columbus company, Hen Pen Paper Co. We are a greeting card and paper goods company that I co-own with my husband, Brian. I started our business back in late 2011 as a fun side hobby while I was working as a freelance designer. I have always had a love for great stationary, design, and paper (nerd alert, I know) and I have also had an entrepreneurial spirit. It was the perfect match to combine all of those things and start Hen Pen. I wanted to share with others fun, witty, and sweet greeting cards that were different than what people were used to buying at the store. Things went way better than I had ever imagined when I launched my first 10 greeting cards and postcards on Etsy.
Within a couple weeks, Etsy promoted two of our cards on their social media (right before Christmas, mind you) and orders began pouring in. I had a realization in those early weeks that my hobby might be becoming more than I had anticipated. Flash-forward to the present and our company is continuing to grow. When Brian joined the team, he helped me with the behind-the-scenes operations by maintaining upkeep of our website, packaging inventory, and shipping orders. Since we have an extremely active 2 year old daughter, his help has been crucial to helping me refocus my attention towards the creation of new products. We are starting to see the benefits of him joining the company and are excited about our expected growth for this year!
The story behind our company name, Hen Pen, is a mixture of a few things. Obviously, it is derived from our last name, Henning. Also, I am ALWAYS sketching with a pen so Hen Pen was a cute play on words that really seemed to stick.
Q: What makes your products unique?
A: All of our products start in my sketchbook and almost all are hand-lettered or painted before being printed by a local printer. I am also a trained graphic designer so I love to combine my love of design into our products. Our products feature bold hand lettering, uniquely intertwined with vibrant paintings that are often a little rough around the edges, all with the goal of our motto, "sweet with a side of witty". We are a small business and we have our hands in every piece of the process.
We also try to be conscious of the products that we are using. All of our products are derived from post-consumer products; most are 100% recycled including the paper, envelopes, and even the mailers that we use to ship online orders.
We also pride ourselves for having excellent customer service. If you send me an e-mail or message, I will respond right away (unless I'm sleeping, hehe). I'm honored when you choose to buy our products. When you buy from us, whether you really think about it or not, you're buying to support our family. You're buying to support our dreams. You're buying to support local Ohio. That means the world to us and I will do my best to show my appreciation to each of our customers.
Q: What do you like about being part of the Celebrate Local Family?
A: Being part of the Celebrate Local Family has been wonderful! Everyone welcomed me with open arms. Every time I make a visit, I am always happily greeted and they love to find out what I have been up to lately. Their excitement for our successes and goals are so encouraging and I'm grateful to be a part of a place that pushes for the best out of their vendors.
You can find Hen Pen Paper Co. at our Easton retail store!