Pocketbun Shop, nestled in the heart of Calgary, is a delightful haven for stationery enthusiasts. This charming small business specializes in curating a very cute collection of pastel-toned and irresistibly adorable stationery, making every note and message a work of art. We spoke to Charmaine, the owner and creator of Pocketbun Shop, to learn more about their whimsical designs and how her products add a touch of sweetness and creativity to everyday life in Calgary.
What is your business called and what does it do?
My business is called Pocketbun Shop and I make and create stationery at home! I sell a bunch of different items from stickers to washi tape and even non-stationery items like apparel and keychains.
What made you want to do this work?
I started thinking about it in 2019 while I was in college. I used to penpal and journal a lot which is hard to come by nowadays but it brought me so much joy to give little gifts of stationery in my letters and to decorate them! I wanted to expand my love for stationery through this and I had always loved the thought of making my own stickers at home and thought “Well, what’s stopping me?”
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
When I first started writing letters and journaling, I found that not only me but also people in the same community were vastly purchasing stickers and stationery from websites like Aliexpress or Wish, for really cheap. At the time you don’t think much of it other than the fact that you’re getting cute stationery. But the sad part of that is that a lot of the designs you can purchase there are actually stolen from the real artists who created them. I thought to myself, “Why do I or other consumers continue to buy from these huge factory websites instead of the actual artist?” And I believe it’s mainly because of the cost. You get so much and pay so little. So when I opened my business, I wanted to make affordable stationery or at least make something worth the amount you spend on it!
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Honestly, anyone and everyone can have an interest in it! A lot of the time though it’s definitely catered towards people that like to penpal and journal like me, or even if you have a planner, diary, or anything that you’d like to just spice up with cute decorations! I would say there’s no age range for what I create as I’ve met tons of people from 10-50+ years old who have purchased from me before and I’m truly delighted to see people enjoy the things I create!
How does your business make money? How does it work?
Currently, I mainly sell online, I use Etsy and have my own website too! For me to sell online though, it’s important for me to promote my work mainly through Instagram! Recently this year I have started to do a ton more in-person events like markets and conventions, which I think is great for growing locally.
Where in the city can we find your profession?
I don’t have an in-person location. The only chance you’ll find me in the city is through markets!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
A common question that is asked to the sticker business community is “Why should I Purchase this from you when I can get it on this site for cheaper?”
This question is often discouraging as they are most likely not referring to purchasing from another small business, but to the bigger mass-producing industries like I had mentioned before in an earlier question. The answer is that you are supporting a small business, someone who has spent their time, money and effort to create this product for customers to purchase. It’s not just about how the product looks, but how you can help turn somebody’s dream into a reality!
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is making people happy with my art. I feel like I’ve really accomplished something when I’m at a market and customers comment on my work about how cute or fun it is! And the fact that I know that thousands of people all over the world have a piece of my art in their homes is such an amazing feeling and it pushes me to create more!
The worst part of what I do is that as a small business, you do everything yourself. From creating, making, packing and shipping out orders to finances, self-promoting, and trying to keep up with trends and algorithms just to stay in the loop is mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes you even think about giving up when you don’t reach the audience you were hoping for or that something you create doesn’t do well. But you just have to keep going!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?
There are many shops and businesses that I love that are local in Calgary, but I would love to give a shout-out to my sister’s company, Pampas and Reed! She creates body care and skincare from scratch at home that are both affordable and great for different skin types and textures.