From a Recruiter: How Our Store Samples Are Made

Our new “From a Recruiter” series will give an inside look at what it’s like to interview and work for Paper Source. Written by Cara Pacholski, our Field Recruitment Manager, you’ll get a sneak peek at stories, tips and tricks from our store recruitment team. 


Paper Source has so many inspiring things happening behind the scenes, and we love sharing some of the unique people and processes that go into making our stores such creative spaces.

Store samples. Did you know that every single craft sample you see in stores is hand-crafted at our Paper Source headquarters in Chicago? Our sample makers, Estela and Maria Olga, make 130 samples of each craft design you see at your local store!


Estela (left) and Maria Olga (right)

Samples are made for everything from stationery, gift tags, kits and more. Our goal is for people to walk into any store and get inspired by all of the possibilities our crafting supplies can make. None of this would be possible without Estela and Maria!

Samples are made seasonally and to refresh store displays so we’re featuring the newest and most exciting designs and products. They also start from scratch and create all of the samples we need every time we open a new store (we’re opening 10 this year)!


Some of the samples you see, but might not realize they created, are:

  • Every store rosette
  • Flower samples
  • All rubber stamp samples with embossing
  • All kit samples
  • Everyday invitation/cards/announcement samples with lined envelopes
  • Store window display pieces

And not only do they do all of this, but they do it with a level of perfection that even our most devoted crafters are in awe of! We couldn’t do it without them!


Another thing we do behind-the-scenes that might surprise you… we plan out all of our store window displays! Before the pieces get to Maria and Estela, we have a dedicated team that finds inspiration in our latest products and crafts, and transforms them into large-scale inviting displays.

It’s probably no shock that right now we’re focused on our new Calendars and Planners. Our 2016 line includes new and updated products with design call-outs like:


So how do we show all of these great designs off? …. We put them in our store window! Here’s a sneak peek at our upcoming windows, which are currently under construction! We start but laying out design out on the floor, and later hang it up with clear wire in a mock-window. Once our design is finalized, the pieces are sent to Maria and Estela, who prepare all the pieces for the stores.

Stop by our stores for a better look at our intricate samples and engaging windows!



Join Us in the Write_On Campaign

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, or just sending an everyday greeting, there’s still nothing better than getting a real piece of snail mail. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the Write_On Campaign to promote the joy, creativity and expression that comes with hand-written correspondence.

What is it? As part of the Write_On campaign, Paper Source, along with Egg Press, Hello!Lucky and Sakura Gelly Roll Pens, is on a mission to truly celebrate National Letter Writing Month (April). We urge you to write a letter to someone daily, with the hopes of continuing the act of writing throughout the year.

How can you take the Write_On challenge? Start writing! Try to write a letter every day for the rest of April, and continue sending friends hand-written greetings throughout the year. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the personal gesture can make!

Get inspired. If you’re looking for more reasons to write, look no further! Drop a simple note to a friend, write your favorite business or give thanks to a former teacher. And search the #write_on hashtag to see what others are creating.

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Get the Goods. Paper Source is offering two Write_On kits (one from Egg Press and one from Hello!Lucky) for a limited time in celebration of the campaign. Each set comes with 16 cards and envelopes, as well as a Gelly Roll pen.

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So who’s your first letter going to?

Behind the Scenes: Making our Holiday Window

It’s probably no surprise that we love making our store festive for the holidays, and that starts with our holiday window display (after all, it’s the very first thing you see)! Here, we take a look behind the scenes with our Director of Visual Merchandising, Rick V., on what it takes to make the holiday window come to life!

holiday window together

How do you decide what’s highlighted in the window?
Our windows typically relate to one of our exclusive Paper Source-designed kits. This year we had a few options that we thought would make a good window and would also tie into our holiday gift assortment.

Initially I started with another concept but kept gravitating back to the Nutcracker Doll Kit. The Nutcracker Dolls have a traditional holiday feeling that evoke a lot of memories and capture the essence of the season. Once we decided on the Nutcracker Dolls, I started sketching and we layered in a variety of wrapped packages focusing on our Gold and Glitter gift wraps (completed with red accents, ribbons and bows) that also highlight our new Gold Foil assortment we introduced in our Holiday Photo Card line this year.  

BTS Holiday Window

Knowing we would be featuring Nutcracker Dolls in our windows, and that they are meant to be ballet dancers, I really wanted to find a way to incorporate movement. The twirling of the Sugar Plum Fairy recreates the animation of traditional holiday windows, as well as emphasizes the original ballet. She spins in our windows atop one of the gold glitter boxes in her Plum tutu – all while secretly running on a battery operated spinner hidden beneath a glittery star!

When do you start thinking about the window displays?
We began with the inspiration and design for the holiday windows all the way in early June once our Paper Source holiday kits are finalized!

What goes into planning a window display? How long does it take to get it perfect?
Once the window theme was solidified, I worked to recreate enlarged versions of the Nutcracker Dolls.  In order to get the scale correct, I created three sets of dolls before deciding on the correct size for our feature windows. I then installed the “window” in our Chicago office using the final prototype sizes. This ensures all of the components are provided to stores for them to recreate the window, and that everything looks great.

holiday window HQ

All of the pieces required to construct the window are packaged into store window “kits” in much the same way our regular kits are prepared! Each one is hand-assembled in our Chicago office by our dedicated team (a truly remarkable feat given the quantity!).

Who assembles the window displays?
We provide a comprehensive step-by-step for each store to reference along with any templates and files to assist store teams. Stores then sketch their window out based on size, and once the sketch has been reviewed, they create everything from the pieces received!

All the elements for this window were cut on our Silhouette Cameo using the 12” x 24” cutting mat. Each store then embellishes their Nutcracker Dolls to create a unique look. We love it when the windows come “alive” and showcase the creative talents of our associates!  

Holiday Window Evanston

Paper Source Evanston’s store window!

What do we do with the window pieces when they’re uninstalled?
Once the windows are taken down, stores work within their community and donate the removed kits to local charities, organizations and schools as requests are made with the store.


So there you have it! Thanks to Rick for giving us a peek inside the process of designing our Holiday window! What’s your favorite window we’ve done? Tell us in the comments below!

Workshop: DIY Calendar


2015 is just around the corner which means it’s time to get your calendar ready. We have many beautiful designs to choose from but one of the most creative calendars we have is one that lets you be the designer!  Our DIY Calendar comes with 12 monthly grids printed on recycled paper and a gem case for desktop display.  Looking for some creative inspiration to get you started? Join us for our DIY Calendar Workshop on Saturday, November 15th to make yours. The calendar and supplies are included in the class and we will show you different ways to embellish each month. Beginner and experienced crafters alike are welcomed!

Many of the techniques we will teach you in the workshop look great replicated across a whole year.  Here are a few favorites:


The Pennant Punch: Pick your favorite decorative papers and pair them with coordinating solids – then punch away!  This is also a clever way to use up your scrap paper.



Washi Tape:  So fun and easy to use we even have a whole book filled with ideas.



Color Wash: Achieve an elegant watercolor look with your favorite ink colors and a Sponge Dauber.



Handmade calendars make beautiful gifts.  You can design each calendar to match the recipients personal style.  If you attend the workshop, you can use your 10% off coupon to save on all the supplies you need to create your holiday presents!


Paper Source Holiday Crafting

Looking for ways to get creative this holiday season?  We have plenty!  Nothing sparks the holiday spirit quite like holiday crafting and we have multiple options to get in the spirit! Find out more about our holiday events and our holiday contest below.

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Holiday Card Making Crafter’s Night Out, Thursday, November 6th: Kick off the season with wine, cookies and a little crafting!  Make four different cards and get loads of ideas for your annual holiday greetings.  This is one of our most popular events of the year!  You can sign up online or contact your local store if they are sold out to see if they are running an encore.

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Free Make & Take Event, Saturday November 29th: Swing by between 11 am – 3 pm at your local store (no reservation necessary!) to do some light crafting with friends and family.  Make festive holiday tags with stamps, tape and punches.  You will even get to line an envelope with colorful holiday wrap – a great DIY touch for both handmade and store-bought holiday cards.



Holiday Gift Wrap Workshop, Thursday, December 4th:  Bring presents and get ready to wrap!  We will teach you the basics of gift wrapping along with some unique accent ideas.  Learn more details and sign up here.



Staff Holiday Favorite Workshop, Saturday, December 13th: Contact your local store for details.  Choices range from gift wrap, to decor to Nutcracker paper dolls!

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Holiday Card Making Contest, deadline December 15th: Time to show off your creativity!!  Enter for the chance to win $150 gift card.  There is more than one way to win – check out our contest page for details!

Get Creative with Us: Work at Paper Source!

Holiday seasonal hiring is upon us and we’re excited to expand our store teams! If you’ve ever been delighted by our store windows, inspired by our workshops or envious of our catalog pages, Paper Source might be a great fit for you!

Not only will you be a member of the expansive and creative Paper Source community, but our part-time seasonal team members get a 30% discount on great holidays gifts and crafting supplies to kickstart projects.

If you’re interested in a fun holiday career, here are some things we’re looking for in our new associates:

  • Passion for Paper Source and our products
  • Fast, fun and friendly people
  • Experience working in a busy retail environment delivering a high level of customer service
  • Flexibility and availability to work the upcoming holiday season including nights, weekends and holidays

We love our holiday associates and wanted to share a story from Vanessa, who began with Paper Source as a holiday associate last season and has continued to grow with us since then.

“I joined Paper Source last holiday because I had been at home for six months with my new baby and knew I needed to get out and connect with people again. I come from food service/retail management background and I really enjoyed showing people new things and building relationships with customers plus I love crafting! I figured Paper Source would be an awesome place to learn new things and share them with others. Plus, the Store Manager was so welcoming and straight forward during my interview, I knew it would be awesome!

From day one I knew I had found “my people” here at Paper Source. It was so incredibly refreshing to work in an environment where everyone is helpful and knowledgeable. Plus, they are all amazingly crafty and inspiring! It is so fun getting to know our customers and hearing their stories! My husband refers to me as the detective at home! I love to help bring customers’ ideas to their full potential. It is very gratifying!

If you or someone you know think Paper Source’s holiday positions could be a good fit for you, be sure to apply today at your local Paper Source store or online at:

Have a great holiday season!

Paper Source Recruitment Team

Workshop: Fall Card Making

The turn of the season always brings with it a creative spark.  As Fall approaches we have warm colors and rich patterns in mind for our upcoming card making workshop: Colorful Paper Tapestry.  Our inspiration for these card designs comes from vibrant textiles and embroidery.  We played with punches, stamps and twine to find ways to translate this artistry from fabric to paper.

Our Pinterest board holds our inspiration for this class!

This workshop is great for a crafting beginner who wants to learn some card making basics but also gives the more experienced crafter the chance to try some new techniques with stamping, layering, braiding and knotting.

The techniques in this class also translate well to holiday card making – like this example from the creative team at our Ann Arbor store:

We hope you join us on September 13th to get crafty!  Sign up here or contact your local store for more details.  If you can’t make it on the 13th but still want to take the class, ask your local store about setting up a private class for you and 4 – 7 of your friends!

Workshop: Learn to Letterpress

Until recently, if you wanted to experience the rewards of letterpressing your own cards you needed to acquire a quite large (up to 4,000 lbs!) and quite expensive (up to $10,000!) machine. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have that much space in our dining room and we’re not sure we can commit to living on ramen to pay it off!

No need to go to any extreme measure–the Evolution machine now comes with a letterpress kit; making this an accessible and super easy art form!

If you’re curious to see how this works or just interested in dabbling in a new technique, join us for our Letterpress Stationery Collection Workshop this Saturday, August 23rd. During the workshop you’ll learn how to use the Evolution machine to emboss, letterpress and create your own stationery set. Your five card collection will also come with a pocket folio and textured accents like linen and wood. Added bonus: you can save 10% off the Evolution machine when you take the class!  Sign up here. We hope to see you Saturday!

Crafter’s Night Out: Flea Market Style

This Thursday we are hosting Crafter’s Night Out in all of our stores from 6 – 8 pm.  For this workshop, we were inspired by one of our favorite summer pasttimes: flea markets!  Some of our favorite market finds include vibrant oil cloth, unique vintage bottles and nostalgic black and white photos.  These beautiful objects sparked our creativity and the result was the projects for this class.  Join us to make colorful cards, tissue paper flowers and even etch a glass milk bottle!  The retro style pieces in this class are fun to complete and easy to repeat for summer party favors, gifts, personal stationery and more.  Find out more about the projects here.

Get in the flea market mood by checking out some of our inspiration.  We hope to see you on Thursday!