Skip to content

Natick proprietor starts National Stationery Store Day

NATICK — In a world in which there are days celebrating local yarn stores, comic book stores and other independent shops, there wasn’t one for stores selling stationery products

So Kristina Burkey, owner of Calliope Paperie in downtown Natick, decided to create one.

Earlier: Calliope Paperie preps for move to larger location

“I think the thing about people who love paper and love stationery is that we love analog,” Burkey said. “It goes hand in hand with wanting to be in a store — and that’s why I started National Stationery Store Day.”

As for whether the written word remains popular enough to warrant a brick and mortar operation, the bustling shop last Saturday spoke to the enduring popularity of pen, paper, stickers and washi tape — colored masking tape that sticks to almost any surface, but can also be easily removed. It’s perfect for affixing photographs and other sentimental items to notebooks and walls.

Burkey is a pop of color in an already colorful store, with bubblegum pink hair and a bright smile.

Kristina Burkey, owner of Calliope Paperie in Natick, is the brainchild of Stationery Store Day, Aug.  6, 2022.

“I’m a ’90s kid, we all love stickers,” she joked. “I just loved all kinds of stationery and buying notebooks and never using them and collecting pens.”

Burkey always knew she wanted a store, she said. She started by selling cards as a side hustle in open markets, online and then, finally, in a shop downtown in 2016. Calliope Paperie moved to a larger location earlier this year — Burkey said about five of her old shops could fit into the new space.

Employee Erica Berg picks items for an online order at Calliope Paperie in Natick, Aug.  6, 2022.

The new location has more than three racks of greeting cards, far beyond the formulaic congratulations or sorry-for-your-loss offerings.

There’s everything from a new job congratulations card that reads “enjoy the next few months before you fully understand all of the problems you just inherited,” to the brazen teacher appreciation card that reads, “Thanks for being an amazing teacher and for putting up with my kid’s bulls***” — the profanity is not redacted on the actual card — to the generally supportive “everything is a lot right now.”

A wide selection of stationery and writing instruments at Calliope Paperie in Natick, Aug.  6, 2022.

There are also many personal touches throughout the shop, with handwritten signs affixed to displays and poking out of bins. In the section of the store dedicated to pens and highlighters in all colors of the rainbow, a small card highlights that a few of the pen varieties are great for left-handed writers; another placard indicates the washi tape dispensers are stackable, in case one has more than the handful the dispenser can hold.

Burkey said she’s heard from stores as far flung as Australia and France about promoting their own shops for the celebratory day.

And on Saturday, it mostly went off without a hitch — a “Dead Inside” tombstone sticker was affixed to the primary credit card reader. Luckily, there was a backup.

A sign reads

There are dozens of other stickers from which to choose, many featuring the brand of dark humor favored by younger generations with bright colors and graphics: A chubby ghost declares “cute on the outside, dead on the inside,” another reads “always overthinking, ” “honestly, I’ve been better” or “stay away from me,” as well as brightly branded Natick paraphernalia.

During the pandemic, Burkey offered hand-selected care packages of stickers and stationery, sent along wrapped in patterned tissue paper with a handwritten note and a free click pen — personal touches shoppers appreciated.

Although this was the first year stationery stores were celebrated this way, it likely won’t be the last.

Shoppers peruse the greeting cards at Calliope Paperie in Natick on Aug.  6, 2022.

“People who make cards and people who have stationery stores are in the business of kindness,” Burkey said. “That’s pretty much what we do: We keep people connected. There aren’t many stationery stores out there… I wanted something for all of us to come together and do and celebrate.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.