After six years of owning Fresh Ink, the Jackson stationery, invitation and gift shop, Elizabeth Upchurch still gasps when she gets a beautiful invitation in the mail.
That’s because occasionally, Upchurch won’t get to see a project from creation to fruition.
“I will just gasp when I see it. People get so many things in the mail — yucky bills — but when you mail something beautiful that has a lot of thought and tradition behind it people notice it, whether it’s a thank you note or an invitation.”
A personal note or engraved invitation is especially appreciated today – when people are inundated with text messages, Facebook updates and twitter feeds, Upchurch said.
“Everyone is yelling at the top of their lungs it seems, and dropping a personal note makes a bigger impression than catching something they do on Facebook,” she said. “It’s a wonderful, tangible thing.”
Before opening Fresh Ink in 2005, Upchurch gained retail experience by working at Oxford Floral in Oxford during college. Later, she worked as a sales representative and sales manager for wholesale gift and stationery manufacturing companies.
Fresh Ink creates wedding, party and children’s birthdays invitations, baby announcements and holiday photo cards, but doubles as a retail shop for wedding registries and gifts. Popular brands featured at Fresh Ink include Jon Hart luggage, Seda France candles and Naughty Betty holiday cups, memo pads and napkins.
“I truly believe that there is going to be a real resurgence ahead for the ‘retail experience.’ We are all so over-stimulated and connected to everything virtual that it becomes a welcome pleasure to walk into an actual store,” she said. “There might be a great candle burning, some music that makes you feel good,and of course a friendly sales associate to greet you. To me it’s like inviting customers into my home — the complete experience is important.”
Upchurch said she hopes to expand Fresh Ink through the possibility of franchising.
“We have had so many customers who visit us when they are in town from other cities tell us they wished there was a Fresh Ink in their town. It would be wonderful to be able to expand the successful business model we have started,” she said.
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