Do you have an obsession with notebooks, pens, pencils and planners? Do highlighters, colored pencils and fountain pens bring you joy? If so, Good Postage in Camp North End may be the place for you.
Mother-daughter duo Jane (the daughter) and Karen Manfredi (the mom) opened Good Postage last June. The name “Good Postage” points to how cards, letters and postcards make people feel good.
“We produce something that’s fun to receive in your mailbox instead of the usual bills and junk mail,” Karen said.
It seems customers agree with them. The shop recently moved to a new, larger space — from the Mount building to the Raceway — which allows the artists/entrepreneurs to feature more products. Their 1,000-square-foot shop is twice as large as the original space — and it’s positioned behind the Ford Factory, which is currently drawing hordes of art lovers to the area for Immersive Van Gogh.
“The aesthetics, the point of Camp North End, this old site that’s getting renovated, that’s something we are personally interested in,” Jane said. “It’s something we want to be a part of.”
Good Postage sells Jane’s original designs, which are minimalistic, vibrant and reminiscent of illustrations by New York-based artist Maira Kalman. She makes use of bright colors and blank space.
“I sketch everything out and draw it with colored pencil and blush and marker and then scan them in,” Jane said. “I write the text on my iPad and make it into a digital file.”
Jane earned a BFA in illustration from the Art Institute of Chicago. And, Good Postage allows her to put her art education to good use.
Before starting the business, Jane did a lot of freelance drawings in college and illustrated a children’s book after she graduated. But …
“It’s hard to make money drawing,” she said.
Collaborating with, and learning from, other small business owners has been one of many benefits to being at Camp North End. Recently, Good Postage partnered with Wentworth & Fenn, a gourmet bakery, to create pen-shaped cookies for opening weekend. In turn, Good Postage created custom stationery for the bakery.
Belly up to the “bar”
The business recently started selling art supplies such as oil pastels and gouache tubes from Caran d’Ache, a Swiss writing and art supplies manufacturer that’s been in business since 1915, and a travel watercolor set from Winsor and Newton, an English fine arts company.
The Manfredis’ plan to add a stationary bar by the end of the summer where customers can pick and choose hand-pressed sheets of stationery with fun and whimsical line drawing designs pressed on them in different inks.
The stationery will be letterpressed on-site. Karen bought a 121-year-old letterpress from an artist in Baltimore and took online classes during the lockdown to learn to operate it.
Many of the items sold in Good Postage are not easily found in the area. Apuntes is one such luxury brand. It’s a woman-owned notebook brand from Mexico City that makes their products from — wait for it — tortilla paper!
The City Works is a woman-owned notebook brand made in Vienna, Austria. City Works’ notebook covers showcase the skylines of different cities — Tokyo, New York and Venice, for instance.
A single trip to Good Postage in Camp North End can transport you all over the world.
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