You may recognize this stationery brand from attending a variety of markets around the city, or maybe one of their vibrant stop motion reels on social media caught your eye!
Created by Stephanie Krahn, Stevie and Bean began as a vendor at Market Collective in 2015 and has since grown into a full-service stationery brand. Offering everything from notepads to planners to cards for every occasion, Krahn still hand-letters each design herself — never failing to add a smidge of sass and whit to every item.
Through continuing to build Stevie and Bean, it’s her goal to provide fun paper items made for every day — but most importantly they will always make you smile.
At the brink of the pandemic, Krahn noted a resurgence in snail-mail with everyone’s desire to desperately stay connected with friends and family in a physical form. We chatted with her about the mass return in popularity for paper products and a handwritten note, along with an inside look at Calgary’s small-business paper community.
How did you get started?
Krahn: I co-founded Stevie + Bean with a good friend from art school. When we started the business we were focused solely on wedding invitations and all accompanying stationery. When we saw Market Collective was accepting applications for their Spring market in 2015, we decided to take a chance and sign up. At the time we had exactly zero ready-made products available, but a million dreams and ideas. It still shocks me that we were accepted!
In the 5-months leading up to the market we came up with as many products as we could – we had to figure out printing, packaging, pricing and booth design — it was busy! Vow Journals were our first idea and remains our top-selling product to this day. The market was an absolute blast and a total success. We decided that weekend to make a huge shift in our business; less custom work and more of our own ready-made stationery.
Six years later – what do you offer?
Krahn: To sum it up in 3 words; all things stationery! We carry greeting cards for all occasions, notepads, weekly + monthly planners, vinyl stickers, postcards, mailing labels and wedding vow journals. Our stationery is designed to inspire and amuse. We have items that are practical, useful and will make you smile. Another thing that makes it unique is most of my products are hand-lettered by me; so it’s a style all our own!
Why did you choose this community for your business?
Krahn: I suppose this community chose us! After our first launch at Market Collective in 2015, we realized there was space for us in Calgary and in the market scene. At the time there were very few stationery companies so we broke in at a great time.
How have they supported you?
Krahn: We are so lucky to have so many customers who buy from us regularly. They stock up their card drawer seasonally and buy planners and notepads annually. It’s so special to know we can be a small part of the joy that gets mailed out for birthdays and special occasions.
How did you pivot during the pandemic?
Krahn: I was super lucky to already have a solid e-commerce website in place prior to the pandemic. So when I realized no markets or events were being held in-person, I was able to promote my website and Etsy shop and offer curbside pickup as well as shipping. Especially last year I felt everyone was really making a strong effort to shop local and stay connected through the mail. We sold more cards than we ever have and it ended up being our strongest year. This year we’ve benefitted from our online community and in-person markets so we’ve found ourselves in a really great place and we are so grateful.
How does Stevie and Bean give back?
Krahn: With every birthday card we sell, we donate a portion of our proceeds to a local organization in Calgary called The Happy Birthday Project. They deliver birthday party packages to children on their birthdays who are facing adverse circumstances. We also donate a portion of our proceeds from our ‘Here for You’ collection to The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in memory of a good friend we lost in March 2020. Our hope is to continue supporting both of these organizations and to double our donation to them every year.
How would you describe Calgary’s small-business community?
Krahn: The small-business community in Calgary is absolutely incredible. We are all so supportive of each other and really rooting for everyone’s success. Being back at markets alongside so many other vendors who have made it through the last couple of years is so special. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community and I’m so happy to help others who are starting out as so many people helped me.
Last but not least, in your own words — how do you define the word ‘community?’
Krahn: I would define community as friendship. When I think about the people who are in my community, I have nothing but love and pride for them and the success of their businesses. My paper community (Leanne from Little May and Melanie from Greta Jane); we do not consider each other competition at all — we help out and root for each other. The market community and all the businesses we’ve been alongside for so many years at Market Collective, Little Modern Market, Etsy, etc. we’re there for each other. When one person succeeds it feels like we all do!
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