Unique greeting cards, wrapping paper and stationery have always been one of my passions so I was thrilled to meet Lara Henning a few years ago at a craft fair I was coordinating. Her fun line drawings and cute Christmas cards were what drew me to her booth. We struck up a conversation that day and have kept in touch through Facebook since then. In the last year, I noticed that one of her designs had been accepted by the Papyrus line of stationery. So, I reached out to her to see if she was up for an interview. Happily, she agreed!
She graduated from Otterbein University in 2007 with a degree in Visual Communications & a minor in Marketing. After graduation, she was immediately hired by a financial advising company in Cincinnati where she worked as a graphic designer for 2 years.While working there, she picked up some freelance work finding that she steadily picked up more and more jobs. As her clientele grew, her confidence built so that she came the realization that she could turn this into a full-time gig, possibly quitting her job. Meanwhile, she got engaged which led to taking the chance. She quit her job, moved to Columbus to be with her fiancé (now husband, Brian) and started freelancing. At that time, most of her work was wedding stationery but she also began designing everyday greeting cards just for fun on the side.In November 2011, she opened an Etsy shop dedicated to greeting cards and has been slowly growing the business since. This led to eventually stopping the freelancing to dedicate her time and energy to Hen Pen Paper Co.
She realized wanted to do something she loved and that translated into what has always been her passion: art. It took her a while to realize that she could do something she enjoyed and still make a living at it. Particularly since she was told by so many that she could “never make money in art”. I’m happy to say that no, you can make money in art. You might have to work your tail off, but it can be done. And really, if you are working like crazy doing what you love… can you really call that work? I certainly don’t any longer.
Her family, including her daughter and hubby, and friends inspired her by continually encouraging her to keep creating. Daily conversations/random conversations are often used to create her work. She believes that inspiration is everywhere, you just have to pay attention!
Like all artists that I have interviewed, Lara is not sitting on her laurels! She’s been experimenting with marblizing paper, getting different and exciting results. Eventually, she’d like to incorporate this into her cards but for now, her lines only include watercolor and illustrations.
Hen Pen Paper Co. will be making it’s new card line debut at the National Stationery Show in NYC this May 17-20. I keep pinching myself since it has been a long-time goal and I will be an exhibitor this year & not just on the outside looking in. How exciting for her and Brian!!
Take a look at their press release for the show:
Hen Pen Paper Co. is owned and operated in Columbus, Ohio by Lara and Brian Henning. Lara had ideas that she wanted other people to experience with her, so she began designing greeting cards and created Hen Pen Paper Co. in November 2011. The company is now a joint venture between Lara and her husband, Brian. Lara is the creative director, and Brian manages the business behind-the-scenes.
“I fell in love with greeting cards. I think because a card is really just a condensed version of what we really want to say to one another. I find great joy coming up with those special words and illustrations that will communicate exactly what a person wants to say. There is no better feeling as a stationer than for someone to purchase a card because I know I was able to achieve what I sought out to do. I hope to make someone smile, laugh or just say, “Hey, they totally get me!” That’s my goal. And I love every minute of it,” said Lara.
The company’s paper goods are described as “a little sweet, sometimes witty and a whole lot of telling you like it is.” Their work has been featured on www.buzzfeed.com, Etsy emails, West Elm Pop-Up, www.oprah.com and countless other magazines and blogs. All of their products are printed in the USA and carefully assembled in Lara and Brian’s studio.
At the National Stationery Show, the paper company will feature 60+ hand lettered greeting cards, art prints and gift wrap that ranges from beautiful watercolors to witty illustrations.
Here is a sneak peek of what will be shown in NYC:
I’d say that all of this is pretty exciting and I know that Lara is a nervous wreck about the show in NYC but I am sure that the rest of the country will fall in love with her unique line of lovingly created stationery (and her!)
Contact for readers:
or follow @henpenpaperco on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Some cards also at Papyrus (in-store & online)