Brown Ink

The handwritten word will never lose its romance. For Wendy and Nick Brown, it sparked a stationery business too.

Wendy and Nick Brown
Photo by Caitlin Abrams

“I knew Nick was a keeper of a boyfriend when he wrote me a really long card for my birthday,” says Wendy Brown, sitting next to her husband of 13 years, Nick Brown, at their kitchen table.

Writing is clearly one way to a girl’s heart, this one in particular. Most of her life and with striking regularity, Wendy has sent thoughtful handwritten cards to friends and family members—quite a commitment for a mom who has her plate full with three young kids. In a world driven by social media, snail mail feels fresh, and so does Brown Ink, the couple’s blog about handwriting, which now has a companion shop, Brown Ink Paper Goods, that launched in October.

“Writing has always been the goal, but gorgeous stationery makes you want to write,” Wendy says.

Two years into blogging, the shop was a natural next move as Wendy’s file of paper products and stories about small-batch stationery designers grew. A trip to the stationery show in New York City last May confirmed it. “I really like the people I’ve met in the industry. I’m not into trends—what sells me is an authentic feel.”

Brown Ink Paper Goods opened with 10 lines of stationery and writing-related goods (journals, rubber stamps, reporter’s notebooks), including cards from indie favorite Scout’s Honor Co. out of Burlington, Vermont, and hand-bound journals from Twigg’s Bindery in New York.

Wendy also teamed up with her friend Jean Glenn of Pomegranate Press to create a signature line for Brown Ink, a few letterpressed cards with understated icons: a lumberjack, canoe paddles, and an arrow. The cards were designed with guys in mind: “Nick’s friends never felt they could find stationery that ‘got them,’” says Wendy. Let’s hope this gets those pens flowing again.