There are a lot of awesome small businesses that call the PNW home — and we love sharing their stories! From Tacoma's Enamel Co. (handcrafted cups with spunky sayings) to Texanita Bakery (sharing grandma's recipe for concha bread) in Tukwila, it's fun getting to meet the people behind the biz.
Like the Seattle based company, Papersalt! A father-daughter duo behind the scenes create content designed to "inspire, empower and educate kids and families." We chatted with Jim and Annie McCall on what makes this company so special.
Seattle Refined: Jim and Annie, you are the father-daughter duo behind Papersalt, along with some other folks. What is Papersalt?
Jim McCall: We create what I like to call real-world inspirational content. We're really known for our gift books. We do lunch notes and stickers, magnets and buttons and decals all with the same collective messaging. We didn't want to create just fluff. We wanted to create real-world life advice mainly for kids but for families also — anything from the topic of friendship to siblings to anger to bullying.
Are Papersalt products actually made locally?
Jim McCall: They are! So, we're in SoDo, everything's made in Seattle, shipped out of Seattle.
Annie, how does this work? Who's writing the content, who's doing the art?
Annie McCall: It's a little bit of everybody. And when anybody asks each of us at Papersalt what we do, we say a little bit of everything.
Jim McCall: We keep coming back to let's write, design and print (like we do) good content to put out in the world. The four of us who started it have fourteen kids between us.
How did you get the name Papersalt?
Jim McCall: We went through this branding process, and we threw out tons and tons of words. We're using unique paper and using paper that has a unique feel to it. And then salt was one of the staples of home, staples of life — the advice we're trying to give is one of life's necessary staples. So, that's how it blended together.
Tell us about your Mister Rogers inspired line?
Jim McCall: So we created a big collection around Fred Rogers, and it actually happens to be our top selling category now.
How about your line inspired by the artist Bob Ross?
Jim McCall: There's a lot of Bob Ross content out and there, and it's a little kitschy stuff. What we wanted to do is take some of his really inspirational quotes and put them into our form factor. So, we released that in January it's been a pretty big hit.
How about the book you created for the 2020 graduating class?
Jim McCall: So three of the four us who write content have seniors in high school right now, so it's affecting us a lot.
Annie McCall: It's my youngest sister who's going through it, too. You know, it's first hand what have we been able to say to them that's comforting and not only acknowledging the fact that there is a lot going on in the world right now. There are things that are more important, but this is still important.
You guys have something special coming up for Father's Day, too, Annie?
Annie McCall: We know holidays are more important than ever, and we want to celebrate them too. This had forced us to be really innovative and creative, so we started spitballing a little bit about "What My Father Taught Me: A Letter to My Father." So, that is in the works.
So Jim, have you been able to look at any of this yet, and if so, has it made you cry?
Jim McCall: It did.
What's been your reaction to seeing your little idea grow into something that touches so many people's lives?
Annie McCall: When we're in the store, we're working with a customer at a trade show they're holding that book in their hands. They get emotional. I get emotional. It's a whole cascade effect, but that is my absolute favorite part.
Jim McCall: It's been hard work for a lot of years, but it's also pretty incredible. Especially in these tough times, we get to surround ourselves with inspirational content every day.