Heartell Shop Visits: Laura Capp's Postscript Shop in Ashland, NE

Heartell Shop Visits: Laura Capp's Postscript Shop in Ashland, NE

May 29, 2024

Heartell Press would not exist without these incredibly resourceful, talented, creative, interesting, hard working people and the communities they’ve built around their shops. Our intent on starting this new series is to highlight some of the many wonderful retailers we work with through our wholesale program, learning more about the people behind the shop doors and their stories. 
Let’s take a look inside Postscript
Today we are starting with Laura Capp's boutique for paper, book, and lettering arts that brings a modern sensibility to antiquated processes. Laura recently reached out after our Bookstore Day newsletter went out, letting us know that she appreciates our newsletters and how perfectly well Heartell fits into her shop. We are smitten beyond words when we get this kind of feedback and it's so lovely to connect with the thoughtful, creative people who own the shops our cards have a home in until they find you. We thought it would be fun to ask her some questions about her space and the journey she is on that has lead her to create this "space where reading and caring are cool, where language and art are celebrated and valued, where poetry is a way of life."

How do you curate or select the products you offer in your shop?

Laura: There are some category signs in the shop that I think encapsulate what all we try to offer:

• List Making  • Note Taking  • Letter Penning  • Language Spinning

We provide paper and writing utensils that are quality tools for everyday needs, but we also try to encourage greater exploration of those tools, through activities such as writing long-form letters to literally penning letters with calligraphic tools. And of course we have all kinds of specialty items that can enhance these practices, such as vintage stamps, sealing wax and wax seal stamps, and gorgeous fountain pens. But it's maybe the "language spinning" category that I think is the most fun. It encompasses our sizable selection of picture books (which often play with language in really interesting and inspiring ways) as well as poetry collections and writing manuals. Our use of language exists on a spectrum, from jotting down quick grocery lists to offering acknowledgments on life's important occasions to choosing words with excessive care when composing a more polished piece of writing. We want to not only supply the tools for this range of writing needs but the inspiration to do that writing beautifully, in every sense.

What inspired you most to open up your shop?

Laura: I was studying English at the University of Iowa once upon a time and planned to become a professor, but given the economic downturn in 2008 and the arrival of identical twins in my life the following year (!), I was desperate for greater agency over where my family planted ourselves and how I would be spending my days. I had been taking classes in a program called the Center for the Book at Iowa -- which taught traditional book arts such as calligraphy, letterpress printing, and bookbinding -- and I loved that those classes still allowed me to work with language and literature but in a tactile and deeply creative way. Ultimately, I decided that the only way to get the constellation of things that I wanted out of a job was to invent it. My thought was that I could create a studio space where I could both do my own creative work and host classes with a retail shop that would support it. The retail took off far more than I was expecting, and now the real challenge is to create regular space for studio time. But it's been a great solution for me professionally, creatively, and also personally as a working mom. I've always called it an experiment, but so far, so good!

What is your "why"?

Laura: When I was planning to become a professor -- most likely to be in classes with a traditional young adult student body -- I was also looking at the demoralizing statistics year in and year out about how few books Americans were reading. The humanities, I believe, are deeply necessary in helping us to shape lives filled with meaning and purpose -- not just for four years, and not just for students who attend universities. And I felt that encouraging engagement with the humanities is something we need in environments beyond academia. So while Postscript is, on the surface, a stationery and book shop, in my mind and in my deepest hopes, it is so much more than that. It is a space that inspires curiosity, reflection, and even a healthy kind of longing that asks us to make space for things we deeply need like beauty, creativity, poetry. A space that encourages connection, whether between friends dropping notes in the mail or between an adult and child as they share a picture book. Even between our own minds and bodies as we teach craft-based skills that require dexterity and physical attention to detail. I wholeheartedly believe that to regularly write letters to friends and to read a book to yourself or to a child is to increase your quality of life. So Postscript is a space where reading and caring are cool, where language and art are celebrated and valued, where poetry is a way of life.

Can you share any Heartell Press-related anecdotes or stories that have left a lasting impression on you or your customers?

Laura: A few years ago, we had two Heartell cards on our Valentine's Day display -- one that said "I was right about everything" and one that said "You were right about everything." They were adorable and perfect. We had so many people chuckle about those cards side by side, but I think it is a lovely testament to our generous customer base that the "You were right about everything" card sold out first. Ha!

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your shop? Anything you'd like us to highlight?

Laura: I also work on a project intermittently called Poetry by Post -- a poetry-by-mail subscription service. It is on hiatus but I hope to bring it back in the future, and back issues are available on our website and in the shop. 

Thank you for joining us and Laura! Feel free to share this treasure in our world with your loved ones and please say hello for us when you find yourself in Ashland, Nebraska!


*all images were used with consent from Laura.

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