“I’ve always been a creative person,” says Rachel Lyon, founder of Paper Hearts Handmade, a purveyor of eclectic accessories, home goods and stationary, and friend of Lowen’s Skincare.
It started five years ago as a creative outlet for Rachel to do after work, and making custom jewelry for friends. The Toronto-based company has since grown to become available in 30 boutique stores across North America and in Paris, France.
A series of tote bags inspired by Toronto neighbourhoods was the first Paper Hearts product to gain recognition after being featured on a lifestyle blog. “I was suddenly flooded with orders,” she says.
With an arts college education, Lyon lends herself to many artistic talents, including stone stud earrings and hand-lettered greeting cards (featuring hilariously blunt greetings like “You did a thing! Congrats!” or “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered” – an homage to the podcast My Favourite Murder).
Her personal favourite products are the hand-dyed canvas clutch bags. “I love watching it go from the raw material to the finished product. It’s a long process but I think they’re beautiful.” She also aspires to create more “complex” bags, adding zippers and buttons to her designs.
As Paper Hearts Handmade continues to grow, Rachel wants to move it into her own studio and eventually be able to focus on her craft full-time, while still maintaining her online store.
“I love being able to connect with customers from all over the world,” she says. “Being online gives me this unique opportunity to reach so many more people than I could otherwise, and I’ve met some wonderful friends and fellow business owners because of it.”