Visit Shannon Stewart at her home office, and you’ll more often than not find her surrounded by a plethora of paper. There from invitations for baby showers and weddings, alongside personal stationery and gift stickers. Her eye for creativity and design in paper form is nothing new. “After college, when friends were having girls’ night out or wedding showers, I was the go-to person to help with the invitations,” she says. “I love pretty bows and wrapping paper, and I think a pretty invitation can set the tone for a party or event…I like to take an idea and make it happen.”
Shannon, a Vestavia Hills native and VHHS grad, has worked in recruiting for 20 years, but when the opportunity emerged in May 2015 to buy PoppySeed Paper, which was then co-owned by one of her former sorority sisters and fellow alum of Birmingham-Southern College, she jumped at the chance. “‘Love what you do, do what you love. This is what I’m doing,” Shannon recounts. “About four years ago, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After he passed away, I reevaluated what I wanted to do.” Soon after this, the aforementioned possibility to follow her passion for paper arose. “Sometimes it’s a God thing,” she says.
Today Shannon continues to work part-time at a local Vestavia recruiting firm but spends many of the remaining hours of the day with her paper passion. Although she’s not a graphic designer by trade, she instead utilizes her creativity and vision to help her customers decide on just the right save-the-date card, holiday greeting or baby announcement.
“There’s several different sources where I can purchase designs…I have contracted with a friend of mine who is an artist here in town to have original watercolors of Birmingham landmarks, including the Vestavia Temple, and have expanded throughout the state,” she says. “They are at Alabama Goods and continue to be really good sellers.” Customers can peruse all her products on both the website and PoppySeed Paper’s Etsy page, and custom orders are always encouraged. “If it involves paper, whether invitations or agendas or business cards, we can do it,” says Shannon.
But does paper still have a place in 2018 despite the convenience of technology? Of course. “I think while text messages and emails are great…I love to go back and look at old notes and cards from friends and family,” Shannon says. “There’s something to be said about having that physical paper in your hands. It just means you’ve spent a little bit more time and given it a little more thought. I think people appreciate that.” The community seems to agree. PoppySeed Paper was voted Runner-Up Finalist in the Best Invitation category of Birmingham Magazine’s Best in Family and Kids both in 2017 and 2018.
And the love is mutual. “Even though my business is online through my website and Etsy, I work out of my home in Vestavia Hills,” says Shannon. “I have a business license and pay Vestavia taxes through my business. I’m a big supporter of local businesses and owners here. I like to help support a community I grew up in and love. I walked to school to East from first through fifth grade. I graduated high school here.”
Her ties to the community spurs Shannon to give back through her business and support local fundraisers by being a sponsor or donating auction items, and also to give of her own time by participating in Leadership Vestavia Hills and serving on the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation Board. “I’m proud of our community. I think it’s important to learn more and get involved,” she says.
Shop online at poppyseedpaper.com and etsy.com/shop/PoppySeedPaper.
Pretty Paper: Two Vestavia Hills Customers on Why They are Fans of PoppySeed
What I Ordered: Shannon has done custom Christmas cards for me the past two years, and she’s done many other stationery items like calling cards, stationery for me and my daughters, and stickers for gift.
Why PoppySeed: Shannon is a friend of mine, and I love her products! She is also so easy to work with and does a fantastic job with a quick turn-around time
Why Paper: I have always loved stationery and written notes, so, yes, I feel that paper is still important in 2018. I want to teach my girls that a written note shows how much you value that person whether it is a thank you note or letter from camp. My oldest daughter has learned calligraphy and lettering, so she really loves cards and even designed our Christmas card this year.”
What I Ordered: When hosting an engagement party or baby shower, I always like to give as a gift stationery that goes with the theme/invitation for the occasion. Once I chose an adorable sample invitation from the website, and Shannon worked to create coordinating notecards. Another time both the invitation and notecards were custom.
Why PoppySeed: Shannon is a Vestavia Hills resident who is a master at her craft! I love her work. She delivers a quality product on time, and prices are reasonable. It’s really important to support small business owners in our own community! Moreover, Shannon is a valuable member of the Vestavia Hills and Birmingham community. She volunteers with Leadership Vestavia and The Junior League of Birmingham. And those are just the organizations that I know about.
Why Paper: There is nothing more impersonal than an email or text invitation to a party. If it’s a celebration worth having then an invitation is an announcement as well as a memento of that occasion. The same goes for thank you notes. If you’re really thankful, then you’ll take the time to put pen to paper as well as a stamp on the envelope. Who doesn’t love being appreciated for a thoughtful gift or act?