Even as a grown-up, is there anything more exciting than picking up a fresh set of pens and notebooks come September? Kimberly Habbyshaw co-owns Loyal Supply Co., which carries beautiful desktop items to make even the most austere cubicles feel a bit cozier. When she’s not in her Union Square store, she also runs (along with her husband, Ryan) a design studio that specializes in branding, graphic design, and much more. Here’s what a jam-packed day looks like in Kimberly’s shoes.
I really have three different kinds of days. I have days where I am printing on our printing press, days when I’m working on the design studio, and days when I’m working on the store.
First thing in the morning, I typically do coffee and breakfast while checking my email. I kind of start to think about what I’m going to do that day and plan––I’m very much a list-maker. The earlier I can have a plan in the morning, the better.
I typically work out of the store or our design studio, and I try to get to either of those places by 9:30 or 10. I live in Porter Square, so it’s an easy commute. I do a lot of work in the store, but if I’m working with my husband Ryan, I’ll be at the design studio. My mornings are typically filled with client communication and planning. Other than the store, we have a design studio where we do branding work, interior design projects, and graphic design. Ryan is the designer and I’m the project manager/producer. I’ll be working on budgets, timeline, the project scopes, and keeping everything on track. Our design studio is only a couple of blocks away from the store, down on Joy Street. It’s a little bit quieter and we meet with clients there or do heads-down design work.
When we first started, the goal was to have a design studio. We rented the space from a friend who unexpectedly decided to get rid of it. We weren’t at the time sure what to do with it, but we just loved it. We thought that having a street-level storefront would make it cool to have a retail space as part of the studio. So really, the idea was to have a retail store that felt like us and our style, and it kind of became a client project where we were the client. From there, we opened the store and had like, ten products at first. It was so small.
After about a year and a half of focusing almost solely on retail, we started to focus more of our efforts on the design studio. Originally we thought maybe the store would be retail until it became just our studio, and that we’d close the door to the public for it to just be a design space for us. It’s been so fun, though, to have people in our space. That engagement in this community is great, so we both worked upstairs in the store for a while, and in our basement, but it just got harder and harder. There’s one chair here to meet with clients. We would be open all the time, too, so we’d be in the middle of a budget proposal and a customer would come in. That was what led us to the studio: we decided it was time to have another space devoted just to design.
In the afternoon, we’ll do a lot of our meetings. We like to host clients at our studio because it’s a good way to get them out of their little bubble and to let them see a very calming place. Our studio is all white and very simple, so it’s great to have clients in there and start from scratch.
We usually keep things to one client a day, or at most we’ll have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After meetings, we have a lot of recapping and planning, so it takes me time after that to get everything together and put it into next steps. I’ll communicate those with everyone who was at the meeting or anyone who couldn’t join us.
Later in the evening, I’ll come back to the store and check on things here, even if we weren’t open. I’ll ship out online retail orders or any wholesale orders that we’ve received. We also get a lot of packages during the day, so I’ll do inventory and see what’s new. If the store is open the next day, I’ll typically tidy up and make sure our employees have everything they need in terms of stocked shelves.
I do a lot of wedding invitations and business cards in our store. If I’m printing, it’s a very similar day, but instead of going to the studio, I’ll come to the store, get everything all set up, and spend most of the day printing.
It’s nice to have two different spaces. I feel like when I go over to the studio, I focus so much more. When I’m at the store, if I’m working on something I don’t really want to do, I’ll look down and go, “Oh! I should go straighten those notebooks, or I wonder how many pens we have in stock?” It’s just so much easier to distract myself. At the studio, you put your headphones in and work.
Typically we finish around 7 or 7:30. I’ll head home and we’ll make dinner together. We have a dog that takes up a lot of our time during the day. He comes to work with us all the time, so he’ll either be at the studio with us, or the store, because he gets to watch people from his bed perch all day. He loves to go to the Reservoir or swim, too.
I try, unsuccessfully, not to do too much work in the evenings. It’s hard to stop. I’ll usually check email a couple of times. I’ll read a book, watch a show, and head to bed.
We’ve narrowed in on what we like to carry in the store: we’ve had jewelry, leather goods, and kitchen utensils. We’ve started to focus in on supplies for your office and what you need for your desk, things to surround you while you work like stationary, pens, and pencils. Workspace design. Stuff to keep you happy at your desk: you spend a lot of time there! If you’re going to be there as much as most people do, you should be happy and comfortable. I spend significantly more time at work than at home.
—As told to and written by Oset Babur for The Thirty-One Percent
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