Confessions of a Pencil Lady: Addressing the Big Question

Written By Caroline Weaver - June 26 2018


February 07 2020

I know this comment is almost two years after this was posted (so I hope that you get to read it!), but I want to say thank you! As someone who was an artist who put his pencils away for a long time, finding your website has rekindled a love for pencils and the art they help create. I have followed your shop from a far and just recently placed my first online order with you. I wanted you to know that when I finally make the 4 hrs trip to NYC, I am going to make it a point to stop by and pick up some pencils in person! Way to go and keep up the good work!

July 10 2018

I could go on and on about the value this shop provides for so many people. You provide inspiration in affordable luxuries. Never stop!

Tim Walker
July 09 2018

Not only do shops like yours exist but they MUST exist. They’re crucial to society in my opinion. While I recognize the value of big box retailers and the giant online retailers, they don’t advance humanity’s ideas of the experience or appreciation of the things we’re buying.

Your shop is really selling the idea of what people are doing with pencils.. the lifestyle of the writer, the artist, the thinker, the journal keeper. Those are things that remind us of our humanity, and being reminded of that is really important, especially right now.

People’s tendency to ask you that question is a just a lack of understanding about how niche retail can work in the modern era when teamed with online sales and social media promotion. Take it as a chance to impress them with the reality of what you’re doing because it is impressive.


Chris Grace
July 03 2018

I was thrilled to visit the actual, real-life, beautiful store last Saturday! I’m so glad that specialty shops run by passionate owners and staffed by equally committed team members exist. There’s no substitute for the personal touch and enthusiasm. Thanks for your hard work and commitment!

July 03 2018

I am quite grateful that your shop exists. I have never been to the physical store, but if ever I get the chance, I would surely love it. I enjoy placing orders for carefully selected pencils and accessories, and then anticipating the arrival of the package of delights. There is no other store like yours. Thank you!

July 02 2018

It might be hard for some people to believe that there are stationery junkies out there. :) I’m only a few miles away in NJ but I know if I come to your store I’m going to leave with a big ol’ bag of pencils and notebooks. And I get so happy when I get the email that my subscription box is in the mail! Thank you for everything you do!

July 02 2018

Yes, the world can support outstanding specialty shops with dedicated and knowledgeable staff. Best store in the world. Long may you run.

Nicole Shea
July 01 2018

That elephant in the room is real. Developing the emotional stamina to withstand the naysayers is the surprise gift of opening a special shop that confounds many. Your fans and supporters are also real and you are doing it for them and yourself. Thank you! Haven’t been able to visit yet, but loved working with Alyx on some custom pencil orders for my weird shop! I spread the word as much as possible. You are appreciated!

Fred Harris
June 30 2018

Much respect, Caroline. I’ve started and run businesses as well, and it’s always much harder than you expect. I can’t wait to visit next time I’m in Manhattan.

SueSue Bounds
June 30 2018

I really enjoy your posts and Instagram. I have ordered great pencils in the past and will continue! My sisters and I grew up in Shelbyville, Tennessee and have known Musgrave Company and the Hulans all our lives. All of us went on field trips to the factory when we were in elementary school. Best wishes to you – I hope to visit your store on my next NYC trip.

June 30 2018

Congrats – running a business isn’t easy. FYI, if you haven’t read “Anything you want” by Derek Sivers check it out – very helpful (and a very short read) for any business owner. (If you don’t have it let me know and I’ll send you a copy – didn’t want to be presumptuous.) Thanks.

Tom Lewis
June 30 2018

Okay, I have to admit I was wondering (hopefully) if things were going well with the store. But there are so many delightful, seemingly impossible places and people that I know better than to ask “how?” and just enjoy their existence. You guys are a treasure – I’m happy everything is okay. Keep working your pencil magic in the world!

Virginia McConnell
June 30 2018

Dear Caroline and Pencil Ladies,
I have always loved pencils, periodically buying a multi-pack of Ticonderoga #2s from the local Costco. I’m retired now, but always wrote my teaching notes in pencil. And, for my historical true crime books, I write all my newspaper summaries and notes in pencil, on reams and reams of yellow legal pads. I found out about your shop from Mary Norris’s article in the New Yorker and I think she also had something in her Comma Queen book. When I visited NYC in 2016 (from Idaho) to do some research for my most recent book, I dragged my cousin to your shop (at the old location) and bought some pencils and notebooks. He was antsy (not his thing!) or I would have stayed longer and bought more. I always look forward to my next subscription box! Thank you for your wonderful shop.

June 30 2018

In our (too) fast pace digital world, your shop is a necessity like a lighthouse in the storm. In your place, people rediscover the essence and the joy of thinking, through the simple gesture of writing with a pencil on a piece of paper. Hang in there. Please.

Pia Z
June 28 2018

Caroline – I’m addicted now to writing in pencil because of the NYT article about the General Pencil Company which led me to your shop. What a pleasure it is to receive the yellow envelopes tied with b&w string, the kind notes and pencil lore. I’m a writer, and thinking in pencil is a different experience for me. One I didn’t know I needed until I bought my first box of elegant Blackwings. Thank you for what you do and for caring so deeply about pencils. And erasers. And sharpeners. Etc.!

david pacey
June 28 2018

I love that your shop exists! Full stop.

June 27 2018

Dear Caroline (and all the pencil ladies), thank you for this post. Your honesty and courage have been inspiring from the beginning. I became a faithful fan because of the NY Times article and I have encouraged many people to check out the store in person or online. I have had the pleasure of visiting the shop twice, once in each location, and the next and every time I am in NYC I will visit. You have created a delightful online community and I am so glad to be part of it. Visiting your website, even if I don’t buy anything on that visit, brightens my day. I love the fact that in this virtual, digital world, the beauties and joys of the analog world persist. Thank you for your dedication and passion. All the very, very best to you, always! Allison

June 27 2018

Dear Caroline,

I just want to say that I have never been to your shop, I truly applaud what you do, I never really thought about pencils that much until I was listening to NPR and heard a story about the Musgrave pencil factory. I knew I needed some pencils and I found your shop online and ordered some pencils…the hand written note and the beautiful packaging was a joy to behold. I hope to visit your shop someday.

Tracy Bachman
June 26 2018

Thanks for creating such a beautiful shop. And even though I haven’t physically been there yet— I am grateful for all your hard work. I had an antique shop with my mother—it was very hard work. I really appreciate what you all do over there—in the wee old pencil shoppee.

Randolph Holhut
June 26 2018

I’ve always loved ratting around little stationary stores, but they’re all gone now. Thanks, Caroline, for recreating the corner stationer, both in your corner of NYC and online, and for turning me into a pencil geek.

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