Meet Figg Street Co.'s founder
This week, we've got something a little different for you - an interview with Figg Street Co.'s founder, Antoinette D'Angelo.
When and how did the idea to create Figg Street Co. come about?
When I was in university, I took a retail course. It was both fascinating and inspiring. A year later, I was living in Maine thinking about my “dream job”. Being a jazz singer was at the top of my list but . . . sadly, the talent wasn’t there. Since I was fond of all things stationery, it was an intuitive place to start. I began writing down ideas, and subsequently wrote a business plan for a stationery shop. It took many years to materialize, but the catalyst was an unfulfilling job. In 2013, I revisited my business plan and took a leap of faith and created Figg Street Co.!
Why did you choose to focus on stationery?
When I lived in Ottawa, I was steps away from a stationery shop. It was my favourite place to frequent: creaky hardwood floors and paper galore! Paper is beautiful, tactile, elegant, colourful, fun, functional and inspiring. I became enamoured by all things paper and I loved buying and collecting it. Some of it I would simply luxuriate in with no intention to use it. It was my ‘passionate’ path to take.
What made you decide to open up a shop in downtown Thorold?
I believed a charming, downtown community in a little town or village was the perfect place to open a shop. That's where I focused my energy. One dreary rainy Saturday afternoon, I received a telephone call from my neighbour. She'd just returned home from buying some meat pies in Thorold and encouraged me to investigate the area. Together we walked the street exploring and conversing with many of the merchants. Thorold’s downtown is home to a number of beautiful historic buildings and has been going through a revitalization. It felt like the perfect place for a stationery shop. As luck would have it, I was able to secure a lease. The rest is history!
Do you have any personal favourite stationery brands? If so, which ones and why?
There are many brands that I love. It's quintessential to have a collection of brands at your desk. Stationery is emotive and when we're writing to another, we choose aptly. Paula Skene Designs is one of my favourite fine stationery brands. I appreciate the craftsmanship, artistry and design of her products. Every greeting card is created one at a time. It's a process that honours passion, dedication and patience. I love anything letterpress. Amalfi handmade notecards and Rossi papers are among my favourites.
Are you right or left handed?
I'm right handed.
If you could write with only one pen and one type of paper, which ones would you choose? What ink colour(s)?
Who inspires you?
Most everyday I'm inspired by someone or many. Without naming names, I'm inspired by those who shoulder adversity with resilience and grace. I'm inspired by those who embody empathy, kindness, selflessness, thoughtfulness, and tolerance toward others. I'm inspired by those who risk their lives for others. I'm inspired by those who encourage us to be our best.
What's the best piece of advice you've received? Worst piece?
Best: Always do your best and don’t try to please everyone.
Worst: You can’t do that, it'll never work.
What are some characteristics or features of the Niagara region that appeal to you?
The Niagara region is noteable for its wine country. There's no shortage of very good wineries and winery restaurants to visit. We're so fortunate to have an influx of excellent restaurants that offer farm-to-table menus. Cycling the greenbelt is a fun way to explore the region. You can cycle your way from winery to winery, from Port Colborne to Port Dalhousie and everywhere in between. Niagara Falls in the winter is a spectacular site to see when entertaining a guest. The area turns into a magical winter wonderland. The Butterfly Conservatory and watching the ships through the canal are places I enjoy, as well.
When the pandemic is behind us, where would you most like to travel to?
PEI, Italy, England, Peru, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland are high on my list.
What is your wish or intention for your customers?
Buy what you love. It's what I personally practice, too.
Let us know if you enjoy interviews, as we're considering more in the future. Just as Figg Street Co. started out from writing down ideas, we hope that you're able to turn your dreams into reality, one step at a time. Enjoy the ride.