Extraordinary Entrepreneurs: Pawpear

Ireland - Waterford

Like many an Irish child, I grew up collecting stationery. I remember gathering my notepaper sets to bring to my friend’s houses and we would sit on the floor with our collections around us, swapping sheets of different designs. Some seemed too beautiful to be written on. Others were scribbled with notes and made-up stories. Around the same time, the coolest thing (seemingly) about our indigenous language was getting the Siamsa and Spraoí annuals at Christmas time. I can still smell the fresh pages. I loved that smell.

Paper has endless creative possibilities. I used to run origami workshops at a local school and the kids thought it was magic that a simple square of paper could become a cup that holds water. Paper can connect people. I had penpals from all over the world as a teenager, one of which I still exchange physical cards and letters with (27 years later). Paper holds memories. I have a chest full of notebooks, cards and letters. Of course, the paper itself has no intrinsic value, but my name hand-written by my grandfather on an envelope does, as does a note penned by an old friend who has since passed on. My sustained fascination with paper has permeated every aspect of my life.

With a BA in Visual Communication from LSAD, I left Ireland in 2010 and worked as a designer at a stationery boutique in West London. Surrounded by all kinds of paper stock and extraordinary clients, I’d gone from collecting ‘fancy notepaper’ to designing Geri Halliwell’s personal stationery. During the time I spent in the UK, I was often asked to speak some Irish and felt embarrassed that I only had ‘cúpla focail’. I had never fully appreciated the beauty of the language until I lived amongst other cultures.

Box of 10 greeting cards in five unique designs depicting locations along the coast of Ireland.

Fast-forward to 2021 – I’ve moved home to Ireland; I’m relearning Irish and I’m finding a very limited range of Irish stationery products on the market. So, in July of this year, I set up Pawpear (a phonetic rendering of páipéir – the Irish word for paper). Pawpear celebrates vivid colour, bold design and the Irish language. We are proud to use Irish suppliers, mostly family-run businesses. Our illustrated pieces depict coastal locations around Ireland as well as wildflowers native to the island, and our growing product range includes greeting cards, writing sets, recipe cards and the stationery boxset.

Whether or not it ignites a life-long passion, giving someone the gift of paper can be a powerful thing.

Pawpear is part of the 2022 To Be Irish Gifting Guide


Follow Us