10 tips to building your community and business at the same time

Paper Goat Post is a brick-and-mortar store that combines beautiful paper products with events, and is quickly growing through their out-of-the-gift-box strategy for growing a business through community, social media, and snail mail.

When most non-wedding invitations are sent online, letters devolve into emails, heart-to-heart conversations happen on Gchat, and gifts are sent straight from Amazon Prime – a business based on paper seems a bit old-fashioned – and optimistic.

But there is something about paper.

Reading the hand-written words of a loved one that has physically traveled from hand to hand.

Carefully disassembling a beautifully, thoughtfully wrapped gift.

Discovering an elegant invitation in the mailbox.

As Paper Goat Post’s co-founders (and twin sisters) Megan and Cedar will tell you, they consider it their mission to “promote togetherness through the lost art of snail mail, gathering in celebration, and the thoughtful art of giving.”

Our philosophies extend through our products, services and brand to enrich our local community.

In fact, Megan and Cedar’s philosophy and business plan is very much about building community – and growing through community – with the help of paper.

And social media.

Where the old-fashioned and modern marketing methods converge is in this unique, utterly delightful space Megan and Cedar have created, both in their brick-and-mortar shop in Ivanhoe Village in Orlando, and their online presence.

10 tips on creative partnerships, promotions and growth

Megan and Cedar have extensive event planning backgrounds, including backyard weddings and million-dollar grand openings, which come in handy for helping their customers design visually stunning celebrations. They also offer the Paper Goat Post (PGP) studio as a venue for showers, dinner parties, meetings and classes.

Essentially, PGP provides everything a customer could possibly need to host a successful event.

But it’s not like the shop hit paydirt “Field of Dreams” style (“If you build it, they will come!”). No, these ladies had to work to get their unusual name out there.

How Megan and Cedar began was by doing what they do best: hosting parties and making friends. Here, they share their unconventional methods for growth and cultivating community – because the two are as connected as paper and ink.

01. Build creative partnerships

A business like Paper Goat Post is a result of passion. In Megan and Cedar’s case, a passion for paper. Step 1 of their business plan was to find people who shared that passion. They began by finding local creative groups and slowly building relationships.

“Before we even opened our doors, we partnered with creative groups within our local community knowing that they would be our ideal target market. We took the time through these partnerships to introduce our community to Paper Goat Post’s brand.”

From those relationships sprang opportunities to host creative workshops and in-store events for these groups and other local artists and dabblers, including classes in calligraphy, hand lettering, watercolor, macrame, floral design, and even cake decorating.

These events are the result of a second type of partnership – partnerships with other local businesses.

Create your own event announcements like this Succulent Workshop template for Instagram using Canva.

Creative partners not only add value to what the store can offer, they also help co-promote their events, allowing Paper Goat Post to reach wider audiences that are perfect for their crafty niche.

“We regularly partner with local creatives, makers, and event vendors that we genuinely love ourselves. We’ve formed these partnerships organically from what often starts as a quick conversation about either our business or theirs that ends in sparking some idea for a partnership. The benefits directly affect our bottom line. Our customers look to us to connect them to others in our community through our partnerships.”

Megan and Cedar make sure these relationships are mutually beneficial by promoting their partners whenever possible.

02. Expand your reach: pop-up shops

The idea of partnering with other creatives continues with how Paper Goat Post uses pop-up shops to expand their products and their reach, while helping other entrepreneurs get their products out there.

“We use pop-up shops to bring in products (or services) we don’t have at the shop all the time or it allows us to offer an entire collection rather than just a few products from their line. We’ve found that it’s most effective to actually picture the product being sold rather than a logo or graphic text.”

“Kim Panella is a local chalk artist who is just growing her small business. Another of our favorites is Merci.Bakery… we’re a local pick up location for her online store. Both of these pop ups gave them a great opportunity to show off their talents to our customers and introduce our customers to them face to face.”

There’s a generosity of spirit here that is infused into the way Megan and Cedar do business – and it also happens to be the best kind of marketing.

Make your own pop-up shop announcements for Instagram in Canva: Flower shop pop-up template.

03. Build anticipation

None of this would work if Megan and Cedar weren’t adept at getting the word out about their business, events and partners. They’re very socially-savvy, online and offline.

It was important to convey our philosophies and brand image early on while not revealing everything.

“For example, in the months leading up to our opening, our window covering was a giant piece of snail mail to the community letting them know we were opening soon. This also helped to build excitement for what was coming when our doors finally did open in October of 2015.”

Building anticipation didn’t end when the shop doors opened; they continue to build anticipation for their events on social media.

Create your own Dinner Party Menu with this Canva template.

04. Develop your personality

Authentic marketing like Paper Goat Post’s can’t happen without genuine personality behind it – and nothing says personality like a little quirkiness. And a goat.

Why goats?

“We fell in love with goats at an early age. I mean really, who doesn’t love them? Ever since a family vacation, when we were around 8 years old, our gallery wall at our house included a picture of us holding baby goats! They are playful, curious and love everything – we love to eat everything and we love to celebrate everything. Clearly, a perfect match. Our founding year, 2015 also happens to be the year of the goat.”

It’s personal, it’s personable (really, who doesn’t love a goat?) and it’s very hard to forget. A perfect recipe for a successful brand.

05. Add value

Megan and Cedar’s workshops, events, and partnerships are all about adding value to the experience of coming to their store. And you’d think these value additions would keep them busy enough, but they don’t stop there. They’re always asking themselves how they can add more.

It’s how the Custom Invitation Design Giveaway, Gift Wrap Bar, and Balloon Bar were born.

“Our in-store gift wrap bar and design-your-own balloon bar offer festive ingredients to make custom, personalized parcels and balloon creations. We’ll even wrap gifts for you.”

From a customer success perspective, they’re giving their clients all the tools they need to successfully host an event, or even just deliver a heartfelt gift. Even if Megan and Cedar end up doing the actual wrapping.

They can also be seen taking their show on the road, for additional relationship-building.

06. Simplify social media

Social media makes up a huge part of Paper Goat Post’s marketing and customer engagement strategy, and they devote considerable time to it – especially Instagram. They’ve hit upon a strategy that delivers big results, and can be summed up in two words: simplicity and consistency.

“When promoting events on social media we believe you have to keep it simple! You want to be informative in a concise but catchy manner. We alternate between informative posts with graphics and images and more subtle images to raise interest and promote our events, but that do not directly list out the details.”

“You will see on our social media we will post a graphic that includes the event name, date, and times a few times leading up to the event. Between these posts we still are able to promote the event with other images, such as posts of floral arrangements or the cocktail that they will be making during the event.”

Get Paper Goat Post’s floral look with these Canva templates: Linen Pink Flowers, Green Flowers and White with Watercolor Flowers

07. Be consistent

“In order to be effective, you want to keep your customers interested with variety but also stay consistent so your customers know when and where they can expect to find information. For our repeating events, we stay consistent with our graphics. This allows for our customers and followers to easily recognize the event and see the important details.”

For example, for their WanderLust Wednesday community event, they always use the same graphic on their Instagram feed. Simple, yet effective.

08. Help customers succeed

Setting up their customers for success is part of everything Megan and Cedar do at Paper Goat Post – to the extent of creating an unusual event around it.

“Our standout favorite event we host regularly is The De:Constructed Dinner Party, where we teach our attendees how to throw a party as they attend one. It’s educational and festive!”

Addressing the biggest success gap between the wannabe host or hostess and the successful party-thrower, these De:Constructed Dinner Parties break down exactly how to graciously host an enjoyable dinner party, building confidence while serving cocktails.

One of their Instagram ads for this event reads:

“Paper Goat Post is hosting a party within a party. Enjoy delicious cocktails & small bites in a social atmosphere as we deconstruct the dinner party in style. At this seasonal event you’ll learn everything you need to host the best parties from Orlando’s party experts… TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON! Ticket also includes seasonal food & cocktail recipes, a seasonally inspired make & take as well as a set of invitation to inspire you to host your next party.”

It’s a great example of helping customers reach their ultimate desired outcome in a fun, creative way.

09. Stay on brand

Megan and Cedar have fun and get wildly creative, but everything idea they bring to fruition stays entirely on brand, and is 100% designed around what their ideal customers need and want. The result is an incredibly cohesive brand, no matter what medium they’re working in.

“The most important thing to remember is that everything you are associated with is a reflection of your brand. For this reason, we make sure that any offline media, such as brochures, flyers, etc. have colors, quality, and messaging that is entirely in line with that of our brand.”

Get the look with this Canva Pink Floral invitation template.

And, since their brand is very much a reflection of their values, it’s not just about using the right colors – it’s about creating a total branded experience for customers using every tool at their disposal.

Our first philosophy at Paper Goat Post is the lost art of snail mail so whenever possible we reach our customers and stay connected through snail mail.

10. Perfect the art of giving

In life and marketing, it’s not about what you get, but what you give. This is another one of Paper Goat Post’s philosophies that is embedded into everything they do.

“Another philosophy we use often in marketing is the thoughtful art of giving. We have found a great return on our investment on gifting our signature items, such as our Billy Balloons or a bouquet from #freshflowerfriday.”

Of course, they don’t stop there (because they never stop improving on their good ideas) – they also partner with their local Habitat for Humanity.

Final Thoughts: small businesses have big impact

Supporting other local businesses is the common thread that runs through every event, promotion and partnership Paper Goat Post has. Their commitment to helping their neighbors contributes to a strong sense of community that fosters growth, because they share this value with many of their customers.

Small businesses build a sense of community and culture that ‘big box’ stores do not.

“It’s not always easy to shop small, but when you do, it is GREAT knowing that you are personally impacting someone’s life through your purchases.

As a planner, designer and event host we source as many products locally if possible. If we can’t find something locally the next best thing is a small business online or in another city. We shop small when it comes to food at local farm to table grocery stores and flowers at local wholesale markets. The majority of our products sold at Paper Goat Post are all sourced from small businesses.

We also pride ourselves in being a local resource for other planners and designers in our community to purchase stationery and decor elements for their events.”

SaaS Consultant & Customer Success Evangelist. Founder at Authentic Curation. Moderator at @ProductHunt & @GrowthHackers. Previously: Growth at @Inboundorg. INFJ.