Empire interviewed Sandra and Nicole Shleifman, owners of At Home by Papergrafix, share insights on their thriving stationery business and why they love calling Avenue Road home.
Empire Communities: You and your daughter have built a business dedicated to enriching people’s lives. What inspired you to open a stationery store in 1989?
Sandra Shleifman: Having a background in printing and stationery, I knew I could provide the service and quality I wanted to see in the industry. The focus of our store has changed over the years from being strictly stationery into home and lifestyle products to service the needs of our growing clientele. Our background and experience in design has allowed us to curate a unique collection of products for the home.
EC: What inspired this evolution, and what do you love most about selling home goods?
Nicole Shleifman: After attending the gift shows and seeing what was available and appealing, we slowly established the “at home” branch of our business. Style, quality and great service has always been our number one priority. We are also driven by that feeling of elation when you see something you feel in love with looking like it has always belonged in someone’s home.
EC: You do a great job at keeping your inventory refreshed — every time a customer enters your shop, there’s always something new and on-trend to be found. Can you share some of your best-loved classics as well as some of the interesting new products that you’ve sourced? I see you’ve recently added Kerri Rosenthal artwork to your roster.
NS: Two of our best-loved and most popular lines are our Baobab Candle and Diffuser Collection and the forever classic Georg Jensen. We love the Kerri Rosenthal artwork; this is a new addition to our store. Signed prints of Kerri’s iconic drippy hearts encased in a chunky lucite are the perfect pop of colour to any room. We love to procure beautiful and unique pieces that can fill a home.
EC: What’s the most interesting thing a customer has ever custom ordered?
SS: To say one is better than the other would be like picking a favourite child. We look after clients for every occasion and are part of a person’s life cycle. We have had our work featured twice in Martha Stewart weddings, which was exciting, and we’ve also collaborated with an international wedding planner from save the dates to the the “I do’s.” Being pushed outside the box with our invitations is what is exhilarating and challenging; we thrive on that.
EC: Your shop has been located on Avenue Road since it opened in the 1980s. What do you love most about being in this neighbourhood?
SS & NS: We love the neighbourhood and have made meaningful relationships and friendships with our clients. Our store is “home” to all who visit us. There is a uniquely creative and welcoming energy to our store.
EC: What’s next for the store?
SS: We are about to launch our new website, which will show the constantly expanding lifestyle element of our store. Our goal is to inspire those who visit our store with beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces.