Ideas on Paper has recently been opened by Alex Smith 42, local retail entrepreneur.
Having been inspired by the independent shops in Nottingham’s Hockley area, Alex went to London at the age of eighteen to learn everything there was to know about shop keeping; he started at retail icon Harrods where he completed the management training programme before going on to work in other well known stores such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. On graduation from Westminster University he spent just under two years in head office roles at Laura Ashley before returning home to Nottingham to help run independent designer store Flannels – based on Bridlesmith Gate. After being approached by Nash Interiors of Hockley he did a spell in the furniture trade, travelling internationally to source new and exciting product for the Nottingham store and moving between the company’s Derby Road and Carlton Street branches. Head hunted by luxury menswear brand Duchamp he returned to London to run the retail side of the business before finally coming back to Nottingham in 2012 to begin preparations for his own business.
The blue touch paper was light for Ideas on Paper when Nottingham City Council ran its Inspiring Retail competition; during the process Alex became convinced that he had a concept that just had to be brought to life. The recent redevelopment of Cobden Chambers on Pelham Street created just such an opportunity and last month Alex took a unit there.
The concept is centred around independent magazines, journals, books and stationery ; collaborating with a number of local makers and creatives Ideas on Paper will offer a carefully curated selection of products all linked by the theme of paper.
Alex intends for the small shop to feel like being in a graphic designer’s apartment, an oasis for lovers of the printed page. Coffee will be served to guests/customers making them feel especially welcome and encourage them to linger browse and chat about their ink sniffing, paper loving habits. A number of book groups will be meeting at the store, the venue providing the perfect setting for discussion and celebration of words, illustration and photography on the printed page. Other plans for the brand are to develop a collection of stationery that will be made locally and will celebrate the beauty, texture and sensory nature of paper.
Alex is reticent about his longer term plans in the city, but a glint in the eye of this local guy returned from the smoke seems to suggest that he has a few more cards up his sleeve.