Boss Like A Lady – Women Entrepreneur Series – Caroline Weaver, The Pencil Pusher

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am creating a limited hand-lettered and illustrated series of some women making history.  These women own their own creative businesses and make them successful despite many obstacles, including their own occasional self-doubt.  I hope they inspire you to make a little history of your own!

Caroline Weaver,
The Pencil Pusher
Caroline Weaver is the owner of the one year old wildly successful CW Pencil Enterprise, a Manhattan shop dedicated to celebrating the histories and utilities of wood-cased pencils.  Caroline considers herself a life-long aficionado of pencils and analog tools, she spends her days at her Lower East Side shop telling stories an recommending pencils for everyone and every purpose.  I personally first met Caroline when I sought out her store for my favorite sometimes hard to find  Blackwing pencils!

Read more about her and her shop in this New York Times article and listen to Caroline on this Freakonomics Radio Podcast.

What was the worst advice you ever received?  It was to never open a pencil shop.


And the best advice?  To take risks while you’re young. 


What is your best source of inspiration?    New York City.  


What do you do when you get discouraged?  I take a deep breath, drink a cup of tea and get out a pencil and paper to make a plan.


When do you doubt yourself?   When I’m treated differently because I’m a young woman running a shop devoted to such an old-fashioned object.  


Why PENCILS? They’re wonderful and tactile and full of history.


Complete the sentence, You NEVER…  skip breakfast.


And you ALWAYSread at least an hour a day to maintain my sanity.


When did you know you were successful?  When I started getting letters from strangers in the mail. 


And do you have advice for anyone wanting to open up their own ‘proverbial pencil shop?’ Don’t think about what other people are doing–create a space that you’d feel compelled to spend hours in and other people will want to do just that. Passion is infectious and story-telling is a powerful tool for charming visitors. Don’t underestimate the value of above-and-beyond customer service, that’s the best thing you can do. It’s tremendously hard work to run a shop but it’s worth every all-nighter to hear that the end result is loved and appreciated. And hire a bookkeeper–it’s worth every penny to not have to slave over bank statements on top of all your other duties. 

Check out CW’s Pencil of the Month Club!

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