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Muddy Meets Pulp’s Charlotte Miles

With its iconic 'eraser' pink shopfront and shelves of jazzy pens and jaunty sketch pads, Pulp Stationery and Art in Nailsworth is a gloriously colourful indie.

We caught up with owner Charlotte Miles (in between marvelling at her colour-coordinated stationery) to find out more about her fabulous emporium.

And, she gives us her essential 7-step guide to revamping your deskspace to create the home office of dreams (*there’s more to it than shuffling 4-day old coffee cups before a Zoom – who knew).

Photo by Simon Pizzey

Hello Charlotte … tell us how Pulp began?

Pulp had been here for 16 years when I bought it in June 2019. I was looking for a new challenge,and I come from Nailsworth and didn’t want to see the high street lose a great independent shop.

I am a qualified Interior Designer and wanted to brighten things up and make it a really cool ‘go to’ shop, both for the ‘hip’ generation in the area, and our loyal customers. I also wanted to draw in the art crowd by broadening our range of art supplies which has so far proved really popular.

We have really worked hard on creating our own look, but we wanted to encompass the cool European stationery look of places such as Paperchase. So many people love good stationery and we wanted to design a shop that inspired people.

mary and charlotte infront of pulp
Charlotte with the Queen of Shops. Photo by Simon Pizzey.

Mary Portas opening the shop is a bit cool for school. Tell us more?

My husband was working with her at the time and I asked her if she would mind opening the shop for us. I think she is so cool, and savvy and she was perfect. She knows such a huge amount about retail and the moving times for the high street. I can highly recommend her podcast Work Like A Woman.

Any survival secrets to working with family?

My daughter Ella, now 17, works part time at the shop. I wanted to involve her in the business from the outset, to give her confidence and work experience. She works with me during school holidays and on Saturdays. Luckily we’re extremely close, and like best friends. We work well together and know when they other needs a hand or a pep talk. It just works.

women and baby on desk
Charlotte (right) with son Teddy and daughter Ella (left)

How did you cope with lockdown?

Lockdown has been tricky for all small businesses, but for us it took away our final quarter of our first year of trading. I put up a website just before lockdown hit, so luckily we had that going, albeit a basic one. We offered a home delivery service of all products, and printing and managed to continue a tiny turnover. We are now working on expanding the website massively to offer all of our stock online and pushing our social media branding to way beyond the town we are in.

Quirky and creative but definitely not this Pulp

There’s no way we can’t ask. Are you a fan of the seminal 90s band Pulp!

Ha!! We do hear that one a lot!… we inherited the name, and wanted to keep it as it was so well established, but I believe it originates from paper pulp as opposed to the band.

Nailsworth … what’s cool about it?

Where do I start? I’ve lived in a lot of different places, but I always feel most at home here. The community spirit is amazing and everyone is so supportive. It’s such a sunny place too, always looks pretty and well cared for. We are so lucky to be here.

Your three fave Glos hangouts?

The Olive Tree here is my favourite place for dinner, I’m a coffee addict so I love many cafes, Coffee 1 in Stroud is a firm favourite, and Coco Confectionary does the absolute best oat milk latte in the whole world… as well as yummy sweets.

Reveal your fantasy stationery drawer to us …

It would include my beloved fountain pens (I have rather a lot) especially the Lamy Safari and Kaweco Sport. My husband bought me a brass Kaweco Sport as a gift and it is the most beautiful pen. Add to that, erasable gel pens, jazzy highlighters and a great desk pad for note making, oh, and a beautiful Leuchtturm notebook and diary.

 Any famous browsers through your doors?

Well, no Jamie Dornan as yet! But Rafe Spall is a regular and he is really supportive, and we have had George Clarke from Amazing Spaces in too. They have both signed our blackboard wall.

What should be on our hitlist for back-to-school?

I love erasable pens and highlighters, you can never have enough in a pencil case. One of our bespoke Art sets that we make for different key stages (really useful), wooden rulers, because try hard to minimise plastic in our shop, Lamy Safari fountain pens and a good chunky, coloured paper pad!

Photo by Simon Pizzey

Charlotte Miles’ 7-Steps to Creating a Cool Home Office

  1. De-clutter. Firstly, set up your workspace, allow yourself time and think about what you need to hand and what you don’t need. It’s easy to get carried away but always remember you need to love it. Find your style.
  2. Have a base. Desk pads are totally underrated, but so good for jotting notes and dates, then each week you can tear it off and start afresh which is great for the mind.
  3. Colour. Don’t be afraid of colour. Scandi style is amazing but a pop of colour here and there brightens things up and makes life much more fun. There is never a need for stationery to be boring.
  4. Flexibility. When thinking of storage, use what works for you. I love symmetry and clean lines, but I’m also a creative and things can get messy. Wall storage, pots and boxes are the way forward because they are so flexible.
  5. Quality over quantity. There is no denying we live in a throwaway society, so always choose quality stationery over cheap and cheerful, you won’t regret it and it really will last longer.
  6. Colour code. Use different colours for different subjects, different         clients etc. I collect Leuchtturm notebooks for my accounts and it’s hugely satisfying to see them lined up in a rainbow of colours.
  7. Keep it clean. Thing can get messy when you’re working or creating (especially in the summer holidays!). Keeping your workspace clean and clear is key. At the end of every day tear off your messy pad sheets, put away your pens and bits and bobs and leave it tidy – make it into a daily ritual. It’s the equivalent of making your bed in the morning and so good for having a clear mind the next day.

*** WIN *** one of three awesomely trendy concrete desk tidys from swanky Bristol-based design house Smith and Goat. Stocked at Pulp, we’re giving three of them away, click here to enter right now.

Inspired to pimp up your workspace? Then head to Pulp Stationery and Art to stock up and use the code MUDDY10 for 10% off.

Find more ideas here


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