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Local Makers: Natty Michelle Paperie

We're starting a new category that highlights local artists that are making beautiful pieces. Why? Because as you know, we're huge fans of buying local. Additionally, it's that time of year to start planning your Holiday shopping. We are lucky enough to know Natalie Kilgore of Natty Michelle Paperie through members of our family, and she resides in our beloved town of Athens, GA. We love her work so much we have her Athens map and letterpress coasters proudly displayed in our home! We're excited to share some pictures of her crafts, as well as an interview to learn a little more about her and her art. If you're looking for a thoughtful, handmade gift (teachers, friends, aunts, moms, etc) this is the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping. And because we love all things Southern, we even got Natalie to dish a little about some of her favorite Southern places to eat and shop.

Photo courtesy of Katie Bryant

Q: How did you get started in stationery and when did you know it was time to focus on it full time?

I always dreamed of owning my own business, but I didn’t consider it very seriously until I lost my advertising job before the holidays in 2009. Losing a steady paycheck was the push I needed to try and make a business of my own happen. I started out very slowly at first, not taking too many financial risks. I worked out of my home, opened an Etsy account, and started selling a few of my notecard sets online. My business really started to pick up when I added custom artwork to my Etsy site, like house portraits, pet portraits and my custom maps. Thankfully, as orders started coming in more steadily, I didn’t need to continue looking for a 9-5 day job anymore. As time went on and I made more money, I slowly started investing into my business and bought new equipment, new printers and better art supplies.

Q: Where do you find your creative inspiration?

I love to travel and hunt for the places in town that make a place unique and interesting. I think this comes out in my artwork, especially my maps and landmark stamps.

Q: What are some fun ways to gift your new mugs?

The sky's the limit! Stuff a mug with a gift card and candy, hot cocoa packets, marshmallows and candy canes, your favorite ground coffee (local coffee shops get my vote!), favorite teas, chocolate, peppermints. There are so many ways to gift a mug and make it a unique present.

Q: What's been your proudest career moment to-date?

Probably when my work was highlighted on Martha Stewart's website in a post about a wedding I was a part of last year. They featured the map I made for the wedding, and I was on cloud 9! Martha Stewart is a huge inspiration to me, and being highlighted by her brand was totally flattering and exciting.

Photo courtesy of Katie Bryant

Q: What are some of your favorite local spots in Athens?

I have too many favorites to name, but my top choices for restaurants would include Heirloom, Last Resort Grill and Mama's Boy. I love stopping into The Manhattan for a Blenheim's extra spicy gingerale (and free popcorn!) and winding down with a night cap on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre.

Q: What are your favorite local shops for handmade wares/gifts?

Treehouse Kid & Craft is a favorite of mine not only for their art classes (for kids AND adults!) but also a spot where I can find unique toys and books for Archie (her son) and his cousins and friends.

Q: How has the Athens community supported you? Do you feel a strong sense of community and support for local artists? I often tell people that I'm in the right place at the right time -- Athens is a wonderful community that's so supportive to small businesses and artists. I love the people in Athens, and I'm so thankful to live in a town that lifts artists up and cheers them on. It's a great community to be a part of.

Photo courtesy of Katie Bryant

Q: Favorite roadtrip in the South?

A nearby favorite is the town of Monroe -- it's the best place around to treasure hunt (about 25 miles west of Athens and about 45 miles east of Atlanta). Favorites include Old Mill Antiques, Cherry Hill at the Mill, Davis Street Antiques, Ian Henderson’s Antique Mall and The Cotton Depot. We're also big fans of Isle of Palms outside of Charleston, where we vacation every summer. Sullivan's and Husk are our favorite restaurant there, and you can't beat the shopping on King Street downtown Charleston!

Q: Where can people purchase your items?

website: // Instagram @nattymichelle

#Athens #Local #Gifts #LocalMakers

About Us

Storytelling through the voice of a family that's been rooted in Georgia for over nine generations. We love all things good for the soul, operating off the mantra "life's too short to eat bad BBQ." Ride along with us as we explore the state of Georgia (and beyond) through food, adventure, music, and culture. You never know what unexpected treasures can be found when you take the back roads.



[ser-uh n-dip-i-tee] 

An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

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