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Hidden Gems: Meet Michelle Castle of The Giving Ink

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Castle.

Hi Michelle, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My name is Michelle Juliet Castle, I am an entrepreneur and dabble in art. I own a boutique called The Giving Ink, which embodies my desire to connect the hearts of people through handwriting, illustrations, and a renewed interest in a slower form of communication. Our shelves and online shop are filled with items to inspire your correspondence. We offer a curated selection of high-quality products from around the world, including wonderful greeting cards, Michelle’s original watercolors and gifts meant to inspire.

My fascination with paper was solidified with a bookmaking class while attending UCLA Design School. After graduating, I spent most of my career in the hospitality and food businesses, mostly managing restaurants in Los Angeles and Boston. During that time, I found myself always loving the details at the table and during events. I started designing stationery and built a business creating custom invitations.

During that time, my boutique grew and now that is my focus along with a new business, JoyMail – coming soon!.

I opened my stationery shop seven years ago in the Santa Ynez Valley and I love it.

I started the hashtag #indefenseofanalog to promote my passion for what I call the importance of living an analog life in an increasingly digital world.

The benefits of incorporating the handwritten note into your professional and personal relationships are many and our selection includes items you can share with others and create meaningful connections.

Letters are a way to send a small gift from a place of meaning.

They are one of the only ways to connect on a personal level from a distance.

They benefit the giver and the receiver.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Where to begin 🙂 Standing out enough to inspire handwriting in a digital world.

Retail and being an entrepreneur is HARD – and it is all the things you do not see… employees, finding new products, accounting and so much more.

Personally, it has been a struggle being a single Mom of two young children and finding the time to do everything I want.

We’ve been impressed with The Giving Ink, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a small business owner and artist.

My boutique and online store has a high-quality selection of stationery (greeting cards, note sets), gifts and writing instruments. (fountain pens, other pens…)

Each item is hand-selected.

We are known for our selection of greeting cards and high quality, unique gifts from around the world.

I am most proud of the cards we design and print in house because they are unique to our store which also makes it extra special to send – because the person will not have seen it anywhere else. These cards use my own designs and watercolors that come from my heart. They also include my maps, which I am particularly proud of. I love maps because they connect people to a place.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Books: Untamed by Glennon Doyle (to stick with my heart and create what makes me happy)

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (to emphasize that I am making my customers the hero when they write a letter to someone else and I can help with that)

Popcast: How I Built This (to hear other inspiring stories from entrepreneurs

TV: Shark Tank (to know there are other people who have ideas, work their butts off, stick with what they believe in and they get supported)

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: @thegivingink_honeypaper
  • Facebook: @thegivingink

Image Credits
All photos by me: Michelle J. Castle

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