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Chelsey Nichol

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Chelsey Nichol

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About

Creating my own history

I live in a small town called McMinnville, about an hour south of Portland Oregon. I am home here. I was born here, went to school here, graduated college here, met my husband, had our kids, worked for our family printing/newspaper business, and now own my letterpress business here. While I haven't lived anywhere else, I have a strong sense of adventure and take any chance I can to travel. I have a connection to this town and I love having a business in such a supportive community.

My connection to this town stems from being apart of a family that has deep roots here. My brother and I are fourth generation in our family newspaper and printing business. We've grown up in the newsroom and are surrounded by photos of earlier generations and our town history. I started working at the newspaper when I was 14 answering customer calls and selling subscriptions. Some of the first lessons I learned on the job still stick with me today. I feel like my work ethic was cemented in those summers. To this day I still hate talking on the phone with angry customers! I worked in almost every department of our business until college where I got a degree in Political Science. That led to four years working in a very demanding political consulting career. I got married to my high school sweetheart a few years after college and a year later I decided that I didn't want a future in a career that was so cynical and wasn't conducive to having kids. My grandfather had a stroke and I remember being at the hospital with my dad and asking if I could come back to the family business. After four years of ironing suits, wearing heals and having professionally polished hair and makeup everyday, the idea of being able to wear jeans, a t-shirt and a ponytail at our commercial print plant seemed like a vacation. That began almost ten years of working my way up through our plant and learning the printing industry inside and out. My first week was spent picking up paper scraps on the bindery floor and my last day was as sales manager of our multi-million dollar company. Working in a family business has benefits, but it is also the most stressful and emotionally challenging thing I have done. But I am so thankful for all that I learned while I worked there. Each task, each lesson, each hard day made me the person who was confident enough to go out on my own and believe that I had the skills to succeed.
About four years ago, while I was working full time at the printing plant, I met someone who mentioned how much they loved letterpress printing. We connected over our shared love of paper and ink and I told her about the letterpress equipment that had been sitting for decades gathering dust in one of our warehouses. That connection started me thinking about learning the craft and starting my own business. I had the opportunity to move into a sweet little space in a historical warehouse in the downtown area. My husband helped me refurbish the press and turn the shop into a perfect space for me to start a business. I took a workshop in Portland and started to do my homework on the craft of letterpress printing. I have such supportive friends who were some of my first customers. I worked nights and weekends for three years building my business. In 2012 I decided it was the right time for me to leave our family business and jump into the world of small business ownership. While this all sounds simple, it really was a very hard adjustment. I traded the stressful stability of a job in management to the stressful, but exciting world of self reliance. I couldn't have done it without the support of my husband, friends and clients. When I made the decision it was the first time I felt truly proud of myself. I felt like I was being brave enough to be myself and trust my ability to succeed. This last year and a half running and working in my own print shop has been some of the most fulfilling of my life. I have made so many new friendships, worked with some amazing clients, rediscovered creative parts of me that had been lost, enjoyed more time with my kids and confirmed that I am best when I am in control of my future. I used to think that the goal of working hard and making money was so that I could be "happy". I believed that if I made enough money I could purchase things to make us happy or go places that would make us happy. It wasn't until I wasn't bringing home any money that I really discovered that it was about feeling happy. Being happy with the things that really matter, like self confidence and being a better wife and mother, collaborating with people, making new friends, feeling pride in things that I produced with my own hands. My mom jokes that I am "the happiest poor person" that she knows. While these first few years may be tough, I cannot wait to achieve the goals I have for myself and my business. The desire to succeed now means something so different than it did before.

Shop members

  • Chelsey Nichol

    Owner, Designer, Creator

    I'm a fourth-generation printer in Oregon. I have a small letterpress shop that I am very proud of. I am a printer by trade and by choice and love owning my own business. My new passion is collaborating with like minded folks on my stationery line.

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