In the age of texts, DMs, and memes, the timeless practice of putting pen to paper in the name of love and friendship means more than ever. And with National Send a Card to a Friend Day on February 7 and Valentine’s Day on February 14, this month is a great time to go analog. Instead of rushing to the drugstore greeting card aisle, though, pay a visit to one of these indie stationery shops and design studios—all of which are at least partly owned by women—in and around Denver.

Wordshop Paperie

A card, envelope, pens, and stamps from paper shop Wordshop Paperie
Photo courtesy of Wordshop Paperie

The duo behind West Highland’s 15-year-old Wordshop Paperie, who call themselves the “Shopgirls,” have been avid collectors of greeting cards since their teenage years. To this day, owner Jill Alyn and manager and designer Ray Whalen love to create their own unique works of mini art within their elegant twist on a paper shop. The small paper shop’s three rooms are brimming with sweet and sassy salutations, specialty decorative papers, handmade jewelry, and unique gifts sure to make your BFF giggle. Most of the third-party items Alyn and Whalen carry are from minority-owned businesses, and all of their custom and retail paper products meet eco-friendly standards such as the use of water-based inks, compostable packaging, and sustainable paper made from cotton, recycled, or bamboo fibers. Wordshop also takes custom orders (appointment required) for everything from wedding and mitzvah invitations to business cards and hosts calligraphy and hand-lettering classes (check the shop’s Instagram for details). 3180 Meade St.

The Shop at Matter

The work room at Shop at MATTER.
Photo by Karyna Balch

The Shop at Matter is a Black- and woman-owned design studio and retail shop whose collection of thick letterpress cards are handmade by mostly women-owned printers. Inside its Five Points studio, shop co-owner, designer, and master letterpress printer Rick Griffith uses a vintage 1951 Vandercook press to make bold, colorful posters that call for voter mobilization and social justice. Griffith and co-owner Debra Johnson, who describe themselves as “activists with printing presses,” are dedicated to lifting up marginalized voices and also carry a thoughtfully curated yet sizable selection of books by Black, LGBTQ, and Latinx authors. 2134 Market St.

Lucky Onion

A wedding invitation suite by paper shop Lucky Onion.
Photo by Jose Villa

It’s a good thing graphic designer Cristy Fernandez and illustrator Kevin Eslinger—the husband-and-wife team behind Highland’s Lucky Onion—like each other, since they’ve been working together for 22 years. Although their primary business is custom wedding invitations and elegant event signage, their online shop boasts a gorgeous selection of art prints and greeting cards. (Our pick: the Colorado Love Vintage Postcards, which portray iconic Front Range locales such as the Daniels & Fisher Tower, Cheesman Park, and the Hotel Boulderado in a vintage style.) All of Lucky Onion’s printing papers are made from at least 30 percent post-consumer waste, but if you want to go even greener, they offer seeded paper—so your old wedding invitation can become your invitee’s next spring garden. Online only; custom consultations by appointment

Wolf & Wren

Lauren Stapleton and Liz Wolf stand in front of Wolf & Wren's storefront, holding hands and smiling.
Lauren Stapleton (left) and Liz Wolf at the grand opening of Wolf & Wren. Photo by Branded Beet

Lauren Stapleton and Liz Wolf, best friends and co-founders of the wholesale letterpress company Wolf & Wren Press, opened their brick-and-mortar location in downtown Longmont last year. Inside the light-filled, one-room shop at the front of Main Street’s Old Town Marketplace, you’ll find their entire collection of clever and delightful letterpress greeting cards, along with stationery products and gifts by American artists and women makers. As members of 1% for the Planet, an environmental nonprofit, the paper shop is certified carbon neutral. Plus, all Wolf & Wren paper goods are hand-drawn and letterpress-printed on 100 percent cotton paper, an approach to analog greetings that doesn’t hurt the trees. 332 Main St., Unit A1, Longmont

Inkwell & Brew

The exterior of Estes Park paper shop Inkwell & Brew, which is built in an alpine cabin style.
Photo courtesy of Inkwell & Brew

When in Estes Park, be sure to stop by Inkwell & Brew, an alpine cabin storefront dedicated to all things pen and paper. Tucked behind the streetside businesses on Elkhorn Avenue with a back patio overlooking the Fall River, this enticing paper shop has a coffee counter inside brewing beans from Denver-based Huckleberry Roasters. Sip a warm cortado while browsing the selection of letterpress and hand-painted greeting cards, leather-bound journals, and original art. “We are trying to keep the art of writing by hand alive in this digital age and are heartened by how many Gen Z young folks (and various age groups, too) are so keen on having that tactile aspect in their lives,” says co-proprietor Kevin Reed. Look for an extensive collection of Lamy and Karas Kustoms fountain pens for all your ink-to-paper endeavors as well as quill and wax writing sets to help channel your inner Jane Austen. 150 E. Elkhorn Ave., Estes Park

Two Hands Paperie

The inside of paper shop Two Hands Paperie, with a mannequin wearing an apron in the front of the photo and colorful rows of stationary in the back.
Photo by Grey Grimm

Papyrophiliacs (aka paper lovers) could spend hours poring over the collection of sketchbooks, dried florals pressed into handmade paper, and 30-plus racks of decorative paper at Two Hands Paperie, a letter writer’s wonderland on Boulder’s Pearl Street. The expansive space, which features an entire wall of ribbons, is filled with artisan-made cards, gifts, and books—but if you somehow can’t find the perfect thing for your special someone, check out the robust schedule of online and in-store classes, where students can make letterpress cards, bind their own handmade journals, or expand their watercolor skills. Two Hands opened in 1993 as a small shop with just a few books and one rack of designer paper, which means owners Mia Semingson and Gerald Trainor will be celebrate 30 years serving the Boulder community this October. 803 Pearl St., Boulder

Idea Chíc

Valentine's Day cards staged with the letters "X" and "O" on a flat surface from paper shop Idea Chíc.
Photo courtesy of Idea Chíc

David and Julie Sandusky of Glendale’s Idea Chíc have been designing greeting cards, handcrafted gifts, and personalized social stationery since 2009. All of their printing jobs are done in-house using their 1930s-era letterpress, which they’ve affectionately dubbed Hazel. The pair recently transitioned their retail paper shop into a production studio to focus on their e-commerce and wholesale business, but locals can still make appointments to shop or pick up their goods after ordering online. To keep your stationery spirit going all year, become a member of Idea Chíc’s Card Club: For $12.95 each month, you get to choose four cards from a selection of letterpress, sewn, and wood veneer varieties. 4340 E. Kentucky Ave., Suite 121, Glendale

Modern Calligraphy Workshops at Luki Brewery with Jupiter Stone Creative

A workbook about calligraphy, pens, and a card that reads "Send a Card to a Friend Day!" in front of a glass of beer.
Photo courtesy of LUKI Brewery

Thirsty for more paper art? Along with private and small group workshops, calligrapher and engraver Kelly Chang of Jupiter Stone Creative now offers introductory calligraphy class and beer pairing events (including one this Saturday, February 4, from 12:30 to 2 p.m.) at Arvada’s Luki Brewery. For $85, you’ll get Chang’s expert instruction, two Tombow brush pens and a marker, tracing paper, a workbook, and a drink. 14715 W. 64th Ave., Arvada

Lettering Lexicon

Here are a few paper-world terms to know as you navigate your stationery options.

Stationery: Materials used for writing, such as paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, ink, and other paper-related commodities.

Paperie: The French word for “paper maker” is used to describe “a high end stationery boutique specializing in fine papers,” says Jill Alyn, owner of Wordshop Paperie.

Letterpress: A printing technique invented in the mid-15th century by Johannes Gutenberg, which uses inked, raised surfaces to impress markings onto paper. Many vintage presses are still in use to this day, says Debra Johnson, owner of the Shop at Matter, which has two presses from the 18th century in its studio space. Wolf & Wren and Idea Chíc use early 1900s-era presses.

Decorative Paper: Walk into a Colorado paper shop and you might see large sheets of decorative paper draped over wooden racks. This high-quality, premium paper comes in endless colors and designs and can be used for wrapping gifts, lining cupboards, or even serving as an art print in a frame, says Ray Whalen, manager and designer at Wordshop Paperie.