Pepa Stationery owner Ami Muir is helping to put a little good back into the world.
“We’ve all got a responsibility to do that,” she says.
“It makes such a difference, rather than just go through the chores of everyday life. When you are doing the good things, it feels so much better.”
At Pepa Stationery, kindness starts behind the scenes.
“Your people are your business. You might be running things behind the scenes but people are always going to remember the service they had. Any business that is service focussed - people are going to remember that aspect of it,” says Muir.
“If your staff are not happy, then you don’t really have a business.”
Staff are able to talk to Muir about absolutely everything - ideas and concerns.
“We have a very open dialogue.”
Muir knows that when her small team are in a good place, it flows out onto the shop floor.
“It’s really important that they are happy because it is a place I want other people to feel happy in as well.
Muir opened the store in October 2017.
When it comes to health and wellbeing best-practise, the business woman doesn’t pretend to have the answers.
“We’re just trying and that’s what everybody should be doing - just giving it a go,” she says.
“I don’t know what the right thing to be doing is but I am just doing what feels good and that’s a nice way to run a business. It’s something that everybody can do - do what feels right.”
The small team at Pepa is soon to grow by one, and from there Muir will look to bring in more social initiatives for her team.
Sick leave for both mental and physical illnesses has been written into each employee contract.
“And I’ve just talked to them about taking a day off if they need a day off. I brought that up with them, because people take those days off anyway and when you’re not up to going to work, I just think it’s so much nicer and open if you can say to your employer
‘I don’t feel like coming to work because I’m not in the right space’.”
“We should all be encouraged to do that. Because when you don’t want to go in, you’re going to be no good facing people all day.”
“We try to approach every decision with kindness.”
Muir says starting a business from scratch has allowed her to cement a positive culture from the get go.
“It was quite easy to say ‘this is who we are and this is how we act. Then it’s about making sure ‘who we are and how we act’ is the same for our customers, as it is to our employees.”
Meanwhile, in the shop, customers can “feel good” by writing a letter to a stranger.
“I just thought it was a really nice way to give something back to the environment. Otherwise, I think all those good vibes end up staying in the shop.”
“More than give something to the recipient, the letters really help everyone that take part.”
“I really see it. When people hand the letter over, I see the change. They’ve just done something nice and you don’t get opportunities to do something like that very often.”
“There should be more of that. People are willing. You just have to give them the opportunity to do it.”
For Muir, who juggles the running of two businesses around being a Mum, life is hectic.
She looks after her own health and wellbeing by walking her dog and doing an American project called Morning Pages.
It is an initiative - popular overseas - which has her fill three pages with writing at the start of her day.
“It turns out that what comes out, are the things that are bothering you without you knowing they’re bothering you.”
“After that, I feel much more ready for the day,” says Muir.
Muir acknowledges she struggles to switch off in the evenings, but she has also found peace in coming to terms with that.
“I’m an active relaxer.”
“I know that’s who I am and I don’t try to fight that.”