PlaceMakers- Natasha Lindsey of Scratch Paper Studio


scratch paper studios

I recently sat down with Natasha Lindsey and learned about Scratch Paper Studio, her stationery, invitation and gift business. She talks about creating beautiful gifts that inspire and celebrate your events; big or small. I learn about her time here in Charlotte and how she stays inspired.

Where are you from?
I am from Denver, Colorado and I have been in Charlotte since 2003.
Tell me about Scratch Paper Studio

Scratch Paper Studio is stationary and gifts company. I design invitations, notecards, greeting cards  and we also do gift products like mugs and notepads and soon will be doing journals that you can give to friends. We also do some art prints

Tell me about the Makers Series on your blog?

It’s a series I just started. My shop is on Etsy and I follow people on IG who are indie artists and crafters and I just kept growing a list of favorites and one of the things I wanted to do was talk about things I like and share my favorites and hope that sharing my favorites will see them and say “Ohh I didn’t even know this existed”!

Where did you get the idea for the name of your business?

The name comes from…well kind of divine intervention. I was just jotting down ideas and wasn’t having any luck. When I’m out somewhere I would sketch ideas on random pieces of scratch paper that I found and I thought well we could name it scratch paper because that’s how we compile the ideas that we design. (Note: this is the type of organic creativity we love at PlaceMakers !)

Have you always been a creative person?

Yes, Yes! My mom was an educator so she had summers free. She would put us into art and photography camps and let us craft at home. My sister and I were always making and crafting things.

My mug mantra for the day. Happy Tuesday everyone! #spsshop

A post shared by Natasha (@scratchpaperstudio) on

How has Charlotte helped your business?

Charlotte has been great for creative outlets and inspiration for me. I find myself trying to network with creators and learn new stuff.

Charlotte has been a good place for organic discovery. It’s just a nice comfy, cozy place to live and so it’s nice to step outside your comfort zone. You can sort of do anything you want.
What would you change about Charlotte?

I wish that there were….there’s so many great organizations and good people…but it’s hard to find them. I wish that there was more ability to see what those things (creative) are so you can get a little more involved.

Who is your ideal mentor?
I’m inspired by Riffle Paper Co.  Anna Bond came out with these amazing wedding invitations and the designs were so unique. I’m still to this day inspired by the work that she does and how she runs her business.
Completely unrelated to design, I would love to have a conversation with Jeni of Splendid Ice Creams. I love the story of how she got started and grew her business. I love a good story.

Lastly, I really like Ceci New York invitations  and stationery. I’ve been following her for years. She’s a great model for things for me to think about for my own business.

What’s the next trend in invitations? What are people begging you for? 

The most popular invitations I have are our Sip and See invitations. When I think it’s died down, I get a whole new batch of them. (Note: in the audio version, I awkwardly try to describe what I think Sip and See is. I ask if it’s when you have a message in the bottom of a teacup; It’s not. LOL). It’s typically used for a second child instead of having a full-on shower. I kind of relate it to a “sprinkle” shower; just a way for friends and family to meet the baby and see mom and offer congratulations. It’s one of the most popular invitations out of my shop.

What do you think about Canva and other design programs that put the design process in the hands of the user?

I think that Canva is a lot like other online entities that do the same thing. I don’t get too worried about it. You may need something tomorrow or right away and that may not fit my timeline and the style may not fit my own style. There are so many different options.  When you’re in this business,  you need to be aware of it and be able to adapt to what people are looking for. That’s why I offer printables. My customers and clients are often crafty so they can cut their own invitations and material from home. It gives them the ability to created what their looking for. This is why I offer both printed work and printables.

What advice do you have for people doing the two job thing?
  • One of the things I would say is to ask questions. Find out if there is a business that you like or if you always visit. spend time with the owners of businesses you’re interested in. It’s a matter of not being afraid to ask questions.
  • Another thing  I would say is don’t rush it. ” It takes you some time to figure out your groove…give yourself the time to be a beginner” The easiest way to stumble is to focus on what other people are doing. Stay in your lane and run your race. Don’t worry about where you think you should be.
  • If you’re turning a hobby into a business, find some other hobbies and allow yourself the time to find creative outlets
What’s the last book you read?

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

If you had to pick one, would you choose a summer concert or spa day?

Music festival

What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?

You can find Natasha on IG at Scratchpaper Studio and on the Site at



Christine Edwards


Charlotte PlaceMakers: Miss Queen City/Miss Metropolitan Scholarship Pageant

Miss  QC2


Beauty pageants are all about the on-stage presence and being unbelievably tan, right? Wrong! I recently talked to Montez Roman, volunteer Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator for the Miss Queen City Miss Metrolina Scholarship Organization and three current titleholders. You ever wonder how those crowns stay on all day? Well I asked them 5 questions about what they’re doing off-stage in Charlotte.


Caption: Left to Right: Kianna Jasper, Miss Metrolina’s Outstanding Teen 2015 is a 17 year old Senior at Independence High School, Cheslie Kryst, Miss Metrolina is a 24 year old 3rd year law student at Wake Forest earning her JD and MBA, McKenzie Faggart, Miss Queen City is a rising Junior at UNC Charlotte (McKenzie was not present during the interview), and Ava Starnes, Miss Queen City’s Outstanding Teen 2015 is a 13 year old Parkwood Middle School student 

1. How are you all doing things differently?

MR: Not only do they compete for scholarships, competing in the Miss Queen City Miss Metrolina pageant provides life skills through volunteering and community appearances. The girls do a year of service in order to create awareness around the organization and their platforms

2. How did you get started in pageants?

KJ: My Mom stressed the fact that it was a scholarship pageant and I would be doing community service. I just felt like it was something i wanted to try.

CK: My Mom was Mrs. North Carolina 2002. I did the pageants at my highschool but I never actually competed in the Miss America system until I graduated from college

3. Is it really like Miss congeniality? (I had to get this question out-of-the-way)

KJ:Sort of, we get the crown to stay on with lots of butterfly clips and elastic. *tilts head front to back and the crown is completely still*

CK: It’s true, “butt glue” is a lifesaver. We use it for swimsuits and dresses that need a little extra support.

4.  How does your title empower you, especially in terms of female equality?

KJ: I visited Lebanon Road Elementary School and let all the girls in the kindergarten class wear my crown. I saw them pull their shoulders back and stand up straight. It  just felt good to give them that sense of empowerment! The title gives me and everyone who holds the title a voice that we never had before.

CK: I was recently asked to talk about a marketing campaign I found interesting and when I chose to talk about the Miss America Organization, I got the strangest looks. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t talk about an organization that I was so proud of. The more people who know about us and really get to know the girls who are involved, the better.

AS: Whenever I compete, even if I don’t come home with a crown, I want to come home with a lesson. I’m learning about interview skills and how to feel grateful (remember this is from a 13 year old!

5. What’s one thing you want the Charlotte community and NC to know about you and about this scholarship program?

CK: I would emphasize the diversity involved in this program. I’m a Grad student and a JD student but I’m not unique. There are so many accomplished women in the Miss America system. A lot of people think it’s about beauty but if they get to meet some of us, they may think differently.

AS: I shared platform on Cherubs Disease, a birth defect that children are born with, and I was born with. I’m a survivor. I go on stage hoping they ask me about that.


The qualifier competition in June will decide who will be on TV competing for Miss America representing North Carolina. Qualifiers will also be aired on TWC Channel 323.During their year of service, you can catch them at the next parade, opening, nonprofit fundraiser and event. You can book them to represent your special event. Let’s celebrate our young Queens. This City is named after one after all.

Follow @QCPlacemakers on Instagram

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do what you love and love what you do

Im excited to announce our expansion of the PlaceMakers series to Instagram. Please follow our new account TODAY to get up to date information on past Placemakers features, future interviews, daily content from my adventures in the Queen City and you’ll want a front row seat when PlaceMakers goes on the road this summer. Quick! Follow Now! 

Place Makers [briefly]- Sherrell Dorsey, Uber Marketing Manager

Hi readers, thanks for sticking with me on my path to connect the best personalities in Charlotte through the PlaceMakers series. There are so many stories to tell so I’ve come up with a quicker way to connect- PlaceMakers [briefly]- a shortened version of the series but it still digs deep. Get to know our newest feature here.

photo set

Sherrell Dorsey, Uber Charlotte Marketing Manager by day and Social Impact storyteller by passion, chatted with me over coffee yesterday morning at Amelie’s. Rainy Monday morning coffee seemed to be befitting of this Seattle native. We spoke briefly about her falling in love with Charlotte and turning it into her own creative space for personal and professional growth.

Who are you and why are you here?

I like to think of myself as a social impact story teller. My background, my passion and part of the reason I came to charlotte was I saw this place that was thinking strategically about how we grow as a city. Before moving, I did tons of LinkedIn research and found people who were shaping the charlotte economy and culture and tapped into a community of people committed to sustainability and empowering entrepreneurship and empowering nonprofits. I came to Charlotte to culminate my many efforts from fashion, beauty, the environment, tech startups, creating websites…and just to cement my life here.

How did you get started with Uber?

I had been considering working in tech for a while and have some experience with past internships. I began using Uber in Seattle and it fit my lifestyle as I generally do not like to drive. I have always been Interested in how transportation was the great equalizer for cities. I found the opportunity online and went for it. Uber changes day to day and so it’s great to watch and be a part of.

Do you have a favorite creative space in the city?

Just recently stumbled upon Freedom Park so I plan to make many more trips there this summer. It makes me either want to get a dog or a kid…haven’t decided which would be less trouble (LOL)

What was the last book you read all the way through?

I finally just finished Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Who is your ideal mentor?

I am fascinated by Jenifer Daniels. She runs Good and Smart, a communication and brand strategy company. She is an entrepreneur, a leader, a mom, a wife and community member and I don’t know if she sleeps ever. I love the high level of quality and thinking around her work. She’s got a different lens and voice that is not always the one chosen to be amplified.

When it comes to summer plans, are you an Afropunk or Country Club type of girl?

I would have to say a little bit of both but I’m going to try and experience more of the Carolinas this summer; visiting Raleigh, Asheville, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

You can connect with Sherrell on Twitter @Sherrell_Dorsey and through her website

Note: Responses were paraphrased. You can listen to the full interview on my Soundcloud Page.


Charlotte PlaceMakers: Simone Battiste-Alleyne, Taking the Tech World by Storm

PlaceMakers: Simone Battiste-Alleyne

For my latest PlaceMakers interview, I spoke to a close friend of mine, Simone Battiste-Alleyne, New York Native, island girl, fearless chef and giver of awesome dating advice…but that’s a conversation for another day. In between sips of beer, we talked about her transition from working as a technical recruiter to graduate of Tech Talent South’s Ruby on Rails 8 week boot camp. She is now working as a software developer.  She’s got some great advice for folks looking to change their careers and enter into the tech world in Charlotte.

Tell me about your professional goals as far as software development?

Short term, she would like to find a junior developer role here in Charlotte. Long term, she would like to own her own company or be in a technical leadership role.

“The Tech industry has space for everyone. People can enter the tech field from all different backgrounds. There are so many different avenues into technology. Every job doesn’t require programming. As your career progresses, your opportunities get wider and wider”

How do you think this field has changed in Charlotte since you first moved here?

It’s hard to say because interest in tech has been from an IT recruiter lens. In a little over 6 months, I have learned that there are tons of incubator spaces, programs and meetups to keep people engaged in the work, which was not available 5 years ago. Charlotte has  a lot more space for non-traditional education opportunities.

What is going to keep you in Charlotte?

“Charlotte is a big little City” “It makes it easier to engage and help other people” I can always find someone I know and become well-connected” It also helps that technology is not limited by geography

Do you feel as though there were barriers to get where you currently are?

The only real barrier is fear. Fear is the only rear barrier in anything. The only real barrier is fear. I always plan for a rainy day so that makes the transition easier. The only real barriers to changing your career are FEAR and FINANCES. If she doesn’t take these soundbites and shape them into her personal self help story, then I will!

Do you have any advice for people looking to change their careers?

  • Do your research; look at what’s available and needed in your area
  • Find a way to get involved in the industry before you take the leap
  • If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Don’t Do It!
  • Push through the times when you’re not great
  • Meet up with people in the industry; get the inside scoop.
  • Know your barriers

What new skills have you picked up?

Front end/backend development (software engineering), Ruby on Rails, HTML/CSS/Javascript, Angular JS, Sequel Lite, Mongo, build web apps from scratch

What is your favorite Charlotte restaurant?

Café Monte

Lang Van

What’s your favorite hangout spot?

The Garage at Packard Place

Amelies (for the brownies!)


Twitter @blackgrad

To listen to the full interview, visit my Soundcloud page at

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