Organize your life.
By Lauren Jones, Photos courtesy of Erin Condren
Erin Condren’s Austin flagship store at Domain Northside is hard to miss. While the exterior beckons “planner girls” far and wide with its multicolored hexagons, the interior is equally inviting. Its glossy rainbow stairs, sunken navy sofa and bright display cases make Erin Condren’s first Texas brick-and-mortar shop more like stepping into a planner playland than a typical retail store. And that is just what the California native had in mind.
“A lot of the elements in the store I wanted to feel like my home,” Condren says. “The sofa pit is the same one I have at home…and the tile design is the same in the bar at my house. I wanted people to feel like [the store]is an extension of my home and a place they can call home as well.”
Since Condren launched her eponymous brand in 2004, it’s proven that “paper is viral.” With 1 million LifePlanner users worldwide, the company has grown into a multimillion-dollar corporation, and Condren, who started the company out of her home, never imagined what her passion for planning would become.
“It’s amazing how it’s evolved,” Condren says. “I was in the apparel industry for years, and after Sept. 11, our company didn’t survive the economic fallout. From there, I was surprised with a twin pregnancy. I started printing my own birth announcements and friends started asking if I could do their Christmas cards. [The brand] started very organically at home shopping parties.”
Now, about 13 years later, Condren and her team have developed a unique niche, a planner community for those who still desire that pen-to-paper sensation. While Condren’s business partner, Al Marco, first questioned launching a such a company in a digital age, he quickly got behind Condren’s idea.
“The iPhone had just launched and the world said we are going to be planning digitally,” Condren says. “I was an iPod, i-everything kind of gal, but there is that pen-on-paper feel that if I still crave it, others must too.”
The line, which now offers hundreds of customizable options, appeals to people of every age.
“There is that tactile sensation people thrive on,” Condren says. “Writing a to-do list and crossing it off just feels good. For me, it’s like writing a daily script and following that screenplay, following your dreams and turning them into plans.”
With interchangeable covers, personalized lettering, stickers and affirmations, Erin Condren planners are meant for those aiming to motivate, create and inspire, a personal mission of Condren herself.
“It’s amazing what a colorful marker and a metallic sticker can do to a daunting math exam or doctor’s appointment,” Condren says.
With the new Austin storefront, Condren strives to continue to inspire her followers, offering grab-and-go merchandise plus customizable planners made onsite in less than 10 minutes. But beyond the retail aspect, Condren is particularly excited about what lies beyond those rainbow stairs.
“The second story is going to be for events, fundraisers, workshops and meetups,” Condren says. “People can come and learn how to do lettering in their books or how to use stickers to destress. [The planner community] is a club that everyone can join.”
The Domain Northside storefront has already garnered quite the attention, but for Condren, the dream never stops.