A Storefront Preserving Print and the Quintessentially Quaint
VANESSA HILL ROGERS GREW UP IN THE FAST LANE.
As the daughter of the late racing legend Phil Hill (1961’s Formula One World Champion and founder of the Hill & Vaughn automobile restoration shop), she had fast cars in her blood from inception. In the years before settling in the valley, she built a career in fine automobiles that led to a job at Christie’s auction house in the International Motor Cars department. But there’s another element to Rogers’ life trajectory, one that is intrinsically measured and nostalgic and has led to her current career path: notepaper.
“My grandfather was the postmaster of Santa Monica for 16 years, so perhaps my love of all things paper is genetic!” she says.
After starting a family, and relocating to Ojai in 2017, she worked at the Ojai Valley Museum and the Nan Tolbert Center (now Secure Beginnings) before opening her dream business: a stationery store. She christened her shop Noted, and opened just after Thanksgiving 2021.
“I have always, always, always loved paper goods,” Rogers confesses. “Early on it started by ‘playing’ office after getting my hands on one of my father’s old office ledgers, then I started journaling in elementary school; in high school, I had my beloved Filofax. There is just such a joy in having quality items with which to organize, create, and share your ideas, days, thoughts … what have you. These are tools to our imagination, even if it is just imagining what you are going to do that week!”
Rogers took great care to ensure that Noted’s interior would feel as hospitable as the goods it provides to the community.
“The one vision I really had for the space was I knew I wanted a card wall to display 250+ cards. A close friend built a beautiful display that draws you into the shop, and honestly, once that was completed, everything else all settled into place,” she says.
“I also adore cards — sending them, receiving them, finding just the right one. It all brings out, I believe, the best in us.” Apart from the aforementioned cards, which range from quirky and kid-friendly to psychedelic and tongue-in-cheek, the rest of Noted’s inventory is steadfastly dedicated to the handmade — mostly local, always personal.
Rogers shares: “Many of the products, card lines, and writing instruments are things and brands I have come across in my own travels and everyday life, be it the beeswax candles by OVO Things from Lithuania, where my mother was born, or the Swiss Caran d’Ache rollerball pen I received as a gift in my 20s …
“As for the stationery, we have dreamy journals and paper pads from Japan, notebooks that have whimsical hand-painted covers from Iowa, and fountain pens from Germany. Kids and adults fall in love with the set of teeny-tiny pencils not much thicker than a credit card, or unimaginably soft alpaca teddy bears … the list goes on.”
Perhaps Noted’s most — naturally — noted quality is its singularity as a paper goods store in a pixelated world.
While those who have a one-stop shop in their phones might see the notion of a print shop in today’s climate as a romantic risk, Rogers resolutely says her piece on the lingering timelessness of letter paper:
“I don’t think we will ever stop wanting to hold things in our hands. And a handwritten note is, today especially, an expression of taking time and caring. It’s intimate in a way that something digital is not. I find that with the pace and urgency of our lives right now, having a paper journal, notepad, or card helps us to slow down. To be more intentional. Or even just to relax and enjoy the simplicity of putting pen to paper. Or the way a heavy card stock feels to the touch. Or just the visual of a beautifully designed journal or notebook. The tiny celebration of washi tape on a lovingly wrapped package, or the momentary beauty of something imperfect … an ink blot, the bespoke script you see fl owing from your fountain pen. They are small things. But they add an artfulness and delight to the everyday. So, I believe, these are experiences we cherish, and will continue to.”
Plus, she says, the locale only bolsters Noted’s sentimental raison d’être: “We have all sorts of people of every age coming through the door — which I love! The beauty of stationery, paper goods, writing instruments, and fi ne art materials is that it connects people in a way reminiscent of slower, simpler times. It makes my day to see someone come in and tell me that they haven’t seen airmail envelopes with matching whisper-thin paper pads for ages, or how they remember being in school in Europe and learning to write cursive with their fi nicky fountain pen. Someone came in … and was close to tears when they saw a vintage-looking metal tape dispenser which reminded them of the one in their father’s study. Just after the new year, a couple came in separately to buy each other an anniversary card. The following week, they came in to tell me that out of all of the cards, they bought the same card, so both of the unusual cards were on display on their fi replace mantel. These are the stories that make running a shop so meaningful.”
423 E. Ojai Ave., Suite 102 Ojai, California 93023 @noted.ojai on Instagram