The Blog

Small Business Shamen Spotlight: The Paper

Matt Dobson, creative director and founder, and Stephanie Brothers, editor, share the look at the March issue.

Matt Dobson already knows all the things that make Louisville the best city around. What he needed was a megaphone to spread the news. Enter The Paper.

Helmed by Dobson and Editor, Stephanie Brothers, The Paper’s team consists of twenty-some-odd writers, illustrators, photographers, and more. “We wanted to start something that belonged to Louisville and truly valued our local arts and culture,” said Dobson, founder, owner and creative director. But they wanted to focus on the good stuff. The positive stuff. The stuff that doesn’t make the world feel so heavy; but, instead, encourages you to lift it up.

Well that sounds like a pretty swell seed to be sowing, so we decided to hang out with the people from The Paper for a while and see what makes them so darn wonderful.

“We all hear a lot of bad, disheartening, and difficult news every day. Our goal is to make a publication that is a reflection of all of the great things that this town has to offer. We hope that The Paper gives our readers a real sense of pride in Louisville through showcasing the best of who we are,” said Dobson.

And that design. From the bold spot of color to the well-planned layout, The Paper is truly a sight for those sore eyes used to the humdrum look of newspapers. Dobson explained that although The Paper serves as more of a magazine, he chose the format of a newspaper for the comfort and aesthetic it brings. “We also love the connotation of delivering ‘good news’.”

After the paper was delivered, hot off the press, to a not-so-secret location (courtesy of our photos below) the team started distributing immediately.

We got to follow around Hillary Rust, Distribution Coordinator, to a few locations around town. “I love how excited some people get when I make a delivery. It brightens their day,” said Rust.

The folks at Oscar’s Hardware on Frankfort Avenue smile as soon as they see the stack of fresh papers. “I don’t know where you all would like me to put it,” says Rust.
“ We put it right here up front next to the register! Oh, just look at ‘em!” they reply with glee.

When asked about circulation and quantifiable success, Rust made sure to point out one important piece about how The Paper does business: its distribution. See, their distribution never ends. It isn’t just a couple days out of the month. The staff of The Paper takes time to keep track of the amount of pieces at its locations to ensure its success. “I always pick any of the past issues up. Some people just throw them away, but they have value to us and our advertisers. We want to make sure the circulation number we tell our advertisers is as correct as possible,” explained Rust.

In fact, Dobson says that advertising has been one of the biggest struggles for The Paper. “We are growing quickly… But, the biggest struggle has been convincing advertisers that we are a good investment. Print advertising is down in general and, as new start-up, it has been difficult to prove our value.”

“The companies that have supported us through advertising have made an investment not only in The Paper’s ability to get eyes on their message but are also invested in the ideas and attitudes of The Paper. We are truly grateful to all of our advertisers and supporters,” said Dobson.

But what truly makes The Paper different?

Well, there are a few things you need to know:

1. There’s only one way of “holding” The Paper. That’s with your own two hands. There are no corporate ties or stakeholders unlike other local publications. The Paper takes pride in its firm roots of Louisville, Kentucky.

2. They think Louisville is perfect just the way it is. “We don’t aspire to make Louisville over in the image of Brooklyn, or Portland, or Austin, or wherever. We think Louisville has a distinct personality and rich culture that stands on its own,” said Dobson.

3. They want to help every Louisvillian see the greatness inside themselves and inside others. To start focusing on the good happening all around us and stop focusing so heavily on the negative. People and projects in Louisville are making a difference in the world and we should all hear about it.

4. They aim to make everyone else realize how great we all are. “We offer up a unique and authentic voice of who we are as Louisvillians. We provide an introduction to all the real makers, artists, musicians, designers, chefs, farmers, hackers, and beyond that shape our city. Our focus is on highlighting the people, places, and projects that make Louisville unique and give us all a deserved sense of pride in where we live,” said Dobson.