Everything is bigger in Texas. And that includes the stationery business. Catering to Dallas’s finest, Needle in a Haystack has been a purveyor of exquisitely printed paper for more than two decades. Here, co-owner Yash Parmar — who runs the boutique with his wife, Bhavna and daughter, Krishna (pictured above right and left, respectively) — talks to us about the power of pen pals, to whom he writes most and how he may not have been where he is today without sewing.
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
Writing handwritten letters to my pen pals in various countries.
What’s the story behind your store’s name?
Needle in a Haystack started off as a needlepoint store in 1971 – hence the name. In the 70’s and 80’s there was strong interest in needlepoint. The previous owners of Needle in a Haystack were avid needlepointers. They gradually introduced gifts and stationery in the 80’s. We bought the store in 1989, when it was about 80% needlepoint and 20% “other.”
What inspired you to open a stationery boutique?
Emphasis on stationery was dictated by the market and our interest in paper. Our customers demanded greater variety of stationery. This matched our interest.
Why do you enjoy sending letters and/or correspondence?
It is great to put your thoughts on paper. I had pen pals as a teenager and loved writing and receiving letters.
If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Mahatma Gandhi. I have so many questions that I could ask. There is so much that one can learn from his life and experience.
To whom do you most often write?
Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
As a student in England, my grandfather wrote to me regularly from India. I loved receiving his letters with all his grandfatherly advice.
What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Handwritten letter on personal stationery.
Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
Scenic American Landscapes series of stamps. Some of these, such as Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park are just beautiful!
What is your favorite product created by Crane & Co.?
The Black Label album (that has long been retired) had some fabulous engraved stationery with wonderful motifs and liners.
What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think the classic correspondence in a decade or two will remain classic: handwritten note on engraved stationery.
Have a question for Yash? Email our Crane Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.