Multicolored chalk designs scatter the sidewalk leading up to the open door at Pushpin Collaborative Co. (1925 Rosina St., (505) 372-7728), and owner Katie Keener meanders inside the impeccably organized card shop, which joins with the emerging business strip at Plaza Rosina.
“I hosted ArtWalk here in September,” Keener explains of the festive sidewalk; the twice-monthly outdoor market brings local and emerging artists together, along with food and music.
It’s uncommon to hear of businesses starting because of the pandemic, but that’s exactly what Keener did. Don’t expect Hallmark or Papyrus products here, though—Keener only features creations from American small businesses and, perhaps most importantly, local artists. The main idea for Pushpin came when Keener found herself out of a job last spring during COVID-19 lockdowns. She took that time to reassess her goals.
“We all went so insular and I was really craving community,” she says. “I’ve always seen Santa Fe as a place that could use another platform to show a variety of artists and layers and goods, and that’s what I’m able to do here.”
Originally from Pennsylvania, Keener arrived in New Mexico through The Santa Fe Opera, where she formerly worked as a costume draper. Before that, however, and in the opera’s off-season, Keener traveled the country visiting art fairs and compiling a list of her favorite artists, many of whom now form her curation at Pushpin.
Behind the counter hangs a large map on spring rollers with pushpins marking the cities where the store’s various artists reside; directly across from that hangs a corkboard plastered with business cards and event posters—an open invitation for even more local artists to advertise themselves. Still, it’s not all about creators from far-flung lands: Roughly a quarter of Pushpin’s stock comes from within the state.
“Again, just bringing the community together,” Keener notes. “We have other businesses that have opened, we have other great local owners, and not everybody knows about it, so we can cross-pollinate and share.”
Last year’s economic halts also brought down the longstanding Marcy Street Card Shop, for example, which spent its final year on Canyon Road. When Keener heard the news, she visited owners Rick and Roberta Remington and purchased their remaining inventory and fixtures.
“At the end, it was a really wonderful passing of the torch. Rick and Roberta, the former owners, were happy to pass it on to someone new that was starting something up and they’ve remained contacts to me throughout this, which has been really wonderful,” Keener tells SFR. “And now they’re getting to live their life of retirement and that’s what they were ready to do.”
Pushpin also functions as a one-stop shop for stationery, wrapping paper, tote bags and other gifts, but Keener remains devoutly supportive of the art of writing, and consistently journals herself. When customers mention a similar liking, Keener says, it inspires her to develop that feature further.
“If you’re getting into a new hobby, another great thing that is back is hand lettering. Just the art of writing and cursive is lost,” Keener says. “So I do have some really nice hand lettering kits by some businesses across the states. I also have some great pen sets to get started.” Keener hopes this could lead to workshops in the future.
“I’ve always printed, whether it’s on fabric or paper,” she says.
Fellow printer Rebecca Lee Kunz (Cherokee Nation), who also owns Tree of Life Studio, block prints her works, which display in 25 retail stores, including Pushpin. Kunz admires Keener’s appreciation for artists, she tells SFR.
“In comparison to other stores, it has been a very good experience so far. She is very encouraging of me as a local artist and is very easy and fun to work with,” Kunz says. “I’m very happy to be a part of her store.”
But what’s Keener’s bestseller, and what’s her personal favorite? The “mother fucking girl power” card sells well, and Keener remains unbiased, saying, “honestly, my favorite is all of it together because it all tells a story.”
The best way to learn about upcoming developments is to follow the shop’s Instagram and visit the website (pushpincollborativeco.com)—and be ready to shop online in 2022.