Cindy Pagan: Entrepreneur Spotlight

January 26, 2023

Cindy Pagan is the owner of Spelled Ink, a small independent bookstore in Orange County. Offering a variety of titles and exclusive handmade gift items, as well as local authors and products, Spelled Ink has quickly become a staple in the community.

Cindy’s love for reading and writing led her to pursue her dream of owning a bookstore. Initially starting as an online store, Cindy had a five-year goal of growing her business slowly. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she decided to set up at the farmer’s market, and the response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. The town reached out to her for a pop-up bookstore, and from there, Spelled Ink was born.

Spelled Ink’s target market is primarily young to middle-aged women, usually mothers of middle schoolers and teenagers. Cindy shares, “My driving force is to support diversity and create a safe place for the community, particularly through promoting feminism and equal rights and fostering inclusivity. The town lacked a vibrant community space for many years, but Spelled Ink fills that void.”

With the sudden success of her business, Cindy found herself overwhelmed with the demand for skills and opportunity. She connected with CIC alumni Jess Cifizzari (CIC alum and owner of Paint It Orange), who introduced her to CIC, which gave her the confidence and knowledge to navigate the challenges of owning a business. Cindy was able to secure a CIC micro-loan which allowed her to finance a new shelf and change the store’s aesthetic, resulting in an increase in customers and positive feedback about the store’s inviting atmosphere. Cindy values the support she receives from the CIC network and feels like she has a good support group.

Spelled Ink also offers events to the community, such as a monthly “make and take” craft class on the first Thursday of every month in the evenings, book crafts, and literary escape rooms. They have also partnered with Paint It Orange and the Art Center of Orange for a “painted ball” event on New Year’s Eve. In February, they started back up with their anime club.

Overall, Cindy’s passion for reading and writing and her desire to create a welcoming and inclusive community space has resulted in the success of Spelled Ink. The bookstore continues to attract new customers and is a beloved spot for the community.

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