Jordan Hughes hasn’t always been a stationery designer, but perhaps it was in the cards for her all along.

(Jordan Hughes/Contributed)

The Alabama native is the owner and creator of Stately Made, a paper goods business that celebrates and inspires a sense of place for her home state. She began the business in 2013, and while it seemed to surprise her at the time, she soon discovered that her background in history and print journalism was the perfect foundation for creating products inspired by her home state.

Her love of Southern culture was cultivated in a unique course offered at Samford University—a folklore studies course led by Dr. Jim Brown, a beloved history professor with over four decades of experience under his belt. 

“The class was really hands-on—an entire class dedicated to Southern folklore,” Hughes recalls. “We went to Shades Creek and harvested our own river cane to make woven baskets, and learned to dye the cane with black walnut and bloodroot. It showed me something I was passionate about that I hadn’t even realized yet.”

Hughes continued to develop a passion for folklife and the South’s regional traditions through her college years, and after graduating from Samford in 2010, she felt the familiar feeling that many recent college graduates experience—a sense of longing for clear direction and purpose. 

“At the time, we were recovering from a recession, and magazines and journals weren’t really looking to hire,” recalls Hughes, “I wasn’t sure what direction to take.”

Her interests led her to a position at the Samford Library as a reserves specialist, a posting that continued to feed her love of the South. During her summers off, she began to pick up design work, initially offering wedding calligraphy.

“I was about 20 and was really just beginning to think about my sense of place here in Alabama, and my family’s roots here,” she says, “I started to have ideas for greeting cards and prints that displayed a love for my home.”

(Jordan Hughes/Contributed)

Stately Made’s first print, which is still one her most popular, is the Alabama Foodways print—a black and white silhouette of the state filled with elegant calligraphy swirls of popular Alabama foods, from fried green tomatoes to boiled peanuts. Every food name is intentionally placed, indicating the part of the state it originates from.

For Hughes, food is synonymous with history, often telling stories for which words fail. “Southerners are so passionate about their food culture—food reminds us of a sense of place, and it brings a lot of joy. Every dish has a story, and our foodways undeniably intersect with history and culture.”

And while her foodways print began as the business’s bread and butter, her greeting cards soon became the meat and potatoes. Full of charming southern-isms such as “bless your heart” or “madder than a wet hen,” Hughes created a full line of handcrafted paper goods, constantly pulling inspiration from her Alabama roots, including moments with her own family. Her “oh my stars” card was penned from hearing the phrase from her great-grandmother as a child.

(Jordan Hughes/Contributed)

“Everything has a way of coming full circle,” Hughes says. “I come from a line of artists and people who have worked with their hands. My great-grandparents owned a paper supply store out in West Texas. They’ve really inspired me to immerse myself in Southern culture for inspiration.”

She hopes to help other Southerners reflect on family traditions and recall past memories through her work—a moment from childhood, a meal with a grandparent, or a familiar saying from times past. “I love seeing someone’s face light up when they see a card that reminds them of their roots—to hear, ‘my grandma used to make this dish’ or, ‘my mom used to say this phrase’. It’s truly special.” 

In the broader scope, Hughes simply wants her work to be a warm reminder of home. “I’m trying to inspire a sense of place, a joy of place–that’s really my greatest goal.”

Stately Made products can be found in local retailers across Alabama and the Southeast. To learn more about Stately Made, find a stockist, or view Hughes’ full collection of work, visit