I've always been a sentimental person. I've got boxes of notes from middle school and high school tucked away, have movie ticket stubs from my husband's and my first dates and have all sorts of silly photos from my carefree college days. I have lots of little memory-esque items that I love to occasionally look through...they bring me back to different times in my life and stir up emotions and memories...and help me to remember things I may otherwise have forgotten.
So it's really no surprise that when I first discovered LPS I was more than smitten. I was obsessed over the details captured in the prints and jewelry. I lusted over the thought of having something that could be a true heirloom but didn't have to be tucked away but rather could be enjoyed and then passed down. I couldn't wait to have one of my very own tiny charm necklaces which I could oogle every.single.day.
And once the beautiful wrapped present (and I do mean it was legitimately like opening a gift) arrived, I couldn't believe how perfect it was...even better than I'd imagined. Right in front of me were the faces of my two sweet girls frozen in moments I'll be able to remember and keep close forever.
It's always such an honor to hear the stories behind the pieces here at Le Papier Studio. Some are so filled with love and joy while others could crush your heart into a million pieces. However, I've discovered despite the story behind the piece there's always one common thing that people seem to be after when they shop Le Papier Studio: keeping the sweetest of memories close. Forever. And knowing that that's exactly what we're doing in one of our greatest joys.
Mother's Day is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it's the fact that now I'm a mother and have a much deeper appreciation for everything my mother, grandmother and aunts did for me growing up. Maybe it's the fact that I get cute hand-printed cards with sweet notes scrawled across the top, or perhaps it's because of the beautiful blooms that always seem to pop up around that same time...but there's something about this holiday that just feels fresh, sweet + such a great one under current of gratitude.
Finding the perfect Mother's Day gift, however, seems to cause a bit of panic amongst even the best of us. "My mom has everything!", "She told me she didn't need or want any gifts this year!", "I have no idea what to get for her" are some of the most common phrases we hear in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day - but have no fear! We've put together a list of some of our personal favorite special items for gifting to the woman that means the most to you this Mother's Day.
Solid gold locket - Of course, we're partial to any of the heirlooms created here at LPS, but we are especially loving our new solid gold lockets. Constructed entirely of 14K Yellow or White Gold they are a real heirloom in every sense of the word. The silhouettes are laser engraved so there's no need to worry about them wearing away...
Copper Jewelry Stand - by Authentique Home Co. These are unique and beautiful handcrafted by Chelsea Duran. Perfect for the hard to buy for mom.
Custom House Illustrations - One of a kind illustrations make perfect gifts for moms of all ages. Think first home or your childhood home. They capture the places we hold dear to our hearts.
Lip Tint - We are crushing hard over these Bobby Brown lip tints. Lightweight, shear and ultra moisturizing...need we say more?
Jade Roller - Loving this roller by Shiffa. It stimulates the blood circulation which we all need. Get it! You'll thank us later!
Espadrilles - We love these by Soludos for their extra bit of height, jute sole and leather upper...but also because they are the perfect shoe from city to beach...making them a necessity in the summer months.
Bi-Color Straw Bag - via Tuckernuck...because of its classy form yet perfect to complete your daily outfit.
Sunglasses - by Quay. These are the sunnies we see on everyone on Instagram these days and rightly so. They make a staple piece for your summer wardrobe no matter the size of it.
Mini Jewelry Case by Cuyana - we love it in ecru. It's perfect to take with on your summer trips. It can be personalized with your initials too!
Modern Silhouettes - We love the bright colors of our new silhouettes and the fact that they can be personalized with your children's handwriting. Grandma will love a set of these.
Boxwood Wreath - by Door and Decor. Have a mother who loved to channel Joanna Gaines now and then? You need to check all the wonderful wreaths they make.
Spring is one of my favorite times of year... it hasn't always been, but the older I get (eeks!) the more I appreciate the fresh air, blue skies, and birds singing. (Maybe it has to do with becoming a mother and battling the boredom that can come with the long winter months stuck inside battling the various illnesses that seem to make their rounds repeatedly in households with small children). Needless to say I'm so excited and think perhaps we're finally turning the corner into the next season here, which means it's time for not only spring cleaning, but updating my decor with some fun, simple, and beautiful decor.
One of my favorite ways to decorate (any time) but especially during spring is with plants + greens. Whether they're faux or real, there's something about fresh greenery or flowers that make a room feel...lighter. Airier. Brighter. I love it. I also love using fun planters or vases for extra pops of color or texture.
(Custom silhouettes by Le Papier Studio)
Another way I enjoy styling my space for spring is with silhouettes. They're timeless and classic so they're super versatile decor pieces. Another easy way to style with silhouettes for spring is to switch up how they're displayed. Sometimes I'll swap out frames for something lighter for the spring and summer months, or I'll move them from being styled on a mantle or table top to being hung on a wall. Truly, these are some of the most versatile pieces I own and I highly suggest them as a simple way to not only capture the sweet silhouettes of your children, thus creating timeless heirloom pieces, but also as a way to personalize your unique living spaces.
A few days ago I asked what career (or life in general) questions you had for me. You sent it a few which I am finally able to answer. I'll get right to it, but if you have more questions the easiest way to ask them is by emailing me or sending me a DM on instagram.
How did you make the transition from Architecture to this?
Do you go through seasons that are way busier than others or is it pretty steady all year long?
There are definitely season that way are busier than others, like Mother's Day and Christmas. But as far as orders go each month is pretty steady. On a specific occasion where we have received an unexpected press, we do see an unusual spike. Always a good surprise!
How do you deal with having your own business and be able to have a retirement fund (which usually a big company would offer you)?
A few years ago I was advised to open a Roth IRA account for myself. I contribute to it yearly. It's only 5.5K a year but still better than nothing. Since LPS is not a big company, I can't have a 401K account but we max out contribution to my husband's account.
Do you ever think about the future and at some point getting a real office job (when you get older and have no more patience for such a detailed work)?
I used to think I should get back to my old career job in architecture once both my boys go to school full time...which is now. But then I realized I am happy and feel fulfilled in running my company. I feel when you have a mission and strongly believe in it, you don't see yourself doing it for a short amount of time...but for as long as you continue to feel you have something to offer to those around you. I feel I have so much more to give. That is what gets me excited in the morning. When the time comes and I have lost interest in doing this, then I am sure I will be moving into doing something else...but until that time comes I don't have to think about it much.
I also think running your own business is not a small task. It keeps you on your toes all day long. I love that! An office job would be boring to me (I think) in that will force me to fulfill a certain role and work on a given task all the time. I always thought if I were to go back I would go back as a consultant, not a full time employee.
How do you deal with challenges? I assume there are many of them when you run your own business...
I've been blessed to have had mostly good experiences these past 10 years of running my business. Every once in a while I would have to deal with a challenge. I have grown and learned from them and I'm happy to report I have a different perspective on things now. I've learned to run my business (and life) from a place of empathy. Knowing every human being deserve love and respect is something I don't just expect to be given to me but I do everything I can to also give others.
How are you able to balance running your business and being a mom, wife? What works for you? I feel I can never get this balance thing right!
I don't have a formula of success! I try my best. Some days I fail at all of it and others I do better. The key is to not beat yourself up constantly looking for the perfect balance...because it does not exist. I would call it a harmony:)
My family comes first, business second. I built this business to work around my family. I don't forget that. There are days the business needs my undivided attention. That's where a understanding spouse comes in:) We've had our fair share of trial and errors on this but doing it for a decade now...I think we have it semi-figured out!
How do you decide which company to partner with? How do these partnerships come about?
Over the years we've partnered with a few companies and it has been great to be able to do that. Most of these partnerships have been initiated by the other company. A few years ago we partnered with Target - a few of our pieces were sold at a few select Target stores in Chicago. We have a few other partnerships happening this year which we can't be more excited about.
When agreeing on partnering with other companies we always make sure our collaboration is in line with our brand and what we stand for. We have had to say NO to a lot of collaborations we didn't feel were a good fit for us.
I've been following you for a while and I remember a while back you mentioned your work had been copied so boldly! How do you deal with something like that and competition in general?
It's never easy seeing your work copied. And when I say copied, I don't mean by another company doing silhouettes - because there are many of them. I mean someone (or a company) who has decided to copy our designs, copy, story word for word. It's devastating! There is no other way to put it! And it used to bother me soo much. It still does at some extent but I chose not to let it get me down.
Operating online opens you up to some risk. On the other hand, let's face it copycats are flattering - it means you're doing something well for someone to want to do the same. What helps me is knowing that no matter the situation, the person copying me will never copy my esthetics, my brand message...because they don't have my voice, my way of thinking, my way of sharing our story and what my brand stands for with the world. They will always be many steps behind me and unlike them (who can't think past copying someone) I choose to move on and focus my attention on the next thing.
Recently I heard a very wise teacher say "Competition is a good thing because it creates a category in the market!" So I look at it that way...Also, fun fact - every time my work is copied, I get more customers, more sales...not sure if it's the universe trying to make things right or what. What I am trying to say is that my business has never suffered from another company stealing customers/sales from us. The opposite has happened!
How do you stay so motivated? It seems like you're always coming up with something new and amazing...
I am motivated by nature. I strive on coming up with a list of goals and setting up strategies to reach those goals. I also don't modify my business vision too frequently. I think many new businesses suffer from constantly shifting their focus to pursue the next new trend - and as a result they never make real progress in their end vision.
Well there you have it! I hope these answers were useful. If you own your own business, you may find these business related posts I did throughout the years. A lot of them are still relevant.
If you've been following us for a while now you're familiar with our story, but I still love a good anniversary post. And this one is a bit special, because today is Le papier Studio's 10 year anniversary. This huge achievement calls for a celebration (especially when so many small businesses rarely make it past their 1st anniversary) But it also calls for forward thinking because I truly believe we still have so much to give.
LPS started as a happy accident. I was a new mom looking for a creative outlet to express my creative side. I launched my business when businesses in general had a hard time surviving. I was freelancing in Architecture during the day and designing silhouette products at night. It took me 6 months to quit my day job and focus on running my business full time. I never looked back!
I didn't realize it then, but doing what I loved and felt so passionate about, laid the ground work for what was coming in the following years. We've experienced so much change. We’ve grown beyond my wildest dreams. But what amazes me most besides the growth is our desire to remain small and serve those who believe in our mission. We decided early on that focusing in working closely one on one with our customers is way more important than making seven figures in sales.
I often get asked how I've stayed motivated for 10 years. I think it's easier than you think! When you find something you believe so deeply in and wake up ready to embrace it each and every day, the rest just falls into place. It isn't always sunshine and rainbows but if you try hard, you find a way to get through any obstacles. Throughout the years our goal has been to help parents keep memories close and treasure time with their children. It's a goal I've promised myself to live up to in my own life. We want to inspire parents to see the joy in the midst of the most mundane moments, to choose present over speed living, real over rushed, cherished presents over meaningless gifts. Every product we've launched, every customer we've served has brought us closer to that goal. And we won't stop here. There's so much more to do!
I am so proud of our team and the community we've built around our brand and mission. I am so pumped to see what the future has in store for us.
To those of you who have been following along, I thank you! I am so deeply appreciative of all of you for helping us become who we are today and also allowing us to be part of your present and future.
It seems like minimalism is the new thing, and trust me, I get it. The thought of being able to pare away all the excess all in the name of simplicity and a more relaxed way of life sounds positively idyllic - who wouldn't want that? Being able to toss the TOTES (literally TOTES) of stuff we've schlepped around as we've moved twice in the past 7 years feels liberating to even think about. I've donated more boxes and bags of unused, not our favorite clothes, toys + house items to the local thrift shop than I even thought possible and it IS like the feeling you have when you can finally open your windows on a fresh spring day after the long winter.
It's ... refreshing. I feel... lighter.
But as a self-proclaimed lover of all things vintage and historical I sometimes have a hard time letting go. Where do I draw the line? How do I know what to get rid of, what to keep... will I be sorry I tossed out that tote of notebooks filled with my notes from high school biology? The boxes of notes my friends and I used to pass (yes, physical notes, we didn't have texts, but we did have the Casio My Super Magic Diary we could message each other back and forth on if we were in close enough proximity). What about all this stuff my children are now starting to create and bring home? I can't throw away their scribbles, no matter how random and obscure... can I?
As with most things, I feel like there tend to be two extremes: burn + purge everything // latch on to and keep everything because heaven knows when you're going to need that random kitchen appliance for that super complicated French recipe you're going to make "someday." I like to think of myself as a Minimalist Memory Keeper. It's my job to make sure what we keep around are things that remind us of happy times... big life events... little moments that have become favorite family stories. It's also my job to make sure that the things that we don't need to keep don't end up taking space (physically, mentally, or emotionally) in the sweet little home we've created. It's almost like I'm the curator of our memory museum... making sure what stays does and is valued, taken care of, and honored.
I keep the first drawing my oldest did of herself and her baby sister... It's framed and gets to be hung up where we can enjoy it and remember what a big accomplishment that was for her. I keep the generations-old family pocket watch, handed down to my husband and I at our wedding and display it with some of our other vintage decor. I have (and use!) my great grandmother's wooden rolling pin when I cook with my girls, and every time I remind them how many things this rolling pin has helped to make. My babies hospital hats + coming home outfits... yep, keepers.
At a time when it seems like the right thing to do is to get rid of all the things in the name of minimalism, I hope hope hope that mamas will take a moment to take a deep breath and really look at what's important to them before packing every last item they're overwhelmed with off to Goodwill. Decide what you want to curate your memories collection to look like, and then do that. And if it looks different than what everyone else is doing, as with all things in life, it's ok... remember to do what works for you. Ultimately, you're the keeper of your family's memories.
I remember the first time I read those words in Gretchen Rubin's book "Happier" - I was a fairly new mom and was still adjusting to this new role and major life shift. Sometimes the days felt endless...arduous...exhausting. Between the marathon nursing sessions, the constant diaper changes, the bouncing, the shushing, the trying to tiptoe around a sleeping baby...the days felt oh.so.long.
I wasn't sure I was cut out for this. And I wasn't sure that Gretchen Rubin knew what she was talking about. If days felt like years...well, what would YEARS feel like in this new normal?
But it turns out, she was more than right. Suddenly, things are different.
At least three times a week my daughter exclaims "On my next birthday I'll be 5!"
"I know, baby girl...I can't believe it!"
"I'm getting big so fast."
Cue the tears. Seriously. How'd she get this big? How did she seemingly go from the precious newborn I literally spent HOURS everyday rocking and holding to being the little spitfire that loves watching Dr. Pol and doing everything "by her own". And then it hits me. The days are long (SO LONG) but the years...they pass by in the blink of an eye. It reminds me to take time to be present, to write down the funny things she says, to print off the pictures I take of her and her baby sister, to take a deep breath when the days are hard and remember that in no time at all, this season too will be but a memory.
So take heart sweet mamas in the throes of newborn night wakings, the mamas managing the endless two year old tantrums...I know these days are long, but the years are oh so short.