Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong
Do you love paper? Have you ever wondered how to start your own stationery / paper goods company? If so, my online class might be just the thing for you!
I know when I started Sycamore Street Press about 7 years ago, I looked around for a class or book that could give me specific advice to starting a stationery business. I found nothing.
Instead, I learned the hard way.
Through trial and error, I learned how to stand out from the competition, how to plan a product line, how to find and work with manufacturers, where the best supplies were, what shipping software to use, and many many more factors (large and small) that go into running a successful paper goods company.
I'll admit, I've made some big mistakes that I could just kick myself over! But those have been some of the best learning experiences which led to growth and eventually to selling our products all over the globe -- in hundreds of fine independent boutiques as well as major retailers such as Anthropologie, West Elm, Paper Source, and BHLDN. Our award winning goods have been featured in the Huffington Post, Daily Candy, Design*Sponge, Cup of Jo, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living Magazine, Martha Stewart, and other fine publications...
Most importantly (to me), my husband and I have been able to support our children while working together and doing something we love. I'm so grateful for that.
Keep reading to hear the really honest story of how I decided to teach Stationery Business 101: Starting Strong...
And I hesitated.
At first it seemed like a crazy idea. Why would I share all my hard-won secrets? Wouldn't that just create more competition for my company and therefore make my job and life in general so much harder? I talked it over with friends and family, and many of them told me it was a bad idea. But I couldn't get it out of my head.
Over the past year, I'd gone through a lot of changes both personally and professionally. And although they really were changes for good in the grand scheme of things, I'll be honest: it was the hardest year of my life. Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially -- it was tough. I got through it, though. And don't worry -- things are gaining momentum again and will be better in the long run because of those changes.
But let me take a step back, because I want to be completely honest with you.
Many of you know me in real life or have been following me online for years. You know my kids names, when they've been sick, what they like to eat. You've seen Kirk and I go from a young couple stumbling through our first few craft fairs with a handful of cards and prints, to celebrating our 10 year anniversary and gaining respect in our industry. Through it all, I'd like to think that we've become friends. Even for those of you who just found your way here for the first time -- I hope that we can be friends, too. I'd like to think that this whole community formed around Sycamore Street Press is a group of friends who enjoys creating a simple, beautiful life for themselves and their loved ones.
So with that in mind, between friends, I need to tell you this: the only way I stayed sane through the never-ending marathon of last year, was by relying on my Father in heaven. I prayed like I've never prayed in my life. I pleaded for help. And I felt His presence -- directing me, comforting me, carrying me through.
Why am I telling you all this? Because through these experiences, I was learning to put my confidence in God. And by doing so, I was learning to make my decisions from a place of love rather than of fear. By making decisions out of love and generosity, I found that I was getting love and generosity in return, and I felt happier. I've heard this principle called the the abundance theory -- don't you love that!? Abundance is such a great word/state of mind to live by.
As much as I've been through and learned, though, I still stumble. Which is why, when Alma suggested I teach people how to create a stationery business, I hesitated. But then I remembered how I am trying to make decisions based in love rather than out of fear. And I felt the familiar feeling -- the gentle nudge from Him -- and I knew I needed to teach the class. Not only that, I grew excited to teach it. I couldn't wait! My enthusiasm for it has been so palpable that when I explain it to my friends and family who had previously been skeptical -- I was able to change their minds and get them excited about the idea as well!
Putting together this class has been a labor of love -- not only for me, but for the Sycamore Street Press team, and for the 11 different stationery industry insiders who so generously shared advice and insight through video interviews.
If you are looking to start your own stationery business, or are in the beginning stages of one already, Stationery Business 101 will really help you to skip so many of the steps I had to go through. You'll get the nitty gritty details and insightful advice you need to create a successful company. And if you sign up for instructor feedback, I'll be available to answer any questions you feel like throwing at me. Go ahead -- I want to help!
And FYI: I'm already developing Stationery Business 201: Sell & Promote Your Work, which will go over wholesale, trade shows, sales reps, social media, and more...
Thanks for reading, friend. xo, Eva
A BIG THANK YOU TO...
The interview subjects: Sabrina & Eunice Moyle of Hello!Lucky, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., Carrie Gifford & Hal Mertz of Red Cap Cards, Cat Seto of Ferme à Papier, Emily Blistein of Clementine, Joan Schnee of On Paper & Green Paper Co., Megan Gonzalez of MaeMae Paperie, Suzie McKig of Twig & Fig, and Erin Ozer of Knot & Bow.
And to Jessica Peterson, for the above photos.
Due to popular demand, we’re working on a brand new class called Shop Biz 100: Online, Pop-Ups + Bricks and Mortar. To stay in the loop, sign up for our Creative Business newsletter here.