We have officially been in business for over two months now and have learned so much already! One of our goals as a company is to stay transparent to our followers and openly share our experience in learning how to develop, sustain and grow a small business. Let's start by acknowledging that no business is perfect. Making mistakes and stumbling are both beautiful and necessary parts of the journey. It's learning from such stumbles that causes to us grow and hone in on what we do best. Today we'd love to share what we have come to learn (and love!) about running a small business thus far. Some key things come to mind as we think about what we have learned:
Communication is key – This is a really big one for us because we have been working in different states since the beginning of June. Alexa needed to attend to family matters in Nashville and I have been in Raleigh/Durham holding down the fort. We have made it a point to communicate through everything as a team; making sure that the other agrees with a post, response to an email or design, as well as other little decisions along the way. We are definitely learning how one another best communicates and are both trying to stay flexible and adaptive to each other's schedules. It’s really great to know that we can make it work and keep everything going if one of us needs to be out of town or has an emergency - although I’m ready for Alexa to be back so I can give her a big hug!
We wanted to share photos of our work spaces with you! We value clean, organized and cozy spaces to become inspired and focused. We love fresh flowers and natural light, even a scented candle, too! And I always enjoy my cat, Ferris' company :)
60% emails, 40% design – Wow. This is so true and really adds to the first point! Communication is key not only within our partnership, but also within our beloved community of clients and fellow business owners. Whether it be inquiries about custom orders and wedding orders, follow-up emails with fellow designers, small business owners or our amazing printers, or messages through our Etsy shop, it's important to us that we respond in a welcoming and timely manner. We place high value into building relationships and listening to our clients.
Packaging is really fun – Oh, yes it is! We absolutely love packaging up orders. Right now, all of our supplies are on a shelf, but oh, wouldn’t it be amazing to have a separate little table designated specifically for packaging purposes?! Hopefully in the not so far future! The intricacies of our packaging help strengthen our brand and share a sense of who we are with our clients.
Connecting with others is a priority (and a joy!) – We have had wonderful opportunities to connect with some amazing people since our launch. From attending the Triangle Creatives meeting held at Gather boutique in Cary, to meeting up with the ladies of Southern Weddings Magazine and having great conversations, we absolutely love networking. We want to acknowledge some of the amazing creatives
we have met along the way! Be sure to check out: Michelle Smith of Gather, Shannon Graham of Shannon Graham Photography, Matt Bootay of Enkle Designs, Melinda McKee of The Present Pixie, Amanda Wright of Wit & Whistle, Sidney Scott of Leelyn and Company, Kaitlin Holland of The School of Styling, Lara Casey of Southern Weddings. and Lindsay and Chris Walters of Aldabella Photography. What wonderful, supportive and creative people!
We are starting to have more clients that we don’t know, and it's really exciting. - This sounds funny when it’s typed out, but it is so exciting for us. When we first launched, most of our customers were friends and family who reached out to support us, and we really felt the love (and still feel the love!). But it's so funny because I remember talking to Alexa on the phone one day and we both asked if the other knew this person who had ordered a print through Etsy. Neither of us knew who it was and we both got really excited! To us, that meant we must be doing something right because someone that doesn’t know us, likes our work!
We love what we do! - I had to end on this note because it is such a true statement. We have both absolutely loved the past two months, (well really the past eight months, since we began the planning and building December, 2014) and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us! We know that we have so much more to learn. For now, our goal is to keep open minds and open hearts. May we allow ourselves to be comfortable and confident in our imperfections. This is only the beginning for Sage Paper Co.!
To anyone who has recently started a small business or is dreaming of starting one, please rest assured that you are admirable, strong and capable of pursuing your ambition.
With love and grace,
Alexa + Chelsea