The Business of Running a Business : Pricing Your Work


May 21, 2019

A few weeks ago I announced on Instagram a new blog series I am starting...the Business of Running a Business...where I will open it up for questions related the running an online business. Every other week I will pick 1-2 questions and answer them in detail in a blog post. Here's one of the most asked questions I received...
"How did you know how to price your products without running the risk of underpricing your work?"

This is such a great question! Truth is I didn't always know how to price my work. When I first started LPS in 2008 I focused on stationery and art prints which have a much lower price point. But even then I knew I had to charge enough to cover the cost of material/printing and labor (the time it took me to not only design, but also promote, print/package and ship the product). It's easy to under price your work when starting out. You think you can "test" your prices to see what sticks/brings in a sale. I would strongly advise you to not do that. Instead, do your research. See how others in the same industry are pricing their work and don't be afraid to (if you have to) charge a premium price.

Now that said, if you do end up charging a premium price for your work, know you have to stand behind the value you want your work to be perceived as. What does that really mean? In my business it means I only offer our jewelry in precious metals...even though we are fully capable to offer it in a variety of other cheaper metals. Why is that? We choose to serve a smaller group of customers who see the value in purchasing higher end pieces that will last them a lifetime...a true heirloom if you will. We are fully aware that by doing so we lose a large group of customers who "can't afford" our product...We have no desire to be the kind of brand who's business model is "supply on demand". Instead we focus on offering a premium product and the best customer service to our customers (I will cover this in more detail on a future post!) We happily refer those whom we can't serve to other businesses in the industry who offer the kind of products we don't. We don't see this as "giving away business" but rather finding the right match for those customers' needs.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any other business related questions don't hesitate to email me or leave us a DM on instagram. I am always happy to share my experience with other entrepreneurs.

..

Vana

The love of a mother


February 18, 2019

There’s something about the love of a mother that is almost indescribable to someone who has never experienced it.

I remember my own mother telling me that until I had my own children, I’d never understand. I would roll my eyes... but now... oh, now I understand.

The love of a mother...

The love of a mother is fierce and deep.

The love of a mother never sleeps.

The love of a mother is pure and true,

The love of a mother both old and new.

The love of a mother cannot be bought,

The love of a mother cannot be taught.

The love of a mother from deep within,

The love of a mother will always win.

Yes there’s something about the love of a mother than until you’ve experienced it can never be fully understood.

XO, Alyssa

The definition of motherhood


February 05, 2019

The other night I was talking with a sweet mama who is expecting her third baby any day. We chatted about the excitement and anticipation leading up to a new baby joining the family, but also about the difficulties that adding that sweet babe to the family can bring.

"Such a sacred space you're in right now," I told her. "Right on the cusp of all this anticipation coming to fruition. You know exactly what's coming but have no idea what to expect."

"YES. It's bizarre actually. You really nailed it with that one sentence."

I thought about this exchange as the day wore on, and I realized that indeed that one sentence did completely summarize the definition of motherhood. You know what's coming, but you have no idea what to expect.

You knew there would be hard days, but you never expected to find yourself locked in the bathroom while the kiddos cried at the door because you needed just 3 minutes alone.

You knew there'd be happiness, but you never expected to get the giggles (to the point of tears) with your 4 year old over something that wasn't even remotely funny.

You knew there'd be illnesses and injuries, but you never expected to cry along with your child as they had their dislocated elbow reset.

You knew there's be sleepless nights, but you never expected to become physically sick because you'd not slept in 3 days.

You knew there'd be so much love, but you never expected to feel as though your heart would actually burst through your chest as you watched your child sleeping soundly.

You knew you'd be sending them off into the world on their own someday, but you never expected it'd be so hard.

It may seem impossible sometimes, this motherhood thing. There is no handbook to help you fully prepare for all that's to come, yet you press forward. You do your best. You do the hard work. Always remember sweet mama...even though you knew it'd be difficult, you never expected you'd be so beautifully equipped to navigate it.

xo,

Alyssa

New Years Resolutions


January 23, 2019

I've never been the best at making and keeping New Years Resolutions. While I absolutely love the fresh start of a new year, there's something that can seem... daunting about resolutions. Maybe it's the pressure of adding one more thing to my plate that sometimes makes me feel like avoiding the hype around all the goal setting completely. I mean, don't mothers already have enough to juggle and remember?

As I reflected on how I wanted my 2019 to look, my mind filled with ideas on how to make it the best year filled with amazing memories. But, something kept tugging at my heart each time I thought of a something to try and accomplish to make these memories with my family. When I finally quit fighting it and really stepped back and looked at it, I realized that this was the only resolution I had for 2019: just be their mama.

That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. I just want to be their mama, and what that looks like may vary day to day, and that's ok. They don't need the perfect mom, they just need THEIR mom. I want to spend my days giving hugs when they're sad, looking in their eyes and saying I love you, and holding hands as they fall asleep. I need them just as much as they need me, and these small seemingly routine moments are what memories are made of... for all of us.

While I still have goals for myself personally + professionally as we begin a new year, adopting the mantra "just be their mama" has helped keep me focused in the moments of chaos or doubt, guilt or worry.

Just be their mama.

That's all they need. And that's all I need to be.

xo,

Alyssa

Because it's not "just" a necklace


January 01, 2019

It's always a treat to hear from customers what exactly it is that they love about their custom Le Papier Studio heirloom piece. The answers are always heartwarming, and today it's an honor to share my own thoughts on why my heirloom silhouette necklace is a true treasure to me.

Vana was simply lovely right from the moment I had first messaged her with some questions about a custom order. I cannot even tell you how patient and gracious she was with my *many* questions. I had first messaged her before the birth of my second child as I was in love with the tiny silhouette charm necklace and knew I’d need one as soon as the little one arrived.

As you can imagine, being the mom of a toddler and a newborn meant that my mom brain was in full swing, but I never felt like I was a bother to Vana with my questions and emails, even though I know I was “that customer” on more than one occasion. She made me feel so comfortable! The ordering process was insanely easy! I literally snapped the photo, emailed it in, approved the proof, and voila. My part was done! Vana took care of the rest and from the moment I first messaged her to the moment I received the exquisitely wrapped package which held the most perfect heirloom necklace, I knew I was in the hands of someone who cared immensely about not only their business and their product but their customer as well.

I've since added a third daughter to my little girl gang, and of course that meant adding a new charm, and as usual it was so easy to get her sweet little silhouette added to my necklace. I ordered the charm and took it to a local trusted jeweler who added the charm within a matter of minutes. I’ve told Vana this before but I’ll say it again… this necklace means the world to me. I’ve only had it off a handful of times… and only because I had to! When I see the tiny perfect silhouettes of my three beautiful daughters, I can’t help but be reminded of the goodness and grace I’ve been shown by Jesus. It’s a daily reminder of the blessings of children - which, let’s be honest, I really need when I’m cleaning up the 20th mess someone’s made before it’s 10 am.

Seeing the sweet outlines of them which have been so perfectly captured and preserved makes me oh so happy. This season of life and motherhood can seem so overwhelming and never-ending, but I do know it’s fleeting, and that these sweet little silhouettes are changing faster than I realize…having them frozen in time like this is so special to me. I also know that because the necklace is so beautifully designed and is made with the best materials (I chose solid gold) it will be a true heirloom that I’ll be able to pass on to my children…some day. Right now it’s all mine!

XO Alyssa

2018 Year Review


December 31, 2018

2018 was one for the books!💫

A few big and memorable things happened for our family and business this year. Aaron and I celebrated 15 years of marriage with a trip to Paris. Our business celebrated its 10 year anniversary! We had two big and wonderful partnerships with Origami Owl (for Mother's Day) and Front Gate (for the Holiday season and beyond). Giving back is something close to our hearts.

We launched the Giving Back Project helping *all* parents keep memories close, even when their stories haven't turned out the way they imagined. We plan to continue offering it in 2019. Our incredible team grew even more! I feel so blessed I get to work with 4 other amazing women!

As I reflect on and think about all the pieces created here at Le Papier Studio this year (but also over the past 10 years), I can't help but feel truly humbled at the honor I've been entrusted with by our amazing customers...💓 The stories I've been told about the pieces we're crafting, the people behind them, the love, the joy, the tragedy, the tears. The human experience is so messy + yet so beautiful... Capturing that in heirloom pieces that will be cherished and loved by so many for years to come...well, the way that makes my heart swell + warm... it'll never go away.

Holiday Memory Making with Littles: Interview with Brittany Viklund


December 25, 2018

Our mission has always been about helping parents keep memories close, and one of the perks of our job is when we find a mama who feels as strongly about that as we do.

When we partnered with mama to two Brittany Viklund earlier this year, we loved how much she values being present and making memories with her kiddos - even amidst the chaos that can ensue with small children in the house. We recently asked Brittany a little more about memory making during the holiday season and wanted to share some of her sweet sentiments so that perhaps you, too, can make some sweet new memories this holiday season.

What's your favorite way to make holiday memories with your boys?

Gosh they are still so little so honestly right now I love figuring that out, starting new traditions & teaching them all about the magic!! The magic of the holiday season is one of the best parts, isn't it? And there's something about seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child that makes it even more magical for mamas.

What do you hope they most remember about the holidays?

I hope they remember how special it is, to be with family, to slow down, to have fun and to make memories.

Yes, yes, yes. Isn't that what we wish for all of us during the holidays? It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the details that this is such a good reminder for us all. You have your tiny charms necklace, how does this piece help you keep memories close all the time (not just at the holidays!)?

I am always reminded of their baby-face features & this time together as a new family. Both of them actually love to hold the necklace in their hands when they cuddle, I think that is a memory I am bringing into my brain, it’s just another sweet connection they have to it.

We love hearing this - and is one of the reasons we do what we do! One final question (and maybe the most important!) What's one piece of advice you'd give a mama who may have trouble knowing how to embrace creating memories in the midst of what can be a chaotic season with littles?

I need this advice for myself but I try to journal everything, I take notes of their little quirks at each phases, words they say and how they say them, photos, descriptions of how I feel and more. This helps me remember that time is moving fast, but I have ways to revisit these days one day. It also teaches me to take not in the moment of those special sentiments.

Such good reminders for not only the holidays but for everyday. We love watching you make memories with your boys and are forever grateful that Le Papier Studio can help keep those memories close for you!

XO Alyssa

(all photos courtesy of @brittanyviklund)

New Year, New Possibilities


December 23, 2018

While I absolutely love everything about the Christmas season, there's something about the week between Christmas and the New Year that feels extra magical to me... like there's a completely new and fresh start just on the horizon, where the possibilities feel truly endless. I love to spend the time planning and dreaming of what lies ahead in the year to come. But there can also be a lot of pressure with the start of a new year.

The pressure to start over and do things perfectly, or "right." To really nail it. To finally make this "your year." It can be a time where pressure abounds (even more than the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas if you ask me) and grace tends to be pushed aside in favor of plans, agendas, and promises to ourselves.

While I love setting goals and dreaming dreams, I also know that the season of raising littles, the season I'm in right now and perhaps maybe you are too, can be trying. There are lots of sleepless nights. Sick days. Closed daycares. Forgotten tasks. Overlooked commitments. Things come up, and I just want to remind you - that's ok. It's ok if you stumble a little as you welcome and embrace a new year. It's ok if you don't have a new planner with crisp pages ready to be filled. It's ok if you can't even wrap your head around goal-setting because frankly getting up every day can be challenging. It's ok. Give yourself grace, and give grace to those around you, too. (And if you DO have a planner with crisp new pages ready to be filled with plans and notes, if you have goals and steps to achieve them already all outlined, GOOD FOR YOU! Reach out and help a mama who maybe isn't quite in the space place but could use a hand, or a hug, or even just a sweet smile. We got this mamas.

Cheers to 2019!

xo,

Alyssa

Mama knows best - 10 ways to make this holiday season more meaningful


November 29, 2018

When it comes to moms, we don't always have the answers to everything but we do often have good advice based on experience. We asked moms from all walks of life and all stages of motherhood how they make the holidays less stressful and more beautiful + meaningful. Here are our favorite 10 answers:

1. Bake with the kiddos ... but only if you like baking. If you don't like baking with your kids, that's ok. Buy some cookies from the store... it's alright!

2. Christmas is not my favorite season but this year I am following the heart of my child. She loves Christmas so much - I am trying to look at Christmas through her eyes.

3. More experiences, less presents.

4. Lazy family days + fun friends or date nights! It's fun to enjoy the season without kiddos sometimes too!

5. Helping others and trying what I can to make the season special for someone else always gives me beautiful perspective on the true meaning of Christmas.

6. I aim for our first gifts purchased to be for the less fortunate. Some years that means the kids choose a child from the angel tree to buy a gift for, other years it means collecting items for the local shelter.

7. Vintage Christmas music - it always makes my heart feel a little bit lighter!

8. Turn off the phones for the night, make some popcorn, and watch Christmas movie together with loved ones.

9. More saying NO to the things that stress me out.

10. More grace. For yourself...and for everyone. There's a lot of focus on having the "perfect" holiday and it's just not realistic, so just keeping that in mind helps me have the happiest holidays I can!

XO Alyssa

Making Memories This Holiday Season


November 12, 2018

Head to Pinterest and you’ll undoubtedly find hundreds if not thousands of ways to “create magic” and make this “the best holiday ever.” While the intention with these posts and articles is undoubtedly well meaning, it can feel overwhelming.

How can I add one more thing to my already crazy schedule? Creating magic? I’ll be happy if I remember to get something for everyone on my list.

Mama, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t require special reindeer shaped holiday treats, glittery faux snow dusted mantels or a month of special countdown-to-Christmas activities to make memories this holiday season.

Make memories this holiday season by just stepping back, taking a deep breath, and soaking in the moment. Do you see the way your little ones eyes sparkle when they see the first snow of the year? That’s a memory. The way your kids snuggle in as you read their favorite holiday book before bed - savor that feeling. That’s a memory. The way those sweet little squeaky voices are constantly singing parts of Jingle Bells (all. day. long.) That’s a memory.

Sometimes, it’s ok to not focus so much on trying to create the perfect memories for our children, but rather, to take in the moments of our everyday. So this holiday season, take it in mama. That’s a memory.

XO, Alyssa

Hello!

I am Vana Chupp, a wife, mother of two sweet boys and the heart and soul behind Le Papier Studio. This blog chronicles my thoughts on running a small business and capturing life's special moments. Read more...

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