Today is your birthday. You turned 5 years old! Five!! In your words, "you're a big kid now!" In mine, "excuse me while I sob forever!" 😭 Seriously though, why did you have to grow so fast? You are my baby! Can you stay little forever?
You have the most amazing personality. The things you say stop me in my tracks...daily. Like the other day when you took a good look at me and proceeded to saying "Mom, you look old " Come again 👂? I know you love me and didn't mean to stab me right in the gut but seriously kiddo!! Why?!
You make the funniest facial expressions. I think you took that from me....definitely! Just look at this picture. It only took me 20 tries to get a semi-descent one 😆 You love school and are soooo loyal to your friends. You take every word so literally. You ask so many questions and always ponder on our answers...because no matter what we say, you have a better answer. We love you to the moon and back and we can't imagine life without you in it, sweet boy!
Happy 5th birthday, John! Looking forward to celebrating you today and forever.
It's crazy to think back 9 years ago. Those early beginnings sure we humbling but I couldn't be prouder of them. They made today possible! I wanted to celebrate our past 9 years and the future of Le Papier Studio with a grand giveaway! To participate head over to our Instagram page.
I thought a lot before deciding to write this post. Most of what I write about are thoughts that come from personal experiences, so I wanted to be as raw and open as possible.
In the 9 years of running my business I've had my fair share of lesson learned (mostly good!) and unfortunately some disappointments, especially in regards to stolen work, copied for profit and credit not given when needed. I've always been one to extend my knowledge and experience to those starting out online. To this day I stand for inspiring and empowering women in business.
Having my work copied for profit has happened more than once and although I understand how easy it actually is for someone to get "inspired" by another person's work, it still surprises me people can think they can get away with it. Unlike some big company, when someone copies my work, it is personal, it hits me right in the gut. I am my business, the story behind it, the one running it, creating everything from the ground up, I am the face of it...and eventually the one who would be affected the most.
So what's someone to do to stay ahead of the competition and how do you answer to someone copying your work? Here are 5 ways to deal with copycats and make sure you're ahead of the game.
1. They may copy the "looks" of your business, but they will never copy the heart of it! This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Instead of focusing and spending precious hours worrying about it, put your unique creative mind to work and come up with your next awesome thing. One can't copy your unique one-of-a-kind story, your voice - no matter how hard they tried. They can't be you!
2. Reach out to the offender privately. Last month I found that another business had copied my pictures, product descriptions word for word, our about us page, colors, graphics, everything but my business name. It was the worst case to date and I was angry! I wanted to immediately comment on her pictures online and call her out publicly. Instead I tried hard to refrain, step away and take a moment to process. My dear husband always advises me to take the "nicer" route and contact the offender first. Long story short I had my lawyer email her with a firm but straightforward cease and desist letter. She took the images down and stopped copying my work.
3. Educate them while you're at it. It may seem strange but some people aren't aware of the harm they are causing by copying your work - to both businesses actually. Take a moment to offer your expertise on this subject. In my case, the woman copying me had been in business for a few years but had recently switched to this line of work.
4. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. As the idiom explains, some might think of imitation and copying as flattering but I refuse to accept it or agree with it. Sure someone can draw inspiration from your work, but I think it's rude to blatantly copy one's work for profit.
5. Stay ahead of the game. I am well aware of the fact that someone can copy my work, the looks of it but what they can't come near is my strategies, my resources and capabilities to continue to grow. In analyzing the ways you can stay ahead of your competition, make a point in focusing on developing your skills, assets and bettering your resources - doing so will leave your competition months if not years behind.
Has this happened to you? I'd love to hear how you've dealt with it. Leave a comment on this instagram post.
I always enjoy reading inspirational books especially in the earlier months of the year. Resolutions and goals are still fresh in our minds and the desire to achieve more productivity at all times high. This year (so far) I've enjoyed these books...and I highly recommend them to you as well.
This book by Erin Loechner is an eye opener for all who've made a living/explored an online career, feel burned out and incomplete...I love her perspective on chasing the slow life and ditching the never ending chase for "the perfect" and "do-it-all".
(image by Design for Mankind)
An incredible book by Shauna Niequist on friends, relationships and the meals that bring all together and make it happen. This book reminds me so much of my upbringing, how food and hospitality was part of where I come from and the joy it all brings to one's life. What better way to take care of one another and strengthen relationships than around the table while having a meal and meaningful conversations.
Simon Sinek is a favorite author and speaker of mine. I came to know his work through his famous TED Talk "Start with WHY" and have been following his work ever since. On Leaders Eat Last he discusses what it takes for good leaders to exist in this world and what makes them good leaders. It's simple, when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works. And it can be applied at any part of our lives...
Today we are asking Aschley Fish (the mom blogger behind, Raising Happy Littles) to share the story behind her blog. She will also be sharing her thoughts on working with us on her custom order.
For those who don't know you, tell us a bit about your blog.
Raising Happy Littles is a "mom blog" where I talk about the challenges and incredible moments that come with motherhood. I tend to turn to humor in moments of challenge so there's sure to be plenty of that in the future!
How and why did you start blogging?
I started the blog because I love writing and wasn't getting my creative output fulfilled in other places in my life (read: gluing pieces of construction paper onto another paper to make yet another kind of tree wasn't doing it for me.) I have another blog that I'd done when I was younger about my journey with depression and I had loved connecting with other people in the same boat as myself and since being a mom is the center of my personal universe now, I'm always up to converse about it with others going through the same things!
I love that your blog has a personal story behind it and that you use it to connect with other moms going through a similar journey. Besides connecting with other moms in this crazy ride of motherhood, what other goals do you have with the blog?
My number one goal in motherhood is to raise genuinely good human beings that have a strong sense of self and are happy with who they are. Raising Happy Littles will eventually be, in writing form, the journey to doing that.
Amen to that! Speaking of raising good and happy humans, you recently commissioned us to create a custom necklace for you. Can you share a bit about the process?
I love working with Le Papier Studio! The process when I got my first necklace was more complicated than it is now, but I still loved it because it involved emailing a photo to a genuine person (what?!) and getting an actual personal reply (whhhhhat?!!) I was so excited and immediately knew I was going to get something of genuine quality.
I had a silhouette of my son on a necklace and even though I know it's good practice to take jewelry off and put it back on after showering, as I became pregnant with baby #2 I got a bit lazy and started wearing it continually. I can say with full confidence that that necklace was the quality I'd hoped because it looked just as beautiful as the day it arrived even after almost a year (and childbirth).
That's wonderful to hear, Aschley! Glad you're treasuring your necklace and you're happy with its quality. Tell us, what value does this necklace add to your life?
I got a new necklace when my daughter was old enough to take a nice silhouette photo and I got an updated one of my son. They're the mini charms on a chain and it's like having both of my children on my heart all the time. I treasure them so much and love when people ask what they are when they're observing from a distance. I can't even count how many times someone has said "They're actually your kids?!" when I've responded by showing them closer up which charm is which child. I recently lost my younger sister to a long battle with cancer and couldn't think of a better gift for my mom than a necklace of her silhouette so that she could keep her baby on her heart just like I do mine. I just have to say to Vana and everyone at Le Papier Studio: Thank you for the beautiful art you create. It's such a special and unique piece I have and that, now, my own mother has. The work that is put into the products is clear and having something handmade from your own memories is not common. I am very deeply impressed with this company!
Thank you so much Aschley! That makes me so happy to hear! It is out mission to foster the happy and special moments in life through each and every piece of work we put out there. So glad you could share your story with us today!
Ashley is wearing our Tiny Silhouette Charm Necklace (customized with her two littles' silhouettes)
When it comes to jewelry, I prefer something personal and timeless. That is why I am drawn to designing such pieces for Le Papier Studio. Last week we photographed a new collection launching in a few weeks and I can't wait for you all to take a look.
Recently I've loved mixing and layering my necklaces. I'll mix different charm sizes for a fun every day look.
You can pair a few different styles that complement each other. And if you didn't know where to start and which ones to mix together, I'd start with a tiny silhouette charm piece in 16 inch chain and add on a little birth stone at 18 inch length.
I'm also digging this dainty necklace featuring a gold silhouette charm on a silver chain with an initial charm in silver layered over. The possibilities are endless on how you wear, mix and match your favorite pieces. Wear them by themselves or layer them for more of a statement all your own.
My current favorites:
Running your business online has its own perks. Like getting to follow along on the documented journeys from a few favorites. Since the majority of my work consists on capturing little ones' into unique silhouettes, I am constantly drawing inspiration from young families with adorable littles. This is how I came across Susan Hutchinson and her precious twins, Henry and Marie. I must also mention that Susan is a devout Francophile...and well, Paris...holds a special place in both of our hearts. I'm happy to share Susan's story with you today, so let's get started!
For those who aren't familiar, can you tell us about Fleurishing?
Fleurishing is the name of my interior design company and lifestyle blog. My passions are abundant, but I mostly focus on my love of all things French, design, and of course, my children. My blog has evolved along with me over the years, and thankfully, so has my audience!
How did the blog/company start?
I started my own company in 2006 after leaving a larger firm, and have been fortunate to work for myself for ten years now! The blog began as an accompaniment to my design work, and as a creative outlet after moving to Pennsylvania in 2010. As it has for so many, the blog morphed into a business of it’s own, and has afforded me incredible opportunities and introduced me to such an amazing community. 2017 will mark my seventh year of blogging (time flies when you’re having fun).
It absolutely does, Susan! Tell us, what does your blog stand for?
The name is a play on the word “flourishing”, using the “e” as in Fleur, a French flower. It represents my Francophilia, and a time in my life that was (and is) indeed “fleurishing”.
And rightly so! You twins, Henry and Marie are so adorable. Thank you for capturing their innocent childhood in such a natural way, it's truly inspiring! Since it wasn't long ago that we collaborated on a fun project, can you share what was it like to work with Le Papier Studio? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
I was thrilled to partner with you all, and the silhouettes of my children came out perfectly. The process was simple and enjoyable!
That's wonderful to hear! I'd love to know what value does our product add to your life?
We will forever treasure our children’s silhouettes, as it encapsulates such a fleeting moment in time.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m obsessed with the Le Papier name and logo, they’re so very French!
Thank you Susan for sharing your story with us and for continuing to be an inspiration!
Love the silhouettes we created for Susan? You can order yours here.
It's hard to believe we've been living in Richmond for a year and a half now. It's been a good move for our family and we are happy with life here. I won't lie, I miss Chicago and our friends but there's something about Richmond that I really like.
Richmond is relatively a small city but has so much to offer. It's known for the food scene (and I'm not talking the chain restaurants here), the river front activities (although we have yet to partake in any of those), it's glorious historic neighborhoods, the many beautiful parks and of course the museums.
Speaking of its architecture, there's one neighborhood I find absolutely charming. The Fan District. This neighborhood takes its name from the "fan" shape streets and is home to many cafes and unique restaurants and of course the different types of homes (dating of late nineteenth, early twentieth century homes). There are tree-lined streets and famous monuments along the streets.
What many different home styles are truly captivating. The styles vary from Victorian, Revival, Colonial Revival, Art Deco, Richardsonian, Tutor Revival, Edwardian, Bungalow, Spanish, and Georgian (just to name a few). We'd love to buy a home here but we would be under city schools, which unfortunately aren't great.
We've been looking in other close by areas, like Tuckahoe, known for good schools and a friendly, relatively young community.
On another note, I've been blessed to connect with some amazing people since our move here on both personal level and through work collaborations. I'm happy to say, it's starting to feel as though we are finally planting some roots in Richmond.
I am also continuing to study for the ARE (the Architectural Registration Exam). There are 5 exams in all and I have high hopes of becoming a licensed architects in the near future. The boys are doing wonderful and Aaron "still" loves his new job. Happy to say, it's been a good move after all.