I've always had a fascination with great stories. They are all around us and each unique in their own way. It doesn't take long to discover a brand, a person whose work or knack for style you admire. Over the years, I've had the pleasure to get to know a lot of small business owners, most of them operating online. Their stories inspire me! I've become close friends with some of them, we count on each other for the daily doze of inspiration (in whatever shape or form that comes). Today I wanted to share with you the story of Alyssa Burmeister behind Happy Little Fin who is also a loyal fan of our work.
Welcome Alyssa! So good to have you here! For those who aren't familiar, can you tell us about Happy Little Fin?
Sure! Happy Little Fin is my small handmade shop where I craft hair accessories for all ages… even mamas! In fact, my mamas love my leather hair ties so much I *think* they may actually be my larger customer demographic than moms buying for their daughters, nieces or friends. Way to treat yourselves, mamas! I am also the creator of the original vintage hankie bow. I am obsessed with all things vintage + historical, so the hankie bows are very near and dear to my heart! I also like to venture outside my comfort zone occasionally which is how I started with making my hand tied leather hair ties…I wanted something for myself that would be functional + fashionable at the same time! And apparently i wasn’t the only one! :)
How did the company start?
I started my company after the birth of my oldest daughter. I had a really horrific experience with a handmade shop when I tried to order her some accessories. I ended up making what I needed for her myself and when my friends saw it they said “You need to sell that - I’d buy!!!” I completely brushed them off at first and continued my crafting as a hobby since at that time I was a practicing licensed mental health therapist. However, my love for creating and my desire to stay home with my daughter eventually won out and I pursued my Happy Little Fin venture full time in the fall of 2015. It was a small and humble start, but I am so proud of my success! I’ve been asked to speak at a couple of events to other business owners about my shop, my marketing and my success. It sometimes feels crazy insane when I remember that I left my job as a therapist so that I could sell headbands on the internet, but I have to say, it also feels pretty darn amazing.
3. That's amazing! Congratulations on your success! Can you tell us what does your company stand for? Who are your customers?
I’ll start by saying my customers are simply the best! No, really. They’re the most supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic cheerleaders for me, my business and my success. When I started my business, I knew what I would want and expect when shopping from a small or handmade shop and I’ve always tried to strive to deliver absolutely nothing less than the most outstanding customer experience and exquisite product. I think too often businesses forget that their customers are PEOPLE. They are people who have wants, needs, feelings, desires… they are not just a number. They aren’t just a target market. They. Are. People. They are mothers…wives...daughters…sisters…aunties…cousins…granddaughters…business women…stay at home moms…work at home moms…single moms… Remembering that every single order than comes across my desk was placed by a real person who has chosen to support me really touches my heart. That has never been far from my mind and I will continue to always focus on making sure the customers are heard, know their value and importance to me - not just as a business owner, but as a fellow human being - and are nothing less than beyond thrilled with anything they get from me.
I love this so much, Alyssa! I couldn't agree more with everything you said. It is truly refreshing to read your perspective on your customers especially since you are one of our favorite customers:) Which brings me to my next question: What was like to work with Le Papier Studio? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
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.
Aw, thanks for those words! It truly is an honor capturing such darling profiles and being able to create an heirloom piece you will treasure for a long time. Thank you for that, Alyssa! Curious to hear, what value does this particular necklace add to your life?
I’ve told Vana this before but I’ll say it again… this necklace means the world to me. I’ve only ever taken it off once… and it was not by choice! When I see the tiny perfect silhouettes of my two 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 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! :)
I'm a bit teary eyed reading this! It is such a sweet reminder of why I set out each day to do what I do. It's because of stories like yours, Alyssa! Thank you! And that necklace is our best selling one so it makes me super happy to know you appreciate yours so much!
Thanks again for choosing me to share my love with your blog readers! :)
It's been a blessing chatting with you, Alyssa!
(photo credit Alison Stumpf Photo and Alyssa Burmeister)
Alyssa's necklace : Tiny Silhouette Charm Necklace in Solid Gold.
One of my personal goals this year is to be more organized. Less stuff makes for less clutter, right?...and boy do I dislike clutter! 😱 I do believe that an organized space is essential for an organized family life. Over the years of running Le Papier Studio I have developed a routine of always organizing my studio on Sunday night before the week starts. I can't tell you how inspiriting and calming (for the nerves 😝) it is to walk into an organized space come Monday morning. And because I love that feeling so much, I try to find a few products that help me stay organized throughout the year. Below are a few I would like to share.
The Well Designed Year system by Whitney English. This is the second year I use the this system because it is THAT good. Going through the exercise of filling this out every year has helped me better understand my core, who I am and what matters most to me.
The Daily Designer Planner - I opted for the white leather binder. It's smaller that planners I have used in previous years and not dated. I don't have to feel guilty if I feel like skipping a day or two 😉
Notebook by Appointed - I have a few of these and love them. They are perfect for jotting down ideas, scribbling or for writing your big ideas. They come black, lined or grid ruling and I love them all.
Candle Subscription by Candlefish - This is the most clever subscription box (if you're into candles that is!) I won a 3 month subscription through an instagram giveaway and I am hooked! I will be ordering more of these little guys when my supplies run low. They are perfect for small spaces and I love lighting them in my office.
Lucite Tray with your family's custom silhouette - I love having a few of these lucite trays around in my office and throughout the home. They are perfect for keeping your small items together. They come in 3 sizes, shown here is an 8.5x11 (the biggest size). We sell them on our shop.
And there you have them. I hope you found them useful and inspirational.
Happy 2017, friends! It's the second day of the year and I am excited about what 2017 has in store! I don't know about you, but I don't make resolutions...instead I focus on attainable goals. Le Papier Studio turns 9 this year, Aaron and I will be celebrating 14 years of marriage, our boys will be going into 7th grade and kindergarten. Why am I jumping so far ahead? Well, because time moves quickly and I want to treasure and celebrate what's near and dear to me. With that in mind, I wanted to share my goals for 2017. I hope they inspire you to make your own for this year.
Over the year of running my business, I've had to deal with juggling a lot of tasks at once. Sometimes I've managed to get a few done right, and other times things have fallen through the cracks. I've felt way too many times my family isn't getting the best of me. I don't want to feel that way anymore. My boys are growing faster than I can wrap my head around it and I want to be present for my family. This means, the hours I am with them, there will be no work, no email and no social media. I will try to focus my whole self to doing one thing at a time.
Love + serve those around me
This year I want to be a better friend, wife, mother and offer my God given talents and passions to serve and love on the people dear to me. I've been so blessed to make the friendships that I have over the years. I've also made some new friendships I hope to nurture and grow. I think a simple act of checking in with friends and letting them know I care about them, is such a special thing in this day and age. I will do more of that this year!
Learn something new
I've enjoyed reading different books and learning something new over the years. I want to do more of that. It's amazing how you can learn something new each day if you really wanted to, no matter how old you are. I would love to take a class on calligraphy and another on photography. Both are something I enjoy so I want to perfect them:)
Since our move to Virginia, I've been running LPS solo. It's a decision I made and don't regret it as it has worked out well the past 2 years, but it's now time to grow the team and bring a few talented people on board. I have big dreams for this little company of mine and I can't wait to share those with you in 2017!
Take care of me
I find great value and self worth in serving others. This is something I have passed down from my mother. But at times I forget about taking care of me. When my cups runs empty I have nothing to give to those around me. This year I pledge to take better care of me, starting with my body. I will start working out again (no excuses!) a few times a week. I can't commit to joining a gym but I will be working out at home.
Go on more dates
Although this past year we went on more dates than we ever have before, it wasn't nearly enough. Having kids, running life and business seems a never-ending process. We need to make time for us. It is good for our soul and marriage. More of that please!
Continue to grow in faith
I've struggled with this one this past year. Even since we moved to VA my soul has been aching for more growth. I realize this is my problem and that growth can still happen no matter where you live. I've made some wonderful close relationships which are helping me strengthen my faith. I am looking forward to more of that this year. On that note, we have made goals as a family to pray daily, real the scriptures together and make God part of our daily lives.
2017, let's do this!
2016 was quite the year, to say the least! It was our first whole year here in Virginia. Our oldest, Nikolas graduated from elementary and started middle school. We traveled together as a family and I did a few trips solo (Greece, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston). A few babies were born to immediate family (my sister's twins) and great friends'. We became Godparents to a new godson. We made new friendships and kept the old ones strong. In the business side of things, Le Papier Studio had its best year yet! We formed new partnerships with a few amazing companies, launched our Brand Ambassador program, and ended our Wholesale program.
Many of you are long time readers and might remember seeing pictures of this sweet boy of mine throughout the years. Well, he is now 11 (going on 12) and taller than everyone in our family. But above all he remains a gentle soul. So proud of him!
In may Aaron and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary with a get away to Philly. It was our first time visiting this wonderful city and we had a wonderful time. Philly's food scene is almost as great as Chicago's.
Charleston is where we spent 1 week of our vacation this past June. It was just as wonderful as our first time there. We rented a house by the water in Folly Beach and even hosted some friends and family for part of the time. We will get back there soon!
August was a big month for my little sister. She became a mama to her sweet twins (boy, girl). I am a proud auntie and completely crazy over these two littles.
I visited Greece for 10 days in September to meet my new niece and nephew. I had a wonderful time!
2016 was the year of a few great partnerships. In September we launched our partnership with Framebridge. We couldn't have asked for a better team of people. We look forward to continuing this in the new year.
September was a busy month for us. We launched our Brand Ambassador program and selected our first ambassadors who now represent our brand online and offline. We will be accepting applications for this program every year.
We launched a few new products this year. The money clips were a hit for Father's Day. The new Full Body Necklaces made for the most elegant of Mother's Day Gifts. And last but certainly not least, we launched a line of heirloom Silhouette Ornaments. They were this holiday season's best selling product.
Thank you for following along and supporting us in 2016 and before. We look forward to connecting with you in 2017! Happy New Year to you and yours!
Merry Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!
There's so much to be grateful for this year but these three are the best gift 🎁I've ever received and the one that keeps on giving all year round. 👆
Thank you for following along and supporting my business these past 8 years. I am so grateful for each and everyone of you. I can't wait to connecting with you more in the New Year!
When it comes to holiday traditions, our little family has a few which we came up with over the years. Each year we give each boy an ornament with the idea that one day they will have a collection for their own Christmas tree. We try to keep it special and think of incorporating things they like that particular year in their lives. This Christmas I gave them each a Silhouette Ornament - because there ornaments have been too special and adorned by many, I wanted to boys to have one the year I launched them. Theirs are brass and have their silhouettes and year on them. Here is Nikolas'.
This year I also got them matching red PJ's personalized with their names. Nikolas is already 5'10" tall (growing up way too soon!) so I am doing all I can to treasure the moments they share as brothers, while they are still "little".
Here's Johnny opening his first Christmas gift (the ornament!)
New products are always fun to launch. But do you know how they are born and what goes behind bringing one to life? It's a fun (and at times challenging) process and I am sharing it with you today via this cool info-graphic illustration.
It's Friday, you guys and it's time for this week's list of 5 favorite things. This one was hard to narrow down. With the holidays fast approaching, I've been browsing the web for unique products to gift friends and family (and ahem...myself). Here are the 5 things I'm loving this week.
One - True Botanicals products. The super concentrated, bio-active ingredients will never harm your health or skin. I picked up a few of their products while searching for anti-aging skincare products. I've been using the products for a couple of months now, and guys, and couldn't recommend them enough (this from a gal who is very skeptical about any skincare line!) Their mists and face oils are truly a luxury!
Two - The Sweet Home is a website that offers the best tried and true gadgets and gear for people who are looking for what to get without having to search for all the reviews on various sites. This site does all the leg work for you! I am getting this travel mug for my hubby for Christmas (shhh...he doesn't know yet!)
Three - Monsters & Buildings is a fun coloring books for the whole family! Author is a very talented dear friend. Moms of boys, you should definitely buy this coloring book!
Four - Framed Silhouettes - because meaningful art will never go out of style. Especially art that features your loved ones' silhouettes drawn from their photos. Just imagine grandma's face on Christmas morning as she unwraps a piece with all her grandchildren's sweet silhouettes on it.
Five - In the Company of Women - Grace Bonney's latest book filled with advise from over 100 makers, entrepreneurs and artists. I truly enjoyed this one!
There you have it! I hope you have a great weekend!
Every year I gift each of my boys a unique ornament - as a keepsake for them to add to their collection. I started this tradition a few years ago and I am so glad I did. When they are all grown up and have their own Christmas trees to trim, they will have a small collection of their own to put up on the tree.
Along with the most cherished of holiday accessories, ornaments are the one piece of seasonal decor that we bring out year after year...they each hold a special story, passed down from the one generation to the next. With that tradition in mind, we are proud to offer our newest product, the Silhouette Ornaments. They are timeless and guaranteed to be loved and treasured for years to come.
Crafted of brass or sterling silver, each ornament features your loved ones' silhouettes carefully designed from their photographs. Choose from the various design options HERE.
As you begin thinking about decking the halls and trimming your Christmas trees, consider ordering one or a few of our new Silhouette Ornaments. Each custom ornament requires 3-4 week production. We recommend you place your order as soon as possible to guarantee delivery by Christmas.