Pro tips with Danielle of Gem Gossip - Layering Necklaces


October 08, 2020

layered necklaces

I asked one of my favorite jewelry bloggers and customer, Danielle Miele with Gem Gossip, to share a few pro tips on layering necklaces, especially her little boy's Silhouette Charm with some of her favorite pieces.

What I love about my custom silhouette charm is how versatile and easy to wear it is! It doesn’t matter what your style is — it will blend seamlessly with whatever you’ve got going on.

I like to wear mine either on a shorter chain and layered with other necklaces...or on a longer box chain, sometimes with other sentimental charms or by itself. Starting a necklace stack with a unique vintage piece is a great tip — like a herringbone, large link or a strand of quartz. I also like to add touches of color with my son’s birthstone — emerald!

 

The importance of making family traditions


October 03, 2020

There's a beautiful feeling when we think about family traditions. They are unique to each family and make up some of the most treasured and meaningful moments in a family's history. They can revolve around a special celebration, a shared meal, or a simple memory like decorating the Christmas tree together.

One of our family's holiday traditions is putting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We began when our first born was 6 months old (his first Christmas!) and have continued to do it every since.  Every year I create a new silhouette ornament for each of our boys and gift it to them on Christmas Day. Every year they take a moment to gather all their silhouette ornaments and point out the changes in their profiles over the years. It's both emotional and magical as it helps us bond over the special time we've had with them from babies to now 15 and 8 year olds. These ornaments have helped me capture the moments we've had with them into something tangible we can now cherish and hold on to for years to come...and by bringing them our year after year, they have become part of our family's tradition. A tradition they will pass down to the next generation.

As we prepare to kick-off this year's holiday season, let us be reminded to focus on the things and people we love most. Let us be inspired by the magic of holidays to keep our traditions strong and continue making new ones.

 

3 tips for smooth mornings during Virtual Learning


September 18, 2020

Mornings with children can be chaotic and crazy without the added stress of virtual learning. There's nothing that has the potential to start everyone off on the wrong foot than a tough morning. We've all been there these past months. However, I also know the reverse is true... that a smooth morning can ripple out into the rest of the day for everyone in the family.

With virtual learning upon us, we've been working on getting our morning routine to run a bit more smoothly in order to avoid the craziness that can ensue, the tempers that can flair, and the frustration that can take place if we let the morning just play out on its own. A few weeks ago, we ask our amazing community to share some tips and have compiled the top three below:

  1. A good morning starts the night before - I think the most helpful thing has been this simple mindset shift... that in order for our mornings to go well, we need to prep them the night before. Since currently we don't use backpacks, we make sure all folders/books are where they belong for the start of the school day (in our case, on the table next to their computers). Anything special or different that needs to happen tomorrow? We put a sticky note on the fridge door, we get it ready before bed, we do as much as we can before the morning even comes. Do you know how nice it is to wake up to coffee that's already brewed because we set the timer before we went to bed? Game changer!
  2. Put phones away - It's easy to reach for your phone the second your eyes open (because lots of us use them as alarm clocks) but I'd encourage you to get an old fashioned alarm clock, keep phones plugged in another room, and grab them for the first time only after you've had breakfast and are ready to get started with the day. There's something about our phones that seem to quickly and easily derail even the most structured schedules, so by keeping them out of sight and mind we can keep our minds clear and our mornings less hectic (besides, those insta posts will still be there to scroll during your morning break. promise).
  3. Greet each other with love - Seems silly, right? But start noticing what kind of morning greetings your family gives each other. Are people flying in all directions to get going with their work day, or is there a minute or two filled with hugs, kisses, and "have a good day" said to everyone? It's important to me that both my boys (15 and 8) get a hug and a kiss and a look square in the eye from me before they get started with virtual learning. I know all too soon they will get busy with school work (even though right next door to me) so for a short moment I want to soak up the few moments I get with them first thing in the morning.

Sending our boys off to their rooms for virtual learning after a relatively calm and stress free morning sets the tone for my entire day and I find myself feeling more productive, more accomplished, and more capable than I do on mornings where everything is a chaotic mess (and those mornings still happen, just less now). I'd love to hear any additional tips or tricks you have for smooth mornings at your house, and wish you the happiest of mornings now and every day!

The meaning behind "Home" on our Custom Home Ornaments


September 07, 2020

 

Our homes are our anchors, our safe places, where we gather with those we hold dear to build traditions and make memories that last a lifetime. These past seven months we’ve seen how much more special they have become. Among the laughter, the boredom, and the challenges, we gave home a new meaning. Home became more that our shelter. It became the place we took refuge from the world that felt to be struggling so much. Home is where we gathered around Zoom calls and Face time chats to stay connected with friends and family instead of seeing and visiting with them in person.

Our relationships deepened inside our homes…We were present for each other to make our days a little better. There were more family dinners, laughter, hugs and tears shed as we navigated a new collective normal. Despite all the hard moments, we will remember our homes as the places that helped us keep dreaming of healthy days ahead and life without social distancing.

When I first designed these ornaments, I did so with the hope to offer a way to commemorate the places that hold our hearts forever but also a tangible heirloom we proudly bring out year after year.  I can’t think of a more meaningful product to help us remember and celebrate life in 2020.

As we do each autumn, we are excited to offer one last batch of 30 Custom Home Ornaments for 2020. Maybe you or a loved one need a way to pay tribute to this year together.

Sign up to be in the list of interested customers and get notified when these ornaments become available.

-

Vana

 

It Takes A Village - Little Nomad


August 24, 2020

All mamas know that it truly takes a village to raise our children. As we all collectively strive to be better and do better for our little ones, we launched the LPS It Takes a Village initiative in June with the idea that, together, we can affect the change we’d like to see in this world right where we are.  View full article →

Traditions Matter


August 22, 2020

One of my favorite traditions this time of year (like most moms, I'm sure) is the First Day of School photo. Even though this year’s "back to school” might seem very different from years past, I think it’s still important we stick to it. Pinterest abounds with inspiration, but no matter how the picture turns out, it's the act of capturing that first day, the newest fresh start...seeing the smiles that say "Bring it on, I'm ready!" that makes my heart feel all those warm fuzzy feels. Our children don’t stop growing because a pandemic happened. Life and joy and favorite traditions will never be canceled.⁣

I know things can get rushed, or busy...that first day, first week, first month of school can be a blur (without adding the pandemic mess in it), but I encourage you to just snap a photo. It doesn't have to be perfectly styles, amazingly creative, or involve a week of prep work. Just take the picture, because in 20 years you won't care how it turned out. You'll just be so glad you have that memory forever!⁣

Shown here is the Back to School photo of my youngest from last year. School starts after Labor Day for us...all virtual for the first 9 weeks...I can't wait to snap their photos again💓💓

We asked our community about your back to school traditions and loved reading them all.⁣ Share some of your "first day back to school" photos with us and tag us #LPSmamas for a chance to be featured on our feed and win a $50 gift card from our shop. We will pick 2 winners by the end of the month.⁣

3 Ways to Love a New Mom


August 22, 2020

(Photo via @mrs.mcbrown)

A baby arrives and it's one of the most joyous and heart bursting events a mom can ever experience. The sweet smell of a newborn. The tiny clothes. The snuggles. The rocking. The little blinking eyes that peek out every once in awhile. Magical.

It seems that we often tend to focus so much love on that newborn, and rightly so, that we often times forget that there's a new mother who also needs just as much love and help as her baby does, whether it's her first baby or her fourth baby. Mamas need love too. These are our three favorite ways to remind moms that while this new baby is a blessing and a miracle... so are they.

Gift the mama // We love love love gifting (it's one of our love languages!) and while there are endless gifts that often arrive for a new baby, especially if this is the first baby for the mama, we almost always take a gift to a baby shower that's for the mom and for the mom only. A gift card for a coffee (or two, or three) ... some handcrafted chocolates from a local chocolatier, a luxurious bottle of bubble bath or some calming bath salts. I love a sweet rattle or baby blanket as much as the next person, but there's something about putting together a gift specifically for the mom to be that says "I see you in all this too, and this gift is for you."

Feed the mama // This may seem obvious, but making sure a new mama is well fed is a beautiful way to care for her. Not only with meals but with snacks and easy to grab items that will provide nutrition and comfort. Gift cards for take out can be a life saver when it's 4 pm and she realizes there's nothing planned for dinner. Everyone feels better when their bellies are full, and this goes for mamas too.

Check in on the mama // Check in on her, and not just once, but more than once. Check in on her three months in, when the other calls and checks in have stopped, when the newborn magic has worn off and she's struggling with a colicky baby, lack of sleep, or with adjusting to this new normal. Check in with a text. A call. A visit. Just let her know she's seen, she's heard, and that if this seems impossible, she's not alone. Just knowing there's someone else there to lend an ear can make all the difference for a mom who may be having a hard time.

Those are our three favorite ways to help love on a new mama, but the possibilities of how to show her love and support are endless. Just remember that while new babies need love and attention... their mamas do too.

Why are we retiring Gold Filled


September 05, 2019

Our announcement a few months ago about retiring gold filled on Monday, September 9th has generated a lot of buzz around this metal. Many of you have emailed, DM-ed, left comments on our posts about the reason why and what this means for you. We would like to address all your questions on this post.

Why are we discontinuing Gold Filled?

This decision hasn't been easy and one we've considered for quite some time. As our business continues to grow while we stay true to our mission, we want to focus on offering the very best materials for our products..which are true heirlooms destined to be passed down to the next generation.

What is Gold Filled and why does it tarnish for some?

Gold filled is a layer of 14k gold that has been bonded to a brass core. Think of it like an ice cream sandwich- with the ice cream in the middle being the brass and the chocolate cookie on either side being the 14k gold.

Gold filled is a great alternative to 14k solid gold and because is more economical, many of our customers choose to order. About 10% of our customers see their pieces tarnish over time (we cover this a lot on our website and urge all our customers to read before selecting gold filled as their metal of choice) In some cases the tarnishing can be slowed down by taking good care of your piece. In others, it will happen the moment you wear your piece...because your skin reacts to it. Why is this?

Going back to our ice cream sandwich comparison; just as you can see the ice cream from the side of the sandwich, you can see the brass on the edge of your charms. Brass tarnishes at a faster rate than gold and will appear darker faster. The acid in your skin, sweat, perfumes, soaps, lotions, hairspray, makeup, sunscreen, chlorine, bromine (like in hot tubs), household cleaners, certain medications all can all speed up tarnish.

Additionally, over time the 14k layer can wear down causing more of the brass to be exposed and therefore more of the piece to tarnish. Unfortunately this is just the nature of a well loved and well worn treasure (check out your grandmother’s wedding rings and notice if the underside of the ring is much thinner than the top).

Why we have used Gold Filled up until now?

Simply put, we recognize that not everyone has the budget for 14k solid gold jewelry. We offer gold filled to have an alternative to the higher prices of solid gold while still keeping that beautiful, warm gold color. If you know you are highly sensitive to brass (which is the base metal in gold filled jewelry) gold filled may still irritate your skin and tarnish quickly because of the raw edge. Please consider silver or 14k solid gold.

What does this mean for you...

More than anything we want to be transparent with you, our fans and customers! Our pieces aren't cheap (even in gold filled) but we KNOW those who decide to invest on them will treasure them for a lifetime. We want them to last ALL of you a lifetime!

You may purchase your first and/or last gold filled charm/s on Monday, September 9. If you are a NEW customer and want to order but don't have the photos yet, you have two weeks to submit your photos. If you are a REPEAT customer wanting to add to your gold filled necklace and don't have photos yet, you have until the end of 2019 to send photos.

If you know you won't have your photos by that time, you may choose to do one of the following:
  • purchase the new charms at a later date in different metal for a mixed metal look (as shown on the photo above)
  • upgrade your entire gold filled necklace to a sterling silver or to one of our 14K solid gold metals (yellow, rose or white). If you're planning to upgrade to a 14K solid gold, email us to take advantage of a one time special we have going for our repeat customers.

Please remember ...

Even though we will be discontinuing the gold filled, we will continue to offer the gold filled chain for those of you who still wish to go with a more economical chain (for example, you can choose to have a gold filled chain and 14K solid yellow gold charms)If you're a new customer still deciding which metal to pick for your piece, please consider reading through the properties of our metals (under "Jewelry Care" at the footer of our website) - every metal is different and reacts differently when in contact with our bodies and environment. The only metal that will withstand time is the 14K solid gold! It's pricey but worth every penny! Those of you who have selected solid gold are a witness of that!

If you want to invest in 14K solid gold, but can't afford to pay upfront for say a 3+ charm necklace, we offer the option of monthly payments via Affirm. Take advantage of it! We offer the 14K solid gold in all three colors, yellow, white and rose.
💛
Metals show on the 1st image from left to right: silver, gold filled, 14k solid yellow, 14K rose and 14K white gold - Metals shown on the second photo are 14K solid yellow, rose and white gold

The Business of Running a Business : The Importance of Schedules + Routines


September 05, 2019

The beginning of a new school year gets me excited every time because it means our routines and schedules will once again be restored. Let's face it! We are all creatures of habit and summer brings (besides the chance to vacation and memory making) the end of any sort of routine.

Having had to deal with this problem every year of owning LPS, I've learned to let go of expectations (or rather, set new expectations for myself) and hope for the best. After all, our summers with our children are numbered, right? We might as well enjoy them:)

That said, I still have to run a business, lead a team of four  and make sure our boys continue to stay busy throughout the summer. Setting a work schedule around my family's schedule has been very important to me since the beginning and is something I am very proud of. Even so, it is very important for me to plan for things ahead of time.

Having a planner I can write down my to-do list is a must not only for the day to day tasks but also getting all the business planning down for the months ahead. This year I took my planner along on our vacation (I know what you're thinking "You worked on your vacation?!" - don't worry! I made sure to rest a lot!) so that I could do some thinking for the months ahead and get the ball rolling on planning the holiday season.

This week the boys started school and I finally got back to the old work routine. Taking a little time to get started on planning the holidays during my vacation helped me feel less overwhelmed and ready to tackle work. Speaking of planners, I have been using a mix of them on the last 11 years of running LPS but I always come back to the Simplified planners because of ...well, their simple layout (I don't need too many bells and whistles) Currently I am using their August - July version which is perfect since I tend to want to have a new start in my business that corresponds with the kids returning to school.

Are you a "have to write it all down" kind of a planner? Or do you use your phone for keeping track of life/schedules in general?

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

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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