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.
(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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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?
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.