Prints Charming (Giveaway)

Ah, writing by hand... Those were the days, amirite? Not that my handwriting has ever been anything to write home about (zing?) but I've always been into handwriting and OPP (Other People's Penmanship). All those years passing notes in class, maybe?


For today's post, I got to chat with Jolie of Brim Papery, a custom paper goods company that is totally delightful. (You can follow her on Instagram, here.) 

GGC: You started your printing business last year (congrats!) and have been going strong since. Can you tell us a little bit about Brim Papery and what it means to start a paper goods company in these modern times of digital everything?

Jolie: I love what I can offer people through Brim Papery – that deeply personal, hand-drawn nature that seems to be fading so quickly in a world of digital art. Just about anyone can type up a print in a computer program and add in some clip-art, but to have someone letter your grandmother’s recipe by hand? Well, that’s another story.

GGC: You quit your teaching job to start a business at home. Can you tell us a little bit about that transition and what it's been like for you as a work-at-home mama?

Jolie: To be fair, I quit my teaching job just to stay home with my daughter and shortly after that, my business was born. My husband has a very demanding job and we decided for everyone’s sanity that I would stay home with our current and future littles.

I loved being at home (still do!) but felt a little awkward leaving the working world, and I longed for more structure and something to do that was exclusively for me, and that’s how Brim Papery was born. I am all about embracing feminist power and not letting social norms of any form make you feel bad about what you do, whether that be staying home with your babies, going out to a job, or doing a little of both, which is where I’ve landed.

Still, it was rough at first to leave a full-time career and move to working from home, personally and within my marriage. It’s hard to leave a job with a paycheck and other coworkers cheering you on to a job that you can do in stained yoga pants with only your mute infant looking on. It’s also tough to strike the balance between baby-rearing, housekeeping and entrepreneurship – all of which can very easily demand all of your time. I don’t claim to have that balance down, but ten months under my belt has taught me a few things.
GGC: Any advice for those looking to start their own at-home businesses? 

Jolie: I by no means consider myself an expert (I have so much to learn!) but here are a few things I would offer:

Don’t wait to start! So many people think they need to have a business degree or years of preparation and getting every last thing in order, and I personally feel that’s very untrue. The fastest way I learned how to run my business the right way was trying to run it at all. Experience is the best of teachers.

Take yourself seriously. It may take you awhile to earn the understanding or respect of people in your life who don’t “get” your passion or the ins and outs of attempting to build a small business. That’s ok. You don’t need them to understand your dream or take it seriously, butyou need to do that for yourself. It will carry you miles. When other people see that you treat yourself like an entrepreneur and a professional, they will treat you that way, too.  

Lastly, be persistent. I’ve had to remind myself that nobody who is successful in any capacity became that way overnight. It usually took years of long nights, failed attempts, dry spells and frustration to get to their destination. Having a flopped idea or getting ignored by a blogger or a company doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means you still have work to do. Consider it a challenge to evaluate where you could grow and improve as a business!

GGC: Have you always been passionate about print and handwriting? (I've always had fourth-grader penmanship so I'm in utter awe when I see such beautiful handwriting. Yours is the dreamiest.)

Jolie: Thank you! As a kid I always loved to draw, and my dad always tried to nudge me in that direction by taking me to art classes at the local art museum when I was a child. He was always the biggest fan of my art and encouraged me to pursue it, but I wasn’t sure how to translate that into a career when it came time to choose a path in college, so I chose another passion (teaching Spanish!).

I have always loved making hand-made cards for my loved ones, and I’m sure my mother could pull out dozens from over the years (please don’t, mom). I am still so very flattered when someone who is a complete stranger loves what I do so much that they pay me money for it. You’d think I’d get past that, but I don’t. It’s a really wonderful feeling.
GGC: What words-on-paper most represent YOU as a woman. What is the custom order you would make yourself?

Jolie: Wow, what a question! Words do something for me, so to try and narrow it down to one particular quote is a real struggle. I found a handful from Anne Lamott that I hold dear to my heart (that woman is my jam) but ultimately I landed on this one from Thich Nhat Hanh: Our own life has to be our message.

For me this embodies the challenge of getting over the temptation to talk circles around things, and instead to quiet down and have the courage and discipline to live a life that can speak for itself, whether it is in my business, my relationships, political stances, my personal passions, or elsewhere. I know that how I live my life speaks volumes over my words in regard to my character and integrity, so I am challenged that if I truly value or care about (a person) (a cause) (a passion) (an endeavor) then I shouldn’t have to talk about it endlessly, it should stand for itself in how I live.


Jolie asked if she could make us a print for our house and I thought long and hard about what kind of message I wanted to send to my family and all who pass through this humble abode and came up with the following which is currently for sale in her shop/hanging in the entranceway of my house. 
What about you guys? If you could hang one phrase in your entranceway, what would it be? Comment below to be eligible to win a $100 Brim Papery gift card c/o Jolie and Brim Papery. I'll pick the winner at random next Friday, April, 18th. In the meantime, you can get 20% off your Brim Papery order with code GGC20. Have a beautiful weekend, all! 


UPDATED: Congrats to SueBob for winning the gift card! And thanks to all for participating in this giveaway!