Paper by JLee

PAPER BY JLEE: STEP ONE

Entrepreneur, Design, Paper by JLee: StepsJennifer WhisenhuntComment

Today I enter the world of blogging. I will document my journey into the world of small, start up businesses and creating art, two things that might not mesh well together naturally. Thankfully, I'm a type-A creative (is that a thing?) so hopefully that contradiction will serve me well in this endeavor. 

I envision this blog doing two things: 1- describing the ins and outs of how I started this business and keep it running (my left-brain, business side) and 2- illustrating how I create the products I sell (my right-brain, creative side). 

First, I'll tackle how I started Paper by JLee. There are obviously a lot of steps to creating a start up company (maybe you've listened the podcast StartUp? It's so good. Please, go listen now if you haven't.... I'll wait....) and here are the main questions I had to answer to get this party started:

  1. What am I doing? 
  2. What does it look like?
  3. How do I make it?
  4. How do I brand it?
  5. How do I market it?
  6. Who can (and will) help me?
  7. How do I grow it? 

Yep, I've just outlined my first 7 blog posts. How very left-brain of me. 

So here we go. Step one...

STEP ONE : WHAT AM I DOING?

This first post calls for a first look into what I do and how I started doing it, step one. If you read my bio it will tell you that I've been doing all things art and design related for my friends for years. Finally, my mom and sister (they're super persistent) convinced me to start my own business and sell what I was already creating for my friends. The idea sounded crazy but, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about opening what would become Paper by JLee. Starting something that would allow me to paint, draw and photograph on a daily basis sounded fantastic. This was work that truly never felt like work. So, I thought, let's just give it a shot. 

Naturally, I had to figure out what this core business and product would be. Photography? Illustration? Stationery? Paintings? Wedding designs? I love doing all of the above but that was too much to focus on in the beginning. I needed to concentrate on one product specifically. We (me, mom and sis.... you'll notice this is a pattern) decided paper products (personalized stationery and wedding products) would be the main focus. It seemed like a natural progression from what I was already doing. In the months before launching Paper by JLee, I designed a wedding suite for a friend, stationery for family and was getting more requests for custom stationery from friends. It appeared that the hardest part, the design phase, I had unknowingly tackled already. Next, I had to figure out how those designs translated into stationery and how that stationery could translate into a business. How hard could it be? HA. 


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