Continuing our interview series Shopping Small (With Big Heart), I am thrilled to be introducing you to Rebekah Norman owner of Lavish Paper Co. on Etsy.
Studio Elaine ~ What is your background before being your own boss, or do you work both a 9 to 5 and run your own business?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ I work from home for an online women’s magazine, formatting articles. It’s fun, creative and I work with an amazing team. I’ve been in this business for 4 years now and it helped lead up to me opening my own Etsy shop and helping empower other female small business owners.
Studio Elaine ~ What first inspired and motivated you to open your own business?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ My mother. I kept telling her I wish I could find a job that paid me enough and allowed me to create fun things for other people. We had talked about and began to prepare to open a small family business together before she passed away. After she passed away, I continued on with our plans but on a smaller scale.
Studio Elaine ~ What does a day in the life look like? Walk us a little through the juggling act of balancing your business and home.
Lavish Paper Co. ~ My kids are up at 6am, breakfast and lunches are made. I drop them off at school by 8 and I come home to start my day. I juggle my job duties and the Etsy shop during the day. So far they’ve balanced each other out nicely.
Studio Elaine ~ How has social media impacted your business and how you conduct business?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ It’s helped a lot by bringing in new traffic and allowing potential customers to see my products in use by other customers. I also enjoy sharing behind the scenes work that goes into making the product. I feel like social media allows me to connect with customers on a more personal level and that’s the feel I want for my shop.
Studio Elaine ~ Looking back at how you first started as a small business owner, what would you have done differently, knowing what you know now?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ Honestly? Not a thing. Growing a business is a learning experience and it takes those experiences to get exactly where you are now. I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.
Studio Elaine ~ What made selling on Etsy appealing to you vs. starting your own online ecommerce site?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ Etsy helps promote your business. It’s easy, safe and secure. It was a breeze to set up and they have great tutorials!Studio Elaine ~ Obviously I love your shop and items, what are you most proud of in your shop, and where do you find your creativity and inspiration?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ My inspiration comes from my own needs as a planner. I think I’m most proud of the digital items I drew and designed myself vs. clip art I purchased. It took a big effort to make some of those designs!
Studio Elaine ~ You are obviously very creative and talented, besides the items you create for your shop, what are some of your other talents, and what alternate creative outlets do you pursue?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ I sew and can hand stamp jewelry! It’s actually what the shop was prior to being a sticker shop! Digital graphics and design are my favorite though and why I picked this as my “forever” business plan.
Studio Elaine ~ Why do you feel shopping small is important?
Lavish Paper Co. ~As a small shop owner I know how much work, time, blood, sweat and tears goes into small businesses. I happily support other small shop owners (and bigger Etsy shops, too) because I know that they wouldn’t do what they’re doing if they didn’t love it and put a lot of work into it. There’s just something rewarding about buying an item I know has a lot of handmade love behind it!
Studio Elaine ~ How do you feel the role of women as small business owners has impacted you, and what do you think the major challenge as a woman in business has been for you?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ Being a small business owner has taught me a lot about owning and running a business. In the financial aspect of it, it’s helped me learn how to be financially more responsible. The major challenge I find as a female in any business is getting people to take me seriously. Women can and are just as motivated as our male counterparts. We can be just as business savvy, too!
Studio Elaine ~ What do you want our readers to specifically know about you and your shop?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ I started small and I’ve worked really, really hard to get where I am. I’m no where near as big as some other shops in my line of business, but I am really proud to have come as far as I have. I strive for out of this world customer service and the very best product I can make for you. Each and every single product that leaves my shop is designed, made and packaged by me with a lot of love and thankfulness.
Studio Elaine ~ What advice would you give to anyone out there, who thinks they might want to open their own small business?
Lavish Paper Co. ~ You can achieve anything you want to achieve. If you fall down, get back up. Don’t ever give up. If your first shop idea doesn’t work, find one that does work for you! I love sewing but it did not work for me in a business setting. Find something you absolutely love making for other people and then run wild with it!
Studio Elaine ~ I’d like to thank Rebekah for her time and participation in our interview series. If you haven’t done so already please visit the Lavish Paper Co. shop on Etsy and follow her on Instagram. She is a spectacular woman with an encouraging spirit and heart, and I know you will all love her as much as I do.
Click on the links below to connect with her shop and social media. One of my favorite items from her shop are the Insirational Note Cards, linked above. They are so delicate and feminine, they remind me of spring. Who wouldn’t want something so precious gracing their desk?