I "met" this etsy seller in the forums a month or so ago. She creates beautiful stationery and donates some of the profits from her shop in honor of her daughter. Please read the interview and check out Lily Jane Stationery on etsy.
Tell us what inspired you to open an etsy shop.
I actually opened my first Etsy shop about a year and a half ago under the name Badinage. (It means “playful banter”.) I’d been making stationery and invitations for my family quite a bit and discovered Etsy at the same time. It was the perfect way to do something I loved and help with our struggling college student income. I dabbled in that shop here and there. But it was more of a hobby than anything.
Then, this past summer, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Lily. She was born with a birth defect that shortened her life to a brief 6 weeks. She made such a big impact in my life; I knew I needed to find some way to carry on her legacy. So, I closed down Badinage and opened my new shop, which I named after her: Lily Jane Stationery. I donate 10% of all my proceeds to March of Dimes in an effort to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation. And I put even greater care into everything I do because I’m doing it all in her name now.
When and how did you start paper crafting?
I’ve been working with paper for almost as long as I can remember! Growing up I loved to write letters and notes to friends – whether they lived across the country or down the street. I started making my own stationery in order to have the perfect card for an occasion. It was so much more personal that way. I wanted my letters to be something people would want to hold on to.
What inspires your designs?
My invitation designs are inspired by the specific occasions they’ll be used for. I first think of how I want the party to be and then create the invitation with that final picture in my mind. Like the Cherry Blossom invitations which I just designed for my sister’s baby shower. She’s having a girl so I wanted something sweet and pink, but not overwhelmingly so. The cherry blossoms are a perfect fit.
I also find inspiration by simply letting myself run wild in the paper store. When I see what products they have available, new ideas often present themselves. My Christmas cards, for example – I just had to find a way to use that paper.
Tell us about your marketing strategy for Lily Jane Stationery.
I feel like it’s important for people to be able to get to know the designer behind their products. So, I started a blog to do just that. It’s called Just Lovely (http://lilyjanestationery.typepad.com) . It’s where I showcase all the beautiful things I find along with party plans and potential service opportunities (again, with the legacy thing). I also have a Twitter account and a Facebook Fan Page that people can follow me on. Beyond that, I’m just trying to get myself known and participate in the blogging community. I leave comments whenever I can. Even when I’m off the computer I’m always telling people about what I do.
You donate to charitable causes using the proceeds from your shop. Do you think this is important for etsians? If so, why?
I donate a portion of my proceeds to March of Dimes more for myself than anything. It’s something I need to do. It’s a way I keep my baby girl’s memory alive.
That said, it would, of course, be wonderful if everyone found that they could spare a little bit in order to help a cause they love. Even if you don’t think it’ll amount to much. Remember, every dollar is made up of pennies. But it has to be something you really want to do and money that you know you have to give. It’s still important to have some amount of profit in order to keep your business running well. The holidays are a great time to try it out and see if it’s something that works for you.
What are your hopes for your shop in the future?
My short term goals are to be able to donate more to March of Dimes each month than the month before; even if it’s just a few cents. I think that goal will be great motivation to help my shop grow.
I’d also love to be able to focus more of my production on digital prints and even letterpress, eventually. I’ve always loved letterpress and I’m in the process of taking classes to learn how to do it. Digital prints are a great way to give a clean, finished look to stationery without the consumer having to pay quite as much, which is important right now.
Please share a few of your favorite items currently in your shop.
I really love the Halloween Trick or Treat bags. They come in black or yellow and have a clear window with a spider web print on the front. Kids can watch their candy stack up all night long! I would have loved that. And my son’s pretty excited to get to use one, too.
I’m also excited about the custom Christmas photo cards. They’re backed with a striped green cardstock and come with lined envelopes. The different patterns brighten up the whole ensemble.
My year-round favorite would be the Lily of the Valley Thank You Cards. They’re simple and sweet. Great to have on hand for daily use or for special occasions like a baby or bridal shower.
Here are my favorites:
Dr. Seuss Notecards
Green Branch Personalized Card