Use the code AMY15 for 15% off Effie's Paper from now through 7/24
Female Founded Business Spotlight...
I’m really, really excited about this female-founded business spotlight feature featuring Kalyn Johnson Chandler, the founder and creative director of Effie’s Paper. We connected shortly after I shared this Black Lives Matter blog post back in mid-June. She told me that she founded a Black female-owned business that’s run by women for women, and that her love of pink initially drew her to my feed (what else?!).
Upon one glance at her online shop and blog, I knew that we had the potential to become fast friends. She describes her weaknesses as including “pretty stationery and sequins” so we set up a Zoom call and it was pretty much an instantaneous connection (I just adored her from the start! 😊).
We immediately connected on leaving our corporate roles to pursue our dream jobs full time, and Kalyn was full of unbelievably insightful and helpful advice that she graciously shared with me. Her story is amazing– one of being a lawyer, then a fashion stylist, and then the founder of Effie’s Paper, the joyful and inspirational stationery and “whatnots” company that you’re sure to love (if you haven’t come across it already– she was recently featured on Instagram’s @shop page!).
Kalyn’s advice for those who want to leave their corporate job to pursue their side business is some of the best I’ve ever heard (if not the best) and I’m so appreciative of how willing she is to lift up and support other female entrepreneurs and fearless business women. I’m very thankful to have connected with Kalyn in my life, and now am so grateful to be able to share her with all of you!
Enjoy her interview below and make sure to give her a follow on her Instagram (@effiespaper) and scoop up a few goodies from her shop– the ‘girl power’ coffee mug is clearly a favorite of mine, as well as the sparkling gold star stationery set! Kalyn was also so generous in offering you 15% off your order with the code AMY15, which is valid now through Friday, July 24th xx
Now onto Kalyn’s interview…
How did you get the idea for Effie's Paper?
KALYN: I’ve always loved stationery and paper products and as a kid I’d fanaticized about owning a stationery store. But, it wasn’t until about 6 months after my wedding that I thought it might be feasible. When my husband and I got married, we hired a graphic designer, who was based in London, to design our invitations and wedding collateral. The catch was that her printers were located in India and everything was going to need to be printed during monsoon season. To insure our wedding suite got printed on time, she asked me to find a printer in New York to print all of the collateral. Ever resourceful, I found a printer in my neighborhood and he did a great job printing the collateral. Fast forward six months later, I joined a national volunteer organization and at my induction I received gifts from my new “sisters”– a number of which were paper products. My husband made an off-hand comment when he looked at the paper products and said he thought I could do a much better job.
A couple days later I sat down to write thank you notes and I looked at my personal stationery, my wedding stationery, and the stationery I had been gifted and it hit me – Todd was right, I could do this better. The only stationery I had that I loved was my wedding stationery — because I had been able to art direct my graphic designer and her team. They took what was in my head and reflected it in the design and logo they created for us. In that moment, I got up from my desk and went around the corner to that same printer, and asked him to help me with an idea. I was going to the service organization’s national convention in ten days and I wanted to create boxed sets of notecards to take with me as an experiment. I wanted to see if people would buy them. He helped me create about 200 sets. I walked around the convention center and met up with old friends and made new friends and shared the notecards; before I knew it, I was completely sold out. At that point, I knew I was onto something. I also knew I had a steep learning curve ahead of me, but this experience gave me the gumption to push it forward and take the next steps to start what you now see as Effie’s Paper :: Stationery&Whatnot.
Who is Effie's Paper named for?
KALYN: My maternal grandmother, Mrs. Effie Hayes, is the brand’s namesake. She’s the person who fostered my love of stationery and all things paper. When I was a little girl, my grandmother worked for a greeting card company and she always had pretty paper products at her house for my sister and I to play with. So, when I had my “AH HAH” moment, it only seemed fitting to name my company after my gran. I know she’s up in heaven just tickled pink that her legacy lives on. My gran believed that a lady should have the perfect shade of red lipstick, write a wicked thank you note and always carry a hanky in her pocketbook. I’ve followed this advice all my life and it’s served me well!
What is your best piece of advice for anyone who wants to leave their corporate job to pursue their side business?
KALYN: Put in the hard work up front and make sure it’s something you love and not just a hobby. Walking away from a stable 9 – 5 for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Often when you work in the corporate world, you have the comfort of things we often take for granted – health benefits, unlimited copier paper (I’m joking!), colleagues and not to mention a steady pay check. My advice is that if you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can find the time to build a side hustle, do just that build. Get your side hustle to the point where you’re making just as much with your side business, or close thereto, as you are with your corporate job. Once you find yourself in that scenario, then it’s probably time to pursue your side business full time.
Which item(s) would you recommend someone start out with if they're a first time Effie's Paper shopper?
KALYN: Oh, definitely our boxed stationery sets – you never know when you’ll need to write a thank you note or note of encouragement to someone … it’s so much easier to sit down to write when you have stationery that makes your heart leap to pen your notes on. After that I’d say our coffee mugs. Our coffee mugs are motivational, pretty and just plain joyful. There’s no reason to drink your favorite morning libation out of a boring mug. Many of us are working from home at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t surround ourselves with pretty things – coffee mugs included! Effie’s Paper is a lifestyle brand, we’ve got all sorts of goodness to brighten your day. My goal was simple, I wanted to create lifestyle products that could co-exist with today’s technology. Head on over to the site to check out our selection – we offer our customers an on-trend, curated selection of stylish desk, stationery, travel and gift accessories. Our products reflect our belief that the future is female and is being shaped by the power of Black Girl Magic!
Can you give us a sneak peek into what's next for Effie's Paper in the second half of 2020?!
KALYN: We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire at the moment, nothing I can speak about specifically yet. But, I am excited about our next steps and some of the new products we have on the horizon. Stay tuned!