We recently caught up with Vana Chupp, Founder and Creative Director of Le Papier Studio. Le Papier Studio has been helping parents keep memories close since 2008. Their products celebrate the present moments turning them into heirlooms to be cherished and passed down to the next generation. Inspired by the sweet and simple moments in life, Vana is professionally trained as an architect with an artist's heart. Her silhouette craft was first born as she began documenting the personality, emotion, and playfulness of her son Nikolas. Over the years she has established herself as a leading, honest, authentic voice on women in business, the balance of work and family, and how to foster creativity in everyday life. Now, as a mama to two busy boys, wife to her college sweetheart and owner of a labor-of-love brand, she strives to make a difference in her clients' lives.
I am a very driven person and when I have an idea in mind, I do all that it takes to see it come to fruition. That said, when I first started LPS, I had no plans for it becoming what it is today. I was a new mom, looking for a creative outlet while I was staying home with my son. I am an architect by trade and at the time I was looking for a way to do something artistic and bring in a little income to help our little family. I started small and worked on my business during nap times and late at night. I think I got so much done those early months because I wanted to succeed at it. I opened an Etsy shop in 2008 selling silhouette portraits and stationery. Six months into it I quit my “part time” day job in architecture and focused on working full time on the business. By that point, the business needed more of my attention as the orders kept coming in.
This has really changed for me over the years. If you had asked me 12 years ago, I would have said success is making $200 worth of sales a week. Success looks very different right now. As we’ve grown and have fine tuned our offerings, our mission and what we stand for has become crystal clear. For me success doesn’t equal to the amount of dollars in the bank (although that is an important part of running a successful business) but more so how we make our customers feel and whether they choose to come back to us again and again…or spread the word about our products to their family and friends. If we’ve achieved that, I think we’ve been successful.
How has your business evolved since its inception?
So much has changed! We used to be a print shop (hence the name Le Papier Studio - which means “the paper studio” in French) We offer mainly jewelry and personal accessories now. In the beginning I tried making all the different type of products our customers asked for…because I wanted to be of service and make them happy. I was thrilled they came back for all their paper and accessory needs. Over the years we also learned to listen better and think hard about the ways we could improve. We want our products to last a lifetime. We want them to be seen as cherished presents over meaningless gifts…About 7 years ago the idea of leaving a legacy behind and being a brand worth remembering became very strong and we made a switch. We stopped offering products that you could find on other places and focused on crafting one-of-a-kind, truly heirloom quality…made the stand the test of time products. We now offer unique pieces that help our customers tell their special stories and celebrate their life milestones.
Do it for the process, but do it because you love it! If you believe in it and you are in it for the right reasons (like helping to solve a problem or a need…or make the world a better place) you will succeed. Be prepared for all the highs and lows. Embrace the challenges and learn from them but never forget to celebrate and be proud of your victories (no matter how small!)
It Takes A Village
Le Papier Studio recognized the disparity in black owned businesses being highlighted and supported in their community. They decided to start It Takes A Village as a way to raise awareness of those businesses that they share a community with. Their goal is to have a quarterly collaborative relationship with each business that highlights their business and their positive impact to the community. Le Papier is committed to matching all in store purchases with the equivalent amount in the form of a Le Papier Studio Gift Card. Up to $3,500 over the quarter. You still have time to grab a gift card from Le Papier by making a purchase with us here.
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