Welcome to another edition of Chaotic Visions. In this series I’ll be showcasing amazing female entrepreneurs, their brands, and their roads to success.
This edition features stationery extraordinaire Kalyn Chandler, founder and owner of Effie’s Paper. As a stationery lover I just had to share her brand, but what’s interesting about her journey is continuing to elevate and capitalize in a market some may deem obsolete.
What Is Effie’s Paper?
Effie’s Paper :: Stationery&Whatnot is an online stationery and desk accessories company located in the heart of downtown Manhattan. They provide a modern array of bright, chic, and bold designs from stationery and desk accessories to coffee/travel mugs, makeup bags, keychains, and more. These are perfect for the busy professionals, students, stylistas, mommies and social butterflies. If you’re looking for a design that touches base with your favs Scandal or Empire, or repping Queen Bey’s “Tell ‘Em Boy Bye,” Effie’s Paper has got you covered.
Their mission is to bring all sorts of pink prettiness to you in the form of fab, chic desk accessories – cheeky coffee mugs and journals, cool post-it notes and notepads, fun nameplates for your desk and stylish makeup bags.
We believe that you’re more productive when you love your workspace; so we strive to create stylish desk accessories for stylish people.
What crazy idea made Kalyn create her brand?
Kalyn’s grandmother and the namesake of her brand, Mrs. Effie Hayes, had worked for Mitchell Greeting Card Company when she was younger and she and her sister had an entire cabinet in her grandparents’ family room filled with stationery.
So, I guess you could say that stationery is in my DNA.
Despite her early love and genealogical connection to stationery, it wasn’t until Kalyn was planning her wedding that the idea of starting a stationery company came to fruition. It all began when she hired a London-based graphic designer to create her wedding stationery. That designer had printers in India and unfortunately, Kalyn’s wedding fell in parallel with monsoon season. That resulted in her having to find a different printer that would print all of her wedding paraphernalia from place cards to table numbers. After learning the manufacturing ropes in her research, she felt that having her own stationery company might be the right thing.
Fast forward to 6 months after her wedding, Kalyn was sitting at her desk writing thank you notes on stationery, aside from her wedding stationery, that she didn’t love and she had her AH-HA moment.
I knew that I couldn’t be the only stationery connoisseur craving stationery that had a bit more of an urban modern edge to it.
The name just came to her, she created the logo in a word document, and the rest is history.
How does Kalyn stay organized? Planner? Multiple lists?
It’s no stranger that I am a huge planner addict which can be seen in a lot of my planner posts here on the blog. Still in all, aside from my planner, I’m a lister. What attracted me to Kalyn is my unwavering love for stationery. I have quite the collection and in one way or another I’m able to incorporate it into my life to keep me on track.
As an entrepreneur, Kalyn is able to run her business from the comfort of her home. She explains how this has its pros and cons. Her commute is very short and she has the flexibility to set her own schedule and manage her life and family. On the other hand, she noted it’s very easy to get distracted when you work from home if you’re not disciplined.
I rarely have the same day twice, which means I have to have a roll-with-the punches attitude when it comes to my work style.
With not having the same day twice, there has to be a way for her to stay on top of it all. For all my planner addicts she uses a Day Designer. I mean as a stationery lover and owner, it’s not odd for her to be using a paper planner, right? Yes, all of my digital lovers, paper planners are quite popular. The design of the Day Designer allows you to not only break up your day, but keep track of all the to dos you have for that day.
She creates a daily to do list as a frame of reference, but there are many days where a ton gets done, but none of it happens to be an item on her to do list. In addition to her to do list, she has a notepad where she writes reminders for calls or emails that she then transfers to her planner. Lastly, she has an assistant that helps her stay on track.
I need to write things down and it’s helpful for me to be able to tick things off of my to do list as I complete them.
- Go for it!
- Think about your strengths and weakness to determine which gaps you need to fill.
- Assess the direction the industry is headed.
If Kalyn didn’t go for it, she would not have created the stationery company that she has. There are a lot of players in the marketplace, so Kalyn notes that you do your research and figure out what will distinguish your products from those that are already out there. Identifying your target audience up front – know who they are, what they buy and why– will save you a lot of time and energy.
In thinking about your strengths and weaknesses to determine which gaps you’ll need to fill, Kalyn is fortunate enough to have an amazing team of young women. Where her skills are weak, her team is strong, and voila, a match made in heaven. In assessing the direction the industry is headed, you’re able to determine where your products will fit in best and come up with a strategy to court those customers and retailers.
Best part of being an entrepreneur?
I am the architect and the builder. There’s something immensely satisfying about having an idea, making it come to fruition and having others join you for the ride.
The most daunting task of being an entrepreneur would be the sacrifices you have to make. There’s so much that you have to give to bring your vision to life. Kalyn was a senior lawyer at one of the world’s biggest law firms before she decided to take the leap and create her own company. In her case, she was used to the long hours and most importantly, the hard work.
She explained how hard it is to turn off when you’re an entrepreneur. The trouble is figuring out how to disconnect from your “new life” as there is always something that needs to be done. Kalyn took a step back when her husband, also a lawyer, started to complain about how she was more focused on growing her Instagram following than him.
I realized I needed to do a better job of delegating and setting “normal” work hours.
The sacrifice of time is a big deal, but finding that balance for your personal life and all the relationships that go along with it are key.
Best advice she’s received?
No one has perfected any of this, do the best you can with what you have and trust your own instincts.
What’s next in 2017?
I love stationery and wish that people would put down their smartphones more often to take the time to write and send handwritten notes; but, in case my goal of getting everyone to write one letter a month fails, I’ve been adding more “whatnot” to our mix of products and I intend to continue to do so.
This goes back to her tips of assessing the industry. In adding to the “whatnot” aspect she is able to expand her reach and bring in more people that are looking for more than the standard stationery.
As for what she has in the works? She wants to expand their office accessories such as makeup bags and ceramic mugs, and continue to grow and work on their social media presence. She did hint that she’s working on an Effie’s Paper planner which will be nothing short of amazing! #PlannerGoals
Want to read about more amazing female entrepreneurs?
Click HERE for my Chaotic Visions series.