Wow – it has been so long since I have posted! My life has been a whirlwind the past few months and I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and write. First thing first – I want to talk about my amazing time at Paper Camp! A lot of people left messages on instagram asking what it was like so I wanted to share my experience there. And no we do not sleep in tents, and no it is not like band camp (HA)!
I was introduced to Paper Camp from one of the past alumni’s who highly encouraged attending before going to the National Stationery Show. When I originally looked into it I was a little scared about the tuition price since I was already paying SO much to attend the stationery show. Starting a business can be financially scary, actually a lot scary. You have to put up a lot of up front money to get it running. But if it is your passion, and you believe in your product – take the chance. That is what I tell myself. I emailed the founder, Katie Hunt, and asked if there were any scholarships available. She responded YES indeed, and that at each camp they give out one full paid tuition. So of course I applied. In my head I thought there was no way I would be awarded the scholarship – anyone who knows me knows how unlucky I am. Well some how I beat the odds and was awarded a full paid tuition to Paper Camp! I really couldn’t believe it! It was meant to be and made me realize that other people could see the passion, hard work and endless hours that I had put into my company and product line over the past year.
So what is paper camp like? Kind of like mini college for stationery all rolled into one weekend. Sounds impossible right – to learn all there is to know over the course of a weekend. Of course you don’t learn everything – but let me tell you I learned more in a weekend than I ever thought possible. Up until Paper Camp I was learning as I go, doing what I thought was “industry standard” based on blogs from other girls and my amazing friend Google. The hard part was there were so many questions I had, but couldn’t find the answers. I attended Paper Camp at just the right time. I had come to a point in my business where I had a strong product, but I was becoming frustrated with all my unanswered questions and how to take my business to the next level. I knew there was so much I didn’t know and I hated that feeling. I wanted to learn, I wanted to look professional and I wanted to feel confident when I pitched a store. At this point I had also finalized my application to exhibit in the National Stationery Show in May – and there was no turning back. Sometimes as they say “ignorance is bliss.” For me it was. I think if I realized how intense the National Stationery Show prep was before I signed up & how much I needed to learn, I probably would have talked myself out of it haha. Now I am glad I did it and I am so excited/nervous/happy for next month when I debut my hand lettered line in NYC! (I will write another post on my NSS show prep and tell you all about everything that goes into it! It’s insane!)
Paper Camp not only answered all my questions but gave me so much confidence to take on the National Stationery Show next month. We went over all the ins and outs, do’s and dont’s of the show and how to prepare. Now having gone to camp I seriously don’t know how I would have done the show without it. I also learned so much about the wholesale side of the business. When to approach retailers, how to approach and most importantly the importance of always adding value with your products. On top of all the guidance from the amazing speakers, you walk away with a binder full of valuable information to take home with you. This binder has become my NSS bible. Let me tell you that this thing does not leave my sight!
But my favorite part of Paper Camp was being around an entire group of people who share the same passion as you. I didn’t realize how much I was craving this interaction until I was around it. To sit in a room full of people who want to talk paper, colors, envelopes, printers, trade shows, etc. is the absolute BEST! To hear people’s stories and realize they have gone through the same problems as you, makes you feel like “hey I’m not the only one who had to learn that the hard way!” My friends and family are amazing and have been the best supporters of Little Print Design since I started but the community I met at Paper Camp is a different type of support system. They get the struggles, the nightmare printer stories, the paper mistakes, the constant hustle, the happiness from landing a dream retailer and how much work and passion goes into producing 1 greeting card. I am so grateful for the experience I had at camp and all the awesome girls that I met. I highly, highly recommend going to Paper Camp if you are thinking about it. I laugh at myself that I even debated maybe not attending based on tuition price because now having been through camp I would pay even more than that for the valuable information & support system. Thank you to Katie and the awesome team who taught us so much! It is crazy how much work they put into making camp as awesome as it is. Everything from personalized notepads to bags full of stationery goodies. It was a paper lovers dream & I want to go back! Here are some pics from the weekend..