I met the very sweet Nadine from Le Petit Paperie in the wonderful world of Instagram. She came to my attention when I saw a post of hers that featured these gorgeous little embossing tapes. Sooo cute, and the endless possibilities with them....
I love Nadine's inspirational story and I hope you will take a moment to take a look at her beautiful stationery work and products.
1. Tell us how your business began
I have always dreamt of opening up a stationery store so I started le petit paperie in June 2013. Before it began, I had a full time job as a Nursing Unit Manager in a busy Emergency Department. I loved my job and had worked there for 13 years. Though my job was extremely stressful, I was able to handle it for as long as I did because I was making a conscious effort to take time for myself to prevent burning out. Unfortunately I found myself too busy to even think about this last year when I decided to go back to University to do gain my masters. I stopped doing things I enjoyed, my personality changed and I was always stressed and angry. I knew I had to make a change once it started to affect my relationships with my family, friends and colleagues and I no longer loved my job. I found myself at a crossroads and forced myself to stop and reconsider my priorities at that point. I decided to cease my studies (which was a very difficult decision to make) and instead shifted my focus to the things I enjoyed. My mother and sisters all had small online businesses and they inspired me to start my own. I decided that life was too short and no time was better than now to launch my business and start living my dream. I was not ready to give up nursing though so thanks to 12 hour shifts and only being at work 3 days a week, I am able to do both!
2. How did you come up with your business name?
I came up with "the little stationery store" and just kept brainstorming and playing around with words looking elsewhere for inspiration whilst thinking about what my vision for the business was. I kept imagining the business as being this quaint little shop in a cute little village somewhere in France so I wanted the business name to reflect this. I thought of the word "Paperie" at that point. "Paperie" is not an actual word but it is frequently used and I see it as meaning a paper store or stationery store. I used this word then translated the rest to french. This was how "le petit paperie" was born!
3. Your favourite / worst part of being in business?
It may sound cliche but my absolute favourite part about the business is just doing what I love. It does not seem like work when you love what you do! I love sourcing adorable products and definitely love keeping some of my faves for myself as well ;). I most especially enjoy packaging the purchases for my customers. I want my customers to feel like they are receiving a gift from a friend when they receive their parcel in the mail and my absolute goal is to bring a smile to their faces. That seriously makes me happy.
The worst part of my business is the lack of time I have available to get everything done! In saying that, I chose to do this whilst working full time so I am trying to utilise my time more efficiently. It is also a constant struggle to not neglect other parts of my life when spending all my spare time on the business. I am currently trying to learn to "switch off" and not use my mobile phone so much for work when I am with my friends and loved ones.
4. What do you think makes your business a success?
I strongly believe that people appreciate the small, personal gestures and I think it is human nature to appreciate these things in life. I see this in my nursing profession and this certainly translates to my online business as well. People naturally gravitate towards people, businesses or concepts that invoke positive emotions. My goal is to be myself and go above and beyond for my customers to gain their trust as well as spark these emotions. This is central to everything I do in my business.
5. Did you have any formal training to get where you are today?
Nursing managerial experience and prior knowledge gained through post graduate study and attendance at MANY courses and workshops has definitely been put to use with le petit paperie. The most useful skills I have probably been able to put to use include operating the business efficiently utilising principles of lean thinking.
I certainly lack knowledge relating to advertisement and marketing but I fill that knowledge gap by learning from online resources and attending business workshops. There is so much information out there with actionable tips to build a successful business and this is readily available to anyone with much at the touch of our fingertips. I use this to my advantage.
Other resources which have taught me so much include podcasts. I LOVE podcasts. I spend so much time in my car especially while stuck in Sydney traffic so I find listening to podcasts to be an efficient use of this otherwise wasted time.
6. What makes you stand out above all other online product / stationery businesses like yours?
I source products from all around the world to have this available to Australian consumers in one place. I have a very specific vision for the business; I want my products to take our customers back to their childhood so it is a requirement that the products are cute, playful, unique and I only buy products which I love. I find that this is what differentiates le petit paperie from other online stationery businesses. You will not find products in our store that are so "mature" or serious.
7. What did you want to be growing up as a child?
I dreamt of working in a stationery shop, playing with cute paper products and stickers all day long! My sisters, cousins and I would swap stationery and stickers and Although my business is purely online at the moment, I pray to have a little stationery shop of my own one day and to make this dream a reality :)
Visit Nadine's store here where she has stationery and craft items from all over the world.