What did you used to do and how do you think your past career or interests are guiding your current business?
What haven’t I done?! My path has been far from straight, however the majority of my time, was spent as an Executive Assistant to C-Suite Executives. I am extremely detailed-oriented, highly organized, deeply empathetic, and love helping others. I excel at the smile/nod/then figure it out approach.
Saying no wasn’t an option. This serves me very well now. Figuring it out may have included calling my mom from the bathroom, googling variations of the same questions, texting a friend, asking around the cubicle or just sitting at my desk and getting creative.
What was the genesis of your idea?
Four years ago, I moved in with my sister after her divorce to help with my niece and nephew. We were two highly capable and high performing women yet somehow the dishes never seem to end. So, I went to the internet to find paper plates that sparked joy and did not kill the planet. I was unsuccessful in this search and ended up settling on ugly paper plates that were slightly embarrassing but did not hurt the planet. They 100% saved my life and sanity. Paper Greats was born because I could not find a solution to a problem I was experiencing. It was born out of my desire to marry beauty with sustainability.
How did you come up with your business name? What is the significance? Did a family member chime in? Is your name related to people or a place in your life?
One night late May/early June 2018, I shot out of bed in the mid of the night and said to myself, “omg, why good, if it can be great?” so I scribbled Paper Greats on the notepad on my bedside table and am extremely happy it still made sense to me in the light of day.
What was the process of getting set up? Did you start with trunk shows? Who helped with your logo, packaging, marketing?
Locked down the domain name and sourced manufacturers. The hardest part for me was finding a designer. I was having a difficult time finding someone who could understand the vision that was in my head. Luckily, my sister suggested I reach out to a friend who gave me a name. The next day we were speaking on the phone. I have ideas that are locked inside my and I swear she becomes an extension of my thoughts. She makes the intangible, tangible – It’s magical.
What was your first sale or client? How did you get it? How did it make you feel? Did word of mouth help you get clients or sales?
Paper Greats first two pre-sales were from two of my former coworkers. Supporting others and showing up has always meant a lot for me but in that moment, it rendered me speechless.
How far have you come? Are you in stores now or selling more than ever?
I have learned so much since the launch and am excited to see where 2020 takes us. Currently we are online, on Amazon and in a few stores (wholesale), I am working to increase our presence in stores, so more people are able to see and use the products
What are your goals going forward? Where do you see your business in one year? Five years?
I want to be able to set an entire table with Paper Greats. I want more designs, I want different shapes, different sizes. Paper Greats is about spreading joy and ease while marrying beauty with sustainability – we’ve only scratched the surface.
What does your significant other or husband think? Your family? Your friends?
When I find him, I will be sure to let you know. My niece and nephew think Paper Greats is really cool. On the days when it feels really hard, I love knowing they see a strong single woman working hard to make her dream come true.
How does it make your feel that you have your own business?
Really proud. Incredibly humbled. Terrified. Joyful. Grateful. Brave. Determined. Energized. Enthusiastic. Emotional. Vulnerable. Pretty much every day is a hurricane of contradictory emotions, but the great news – just wait a few minutes and the storm will pass.
When you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down and pay attention to it.