I have a client who seems to always keep her business in its 'good ass jeans' and who is an inspiration to me .... and that person is Kaylyn Sherman of Pirouette Paper Company. I asked her if she'd be open to an interview with me and she said YESSSSS!!! This is a girl you can learn a lot from ... so listen up!
How has business changed for you since the launch of your new website and brand?
Business has definitely increased since the launch of my new website and brand. Before, I would get small inquiries that never really followed through or would have to send so much repetitive and confusing information in order for clients to understand what I offered. After Heather (you!) got her hands on my site, she knew that I needed to clearly and effectively communicate to my ideal client what I can offer and use lots of beautiful images of past work to show what I could do. She made me realize that the images on my old site were not great quality as they had shrunk to fit the template, were too small for people to see, and definitely not easy for mobile viewers.
If someone told you that you had ONE social media tool that you could use and you had to let the rest go which one would you keep and why?
INSTAGRAM! I just recently looked at my analytics from Squarespace and 66% of my website visits are through Instagram. If I had to get rid of all of my other accounts and just use one social media tool, that would be it. It's so important to stay relevant and connected in this industry and with the algorithm change, you have to be on your A game. I will admit, a lot of times it's just a pain in the ass to figure out what to post and what time to post and looking at what other people are posting/searching/tagging... but when you really put some thought into it and have meaningful, relevant and eye-catching posts, it makes all the difference!
You are SUPER active in the industry and it's so inspiring! How do you become involved in all these amazing shoots and projects?
Thank you! You are so sweet! Being active in the wedding industry is definitely important. I love meeting new vendors (and I love when they become friendors!), brainstorming ideas and working on unique projects and it's all about the relationships for me. I love building those vendor relationships so I can be really excited to refer people who are looking for other services. When vendors or brides are really excited about an idea and I am able to help them bring it to life and that's what keeps me going and challenging myself. For me, it's important to reach out to a variety of people so you can keep your ideas fresh and not feel "stuck" doing the same thing.
When you first started Pirouette Paper Company you were working another job at the same time ... how did you stay sane and keep up with both? Any tips for people just starting out who haven't yet 'left their day job'?
This past June, I said goodbye to Disneyland where I was working in entertainment for four years. I went full time with Pirouette since then and am loving it! The most difficult thing from when I was working there, going to school full time, as well as running my business (which was about two years overlap) was balance. Trying to find that work/school/social/home life was exhausting! I knew it was time to leave my job when I just felt like I was wasting my time whenever I was there. I would be at work, but just wishing I was back at home working on my projects. I was trying to just squeeze my projects in whenever I had time like in-between school and work or would wake up early to get something done before I had to leave. I'm a HUGE believer in doing what makes you happy in the long run, and when the happiness from my other job faded out, I knew that my passions were in my business and it was time for me to make that leap of faith.
What do you feel are the 3 most important tools a business owner can have and what is key to making those tools work for your business?
This one changes a little bit between industries, but the three most important tools a business owner can have in my opinion are a business mentor/friend, a workspace they love, and a schedule. At least in my experience, these are some things I've leaned on, learned make a huge difference and keep me sane. The business mentor or friend doesn't need to be a professional life coach or anything, but just someone that you can talk to about experiences, ask for advice and get that you can trust. One of my business mentors is a photographer friend whom owns her own business as well. We are always asking each other for advice, figuring out the frustrating or confusing parts of business owning together and it makes it a lot easier when you can find someone who has experienced (or is experiencing) the same things as you with your business.
A workspace that you love is crucial, at least for me. On days where my desk is completely covered in papers or receipts and things aren't organized, it makes me so distracted and unproductive. I have a home studio and working where you live is really tricky!! There's lots of distractions and also a big comfy bed that's ideal for napping, but I've learned that once I got my desk and workspace exactly how I wanted, it makes it a lot easier and motivating to want to be sitting there all day!
A schedule is so important too! When I first started Pirouette and working my other job that had inconsistent hours, I was never able to have a production schedule. Now that I am actually able to create one and plan a few weeks or months in advance, I am able to get a lot more done. Even though I love what I do so much and often times just don't want to stop working, I have to make sure that I leave some time where I can relax, get my mind off of my work and have some me/family/friend time. As a business owner, you are not only providing your services, but you're also the accountant, the secretary, the social media person.. everything! So it's super important to take some time away from your business so you can refresh your brain and keep doing what you love.
Bonus: my dog is also a super important business tool for me. If I'm ever stressed out, I can cuddle him, pet him, heck, even look at him and he gives me some motivation (:
What made you become a calligrapher? How did you start out and what inspires you to keep going?
I took my first calligraphy class about three years ago from Jenna Rainey, owner of MonVoir. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to come with her to one of her calligraphy workshops, I went and three days (of straight practicing) later I called her and said "this is what I want to do. I love this. Help me get this started." Looking back, my writing from back then was just god awful, but after countless hours of practicing, I felt confident enough to show some of my work to other people! I still am always practicing and learning new things as I think that's crucial for my craft. There are so many other calligraphers that inspire me too, Jenna being one of them! I think one of the most important things to remember when it comes to owning a business is to not compare yourself to everyone else. There are so many incredible calligraphers that I can sometimes fall into a "I'll never be as good as them" mood, but you can't let that attitude get to you. Use them as inspiration, keep practicing and elevating what you do. Try not to obsess over amounts of followers compared to others either, just set your own goals and focus on what you want to do and make it happen.
What's on the horizon for Pirouette Paper Company? What plans can you share with us?
I am currently in the process of moving to a new apartment, so the next step is getting my workspace at least out of my bedroom! I'm working on lots of product development and adding to my store, and am working on launching my branding & logo design services! I've been taking on projects as they come as it's been the busiest wedding season yet! I can't wait to see what new projects come my way!
Thanks for sharing with me and my readers, Kaylyn!!! You are truly inspiring <3 Be sure to check out more from Pirouette Paper Company by going to their website ... link on the graphic below!