The Autumn Lane Story: Part 2

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A few people…or more than a few…have asked about our namesake. My name is Beck, I’m the CEO and Creative Director for Autumn Lane Paperie & Autumn is my daughter’s name. Jeff, my husband and much better half, came on board in February 2015 & is the VP, Director of Operations, & web designer. Yes, we have five kids. Lily, our eldest, is a part-time designer for ALP and a future art school student. Kate is our next oldest, followed by Ethan — he’s our only son. Autumn is my only biological child (we’re a blended family, if you haven’t figured this out already!) and I’ve always loved the name. Kirsten is our youngest, but not by much — she’s only a few weeks younger than Auttie! I wanted to pick something that sounded pretty, or like my target audience would identify with — thus, Autumn Lane seemed like a good fit. Add “Paperie” behind it, and it seemed to me like an instant indication that we dealt in paper products. As luck, or Murphy’s Law, would have it, we transitioned out of paper products quickly but felt that it would be too confusing to change our name again.

I’ve learned a lot since Autumn Lane started.  I’ve learned that I know a lot more than I thought I did.  I’ve learned that my schooling in a variety of subjects & military experience has been a huge benefit to me.  I began a graduate degree in psychology in 2012, and got pretty close to finishing it before I decided that practicing wasn’t really up my alley, but that psychology plays an integral role in the business world.  It has helped me to understand my role, Autumn Lane’s role, Jeff’s role, Lily’s role, and target audience / client perception.  It has also been an invaluable resource as it relates to communicating with clients and human relations/resources.

What Makes Us Tick

When I decided I wasn’t certain about my direction as a marriage & family therapist, I took a break from the course work.  Instead, I decided that a second bachelor’s was in order.  I have yet to complete my sociology bachelor’s degree (reason forthcoming) but the courses I took toward it were incredibly helpful, as well.  As a veteran, I’ve had an amazing opportunity presented, and fully utilized, to continue my higher education.  (As a side note: I earned my Middle Eastern Studies B.A. while I was still in the Air Force.  It helped me gain employment as a brand spankin’ new contractor and a new perspective on the topic that so many are afraid to touch.)  It meant being in school 36 months straight, no summer breaks allowed, to continue my higher education goals.

While I was deciding what I wanted to do during my second undergrad degree experience, I realized that I could easily transition to an Organizational Leadership graduate degree.  I had a lot of courses that would transfer, and I was interested in the topic.  Workplaces, employment, leadership, followership, trust, buy-in, mission statements, vision statements, RELATIONSHIPS.  On the surface, I felt I could handle it, and decided to pursue it.  What I didn’t realize was what a crucial role it would play with how I ran my own business, and how I began and continued my relationships with my clients.

Many of the topics & courses covered in my bajillion years of education have helped me make decisions for the business.  It has also helped guide decision-making.  Following what I’ll now call The Staircase Convo, Autumn Lane started out as a wedding invitation & stationery company.  I saw that some other folks were doing pretty well with it, and I figured that I already had the knowledge & know-how for design, so I went with it.  Sales didn’t happen quickly.   Or maybe they did.

For our situation, they didn’t happen quickly enough, but real world…it was about a week from the time that I opened my Etsy shop that I had my first sale, and that cha-ching was the sweetest sound ever.  From that point, our relationships with our clients and how we approach business has been crucial in making Autumn Lane what it is today – it’s just good business to treat people like people & with mutual respect.

And So It Begins

I decided shortly after opening to include a few pre-made logos after careful consideration.  It was another one of those “why the heck not?” ideas.  (I have a lot of those, Jeff will attest to that.)  I was willing to try anything…anything that would allow me to stay or work from home, since being there for the kids was important to me. My graduate courses that required a fair amount of my attention, too.  Realistically, I’d be thrilled at the prospect of a Starbucks employee discount just as much as the next gal (do they do that?!?). But given family + school situations, working part-time outside of the home just didn’t seem like the best use of my time.

Those few pre-made logos launched us into something that we didn’t even know we could do.  My first logo sale actually came from my friend Ruthie — I’ve always remembered it. Although I never understood it, I’ve been eternally grateful because in some way, I’m convinced that without that initial logo sale it may not have turned out the way it did. Whatever may have happened, we’re thrilled that you’re along for the ride with us!

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