Um… So, hi y’all! Beck here! Our first awesome blog post that isn’t a slideshow! 🙂
I’m totally excited about it! (And that slideshow was pretty awesome, wasn’t it?) I’ve got a few lists in multiple places for blog post ideas, but what I’d really like do accomplish with this blog is to be able to talk about the things that matter to you, as business owners and bloggers. We’re sort of the non-expert experts, if you will — our story is a unique but not entirely uncommon one, and we are in this business because we took chances…and because we had to do *something* — you’ll understand what I mean if you keep reading.
Not Just Design, but also Small Business Consulting
The thing is, we’ve been where you’re at right now with your business. We’ve had the good times, and the bad. The successful ones and the epic failures. We know what we know because we’ve done it ourselves, and we’ve learned from it. The advice and recommendations we offer aren’t always by the books, and it’s because we’ve experienced ourselves. It’s not a totally pretty story, and I think that there are a ton of business experts that would slap my hand and tell me that it’s wrong to talk about your failures, especially when you’re in a business that is ABOUT helping businesses. I don’t really buy that, though, because we’re all about transparency here at Autumn Lane Paperie. Sometimes, things won’t work. Sometimes, ventures don’t work. We’ve been there, and now we’ve found something that works for us. Maybe the silver lining to this story is that we persevered and didn’t give up, and it paid off.
Let’s make this long story a bit shorter: I was in the Air Force and worked a government job after I got out as an analyst. Cool job, mostly cool people, but it wasn’t where I felt like I should be. I quit that job to focus on my photography business, and then, I moved out west. I left my client base behind and had to start all over again, but I ran into a lot of trouble starting up a business out here, and nothing I did worked. I was really frustrated and tried a lot of things, but I was forcing it to happen. I started up a side business for photography editing tools, which sort of started out of necessity and boredom. I had a little traction with it, but it wasn’t doing what I needed it to do. Keep in mind, y’all, this is over the course of about two years that all of this happened. I had a genius idea that I should start designing wedding invitations, and when I finally decided I wasn’t getting any visibility on the wedding invitation side of things, I started an Etsy shop devoted only to that.
Autumn Lane Paperie was started as a way to get my wedding invitations out in front of people, and the intention was never logos, branding, and web design. Crazy how things work, isn’t it? Within days of starting the Etsy, I had a few orders to work on for those invitations. (Funny enough, those few invitation-related orders have been the ONLY ones I’ve received, haha!) I figured, well, I have everything I need to do stuff like logos, too, so let’s give that a try! My first logo sale happened not long after that, and…as they say, the rest is history.
Whenever I was piecing together information and ideas and reading up on things…doing a ton of research (it’s what a perpetual student does best)…I realized I could make it work. Not only could I make it work, but I might be good at it, and I also had a pretty interesting insight into things. I worked as an analyst, loved the little details, and was learning what *not* to do at a pretty rapid rate with the other businesses. The more I read and researched, the more I felt like it was the path I had to (and wanted to) go down. I already had so much valuable information for people, and I could talk to people about my personal experiences, and what I found didn’t work for me then but the things that were working for me now. All of those graduate psychology classes I was taking, those actually provided me a ton of information on how the mind works. And it didn’t stop there, either — my better half & awesome web designer extraordinaire for Autumn Lane Paperie had a ton of experience under his belt, too. As a small business owner himself–multiple successful small businesses over the course of many years–he had great deal of information that was valuable to me, too…which meant it could help my clients, too.
You see, Autumn Lane Paperie is more than just turning out logos for people to use. We’re about relationships with our clients, providing helpful insights, and making sure that people are ultimately happy with what they’re getting. Autumn Lane Paperie happened because it had to, and it’s really been something that has saved us from the rut we were in, down about business, and financially barely hanging on. I was days away from submitting an application for a part time job to help out. Literally days away. The application was already filled out, saved, and ready to go…and for some crazy reason, I just couldn’t submit it. And then, things picked up. We’re more than just a graphic designer and a web designer that get paid to do a job — we want to help and see your business thrive. Really, your success means our success.
So, we’ve had a crazy path to go down, and we’ve been to the point where things just don’t work, but we’ve also seen huge, amazing growth thanks to people like you that have chosen to support us. For that, we’re so grateful. I keep looking back (like seriously, every day) on how things were and how things are now, and I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. I’m also really excited about the places we can go, too. I jokingly say that we’re building a mini empire, but seriously, how cool would that be?! 🙂
And that’s how Autumn Lane came to be. Some of you reading this know us personally, but most of you probably don’t. We think it’s hugely important to know the people you’re working with. We need to know details about you and your business so we can get a handle on your branding, but we want you to know us too, so that you feel comfortable discussing your business with us — the good, and the bad, and needs improvement. You’ll find in our communications that we’re fairly casual. It’s where I’m comfortable, and I think it’s where most people are comfortable, too. I think that trying to project too much professionalism gets in the way of the creative process…which I don’t want to be stuffy and cumbersome AT ALL.
So, behind all of the logos and branding, and website design…announcements left and right, sharing success with our clients, and seeing people succeed… There’s us, and we’re probably a little off our rockers, and that’s totally ok. 🙂 We’re married, and we have the most epic blended family EVER. I’m convinced of it! We’ve got five kids — yes, five — and a dog. Here we are…minus the dog. 🙂
Jeff is originally from South Carolina, and I grew up in Florida on the Space Coast. I think you could call us homebodies. We just like to relax and hang out…but we also like to travel, and really wish we could do more of it. We’re getting there, though! A typical week in our house involves tons of ideas bouncing around, A LOT of coffee, beer, wine, good food, loud rock music and some of our favorite television shows. Our regulars include Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Avenged Sevenfold, and shows like Dexter & Supernatural. Jeff also indulges my reality television obsession…from the dramatic girly shows like The Bachelor, all the way to those Gordon Ramsay cooking shows, but that means I have to watch Top Gear with him. We dabble in a bunch of different stuff — glass cutting, home brewing… stuff like that. Jeff loves motorcycles, and I definitely love them less than him. (It took a while for me to get on the bike.)
Our kids are flippin’ awesome. Lily, our oldest at almost 16, is an amazing artist with a super bright future ahead of her. We’re helping her get started on her own Etsy shop, Tigerlily Design Co., selling clipart and custom art pieces. Kate will be 14 this summer, and has a keen interest in cosmetology. Kate is super bright with a lovely streak of sarcasm — I’m serious when I say it’s a total joy to be around her — I love it! Ethan is 11, and loves baseball. He’s our lone boy child and really is just like his dad. Autumn is 8 going on 18, and she is our entertainer. She has hopes of opening her own bakery when she grows up, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her as an actress. Kirsten is also 8 — she and Autumn are a few weeks apart — and she is the ultimate tomboy princess. She’s into gymnastics these days. Our dog Frankie is also pretty awesome. He’s a rescue, and we think he might be a Pitt-Dane mix, but we aren’t entirely certain. (I want to get one of those dog DNA kits for him to see what his mix is.) He’s super dopey most of the time, crosses his legs, and thinks he’s a lap dog… But he’s also super smart, too, and learns tricks very quickly. I took him in whenever Jeff went out of town one time, and I’m definitely his person. The kids are great with him, and he’s great with the kids. He’s a patient pup. (He’d have to be whenever he gets dressed up in pink.)
We’re real people behind this business, and we’re hopeful that the more personal (and personable) side is evident in what we do. Thanks for having us around, and keeping us around. 🙂 We’re thrilled to answer any questions you might have about the business, our products, or just us and how we’re making this our for our family.