Girl Friday Paper Arts- coffee print
One of the best things about running your own small business is meeting other small business owners: they go through the same struggles and triumphs, so it always makes for great bonding. Today on the blog, we chat with Lotus Stewart of Girl Friday Paper Arts. We met Lotus on a Creatives Facebook Group, and fell in love with her prints: they’re too gorgeous!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Lotus! Tell us a bit about your background.
Lotus Stewart: I graduated from Art Center College of Design about 15 years ago, and spent the first 10 years of my career designing movie posters. That was so much fun. I met the most amazing people and learned a lot during that time. I found myself wishing I could do more of my own thing, to spend more time finding my voice as a designer instead of creating someone else’s vision, and so I decided to start Girl Friday Paper Arts.
Wonderland Organics: Movie posters? That’s amazing! So how did Girl Friday Paper Arts come about?
Lotus Stewart: I love typography and I love great literature, so I knew I wanted to combine beautiful, minimal type design with inspiring quotes and fun words. I just started creating prints, and putting them out there. Quality is a really important factor for me, and I personally print each order myself (on an archival giclée printer) to make sure every print is perfect. Girl Friday has evolved a lot in the past few years, and I’m sure as I go along, things will continue to grow and change in fun and unexpected ways. I chose the name Girl Friday because I love the idea of doing a little bit of everything… being open to change and looking for opportunities to expand and explore new areas.
Wonderland Organics: We love this! Your prints are beautiful. What do you have planned for Girl Friday Paper Arts in 2015?
Lotus Stewart: Some very exciting things! I’m expanding my product line to include tote bags, stationery items this summer, and calendars at the end of the year. I’m also planning to do some in person events in November and December, so if you live in the Los Angeles area be sure to sign up for my newsletter to find out when and where you can see my work in person!
Wonderland Organics: We’re excited to see your prints on tote bags! They’re our weakness when it comes to bags. What is your favorite personal print?
Lotus Stewart: I love the ‘Keep It Simple’ print. I find that minimal design is deceptively difficult. It seems like it would be easier, but it’s not. In a super minimal composition you notice the letter-spacing more, you pay more attention to the letter forms, and little details that might otherwise blend in with a busier design suddenly become glaringly obvious. I love that challenge, though… and the message of keep it simple embodies everything I’m all about. My aesthetic is very minimal and I’m a big fan of white space. It’s calming.
Wonderland Organics: Sometimes simplicity is the best! Our favorite print is your sparkles one. What’s the best part about running Girl Friday Paper Arts?
Lotus Stewart: The creative freedom, for sure! I’ll be inspired by a color palette, and gorgeous typeface, or a cool quote, and the sky’s the limit. Sometimes I get carried away, and find myself doing the same quote or word several different ways. I love the show ‘Mad Men’ and in one episode someone said, “There’s always a better idea.” It’s so true, and it pushes me to keep thinking and exploring, even after a design is finished.
Wonderland Organics: We’re always striving for perfection in our products, aren’t we? 🙂 What’s your favorite font?
Girl Friday Paper Arts founder, Lotus Stewart
Lotus Stewart: Bodoni. I had an amazing typography teacher at Art Center, Leah Hoffmitz. She had us hand draw bodoni letterforms using plaka paint and Rotring drafting pen. It was totally old school, and kind of monotonous, but it really taught me to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of the letterforms, to look at each character as a piece of art, to get a feel for each curve, and a sense of how the straight lines balance out the forms in a perfectly elegant way. I don’t think I could ever love another typeface more, and it’s all because of that assignment.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds wonderful. Did you practice calligraphy?
Lotus Stewart: No. I’ve tried, but it’s just not my thing. I am very, very grateful to all the amazing type designers who create gorgeous typefaces that look like they are hand lettered. I use them as a starting point, and then go in and make alterations depending on my design.
Wonderland Organics: It always boggles our mind to see beautiful calligraphy- especially since ours is terrible. What inspires you?
Lotus Stewart: I’m inspired my great literature and nature… especially the beach. My kids inspire me daily, too. They are just all about fun, which is really what life should be all about. It’s easy to forget, and they are a wonderful daily reminder.
Wonderland Organics: This is so sweet! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Lotus Stewart: I guess the best advice is to look at the big picture. It’s really easy to fall into a cycle of doing a lot of little daily tasks that don’t add up to much… email, spending unfocused time on social media, paperwork stuff, etc. That stuff could totally fill up your entire day. Everyday. While all of that is important, and it definitely needs to get done, it can usually wait. I block out about a few hours each day where I just create. I close my email, leave my phone in the other room, and just focus on designing. I feel way more productive, and even if a few emails get have to wait for tomorrow, I feel like I’ve accomplished something valuable at the end of the day.
Girl Friday Paper Arts- keep it simple print
Wonderland Organics: These are great tips, Lotus! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site/blog?
Lotus Stewart: Everything! I love that you use fair trade and organic ingredients. I love that you use glass bottles instead of plastic. I think I especially love that your name is Alice, and you named your company Wonderland Organics.
Thank you so much for talking to us Lotus! She’s offering Wonderland Organics readers 20% off any print with coupon code “WONDERLAND20”. Be sure to find her via Girl Friday Paper Arts on:
What are your favorite prints from Girl Friday Paper Arts? Let us know in the comments below!
Make and Tell
We first came across Steph of Make and Tell on Instagram (look how gorgeous her feed is!), and couldn’t help but gape over her creativity. As an admittedly non-creative person, we love pouring over wonderfully styled photos to garner inspiration. Make and Tell is Stephanie’s DIY and creative blog: read our interview to get to know this crafty and artistic woman.
Wonderland Organics: Hi Stephanie, tell us a bit about your background.
Stephanie: It’s funny, when I was a child nobody would ever have described me as ‘the kid who couldn’t sit still’. And yet as an adult that’s pretty much exactly what I’ve become in terms of my career… I’ve dabbled in lots of areas and can’t seem to make up my mind!
One thing that’s certain is that I’ve always loved art. Drawing, painting and crafting were my favourite ways to pass the time as a child, to the point where at one stage I fully intended to be a graphic designer. But for various reasons I ended up studying psychology instead and after graduating with honours I worked for several years in research; first at a clinic, then a magazine followed by a university. Somewhere around this time, I rediscovered my love for design and enrolled myself in a short-course while also starting a business making wedding stationery and holding down a job in admin to pay my mortgage (see what I mean – I can’t sit still!). The wedding stationery didn’t stick, but my love for design certainly did and that’s brings me to where I am today.
Make and Tell’s Fruit Gift Bags
Wonderland Organics: We can tell your passion for design for sure! How did Make and Tell come about?
Stephanie: After running my own business for several years and constantly juggling many bespoke orders with a part time job, I started to seriously burn out. As much as I loved designing for my clients, I wasn’t getting any time to create for myself and that started to take its toll on my state of mind and my work.
So I decided to scale the business back and in the free time I now had, I started Make and Tell which served as a space where I could design to my heart’s content and share my creations with fellow crafters.
Wonderland Organics: It’s wonderful that Make and Tell got to be a creative space for you. What’s the best part about blogging for M&T?
Stephanie: Can I say everything? That sounds like a cop-out but I swear it’s true! I love the creative thrill I get from coming up with new projects, I love making things, and I even get a buzz from non-crafty tasks like styling photos and writing posts. Make and Tell challenges me in so many ways, and at the moment, every part of it is fun and exciting. I truly hope it stays that way for a long time to come!
Wonderland Organics: We love how you style your photos! What new things do you have planned for Make and Tell in 2015?
Stephanie: I’ve got an exciting collaboration coming up mid-year with some of my favourite DIY and lifestyle bloggers which I’m thrilled about, but I’m afraid I can’t share any more details just yet. And as always, I’ll be sharing lots of home and party projects throughout the year.
I’m also planning to do something fun for my amazing email subscribers – I’ve been toying with the idea of sending a monthly email packed with extra news, exclusive freebies and possibly even a craft project or two. I think this is the year that becomes a reality!
Make and Tell’s Confetti Mouse Pad
Wonderland Organics: You’ve got us on the tip of our toes! We can’t wait to see what your collaborations are. Where do you find inspiration?
Stephanie: In the strangest of places usually! Like in the colours of a passerby’s blouse or the patterns on the leaves in the garden. Which is why I find that going outside for a walk is one of the best ways to clear my head if I’m in a creative rut. Having said that though, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and find I also get a lot of my inspiration from the gorgeous imagery that my favourite bloggers and crafters share. There’s so much talent out there, it just blows me away!
Wonderland Organics: Pinterest is the best! What are your current DIY obsessions?
Stephanie: Oh, I have so many at the moment! The projects I’m loving right now include pretty much anything that has watercolours, leather, marble, evil eye motifs, brush strokes or is Scandinavian inspired. Oh, and fruit. That one may be ‘so last summer’, but pineapples still float my boat. 🙂
Wonderland Organics: Who doesn’t love pineapples? What is a typical day like putting together Make and Tell?
Stephanie: I still have a full time day job, so everything Make and Tell related gets done outside of work hours. My typical day starts with me struggling to get out of bed as early as possible (which doesn’t always happen, I’m not good with mornings!), taking photos of the projects I’m working on at the time, hurrying to get through breakfast and then hopping on a bus to work. I use the travel time to and from work to catch up on social media, but other than that, I pretty much don’t touch anything blog related until I get home at the end of the day. I find that nights are ideal for writing posts and getting on top of my emails because by that time there’s no natural light to take photos.
Make and Tell’s Paint Roller Cushion
Anything I don’t get through before and after work on weekdays I’ll try to fit into my weekends… my days are crazy busy, but I love it too much to quit!
Wonderland Organics: We totally agree- natural light is the best for picture taking. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Stephanie: I must admit, I’m kind of hesitant when giving advice to business owners because… well, I’m still working a day job! Having said that though, in my journey so far, I’ve found it’s truly important to dream big and to be doing what you love to do. That vision and passion will be the fuel that drives you to put in the necessary hard yards to make your business a success. It’s certainly what drives me through the late nights and early mornings – I would never have gotten this far if I didn’t absolutely love what I do.
Wonderland Organics: Thanks for the advice Stephanie! What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog/site?
Stephanie: I love your articles for healthy living! I terrible if left to my own devices – I’m a sucker for all things sweet and am hopeless with exercise, which as you can imagine is an awful combo. Having your tips on hand to help me be more considerate of what I eat, how active I am and what I put on my skin is just fantastic!
Thank you so much to Stephanie of Make and Tell for talking with us today! What are your favorite DIY obsessions of Make and Tell’s or your personal favorite DIYs to do? Let us know in the comments below.
The Penny Rose
Interview Fridays are back! Today, we feature Christa Martin, who is the Editor of The Penny Rose, a fashion and beauty blog based in Santa Cruz, California. We first discovered The Penny Rose when we were looking for eco-beauty blogs last year, and found Christa a delight to work with. We’re beyond thrilled to feature her today at Wonderland Organics!
Wonderland Organics: Thanks for talking to us today, Christa! Tell us about your background.
Christa Martin: I’ve been a professional writer and on camera actress, (christamartin.com) for the last fifteen years in the Bay Area and I’ve been published in Oprah Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Dwell.com, and countless regional magazines and newspapers. I was the features editor of Good Times (a weekly magazine) in Santa Cruz, Calif., for 12 years and while there, I edited and created five fashion issues for the magazine. Producing those issues triggered an interest in me (and the community) for more fashion coverage in Santa Cruz and beyond.
Wonderland Organics: Very impressive indeed! How did The Penny Rose come about?
Christa Martin: I left my full-time journalism job after 12 years to become a freelancer. In March of 2012 I launched The Penny Rose—a Santa Cruz-based professional fashion and beauty blog and our reach expands far beyond the Bay Area.
The Penelope Bangle
Wonderland Organics: Happy almost three years! What’s the best part about being the editor for TPR?
Christa Martin: I work with a remarkable team of professional writers and industry insiders on a daily basis who are contributors to The Penny Rose. Also, I get to try out and discover new and upcoming brands and find some of my favorites in the process … like Wonderland Organics, Hipsters for Sisters, Legion (a boutique in San Francisco), or Acqua e Sapone (a skin care clinic in San Francisco). I especially love supporting independent fashion and beauty businesses.
Wonderland Organics: We love supporting independent brands too! What new things do you have planned for TPR in 2015?
Christa Martin: We’ll do seasonal photo shoots as we usually do, teaming up with photographer Nick Chao, featuring clothes from boutiques in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. I’d also like to expand our collaboration opportunities with fashion and beauty lines.
Wonderland Organics: We saw your photo shoots from Fall 2014- they look amazing! Tell us about the Penelope Bangle.
Christa Martin: The Penelope Bangle is a collaboration between The Penny Rose and Blank Verse Jewelry. Laamie Young (the owner of Blank Verse Jewelry) and I spent several months going back and forth with this idea. She’s a sweet friend of mine and I often use her jewelry in our photo shoots. The creative fusion of our interests seemed irresistible. We sketched ideas, came up with a product that would be affordable and adjustable and the Penelope Bangle was born. (It’s named after my mom, as is The Penny Rose.)
Penny Rose Shoot: image credited to Nick Chao
Wonderland Organics: It looks gorgeous- we’re sure that our readers will agree. Where do you find inspiration?
Christa Martin: Everywhere! I live in Santa Cruz right near the beach, so the ocean provides endless inspiration. Also, I go hiking every week. Being in the outdoors in the redwoods infuses my mind with all sorts of ideas. And then, of course: Pinterest, Instagram and all sorts of magazines.
Wonderland Organics: Definitely! There’s much inspiration to be found in nature. What are your current fashion and beauty obsessions?
Christa Martin: I’m rather obsessed with anything that Legion (a boutique in San Francisco) is carrying. The owner, Sydney Pfaff, has impeccable style and carries some of the most beautiful, classic, original, creative lines I’ve seen in a long time. I’m also obsessed with my hometown favorite stores, Stripe and Cameron Marks. Beauty-wise: I adore the Wonderland Organics Balance Serum, Acqua e Sapone moisturizers and Mandelic Serum, and my new discovery that I’m thrilled with is Matcha Scrub by Urb Apothecary. Your skin will feel undeniably soft after using it.
Wonderland Organics: We’re honored to be included on your beauty list! What is a typical day like putting together TPR?
Christa Martin: Emails roll in from writers on our team, blogs are sent to me, people query me to review products … so there’s definitely some time spent with the inbox. Besides that, I’m usually laying out at least one story every day (inserting images, editing text, writing text). And when I’m not doing that, I’m looking for new ideas, new brands to discover, and poring over what my favorite lines are creating for the next season.
The Penny Rose: image credited to Nick Chao
Wonderland Organics: Studying upcoming fashion lines sounds fantastic! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Christa Martin: Go for it. Don’t let anything hold you back. When it’s hard, keep going. When it’s even harder, keep going. Carve out time every day for your passion. Give it time to grow. Find a genuine support system. Believe in yourself. Never let your dreams die.
Wonderland Organics: Brilliant! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog/site?
Christa Martin: The products! I am in love with the Balance Serum, so much so that I went through a bottle in no time on my first order. I’ve tried a lot of face oils in my time as a beauty blogger and this is by far my favorite. I’m a loyal fan and customer now.
Thanks so much Christa for talking to us today! Be sure to check out The Penny Rose for their great fashion and beauty posts! If you live in Santa Cruz, TPR posts plenty of local fashion shops to browse. What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Who doesn’t love tea? Now that the weather is inching towards our colder seasons, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your favorite type of tea. We met the owner of Steepers, Julie Davey, while exploring downtown Campbell earlier this summer. Her watermelon oolong tea is a fantastic choice, and we strongly urge you to check out her shop!
Wonderland Organics: How did Steepers come about?
Julie Davey: If you had said 2 years ago that I would own a tea store, I would have looked at you in amazement. The thing is, I’ve never cared for tea. As a young child, I used to take a sip of my parents PG Tips and found it bitter with an aftertaste that I just didn’t care for. (I think they actually stewed their tea, rather than steeping it). So for most of my life, I’ve been a coffee drinker.
So what changed this? I was laid off work and decided I didn’t want to work for ‘the man’ any longer. So what could I do? My daughter suggested I open a tea shop along the lines of finger sandwiches and tea and I knew that was not for me. However, I inadvertently hit on a store on the East Coast that sold tea and spice and something about it truly resonated. So I began doing research. Lots of research! I also began tasting loose teas and then realized what a wonderful taste experience I had been missing out on all these years.
Wonderland Organics: We’re so glad that you’ve found your calling! What does a typical workday look like?
Julie Davey: Preparing fresh iced teas; bagging teas; always ensuring a clean environment; chatting with customers, many who know very little about tea and are interested in learning; researching and creating new tea recipes. Back at home, making the labels and marketing that’s needed. Placing orders. It’s many hours of work and it’s stressful, yet it’s still less stressful than working for someone else. I love walking in the mornings to begin work.
Watermelon Oolong Tea
Wonderland Organics: Your teas truly are delicious! Where can we find Steepers?
Julie Davey: Downtown Campbell, at 346 E. Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA. 95008
Wonderland Organics: We’re sure that there will be plenty of tea lovers flocking to your store. What is your favorite type of tea or tea blend?
Julie Davey: I get that question asked a lot. The beauty of tea is that everyone’s taste is so different. What tastes good to me would not necessarily taste good to you. (But I am enjoying the oolong right now!)
Wonderland Organics: Personally, we love green tea the most. What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Julie Davey: For me, knowing that the store I created was 100% me: the design, the marketing, you name it. The only thing that wasn’t me was the construction, and I would have done that if I could have. I love the compliments I receive and I believe the store reflects my vision perfectly: it had to have a large selection, it had to be an American store and men had to feel comfortable being there.
Wonderland Organics: We admire the way that you set your shop up! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
Julie Davey: Before leasing anywhere, put together a business plan and include your market research. If you plan on opening anything relating to food, it will take longer than you thought. Whatever you have budgeted, triple that amount. On opening day, look at what you have created and marvel – you did it!
Wonderland Organics: Thanks for the great advice, Julie! What’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics website/blog?
Steepers’ variety of tea
Julie Davey: I like the fact that you are interviewing entrepreneurs and I believe your passion should carry you far.
Thanks so much to Julie Davey of Steepers for talking to us today! If you’re interested in buying her lovely tea and tea blends, feel free to check out her B&M store in downtown Campbell, and visit her social media sites via Facebook or website.
What’s your favorite type of tea? Let us know in the comments below!
Interview Friday is back! We had the pleasure of talking to Annie Pham, Founder of Cirque Colors, a beauty brand that focuses on hand-blended nail lacquers.
Wonderland Organics: Tell us a little about your background.
Annie Pham: I’m originally from Fresno, California. I moved to Texas, then to New York. You could say that I’ve been surrounded by the entrepreneurial life since I was young, as my parents have owned a retail furniture store in Chinatown since 1988.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds like a wonderful introduction to becoming an entrepreneur yourself! How did Cirque Colors come about? What’s your favorite product?
Annie Pham: Cirque Colors started in 2012, but I did a year and a half for market research and R&D before starting it. I also have a partner, who has been with Cirque Colors for a year now. I started getting into beauty after college, when I had disposable income to buy things. Since then, I’ve been a beauty junkie in general, and nail polish is just an extension of that. I love bright lipsticks and nail art experimentation. I discovered [the site] Makeup Alley, matte cosmetics, and new brands, which really opened my eyes to beauty. I was in the IT industry, and I worked for software start-ups, Big Four accounting companies, and large PC manufacturers. IT work paid really well, but I was unsatisfied with my job.
To find something truly fulfilling, I wanted to accomplish something on my own. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a business owner, even when I was younger, and follow in my parents’ footsteps. I took a logical route, with a business undergraduate degree at MIS, then focused on the corporate side to figure things out on my own. That’s the satisfaction– doing it for myself. It’s also scary, but it’s okay, because everyone goes through it. Just being in IBN makes me feel better, because of this network of amazing entrepreneurs.
Cirque Colors Creator, Annie Pham
Cirque Colors started in my apartment in New York, with a burst of sparkles and glitter everywhere. Luckily, we’ve moved all of the operations away to a new location! My favorite product is our new monthly release. We release 1 new color a month, which keeps up our momentum online. This collection is based on New York, called the Metropolis Collection. They’re cream colors, flat colors, and more matte.
Wonderland Organics: We really like the La Vie Boheme color! What does a typical day look like?
Annie Pham: I do social media on a regular basis. If I don’t post every day, I’m always thinking of something to post. We get most of our sales through social media such as Facebook and Instagram, so having an online presence is important. I also do product development and formulate the colors for our nail lacquers. I’m constantly on Pinterest coming up with inspiration for colors. For marketing, we concentrate on branding a lot, and that’s where most of our marketing goes towards.
Wonderland Organics: Busy as usual! What inspires you?
Annie Pham: NYC inspires me: the city and the people. Before moving to New York, I was living in Houston and Austin, which gives off different vibes. There, I had never heard of anyone opening up a shop that had “Ultra Purified Water”. In New York, people come here and do things that you’ve never heard of. I met a lot of fashion and jewelry designers, and it’s inspiring to be the type of people who are trying to pursue something that’s their passion. Whether they succeed or not, it’s motivating to be around this type of environment. Taking the steps to be in this industry is quite eye-opening. On the more creative side, I’m always walking around the city for inspiration. I also go to museums for color combination ideas.
Wonderland Organics: We like that you’re so proactive about inspiration in your city. Do you have any advice for people looking to go the entrepreneurial route?
Annie Pham: Don’t rush things, and do things right. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes, but we all learn from it. Expect to make them, and accept that we’re not perfect. It’s okay to take your time, and it’s hard to rush creativity. Start to create a schedule and have tasks done by a certain time, which helps to keep your business running more smoothly. There’s no wrong or right way to do a business. The best thing is to make mistakes, learn from it, and move on. That’s what makes us stronger.
Wonderland Organics: Great tips, Annie! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog/website?
Annie Pham: I love how professional everything looks! If I want to buy something, I want the product to look like I can’t make it myself. I love how much it took to develop the site. Makes people feel better going to a website.
Thanks so much to Annie for talking to us! Feel free to check out their website here! What’s your favorite Cirque Colors nail lacquer?
Little Farm Media
The hiatus is over, and we’re pleased to bring back Interview Friday with our amazing readers! Today, we feature an incredibly inspirational social media maven that we met through our team, SF Etsy.