Paper Me Wonderful

Purely Wondrous Inspiration

Commit to Celebrate

Image We officially reopened our office for the new year yesterday on January 8. As with previous years, as soon as the clock turned 9:00 a.m., phone calls and emails began. We actually love to hear from our clients and vendors regarding their fresh and innovative ideas for the new year. We take joy in hearing "I got engaged" or "I'm pregnant" or "I'm taking the leap and starting my own business". In essence, we love to learn that our clients are committed to celebrate in 2013. Whether the occasion is a wedding, baby shower, birthday party, retirement dinner, new business venture, or just a day to reconnect with loved ones, it is our goal to help you firm your commitment to celebrate by doing it on paper. While we certainly take note that we live in a digital world, nothing screams "celebration" like a printed invitation, save the date, program, etc. Why  not escalate your celebration and go against the norm of sending an "Evite"? Your celebration deserves all of the fanfare it can get and what better way to start the process than to commit to beautiful paper. Your commitment to celebrate coupled with our commitment to serve creates an awe-inspring opportunity to resonate to your guests a feeling of anticipation, excitement, and sometimes reciprocal celebration. So, go ahead, find a reason in this new year to do something different, to commemorate your life's achievement or just to honor the people who make your life special. Find a reason to commit to celebrate; we, in turn, will create the moment...on paper, of course!

Green with Envy

Sometimes we allow fear of consequences to keep us from speaking truths regarding situations we deal with daily. Everyone tip toes around certain subjects and it appears "taboo" for one to call others, including ourselves, to the carpet about certain issues. Anyone who knows me, recognizes almost immediately that there is not anything that I'm afraid to say. Are there times we should keep our mouths closed and mind our own business? Of course! However, today, I'm saying enough is enough.

 

I've been in the wedding industry for over ten years and have never witnessed the things we are being exposed to today. As Marvin Gaye said best, "What's Going On?" I consider getting married one of the most sacred times in a couple's life that should be reverenced with honor and celebrated in grand fashion at the same time. It should be a time when a couple can share the things they love most about each other in a ceremony and celebration. A good friend and fabulous wedding planner, Brian Green, of F&G Weddings says, "A wedding is the first opportunity a couple hosts a party together as husband and wife." If this is true, why is there so much chaos in the wedding industry?

 

Some days I feel as though our industry could be traded in for the TV slot of The Young and The Restless or All My Children. Planners are fighting caterers. Caterers are fighting designers. Designers are fighting venues. Who has the best interest of our clients, the bride and groom, in mind? Every industry has competition. That's the way the world goes around, but competition is only as competitive as you see it. Sean Low, Founder and President of The Business of Being Creative, LLC, said once, "keep your blinders on and focus on what you need to be doing for YOUR client." Well, that brings up a different subject that I won't address today. {Do you really know who YOUR client is?} I have witnessed so much bickering back and forth between vendors that I'm sure clients have had second thoughts about who they hired. Vendors are undercutting each other to get the business and the sad part is they think that no one knows. {WE KNOW, BOO!} Vendors are going around town pretending to have interest in business relationships and instead are seeking information and sharing negative information about one another. Are you serious? If we spent less time trying to figure out how she opened a new studio or how he booked the client you met with and more time serving our clients, the Atlanta wedding industry would be everything everyone THINKS we are. I love when vendors from other states call and want to come visit. From Facebook and Twitter, they see how much we network and party and celebrate each other, but what they don't see is how we use one other, back bite and gossip.

 

What about the newbies coming into the industry? Why are we so afraid to share a few minutes of our time to help them learn? I didn't say you had to be a mentor or give away all of your trade secrets (if there is a such thing!), but a cup of coffee to help Suzie decide if she really wants to be a planner wouldn't kill you. If they are calling seeking advice, that means you must be doing something right. We shouldn't be threatened by or intimated by new people joining the Atlanta market. I personally would love to have a network of stationers that met and shared creative ideas from time to time. If I'm busy or on vacation, I would love to have someone I could trust to refer my clients to for a one time job, etc. However, that's almost unheard of here in Atlanta.

 

We've all been a part of a negative conversation, whether we choose to admit it or not. We are all human and sometimes we just need to vent, but when it turns into a serious plot to put people out of business, we need to check ourselves. The word of God says in James 3:16 "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Stop being envious of another planner for booking seventy weddings a year. You don't know what they have to do to maintain that schedule or what level of service they are providing. Designers, start charging what you're worth and not $500 below your competitor just to book the business. Stationers, please develop your own style and stop copying other designers. All inspiration has to come from somewhere, but this is a creative business. Be inspired to create your own designs.

 

I don't believe that Rodney King knew how life changing his statement was years ago, "Can't we all just get along?" Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible, but I am a firm believer that if we all spent our time servicing our clients to the best of our ability instead of worrying about what other vendors are doing, we would create the best wedding industry in America. We have the talent. Stop hating and get to work.

 

"To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self" ~ Joan Didion

Six Months Down, Six Months of Purely Wondrous Inspiration to Go!

What an incredible year this has been! As you know, we began the year in anticipation of our 10th Anniversary Celebration. We decided that it was only fitting to celebrate this occasion all year long and we have done just that. Our 10th Year of Service has not been just about a great party, but it has been a recommitment to service and a strive to become excellent in every facet of our company. Our creativity has soared and we have been blessed to unveil some purely wondrous designs for our clients. In February, we reintroduced our branding side, in the form of CreateMePapered Services. We seek to help all businesses look excellent in print and design. In March, we celebrated with ten of our most loyal clients in an intimate dinner setting that proved to be a magical night for everyone who attended. In May, we had a whirlwind of weddings and helped to make brides' papered dreams come true. We enjoyed every minute of creating the stationery for these wonderful couples and wish them much love and happiness throughout their marriage. In June, we had breakfast with some of our favorite Atlanta planners and helped them to better understand the PWI process. We also sponsored the marketing collateral and conference materials for the 5th Annual Faith and Fiction Retreat in Jacksonville, Florida.
These are a few highlights of the magnificent year it has been and we know that the latter portion of the year will only get better. We look forward to sharing with many more brides in the months to come. We look forward to the tenth birthday of PWI's first inspiration, Kennedy Renee, daughter of Lisa. Her tenth birthday helps us to remember why our tenth anniversary is so special. This company has been a blessing to so many over the years, but none greater than the owner herself, Lisa Zachery. We anticipate hosting an even greater Christmas event for our Lending a Hand, Helping a Life endeavor and encourage you to take part in this opportunity to bless someone else during the season of giving. We look forward to the night where we will culminate our 10th Year of Service Celebration and share with our many clients who have made these last ten years possible and pleasurable. We also are excited about a milestone birthday for Lisa as she celebrates the fabulosity of turning 40!
We are eager to share with many more brides and grooms, parents to be, graduates, entrepreneurs and anyone else who desires custom design and unique stationery. More importantly, we patiently wait to see what God has in store for Papered Wonders, Inc. Therefore, to us, the year isn't halfway over...it's just the beginning!

Pancakes and Paper

What better way to share the process of paper than over pancakes? We thought it was a fabulous idea so we held our first "Pancakes and Paper", a gathering for planners to learn about the PWI custom process. Some of our favorite Atlanta planners gathered on a beautiful morning at StudioWed Atlanta and shared an awesome start to the morning prepared by Black Tie Catering. Pancakes, just like our custom stationery, were made to order and included chocolate chip pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, and pancakes topped with apples and peaches. We enjoyed taking this opportunity to make our process better to understand for the planners that we love serving! Brian Green of F&G Weddings and Michelle Gainey of Lemiga Events also shared their insight on the wedding planning scene here in Atlanta.

Ahh, pancakes and paper...what a winning combination!
Special thanks to Morgan of HA! Photography for shooting the event for us!

Loyalty is Timeless!

During our tenth year of service, it is important for us to not only renew our commitment to excellence and quality service, but to also extend our heartfelt appreciation to those persons who make this anniversary celebration so very special. We have learned that true loyalty is timeless and therefore, we decided to embrace ten clients who have validated that very fact. During an intimate evening, we shared dinner, laughter, and memories of service. It was indeed a pleasure to share with these individuals outside of the confines of work. We wanted to ensure that we were able to show a token of appreciation to these ten wonderful people. However, we soon realized that in as much we wanted to bless them, their presence and belief in our vision blessed us beyond measure. The experience was truly purely wondrous inspiration!

Custom Table Linens provided by I Do Linens.

Each guest received a CD with our Top Ten Songs of Inspiration.

Each guest also received a leather portfolio with our 10 Year Logo foiled stamped in silver.

Dinner was provided by our friends at Black Tie Full Service Catering.

Simple, elegant and chic decor provided by Floral Couture.

 

Entertainment was provided by our favorite saxophonist in Atlanta, Mike Jones of Groove Centric.

The place cards were velvet bags filled with chocolate.

The program for the evening.

 

Stay tuned as we will share more details about this very special event including each of our guests. Special thanks to Michelle Gainey of Lemiga Events and StudioWed. And last, certainly not least, thanks to Tracey Brown of Tracey Brown Photography who captured all the details of the evening.

A "Purely Wondrous" Preview...

2011 is an important year for Papered Wonders, Inc. This year, we celebrate ten years of service! Our year-long celebration is certainly not complete without those who have desired "papered wonders" throughout the last decade- our clients. We decided to begin this celebratory year with ten clients who have believed in our vision, funneled our passion, and embraced our unending commitment to excellent service. We shared an intimate evening with these individuals and thought we'd share a teaser of the magic of the evening...more to come!

Make History!

Yesterday, February 1, began the month-long Black History Celebration acknowledged by our nation. While we know that Black History should be celebrated all year round, during the month of February, there are numerous events held to recognize the notable achievements of many well-known African Americans. How can we forget the contributions of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington? Or the cultural advances of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Lorraine Hansberry? We certainly cannot forget the great inventors and scientists such as George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Charles Drew, Garrett T. Morgan, and Madame CJ Walker. We will always remember leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, and our very own, President Barack Obama. We are deeply indebted to these individuals and so many others who have paved the way for us to do what we do. One hundred years ago, an African American woman couldn't dream of being a successful entrepreneur in America, but today that dream is very much alive. We encourage you to reach back into the annals of history and honor those who have helped you leave a footprint in society. We further encourage you to honor the legacy of those before you and make your own history. There is certainly many more pages of the history books to be written.  Don't just study history, become history!

Class In Session

We are firm believers that it is important to constantly increase one's level of knowledge. We are always excited when we get the opportunity to do just that. One such opportunity presented itself on Thursday when we attended the Entrepreneur Inc's "Growth" Conference. This conference, sponsored by the UPS Store, was a great resource for business owners who have just entered the arena and for those who are veterans in their field. It was a great experience to join with others and learn how to better "do" business. We especially enjoyed the Social Networking session conducted by Starr Hall. She presented her information just like we should run our business: a lot of productivity mixed with even more fun!

Hall has worked on public relations for corporations, non-profit organizations, authors, CEOs and associations, both national and international. She has relationships with over 800 editors, writers and segment producers worldwide and has secured placement and coverage for her clients in regional, national and international newspapers, magazines, radio, television and Internet outlets. Her latest book is GET CONNECTED - The Social Networking Toolkit for Businesses.

 

Visit Entrepreneur for more details about the conference.

Relativity

Today is the third day of Atlanta's snow/ice storm. Parents all over the metropolitan area are praying that the schools will open tomorrow. Entrepreneurs are going just a bit haywire having to stay enclosed in their homes. Government officials are struggling trying to keep all of the taxpayers pleased. The list goes on and on and on. If one were to examine the situation by itself, it might seem bad. I mean, when is the last time that the situation was so bad that it halted UPS, FedEx, and the USPS? When was it so bad that banks were closed, courts were closed, and numerous retail operations closed? Yes, it might seem as if things are horrible. However, rewind the tape back one year and transport the location to Port-au-Prince, Haiti when the worst earthquake in history occurred. This earthquake killed masses of people and shattered the lives of almost everyone who lived in Haiti. It didn't matter to Haitians that the sanitation department didn't pick up the trash or that the supermarkets closed early because these people couldn't even get food and water. They couldn't get medical care. No one could hear their voices. Those who were able to survive the actual earthquake were desperately trying to survive the aftermath. Even a year later, Haiti is still struggling to rebuild and there are millions who have yet to be able to return to some degree of normalcy. If we compared the Atlanta snow/ice storm to Haiti's earthquake, I think we are forced to realize that it really isn't that bad. Today, we remember Haiti and we continue to pray for the citizens who are there attempting to return honor to their country and we acknowledge those who are in the States, such as our friend Violaine Diogene of Andre Winfrye Events, whose hearts have never departed from their native home.

Above photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/Reuters. Below photo courtesy of www.topgoogletrends.netcashdaily.net. Copyright 2010.

First Time For Everything

So it snowed on Christmas Day in Atlanta. There is a snowstorm in January in Atlanta. Both of these events happened within three weeks of each other. Who would have thought that we would have ended 2010 and began 2011 in the same manner? As those before us would say, there is a first time for everything. However, unexpected events always give us an opportunity to reflect and to realize that "first timers" really aren't that bad. The first time that you really trust yourself to succeed can be monumental. When you realize that you are supremely more gifted and more talented than you previously thought, you have really struck gold. The enthusiasm that follows is unmatched and can only be achieved during a "first time" moment. Once you acknowledge that you are going to truly believe in yourself and follow your dream for the first time, you become unstoppable.
In 2001, Lisa discovered for the first time that she could allow her creativity to take her on the ride of her life. In 2011, for the first time, Lisa is celebrating the 10th anniversary of that realization.
Snow on Christmas Day. Snowstorm in January. PWI for 10 years. A first time for everything.

2010 :: Year In Review

At the end of 2009, I remember questioning Webster because there was no word to describe how awesome 2009 was for Papered Wonders, Inc. At the end of 2010, I find myself in the same position. Actually, I am facing an even greater challenge to sum up 2010 because it literally took...our...breath...away. In 2010, we were supremely blessed. We were fortunate to form new business relationships, both on the corporate level and the social level. We met an array of new event planners, both locally and nationally, and thereby were able to serve a number of brides during the planning of their most special day. We are deeply appreciative of the clients who we have served through the years, and consider it a continued pleasure to serve them year after year. This past year we created a significant number of baby shower invitations, signaling that the population is ever-growing. We helped brand various new ventures and companies. We spent 2010 doing what we love to do-creating papered wonders. Perhaps two of our most memorable moments of 2010 happened in July and December. In July, we joined the StudioWed Atlanta team, under the leadership of Michelle Gainey. Through this venture, we are able to work with some of Atlanta's most talented wedding professionals. In December, we launched Lending a Hand, Helping a Life, an opportunity to bless those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We held our first Christmas luncheon and partnered with many wedding professionals to create a day of blessings for ten very deserving families. We look forward to expanding the service of LHHL in 2011.
In 2010, we realized that despite the state of our economy, we have God's unmerited favor because we were blessed to not only survive, but to thrive. 2010 was certainly a banner year for Papered Wonders, Inc. and we wait in great anticipation for all that 2011 will bring us. It will be an exceptional year because we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of serving the world's greatest clients. It is certainly difficult to sum up 2010 in one word. Therefore, I dare not even try.
To have been in business for ten years and still be absolutely, positively in love with your business- now that's purely wondrous inspiration.
Happy New Year!
Photo by KreativTouch Photography. Makeup by H.S. West Hair & Makeup. Jewelry provided by Lucky and Lovely.

Words Can't Describe...

How very thankful we are this year! Every year, we realize that God has blessed us even more than the year before and for that we are eternally grateful. When we say that it is our pleasure to serve, we aren't just speaking words. Rather, we are truly expressing the awesome privilege we experience each time we are invited into your lives to design the perfect piece of stationery for your event, endeavor, or occasion. We have been blessed with a tremendous opportunity and we acknowledge that fact not only on Thanksgiving, but with each passing day. As you celebrate Thanksgiving, we encourage you to reflect on the intangible blessings in your life. We are grateful for each and every client we have served or are presently serving. Our gratitude to God simply cannot be expressed in words. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

The Stylish Planner

Today is the first full day of Autumn, although the temperatures in Atlanta are still holding on to the dog days of Summer. Personally, I am ready for cool evenings, Sunday afternoon football and suede booties! We haven't had a chance to post a blog in the last couple of weeks because wedding season is still in full throttle around here. I am excited about being featured on The Stylish Planner™ blog today. As stated on her site, The Stylish Planner™ is the creation of Jeannine Kennedy, owner of Atlanta based FAVOR Events, a full service wedding planning company.  Full of practical and inspiring content on style, image and personal branding, The Stylish Planner™ is the only resource of its kind available to luxury wedding and event professionals. Jeannie is an awesome lady and we are blessed even the more to be in such great company.

To read the post featuring Papered Wonders, Inc. click here.