If you're living in Sydney - heck if you're living anywhere in Australia (heck - let's go for the world), Jayde Leeder is a great person to know. She is the brains and beauty behind Little Paper Lane - a store that you think you'll dip your toe into - and wind up swimming in all its goodness.
Jayde's a livewire with a passion for life, family - and neon. A vivacious woman who lives and breathes stationery,
I first met Jayde back when I was part of Etsy Success. She was there with her beautiful husband, Steve - aka the Baby Whisperer, her wee babe Minty, and her mum. I'd known Jayde via the interwebz prior to that, so meeting her in the flesh was super rad.
Jayde and Steve work bloody hard running their gorgeous store in Mona Vale. It's worth the drive up to the beaches just to check out their selection, as Tiny and I recently did. I for one, love stationery, could spend hours in there amongst the cacophony of colour. It's that pretty.
This week I am full-hearted when I say I am delighted to share an interview with Jayde.
PMM: When and how did Little Paper Lane start?
JL: It was a magical dream in my head for many years, just sort of floating around in my brain. I have always been quite the stationery addict, and knew for so long I wanted to have a unique boutique (ha, cause I like rhyming) and if something is strong enough in my guts, I usually go for it! About seven months before we opened we made the decision to open LPL. It took a good six months to set everything up and researching products and getting everything together! We opened May 20th 2010...Twas a happy day!
Before Little Paper Lane, you were a make-up artist (and still are) and nannied for six years. Was stationery calling you? How did you make the leap?
Well stationery has always been close to my heart! I LOVE IT! I still love make-up though, that wont ever go, and as the boys who I looked after got older they didn't need me to work as much, so I was trying to work out what the next step would be for me. I was going to concentrate on make-up more, but for some reason, stationery started flashing in big lights in my head and I HAD to go for it! Once an idea gets stuck in my head, and my guts tell me its going to be good, I have to do it! I am VERY glad I did.
What's the best part of your job?
So many things. I LOVE searching for new products, and when new products get delivered its like Christmas opening the boxes! I LOVE how many amazing people it has brought into my life! I have so many new friends and my customers are so lovely, they are very supportive and come back often. Creating new things like window displays and helping design invitations and products with my husband (who is our graphic designer) is so fulfilling. Each day is full of new surprises.
How do you manage a successful bricks and mortar and online business with parenting?
Hmmm well it's a bit tricky, but I dont think I could do it alone! I have a really good husband. We work quite well as a team. I am no good at waking early, like I am a zombie in the morning. I work late into the night, usually doing emails and orders until 1-2am so I get a lot of work done at night. My husband falls asleep early, so gets up early to Minty (Jayde and Steve's beautiful 6 month old) around 6am. Iggy is not awake until 8-8:30, so I wake with him. My Mum works in the shop two days a week, which helps us out so much! We can have two days in our studio.
When I became pregnant with Minty, Steve came to work with me and left his job. I worked by myself for the first year, and we had so many Invitation designs needing to be done, it made more sense for him to work with me! I am also not a very good incubator when it comes to being pregnant and couldn't be in the shop during my pregnancy, so it was great timing! It has made things so much easier. I am able to pop to kindy and get Iggy or take Minty, or he can come and go with them. We can be so much more flexible. And he isn't the sort of husband to just pop his feet up after work and expect things to be served to him on a platter. He does laundry and dishes and vacuums and washes the bathroom and bathes babes (as should all partners). I would be going to bed at 4am if he didn't do as much around the house, so we seem to exist peacefully. It's always a bit busy and since little Minty came along things have accelerated - going into Christmas, there doesn't seem to be as many 'days off' but we try and make time in the day to stop and play with the kidlets. We just take advantage of technology! Doing emails one handed on an iPhone is tricky while holding a cranky baby all day, but it makes life so much easier!
As a mum, what are your tips for managing the juggle of work and home-life?
Your family has to come first! Sometimes I have to stop, step away from my computer, and go and sit and play play-doh. Or bake cupcakes, or blow raspberries on a bare belly for 10 minutes. It just means I go to bed a tiny bit later at night! It is important, that if you have a partner, that you both equally share in the responsibilities at home! Even stay-at-home parents should follow the same rule.
When Iggy was first born, I took six months off nannying, and I was at home. I was 'working' all day...as a mum. I didn't get to pop my feet up on the coffee table at 6 pm every night, things like dinner and dishes and laundry and baths and so many other things needed to be done. I really don't understand how the person at home continues to work until bed time, then be the only one up with the baby!
No matter what anyone says...YOU DONT SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS! So everyone is tired! Yet the person who goes off to work, simply stops the minute they walk in the door. If you are a parent, you made half of that person, and you live in a house with your partner, then you share in looking after that person and house and once all of that is done and babes are in bed, then you both sit down and put your feet up together. I honestly think single parents are amazing! I take my hat off to them! Things work around here, because EVERYONE chips in. Iggy sets the table, I cook, Steve cleans, Iggy can even make his bed. Iggy sees his dad doing things around the house and that is normal to him, and I like that he gets washing out of the machine when it beeps without me asking because he sees that we both do that, and he knows this is something he will do as he gets older too!
Because there is equality in our home, there is harmony in our work. I can get so much more done with work because everyone does things around the house. Its not me just running around like a frazzled housewife because I have no support! I would ever get my work done if I only did house stuff! Being a house wife is full time. I wouldn't have time for my shop! I am not very into "boy" and "girl" jobs...except the bins....they are smelly and gross and I am NOT touching them, I am scared of spiders and I always think there will be one there EEEEK!! So I guess, keeping balance in home and work is all about everyone chipping in! But if you dont want to take the bins out you don't have to...the magic bin fairy will do it. ;)
What are some highlights from Little Paper Lane?
Oh so many! Opening the doors in May 2010 was so exciting! The first Christmas was SO FUN! Being Featured in House and Garden last Christmas issue was a huge deal. Magazines are my addiction, and I use them as research and to keep me up to date with what's happening in the gift and design world, so that was just something that I felt proud of. It made me think that people actually really do like our happy little shop!
When do you get time for yourself? And what do you do?
Going into Christmas, I don't get much time at all. After the Christmas Crazy we usually close between Christmas and New Years so we will just hang out around the house! We live two minutes from the beach, so I think we will have lots of beach days and usually the afternoons I have this weird thing where after we have the morning and lunch at the beach, we all come home and cool off in the outdoor shower, then while everyone (including Steve) has afternoon naps. I eat mince pies and play Xbox - seriously. Most people will be at Christmas parties sipping cocktails and chatting with people, I am going to sit on my ass for at least one hour each day for that week and play the crap out of that game... I may have a cocktail too, but I talk to people all day everyday of the year, and I love it, but I plan on letting my brain fry itself away with violent games.
You can see why I was a nanny to four boys for six years! We got to play Xbox all the time. I am a walking contradiction. I really am! Magazines and shopping and wishing for Prada bags and fluoro nails and jewellery... and 'Call of Duty' expert. I hope Iggy doesn't want to 'share' my game. That's a whole new part of parenting I have to learn about!
What's next on Jayde Leeder's agenda?
When we get back in the shop in the New Year, we are actually going to start workshops in our new space above the shop! We also have a new studio, so more time will be spent getting new products in the shop, designing new product, focusing on the online shop and one day I will get time to blog about the adventure I am on! There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day! We will travel a bit and find new products and see whats going on in the world. 2013 will be exciting, Iggy goes to big school, Minty will learn to walk (maybe...I would prefer she didn't move for the next five years) and we will hopefully continue to grow LPL and smile a lot :)
Be sure to check out Little Paper Lane if you're in the 'hood (Tiny and I made a day trip of it) for a magical wonderland of colour and some super excellent gift ideas - or if you're not nearby - hop online, new Christmas stock is being listed daily!
This is the second interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly.