Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Burns
Today we are catching up with Lauren Burns, founder of Livia Paul Paper. She attended our 2014 Chicago Conference and we are excited to find out what she's been up to!
Why did you start your business? Tell us your story.
Prior to beginning this adventure into the world of paper, I was a Creative Director for several global brands working in advertising and promotions. I was busy, successful and always learning. But slowly a lack of fulfillment crept into my work life. During this time I was at the age where EVERYONE was getting married. With a background in graphic design I became the go-to girl for creating wedding invitations for close friends and family. Soon that turned into friends of friends and word began to spread. With each invitation designed I further realized I was drawn to the personal connection that the world of stationery could offer. It became clear to me that was what was missing in my commercial work. But, as it often does, fear ruled and I tried to ignore that little voice in my head that kept saying “let’s do this”.As time went on, my family grew from 3 to 4 and my career became more demanding. It was breaking my heart to spend so much time away from my children doing a stressful, unfulfilling job. I wasn’t the best me and therefore I couldn’t be the best mom. All of a sudden that little voice saying “let’s do this” was a too-loud-to-ignore scream. It was time. So, in 2014 I became the proud founder of Livia Paul, a paper and design studio.
Where are you now? What has your journey since Stationery Academy (now known as Society for Creative Founders) looked like? I am a proud Stationery Academy graduate of the class of 2014 (Chicago). Since graduating my business has continued to grow and I am taking the time needed to make sure I stay true to my brand and ideal client as I find my spot in the industry. My ideal clients include high-end brides and wedding planners. I am continually finding ways of positioning myself to appeal to these customers through quality of work, attention to detail, industry knowledge, high-end product photography and client experience. It’s a continual learning process that excites me every step of the way.
Stationery Academy really helped me feel comfortable with defining my exact client. Not being everything to everyone was hard for me. I had the mentality that any client was better than no client and had a bad case of FOMO. Stationery Academy gave me the confidence to say no, taught me to be true to myself and gave me the focus to create the brand I want.
Who has inspired you the most from the Stationery Academy (now known as Society for Creative Founders) community? Goodness gracious, do I have to choose one? The entire diverse community, not just my class, continually inspires me. They are an endless source of knowledge, resources and support. This group is full of STRONG, talented and intelligent founders. Everyone is so quick to share information, act as a sounding board or provide a much-needed giggle. Natalie Chang knows everything there is to know about paper and printers. Jennifer Faught is a business guru. This is an amazing group of cheerleaders that inspire me to keep going on my hard days and to feel like we are in this together.
What has been the highlight of your year? The highlight of my year has been winning the St. Louis Wedding Awards’ Stationery Designer of the year. It is an honor to be a part of the incredible St. Louis wedding community. I have worked with some ridiculously talented wedding planners and amazing clients that have given me their complete trust to be a part of their big day.
Do you have a favorite memory from SA (now known as Society for Creative Founders)? My favorite memory was the graduation dinner. Everyone was so grateful for all that they had gained. I loved hearing how the experience had touched each person differently. We all had full hearts and full heads; our cups runneth over. It felt like we became a sisterhood that night.
How has SA (now known as Society for Creative Founders) continued to shape your path? The Stationery Academy community and the knowledge gained from the conference are a part of my everyday business. When feeling stuck or a little off-path I refer to my materials and notes for clarity and confidence. When needing help finding a vendor or advice on how to handle a situation I know I can look to the Facebook alumni group for help. Stationery Academy has been invaluable to me. I would be lost without it.
What's in your future? Over this last year I relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the San Francisco Bay Area for my husband’s career. This happened at a time when I felt my business was just gaining momentum. I was fearful this would create a screeching halt in that forward movement. While it has slowed it down, I am happy to say I am still moving. I am still booking clients from St. Louis and maintaining those relationships. Now that my family and I are feeling settled and getting the lay of the land, I am ready to create relationships and set roots down for Livia Paul in the Bay Area. I am excited for this next chapter and for getting to know another amazing wedding industry community.
Thank you Lauren, for sharing your journey with us. We wish you much continued success this year!
Stay connected with Lauren on Instagram.