Alumni Spotlight: Kristin Wilson of Grace and Serendipity
We're back with another Alum Spotlight with the radiant Kristin Wilson of Grace & Serendipity! We are thrilled to see the progress she's made since attending Stationery Academy.
Where are you now? What has your journey since Stationery Academy looked like?
Things have changed dramatically for my business, Grace and Serendipity, since attending Stationery Academy in July, just ten weeks ago! I returned home filled with renewed excitement and a plan with everything I wanted to do, and have been completely focused on making it happen. I have been a wedding planner for six years and designing custom paper goods for my brides for three of those years, and since returning I have decided to stop doing wedding planning other than the few weddings I have remaining so that I can focus completely on the custom paper goods and product design path. This was a huge decision and not one that I took lightly, and although I will miss weddings and amazing brides terribly, to be able to really focus on what I have planned and also to be available to work with people across the country has me giddy with excitement.
I am currently finalizing details for a new collection that will be launching on October 13th, which is filled with items that will be empowering for women, particularly mamas and business owners. I have only focused on creating items for weddings before now, and so I am incredibly excited to be spreading my design wings and doing things that have been on an ever-growing list to create for quite a while. Thanks to Stationery Academy and all that I learned, I have created a collection I am truly proud of.
Highlight of your year?
There is no doubt that the highlight of my year was attending Stationery Academy. I first learned about StatAcad when it came to Pensacola in 2011, as that's where I live and a friend of mine told me I should look into it, knowing how much I loved paper design. Curiosity got to me and the minute that I went to the Stationery Academy website, I knew it was something I had to attend somehow someday. I challenged myself to only go if it seemed absolutely right, and when I had sign after sign that the timing was perfect, I finally hit the "attend" button and squealed at the fact I would be surrounded by paper lovers just like me, in the same room with women who are making things happen in their own businesses as well, and loved the feeling that things were falling into place perfectly.
On the first day of the conference, I admitted that my mind is something like that of Pigpen's from Charlie Brown - I have a bazillion ideas buzzing in my head constantly, and I have had a really bad habit of running with those ideas before actually making a plan and thinking about all of the components that come with it. At Stationery Academy, I finally learned how to hone in on the ideas that shine the brightest in my mind, ones that I feel will truly make a difference in people's lives, and push away the rest of the clutter. I learned that just because this creative brain of mine knows how to make something, it doesn't mean it'll be a good thing to create and sell to the masses. I learned how to hone in on the things that make my heart pitter-patter with the most excitement, knowing that those are the true to my core items and run with them. On the plane on the way to Phoenix I was excited but didn't know what to expect, and on the plane back to Pensacola from StatAcad, I returned as a determined and confident designer ready to take on the challenges of adapting my business to take it to an entirely new place, I knew that attending was by far the best decision I have ever made for my business.
Grace and Serendipity now, instead of encompassing both planning and invitation design, is now one centered on custom wedding invitation design and with products for mamas, for business owners, for living a more organized life through planning, and for strengthening your faith. That may seem like it is a bit all over the place, but having a business that envelopes all of these things together into one is what I have been working incredibly hard to create. Stationery Academy gave me the knowledge to the final pieces to this puzzle to make it all work - and I can not wait to see what the future holds.
Do you have a favorite memory from Stationery Academy?
By far, my favorite memory was at the graduation dinner on Saturday night before we left to come back home. Seeing everyone around the table talking did not make it seem like we had only met each other three days before - friendships were born that week that will last for years to come. One of my favorite things was going around the room and hearing what everyone learned and was taking away from the conference. The entire experience was incredibly empowering - if you have 25 women in a room, who all love paper and design, who all want to create products and love a lot of the same things, you would think that there would be a sense of competition. However, that wasn't the case here at all - it was entirely about community, fostering relationships with each other, making new connections, and finding the strength to pursue the passions that have been resting on your heart to do.
How has Stationery Academy continued to shape your path?
The quote "what if I fall? Oh but darling, what if you fly?" is one that has terrified me in the past. I have been afraid to try new things because I wasn't confident in my design abilities, or I was worried about what others thought, or because I was terrified to try something new in case it didn't work out. That quote was in my head over and over again upon arriving at StatAcad, and by the time that I left, I knew that this direction I am headed in is the right one. I talk to the friends I met there often. They are the first ones that I call or text when something has come to fruition and has me giddy, and also the ones that I have shared struggles with. I no longer feel like I am doing this on my own - we are all each others cheerleaders and sounding boards, which is priceless. The resources and worksheets from our binder and companies that we learned about at the conference is something that I refer to daily as well - it helps me to stay focused and reminds me why I'm doing this - the inner workings of your business is so important, you can't build a business on only the items you create. My worksheets I filled out at Stationery Academy help me to remember the reasons why I do this, who I'm doing it for, what I'm doing with my business, and how it's going to happen. And that has been incredible to have to rely on while I navigate these new waters.
What's in your future?
My future is filled with hope, excitement, and plans for my business to grow slowly and steadily. I also want to build a team - I love the idea of working together with people to help sprinkle happy into people's mailboxes and continue creating items that will empower people in their own lives. I feel that this is one thousand percent the path that God has had created for me all along, and seeing things come to life in the last few weeks has me only more excited for what the future holds. I hope to have items in a local shop or two and see a few collaborations with other businesses come to life that are currently in the beginning idea stages. I will happily admit that I don't know exactly where Grace and Serendipity will be even a year from now, but I am confident that with the direction it is headed, it is certain to be an amazing journey.