Alumni Spotlight - Kelly Parker Smith on the Flexibility of Being a Creative Business Owner

Kelly Parker Smith on her journey, the flexibility of being a creative business owner, and where she goes for support.

As part of our new SCF Community, we've asked a few members to be SCF Advisors. They're here to help you out if you have questions and to encourage the Creative Founders in our community. We'll be introducing them to you here every week. First up is Kelly Parker Smith, a SCF Course alum, who is the designer behind the gorgeous stamps at Hello World Paper Co. Get to know a bit more about Kelly below:

Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co.
Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co.

How long have you been in business and how did you get your start?

Hello World Paper Co. was officially established in January of 2014, but technically it all started after my own wedding in 2009.  I designed my own wedding suite with matching stamps and fell in love with the process.  After my invites went out I got requests to design stationery for friends and family, but a hobby wasn’t enough for me, I had seen the way out of my full time job and I was determined.  I was pretty tech savvy, so I took to the internet and found Etsy.  I sold my first 10 cards to my mother in law and I was hooked!  However, in the beginning I totally undercharged myself and made no money, so growth was slow.   It wasn’t until January of 2014 when I discovered my passion for rubber stamp design and opened a second Etsy shop (Hello World Stamps) that I really got serious about making money doing what I love.   Five months later in May of 2014 I was able to quit teaching to work on design full time.  Fast forward to this month (June 2016) and I hired my first full time employee!  Whoo-hoo!  I feel like the sky's the limit!

What is your favorite thing about being a business owner?

My absolute favorite thing about being business owner is flexibility.  I create my own schedule.  Now please don’t confuse flexibility with less work, I work 1000% MORE than I did at my old job, but now I love what I do so it doesn’t seem like work most days. I honestly love Mondays! (Yes, I’m a nerd.)  Haha!

The beauty of running my own business though is that I can take my kids to school, go on lunchtime walks, schedule appointments whenever, and go to the grocery store in the middle of the day when it’s not crowded.  I know these things are simple, but having flexibility in my job makes my life practically stress free. I’m truly a happier person knowing that if my family needs me I can be there.  Sometimes this means working a late night if I went on my son’s field trip during the day, but it’s so worth it.


Choose one: Maker, Artist or Designer - and tell us why.

If I had to choose I would say that I am a Designer aspiring to be an Artist.  I design by day working on client projects, stationery, and stamp designs, but then at night and on the weekends I paint, draw and make patterns.  Slowly my hobby is showing up in my design work which I am really excited about!

What do you wish someone would have told you before going into business for yourself?

I wish someone would have told me that I don’t need to compete with others.  That my only true competition is myself.  In the beginning, I was worried about what other people were doing, posting, and selling.  I wasted a lot of time worrying and being hard on myself because I wasn’t as far in my career.  Once I realized that there was plenty of business to go around, I let go of all the worry, and it all started clicking!  Now I even have very close friends who are my direct competitors and I love it.  We swap stories, bounce ideas off each other, and cheer each other on.  It’s simply amazing.

Hello World Paper Co Address Stamps
Hello World Paper Co Address Stamps

What is your one networking tip for this community?

Do not be afraid to get involved.  This is a safe space where you can introduce yourself, ask questions, help others, and overall have fun!  We are all here to support each other even though we may all be at different places in our careers.

What are you most excited about as a member of this community?

I am most excited about meeting new friends with the same passion and drive as me.  Finding people who love what they do is honestly hard.  I want to chat with people who are trying to better themselves and their businesses and I know I will find them here.  I am thrilled to be a part of this community where positivity is encouraged and milestones are celebrated - big or small!

Thanks Kelly! Keep up with Kelly on:

IG:  @helloworldpaperco Website: On