Inspiring Moms: Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker of Sugar Paper LA
So excited to share another post in our series on inspiring moms this morning. Today we’re profiling Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker of Sugar Paper LA! They’re two super creative women business owners and moms, whose success in the world of stationery is definitely inspiring to anyone hoping to turn their passion project into a flourishing business.
We stopped in to their new studio space in West LA a few weeks ago (with our favorite photographer – Scott Clark, of course) to see where Jamie and Chelsea work… and then be super jelly of their gorgeous space.
The lovely Jamie, mom to Kate.
And pretty Chelsea, mom to Owen and baby #2 arriving this summer.
Business Name: Sugar Paper LA
Year started: August 2003
What was the inspiration or impetus to start your business?
We were both taught by our mothers to write thank you notes from a young age so paper was always a part of our lives. We fell in love with the nostalgia of letterpress printing and Sugar Paper grew organically from there. We began making invitations and announcements for family and friends and soon our “side” job became more demanding than our actual jobs. We took a leap of faith and ten years later we continue to make high quality paper goods for high quality people.
How does your business inspire your family, or your family inspire your business?
We’re surrounded by art all day so naturally art is a big part of our children’s lives. Chelsea’s son thinks the vintage letterpress machines are pure magic and Jamie’s daughter can’t get over how much ribbon we have around here. But mostly, we feel inspired that our children see their moms as capable, strong women. It’s tough to leave them each day, but we also feel good about the example it sets. It feels great to be accomplished in our own right.
How has it changed or evolved as your children have grown?
Our children are relatively young (2 and 3 respectively), but work changed dramatically when they arrived. We used to work very long hours and now we scoot out of here to be home for dinner. Our priorities shifted. We’re much more efficient during the day so we can turn off our computers at night and give them our undivided attention. Neither of us work on Fridays anymore. Fridays are the days that we are simply mom – that day is all about the kiddos.
You two are partners and both moms. That must be nice! How do you support each other as business partners, friends, and fellow moms?
We are so very lucky. Both of us having small children helps us relate to the balancing act that each of us are living, as we try to “have it all.” We often begin our workdays talking about parenting and child development… and laughing about the antics (err, tantrums) that happened at home the night before. Parenting is challenging and having a business partner who is also a friend – and also a parent of a small child – is truly a gift.
How do you figure out the balance of time with your children and time to work?
A novel could be written on this topic! Yes! We have help. It would be impossible to do all of this without help. We both have nannies Monday through Thursday and Fridays we are home with the kids. We talk often about the coordination, the scheduling, and the guilt that comes along with this choice, but at the end of the day we feel good about it. We love our children and we love what we do. We feel lucky… and busy.
Finally, a bit of advice from Chelsea on running your own business and being a mom.
“Having a business partner is critical these days. It’s so nice to be able to rely on someone you trust when your family needs come first. I’m having a baby in July and I know that stepping away for a couple months won’t be an issue because Jamie cares about the business as much as I do. That said, our business partnership works. We often hear nightmare stories about business partnerships going South and we are so thankful that we’re not in a situation like those. A successful partnership relies on an incredible amount of trust and having a similar work ethic. We are both very hard workers and can rely on one another to get down to business when the going gets tough. Owning an operating a business can look glamourous in shiny PR pictures, but at the end of the day it’s a TON of work… and a job you can’t quit. The passion has to be there in spades for it to work out.”
If you’re in LA, we so recommend stopping by Sugar Paper’s retail store in Brentwood. It’s adorable and the shelves are just bursting with gorgeous paper and stationery. Or snoop around their online store! Love their thank you notes, coasters, note pads, and of course their custom letterpress stationery.