February’s Paper Camp is fast approaching, and we’re thrilled to be adding a new speaker/panelist to our ranks. Jen Pham Corbett, Co-founder and Creative Director of Farewell Paperie, will be joining us as we explore the ins and outs of the stationery industry and help attendees learn if wholesale and trade shows are right for them. In addition to being a rockstar in the stationery world, Jen actually attended Paper Camp in 2012 and joined our webinars in 2013. This background gives her a unique insight into what attendees really want to see in the courses, and we know she’ll be an invaluable voice in our panels.
TSBC sat down with Jen to get her thoughts on Paper Camp.
TSBC: What topic are you most excited to weigh in on at Paper Camp?
Jen: So many things! I’m super stoked to share our experiences beyond tradeshows to selling wholesale in general. It’s such a complex partnership between maker and buyer and the dynamics evolve as you grow—with the releases of new products, expansion of product categories within your line, bringing on sales reps, even working with other stores in the same market can affect a relationship with a buyer. We’ve worked with so many types of retailers large and small and there are experiences we never anticipated when we started out that I’m excited to share with the group, along with some approaches to selling wholesale that can help foster those good buyer vibes.
At the end of the day, though, I’m most looking forward to sharing a very important message Lisa and I always give to folks starting out: How absolutely possible it is for everything you’re dreaming of for your business to happen. Sometimes it even happens without a plan for how. You just have to start by knowing what you want and do a little more to work toward it every day.
TSBC: Having attended Paper Camp yourself, what is the best thing someone can do to prepare for the conference?
Jen: Uh, well, we just showed up. So start there. And of course, be open and ready to think A LOT about your business in ways you haven’t yet. If you’re an overachiever, you might even have a goal for what you most want to walk away from Paper Camp with, whether that’s a decision to jump right into an upcoming tradeshow, make the leap from your day job, take on wholesale after selling primarily retail, to continue to pursue your business at all. So many things swirling around in our brains, and having a specific question or decision in mind might help you focus on the right answers within the magnificent brain dump you’re about to experience. Or, if you’re like us: pen, paper, hopes, dreams.
TSBC: What were your main takeaways from Paper Camp that helped your business?
No one can do this alone. Find your support squad.
No one has to do this alone. Reach out and learn from everyone.
Get your shit together. Research, read, stalk, ask, list, double check, make a Plan B.
Don’t overthink it. Set the ball in motion and be ready to juke and jive as needed.
There is crying in small business. Weep if you must. Then get back to solving the problem and move forward.
TSBC: How has your business evolved since Paper Camp?
Jen: In every way we could have possibly imagined, including but not limited to cross-country moves, dozens of tradeshows, 12 stores to 500, new equipment, new products, sales reps, employees, big accounts, gone accounts, studio expansions, personal life takeovers, team dinners, team cupcakes, high fives, hugs, paper friends. So many paper friends. And we’re still evolving. In small business, you’re always a newbie at something.
Thanks so much, for your answers, Jen. We love what you had to say and can’t wait for Paper Camp!