YYC #MOMBOSS FEATURE: RED PAPER BOUTIQUE
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.
Hello fellow mombosses! We are Gabriela + Maryrose from RED (Real Engaging Designs) Paper Boutique. We are mompreneurs, mental health nurses and best friends. We met while working on an inpatient psychiatric unit and immediately knew that we wanted to start a business together outside of nursing. We are both married to amazing and truly supportive husbands and have five kids between the two of us under the age of seven (Maryrose- 3 kids and Gabi- 2 kids). Our work as mental health nurses emphasizes the importance of human relationships and the power of having a tribe to deal with life’s ups and downs. We created RED Paper Boutique as a creative outlet to connect people through paper. We aim to create stationery products that make others feel appreciated and valued.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
We started Real Engaging Designs with a focus on event invitations. Maryrose designed and created wedding invitations for her friend’s wedding and requests started pouring in. After getting married and having children, our focus changed to greeting cards. Here was born RED (Real Engaging Designs) Paper Boutique- a place where we could put our hearts onto paper. We took our background in wedding invitations and created our unique Pocket-design greeting card. This design incorporates a small pocket with matching insert in each card.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT WITH YOUR BUSINESS?
I think we both agree that exhibiting at the National Stationery Show in New York in 2015 was “the moment” for us. For any stationery lovers and designers, the NSS is literally like paper heaven. Imagine being surrounded by rows upon rows of stationery designs and paper goods created by stationery rock-stars. Being in the company of such incredible talent made us realize how blessed we are to be part of such a supportive and creative group. It was a “ton” (ton being a total understatement) of work; however literally taught us everything we needed to know to expand our business.
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED AND INSPIRED?
We are really blessed to have such an amazing partnership and friendship. Whenever one of us is in a funk, the other is there to re-inspire and motivate the other. We love motivating ourselves through setting aside creative brainstorming time. We also love attending business workshops and listening to TedTalks. We really believe that the best way to learn and be motivated is by listening to other people’s story and life lessons.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Balance- what is that? (Just joking). As moms, business owners and nurses, balance is not always easy. Sometimes we literally feel like we are in autopilot. Some strategies we find helpful are to divide and conquer. We put “the best person in for the job” which means we assign certain tasks to each other that we know is more in our strengths wheelhouse. We also take “no RED days”. When we know that we need family time or just a break, we let the other know and during that time, the other person fields calls, emails and orders. We stay really honest and open with each other about our needs, both personal and professional. Family is the most important thing for us, so whenever the business is starting to encroach on our family values, we realign our goals and get creative on how to maintain the balance.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOM MOMENT?
Gabi- For me it’s literally just surviving motherhood (so far). It’s really tough. No one really tells you how hard and often how lonely the beginning can be. You’re handed a baby in the car seat at the hospital and it’s like “have fun”. You are sleep-deprived, juggling emotions, and learning this new vulnerable part of yourself. And now, my little girls (2 & 4) are like these amazing, super smart little humans. And as time goes, things get easier. You wake up one day (hopefully after a great sleep) and realize “we did it…by the grace of God, we survived”.
Maryrose-That’s hard because there are so many. From saying their first word, to walking, being potty trained and everything else in between. If I did have to narrow it down it would have to be when they finished their first year of preschool. (My youngest will be completing next year) There is something to be said about how far they have come in just one year. From being so timid squeezing my hand as we walked towards the classroom door, to the number of kisses they wanted before I left, and of course the tears. Then by end of the year having them run ahead of me to stand in line with their friends, barely waving bye during drop off, and realizing just how much they have learned. Preschool “graduation day” has always been a tear jerker for me.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING ADVICE?
Take time for you! We really believe that in order to be a great parent, you need to feel fulfilled in your personal life. It starts at the foundation. If mom and dad aren’t happy, then it’s difficult to think we can sustain keeping our children happy. There are so many automatic sacrifices and changes that occur when becoming parents that we quickly forget that we are setting the example for our kids. We both strive to show our children that our relationships are important. We also believe strongly in being “present” with our kids. Our kids know when we are distracted by other things. We really strive (not always easy) to set aside “non-distracted time” when we can fully engage with our kids and just be present in the moment.
WHERE CAN YOU BE REACHED?
Phone number: 403-689-7772
Photo Credits: Sue Moodie Photography