We are so excited to have gotten the chance to speak with Joanna of Letterfolk Co. in preparation for our amazing pop-up shop with her, Mae Woven, and Gigi Pip! Joanna is such a sweetheart and has a passion for bringing words back into the home for all to enjoy! Read on to learn more about her, her family, and why she started Letterfolk Co!
Why did you start your company?
We were looking for a way to document our newborn's monthly milestones, and we thought an old-school letter board like the kind you might see in an old class photo would be a fun way to do it. One thing led to another, and soon we were working with a manufacturer to design letter boards fit for the walls of today's homes.
Tell me about the journey of your company?
We officially began at the end of October 2015, but we began working on the idea in June of that year. We were living in NYC at the time, and we knew we needed to move somewhere that would make more financial sense for starting a company. We have a lot of family in Utah, so we ended up choosing to move here and get to work preparing to launch our business. It's been a crazy ride since then, and we're just learning as we go and loving every sleep-deprived second of it.
What has been the most satisfying achievement so far?
The most satisfying achievement has been starting the growing trend of letter boards in homes. And even more satisfying is seeing our customers post photos of their letter boards. It always makes our day, and we feel honored to have our products in their homes.
What has been one of the most difficult parts of starting and growing your business?
Our business is our third baby for sure. And with that comes lots of sleep deprivation, questioning whether we're screwing up, and always feeling like there's not enough time. We've experienced some of our highest highs and lowest lows while running our business.
What advice would you give to other parents/moms trying to start their own companies from home?
If you want it, go for it. You don't need anyone's approval to start.
What makes Letterfolk stand out, what makes your products and brand different?
For us, Letterfolk is much more than a product. We're both word people by trade and we're adamant about bringing the power of the written word into homes. Whether that's through humor, inspiration, or prose, we hope to help others discover that, too.
What have you learned about parenting and family as you’ve started your company?
Our kids are definitely our biggest distraction from running our business, but at the same time, they're our biggest motivator. We try really hard to make sure that when we do spend time with them outside of work, it's quality time. Running a business as a couple can be hard because the separation between work-life and home-life gets muddied on a daily basis. We've started setting up the same night each week when we go out and don't think or talk about work.
What do you wish you had known when you started that you have learned?
I wish we'd streamlined a few parts of the packaging process better in the beginning. Preparing an order in the beginning would take forever — almost a whole hour for each one! We've gotten smarter and much more efficient just from necessity since then, but it would have been nice to have splurged on better boxes, pre-stamped bags, etc., from the beginning.
What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
We love the flexibility of choosing what we do each day. We have more on our plate, but we're the ones calling the shots. We love having Johnny working in the home for the first time in our marriage and that our girls get to see him during the day now.
What are some of your favorite activities to do with your children?
Our girls are one and three, so they are pretty easy to please as long as there's a park involved. They love playing in the sand, swinging, and sliding down the same slide over and over and over. They'd do that all day, every day.
What advice would you give to first time moms?
Everything is just a phase. That's the best advice I received as a first-time mom. You feel like the colicky stage will last forever, but it doesn't. You feel like they'll never sleep through the night, but they do. You feel like they'll never figure out potty training, but they do... ish. Realizing that helped me to just enjoy each phase more, even with the hard parts. And it helped me try to soak in each stage because they do grow and change so quickly.
If you had to describe your company in 3 words what would they be?
"Made by you." We love that each of our boards becomes personalized by its owner.