When a couple gets engaged and begins planning their wedding, there’s no shortage of things to do to get started. The first thing most of their wedding guests will see is a lovely card they’ve received in the mail telling them to save the date for the big occasion. These come in every shape, size, color and theme, and we know that it can be a difficult decision for a bride and groom to make such a decision. Luckily, there’s one fabulous paperie that we recommend time after time for Save-the-Dates, Invitations, Thank You Notes, and so much more! We’re happy to introduce Jenna McKinlay, owner of Fleur de Lis (a paperie).
Jenna, tell us a bit about Fleur de Lis, and what sets you apart.
Fleur de Lis (a paperie) is Denver’s fabulous shop for not only custom invitations and personalized stationery, but also gifts, accessories and greeting cards. It’s a darling boutique in the Denver Tech Center’s high end Belleview Promenade shopping center – A real store, with real style, and real service.
How long have you been in business, and what inspired you to start it?
I opened up my boutique in April of 2011. It was (and still is) surreal – a dream come true! I have always been inspired by my time living in Florence, Italy – the culture, the lifestyle, the art, the shops. I always admired the “mom and pop” shops and small boutiques that I frequented both in America and in Italy. My education is in both Business and Art History. Opening up a boutique specializing in paper products was a perfect combination for me of business and creativity. I have a passion for quality paper, and I absolutely love working with people on custom invitations for their special occasion!
Tell us about your industry experience prior to opening Fleur de Lis.
I have 5+ years past experience in retail and the paper industry. During my experience, I fell in love with custom invitations and graphic design, and the dream flourished from there.
What is your favorite story or experience since starting your business?
I don’t have just one favorite experience. In just the short year I have been open, I have worked with amazing brides and customers on their wedding day and special occasions. I also have wonderful memories of day-to-day operations in the store – working with my family (sister, sister-in-law, mom, grandma), having my sweet golden retriever keep me (and customers) company in the store, and memories with my family and friends preparing for opening day. It has been a wonderful journey so far!
What do you think is the best thing about being a small business owner?
My favorite thing about owning my business is that I get to work with my family every day (something I am so thankful for), bring my puppy to work with me, and do what I love to do every single day with amazing customers. I feel very blessed to go to work every single day and create beautiful invitations and stationery with my customers. Being a small business owner is difficult, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What advice would you give to a woman who is thinking of becoming an entrepreneur?
My advice for a woman becoming an entrepreneur: FOLLOW YOUR PASSION and really listen to your natural strengths. Success takes time (sometimes longer than you think, but keep at it!). Start with a solid business plan, keep working hard and do your best. Put as much of your time, heart and soul into your business as you can – and keep your dreams for the future big.
Fleur de Lis (a paperie) is located at 8000 East Belleview Avenue, Suite b40 in Greenwood Village. You can “like” them on facebook, and follow them on pinterest and twitter. The fabulous ladies at Fleur de Lis also have their very own Tutto Bella Blog. We follow it for our very own inspirations! You may also find Fleur de Lis at www.fleurdelisdtc.com.
Photos via Meredith Moran Photography
We’re taking a quick break from our guest interviews to tell you about an event we’re excited to be a part of! Join us at Season’s Bliss Event Center this Saturday, March 24th from 10am-5pm for their first annual Bridal Show! We’ll be there, along with other Colorado wedding vendors, with pretty things and giveaways! We’re excited to feature inspirations with the hottest colors and trends of Spring 2012.
Season’s Bliss is located at 665 Flatiron Marketplace Drive in Broomfield near the Flatiron Marketplace, east of the Flatiron Crossing Mall. “Like” them on facebook, and visit their website. We can’t wait to see you there!
Welcome to guest interview number 3. Today, we’re excited to feature another talented entrepreneur that we know as not only one of our favorite vendors, but as a friend. We’re happy to introduce you to Krista Watzel, owner and head photographer at Krista Watzel Photography.
Krista, tell us a bit about your business.
Since my official start back in 2009, I have always told people, “I’m not your mother’s photographer… and I mean that in the best way possible.” It’s easy to line people up and snap a picture, but it’s a true talent to be able to capture the organic moments that could never be planned. I launched Krista Watzel Photography from my home in Fort Collins three years ago and relocated the venture to my Denver home a little over a year and a half ago. 80% of my business is based around weddings, with the remainder consisting of anything people… maternity, babies, kids and families… people always keep things interesting! I’ve always referred to myself as a location photographer, but since my business has taken off in a manner far grander than I could have ever imagined, I’m currently seeking out studio space options in Downtown Denver.
What inspired you to venture out and start your photography business?
After three years of chasing sirens and pursuing depressing story leads as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate, I had had my fill of negative life stories. I had carried a camera with me since I was 15, capturing the world as I saw it and had given up a scholarship to the art institute back in high school. After pursuing the journalism route that was not at all what I had imagined, I knew it was time to make my passion my life. I wanted to take those same journalistic skills that I had acquired as a reporter and direct them towards a more positive journalistic avenue… capturing people in their life’s best moments!
Krista is not only passionate about photography, but about giving back to the community….
Since the early days of my start-up, an integral part of my business/marketing plan has revolved around donating my time and services to local non-profits. I of course still advertise with magazines and websites and am a part of wedding industry specific platforms, but I’m a big believer in thinking and working locally. Instead of placing all of my marketing eggs in the big wedding basket, it’s my goal every year to work a bit outside of the traditional box and get my name into people’s minds and mouths by being active in causes that I believe in.
What’s your favorite client story, so far?
I often get asked to share my most epic “bridezilla” moment… that one moment that rivals what we’ve all seen on reality tv, but truth be told I don’t have one… all of my memory catching moments have been pretty fabulous from the start and to pick a favorite from all of those would be impossible. But what I love most about what I do is that in most cases my relationship with a client almost never ends. In most instances I meet couples a year or so before they’re married, photograph their wedding and am now still their family photographer as they’re preparing for child number one or even two. I get to feel like an extended member of so many wonderful families!
What do you enjoy most about owning your own business?
My favorite line about owning my own business is, “It’s 95% awesome.”… how many people can say that about their job?! I make my own hours and though I work a good amount of weekends, I love what I do, so I can’t complain! When something goes wrong there is no one to blame but myself and that can be the 5%-not-so-fun part, but when things are going right, I’m the one enjoying the business high
What advice would you give to a woman thinking of turning her passion into her career?
People often seem genuinely amazed that I was so easily willing to quite a successful journalism career to take a risky shot at making an art based business work in a less than stellar economy and truth be told, I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s a matter of fear, or a lack there of. When you believe in something so much that you can create it in your head before it even exists, your able to quite those negative voices and just own what you want to make yours.
To see more of Krista’s photos and information, head over to her website.