Amy Braswell is the kind of friend you go to when you-know-what has hit the fan, the moment you smash a big goal, & the person who will try that new restaurant in town with you. She’s a wife, mom, & small business owner. PaperFinch Design has been been growing steadily over the past 6 years and it’s only going to get bigger and more amazing as she continues to hone in on her geographic & wanderlust style of design and products. We’re so excited to introduce you to Amy’s words. But first we have to give a shout out to Jenny Ricker, the Tampa Bay chapter leader of The Rising Tide Society, because she introduced us to Amy thinking we’d be fast friends & she was right. We'd also love to thank Black Crow Coffee, Strands of Sunshine, and Forty-two Ten for not minding that we shoot some footage at their lovely spaces. Enjoy Amy’s words!
Tell us about yourself and what you do!
My name is Amy and I create inspirational and geographic art prints + home goods. I truly believe that life is a daring adventure and I want to help people celebrate theirs and tell their stories!
How did your business begin?
Back in 2009, I actually did copywriting for my now husband - he owned a vacation rentals business. I had the chance to work with his graphic designer and I fell in love with graphic design! So I went back to school for art (this was my third degree - I could seriously be a professional student), graduated, and started PaperFinch Design in 2011. I started out focusing on invitations, beginning with my own wedding, but slowly found my sweet spot in the world of travel and adventure. I came back full circle after starting out in the vacation rental/travel business! So now I get to combine my love of travel with my love of artwork.
What’s 1 challenge you’ve faced and 1 success you’ve had since you’ve created your business?
Personally, my number one challenge has been focus. I'm definitely a big idea girl, and I sometimes find it hard to focus and really concentrate on one thing at a time. It was fine when I was a very small hobby business, just starting out. But as I've grown more into an established brand, I'm finding it's more and more important to try and do one thing at a time and do it well.
As far as a success...The first time I saw my designs featured in a magazine was pretty amazing. But every time I have another small business owner ask me for some advice, that feels like a success - because I do love helping out others. And it's a pretty cool reminder of how much I've grown in the last 5 years.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and has it come in handy for you?
I can't say I received this personally, but the good old Golden Rule has been my standby for running my business. I have tried from the beginning to keep in mind that I should treat my customers as I'd want to be treated. That I should treat other small business owners as I want to be treated. That I should treat my vendors, stockists, and everyone else as I want to be treated. As a result, I am often complimented on my authenticity, my customer service, and my helpfulness. The selfish side effects of all of that are return customers, happy vendors, and friends who are willing to answer any questions that I might have, since they know I'm willing to do the same.
When are you at your happiest?
Well, my perfect day would involve being outside (preferably near the ocean), having coffee, reading, spending time with my husband and son, and llamas. But seriously, I am probably at my happiest when I'm traveling with my family and seeing different things that the world has to offer. And if there are animals and coffee involved, that's great too.
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
Oy, this one's hard. There are days I wallow, for sure. But I typically let myself cry it out, have some chocolate cake, and get over it. Most times I try to channel the energy into work. But that's not always easy, especially with running a business and raising a strong-willed two year old.
What are you grateful for?
I'm so, so grateful to be able to do what I love. The fact that I look forward to work on Monday mornings is such a blessing. I'm grateful for a super supportive husband who encouraged me from the very beginning. Also, chocolate.
What’s 1 personal goal and 1 business goal you plan to accomplish this year?
My personal goal is to get back into working out and exercising. Between moving to Florida and having a toddler, I haven't played tennis (something I used to do several times a week) or done any exercise classes in months and months. It helps me mentally and physically so much.
For business goals, I would love to double my wholesale accounts, as well as (finally!) finish repopulating my website.
Where can you be found on a Tuesday afternoon?
Probably working. I'm a bit of a workaholic, since I love what I do so much. As for where you'll find me - I am an extrovert and I thrive off of other people's energy, so Im usually out at a coffee shop (Black Crow and Bandit are my favorites) working and people-watching. If you ever see me out, come say hi - I love chatting and meeting new people!
How about on a Friday evening?
That's date night with me and my husband. We make it a point to have our own time once a week. Whether my mom is with our son or we hire a sitter, we try to make it out and about most Friday nights, to concentrate on our marriage and spend time together without a toddler between us :) We're new to the area, so we're still finding our favorite spots...but we do love having a cocktail at the Vinoy and eating at Sushi Inc.
A Sunday morning?
Usually packing up to head out on the boat! We are definite water people, so we spend as much time out there as possible. So far we've explored most of St. Pete, and our favorite spot to anchor up is over by Shell Key.
Finish these sentences:
I love: Champagne cocktails, 80s TV sitcoms, my family, and the color of the ocean.
I’m always looking for: New fonts, inspirational color palettes, and my next vacation.
My inspiration is: the world around me and all of the colors and cultures in it.
I’ll never: ride a roller coaster.