Wow, I actually can’t believe it. Next week on the 18th of November it’ll be the official 3rd anniversary of Stationery Magpie. Three years since little old me, stressed and burnt out from trying (and failing) to undertake a PGCE bought this domain name in an attempt to have something positive to focus on in a really rocky time of my life.
And now we’re here! Poof. Time flies, but it also doesn’t. I couldn’t have imagined where I would end up after 3 years of starting a little blog dedicated to my love of statinoery but here we are. The road hasn’t always been consistent, I’ve had periods of times where I’ve abandoned it a little but for some reason I’ve always come back to it. I’m still here, plugging away at it, learning new things and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So let’s take a look at the journey so far.
Scroll to the bottom to find out how we’re going to celebrate.
Stationery Magpie Then
We can’t start without of course looking at the start of the journey.
When Stationery Magpie started it was very much going to be a money making stationery product review blog. I started out with blog posts like ‘best pastel stationery’ and ‘cactus themed stationery’. All basically just showing off products I thought were cute/good.
It was very impersonal and consumer focussed. Essentially in my head I was going to make some money from people clicking on affiliate links and maybe some advertising with some brands.
My brand colours were very muted calm pastels – green and blue. My logo was designed on canva in playlist script – a font extremely popular among new bloggers. I used the pronoun ‘we’ in an attempt to seem more professional and I was very secretive about my identity. It took me a good few months to add a picture of myself to my blog and even then I still weirdly stuck to that less personal ‘we’.
And to be honest things carried on like that for quite a while I was growing, learning how to do all of the things you need to do to try and maintain and grow a blog. Tiny amounts of advertising money did start to trickle in but nowhere near enough to actually cover the costs of maintaining a website (we won’t even talk about the cost of my time…).
I pretty much carried on like that for a good two years. Plugging away, basically doing the exact same thing over and over and over again. Trying to do too much. Following all of the advice out there with regards to building up all my social media profiles. Sharing everything multiple times. Buying ‘premium tools’ to try and boost up my profile and making some progress with some things… but not enough to really feel a real difference.
So What Changed?
I think essentially I just realised that I was doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result (I believe that’s Einstein’s definition of an idiot/insanity). I basically had to decide if I wanted to push it further and see if there was the potential for it to be my full time job (or at least for it to pay me for my time!)or whether I wanted to just keep it as a nice hobby that would get me free stationery every once in a while.
Now I’ve never really known exactly ‘what’ I wanted to do. I studied Law and French at university, then I was a debt caseworker, then a receptionist, then an english teacher then a waitress. I’ve always liked freedom and I’ve often found it interesting flitting from one role to another or having the flexibility to change roles and do different things.
Being in control of my job and having my own business would hopefully allow me to always feel in control of my life and able to make changes when I needed to. I also don’t love being told what to do…
So I decided to take the plunge.
The Turning Point
Now I don’t want to sit here and tell you that to take your business or blog or what have you to the next level you need to spend a lot of money but for me investing was definitely the turning point in my journey to where I am now.
I’d spent a lot of time during the first few years of my blogging life listening in to a lot of free content from creative business podcasters and coaches and I felt like I understood everything they said in theory… but something wasn’t quite working when I tried to sit down and apply it to my own situation. Trying to build a business alone when not everyone (even yourself) understands what it is that you want to achieve is absolutely exhausting. I needed some guidance. So I reached out to Jen Carrington and booked her as my coach.
I made the decision that I wanted to pursue my own version of success and that investing in someone to help me get there was only going to be valuable thing for me. It felt a bit like I was betting on myself to succeed. Even without all the coaching to come that would help me figure things out it felt like this decision was a real turning point for me and working with my coach enabled me to create the Stationery Magpie that you see now.
Stationery Magpie Now
My brand palette is bright and lively. Gone are the muted pastels and the delicate design. I’m a bold, colourful person and my brand reflects that. My brand is now so personal that my logo is my own hand drawn design and the font on my website is my own lettering converted into a font.
Now my business (note that I’ve called it a business not a blog!) is a lot more focussed on what stationery can allow us to do – to be creative and productive. It doesn’t really matter what tools you have (although I still love some stationery porn) what matters more is what you do with it and the wonderful impact that cultivating creativity and productivity can have on bringing joy to your daily life.
I’ve cultivated a community around me of other businesses who do amazing creative, productive work and followers and readers who are empowered to push themselves out of their comfort zones so that they can become their best creative wonderful brave selves. I’ve reached out to people to spread more creative positivity and community and celebrated the messy journeys we go on when building our joyful lives full of space for exploration and self care.
And it feels glorious.
Proudest moments/Turning Points
- Going to the London Stationery Show to #network
- Doing my first gifted blog post with novelty stationery company Mustard
- Collaborating with Silvine on their Revision Pad and seeing it in the flesh in shops with my name on it!
- Winning a ‘Thirty Under Thirty’ Award as a ‘rising star in the stationery industry’
- Designing my own T shirts and tote bags (basically just for fun!)
- Hiring Jen Carrington as my coach to help me figure out what I wanted.
- Redesigning my entire brand and website to make it feel more ‘me’
- Going to London (shudder, I can’t deal with London) to a stationery party and meeting blogging friends in real life! (Hi Emma, Milly, Katie etc)
- Biting the bullet and holding online workshops on Bullet Journaling and getting incredible feedback.
- Signing up to the Self Belief Sessions by Elizabeth Stiles and Sophie French and making some amazing new Instagram friends (Hi Amber, Laura, Adele, Becky to name but a few)
- Launching my Creative Productive Membership Group and selling out of places for the first month! Then getting to know and to support the wonderful members for the beautiful creative productive people they are.
- Making enough money to actually start PAYING MYSELF £100 a week consistently! (a big deal for me after working for free for so long)
- Collaborating with Danielle from Under the Rowan Trees to create the #GetProductive Box full of stationery designed by me!
- Making the decision to remove myself from a group course that wasn’t right for me and trusting my gut to know that I could do things my own way.
- Being a complete teachers pet in Alice Benham’s six week marketing course and getting a houseplant from her as a thank you gift.
- Continuing to reach out and make connections with beautiful creative productive positive people on Instagram and cheering each other on <3
Lessons I’ve learned from my journey:
“You don’t fail until you stop trying“
There have been so many times I’ve struggled on this journey but the key point is that I’ve kept coming back to it, pushing on persevering and trying new things. I had times when I pretty much abandoned it wondering if I’d be able to get back into the swing but somehowI always managed to do it. Who knows exactly why but I’ve never given up completely on this venture and that’s why I’m still here now writing this 3 year round up blog post!
“Progress over perfection“
Too often we’re scared to make any progress at all because we’re terrified that what we’ll produce will be anything less than perfect. But you know what forget that rubbish. We need to practice at anything to get better and the more we do something the closer we’ll get to that goal of ‘perfection’ (although in my mind perfection never exists). The journey will be messy and that’s a wonderful thing to celebrate.
“Community over competition“
There are people I’m friends with now that might be considered my ‘competition’ and at the beginning of my journey that’s definitely the way I felt about it. But something changed and instead of seeing them as my adversaries I saw them as my collaborators. We’re all unique and we all have different things to offer. There’s enough space for all of us and working with people who share the same values and passions as you is the most delightful thing.
If you open up yourself to others they will open up to you.
“Don’t ask don’t get“
You have to make opportunities for yourself sometimes – if you don’t reach out to people and create opportunities they aren’t just going to fall in your lap and that was a big learning curve for me. I very much had the mindset of ‘build it and they will come’ but there’s so much out there now that that really rarely works unless you put yourself out there and go for it!
Stationery Magpie in the Future
Not to sound like a cheesy American film but… who knows where this journey will take me next?! What I’ve learned in the past three years is to stay open minded and excited to try new things and circumstances when they come my way.
What I’ve most enjoyed though in the past six months (particularly during the strange pandemic times we’re living in) is discovering how I can have a positive impact on how other people are living their lives. Whether that’s a positive message in their Instagram inbox to say I think they’re doing cool things or supporting people through workshops and my subscription group the community aspect is the part I enjoy the most and what I want to expand on even more.
I have a lot of plans for the future of Stationery Magpie but I want to continue to enjoy the journey and move step by wonderful step. I hope you’ll join me for the next three years and beyond of Stationery Magpie <3
So Let’s Celebrate!!!
We can’t have an anniversary/birthday without a party can we? So as I’ve just announced live on Instagram on the 18th of November I’ll be holding a ‘Virtual Birthday Party’ with the help of some wonderful creative productive friends. We’ll be talking about the journey we go on when building something like this business as well as what it means to be creative and productive as well as of course drooling over some stationery (which is how this whole thing started!).
Head over to Instagram where all the action will be taking place on the 18th of November and keep your eyes out for announcements of my guests and some teasers for my big birthday giveaway prizes.