NAME: Rachael Baldwin / AGE: 28 / COMPANY: Appetite Paper / TITLE: Paper Flower Nerd, Graphic Designer, Photographer / YEARS IN BUSINESS: 2 / EDUCATION: Bachelor of Fine Arts from Miami University of Ohio
What was your first job out of college? I created Appetite Paper because I wanted permission to step outside of my comfort zone. No boss, no rules, just the freedom to fall down and get back up - take creative risks without much consequence.
The name “Appetite” was a result of feeling starved for creativity. In my everyday dullness, this hunger kept nagging at me to find challenge again. To always keep learning and pushing my creative talents. I just had an “Appetite” for art and creativity that wasn’t being satisfied at my day job.
After I picked the name, I told my mom and she answered “well, that’s perfect since you’re always hungry!” - I’m admittedly the hangry one, known for keeping snacks on me at all times. I guess the name was predestined.
If a reader hasn’t heard of Appetite Paper, how would you explain it to them? I teach my lovely students how to create their favorite flowers out of paper! Peonies, dahlias, poppies and all the other goodies your floral-loving heart desires. Creative brides and women trying to save a few pennies on their wedding day are my biggest advocates! They love how easy the step-by-step guides are to follow. They’ve admitted the layers of paper were intimidating at first glance but they're pleasantly surprised at how simple it all is. Cutting paper and pasting is really what it boils down to - techniques we’ve all mastered in grade school!
Where do you find inspiration? Do you have other designers or creatives that you look to for fresh ideas? Floral designers and flower farmers all have wonderful inspiration for me to soak up. Right now, I'm obsessed with Floret Flowers. Their instagram is my go-to. My greatest joy is helping people make paper flowers that look indistinguishable from the real thing, so I’m really inspired by what I see outside!
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur for you? What is advice you can give to others about starting a business? Patience is the hardest part and perseverance is at the top of my list for advice! Being patient with progress is difficult and perseverance is key (because I think I’ve “quit” Appetite Paper more times than I can count).
My business has grown very gradually. I am constantly celebrating the small things and everyday successes around here. The slow pace was scary at first. My profit and social media accounts were just snailing along and after all the work, I kept wondering “What am I doing wrong? Where is this overnight success everyone seems to stumble upon?"
But this steady and frustrating road was blindly giving me a gift all along. Time for my photography to improve, style to evolve and turning this scatter-brained, quick-to-stress woman into a wise and efficient business owner.
Though building a strong foundation tested my patience, the result was invaluable: skills and qualities you wouldn’t trade for a quick 100K followers next to your name.
How do you get inspired if you feel in a creative slump? If I’m not inspired, I’m probably working too much (oops!). I take an unplanned, guilt-free day off. Make a big breakfast. Enjoy coffee with a friend. Go to a yoga class. Take a long shower and get in bed early! I just refuel on all fronts. After, instead of dread, I’m left feeling that joy and passion we all crave when pursuing a new project.
What are your dreams for your company? Honestly, I’m just so grateful I’m here! Hello, I’m Rachael and I survived the fear, doubt and worry small business brings. And the cherry on top of the sundae? I can officially say my mom, dad and friends are no longer my only “fans”. People are enjoying our tutorials - what a dream! The positive feedback from customers is a celebration in itself.
Oh and I didn’t plan any of this! The paper flower tutorials, the classes…
I mean I set goals (like crazy!), strategized, planned and day dreamed about our future like a mad woman! But the more I let go the more Appetite Paper grew into what it was meant to be.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that my five year plan isn’t going to work out, but now i know something even better will unfold - a future that is a perfect fit for me. I wonder where I will end up? Hmmm...
Currently designing: An online Paper Flowers 101 class. Filming is a lot of work, but it’s been a total blast creating it!
Currently craving: Cookie Butter (dangerous!!)
Currently shopping for: Nespresso. My friend has one and I won’t be able to hold out much longer. I can’t resist readily available espresso.
Currently loving the Instagram of: @dreamgreendiy - all white with pops of color, she knows her way to a girls heart. Her DIYs are my favorite!