We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Hladish and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lisa, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?

This is a great question and something I’ve struggled with for the past 17 years. When I started Paper Daisies it was by accident. I was a high school art teacher with zero experience or knowledge about business and what starting a business entailed. The first 10 years of my business was spent in a haze of stress, sleepless nights, panic attacks and so much more. During the years I’ve had my business I’ve gotten married, bought and renovated a house, raised 2 boys into their early teens and gone through many personal ups and downs. I was not balanced for a very long time and my body started to physically break down. It wasn’t until I hired our first designer, purchased creative software, incorporated a project management tool and moved the business out of my house that I was finally able to focus on my work/life balance. All of this cost money and required a level of risk to the decisions I was making. After 10 years I brought on a business partner who complimented my strengths and weaknesses. We began to hire a real team and I began focusing on the balance in my life. Now I have real work hours, 40-45 hrs, instead of working 70-80 hours every week and every weekend. We have learned to hire competent team members that allow me to delegate. It can be difficult to let go of control at times and trust others, but that is what is needed in order to scale your business. We use Basecamp for our project management software and this platform has allowed us to stay organized, keep our customers and vendors on a schedule, and communicate internally to stay as efficient as possible. Having tight systems and processes helps alleviate the constant stress of having to “remember” everything. I decided about 6 years ago that I would rather make a little less money and hire more people to help then to continue to try and do it all myself. With that decision, came more time for myself, my family and my friends. I’m now able to take week long vacations and know the business will continue to run while I’m not physically there. My husband and I started a tradition the first year we were married that we would take turns surprising each other with an anniversary trip. This is sacred and we just took our 17th trip. Keeping relationships as a priority has been difficult at times over the years, but my marriage is number one, even after our two sons were born. I have also worked with a business coach, joined an awesome local entrepreneur group and spent time taking courses and going to conferences focused on scaling small businesses. Surrounding yourself with other people who are going through the same types of situations you are has been so helpful and needed. Lastly, I try to spend time around other people I admire who have a good work/life balance. It rubs off and I find myself naturally prioritizing the people and things that are most important to me. I’m a much happier person since I’ve found some balance in my life.

What should our readers know about your business?

Our vision at Paper Daisies Stationery is to “marry” the ease and efficiency of a big box stationer with the touch and feel of a small custom boutique stationer. We always put our couples first and want the experience of designing their wedding stationery suite to be both memorable and meaningful. This is what sets us apart from other wedding stationery companies. Our “why” has nothing to do with invitations and everything to do with people. The struggles we’ve faced as a business come mostly with the amount of growth we’ve experienced over the past 5-6 years. We’ve gone from a one person life-style business to a 12 person company with plans to continue to grow and expand. Most challenges have come in implementing a never-ending stream of new processes and systems. We are constantly honing in on systems we’ve created, trying to improve them, tweak them, dismiss them or duplicate them. It requires input from the entire team. Unfortunately, most of our processes have come from some sort of a failure or mistake. Windsor, my business partner, likes to refer to mistakes as learning opportunities. Whenever we have a mishap, we meet together as a team to understand how it happened and discuss processes we can implement to make sure it never happens again. We are never into blaming, just into understanding how something happened and where the weak link is. We don’t look at our people as weak links, only our systems and processes. As a business owner, I’ve learned that, what I fear the most, is usually a direct arrow to the direction ee need to take the business in. I’ve learned over the years that what I fear is also what others in my shoes fear and that the businesses that can overcome and conquer those fears will rise to new levels. We never give up at Paper Daisies. We may take a little longer to overcome particular hurdles, but we always do and we always find a solution. It’s also a huge help to have vendors you can trust and count on.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I actually love my little neck of the woods in downtown Chamblee. We have beautiful parks, access to awesome trails, amazing food and some of the best culture you’ll experience in Atlanta. I’ve lived in Chamblee for 17 years and could not be any happier. I always say, “we’re where the burbs and the city meet…we live and work in this little bubble and it’s a slice of heaven for a family of four”. Even though it was named one of the fastest growing cities in America, it still has a small-town feel to it. In Chamblee, I would start the days off by having breakfast at some of our favorite spots, including First Watch, The Paris Baguette or The Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe. Then we’d walk through downtown and visit some of the best antique stores in Atlanta and maybe stop into Blue Top or Southbound for lunch. Then we’d hit happy hour at one of our two awesome breweries, Contrast or Hopsticks. Then finish our evenings at the Frosty Caboose or head over to Buford Highway to grab some rolled ice cream at 8′ Farenheit. I would spend some of our days hanging out in our awesome parks, walking our dogs through the trails, and just being lazy. We could hike up to the rooftop of Pure for some tacos and margaritas and then head over to the Buford Famers Market to check out all of the cool and unusual offerings they have. Of course you’re close by to some of the biggest malls in Atlanta, Lenox and Perimeter, but I’d prefer hitting up some of the smaller intimate boutiques like Hello Gorgeous and Dutchmans. We have some of the most amazing sushi, ramen, Malaysian, Korean, Chinese & Japanese food in our back yards…Buford Highway. On some of the other days I would take my friend climbing at the impressive Stone Summit Climbing Center or we may head over to the PDK airport and take a bi-plane ride around the city. Or maybe even head next door to Dunwoody and hit up the Treetop Quest for some zip lining and rope coursing. I’d end the week with a really nice dinner at The Alden, Valencia or Arnett’s Steakhouse and listen to the Trey Boyer Band play outside at LaGarde, which overlooks Keswick Park {which happens to be in my neighborhood}. The best part about Chamblee is the people. We are a very tight community with great schools, awesome parks and lots of accessibility to neighborhood restaurants and shops. I’m good friends with the mayor and the majority of the city council and see them out and about all of the time. If you drive through our neighborhoods you may think you’ve been transported back to the 80’s as there are always kids outside playing and riding bikes…the way it used to be!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

I’d like to dedicate my “shoutout” to my sister and business partner, Windsor Thompson. Paper Daisies never could have grown the way it has without her dedication, passion, hard work, tenacity, intelligence, perseverance…I could just keep going. It’s so awesome being able to work with your “baby” sister, growing a business together, and sharing all of the ups and downs that we have. I’m the messy, creative, sales focused personality while she’s the technical, analytical, organized and fiscally responsible partner. We respect each others’ strengths and weaknesses, opinions and ideas. I am so much better with her by my side. Our company operates much more efficiently because she pushes for better processes and systems, she spends time researching options and encourages all of us to think outside the box. Her job isn’t always glamorous and she doesn’t always get credit or recognition for the work and effort she puts forth, but our team is so grateful and appreciative of all she does for us!!

Website: www.paper-daisies.com
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Image Credits
Rebecca Cerasani Willett Photography Vue Photography

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