At any given time I have about three notebooks on the go. One is my day planner – for big picture plans, one is my actual notebook – for keeping notes, jotting down ideas and sometimes even writing whole articles out, then I have a small one that I keep in my purse to write things down when I’m out and about. I’ve always been about planning things out by writing to-do lists and keeping a calendar and though there are many ways to do this digitally there is just something relaxing about writing it all out on paper. However having more than one place to keep said ideas and notes can get a little out of control at times, especially mid-meeting when you’re trying to display your ideas and can’t quite find that one page. If only there was one planner out there that would allow me to stay organized, inspired, and maybe save a little paper. Queue Design Love Planner, a luxurious planner with lots of pretty extras that is made for gals who like to get stuff done. We caught up with founder, Marissa Grootes, on where the idea came from and how she made her entrepreneurial dreams come true.
STYLUST (S): Firstly, HUGE congratulations are in order! I bet it’s been a whirlwind couple of months – why don’t you walk us through the journey of Design Love Planner thus far?
MARISSA (M): It all really started about a year ago last October when I first started thinking about starting my own business. I was looking for a planner that worked with my busy schedule and plain and simple couldn’t really find anything that worked for me. I kept having to make extra lists and keep other planners to stay organized. It wasn’t working so I created the first version of my planner in December of 2013. I had a few people comment on it saying they’d like one so I simply said they’ll be available on Etsy in a few weeks without knowing how I was going to get there yet. I made it happen and sold out completely in May. While all this was going on I immediately started my extensive research into what it took to create a custom product. I immediately knew this could really be something so I pursued it and decided to quit my full-time job as a graphic designer. I built a brand, put together a website and did contract work on the side while developing this product. Design Love Planner launched in August of 2014 and the whole thing has been an absolute dream come true.
S: It’s so very important to keep organized but more importantly, inspired. I love how you have taken something that is so every day and sprinkled inspiration all over it. How did you decide to make the notion of staying inspired such a big part of your product?
M: I wanted to create something that was not only functional, but also fashionable. I’m sure that it has come to everyone’s attention that paper is on the rise again and I have been patiently waiting for this day. Oh joy! I have been in love with paper since the age of 10 when I used to collect paper in a binder. This planner is simply a product of all the things that drive my everyday. Fashion has always been a driving force in my life and so has art of all kinds – I was heavily into photography for many years and I was always a “drawer”. I was never very good but always enjoyed watching what a pencil could do on paper. Organization and planning are such boring things that are essential to making it as an entrepreneur so I simply wanted to create something that elicited those things by being pretty and fabulous.
S: Speaking of products, any chance of more of a product line in the future?
M: Yes! I have been spending the last few months working on new ideas and they are almost finished. I will be launching them in 2015 so hold tight! I get excited just thinking about it. Design Love Planner is expanding into all things paper.
S: In the creative field self-motivation is vital. Do you ever find yourself running short on inspiration and if so what do you do to get out of a block like that?
M: I have discovered that I am most creative on Friday evenings when everyone else is out doing things. I usually stay home and watch an old movie while designing new products. I don’t know why but things just flow for me after a long week of working. I also often wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea (usually around 2:30am) and I will start frantically sketching away. Yes, my boyfriend loves me! When I do find I have a block of sorts I usually grab my notebook and a pencil and I go sit on a bench somewhere outside to people watch. Some of my favorite spots to sit are around Gastown and Yaletown because the people are the most interesting and ridiculous.
S: The life of an entrepreneur can be unconventional, to say the least. How do you balance work and personal life and do you have any tips on how to make sure to have a distinction between the two?
M: This has been one of my biggest struggles so far. My life is my work and my work is my life. Everything I have is being put into this and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is however such a thing as overworking yourself and I’ve definitely been there. It was my trip to Asia this year that brought me back a changed woman. I’m not sure why but taking those 16 days to eat and drink, laugh and enjoy that really hit home for me. Spending time with the people you love is just as important as building something you love because it’s those people who make up all that space around you and who are there for you when times are tough. Don’t neglect the outside world.
S: Do you have any words of wisdom for your fellow lady bosses out there?
M: a) Take a lunch. If you’ve been up since 6:30am and you see 12:30pm after what seems like a half hour, take an hour lunch no matter what you’re doing. b) Go to bed at a reasonable time. All-nighters don’t make you more productive. 10pm is your new bedtime. c) Treat yo self. Get a pedicure once a month. Watch The Real Housewives everyday. Buy yourself something nice once a month. Whatever it is that makes you happy, schedule it!
From now until November 1st get 15% off your order Design Love Planner with code boo15. Be sure to keep up with Marissa and Design Love Planner via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the inside scoop!