Paper Paisley creates beautiful, easy-to-use sticker kits for decorating care packages! This month we're excited to hear from Elizabeth Estes- founder of Paper Paisley- about her top tips for creating beautiful care packages for our service members during deployment!
1. Tell us about yourself & Paper Paisley
This is the hardest question for me to answer! I am not a very exciting person :) My husband and I have been married for 25 years and we have 5 daughters and 2 dogs (who are both girls!) Yes, there is A LOT of estrogen in our household and I have decided that my husband is a VERY patient man. :) I have primarily been a wife and mom, which I love, most of those years. My family is my biggest priority and my biggest love! Being a wife and mom is no joke. Marriage is no joke. It is A LOT of work, but it has also been the most rewarding thing for me in my life.
2. What items do you suggest leaving "OUT" of a Care Package?
First, if in doubt, I recommend checking with the post office, either in person or on their to make sure you are not including anything that is prohibited by law. If you are sending items abroad make sure you are not sending anything prohibited there and then make sure your claims on the claim forms are accurate. I sent a package to Spain and listed "food" as an item and the package was never delivered and eventually returned to me. Apparently "food" was too general. The word "candy" was fine, but not "food", so be specific and don't include items that are prohibited by law.
Other items that I have found, from personal experience, that do not ship well are chocolate (especially in the summer). Also, things that are sticky. I had a request once for pancake mix and syrup to be sent in a care package. The syrup did not travel well and made a huge mess! Mapeline flavoring would have been a much better idea. Its smaller and would be less likely to leak. Plus it takes up so much less room and makes so much more syrup! If you are worried about any thing making a mess, just put it inside a ziploc bag for extra insurance! So, if it does make a mess it will stay within the bag and not ruin everything in the box!
3. Where do you find inspiration for your themed care packages?
I find inspiration everywhere. Of course Pinterest is a great resource. I have had great suggestions from customers who have asked for a custom design! In fact, if I have a custom request and I think it is something other customers would like, I don't charge a custom art fee. So, I love it when customers come to me with ideas! If I see a clever saying on a greeting card, pinterest, instagram, or even at the store I write it down so I can refer to them later when I am working on new designs.
4. Once we've chosen a theme, do you have any suggestions for how we can keep costs down when adding items to our care package?
To keep costs down, ALWAYS check with the dollar store first! I have been really surprised about some of the things I have found there. They often have brand name food, but in smaller packages, so it allows me to be able to fit more items inside the box. Target also has a dollar section, usually in the front of the store, and you can find great deals at Walmart too. Plus if you want to send holiday items, the dollar store is the way to go, because then the recipient doesn't have to feel guilty if they can't save it and can toss it with out feeling guilty.
5. How did you develop the idea of using a sticker kit to decorate care packages?
I developed the idea for Paper Paisley when I had two daughters living abroad. One was in Spain and the other was in Peru. Sending packages was expensive, so they usually only got a package for a birthday or a major holiday like Christmas. Because I was not able to send them things very often, I really wanted the packages to be extra special! Packages were a major way of letting them know how much we loved and missed them. I was assembling two care packages for Christmas one year and I was in a rush to get them mailed in time. I was trying to decorate the inside of the box (like I had seen on Pinterest) and I was frustrated because I didn't have the time to make it look good. It was a Pinterest fail. I thought to myself, "this would be so much easier if I just had a giant sticker." I soon realized that I couldn't find anything like that anywhere. I mentioned the idea to my husband one night and he was really excited about it and encouraged me and helped me get Paper Paisley up and running. If he had not been so enthusiastic, I probably would have never done it! My kids have also been enthusiastic about the idea and an important part in helping to get the business up and running.
6. What is your favorite sticker kit that you've created?
I think one of my favorite sticker kits (and one of our best sellers) is "I Love You to the Moon" Sticker Kit. My husband actually created this one! I love the way it looks like a full moon when all four flaps are on the inside of the box!
7. What is the #1 tip you would give a military spouse who is creating a care package for the first time?
My number one tip would be don't forget to include a note or letter with your package! I would often be in a rush getting packages ready and forget to put a note inside. I didn't think much of it, but when my daughters got home they mentioned that they always loved it when we had a personal note or letter included and were a little disappointed when there wasn't one in the box. It never occurred to me that they might miss that. Always tell those most important to you how much you love them - especially when they are far from home. I say snail mail becomes a "love language" when you are separated from loved ones!
We loved having the "Box of Sunshine" care package sticker kit from Paper Paisley in the August Brave Crate! Click here to see the care package we created with it!