This week's FOCUSED philoSophie's shares the wisdom of Sarah Schwartz. Sarah keeps the stationery & gift industry in the know with her extensive knowledge of the market and her years as the editor of Stationery Trends magazine. I was so happy when Sarah agreed to taking part in the Focused philoSophie's series. I have known Sarah since I began philoSophie's. (evidence at the end of this post... Sarah's at the podium and I'm wearing a dress made out of philoSophie's!)
Editor-in-Chief and Founding Editor of Stationery Trends
Since I work at home, I like to think I’m always and never working. Obviously stationery and my paper peeps are a big part of my life and overlap into my passions. For example, I love design of all sorts and find it a never-ending source of inspiration, whether I find it hanging on a museum wall or people watching at a cafe. I am a huge reader, so I am attached at the hip to my Kindle. My family is the cornerstone of my life so spending time with them is my all-time favorite activity, and my daughter’s interests, namely figure skating, have become mine as well. I don’t volunteer at her club as much as I should, but you can sometimes find me checking in skaters and monitoring a session at her ice club (or texting her coaches, filling out competition forms, getting her skates stretched — all the wonderful details that help her do what she loves!). I love nature, swimming, beautiful vistas, film, fine art, Cedar Point … and as an introverted extrovert, I always appreciate solitude, silence and stillness.
How do you find FOCUS?
Find/Keep the Fun in business: I love stationery and the wonderful folks who populate the industry. There is always something new, and I never have the same day twice. Plus, even after 10 years, I still get excited when an issue of Stationery Trends materializes in my mailbox. I consider it my second child, and particularly enjoy making it the kind of magazine I would want to read.
Opportunities/Optimism: Right now the stationery industry as a whole is somewhat fragmented — there is not one but several markets throughout the year catering to it. To me, that equals huge opportunities for both the publication and the blog; people need cohesive resources to make sense of it all. And I’m happy to try & deliver!
Confidence: The day I realized I’d been covering stationery for 20 years was the day I realized that maybe I do know what I’m doing after all. For a long time I regarded myself as more of an industry chronicler that should stay firmly in the background, but more and more I find myself asked to speak at industry events, offer my opinion or a quote, sit on this or that committee, make introductions, and help others grow their businesses. It is so flattering to me that others think of me for these needs, and helping makers grow is so rewarding. Nothing feels better or makes you feel more valued than helping someone and expecting nothing in return. This was a huge lesson for me since I was pretty reserved growing up and can be a maddeningly private person. Really I always wanted to write, so this lesson was kind of shocking.
deal with the Unexpected: This is something I’m getting better at. John Lennon was right, life *is* what happens when you are making other plans, and the sooner you can truly accept it, the easier it is to deal with challenges. Take a deep breath, tell yourself this too will eventually be handled, and start handling it already!
Simplify ( workload, life, etc...) : I began using the meditation app Headspace last August for 10 minutes a day — and I have not missed a single one since! I can’t speak highly enough of it. Your work is not going to go away (though you can and should say “no” to stuff that ultimately isn’t right for you), challenges are not going to go away, things aren’t going to stop hitting the fan at the last minute. All of this is out of your control, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’ve learned that the best thing to do is acknowledge that feeling and get right back to doing what needs to get done!
Greeting cards 'always in style' Greeting Card Association fashion show.