Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein

Meet Nicole Clark: Owner, Designer, Mom of 3 and Professional Multi-Tasker. Only 2 years ago, Nicole took her love of all things pretty and combined it with her parenting experience to create this amazingly practical yet fashionable line of mom-necessities. From camp must-haves to a full line of personalized holiday cards, gift-tags, address labels and the oh-so-helpful ‘school notes’, Nicole is a one-stop-shop for all your stationary needs.

Nicole and her family

But she’s got your ipads, Kindles and iphones literally covered too! With a natural talent for graphic design and the sophisticated taste of a fashion-forward mom, Nicole works with you to take the ordinary iphone case and create a fabulously eye-catching accessory that’ll have every mom in the supermarket express line stop in her tracks. Find out how this amazing mompreneur started http://www.prettyonpaper.com and just made your holiday shopping spree a million times easier, one Kindle case at a time.

BN: Write your bio in 5 sentences or less (i.e. where’d you grow up?, where’d you go to school?, job before kids?, how many kids?, where do you live now? Hobbies? etc.)
NC: I grew up outside of Philadelphia. I went to undergrad and grad school in Boston. I have 3 kids, a 5-year-old, 4-year-old and a 15-month-old; needless to say my life is a little craaazy at the moment! I was a teacher before I had kids (that seems like a whole other life!). We live in Weston now, outside of Boston. I love to scrapbook and am obviously obsessed with graphic design. I love to be on my laptop and design new items. I also enjoy cooking and baking new healthy recipes. My middle daughter loves being my little helper in the kitchen, mixing, etc. My son is a very picky eater and sometimes I can get him to try new things if he is involved in cooking them. He doesn’t even eat pizza, but every once in a while, if we make it together from scratch, he will actually try some when it is finished.

Personalized Cutting Board

BN: What inspired you to start your own business? How did it all begin?
NC: Well, since I am an avid scrapbooker, I have always been into creative stuff. Once I had kids, I started to do more digital scrapbooking, and that is when I began to fall in love with designing on a computer. A friend asked me to design her holiday cards one year, and I spent the next 5 months designing invitations, etc. for friends and family. One day, I thought maybe I should turn this into a business. I get inspiration everywhere and from everything. I will be out to dinner with friends and see a fabulous pattern on the bathroom wall in the restaurant, and that will be my starting point for my next pattern. I didn’t major in graphic design in college and am completely self-taught. I can’t get enough of it. I watch how-to videos on YouTube and have taken many online classes.

BN: What challenges did you face when starting your company?
NC: Trying to find a balance between being a stay-at-home mom and running a company. When I first started Pretty on Paper, my middle child was 18 months old. I wanted to be very involved with my kids but I also wanted my company to be successful. I am a total control freak when it comes to both my kids and my company (which I also think of as one of my babies :). I still struggle with the balance but I found a great guy in Arizona last year who helps me with a lot of the work orders, and I am slowly learning how to give up some control and delegate.

BN: What are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids (in or around NYC)?
NC: Of course, the Central Park Zoo. My kids love the Victorian Garden in Central Park. One year we went and it was pouring rain and they didn’t even care. They were going on the rides while it was down pouring and were still so happy. My two older kids love the M&M store, and Dylan’s Candy Bar is a must when we go into the city. I usually pretend it is for them but it makes me just as happy :)

BN: You’re on a desert island…with your kids – name 5 must-have items you’ll want with you.
NC: 1) Well obviously my husband
2) My laptop (with a solar powered charger), which I can’t be without. I have it near me 24/7. I even bring it in the car when I take my kids to school and some days sit in the school parking lot doing work after I drop my kids off. My car is one of my favorite places to work, no distractions ever. My kids could also use it for movies, games, etc…
3) I’m tempted to say my cell phone which would also need some sort of solar powered charger but the idea of being away with just my family with absolutely no contact with the outside world actually sounds kind of nice, so I will use #3 to say the largest pack of markers I could find. My kids could have endless entertainment and bring some color to the island with their drawings.
4) A bag of my kids’ loveys. Each of them has been sleeping with a lovey since they were newborns. They are those tiny blanket animals with the heads on them. My boy has a sheep, and my girls have a bunny and a giraffe.
5) A 3-pound bag of mini Swedish fish. I’m kind of obsessed. Have one in my house at all times. Love them and I use it as my rewards/negotiating candy for my kids too.

Nicoloe and her family featured on a personalized ipad case

BN: What are your goals for the future of this company (realistic or in your wildest dreams)?
NC: I just want to always love what I do and have customers always love what we design for them. I have always been a people pleaser and love getting emails from customers after they have received their items telling me how happy they are and how much they love their product. That is what keeps me doing this. I have a handful of regular customers who will continuously email me and have me create custom designs for them. Working together with my customers to create something fabulous that is exactly what they want is my favorite aspect of this company.

Visit http://www.prettyonpaper.com and check out the many fabulous gifts you can design for the busy moms in your life and make this holiday season that much prettier!

Originally published December 2012
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