For me, one of the treats of going to gift fairs is checking out some of the stands. At the recent Life In Style event in Sydney I felt like a kid in a candy shop when I saw the stall of Poppies For Grace. So much delicious stationery. I love the idea that three friends - Alana, Kate & Sarah - got together to create a business that they're passionate about (and that makes them happy). Meet Alana.
Which five words best describe you? Playful. Perfectionist. Hopeful. Dreamer. Happy.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? I've not had one! I've had jobs, but only short term relationships. ha ha. The only other job I had that I loved was working for a UK charity working with wild gothic teenagers. It was there I first discovered how much I liked to make things.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way?
1. To let our business be the extension of ourselves. It's the most natural way to be - you don't have to strain to be yourself.
2. Walking into stores and asking if they would like to buy our stationery is a brave thing to do. But once the moment is over you realise it was not as scary as you thought. Kind of like a first kiss (I was a shy teenager).
What's your proudest career achievement? Becoming an employer. I know its simple - but it shows how far we have come. It is also thrilling to be alongside others who get joy from Poppies. After all work is where we spend the majority of our lives.
What's been your best decision? Going into business with my best friends! What a joy.
Who inspires you? At the moment its Anita Roddick and Jamie Oliver - both have used their success as a way of doing good in such a public way that it inspires others to do the same. Common good is true beauty to me. I am truly inspired.
What are you passionate about? Creativity. There is always room for more artists and crafts people at my table. I am passionate about artists sharing their gift with the world.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Frederick Buechner and CS Lewis - in the same room. We would have tea and cake and talk about fairytales and God.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Well Kate is taking us to the New York stationery show - so becoming an international brand would be a thrill. We want to start a third and fourth Poppies website (the themes are still secret). We have two sites now - one for our stationery one for our wedding stationery. And, of course, there is this thing that bubbles away in me of becoming more and more socially and environmentally responsible.
What are you reading? Business as unusual by Anita Roddick and Healthy sleep habits, Happy Child - Dr Marc Weissbluth (I'm a new mum!!!)
images courtesy of poppies for grace