I can't even tell you how thrilled I was when I reached out to Val Woerner of Val Marie Paper about featuring her as a brand crush here on the blog, and she said yes!! I deeply admire and look up to Val as a designer, creative entrepreneur, wife, mama, and follower of Christ. She is a true inspiration to me, an encourager to all and I've been so impacted by her incredible products and her heart behind them. I feel like every time I read something she posts on Instagram or her latest blog post, I find myself nodding and saying, "yes! yes! this! amen!" Plus, it's hilarious to me how we even connected! I think I was searching through a hashtag on Instagram, and stumbled across her profile, which led me to her website, where I discovered that she was a stationery designer and we had the same first + middle names! I'd never met another Valerie Marie before, and it seemed sooo coincidental to me that not only did we have the same name, but she was also a designer! I think I sent her an awkward Etsy message just to say hi and tell her that I really loved her work. From there we've been connecting online and via email and I'm so grateful to know her and call her friend. I'm praying hard that we can meet + hug in person at the Influence Conference this September! I have been so encouraged by Val and I know you will be too. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and allow me to introduce my friend and latest brand crush, Val Woerner!
1. Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What do you do? I am Valerie Woerner, owner of Val Marie Paper. I design and sell prayer journals and am currently writing a book. I live in Lafayette, Louisiana with my husband Tyler and daughter Vivi Mae. I am passionate about living a life of margin and inspiring women to find peace and joy in life.
2. Describe a typical day. I wake up at 5AM to spend some time with the Lord and spend an hour or so writing. Vivi is up at 8AM and Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays she goes to school so I get her ready and drop off to school. Wednesdays are our ship days which Vivi loves to be a part of. I have an assistant, Savri, that comes and packages all the orders for the week while I work on random requests and wedding orders. Fridays are a little more laid back. I just work during naps!! I try to get most of my work done while Vivi is at school. It is mostly emailing with customers, writing the book and planning goals for the future. Emails are definitely the biggest chunk but I try to carve out intentional time for long-term goals so they don't get neglected.
3. How do you stay inspired? Reading books! It seems every time I get stuck, it's usually when I'm not reading. When I pick them up again, the ideas flow.
4. What's your favorite way to cultivate creativity? I really have to remind myself that when I look at what everyone else is doing and try to do something similar, it's a water down version and not at all authentic. When I can sink into my own work and look to God to fill me with the creativity, my work is so much better and honestly, everyone likes it better because it's real.
5. How did you get started doing what you do? It's been a winding road! I started out as a wedding planner with a journalism degree who had spent the past year designing pages for the local newspaper. I quickly learned designing wedding invitations wasn't too different from newspapers (but prettier of course!). I sold the wedding planning business so I could work fulltime on invitations in anticipation of starting our family. During pregnancy, I designed myself a prayer journal, shared on my site and shipped out 100 orders two weeks after our little girl was born. The journals have taken over and multiplied (we now have for men, kids, pregnancy and a marriage guide) and I decided to write a book so I stopped to wedding invitations as well. Some days, my changing course has made me feel like a failure in so many ways but then I remember God is pruning my life and has used every step. I am using my writing and design skills as I write a book and design journals. It's not the straightest path but it's been an adventure!
6. What are your three favorite reads (books, blogs, magazines?)
Margin by Richard Swenson - this shaped my life and home and freed me from busy
Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst - this shaped my outlook and how I handle ups and downs
Rework by Jason Fried - this shaped my business
7. What fills your tank so you can keep doing what you do / how do you rest? In the morning, it's reading my Bible and pray. The house is so still and quiet. At night, it's a hot epsom salt bath and a book. Also, my husband. I can't go too long without nightly chats or cuddles.
8. If you could give another creative entrepreneur who is just starting out a piece of advice, what would you say? Establish a heartfelt "why". Being an entrepreneur is not nearly as glamorous as it may look in those little Instagram squares of your favorite female entrepreneur. At some point, in those early days when you realize it's not exactly what you thought it would be, knowing WHY you wanted to do this will help you push through the tough moments and succeed.
9. Share five products/apps that make your life easier or you can't life without.
PicTapGo - Photo app
10. Favorite song to throw an impromptu dance party to? Uptown Funk. Vivi starts dancing right when she hears it which always gets me dancing! You can watch her right here :)
*Photos by Catherine Guidry, Ashleigh Jayne and Val Woerner