Building a business while on the “Mommy Track”...an adventure tale!
Penny Laine Papers is a stationery and gift design and manufacturing company located in Dallas, Texas with a creative office directed by partner, Penny Nye, located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Founded in 1984, this company has a longevity not often seen in the industry.
Two preschoolers, two babies, four car seats, C.P.A./M.B.A., no printing experience, a Fine Arts degree, a northerner recently relocated to a southern city, and a love of stationery - combined characteristics and possessions of the two “thirty-somethings” that formed a partnership to produce invitations. Penny Nye and Elaine Stillman were introduced by a mutual friend who knew Elaine wanted to start her own business after the stress of a “Big 8” accounting firm and Penny was doing freelance design work in Dallas after leaving a career as a package designer in New York to move to the wild southwest! With two girls each, exactly the same ages, they were both committed to exploring the idea of a business as long as it didn’t interfere with the kids’ play dates or require full-time child care. This was truly the “Mommy Track”. So, to understand the early years, just imagine the kind-hearted print company executive who entertained 4 little girls in the reception area while his top salesperson explained prepress techniques to the two novices. Or the first National Stationery Show where they proudly exhibited their 18 (yes, that is 18 only!!) designs. Growth was slow, then faster with the introduction of imprintables, then slower, then stagnant for a few years as the market filled with new companies, then increasingly more and more successful with the change to developing more gift products. During those years, Penny’s family relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Penny Laine survived that separation, given the distinct talents and contributions of each of the partners. Introductions are concepted together, but all artistic efforts are concentrated in Knoxville while the accounting, marketing, and shipping functions remain in Dallas. And it’s hard to butt heads across four states!
Penny Laine Papers currently produces about 400 imprintables, as well as picture frames, brag books, baby books, memo pads, photo journals, bag tags, address books, thank you notes, autographable pillowcases, throw pillows, and photo frames, albums, and a huge line of camp stationery. Active accounts number 3,000.
We love them all!
©2013 Penny Laine Papers. All Rights Reserved.0