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The girl from Little Papeterie

Alexandra Tolmie

When I was a teacher, one of my favourite times of the year was ‘back to school’ January. I loved nothing more than to trawl the aisles of Office Works, Kikki K and Kmart for hours looking for the perfect stationery pieces to organise and beautify my classroom and the year ahead. I’m also a bit of a fine paper fetishist—I handmade all 100 of my wedding invitations and spent a year in Japan spending far too much money on paper crafts.

So this particular paper-lover was thrilled to discover Canberra’s Little Papeterie, the brainchild of the very lovely Intan S. Leseigneur, and to catch up for a chat about her business.

Little Papeterie is both a stationery brand and an online store, specialising in greeting cards. The website declares, “We love handwritten notes and hope to inspire people to rediscover this (almost) lost art”. Stocking beautifully-made pieces printed in Australia, including calendars, cards, gift tags and notepads, Intan has plans to eventually expand her range—but for now she’s busy expanding her family! Their first baby is due any day now, but Intan says she’ll be glad to have something for herself that “doesn’t feel like work” whilst balancing the demands of motherhood.

Before Little Papeterie existed, Intan and her friend Muzi decided to start a business together. They both knew they wanted to start an online store because they had a shared penchant for online shopping, and it felt like the right time to be getting into that space.

But Intan and Muzi very quickly realised that where one had a deep and abiding passion for stationery, the other was more excited by textiles and soft-furnishings. And so two very stylish Canberra-based stores were born: Little Papeterie and Lazy Sunday Home. The two women still work closely together, most recently running a stall at Night Market Canberra in Barton, and Lazy Sunday Home also stocks Little Papeterie products online.

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Intan also works closely with another friend, Daniel (Made From Good Deeds). Surrounded by such clever, creative friends who she can bounce her ideas off really helps refine her products.

“Having a network really encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and opens up new skills. It’s good to surround yourself with inspiring people,” says Intan.

While she claims she’s not particularly creative, Intan’s passion for her products stems from a love of organising and a desire to create and sell things that she would like to use in her own home.

Intan shares some advice for other women thinking of making the leap into small business and doesn’t hesitate to say, “Just do it! Do your research and talk to people who’ve done it before.”

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She also recommends a website called Flying Solo, which is a great source of information, advice and inspiration for current and prospective Australian business owners.

Intan also LOVES Instagram, to the point where she’s furnished her new baby’s nursery entirely with beautiful products sourced via the social media platform. As a small business owner she loves how friendly and supportive Instagram is and recommends using it to promote your brand and drum up interest well before you launch your business.

Before we part ways I can’t help but ask Intan about music (my other true love), and she reveals that she’s a huge fan of Brazilian Bossa Nova. And as she elegantly sashays away from the café (which is no mean feat for someone who’s 39 weeks pregnant), I realise she reminds me so much of Astrud Gilberto. I spend the rest of the day humming The Girl From Ipanema and dreaming of beautiful stationery.

You can follow Little Papeterie on Instagram or find Intan on Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates.

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Alex Tolmie

Alex is the founder and co-chair of the Department of Education and Training Women's Network and a mum of two gorgeous little girls. She has overcome big challenges as a new mother and now loves to help others become confident, joyful mamas themselves. She blogs about her experience at draxela.com More about the Author

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