Friday, March 27, 2015

Hi! My name is Chelsea Ling, and I own Papercakes Pretty. Do you remember when I ran this blog? Well it has been years since I posted... but I wanted to let you guys know what I am up to currently...

We are running an indiegogo campaign and I am launching a new online store etc... here's the indiegogo page story. to contribute click here :

Papercakes pretty has been a seven year evolution of a dream I've had a for a very long time, pretty much since jr highschool. I started by making Paper crafts (that's where the name came from) and blogging. When I first started, I was a stay at home mom. I went through a really tough, messy split, and was left alone in a province w no family, no job, no income.. etc. I kept at papercakes, selling jewelry and doing photography and makeup, basically anything creative that I could make some money at. I continued to develop my online presence via social media. My life was beyond falling apart but I just kept pushing, and never stopped with papercakes. There were some very rough years, like almost homeless and a couple months without my kids years, and even an assault charge/weekend in jail for punching my ex husband. But I got through all that and came out the other side of it all stronger than I ever thought I could be. However, I still continue to struggle and hustle as a single mom running a business. We are doing amazing already, but I need to be making more to survive. I have a very solid plan to expand and solve that problem, but we can't get anywhere without money.

In August 2012, frustrated with my inability to find a job and refusing to sell my soul and work fast food and just barely survive, I tattooed my knuckles with the phrase "moonbeam". Seems counterproductive... it was... on purpose. I look at my hands constantly all day. This was my way of forever dedicating myself to this work, removing myself from those job prospects. People thought I was crazy. People always think I am crazy! haha... anyways by early 2013 I was taking a nail course and by summer of 2013 I was working full time doing nails. I had gone to makeup school at age 18 and I have worked for most major cosmetic lines out there so this transition went pretty naturally. I started in a small office and then in fall of 2013 I moved into our current location and started the boutique. We are currently about to launch online in a huge way with a new blog, website, and online store. Our online store will be the first of it's kind in canada and provide a way for people to order cool shit (PLUS SIZES, a big selection!!!!!!!!!!) from within their country and not pay duty. We aim to be a large scale online retailer that would be somewhat a combo of something like modcloth and forever 21.

I am in a unique position with my business. I am extremely well branded, and well known. I have marketed myself so well via social media the last 6 years that I have become somewhat of a local celebrity and almost a caricature of myself  (cheesy I know, and it isn't hard in PEI lol) and am well known online. I have 35.000 followers on twitter as Papercakes and almost 15,000 ppl on FB between my personal account and business pages. 

My network of people is loyal, and genuinely interested. I go far and beyond the typical social media marketing. I am my product. I allow customers and the online community complete access to my life, and i interact. I tweet 24/7 and have basically no filter. I am highly entertaining and I am good at drawing a crowd, as I am ridiculous and somewhat hard to ignore. I have soooo many rad people in my corner - just no banks! hahaha :) 

I have shitty credit due to my marriage splitting up, so everything has been done on cash, and not a lot. I have worked my ASS off for the last two years and the shop is now a huge community! I have tons of nail clients and I brought on a partner to help me run the shop. We support local and we consign used clothing. We are huge into providing income for fellow artists and recycling. 

We desperately need more space for the shop - we want to double the size locally. We are also expanding online in a major way right now. The other side of the building is perfectly set up to house a full salon with multiple estheticians and maybe a hair dresser, with the back being warehouse space. We can easily knock out a wall and have the whole bottom floor of the building. My business partner and I also live above the shop in an apartment so we are right on site. The other space comes available for May of this year. 

This is my current working space. It's amazing, but it would be so nice to be able to have a few more girls in, doing not just nails but waxing and facials and pedis etc. We have the clientele for sure! 

What We Need & What You Get

  • We are hoping for at least $10,000. We want to rent the space next to our current one, and expand. Knock out walls, do some cosmetic renos, and get more stock and supplies to expand into a full salon. 
  • Even if we don't reach our goal we will still be going ahead with our plan and exploring other avenues of funding.
  • Unfortunately, we are so busy running the business and so financially stretched thin that we can't do any crazy perks. Those that we are offering are special though...  if you know me, you know I do spells and wish burning. I have saved all of my ashes for four years, and I am going to now offer those to others to spread the magic. As well as stickers, nail services, gift certificates, etc. 

  • The Impact

    • The local economy here in PEI is pretty tough to say the least! We will be providing much needed jobs for women here and putting back into the economy. 
  • We will be buying wholesale directly from atisians
  • Anyone who has watched my journey over the last seven years knows that I have put my heart and soul into this, and I will never give up. 
  • We have real connection with our customers and clients. Not just locally, but all over the world. That is what has made me so successful on social media. Our supporters have been invested in following us now for many years and feel like they "know" me. They get to participate in this every step of the way. 


    Risks & Challenges

    • PEI is an extremely interesting market. It is very hard for new business here, let alone "different" business and especially one run by a woman and a "come from away" (I am originally from Alberta) person - but I have developed such solid networking here and genuine relationships. So much so that when I almost had to close down last month due to the bad weather, those around me were scrambling to do all they could to help. We have a network that many businesses would KILL for - we just have no extra cash flow. 

    • Other Ways You Can Help

      • get the word out and make some noise about your campaign! be loud, in true Chelsea Ling fashion hehe... share w anyone you know who cares about the arts and about women in business! 
      •  use the Indiegogo share tools!