We are so excited to share our next “Planner-preneur” for 2020! In this ongoing series, we share an inside look at people from our community that have poured all their creativity and inspiration into a “planner-related” entrepreneurial venture. This time we are talking to Alicia Michelle Gonzalez of @aliciamichellexo
Alicia’s love of paper started early on in life but her passion for all things planning flourished when she found the planner community on Instagram. She was hooked on the decorative style of planning because it was a way for her to stay organized, be crafty and memory keep. Since those early days, Alicia has learned there are no limits when it comes to exploring her creativity. After finishing her term on The Happy Planner Squad, she decided to take her talents to the next level and open her own sticker shop on Etsy. And we are so glad she did. Her gorgeous hand lettering combined with fun color palettes and striking graphics have made her sticker releases a must-have.
Here, Alicia shares some of her journey with us from planner to Planner-preneur:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into planning and the planner community?
I started decorative planning in 2012 as a fun creative outlet. I soon realized the benefits of actually planning my day to day and it soon became a necessity. It’s been really fun to see how planning has taken off and to now see actual planners “in the wild”. I also really love giving planners as gifts and seeing people stay organized in a really fun and creative way.
As far as the planner community, I was so scared to create an actual planner Instagram. At the time I joined, I followed only Erin Condren planners since The Happy Planner wasn’t created yet. Planners on Instagram seemed so organized and crafty and my planner DID NOT look like that. But, I eventually joined and found my home in the community. I’m so glad I did! This community has brought me friends, fun and tremendous growth.
Why did you decide to start a planner business, in particular stickers featuring your lettering?
When I was on The Happy Planner SQUAD, I felt so blessed to be surrounded by so many women in the community that I had looked up to. I was blown away by the fact that I was a “peer” of Jennie McGarvey of @ajmcgarvey, April of @momruncraft and so many others. When the time came to schedule our BOOTCAMP trip to California, I was faced with my fear of flying. These women that I looked up to for so long were so supportive of me and encouraging. It was extremely empowering and I was so appreciative. I wanted to do something to show my appreciation so I made them stickers to commemorate the trip. And they were so DIY. I bought the label paper from Walmart and printed them on my $25 printer but they LOVED THEM. Then a lightbulb went off. I just had to get around my own self-doubt which was a big problem of mine.
Can you share any upcoming products you are excited about adding to the shop?
I just released my favorite stickers I’ve ever created- Selena stickers! She means so much to me and my family and my culture. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud/anxious at the reception. Also, Spring is coming so you know that means florals and pastels and Easter!
How does your planning style influence or inspire the products that you create?
Most of the stickers I create are stickers that I’ve created for me. It’s a cool feeling to know that if I want something specific (and if it hasn’t been created or hasn’t been created the way I envision it) I can create it myself. Recently, because I’m so busy creating for my business, I have found that I don’t focus on being too decorative with my own planning. It’s more function with my own stickers thrown in. I don’t mind it though. It’s keeping my creative juices flowing and keeps me from purchasing thousands of sticker books!
What do you like most about your business and what advice would you give to a planner newbie or entrepreneur?
There’s nothing like getting a notification that someone has tagged your art being used in their planner. It’s an incredible feeling I hope never stops. For so long, I didn’t believe I was qualified to do what I’m doing now. But God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. And I’m so so grateful to be called to share my talents with this community.
As for advice, not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows. Not every day is going to hold a win. Take the rain and thunderstorms as it’s meant to be- nourishment. The rain helps you grow. Learn from your mistakes and bad days and keep moving forward.
Be sure to check out Alicia’s Etsy shop and follow her on Instagram and YouTube.
We are so excited to introduce a new series called “Planner In The City” where we feature a local planner from a city or area of interest to the planner community.
Next week, hundreds of planners will visit the city of Chicago to attend the Chicago Planner Conference (CPC). Whether a first time attendee or alumni, CPC offers amazing speakers, workshops and vendors. It is a great opportunity to mix and mingle with fellow planners. The conference takes place in downtown Chicago but the city is full of renowned restaurants, stores and more to explore. We asked local beauty, lifestyle and planner vlogger, Jessica Sanchez to share some of her favorite places around town and advice for attendees.
Here are some of Jessica’s favorite spots to eat, shop and explore:
Wildberry Pancakes and Café- 130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
⭐︎Great breakfast spot near the conference
3 Arts Club Café- 1300 N Dearborn Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610
⭐︎Great for Insta photos, food & a little furniture window shopping
Hero Coffee Bar – 22 E Jackson Ave, Chicago, IL 60604
⭐︎Such a great Insta famous spot with delicious coffee
Paradise Park Pizza – 1913 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
⭐︎Pizza, fun décor, delish cocktails and you must try their ‘Jalapeño Homies’
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company– 2121 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
⭐︎This great pizza spot is super popular and even went viral on Facebook
Cindy’s– 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
⭐︎Rooftop bar with delish cocktails, frosé and gorgeous views of Millennium Park & the lake
Plymouth Grill & Rooftop Bar– 327 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago, IL 60604
⭐︎Casual rooftop bar with good food and drinks for a reasonable price
Giordano’s- 730 N Rush St. Chicago, IL 60601 (other locations around the city)
⭐︎Authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza – you have to try it!
Paper Source Lab Store– 125 S Clark St #102, Chicago, IL 60603
⭐︎Always a great selection of cute stationery and gifts
Bow & Arrow Collection– 1815 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
⭐︎Cutest shop with a range of products from clothing to stationery
Jessica’s tips for new attendees:
I have attended CPC since it started in 2018. It is a great conference and one of the most sought after tickets in the planner community. It is the kind of conference you can go to alone and make friends easily. I came to my first CPC Conference by myself and found a great group of friends and the rest was history!
◾️Enjoy yourself! CPC is one of the best conferences with so much to offer. Make sure to appreciate it to the fullest.
◾️Don’t be shy, everyone is there for the same reason. Walk up to a new person, introduce yourself and start sharing your favorite planner finds from the conference and chat all things planner related.
I am so excited to see what the CPC Committee put together this year. Have tons of fun and plan on!
Jessica can be found @jessica_sanchez92 on Instagram and YouTube.
For more information about attending the Chicago Planner Conference, you can reference the CPC – Attendee’s Guide-3 or follow @chicagoplannerconference on Instagram.
What better way to celebrate Galentine’s Day than with a “#PlannerCRUSH”! In this series we share the planning style of someone in our community that we just can’t get enough of. We are talking about scrolling the IG feed and binge watching all the PWMs. Each time, we will feature a clue along with a few planner pics to see if you can recognize our #plannercrush? Here goes:
She is all about the minimal planner vibes….
Arelle from @rleplans
Arelle is a minimal planner by day and a RN by night. We just love her style and how she organizes her planning sections between a personal size every day carry (EDC) and an A5 extension planner. Additionally, she has set up a very detailed wellness journal that allows for journaling as well as staying on track with her physical and mental well being. Plus, we are totally crushin’ over her recent February ‘love’ theme dashboards (she made herself) featuring some famous quotes/scenes from movies and television shows.
Follow her @rleplans on Instagram and YouTube
You’ve said “yes” but now you are feeling stressed!
Planning your perfect wedding has always been a dream. But now that it is here, where do you start? There are so many appointments to schedule, things to do and decisions to make before the big day, it can get a bit overwhelming. But for a planner girl, scheduling, checklists and planning all the things is a language easy to understand. That’s why we’ve asked Laken Edwards of @planwithlaken for some helpful tips to kick start your wedding planning journey.
Laken is recently engaged (a total planner girl) and living in New York City with her fiancé and adorable cat, Charley. For her day job, she works in product development at a life insurance company. Outside of work, you can find her at PlanwithLaken on Instagram and YouTube where she shares content that helps you achieve your goals through planning and organization.
Since getting engaged last October, Laken and her fiancé have toured eight wedding venues out of state, asked twelve amazing people to be a part of their wedding party, and set a date!
Here, Laken shares her top three tips to help you get started with wedding planning:
▪️ You do NOT need all of the wedding planners. I repeat. YOU DO NOT NEED ALL OF THE WEDDING PLANNERS. As a planner girl, it is tempting to buy every paper wedding product that exists. I mean, you’re only going to be doing this once, right? I am completely guilty of getting every paper version of a wedding planner I could get my hands on. Do you know how many of them I’ve actually written in? NONE. Zero. I’ve been using a Google Doc. So before you go out and buy every wedding planner, binder, and notebook, sit down and really think about how you’ll use the products and try to choose one that will really benefit your wedding planning style.
▪️ Create a timeline and stick to it! It is so tempting to start pinning every gorgeous wedding picture you see. I love these centerpieces! This bridesmaids dress is gorgeous! There are so many decisions to be made. Creating a timeline helps you focus on each decision in the appropriate timeframe. For example, over the next few months my priorities are:
Go dress shopping
Set up the website
Finalize guest list
Order save the dates
This may seem like a lot, but when I sit down to work on wedding planning (put this all in your planner), I don’t get distracted with cakes or flowers. An extra bonus tip – I also color coordinated my timeline to note which items needed other people’s inputs – mainly my fiancé or family. For example, he doesn’t care about the save the dates; but will definitely be helping when we go do catering tastings. I have also assigned a color for things that need to be done in person. Since we are planning our wedding from a different city, this is incredibly helpful.
▪️ Ask for help! This advice applies to a lot of things, but let’s focus on wedding planning for now. As a type-A planner girl with perfectionist tendencies, this can be difficult. I want to handle every piece of information, every communication, and every detail. Luckily, technology forced me to give up control of something early on, which has allowed me to realize that IT WILL ALL BE OK.
To make a long story short, I recently had to hand over the responsibility of setting up venue tours to my mother, when I realized I would be out of the country without access to email. I gave her the password to our wedding email, the list of venues we wanted to tour, and she did the rest. (THANK YOU MOM!) Of course, she did a great job. We toured all eight venues in just two days, and everything went smoothly. So, be open to asking your parents, fiancé and bridal party to help you. You don’t have to do this alone!
Planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming times in your life so try to enjoy the moment. Focus on the aspects of the wedding that are the most important to you and your future spouse!