We are so excited to share our first “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 Alexa McCulley of @typeaforalexa.
If you are not already familiar with Alexa, you have definitely seen her gorgeous planner dividers around the community and posted on social media. After becoming a work from home/stay at home mom, Alexa found her way into the planner community and has never looked back. Although she doesn’t think of herself as creative, Alexa has turned her hobby and love of planning into a full time business with hard work, great products, fun collabs and now the launch of her Etsy shop.
Here, Alexa shares a bit of her journey with us from planner to Planner-preneur:
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into planning and the planner community?
A: I originally found decorative planning after I had my first daughter, and I was starting a work from home job and needed a way to organize not only my work schedule but her newborn appointments and our home bills etc. I was ALWAYS a planner, a color coder, and a list maker. But when I stumbled across an Erin Condren planner on Instagram, I followed a few hashtags into the rabbit hole of planner stickers. Then, I found some of the bigger planner groups on Facebook and realized that there were a lot more people who loved doing the same thing and started making friendships that I will value forever, all because of a paper planner.
Q: Why did you decide to start a planner business and what do you like most about it?
A: I actually didn’t set out to start a business. I was just crafting regularly with my closest planner friends and we were constantly making new things to put into our planners. My dad always instilled in me that if I was going to pick up a hobby, I had to do it big. So, I always had the newest gadgets and supplies to make our planner dreams come true and we would craft for hours. One day, after successfully cutting die cuts for our TNs on my Silhouette, I realized I could probably fumble my way through making my own planner dividers. I used them in my planner and posted flips on social media regularly and then people started messaging me asking where I got my dividers. When I responded that I made them, they would offer me money to make them dividers too. I started out maybe with 5-10 orders a week, and then those customers would share and tag me on social. Then, I got more orders and so on. One morning I woke up to over 100 DMs, after a few well known shop owners had shared my dividers and tagged me. At this point, I realized it was time to either turn it into an actual business or just stop doing it all together.
What I like most about my business is the fact that it’s a creative outlet for me, even though I swear I’m really one of the least creative people ever. I’ve never considered myself artsy, but I love having an idea and the skills to translate it into a tangible product, especially when it looks cute in my planner and other people love it. I also truly value the connections with other planners that my business has brought me. The conversations I get to have on a daily basis with other planner lovers is something I really enjoy.
Q: Can you tell us what type of products will be in your Etsy shop?
A: The shop will have custom dividers, cash envelopes and dashboards but I will also be bringing in quite a few ready to ship products that I’m really excited about. I’ve come up with certain cash envelope designs that can be pre-made but also end up custom once the product is in your hand (can’t tell you how, but it’s pretty awesome). I’ve also started releasing gift card holders and dashboards that can be pre-made in a variety of sizes for those who don’t want to wait for a custom item to ship.
Q: Does your personal planning style influence or inspire the products that you create?
A: 100%! Everything I make is something I thought of because I wanted it in my own planner. I feel like I have been able to add my own whimsical and colorful style into my products, and that has set me apart from other divider shops.
Q: What advice would you give to a planner newbie or entrepreneur?
A: I would definitely say that if you are looking to start a new business or project in the planner community, you have to be able to 100% commit. Whether it’s time everyday to work on your craft or promote your project, or the time it takes to research best practices or procedures, or the time it takes to actually build relationships in the community, it will eventually lead back to building your business. It is not a community that will accept a half-effort. If you put your heart and soul into your business, people will be able to see that and will want to support you even more.