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Exploring Life & Business with Shonda Ramsey of Lilian Grace Designs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shonda Ramsey. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My love for stationery began back in the ’90s when I was an awkward teen, cell phones had not yet been invented and the way you communicated with your friends was through writing letters with gel pens on colorful paper folded up into the most creative way you could muster. The first time I ever created a greeting card was back then and I never stopped loving it. Like most card makers, I went through the rubber stamp phase, learning how to create unique backgrounds and textures with household items like shaving cream, ink, and rubbing alcohol. It was a craft hobby for me for quite some time, until I stumbled across digitally creating invitations with Photoshop and Illustrator. Once that world opened to me, I took classes to learn the programs and put my creativity to the test. 

In 2017, we went through a very difficult time, a miscarriage. My Dr had told me that it was time for me to put my focus on something else because children were something that was no longer on the table. I had already been working on a business plan to launch a Gift Boutique and was experimenting with my own line of cards and stationery. I decided to go ahead with the launch of Lilian Grace Designs, using the name we had picked for a daughter should we have had one. 

For the first couple of years, I carried multiple brands alongside of my own and had an in-person booth at the Dayton Mall. While there, I learned that my own brand was far outperforming the other common and popular stationery brands I was carrying. So, I decided to put the brand to test and launched the Say it with Grace Box, a subscription box for the thoughtful gift-giver in 2019. During the test phase of the box, I received valuable feedback on the products I was testing and quickly learned which styles were popular and which ones weren’t. 

At the height of Covid in 2020, with the mandates to shut down, the subscription box really struggled to bounce back. I switched the model from monthly to quarterly and tripled my subscribers. In addition to the box, I put my brand line in 2 local stores to see how they performed on their own. 

The result of these test launches is a brand refresh and relaunch in 2022, offering the brand on a wholesale level to other retail locations. I have a new lineup of products launching at different times throughout the year as we build our wholesale offerings. My goal for 2022 is 100 new greeting cards by the end of the year. 

Lilian Grace Designs is a stationery and lifestyle brand focused on building friendships from the heart for women who feel unheard and alone so they can cultivate deep-rooted relationships with themselves and others. We are designing our cards to say the words that others struggle to find during difficult times. Our most recent collection we’ve launched is our Infertility Collection which has several different cards that cover several topics within the infertility journey. By changing how we approach creating greeting cards, we can help others form deeper bonds with their friends by saying those hard-to-say things for them. 

In addition, we are currently launching our Podcast, Unbroken and Enough, to have round table discussions with other women about friendship, self-care, and life in general. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
One thing that has been constant is growth and adaptability. In order to overcome any obstacles that were in my path, I had to be willing to learn (grow) and change (adapt). If I fought it or got stubborn and ignored it, that is when I’d find myself standing in the same spot. Learning to recognize the need to pivot and change business models is hard but not impossible. When I first started, I had the vision to only be a gift boutique, carrying many different brands, but what I found was that my brand was needed to help others deepen their relationships. Making that transition hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth it is ever easy and I am up for the challenge always! When people tell me how sending one of my cards to their friends changed their relationship to a stronger one, it makes my heart happy and I know I am on the right track! 

We’ve been impressed with Lilian Grace Designs, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The products that we carry are greeting cards, stationery, notepads, notebooks, journals, planners, and gifts. We do offer custom products both for personal and business use. 

Our notepads and notebooks are created in-house from design to print and padding/binding. We use a premium paper that is thick and smooth to combat ghosting which makes our notepads and notebooks much nicer than a scratch pad. Because we do these in-house, we can also do them in small batches. 

We also offer gift box shipping, you can have your order packed and shipped directly to a recipient of your choosing, we gift wrap the items in our signature Say it with Grace Box, and we will hand write your message on a complimentary card. 

The brand is more than stationery and greeting cards, with the latest addition of the Podcast, we are hoping to help others strengthen their relationships. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kelly Ann Photography

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