I Don’t Know How She Does It – Sugar Paper’s Chelsea Shukov & Jamie Grobecker
I fell in love with Sugar Paper long before I knew anything about the women behind it. As a young 20-something living on the west side of Los Angeles, the Brentwood Country Mart was always a favorite destination for lazy weekend mornings filled with window shopping and lattés. But while many women went there for the fashion and beauty staples, I always preferred to peruse the beautiful paper goods at Sugar Paper. I could literally spend an hour in there, thumbing through thank you notes (these are my signature ones) and lingering over the little details in everything from the design of the cards to the serene, chic space they lived in, and often thought the same thing… “I wish I could have my own little shop like this some day.” Well, Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker do. The close friends and graphic designers founded Sugar Paper in 2003 after falling in love with the simplicity and nostalgia of letterpress printing. Their mission was simple: to custom-design exquisite social stationery that would be a distinctive stamp of style for their chic clientele, and shine a spotlight on a beautiful and underappreciated art form. And it worked. Having been featured in publications including Martha Stewart Weddings, VOGUE, InStyle, Lucky, Vanity Fair and Domino, Sugar Paper is a trusted resource for their upscale, stylish and celebrity clientele. But of course the most important clients in their lives are their young kids (Chelsea’s three-year-old son Owen – number two is on the way in a matter of weeks! – and Jamie’s two-year-old daughter, Kate) who undoubtedly know how to say “thank you” with some serious style. Here is how they do it, in Chelsea’s words:
What time does your day start and how?
A typical weekday begins at 6:30am when our kids pop out of bed. Our kids are not yet in school so our mornings are spent with them until we get them out the door to a play date…and then Jamie and I typically chat on the phone, which is ironic since we share an office and sit in the same room all day. We’re in the office by 10am checking emails and getting started with our to-do lists.
What time does your day end and how?
Jamie and I are in the office until 6pm when we race home to relieve our nannies and get dinner started. The day ends in both of our homes in a very similar fashion. There’s dinner and bath time and bed… and then a little time spent on our computers either finishing our work from the day – or scouring Pinterest for the newest thing we want to “re-do” in our respective homes.
Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?
We work out of a studio/warehouse space in West Los Angeles. We find that it’s really hard to be as productive as we need to be when we try to work from home now that we have little ones. Plus, Jamie and I are very “hands on” when it comes to Sugar Paper products and design. We work closely with our team to ensure that everything we make is a representation of the Sugar Paper brand and that the quality is impeccable. Our company culture is rooted in that.
Our studio consists of our pressroom where we house working vintage letterpress machines, our design studio where we design and assemble our products, our stockroom which holds the “vault” of inventory, and our office which Jamie and I share. The majority of what we design is printed and packaged in our LA studio. We’re very proud of that.
Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?
We do speak with the kids during our workday. We just started using Facetime more to say hello here and there, but they are young so the conversations are pretty limited to “hello” and “mommy loves you.”
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
The best thing about being a working mom is having something that is yours, something that you’re passionate about that speaks to a part of you that motherhood cannot fill. We also agree that it’s really good for our marriages. We can relate to our husbands in that we can appreciate a hard day at the office or the financial obligations that go along with running a company.
The hardest thing about being a working mom is leaving the kiddos. There are days when we just want to sneak off to the beach with them, but a scheduled conference call or deadline prevents it from being possible. It’s heartbreaking to pull out of the driveway with a little one crying for you.
Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?
The flexibility of their days. We feel like our weeks are so structured in order to make it all work. I played hookey recently and ran into a friend in tennis gear getting a blow-out on a Wednesday at noon. That looked awfully nice…
Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.
Neither do we, but somehow it works.
And here are some of the Sugar Paper ladies’ sweetest finds:
We both love Jouer Cosmetics. Some of our favorites include the Jouer Lip Enhancer – I’m not sure what it does exactly, but it’s amazing – and the Jouer Tinted moisturizer. It has a light-diffusing mineral formula that makes your skin look amazing.
Jamie’s daughter is all girl and looks darling in her Tucker + Tate dresses.
We’re both borderline obsessed with J.Crew & Madewell. In our book, they can do no wrong. This striped linen blazer was a recent must.
I’m totally smitten with Lands End right now. Their monogram polos are affordable and so gosh darn preppy. I love them!