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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

Small Business School: Mood Boards

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry Inspiration Mood Boards

We’re over the moon for mood boards at The Paper + Craft Pantry! Not only are they pretty to look at and fun to style, but they can serve as a great motivational tool for anyone looking to actualize a vision or dream.

Particularly for entrepreneurs, home spaces can often double as work spaces — and it can be hard to stay focused amidst all of the distractions life has to offer. For this reason, it is important to make sure your environment encourages and excites you to get work done. Mood Boards can be a great daily reminder of what it is you're working toward, and might even persuade you to ditch that third episode in a row of Parks and Rec for a couple hours of productivity.

So, we picked the brains of four amazing, small-biz #GirlBosses to get a peek at their mood boards, and discover what inspires and motivates them to achieve their dreams.

What inspires you?

Pei: It’s hard to pinpoint what constitutes as inspiration. For me, inspiration blends with reminders — I’m inspired when I’m reminded of things that make me want to be a better business owner, when simple conversations lead to big ideas, and when the teeniest (sometimes seemingly insignificant) daily happenings spark a new creative project.

Stephanie: I find a lot of inspiration from people. Working in the service industry exposes me to literally hundreds of faces each day. I often find myself most inspired by the mom juggling 5 children under 10, or the newly graduated student sitting in the corner working endlessly on their dream project in between part-time jobs...because, let's be honest, when I graduated college I also found myself working any job I could get my hands on until I found a full time one that worked. These people — the ones whose dreams are fresh, new and barely untapped, or the ones who are living their dream in the day-to-day by changing diapers or folding laundry — they are the ones who inspire me to always choose joy and never give up on my dreams.

Chelsea: Swimming, a good cup of coffee, working in the morning-time, getting up early, a well mixed cocktail, florals, the wonderful ladies in my life, and my husband's ability to do anything he sets his mind to!

Maggie: When it comes down to it, I am truly inspired by having conversations with others. I love to see someone else get fired up when they talk about their life goals and big dreams. In those moments, the enthusiasm is palpable, and that contagious energy pushes me to strive to be a better person, wife, friend and business owner.

Where do you find inspiration?

Pei: If I had to just pick one, I would have to say people. The interactions I have with people, both in my personal and professional life, inspires me beyond measure. I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction (ask me about it! I’m always happy to share my thoughts), but I feel like I’m surrounded by the best people who continue to motivate me and push me beyond what I think I’m capable of.

Stephanie: Work is a given. Again, I have the opportunity to be a part of over one hundred people's lives every day. It's really pretty cool, y'all! But outside of work, recently I find inspiration when I'm riding my bike home from work. The commute is sometimes the only 35 minutes of the day that is completely uninterrupted. My brain isn't consumed with others, the faces on a screen, or to-do lists. It's just me and my bicycle and these beautiful Austin neighborhoods.

Chelsea: The floral section of Trader Joe's, excellent meals, magazines, and the amazing careers of others!

Elaborate more about what's on your board.

Pei: A little embroidered flag that serves as a reminder that I am living my dream life, with my dream job. A silly photobooth strip from the opening of The Paper + Craft Pantry with Evan — my biggest supporter. Stationery because… I love stationery, if that’s not already evident from owning a stationery shop! And a little bit of a flower I saved, because it’s one of my self-care goals to get myself flowers weekly!

Stephanie: My board is full of things that bring me joy and simply remind me of my dreams. “Yay all day” sums up my goal for each and every day. I'm not one to deny that crappy days come and go, but I hope that I will always be a person that at the end of the day simply remembers that there are a lot of ‘yay’ moments interlaced in the crap. The Texas ornament is a reminder for me to be present. I've moved a lot in the past five years, and even though I've been in Austin for well over a year, I still need the reminder to be fully here and not always thinking of next steps or what was. The photo of my friend’s dog, Hank, is a reminder to me that there is always something to be grateful for. That guy is so thankful EVERY SINGLE TIME you walk in the front door. I think we could all learn a lot from his attitude...do dogs have attitudes? Beyond life’s important reminders, a few of my dreams are also represented on my board. Yarn has enabled me to make many beautiful pieces and meet all sorts of new people through my company, Interlaced Goods. And as a barista, coffee is what I do on the daily and what I dream of doing for a long time. Ultimately these two things sum up my goals, in that I hope I always use my gifts and talents to make others feel loved and valued.

Chelsea: There a photo of me from my second visit to Austin before I moved, a pool, some great flowers, some stationery, an instant shot from one of my favorite photoshoots to date, a yummy meal and a match book!

Maggie: I based my mood board around my morning routine. Once I have my cup of coffee in hand and I'm at my desk, I open up Spotify to listen to some music. At that hour it's typically Daughter, Bon Iver, or the Spotify’s Productive Morning playlist. When I light my palo santo stick to release any bad energy from the previous day, and begin my favorite part of my morning — writing in my gratitude journal.

How often do you change out your board?

Pei: I try to change it twice a year, but I don’t limit myself to that. I’ve been known to change out my board monthly when I’m feeling particularly ambitious or when things simply need to be switched out as the year goes on!

Stephanie: Let's be honest here... I rarely make/change these boards. But an easy time to make a switch is at the beginning of a new month, year, or season when I'm very intentional about taking a few moments to sit and be still and refocus.

Chelsea: I change it quarterly with the season!

Maggie: I settled down with my morning routine about 3 months ago, and haven’t changed my board since.

What does an inspiration/mood board do for you?
Your day? Your routine?

Pei: Having an inspiration and mood board is a physical reminder for me to focus on what’s important. It’s the root of why I do what I do, and it motivates me to stay on track to accomplishing my lofty goals in life! If I’m having a particularly hard day, it’s nice to have something to refer to that can get me out of my rut. And on the flip side, if I’m having a particularly good day, it’s so great to have something to look at and feel really accomplished!

Stephanie: Most simply, it reminds me to not give up on the things that I value the most. Taking time to refocus allows me to realign my priorities and moved forward in a more positive state. As cheesy as that sounds, I'll be the first to admit that it's way too easy to allow negative thoughts to flood my thoughts and mood. And plus, a mood/inspiration board is super cute and inspiring in and of itself!

Chelsea: It helps me organize the things I find beautiful and it helps me work on what I want my work to feel like. It helps me cement what I need in my life daily.

Maggie: It took me a while to find my groove, but now that I have it, I honestly feel that starting my day on the right foot directly impacts my work, and my relationships.A good friend gifted me a 3-pack of Rifle Paper Co. notebooks for my birthday this year, and I use that to list 3 things that made me grateful the day before. It's been a really great practice for me to examine all the good things that come into each day.
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Looking to take your mood board to the next level? Check out our tutorial on D.I.Y. geometric marbled tacks.