This installment of Songbird Artistry’s Featured Vendor spotlight goes to Sweet Baby Paper Company!
Debbie was a single mom while raising Jacklyn and Jenn, which meant there were times she had tough choices to make: work to support their lifestyle or spend time together? She chose a career in real estate, which allowed a little flexibility. Women who want to have children often continue to have to make hard choices. Stay-at-home mom Chloe Lehman is the powerhouse behind the cutest cards you’ll ever see -- and her story of motherhood, navigating the workforce as a woman, and finding a way to channel her creative energy, is one that we love here at Songbird Artistry!
In 2018, after learning that she was pregnant with her son Brooks, Chloe faced a professional dilemma. After working in visual merchandising and product development, she and her husband considered whether they could make it if Chloe were to leave her job and stay at home with the baby - their “Sweet Baby.” The interim solution was to have their parents drive an hour and a half to live with them each week and watch their son while they were at work. Chloe had a long commute and ended up only getting to spend about three hours per day with the baby. After being back at work for a month, Chloe made the difficult decision to resign. She felt nervous, as the decision could stunt her career progression, but as word of her departure got around the office, her fellow female colleagues reassured her that she was making the right decision; she would never get this time with her son back again.
A New Path to Success
Chloe says of her time with her baby, “it has been wonderful to watch him learn and grow. Every day is truly an adventure (and a challenge, if I am being honest).” Despite that, after a few months of being at home, she started to miss working - specifically, the feeling of working on something with purpose, and she knew she needed to start making things again. This desire to do more started a series of conversations between her and her husband about what she could do to express her creativity and feel like she was contributing. And so, after considering her longtime interest in creating handmade cards for family and friends, Chloe’s second Sweet Baby was born.
While it may not be as fast as sending an email or a text, Chloe loves the process of designing and building a card, writing a handwritten note, addressing an envelope and walking it to the mailbox. The extra effort is worth the reward of surprising someone with a letter in the mail to let them know you are thinking about them. She enjoys working with paper, a simple, yet delicate material that poses many challenges as well as many possibilities. She owns the design and manufacturing process from start to finish and prides herself on her attention to detail and craftsmanship. This creativity and care can be seen in Chloe’s line of cards, which feature designs from gumball machines, to interactive paper beer glasses, to trucks and glorious Pittsburgh skylines.
In the Community
After starting the business, Chloe reached out about selling her cards at Songbird Artistry, and the rest is history. She appreciates people choosing her cards over the ones from large greeting card companies and feels that it shows an appreciation and commitment to growing the local economy. Her relationship with us at Songbird Artistry has been fun, to say the least: for Halloween 2020, we worked together to create a costume for Pittsburgh Today Live’s Heather Abraham, turning her into a human hand sanitizer bottle!
Chloe also enjoys creating individualized cards, and says that all of her pieces are designed with someone in mind from the very beginning. It challenges her to continually develop new things within her assortment of cards and to really think about the recipient when creating. While she has enjoyed working with a number of different media, paper is the one that speaks to her the most, and you can find the beautiful results of her creative process at the Songbird Artistry shop and on our website.