Creating a Collection: Praying

I thought it would be fun to share with you a little of the behind-the-scenes of creating a prayer journal collection! Each year we add a few new products and update the original ones in order to release a fresh collection every August/September! 

In August, our Yearly Prayer Journals for the next year are debuted for pre-order at our best price available (they start shipping out in Octoberish) and in September we release the complete new collection! 

Want to be the first to know when our Yearly Prayer Journals are available for pre-order? Sign up to get our Monthly Peptalk here!

Why September? Because September is when I launched the very first prayer journal right before I became a mom! Our first photoshoot was 9 days before Vivi was born, outside in Louisiana where even September can be sweltering. Going back even further? I started my wedding planning business on September 1 of 2008 and Val Marie Paper as a stationery company on September 1 of 2012. It’s also always a great time to debut our new products well in advance of Christmas and the new year!

Back to the collection, for the last several years, we’ve put out a survey at the beginning of the year to find out from our journal users improvements they’d like to see and new product ideas. (You can still share your thoughts here!) Your ideas have inspired our Kid’s Prayer Journal, Family Prayer Calendar, Adoption Prayer Journal, Spanish edition, and the bookmarks and pockets you’ll find in each yearly. (Check out the shop here!) In fact, we cannot WAIT to release a new product this fall that we’ve had soooo many requests for years! Any guesses??

We compile this list of ideas and think through several things:

1. Does this fit our brand? Does this fit our mission? 

Years ago I made to-do notepads, recipe cards, etc and you likely won’t see that again unless something drastically changes. Not because they’re bad. I buy quite a lot of paper products and LOVE em! But we feel called to share on prayer specifically, and a really practical approach to prayer at that–complete with worksheets, bullet points, and organized content.

2. Will this add to or pull away from our mission?

Going along with #1, we think about whether it will pull away from our flagship product, our prompted prayer journal. We think that is the most life-changing product we could offer and don’t want someone to come to our shop and get sidetracked by other things that aren’t as helpful. If it won’t add to this mission, we won’t create it. 

3. Is our friend doing this already? 

This might sound like an odd one but we’ve made lots of friends in this faith-based paper product industry and we aren’t trying to step on toes and do the exact same thing that’s being done by someone we respect. Sure we could make it different in some way but we respect each other’s space in this industry and don’t feel the need to muscle in for more of the pie. We’ve had it done to us and it’s not just frustrating, it feels like a waste because who knows what they could have created had they been open to something totally different.

4. Would this be the same, marginally better, or totally different than someone else?

So let’s say we entertain the idea of a product that’s been done by someone before (not our bestie). Would we just be changing a few things so we can slap our name on a similar product or do we truly have something fresh to bring to it? 

5. Would I use this? Is this intentional? 

I’m a minimalist. You wouldn’t know that from my journal usage but I know how difficult it is to keep a planner, prayer journal, Bible study journal, etc going at the same time. I am not here to add MORE products that will overwhelm you but to only add things to our shop that I personally find really useful that have the potential to change your life. 

Then, we spend time praying over this pared-down list.

  • Lord, what do you want us to create?
  • Did we miss something you think we should pay attention to?
  • Are we clinging to an idea that we need to let go of? 

This is by far one of the most important steps in creating a collection for our shop. This business is not our own. We truly believe we’re just blessed to be a part of it. And because of that, we want to steward it well and rely on the Lord to guide us in what to create. 

I shared a whole post recently on how I don’t believe the phrase “there’s nothing new under the sun” applies to creative ideas so I won’t rehash that whole thing here. (If you’re a creative, click here to check it out!) But suffice to say, I think if we gave God a little room to create through us and didn’t jump to just what we see and know has been done, I think we’d be mindblown at the products coming from this Christian female space. I can tell you, I’ve created out of inspiration from the Lord and I’ve created out of a “just trying to do what everyone else is doing” motive and there is no contest. The sales speak to what was needed but more than that, the response from our customers does too. If we want to impact the world, doesn’t it make sense to ask the one who created it, how to do that? 

So this is where we are now! Praying over and finalizing ideas. We are so excited about what is to come this fall!!

I’ll continue this series as we go with two more parts on Production and Prepping. Do you like hearing about the behind-the-scenes?

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