Updated August 2016: Never say never, huh? After seeing using the prayer journals for several years, I started craving a hard cover so that it could stand up to a year of being hauled around. But I as so adamant about following the below criteria. It took some time in convincing and finding the right manufacturers. Because my earlier concerns of expense were still a factor, we combined three of our prayer tools into one! I’m excited to test out the spiral this year and see how travel-friendly it is. The size is still fairly small though thicker so I’m hoping it will be the best solution!
For any business, it’s really important to define what your company will be or the products it will offer. As I gear up for another collection, I feel my process and brand slowly becoming more refined and specific. We had such great feedback about the journals from our survey a few months back. I gathered all the info and made lots of decisions. I wanted to share a few of the things requested that you won’t see in our shop. It’s not from lack of hearing or consideration. It’s incredibly thought out so I thought I’d share a little behind the scenes of my thought process. I know we talk a lot about what we do do and not so much about what we don’t do. What we don’t do has just as much purpose as what we do do. (Friends reference anyone? 🙂 ) Things you won’t get from VMP:
1. A hard cover – I seriously considered doing a hardback cover this year but decided not to for two reasons. Hardback is a lot more expensive which means I’d have to charge more but the main one was it wouldn’t be as slim or easy to carry. More than half of y’all surveyed said you loved how small it was an how easy it was to carry with you everywhere. I use bigger journals or planners all the time but they don’t travel with me so although I think hardback is a nice option, I didn’t feel it fit the needs for your prayer journals.
2. A catch all journal – This was really tough for me. I had a million things I wanted to add. Little sections that would challenge you spiritually. And as I started thinking about them, I felt so pulled away from the original purpose and actually overwhelmed myself enough to feel like I wouldn’t actually use the journal at all. The idea of the prayer journal is to fill out in the beginning of the month and be able to pull out and pray whenever you have some time. My goal is to make your journal as easy to use as possible! If you feel too overwhelmed by a million different sections and categories or questions to answer that you don’t even pick up your journal, the purpose is lost. The prayer journals have a singular focus, to radically change your prayer life. This is my measure for what sections stay and what sections don’t.
3. Patterned covers – This is definitely a brand decision. I love white space and margin and I love that the journals reflect that. You probably have lots of notebooks or journals for different things. I wanted our journals to be something that could fit and honestly just make you smile when you see all your stuff together. I love products from my shop friends that feature patterns and I LOVE that when I look at my journal with my quiet time journal from Life Lived Beautifully or my planner from The Day Designer, they don’t compete but look good visually. This might seem silly but I know even something as small as how cute your notebooks looks together can play a factor in you pulling them out and using them. I have made one tiny exception to this rule! We do have two journals coming out for The Finishing School that will be used predominately together so one does have a slight pattern! 😉
I try to be very intentional with every decision I make for Val Marie Paper. Did you know patterns or an extra section could be so thought over? I’ve already said it, but each year as the business grows, I feel an opportunity to fine-tune this vision. I remember years ago letting everything in and making decisions, not from a great place but simply doing something because I thought I should. I’ve put products out that maybe weren’t bad or wrong but weren’t from my heart or moreso, what I felt God calling me to design. It sounds funny but even having a short list of no’s has given so much clarity for the future of Val Marie Paper!! Thanks for enjoying the ride with me!
Also shop updates:
We are sold out of all undated women’s prayer journals. We still have some gratitude, a dozen kid’s, 5 pregnancy, and 1 marriage prep!! Order now if you want any of these or want to do some early Christmas shopping! This is the lowest price we will offer all year!!
I have had some ask about book preorders and these notecards. The Finishing School be be available for pre-order in early August. The notecards will be available in our shop but if you pre-order the book, you will get a free set!! 🙂