FEMtrepreneur: Dayna Langlois – Exclusive Stationery Designer

It takes courage to pursue a passion. Sometimes it’s done on a whim, and other times, it’s based on a well-formulated plan. And on occasion, achieving your dreams materialises from pure necessity. Stationery designer Dayna Langlois used her beautiful and intricate handwriting skills to establish a business that not only gave her family financial security but also developed into a niche brand that empowers women all over the world.

The introverted Toronto-based FEMtrepreneur creates feminine and charming pastel pieces of stationery that are all headlined by her signature words of wisdom. She personalises each journal, keychain, coffee cup, planner, pen and pouch with inspiring, handwritten quotes.

Dayna’s aim is to motivate her female-centric market with these endearing office supplies and writing accessories. Her uplifting quotes prompt women to follow their own dreams or helps them just to get through each day. It’s been four years since Dayna Lee Collection made its welcomed debut and its humble creator hasn’t looked back. Read on as Dayna chronicles her meander into entrepreneurship.

 

What inspired you to start your company?

I was in a really dark place. My young family was struggling financially and I was miserable doing a part-time job in food services, and working around my husband’s schedule. I had really hit a low point and decided I could only go up from there. I quit my job suddenly and taught myself lettering because pretty handwriting was the only thing that stood out to me as a skill I could use in a creative business. So, for months I practised and noticed I was writing original quotes for women like me. I wanted to help women change their lives, as I was changing mine.

In your opinion, what are the three most pivotal steps to setting up a business?

  1. Figure out how to authentically present yourself to the world.

  2. Identify your niche market.

  3. Leap before you’re ready.

What makes your brand unique?

DLC is unique because most of the time I write my own quotes. I stick to my niche market of women who are following their dreams, and I find that people recognise my imperfect hand lettering, which means they can identify my work without knowing it’s mine. I find this truly amazing.

What was the very first item you sold and how did it make you feel?

The first item I sold was to someone I didn’t know. It was an art print that had a macaron illustration on it; one macaron surrounded by chocolate chip cookies. It represents the idea of embracing what makes you different and to be proud of that.

What challenges have you faced as a FEMtrepreneur and how did you overcome them?

Self-doubt and copycats are probably the strongest challenges I’ve faced. I haven’t overcome doubt but I’ve figured out how to handle it in a healthy way, rather than just giving up. It’s with the acknowledgement that doubt never really goes away that I’ve become a much stronger and dedicated FEMtrepreneur. It fuels me and the creativity needed to run my business. Every time a little voice tells me I’m not good enough, an even stronger one says, “You’ve got this!” I want to prove that voice wrong… I want to rise above doubt and continue to crush goals, despite it trying to stand in my way.

What sets your creativity alight?

If I have a moment where I feel like my work has made a difference, and find that someone appreciates it and it resonated with them, then I’m more likely able to sit down and design more good ideas. It’s when I get into my own head and start doubting myself, that’s when my creativity is non-existent.

What has been the most effective way of marketing your business?

I’m incredibly grateful to live in a time of Instagram. As a very shy person who is unable to market herself face-to-face, it’s been an amazing opportunity to sell without being pushy on social media and to be able to reach the whole world from my cell phone! Connecting with like-minded women and building a brand has been fun and possible for me through Instagram.

What is the most courageous thing you’ve done as a FEMtrepreneur?

People wouldn’t think of me as an adventurous risk-taker, but watching myself as an entrepreneur, I know that I have ‘it’ somewhere inside me. I’ve never had a lot of money to invest in myself and Dayna Lee Collection, but one day I applied to the largest stationery show in North America and it was in NYC. It was a HUGELY courageous thing for me to do and I’m proud of my fearless moments when I applied, drove down with my products, and really showed myself and others that I take this seriously and that DLC is not just a little hobby.

How do you achieve a work-personal life balance?

Sadly, I don’t. I have three kids; one who is just 3 years old and home with me full-time so I work a lot during and around my family time. I don’t have a set routine (like I said, I have a 3-year-old) so I just do what I can and make sure to at least post once on social media every day.

Describe yourself in three words:

Cheerleader. Introvert. Dreamer.

What do you love most about your job?

That I get to cheer on women for a living, and that I work from home, walk into box stores and find my work. And I work with an amazing stationery company which just gets me.

Is there anything you dislike about your job?

Tax season!

Where would you like to see Dayna Lee Collection in 5 years’ time?

I’m just going with the flow. I’ve learned that you really can’t even dream big enough when you’re an entrepreneur. If you continue to put yourself out there, and continue to evolve and grow as a business, people will notice. So I’m just excited!

What has been your greatest career achievement thus far?

Being signed on as a featured licensed designer for Eccolo Ltd. where my products are produced in the thousands and sold all over the world. Like… it’s such a ‘pinch-me’ experience rather than just a moment. I’m so grateful!

How do you wish to inspire other women through your business and brand?

I’m shy. I suffer from anxiety. I have no experience in running a business. I have three children. I’m not the typical perfectly put-together entrepreneur in the entrepreneur magazines. I want to show the typical ‘everyday woman’ that she can do this! It doesn’t matter what you look like, what your personality is, how much time you think you have or don’t have… YOU can do this. I want to be the woman who represents the ‘everyday-woman building an empire’.

Fun facts about Dayna

Favourite business tool:

Cellphone

My personal style is…

Minimalist and a little girly

Heels or flats?

Wedges

One item of stationery you can’t live without?

DLC (Dayna Lee Collection) pens!!

I de-stress by:

Putting on a face sheet mask and having a bath.

Favourite shade of lipstick:

Light pink lip gloss

Three things you always have in your handbag:

Business card, moola and baby wipes.

Favourite coffee haunt:

Just a Starbucks will do!

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you shop?

Probably a home store. I ogle home decor over clothing! Maybe Anthropologie though.

Quote you live by:

“Today I have the power to change my story” – Dayna Lee Collection

Dream destination:

Paris!

The one thing required for success is…

More passion than fear.

We’re pretty certain that we’d feel more productive and motivated if our offices were filled with the delight that is Dayna Lee Collection stationery. There’s nothing more pleasing and encouraging than opening up a journal entitled “You got this” and scribbling your thoughts with a pen labelled “amazing things will happen”. Dayna has taken ‘working from home’ to another level and we predict many more brilliant things for her in the future! We look forward to seeing her exclusive brand of stationery in stores across the globe.

Shop Dayna’s stationery line for the prettiest office supplies or follow her on Instagram for daily inspiration.

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