Still here, Still alive: Paper Plant Co.
Nikon F2 - Portra 400
The final story. When I started this project, I wanted to give back to the business community that provided for customers like me. I also wanted to connect you to the business, the people behind them, the artists, and some of the things that happen behind the scenes. Experiencing burnout is a common denominator that we all have experienced when it pertains to our mental health; we have our unique ways of alleviating burnout, and we know when to draw a line when we’re fizzled out. But not all of us are able to stop ourselves from burning out. Depending on our upbringing, some of us were taught to power through it, and weren’t taught how to find something to maintain our mental health under immense pressure.
For shop owners who are hands-on in their business, they have a lot on their plate. Between maintaining their staff, managing the back end of their business, and making time for their family, it’s a wonder how they are able to juggle all that. It’s not for the faint of heart. Owning a business can literally mean investing your blood and soul, and that can drain so much.
Well for this topic of burnout, we’ll revisit a stationary shop that you previously met before, but now under a new name, Paper Plant Co.
Paper Plant Co. (formerly Paper Please) is a Japanese stationary shop that has a plant-based theme. The person behind the Paper Plant Co. curating unique items in Chinatown is Friedia Niimura. In the early part of the series we left off with Paper Plant, the shop and Thank You Coffee were moving to their new space off of Hill St. and they were in the process of redesigning a space that compliments their dual dynamic. Today, their finished redesign brings a charm about the shop. It’s the cozy feeling, the unique stationery items, stickers, and cards created by talented artists showcased on their shelves. There is no shortage of stationary items that can catch your eye that would make you pick up to add to your collection. While I can tell you so much about Friedia’s shop to convince you to come out, I realize that Chinatown is a trek to get to especially with LA’s traffic, but if you would like to see a glimpse of what Paper Plant curates, you can also find their pop up in Thank You Coffee’s Anaheim location.
It’s been some time since you opened your shop, and as time flew by, things have changed. The community you’ve built in Chinatown has grown, you grew with Thank You Coffee, you got a new space and have a pop up in TYC’s Anaheim location. At the same time during your growth, your shop demands more of your time fulfilling orders, restocking your shelves, and getting everything in order by tax season. There’s a lot that you are carrying on your plate, not to mention balancing life outside your shop to avoid putting a strain on your mental health. How would you describe the type of burnout you experience, and what has helped you not collapse under all that pressure?
Thank you Daniel for all the sweet comments about our shop. We also have an awesome online store too! (http://paperplant.co)
I had to look up the definition of “burnout” just to make sure.
“physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress”
Last year I may have come close to burnout because of all the transitions with work and personal life. But the way my brain works is “at the end of the day, everything will be alright.” Unfortunately I have experienced many hardships in my life and most of them are ones I cannot control. After every tough moment we are all still here and somehow still smiling. I don’t want to combine everything and say that because what we went through made us stronger, but it did make us smarter and we learn how to deal with the day to day stress. You do what you can to make that “stressful time” go away. Whether it takes a few days or a few months, you get it done and find the little moments of happiness in between.
My little moments are with my son (he makes me laugh and smile the most), being in my shop, chatting with customers, hanging with friends, journaling, drawing, creating. Even when all seems like it’s gone bad, I push myself to do something else. This is how I keep going without burnout!
It’s important to have friends, hobbies and other interests to keep your mind away during these tough times. You aren’t walking away from the problem, you are just in need to step away to clear your mind. Coming back to the problem with a clearer mind makes you smarter, stronger and calmer. You got this!
Wishing everyone the best of luck! Everything will be okay.