In honor of Valentine's Day, today we're featuring an interview with our founders Amy & Leo Voloshin. They're sharing a bit of their love story, details about what inspired them to start a stationery line, and an insider's look at what it's really like to run a business with your spouse.
So how did you two first meet?
Amy: We met through a mutual friend - she actually had a crush on Leo and his roommates, and I negotiated that I would date Leo and she could have her pick of the other two guys!
Leo: I definitely lucked out! Amy and I and a bunch of friends went out dancing at the 700 club in Philly and the two of us hit it off right away. We were inseparable from the beginning and still are today.
When did you know that you would get married?
Amy: We got along very well right away. We moved in together pretty quickly after we started dating, and I had a feeling that we would get married. I never saw myself as the married with kids sort of person, but something about Leo made me change my opinion on marriage and children. Once we started a business together it made sense to get married, but I was surprised when it actually happened!
Leo: I knew from the beginning that Amy was the one for me. She was so real and amazing, and I knew that I had met the right person to spend the rest of my life with. It didn’t really matter to me if we got married or not, but when we started our business together it was time to make it happen. I spent a few months designing the ring with Amy’s college-mate and as soon as it was finish I proposed - luckily she said yes!
How do you celebrate your anniversary?
Amy: We don’t have a set way of celebrating. This past year we took a trip for 5 days to Venice beach and Palm Springs, and it was really nice to get away from the office for a few days and relax, just the two of us.
Leo: We’re still a little corny and celebrate both our wedding and dating anniversary. The dating one is easy to remember because it’s on April 1st - these days we like to go out for a nice dinner and spend some quiet time alone. This year was our 10-year wedding anniversary, and we celebrated with a trip to California. That was pretty special!
What are the pros and cons of working together?
Amy: I always know that Leo has my back. He is completely invested on an emotional level in our relationship and in our business. I’m forever thankful to have someone that truly cares and that I can really trust. I’d say one of the cons is that we are ALWAYS talking about work - over dinner, as we are getting ready for bed. It’s hard to turn off our mutual concern for our companies, teams and growth. I wish that we were better about setting boundaries with how we spend our time talking about work, but it’s what fuels us and keeps us energized.
Leo: I love Amy’s creative vision and am always so impressed with her work ethic and dedication to our businesses. She inspires me to be a better contributor and a harder worker. I would also agree with Amy that the line is blurred between work and home, and that is our biggest challenge. It’s something I’d like to work on in the coming years. It’s also sometimes challenging to negotiate whose turn it is to pick up the kids and start on dinner as both of us have so many priorities.
Why did it make sense to start a stationery label together?
Amy: We’ve been working behind the scenes for the last 11 years, creating original prints for fashion houses. I saw an opportunity to mix our love of patterns and textiles, and create a notebook that I wasn't seeing anywhere in the market. We looked into a few different product ideas, but we felt that we had a unique idea in incorporating textiles with paper. Once we created the first samples we were so excited and knew we were onto something!
Leo: I’ve always wanted us to have our own brand that we could share more openly with the world. Printfresh gave us the perfect opportunity to do that.
How long have you been together?
Both: We are going on 14 years.
You have a few businesses AND 2 children. How do you still keep the romance alive?
Amy: Leo is a very loving and affectionate person (he always has been). We are a funny combination because I’m the one who is much more reserved. We make sure to plan one-on-one time together every week and go to a restaurant or an event. It’s important for us to take a break from the office and our home life, try new foods, and get a change of scenery.
Leo: Life can be stressful at times when you're juggling 6 businesses and 2 kids. But at the end of the day a romantic dinner, a night out on the town, or a daytrip to NYC is definitely what brings us together. Having our parents take the kids for a weekend here and there is also always a huge help.
How did having children change the dynamic in your relationship?
Amy: Kids are a huge commitment, but they're also a lot of fun. Our kids provide endless entertainment, but I feel like we need to manage our time much more carefully to leave time for just the two of us too. The rush home from work to pick up kids, cook dinner, and do bedtime routines doesn’t leave a lot of ‘us’ time. That’s why it’s so important that we go out every week and try to take short vacations - just the two of us.
Leo: I’ve always wanted kids. Originally I actually thought that I wanted to have 5, but having 2 made me realize that this is the right number for us. We definitely have a different relationship now that we have two little ones who rely on us for support and guidance. It’s been amazing to see our kids grow, and Amy and I have very similar views on parenting which has really made it easier. Also, I try to give Amy some alone time here and there and take the kids out for the day. She needs time now and then to wind down away from all the commotion that goes on in the house and at the office, and I try to help provide that.
Amy, what about Leo inspires you personally and professionally?
Amy: In terms of professional things - Leo loves to come up with big ideas. He loves thinking of crazy ideas, and constantly pushes for growth. I think it’s a good balance to my more measured approach. Personally, I love that Leo is such a great dad. He is so loving with our kids, and is always willing to play, wrestle, and go on adventures - he’s very patient with them and teaches them to be bold and take chances.
Leo, what about Amy inspires you personally and professionally?
Leo: She’s hands-down the hardest working person I have ever met (except maybe her parents). She’s so dedicated to making things beautiful and special, and that has always inspired me. When we first met she worked at Free People and her bathtub was always a different color from dyeing fabric for her latest designs. She’s also very respectful, to everyone she meets. I’m always impressed by her ability to be nice and engaging with anyone who comes through the door at our office. I couldn’t imagine having a better partner in crime.
OK, last question - Amy, how do you feel about Leo growing his hair out?
Amy: It’s been a lifelong dream for Leo - he’s always wanted a ponytail. I decided that it was finally OK and told him he could start growing it out. I even started a pinboard with our hairdresser to make a plan for each of the stages of how he can start styling it!