Source: Sherman Publications

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School project leads LO mom to start new biz

July 13, 2011

By Katelyn Crain

Intern for The Review

The idea began with a simple search of children's stationery paper.

Carey Grund's mother looked all over for stationery that would be suitable for her six-year-old granddaughter. She was looking for something to help her with writing as well as teach her the importance of an old fashioned, hand written thank you note.

After Grund's mother told her this type of stationery didn't exist, she took it upon herself to check it out.

"I just thought there are so many different types of stationery out there, how could anyone not find it? So I started searching and it was really true. I couldn't find any stationery that had lines on it for younger children," Grund said.

This is when the vision began. It had always been a dream of Grund's to open a business; however, she never knew what type of business it would be. So, once this opportunity arose, Grund took it and ran with it. Nonetheless, she won't take all of the credit for the idea.

"It was really my oldest daughter's love for art. She's drawing all the time, and she's been writing since she was four years old. With that, she also has a great appreciation for hand written notes," Grund said. "So it was really her that inspired this whole product line. It's all of her artwork that I took and it was slightly revamped by graphic artists."

In November of 2010, just 6 months ago, Plaids and Polka Dots Company was created, with their unique product, Smilegram Paper.

Smilegram Paper is stationery designed especially for children. This paper has guiding lines to help kids with writing, as well as a childrens drawing placed somewhere on the page. Smilegram Paper has over 15 different choices of pictures and over 12 different styled fonts used to customize the paper if a consumer so wishes.  

"The fonts personalize the stationery- people can order it with the child's name on it, or have it say happy birthday, thank you- anything they want. The great part is, the fonts are optional, so people can get exactly what they would like," Grund said. "Also, if you look close at the pictures on the paper, you will notice that they aren't perfect. They are meant to be that way because it's meant for other children to be able to relate to those designs."

Not only is Smilegram Paper an educational product for children, it is also an eco friendly product. Grund will be the first to say that she really prides herself on being a green business. She works to find different ways that can help the environment as much as she can.

"All of our products, even the envelopes, are made from recycled materials. So our paper is nearly 100 percent recycled and I think that is an important point," Grund said. "I think it really teaches others and children that it's good to recycle."

Although Smilegram paper is the only product Plaids and Polka Dots currently sell, Grund plans to expand in her company in the future. The business is already working on a new product for the fall season, which involves stationery for older children as well as note cards, invitations, gift idea products, etc.

Even though Grund, Lake Orion resident, does not own a store front for her business, she has hopes for the company to grow without one.  

"The way I plan to expand is to continue to get the product into boutiques and retail stores and let them sell it. I already have it in a handful of stores around downtown and people are also able to purchase them online," Grund said. "Because we're just getting starting, I don't have a strong online percentage just yet, but I'm hoping that'll grow over time."

Grund remains hopeful that her company will continue to become well known, and can help different families. According to her, it has helped her children so much, there is no doubt that it can and will help other children learn.

"One thing I hear all of the time is that Smilegram Paper is unique. And it really is truly something that's not on the market. It's something that is completely different because its hand crafted by a child, so other kids can look at it and say, 'wow that looks like I did it.' It allows all of us to just use our creativity and I think that is something that is very important."  

To visit Plaids and Polka Dots webpage, go to www.smilegrampaper.com.