Laura Waldman is the curator and founder of Minny & Paul. She is a Minnesotan born-and-raised and has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. While previously managing Kit and Ace in the North Loop, a company dedicated to promoting local artists and movers, Laura was exposed to the vibrant and incredibly collaborative creative community in the Twin Cities.
Inspired to bring these high quality artisanal products together and make them more easily accessible, Laura developed the idea of creating Minny & Paul gift boxes. Her goal is to make the gifting process thoughtful, easy, charming, and with a true taste of home.
Talk about the beginnings of Minny & Paul. What inspired you begin this endeavor?
The inspiration to start the business came from the relationships I built here in the creative community with makers and entrepreneurs. It got me thinking about making these high quality goods more accessible I wanted to make it easier to share and discover really unique products through gifting. The initial idea surfaced in April on a beach in Mexico and we launched in August - it was pretty much a full out sprint to launch.
How has Minny & Paul evolved as a business? How have you evolved as a business owner?
We are definitely still in the early stages just launching a few months ago in August, but the business has already evolved quite a bit. Customer feedback has been hugely important and helpful in shaping our business in this infancy stage. Learning how our customers like to shop from pop-ups, which products they are drawn to, what occasions are most popular for our audience to gift, etc. As a business owner, I have already learned a lot about myself and about my strengths and weaknesses. I have always been a strong proponent of surrounding yourself with highly intelligent people who compliment your weaknesses.
What sorts of companies and products do you fill your boxes with?
Our boxes feature a wide variety of local brands. Quality is first and foremost for us so we try out every single product before we include it in our line. We feature makers ranging from a husband and wife duo out of St. Louis Park called WAAM Industries - the creative masterminds behind our custom baltic birch wood boxes - to larger local brands like Illume Candles and Annie B's.
How has living and making in Minnesota influenced your creative work, specifically through Minny & Paul?
We Minnesotans have a unique sense of pride in our state that I feel is lacking in many other places. It's a spirit of strength and interest in supporting our local community that has absolutely influenced the ease of introducing the Minny & Paul concept.
Your tagline is: "Discover Local." Why is local important?
Our vision is to share high quality local products through thoughtful gift giving. The local aspect is hugely important because we have such beautifully crafted products right here in our backyard, and we simply want to highlight these products and make them easier to discover and share with loved ones.
Do you feel like your work allows you to contribute to something bigger than yourself?
I do certainly hope that the work I'm doing has some impact on the community. I feel that the work I'm doing with my business has purpose and passion and that's all anyone can ask for.
Minny & Paul at Rummage 2016