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Winnie Jaworski: Wenonah Paper & Company

Winnie Jaworski, a spring 2014 graduate from Winona State, and originally from Winona, MN is happily graduated, and is making it on her own with her own business and working part-time as a barista at Mugby Junction.

 

 

Winnie’s real name, Wenonah, means first-born daughter in Indian.

“It’s just always been awkward for me. Because I’m not Indian,” she shared.

“Syllabus day I always hated. Especially at Winona State when they’re going through the class list and it’s always the say your name and where you’re from and so I would say I’m Wenonah, from Winona…like what a great first impression.”

She said her dad didn’t like the name, her mom chose it, and so her dad came up with her nickname, Winnie.

However, her name does have to do with the name of her business, Wenonah Paper & Company.

Winnie’s description of her business is: “Wenonah Paper & Company represents, in all aspects of its rise and entirety, simplicity. My designs are minimalistic. And as a recent college graduate who is simultaneously soul searching and trying to make sense of the overwhelming array of opportunities and decisions ahead, I am celebrating the freedom of engaging in a simplistic lifestyle.”

 

She shared a bit of her story and how Wenonah Paper & Company got started. Winnie was job searching the summer after she graduated with an advertising degree. She said, “When I graduated, it was almost bizarre, I wanted nothing to do with it. I don’t know if I just wasn’t ready to have a full time job or if I was worn out, or what the deal was but I just couldn’t find anything position wise that I was interested in or that I wanted to do.”

Winnie said, “And after you graduate there is so much pressure on you to find a full time job, and I felt like I was disappointing myself that I didn’t want to do that. It just didn’t feel right to me.”

One day she came home and finished her online portfolio and was feeling lost and defeated, so she got on InDesign and started designing things for fun. This is when Winnie decided she wanted to stop job searching. “I started accepting that I didn’t want to get a full time job right away.” Since then, she has accepted that she’s okay being part-time, and not jumping into something she doesn’t want to do.

Winnie said her design and advertising background, along with being a creative person, influenced her card making. To get into her card making she said, “I started making things to give to people.” She found that people are usually looking for something more specific when it comes to cards. A lot of what she makes is catered to different holidays, such as her Valentine’s Day cards or Christmas cards. Her best sellers are her watercolor Valentine’s Day cards.

 

 

She said, “My favorite card was a custom card for my friend Amber’s mom. Custom cards are my favorite because they’re even more special. It was an inside joke between Amber and her mom and I was able to make it into a birthday card.”

She sells most of her cards to people who support local artisans in the area. “I’ve been able to do a few different shows, which has been fun, and a few local goods gatherings in the area.” She sells them at her mom’s shop, Inside The Vault, on Fifth Street in Winona.

“It’s fun to sell them on Etsy, but it doesn’t happen very often. It’s definitely more local.”

 

She is currently working on prints, and resume and cover letter templates. “I want to expand into other fields. It keeps things interesting.” “A typical day for me would be waking up early and going to work at Mugby, then coming home and working on my cards, playing with my dog, eating dinner, and going to sleep,” Winnie shared.

She said, “My passion right now is what I’m doing right now with Wenonah Paper and Company, and so I’m hoping someday I’ll be able to turn it into something bigger.”

“Right now it’s definitely just a hobby, and it keeps me really busy.  I would like to do something with it in the future, but if it never comes into anything else it’s been a learning experience.”

Her advice to people starting their own business or not taking on a full-time job right away after graduation, is to follow your heart and remember that you don’t need to impress anyone. “I found that most of the people that will judge you for doing this are the ones who are unhappy.”

She said, “Don’t worry about what other people think, or what you might think or be afraid of. Just do what you want to do. It’s way more simple than we think.”

 

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