CULTIVATING KINDNESS WITH KRISTEN LEY OF THIMBLEPRESS

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

Thimblepress aims to simply make products that make people happy- and that is exactly how I feel every time I look on the Thimblepress website or Instagram. I love all of the items they create to make your space bright and cheery, from party items to greeting cards to art prints to jewelry. Kristen lives her daily life uplifting others and doing small acts of kindness that leave a big impact on others. Scroll down to see how excited Kristen gets about her passion to spread joy and where she gets all of her inspiration! 

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS?

My answer is yes I do, I love buying little gifts for my team members and leaving them on their desks and surprising them with something that they love. I love to give gifts, but I also love to send letters in the mail to people, or send a text to someone I haven't talked to in a while. I like letting people know how appreciated they are and how great they are. I think a lot of times, especially in our fast-paced world, we connect a lot, but the intentional communication is not like it used to be. Everyone is trying to do so many different things, that we often find ourselves putting personal connections on the back-burner.

I look back at my mom and my aunt, their old letters from when they were younger. They had pen pals and would write back and forth to one another probably once a week. The letters were not glamorous, they were simple and intentional. They were filled with words that most likely would just be sent over a text message in today’s world. The act of sending and then receiving that letter in the mail was more than half of the beauty of the communication. Someone took the time to get a beautiful card or piece of stationery, buy a stamp and write a letter. It was meaningful, but the thing is, it is STILL meaningful. Because of that,  I really love sending cards to people I haven’t reached out to in a while. Even a text to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while can be impactful. If you can't do the full thing at least do something for someone. People want to feel loved and appreciated. They want to know you care. It is so crazy, but in our world those little things make such a big difference.

It brings me so much joy to find little trinkets or something for people, things I know they'll love, but then to see their face when they receive it, that is worth it all. You know that same feeling translates into Thimblepress. That same idea of sending a card, lifting someone up, celebrating someone else, having gratitude, having fun! It’s the same in those random acts of kindness, and I love that Thimblepress encourages and celebrates others, because I think that's something we need to do more of in this world. Celebrating the big, small and all the in-between.

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

FAVORITE PICK ME UP WHEN YOU'RE IN A RUT?

I used to go to book fairs when I was in elementary and save my money to buy books. My favorite were the quote books filled with insightful quotes and arranged in chapters depending on the subject matter. Having a quote book at the age of 10 probably didn’t make such sense for me then, but it makes total sense now as adult because at Thimblepress®, we love quotes, beautiful sayings and uplifting messages. I love reading quotes and stories, because as a child they were and still are these little clips of feelings. They can capture a feeling in an instance. If you're not one with words, quotes are an easy way to express something through someone else's thought or voice. It also in an even deeper way makes you feel less alone if you agree with the quote, because you find common ground and solace in knowing the author of that quote understands and has been through what you are so resounding with in their words.

As a young child I found these little clips of information and words fascinating, and I still have that book from when I was 10 years old. Sometimes, I'll just pick the book up, read it and meditate on some of the quotes. I may get all my art supplies out and draw those quotes, bringing in my favorite hobby, painting. When I'm in a rut I always think, this will pass. When there's downs there's ups, when there's ups there's downs. In the moment, we think it's so big and it often traps our minds into a box of thinking this feeling, situation or circumstance is never to change, because when it's hard, it feels so much longer. When it’s the good times and it's easy, it goes by so fast.

It’s the same idea of when you're wanting to get somewhere really quickly; it feels like it takes forever. When you really don't care how fast you get there, you arrive to your destination quicky. I tell myself that a lot, and it's not necessarily a statement. It is more of an internal script where I begin thinking, this is not forever, this is not the end, this is not going to be like this, and then I think how can I change this rut? How can I move my mindset and flip the script to a more positive outlook? A lot of that for me comes with prayer. I'm a Christian and I am very dedicated to the understanding that God can do anything in a split second. Sometimes we don't understand why we are in hard times for as long as we are. In the end of those hard seasons, maybe even months later I can look back and think, I became stronger and I learned something so valuable that has made me a better friend, business owner and boss. Trust me, I can’t stand when we are in the middle of those bad seasons and someone, out of good intentions, says, "Well I'm sure there's a silver lining." It's is often gut-wrenching to hear that, so I don't always tell people because there are circumstances where it's so bad that a person only needs hugs and food. Truly though, I try to find the positive within my circumstances, situations or the issues of the ruts that we all face in life. I think social media has made it so easy to make us feel like we're the only ones in the world that experience hard times, and that's the furthest from the truth. Even the most "pristine and beautiful" and "perfect person" isn't rut-free. So just think about that but that was definitely a longer answer than I intended to give, but it's something I think about quite often.

FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE?

Gosh I got to be very honest for you, it's definitely The Real Housewives and Bravo reality shows. I love me some Andy Cohen, I also do love The Bachelor & Bachelor Paradise. Give it all to me! Haha! I love it al! I love those shows because it's so different from my reality, and I do other things like work or fold laundry and basically just listen to it. I think the human condition, the human interaction is so out of this world and ludicrous that you can't help but get sucked in!

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TELL US ABOUT A KIND ACT SOMEONE DID FOR YOU RECENTLY? BIG OR SMALL!

If you know the five love languages, I’m words of affirmation. That's how I receive love, so even just someone saying, "You're doing a great job." That to me is a random act of kindness because I don't ever expect people to say, "You're doing a great job." Also, when someone posts about Thimblepress® on social media I get so excited. I am honestly, quite honored and humbled by the fact that people will post our products online and say, "We love our Thimblepress® art print or notepads." If you're taking the time to post about our brand & show love for a small business, it means so much to me.

I think there are random acts of kindness in every day, minute and hour. I also think that's why it's important, at the end of every day, to sit down and think about it. What were the kind things people did that day? Create space for gratitude and think about that what and who you want to express gratitude to. I think having daily gratitude is so important, because if you don't have that daily gratitude and you don't honor that and think about it, you may miss all the things people are doing for you. Plus it is really great to put that positive energy out into the world. My friend Reina of Reina and Co. does a daily gratitude practice and it is amazing. Acknowledging those people in your life and showing them thanks is huge.

An act of kindness can be as simple as someone opening the door, sending a text, giving a hug, picking a flower or taking out the garbage. I think a lot of what each of us evaluates and decides to be a random act of kindness has a direct correlation to what love language each person shows and receives love with. It is definitely something to think about! 

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU USE YOUR BUSINESS TO SPREAD KINDNESS?

Our company core values are very rooted in kindness and joy, and if you're ever interested in our core values you can view them on our website. The world is so dark at times, and I always want Thimblepress® to be a light and a beacon of hope, happiness and joy. Our products are created to not only bring about joy in ourselves, but they were are created to bring joy and happiness to others. I love encouraging people to see their full potential, no matter what that means. Often, someone realizing their full potential and greatness starts with someone else saying, "Hey, you're great at this." It takes encouragement to plant a seed of confidence. We never know where those seeds of confidence will blossom and grow into something much greater, but it all could stem from one encouraging statement to someone. Our greeting cards, our push-pop confetti, our notepads, they are all based around this central idea of encouragement, joy and celebrating ourselves and others. It's all about self-love and loving others. I am proud that we model our products around our core values. It gives our brand that solid foundation to leap from, and our customers will always know what feelings they will get from our products. There is a lot of stuff in this world that's not fun. I don't think we want to ignore that stuff, but I also don't think we want to wade in it. I think there is value and there is a place for products like Thimblepress that can make you smile. We have so many fun greetings cards for different personalities. I always like to think about our notepads as a self-expression tool. In a way, it elevates your thought of what is often a mundane task like note-taking, memo-writing or message notes. It hopefully makes some of those processes that can be sometimes cumbersome and boring a little lighter, happier and beautiful.The same goes for all of our confetti, I love confetti. I love throwing it on others. I love throwing it on myself. It's not only the confetti, it has to do with the confetti plus the motion of it flying through the air. It is magical and it makes you want to dance in it. I also think there's something very powerful in a smile and a smile to a stranger. It's super awkward when they don't smile back, but when they do smile back, it makes you think they made have needed it. Sometimes I get smiles back where youcan almost feel the emotion within the smile, and without words they are almost saying, “I can't tell you the last time I had someone smile at me”, “thank you for making my day.” For me it all becomes this bigger mission, this bigger thing than selling our creations and products. We are helping people love on each other and themselves. I'm proud to say that!

WHO INSPIRES YOU MOST AND WHY?

My mother. She has taught me so much about the beauty of giving others & ourselves grace, and the beauty of helping and putting others first. My mom has been through many life-situations (as we all have). Through her life she has shown me what it means to think positively, speak kindly of people (even if they have hurt us), and rise to the occasion. She focuses on good and has shown me how to handle situations with respect and dignity. She's taught me so much about faith and understanding; that even through the tough times we need to have hope.

My mom is a pharmacist by trade; she's a very smart woman. Her career path took a turn when we moved to Mississippi. She is now a teacher at a school in the city we both live in. She is such an incredible instructor, facilitator & engager. She makes science fun by taking the mundane, boring stuff (well, thats what the kids all say… or I did when I was in school. Ha!) and adds her sparkle to it. She engages students in a different, more interactive and innovative way. It's really cool to see how she looks at the world. I think a lot of that has transpired into how I go about my business. Just as I elevate the idea of a notepad for someone, she is elevating and making science exciting for her students.

This past year she was diagnosed with breast cancer (thankfully it has been removed) and had another health related surgery before that. She remained so positive. I truly believe there is power in positive thinking; just how I believe there's power in negative thinking. I believe if you surround yourself with negativity, you have a higher possibility of becoming negative yourself. There is so much power in “flipping the script” and being positive; that's what she inspires daily. 

Her encouragement is also an inspiration. When I was young, she believed in my art and would take me before I had my driver's license to a local college, once a week, for a beginners painting class. I think I was in the eighth or ninth grade when she signed me up for that class. Before that class, I had never actually used acrylic paints or canvas. I remember thinking how scary that was. It is such a pivotal memory to me because I remember thinking SHE BELIEVES IN ME. She believed in something that she didn’t do or understand, and on top of that she encouraged it. She believed and continues to believe in me every day.

If that doesn't inspire you to want to go and believe-in and encourage others, I don't know what does. Her encouragement and positivity encouraged me as a child. It's only looking back now, in my adult life, where I see how important encouragement is, not only in children, but in adults. Encouragement instills confidence and confidence is life-changing and dream-following power. 

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

#WORDSTOLIVEBY:

Treat others how you would want to be treated.

MORE ABOUT KRISTEN:

spreading kindness | cake & confetti | thimblepress

Kristen Ley is the founder, owner and creative director of Thimblepress®. Thimblepress® is design & lifestyle company aiming to create products that make people happy. Each product is designed by Kristen and filled with loads of love & color. Thimblepress® is sold in over 900 retail shops internationally and the products are also available on Thimblepress.com. Thimblepress recently sold an exclusive line of products in Target stores and Target.com, and has collaborated with many different brands such as: Hallmark, Moon & Lola, Glitter Guide, Throw Pillow, Speak Wines, June & January & Keds.  

Thimblepress® loves unique products that help elevate & showcase personal style be it on a desk, in hands or on walls. Thimblepress® creates products that help create memories, fill a room with color, bring a smile to a face & make you feel unique & special. 

Having started in half of a garage in 2012, Thimblepress® now operates out of their historic, 5000 square foot studio in downtown Jackson, MS. In Kristen’s free time, she enjoys painting, traveling, perusing the local flea markets & hanging out with her two Goldendoodles, Willow & Henry! 

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH KRISTEN:

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