Monday, February 6, 2012

Spotlight on Mom -- Maria Kalorides of Milo Paper

If you have been following my blog, then you know how much I love making personalized greeting cards for the holidays, as well as unique gifts and keepsakes that can be cherished for years to come.  So, when I stumbled across Milo Paper, I knew I had to learn more about this stationary company.  And, when I learned that is was started by a fellow mom entrepreneur, I couldn't wait to spotlight Maria and share her story with you all.

Milo Paper specializes in personalized holiday cards, notebooks, invitations, announcements, stationery, and so much more.  I am loving her personalized placements for kids!  What a great way to help teach children about the alphabet, shapes and numbers, while at the dinner table.  These placements make dining with your child fun and educational.  While feeding my daughter, Savannah, I make sure to describe the color and shape of her foods, in addition to counting the number of piece of food left to eat.  We make a fun game out of eating, which helps me as a busy mom, because Savannah sometimes likes to be fussy when it comes to eating certain foods.  Now that we use a four compartment dinner plate, I am able to offer her a variety of foods to try and enjoy.  I know that if she had a placement from Milo Paper, that the dinner experience would be even more fun for the both of us.  Just look at how colorful and fun these placements are: 

And, with Valentine's Day around the corner, these would make for a great gift for your child.  Just imagine the looks on their faces when they come down for breakfast and see a personalized placement waiting for them.

But, placements are just one of the many personalized products you can create and order from Milo Paper.  Click here to view the product offering today.

And, when you are done browsing the Milo Paper online store, please enjoy my interview my interview with the mom behind this amazing stationary store, Maria Kalorides. Enjoy!


Don't forget to head back here on Friday, when I will feature Milo Paper's photo notebooks in my Feature Friday post.  Thanks to Maria, she created a couple beautiful notebooks from photos of Savannah and Arabella.  I can't wait to share them with you!!

Name:  Maria Kalorides
Company Name/Product/Service: Milo Paper
Company Location: Garden City, New York          
Age of Company:  5 years
Favorite Inspirational Quote: "The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that, tomorrow, they'll be sun!"
Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc. 

I have three children :-)  Two boys (5 and 3) and a new baby girl (8 months).  I love spending time with my kids more than anything else in the world.  They are by far my biggest inspiration.  My hobbies include reading, designing and tennis.  I also love dancing - our family has Mowtown brunch on Sunday mornings and we make breakfast and dance around our kitchen all morning.  It's a lot of fun.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

I've always loved art and computers, and then also fell in love with graphic design when I decided to create my eldest son's first birthday party invitation.  At the time, I did not have any fancy printing equipment or resources near our home.  So I designed the invitations and went to Kinkos to have everything printed.  Of course, type A mom that I am, I wanted them to be perfect.  This ended up requiring me to sweet talking the Kinkos employee into letting me go behind the counter to set up, print and crop the invitations myself.  I had the time of my life, but I know the employees all thought I was nuts.  After all was said and done, as I was checking out, I turned to the nice woman running the counter and said "One day, if you ever have children and decide to throw a first birthday party, you'll remember the crazy lady at Kinkos that spent the day printing out her son's invitations so they would be perfect."  We both had a really good laugh, and then I went home and told my husband I wanted to start my own card company.  Milo Paper was born.

What is a typical work day like?

A typical work day involves a lot of calls and emails with clients and partners.  There are so many aspects to having your own business and I often wear so many hats that it's difficult to set a fixed daily routine.  I have a huge  to-do list every day, and as I cross one item off I always end up adding another!  There just never seem to be enough hours in a day!

What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

I think one my biggest struggles was trying do too many things at once.  In the beginning I was CEO, designer, marketing coordinator, order processor and accountant all at the same time!  That is manageable in the beginning, but as the business grows it is really difficult to keep on top of everything.  In the past five years, we've gone from somewhat of a grass roots one woman show to a company with a staff and benefits!  Of course, no matter how much  you delegate, as an owner you are always worried about everything.  But if you are as lucky as I am to have family, friends and staff that are amazing, it all somehow magically comes together.

What did you do in your past work life?

Before Milo Paper, I worked full-time as a lawyer in a couple of large New York law firms.  It was always extremely interesting and I enjoy working as a lawyer very much.  But I love Milo Paper and the opportunity it's given me to bring out the artist within.

What have been some of your major successes?

My biggest personal successes are my children.  They are the most amazing children and one smile from them is enough to brighten my entire day.  On the business front we also had some great opportunities this year.  For example, our products were included in the New Emmy award bags and our holiday cards were also recently featured on the TODAY show.
What have been some of your major challenges? 

Please see above (covered in answer to question 4)

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

There are truly some impossible days when paying the bills is about the only thing that keeps me going!  It's just the nature of running a business, there will always be some really bad days and then other really amazing days.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

I think that balancing a business and family is always a challenge - it's never easy.  My secret is to take one day at a time and spend as much quality time with my family as possible.  And although I'm addicted, I try to do activities with my kids that require me not to be able to check the blackberry easily in order to disconnect even if for just a little while.

What is next for your business?   

We want to keep growing and continue offering new and fresh products to our customers.  I'm not sure what's really "next" for us, but I'm sure to come up with something exciting :-)

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  My advice is to stay strong and keep the faith.   

Owning your own business is really wonderful, but also a ton of work at the same time.  It will take time to see results, but you will see them if you are dedicated to your company and love what you are doing.


  1. Her products are nice, but she doesn't know how to provide customer service. I bought and paid for a set of notes, but Milo Paper will not send me my notes. I've emailed so many times I've lost track. I would recommend people not buy from this company.

  2. I first learned of Milo Paper from One King's Lane. Milo Paper's stationery, notepads, and journals are absolutely gorgeous!! I love artsy, high-quality paper and have purchased many items from this company. Every product I have received has been beautiful! My favorites are the chunky notepads, personalized notebooks and the new luxe note paper collection. And the customer service is unrivaled! I had a question which I emailed after hours, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a message the next morning from the owner of the company! In fact, when I place orders, she or her partner personally respond to any questions or comments I include. I love that Milo Paper is so invested with their customer's personal experience! It takes a lot to impress me and I would personally recommend Milo Paper to anyone!!