Elizabeth Rees of Chasing Paper Shares How Slow Growth is Profitable and more.
February 17, 2023
Elizabeth Rees is the founder of Chasing Paper, a pioneer and leader in the home decor industry, innovating beautiful, clever solutions for the modern home. As third generation in her family’s printing company, she grew up learning the ins and outs of ink, paper and patterns. With the belief that printing is not only a family tradition, but also a craft, Elizabeth carved out her own path in paper with Chasing Paper.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University and a Master of Arts from the American University of Paris. Prior to launching Chasing Paper, Elizabeth worked at the National Geographic Society. The company is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Elizabeth resides with her husband and daughters.

What is it like starting a company with your brother? What helps your relationship survive the intense experience of running a business?

It’s so wonderful! Our skill sets are definitely different, which helps us to avoid stepping on each other’s toes, allows us both to have areas of the business that we own, and has the deciding vote on how to move forward. We are both fairly independent people so we get together in person a few times a week but mostly move through our tasks and responsibilities solo and come together on bigger projects or decisions. We also really try to not talk business in a family environment (of course, it happens sometimes!), but to keep our brother/sister check-ins, too!

How did your experience being the daughter of an entrepreneur help you as you launched your own business?

Since my dad was the second generation in the family business, I learned a lot from him about how to be a steward of ideas and also to not be afraid to change things as the business grows and changes.

What lessons have you learned about running a business that you are particularly keen to share?

My biggest takeaway is to see the forest through the trees. Some weeks, months, even years are going to be hard; but now when I look back, even when I was crawling – I was still moving things forward in some way and I am very proud of that.

Also, I think that organic slow growth might not be as sexy, but it's really a powerful and commendable way to run a profitable business.

What drove your move back to Milwaukee from New York? And, what’s your thoughts on the benefits of smaller town living?

My time in NYC was winding down; I felt that it was not serving me in the same way it once was and I was ready for a change. It was during this time I met my now husband and being a bit older, we knew that we wanted to start a family right away. We both love where we grew up and thought it would be a great place to raise a family.

Who are women you admire right now?

I just watched the Grammys last night so Lizzo is top of mind. She is a creative force that is constantly thinking about how her music can bring joy and happiness to her listeners. I love that approach, and we are always trying to create spaces of joy with wallpaper.

What is one thing you cannot life without?

My two girls Uma and Marlow. They are the best thing I have ever done - I would be lost without them.

What are design trends you are observing right that you think will have a big impact in the years ahead?

I love that the minimal design trends are waning and that maximalism is taking over. We love pattern mixing, bold color palettes, and creating a story in your home through color and print.

(images via Chasing Paper)



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