We had the good fortune of connecting with Claire Hao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claire, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
When I think about what type of legacy I hope to leave with this business, I think about encouraging others to embrace the life they have been given. We all know that we shouldn’t compare the highlight reel of another persons life with the lowlight reel of our own lives as we scroll through our social media accounts, and yet it doesn’t stop us from believing that our lives are sub-par. In my own life, I realized when I would scroll through the photos on my own phone, from my own life, instead of the photos everyone else posted that day, I was filled with a sense of gratitude. It caused me to be thankful for what I did have, and not what I didn’t. My hope would be that in creating beautiful works of art created based on my clients own family, home, and life, they too would be inspired to gratitude and thankfulness as those works of art hang in their home or are used on their own invitations or stationary.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The Storied Paperie is still a fledgling little business in my mind, but none the less I am proud of where it is and where it is going. For me, this has been a lesson in just taking that next right step and choosing not to be afraid of what other people may think of me. I know that sounds super simplistic and like a sound bite we’ve all heard a million times, but the truth was, at the end of the day, I didn’t believe I could do it! I had a million reasons of why everyone else’s art was better, how there were already plenty of people doing similar work, and how it didn’t really matter anyway. But as I took the first step, and the next, and built confidence in what I could do, I also began to believe in the importance of bringing beauty into the world through original pieces and commemorating the beauty that already exists in our own lives. As a Mom of three kiddos who I part-time homeschool, I haven’t had a ton of time to invest into this business yet, but I have learned that if I just do what I can each day, it actually makes a huge difference! The most important thing really is to just keep taking baby steps in the right direction.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had friends coming in for the week from out of town, I would be excited to show off our city. Because I have kids, and they are usually with me, I usually try do do all the outdoor fun I can think of. We love love love Levy Park and the Houston Zoo. The Houston Museum of Natural Science and the MFA would also be must-dos! I would take them to a few of my favorite coffee shops including Common Bond (who isn’t this a favorite for??) and Bean Here Coffee in Missouri City. We would definitely have to find a show to go see at TUTS and check out Phoenicia Speciality Foods and China town’s Little Sheep Hot Pot for some delicious international food. Galveston is also SO CLOSE that we would absolutely have to make a little day trip to walk along the water, eat at Mosquito Cafe and check out some of the historical sites. I love our city and am so thankful for the diversity of people and things to do here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In December of 2020, I wanted to create a meaningful gift for two friends of mine who had been my “Quarantine Village” during Covid. We had home schooled our kids together the entire year and provided a safe space for each other’s families. I decided I would paint our homes side by side as if we lived next door to commemorate our year. The friends loved it and encouraged me to think about selling similar pieces. My husband agreed and encouraged me to try. Though I have always had the ability to paint and to create, I felt that it wasn’t as important as other pursuits. In college, I began as double major which included studio art and social work. I quickly learned however, that there was no way I would graduate in time doing both, and so I decided social work had the bigger role to play in the world and dropped studio art all together. Fast forward 15 years and 3 kids later, any artistic endeavor remained in the background.
Then, in 2020, I heard Sally Clarkson speak on the need for beauty in the world- how we were made to be co-creators of beauty, and how it was an incredibly important role. She emphasized how it was the arts that were keeping people alive during trying times and gave us something to hold onto. Something inside of me shifted. This thought change, combined with the encouragement of my family and friends, especially David (my husband, who is a calculated risk taker by nature) I decided to just take a tiny little step and put myself out there. I posted the image of my “Quarantine Village” to my social media account and made a simplistic website. Within the first week I had my first order, and the business has continued to slowly grow from there.
Jolie Leah Photography and The Storied Paperie