The key to Schurman’s business and leadership strategy is unwavering and authentic passion for her product. Schurman says, “people are really hungry for something real and genuine, and what’s more genuine than a handwritten note, a personal signature on a beautiful card, or gift that you can treasure, save, and cherish?” The thing is, this isn’t a sales pitch, it’s just the truth. As our inboxes become overcrowded and leave our mailboxes empty save for some junk mail and coupons, who doesn’t get a thrill at the glimpse of a hand-addressed envelope? In addition to cards, Papyrus has expanded its gift categories to include bath and body, as well as fashion and accessories from their new brand Niquea.d. And Schurman is certainly serious about her products and stores: According to her employee, she spent Christmas at one of the Papyrus stores helping put in new carpets so that her staff weren’t alone on Christmas. That’s a great CEO. So great, in fact, that U.K. Greeting card franchise Carlton cards asked her to come in and run their stores as well as her privately held and family company Papyrus. People want something ‘genuine’ and Schurman resonates just that.
Schurman’s successful tenure at Papyrus looks rosy from where we stand, but Schurman, longtime female executive and mother of two grown boys, doesn’t shy from straight talk when it comes to the controversial idea of women having it all. Commuting bi-weekly between the states and the U.K., she certainly knows it isn’t easy. “You have to be honest with yourself about the commitment, and the fact that building a business requires a lot of time; so the balancing of family and kids is all doable, but you have to go into it with the mindset and understanding that it’s not easy,” says Schurman. While Schurman doesn’t have any regrets, she reminds us that “there’s still an expectation in society that as a woman, you can do everything and you can do everything equally well all of the time and it’s just not true.” A handwritten note is pretty priceless, but for us, Schurman’s honesty is just as valuable.