Top 4 Tips To Staying Productive When You Work At a Small Business

If you work for a small business, you probably wear many hats. Here at M&P, every day looks different. Though my own title is Business Development, you’ll likely find me peppering in a bit of writing, social media planning, art direction, managing vendor relationships and more. Though I believe this kind of diversity is beneficial as it forces our entire team to be well-rounded and equipped to help on a myriad of tasks, it can also be a bit stressful and challenging to finish our own work every day.

To help find balance and stay productive, I’ve outlined my top 4 tips to accomplishing it all below.

1) Set specific, clear Goals at the beginning of your day / week

At the beginning of each day, I set goals for what I want to accomplish. Over the years, I’ve realized what’s realistic and what’s not - i.e., don’t be too ambitious that you get discouraged by what you don’t finish. For example, here at M&P, we start our all-hands company meeting by setting 3 big goals. We then decide what smaller tasks fall out of the big goals and delegate who will complete what. By creating a clear picture of what we want to finish at the beginning of our day / week, we’re more likely to accomplish those goals and - bonus! - feel good about it.

M&P Pro Tip: If you feel your plate is too full yet a team member or manager keeps piling on tasks, don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s for the better of the business that you have the appropriate amount of time to finish to a project so you can produce the best work for the biz.

Know a team member who deserves a “well done” or “keep up the good work?” Send them a box full of goodies to keep their spirits high! Shop all our gift sets here.

2) Plan Your Schedule With Allotted Time Blocks

Maybe this is an obvious one, but I find the days I’m most productive is when I designate chunks of time to finish tasks instead of starting the day with no specific plan. This also prevents me from spending too much time on one item and ensuring I get to everything each day. Here’s an example day:

7-8:00 - Catch Up on Emails / Set Daily Goals

9-11am - Company Meeting / Weekly Plan / Social Media and Content

11-12pm - Online Orders

12pm - Lunch

1pm - 4pm - Custom / Corporate Orders and Planning

4-5pm - Inventory

By structuring your day ahead of time, you’ll know from the start that you have time for xyz so nothing will slip through the cracks or fall behind.

3) When In Doubt, Clean It Out

There are two scenarios where a desk cleaning rules above all else. 1) A creative rut or 2) I am so completely overwhelmed by the amount of to-dos I have on my list, I simply don’t know where to start and I’d rather abandon them all and make my desk look nice. Can anyone else relate? And while #2 may be a bit of an excuse to avoid actually working, I do believe it helps to clear my mind and by the time I sit back down, I’m ready to dig in.

Need a fun accessory to organize all your desk knickknacks? Check out our canvas binny - it’s a great storage piece for books, pens, glasses, plants and more.

4) Leave Room to Turn Off and Unplug

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One way to be most productive is to turn off and unplug. This may seem counter-intuitive, but we feel most invigorated and ready to tackle our work after a good nights rest, a yoga class or and a few hours away from our computers and phones. While we understand that sometimes in a small business this a lot easier said than done, we know that we produce some of our best work when we prioritize a balanced schedule.

If you don’t already, challenge yourself to put your phone and laptop away by 8pm every night. Notice how the rest improves your productivity the next day.

P.S. A great way to unwind after a long day? Our Pamper gift set including bath salts, body creme, a gardenia candle and more.

2018: A Year End Review + What's To Come

2018. What a year it’s been! Though no year comes without mistakes or challenging moments, this past year we grew in so many areas of our business and we’re really proud of what we accomplished.

From new collaborations, corporate expansion, to community partnerships, we wanted to share a bit of what we’ve been up to this past year and give you a few sneak peeks of what’s on 2019’s road map.

In no particular order, here are our top 10 moments of 2018.

Top 10 Moments of 2018

Corporate Catalog

For months, our team worked on building a gift catalog that would enable our corporate clients to more easily purchase gifts that would impress their customers. This guide features 18 brand new gifts sets with themes like “Coffee Addict,” “Happy Hour” and “Savory Foodie.” Our catalog was featured in Twin Cities Business. Shout out to our graphic designer Claudia for dealing with the many many iterations ;)

New Vessels: Binny & Oatmeal Paperboard Box

  • The Binny: We partnered with our friends at Byrd & Belle to craft this unique, reusable vessel. The binny comes in multiple sizes, colors and is adorned with a leather hook for hanging. It quickly became the most popular vessel choice among customers. Read more on its versatility here.

  • Oatmeal Paperboard Box: To up the ante, we decided to add another vessel option to our collection. Cue the oatmeal paperboard box. We sourced the box from a local Plymouth based business, Federal Industries. To add an extra special touch, we worked with Todd at Angel Bomb (just down the hall from our studio) to make a letterpress sticker detail on the box. He photographed the vintage map of the Twin Cities in our studio as the background.

LAB Collaboration

This past spring, we teamed up with local business, LAB, to create a unique line of hands-on creative kits. Curated by LAB, each kit includes a step-by-step guide, a locally made MN product and an M&P box or binny. We are currently sold out of these but working on getting these back to our customers!

Growing Team

As our business grew, our team did as well! This year, we hired a full-time Business Development Manager & Marketing Strategist, Annie Ketcham. We also grew our social media / design team with part time team members Claudia Dube and Jo Buckellew. There is not enough room here to describe how important these women are to the success of Minny & Paul.

Wayside Partnership

This was a big one for us. This past fall, we partnered with Wayside Recovery Center, a local treatment facility committed to breaking the cycle of addiction and trauma for women, children and their families. After a few meetings and brainstorming, we decided to partner through employment opportunities to the women at Wayside. To hire and empower women in our community has been one of our proudest moments at M&P. We look forward to our continued partnership.

Noteworthy Press

Every season we feel grateful to be featured in local press. This past year, we are humbled to have been featured in these awesome publications.

“Side Hustle To Empire” Panel - Public speaking can be scary - especially when it’s not something you feel comes naturally. But when Sarah Edwards and Bumble asked our founder, Laura to speak alongside the owners of Sota Clothing and Fly Feet Running (two kick ass businesses if you didn’t know,) about her experience growing a side hustle into a thriving, successful business, well she couldn’t pass it up. And wow, it was fun!

Studio Build out - Many of you know that we share a studio space with our gal pal and local artist Ashley Mary in the Northrup King Building. Over the past year, we’ve worked hard to fill it in and establish a home for our products, boxes, shipping materials, work space, meeting space and more. See some photos of how the space has evolved below.

Minny Maker Wall

With our friend and local creative / photographer, BethCath, we worked to design a space outside our studio that really highlighted our mission and gave anyone who walked into our space a clear picture of what we are trying to do -celebrate our community. We brainstormed, sketched, and installed our Minny Maker Wall in a matter of 2 weeks. All before Art-A-Whirl, a huge weekend long event that takes place in our building. The wall features a rotating set of local makers we are proud to work. Read more about the entire process here.


Expansion of corporate clients

This year, the corporate side of our business grew exponentially. We are proud to have worked with companies and brands like the Timberwolves, Bridgewater Bank, The Tile Shop, and more. We are excited to grow even more in 2019!


What’s to Come…

We’ve hit the ground running with huge goals for 2019. We will continue to serve our strong community by putting forward the highest quality goods across the state of Minnesota. We will be releasing a line of high end crates, a few more curated gift sets for new families, new pup owners and new jobs and milestones to celebrate. We will continue investing and growing into the custom side of our business by expanding our reach into new communities and verticals.

Focus Group

Are you interested in joining a focus group to help us further define our 2019 projects? We'll be talking products, themes, markets and more. Add your email below and we'll reach out with details! Focus group will be two hours long, take place at our studio in Northeast. Small gift provided.

Name *

Holiday collection - Midnight, Rosy Cheeks, and Fireside

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are right around the corner. Festive parties, cozy nights around the fire, warm hot cocoa… we’re giddy just thinking about it.

To officially start the holiday season, we’re releasing our three new holiday gift sets that are jammed packed with only the best in everything local for your gifting needs. Mugs, chocolate, scarves, candles, tea and more! Whether you’re buying for a friend, your boss, or yourself, we’ve got you covered.



Lohtu Ceramics - Hand-thrown Mug, @lohtuceramics

Lohtu, a Finnish word that encompasses a similar feeling as the Norwegian word hygge, was created to encourage a simple, easy life. Amanda Kelly, owner and potter of Lohtu, hand-throws all creations in Park Rapids, MN. Enjoy your mug on a cold winter night with tea, hot cocoa or mulled wine.


Sencha Tea - Mulling Spice Loose Leaf Tea, @senchateabar

While popularly known for the bubble tea, Sencha, a tea bar with multiple locations across the Twin Cities, also blends their own delicious loose leaf tea. This mulling spice tea is an essential in your holiday drink line up and is perfect to serve

in your new ceramic mug. Peep the steeping instructions on the bottom of your tin. M&P pro tip: Add a cinnamon stick to your tea to up the flavor.


Bare Honey - Raw Wildflower Honey + Dipper

What's tea without a little honey? Made from local honey bees and packaged in St. Paul, MN, Bare Honey makes a delicious assortment of honeys, honeycomb, and honey sticks. We paired ours with a dipper for easy honey access and less mess.

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Golden Fig - Cinnamon Sticks, @goldenfig

Nestled in the quaint Cathedral Hill neighborhood in St. Paul, Golden Fig is our go-to store for artisan foods. We love their assortment of spices, which are made fresh every week so you know you're getting the best quality. These cinnamon sticks add wonderful flavor to any drink or bake.


Terrior Chocolate - Cardamom Krumkaka, @tcchocolate

What’s a Minny & Paul gift without a little treat? This season we partnered up with a bean-to-bar chocolate company in Fergus Falls, MN to bring you a delicious treat. Peep another flavor of theirs in our other holiday box.

Rosey Cheeks

For cold necks…

Piglet Baby Wool Cowl - The Scarf Shop, @thescarfshop

Those cold Minnesota winters are ahead and what better way to stay warm than a hand dyed wool scarf from our friends at The Scarf Shop. Great with any skin tone.


Sugar Scrub - Miss Violet Lace, @missvioletlace

Pop on some sugar lip scrub from Miss Violet Lace for soft exfoliation and shea butter finish. A necessity in the dry, winter air.

A candle with a cult following scent…

Fraser Fir Candle - Thymes, @thymesfragrances

Sold out before fall even begins in Minnesota, this Fraser Fir candle will put you in the ultimate holiday mood. A light pine scent poured into a beautiful copper votive, this candle a necessity this season.

The Perfect match…

Winter White Matches - Illume, @illume

We thought ahead and paired your candle with matches from Illume. Stored in a lovely white canister, display them on your coffee table, nightstand or anywhere your frequently lighting candles.

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A sweet treat to enjoy…

Cafe Au Lait Chocolate Bar - Terroir, @tcchocolate

An organic coffee infused chocolate bar from Fergus Falls.


A candle to light up a room…

Fraser Fir Candle - Thymes, @thymesfragrances

Sold out before fall even begins in Minnesota, this Fraser Fir candle will put you in the ultimate holiday mood. A light pine scent poured into a beautiful copper votive, this candle a necessity this season :)

The Perfect match…

Winter White Matches - Illume, @illume

We thought ahead and paired your candle with matches from Illume. Stored in a lovely white canister, display them on your coffee table, nightstand or anywhere your frequently lighting candles.

A sweet treat to enjoy…

Mini Peppermint and Mini Scandi Chocolate Bar - Terroir, @tcchocolate

The cutest mini chocolate bars from our friends Terroir - we are proud to feature their chocolate in all three holiday gift sets this season.

Ready to knock these gifts off your list but want us to hold on to your gift until it’s time to ship for the holidays? We got you. See details at check out for ‘Holiday Hold.’

Or want to see these gifts in person before you buy? Find us at the many pop-up events we’ll be at this holiday season on our event page.

How to Navigate Corporate Gifting - 4 Questions to Get You Started

Planning your corporate gifts can seem overwhelming, time consuming and you may be asking yourself - “is it even worth it?” In this post, we’ll break down gifting into 4 simple questions that will not only help get you started, but also prove the ROI in gifting. Let’s jump in!


In this quick post, we’ll review:

  • How much to spend on your corporate gifts

  • How many gifts to send

  • What type of themes / products to feature in your gift

  • How to plan ahead


Assessing what’s realistically in your budget is a great place to start. How much do you want to spend on your clients? Do you want to set a budget per gift or an “all-in”? It can be helpful to set tiers as well - i.e. allocate a larger budget for the premier clients and a moderate budget for smaller clients. This is the framework to start building your gifts. Make sure to consider things like shipping cost vs time for hand delivery.

Even if you’re starting with a rough estimate, knowing what you’re working with can help us determine what types of products we can include in your proposal.


Whether you want to send 30 gifts or 200 (12 is our minimum), we can accommodate all kinds of budgets and volumes at Minny & Paul.

If you’re not certain how many gifts to send, compile a list of all of your clients in a spreadsheet. Since you are already taking the time to do this, you might as well gather their addresses during this stage. Categorize each client by impact on your business and their potential future relationship with your company. Prioritize the ones who are contributing to your success.


Now that we’ve set your budget and quantity, it’s time to think about your theme. Deciding on what to feature in your gift set can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Before you get set on a specific product, we reccomend determining a theme. Will you send all food? Mostly products? Go for a rustic vibe, feminine or monochromatic?

After you’ve determine the look and feel, it’s time to choose the items we’ll feature inside your gift. We often refer clients to our online shop or corporate catalog to call out products they are drawn to. Once we know a few products you like, we can start to curate a proposal featuring those items and suggest others that will pair well.

If you are the type that prefers to simply say - here’s our budget - you take the wheel! We love crafting projects from scratch and will curate options for you after getting to know the needs of your particular project.


Typically, we can deliver gifts two weeks after contracts are signed.. Look ahead on your calendar - are there any important dates coming up when sending a gift would be appropriate? Client milestones? Birthdays? Holidays? Closings? If so, plan ahead knowing it may take a bit for your entire team to get on board and for us to curate and deliver unique and impactful gifts.  


Spending money on something other than internal necessities can feel nerve racking. But, when done right, the return on investment can be huge. Delivering a memorable gift to your client can establish an emotional connection to that moment and help keep your company top of mind when they’re in need of your services in the future. Sending an unexpected dose of gratitude goes a long with your valued clients.

Sending gifts to your valued clients doesn’t have to be a challenging process. Ask yourself these questions up front, determining the best fit, and let us do the rest.