Meet the mama behind cult-favorite Rifle Paper Co.
This year marks Pregnancy & Newborn’s fifth annual feature profiling five fascinating moms. The list is hardly comprehensive, but it’s a humble nod to the impressive talent, inspiring outlooks and important work of mothers. We hope you find their stories refreshing, encouraging and most of all relatable because, although the details may be different, our journeys all share a common thread.
In late 2009, Anna Bond and her husband, Nathan, launched Rifle Paper Co. from their garage apartment. Since then, the stationery company turned lifestyle brand has grown exponentially (think 2,000- plus products sold by 5,000-plus retailers around the world) and developed a loyal and enthusiastic following.
There have been plenty of “pinch-me” moments along the way, like the first time Bond saw her products in a retail store and the first time she was approached by a big company about a collaboration. Most recently, a famous actress emailed her personally to say she was a huge fan and ask about a custom project. “That was so, so weird,” says Bond. “I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.”
What’s it like to experience such a whirlwind of rapid growth? “When I look back at pictures, I’m blown away by the changes. But on a daily basis, I don’t notice it as much … because we’re always in the thick of it,” says Bond. “It feels a lot like how my son, Ford, has grown in these last six months.”
That’s right. Despite being busy with a booming business, the Bonds recently decided they were ready to expand their family. “[We’d] been talking about it for a while—we’ve been married seven and a half years—but our lives were so hectic, and we kept feeling like the timing wasn’t right,” explains the new mom. “We finally got to a point of realizing that the timing would probably never be perfect, and we started to feel the importance of family in new ways after Nathan’s father passed away.”
Years of working with her husband on Rifle Paper Co. primed the pair for co-parenthood. “In some says, I think nothing could have prepared us more,” says Bond. “We had already learned a lot of valuable lessons as business partners when it comes to dealing with stress and working together as a team. We know how to lean on each other, ask for help and truly balance each other out—all of that carries over into parenting.”
Although she wasn’t entirely sure what the new gig would entail, motherhood has surpassed Bond’s expectations. “There can be a lot of negative talk about being a parent, and that was truly discouraging before I had [Ford].” But, she says, “I genuinely love being around him and being his mom. I [have been] surprised by how much I love him and how amazing he is.”
So far, the biggest challenge has been learning to delegate, so she has more time free for her family. As it is, Bond typically hangs out with Ford for a few hours in the mornings before one of his grandparents comes by to take over. She returns home around 5:30 p.m. for a bit more mama-son time before the little guy goes to bed.
Bond finds herself most inspired at night, so she’ll usually work awhile longer in the evenings after Ford is asleep. Although she used to frequently stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. sketching, painting and creating, her handsome 7 a.m. wakeup call has convinced her to change her ways. “I still have nights that I need to stay up late for work,” says Bond, “but it’s definitely no longer the norm like it used to be.”
In the past, Bond and her team have partnered with Chronicle Books, LeSportSac, Garance Doré, Paperless Post and more, and we’re not-so-secretly hoping that parenthood will inspire a collaboration with a children’s brand. “Fisher-Price really does make some of the best stuff,” says Bond. “But it is often not pretty at all. I love the idea of redesigning products that are incredibly functional and that babies love.” Keep your fingers crossed, mamas —it sounds like Bond could make a lot of parents’ baby-gear dreams come true.
ANNA BOND, co-founder and creative director of Rifle Paper Co.
Home: Winter Park, Florida
Go-to lullaby: A made-up song about swaddling
Best advice she’s received: Love like you want to be loved
On her bucket list: Design a postage stamp