By Bethanie Hestermann
Love more, judge less. We are the change. Kindness is golden. For Leah Longueville, owner + creative director at Polished Prints, these are the kinds of messages the world needs more of—now more than ever! Leah and her PP team create hand-printed, ethically sourced tees with uplifting messages for women and girls. Their pieces spark joy and their messaging resonates on a much deeper level.
Leah’s passion is our gain. Learn more about her and her shop in today’s Q&A!
Tell us about Polished Prints!
Polished Prints is a lifestyle goods line designed to inspire the good in all of us. Through neutral-colored tees and uplifting messages, our company brings to life products intended to resonate so you feel good each time you wear them. We create products for women and children, all of which are ethically sourced and printed by hand using eco-friendly water-based inks.
What’s the best part about what you create?
I think the greatest part is seeing how the tees resonate with people. Often times when we see others tagging us on social media, they’re likely using the shirts as the foundation to talk about something more, something meaningful to who they are. It’s really special to create something that sparks joy in the lives of other humans, without ever even meeting them face-to-face.
How do you stay inspired + avoid creative ruts?
Creating routines, batch working, and connecting with other humans. I’m intentional about where I exert my energy and try to fill my life with things that build me up instead of exhaust me.
Favorite song(s) for boosting creativity?
We have a super cool PP playlist. It’s a current fav for this season and always gets the juices flowing.
How does creativity bring goodness to your life?
It gives me a new perspective, creates excitement, and sparks passion.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I went through a number of phases in childhood that seemed to influence what direction I planned on moving in. At one point I wanted to be an actress, at another point I wanted to be a lawyer, and I think fashion designer was on the docket at some point. There were plenty of moments, though, that I wanted to be a business owner—even creating my own imaginary businesses—so I feel like I’ve kind of fulfilled those dreams, right?
What do people NOT know about what you do?
Probably all the work that goes on behind the scenes. I think it can look really dreamy from the outside, but so much of my time is actually spent staring at a computer, overseeing production and coordinating with vendors.
What has been the hardest adjustment for you during the pandemic?
Probably not being able to connect with the community. We moved in late 2019, and I had a baby the week before stay-at-home orders were issued, so I haven’t really been able to connect with creatives in my own space. I’m one of those people who really thrives off of the energy of others, so not being able to have that human interaction has been really hard.
How do you recenter when you feel overwhelmed?
Let’s be real, what’s the hardest/most frustrating thing about what you do?
Probably the balance of trying to stay on top of everything and prioritizing what is most important. We’re trying to scale while also trying to keep up with current demand. There are always moving parts, and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. I’m really lucky to have two incredible women who work alongside me to make the day-to-day of PP happen. They keep me organized, they keep me sane, and they really keep the wheels on this bus turning.
Advice for creatives looking to start their own business?
Start small, follow your dreams, and just go for it. So many people wait for the “perfect moment”, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the perfect moment doesn’t really exist, especially in the form we all expect. I think it can be so easy to get caught up in the logistics and the tiny details, which can become so overwhelming. Focusing on the task at hand is important. Take it slow. Know that failure will happen, but that doesn’t mean you failed, it just means that it’s time to pivot. And always, always ask for help! Take advantage of your resources, connect with other people in your space, and offer to pay them for an hour consulting call to pick their brain.
Any tips for the business/mom juggle?
Take advantage of any help you can get. Be present when you’re with your kids and do the same when you’re working on your business. The perfect balance doesn’t exist, and mom guilt is inevitable. Take it easy on yourself; it’s really hard.
The shop item and/or collab you’re the most proud of?
Our Empowered Women t-shirt is one of my favorite designs we’ve ever had. It says so much and really emulates the vibe I envision for Polished Prints.