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Christians in Business: Letterpress Press Owner Learns to let God Lead

0055When Jodi Bos opened her letterpress company, Gwyneth Paige, she didn’t realize how God would use the business to teach her to let Him guide her life.

In 2010, Bos owned a successful event planning business. After struggling to find invitations with the aesthetic and quality she desired for clients, she did what entrepreneurs do: she opened her own letterpress printing and design company, Gwyneth Paige. Bos purchased five presses, all dating between 1915-1925 and debuted custom, couture invitations. The process involves hand feeding thick cotton through the presses, creating what Bos called “little pieces of art.” Fifty locations across the U.S. and Canada began to carry their album of products.

Bos continued Gwyneth Paige as a secondary business, keeping primary focus on her event planning company. On the surface, Bos appeared to have it all – a successful business, high-end clients, and a happy marriage and family. But by late 2012, Bos knew something in her life needed to change. “I was working 20 hours a day, not sleeping well, and had horrific migraines.” She described that time period like living in a pressure cooker. She had allowed work to overwhelm her life, something she said came easily with her type-A personality. “Outwardly, I was so successful and people wanted to be me, but I didn’t want to be me,” Bos recalled.

She thought she had always run her business for Christ, but realized she wasn’t. “I was saying, ‘Christ come along with me,’ rather than asking Him to go ahead of me.”

After much agony and prayer, Bos shut down the event planning company in 2013 and decided to focus solely on Gwyneth Paige. She sold 3,000 square feet of inventory and downsized her organization. Bos recognized that she hadn’t been serving her Lord, employees, or family and hadn’t been taking care of herself. “I believed it [the business] was a gift God had given me, but I wasn’t using it wisely,” Bos recalled.

As she moved forward, Bos determined to run the letterpress company and her life differently. “I needed to be re-directed and to find out again what’s really important – that it’s about serving people who have less than we do, making family a priority, and not taking my identity from my work but taking my identity in being God’s child,” she said. This new direction changed her life. “I feel like a different person – I want to work so I can give; that wasn’t the case before.”

Bos also began to live out this new direction in her personal life. She got involved with her church’s ministry to help former prisoners re-enter society. Assisting an older gentleman with his basic needs of food, clothing and healthcare has transformed her. “I think about him and pray for him all the time, and my work is just my work where I get the job done to the best of my ability.” She said the gentleman thanks her for her help, but she acknowledges he’s the one who helped her. She tears up as she praises God for the second chances He gives to all of us.

As she turned her attention to Gwyneth Paige, Bos asked God for direction. The letterpress company, which had existed primarily to serve clients of her previous event planning business, had not turned a profit. The “aha!” moment came when Bos realized Gwyneth Paige had only created custom invitations, but the market was wide open for high-quality writeable invitation suites. It’s an insight she feels came from God, and was His way of leading her back to her passion: hospitality.

She and her team created a line of invitation suites called Fête, which is the French word for celebration. Each set includes the design elements and accessory items to make it simple for a hostess to plan a beautiful event. Bos sees the products as way of helping people return to entertaining in the home, cultivating intimate spaces where people are loved and cared for. The line has received early praise, and Bos credits the direction to listening for God’s leading.

Bos acknowledges, “The business is God’s and this is the first time I truly get that.”

At a Glance:

Name: Jodi Bos

Company: Gwyneth Paige, LLC

Title: Proprietor

Family: Husband Nathan, married 16 years; 13 year old daughter, Gretchen;

10 year old son, Seth.

Address: 7976 Clyde Park, Byron Center, MI 49315
phone: 616.541.0020
fax: 616.656.9933
web: www.gwynethpaige.com

Author Information
Amelia Rhodes
Amelia Rhodes lives in West Michigan with her husband and two young children. She is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul's books Here Comes the Bride and Inspiration for Writers. Her essays have appeared on the Burnside Writers Collective and Catapult Magazine. Her first book, Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world encourages women to reach out to their communities and live an authentic life together.

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