Leah Longueville, our Chambana Mom to Know, is a freelance graphic designer and owner of Polished Prints.
Thank you to Hada Cosmetic Medicine for sponsoring today’s Chambana Mom to Know. Hada provides advanced cosmetic medical services and products in Champaign and surrounding communities. Hada has combined a spa-like setting with state-of-the-art cosmetic medicine treatments to effectively reverse aging and environmental damage. For information about Hada’s services, contact the cosmetic medicine center at (217) 693-4400.
When Leah Longueville and her husband Adam moved to Champaign in 2014, it didn’t take her long to become an expert on all things C-U. She spent several years as the director of sales for Visit Champaign County, learning the ins and outs of the community and everything it has to offer. She’s now a small business owner as the head of Polished Prints, “trendy clothing for moms, kids and babies.” She’s also a freelance graphic designer and, of course, a mom to Lillian (pictured above). She lives with Adam and Lillian and their two cats in Champaign. (Check out details of Chambanamoms’ partnership with Polished Prints here.)
See why we think Leah Longueville is a Chambana Mom to Know
Q: It wasn’t that long ago that you left a great job and started your own business. What is it like to make that leap?
It’s totally scary, but also so unbelievably rewarding! I’d always imagined myself running my own business at some point, but for many years I didn’t have a vision for what that looked like. When I found myself in a place where it made sense, I followed my intuition and just went for it. I’m so happy I did!
Q: Why did you start Polished Prints? What have been some of your best moments since then?
Polished Prints kind of happened by accident! I was a new-ish mom who recently left her job to freelance full time and I was pretty overwhelmed. I started designing/printing the shirts as a creative outlet where I could be more hands-on with my work, but quickly it turned into more of a passion project. I started printing positive messages on the shirts because they resonated with me and before I knew it other moms were wearing them too. So, I continued making new products and growing my own community through social media. In my mind, Polished Prints really has been such a light so my only goal is for it to serve in that same way for others.
When it comes to moments, it’s so hard to pin point one (or even two!). The past year has been filled with such tremendous growth, but I have to say that the greatest joy has and always will be seeing other women wearing the shirts, using them as a platform to talk about their own views on parenting and life in general. It’s super humbling to have even played a small role in helping someone feel comfortable enough to share their story.
Q: Do you have a favorite item in your shop? What is it and why?
I would have to say the Raise Them Kind or Be The Good tees. These hold a special place in my heart because they not only represent my direct views on life, but they were the first adult tees I ever designed/printed. They also seem to be the ones that resonate with others, which is so rewarding to see.
Q: Photography has been a big part of your brand. What was the genesis of that, and how has it evolved with different models and locations?
Early on when I started trying to get the word out about Polished Prints I would reach out to women on Instagram whose accounts I followed and whose aesthetic I admired, and I would ask them to trade photos for shirts. It wasn’t long before I started seeing more and more women buying the shirts on their own and sharing their own photos – with their children, with their friends, on vacation, breast feeding, napping. With each and every photo comes a story, which has contributed to the overall brand story of Polished Prints.
Q: How has your daughter impacted Polished Prints?
Oh, man, she’s impacted every piece of it. The entire brand was inspired by the ups, the downs, the challenges and the triumphs that come with motherhood. Never in my life have I found it more important to just be a good human, to empower others and try to set a positive example. It’s that mentality that sparked each and every t-shirt design in our shop, as I only hope those messages become just as important to her as they are to me. Without her, Polished Prints wouldn’t even exist.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would probably tell them to go for it when the time is right. Don’t rush it, but also don’t walk past a good opportunity. You’ll know when it’s meant to happen. I would also tell them to connect-connect-connect. You can learn so much from the people around you. Pay attention, absorb other people’s advice and listen. You never know where one good conversation might lead you. Lastly, I would tell them not to give up so easily. Running your own business is really HARD, but it’s super rewarding. Try not to overthink things and believe in yourself – nine times out of 10 you’re doing way better than you give yourself credit for.
Q: It’s the weekend in Champaign-Urbana, what are you doing for fun with your family?
With a 2-year-old we’re always somewhere doing something, whether it’s meeting other friends or just exploring everything we have here in our own backyard. If it’s nice out, we usually start the weekend at the Farmers Market and then venture over to one of the parks (we love Meadowbrook and Hessel especially!). We find ourselves at the Champaign Public Library a TON and also at Leonhard (Recreation) Center. It’s typical for us to make a stop at Hopscotch or grab breakfast at Original House of Pancakes.
Q: Tell me something most people don’t know about you.
My husband (Adam) and I are big music lovers and have both independently been collecting vinyl for well over a decade. Between the both of us we have over 300 records, spanning from big band music to classic rock. The coolest part is that we both have inherited our parents vinyl collections, so we can spend time listening to the same albums our parents did when they were our age. My favorite album is Tapestry by Carole King, mainly because my version was purchased by my mom when she was 14, and was the first record she ever bought!