Meet our Strong Woman Collection feature, Emily Ley.

Our Strong Woman Collection is something we are super passionate about. Each season, we pick a message that resonates with us, deep down to our core and that we hope will bless so many women. We release this concept as a set of three: an art print, a greeting card and a tee. The number three has strong significance to us and is also modeled after our brand promise: Create. Give. Inspire. We hope you hang the art print in your home or office to create an environment that builds you up and encourages you to chase after your dreams God has set before you. We hope you give the card to someone that needs to be lifted up and encouraged. And lastly, we hope you wear the shirt out into the world to start a conversation about things that matter.
This season, our message is imperfect. Striving after perfect is exhausting because it's unattainable and it's something all women struggle with. We can spend our whole lives trying, but we will always fail. In this social media generation, there's even more pressure to portray the perfect life. But who can relate to perfect?
Our Strong Woman Collection this season is all about embracing your imperfections. Let's tear down our walls, be vulnerable with each other and love one another in the middle of our imperfect messes.
We are so excited to introduce you to our strong woman of the season that we feel is living out this message in a powerful way! Meet Emily Ley. Many of you may already know her, but she is so passionate about the message of choosing grace, not perfection. We hope that through this collection and her words, you will be so blessed.
This collection will be exclusively available on our website and in our retail store beginning Monday, December 5th at 9AM CST.
1. Tell me about yourself and your business.
I am a wife, to my husband Bryan - of eight years. He works in commercial insurance. I’m a proud, busy mom to three little ones. Brady is almost six (gracious) and Tyler and Caroline are almost two. They are pure bundles of happiness - all three of them. And their personalities are so very different, so unique to who each of them are. Tyler is the oldest of my twins by just three minutes. He’s calm and particular and as sweet as can be. We always say he’s made of marshmallows and honey. Caroline is the queen bee. She’s feisty and funny and smiles with her entire face. And Brady is the one who made me a mama. He’s smart and funny and one of the most caring people I’ve ever known. He loves deeply and is going to change the world one day. I’m a designer and a new author. I created the Simplified Planner in 2011 and authored my new book, Grace, Not Perfection late last year. The Simplified Planner was born out of a deep desire to live life fully and wholeheartedly. I couldn’t do that without some simplicity and joy in my life. I needed a tool to help me keep it all together. Most importantly, I needed a tool that was underwhelming - in all the good ways. I needed something to steady my heart and soften my pace. I saw a big need in the planner market for something with breathing room, white space, and a lack of bells and whistles. The Simplified Planner is now sold in over 800 stores around the world and ships from our online shop to tens of thousands of customers a year. Grace, Not Perfection is what I lovingly call my “fourth child.” My book baby. I poured my heart into its 242 pages while in the throws of raising a very young family (the twins weren’t yet one and Brady was in preschool). It’s a heartfelt, funny, tactical book that takes you through all the emotions of raising a family, running a business, falling flat on your face, triumphs, failures, heartache, soulful love, and more. 

2. Why are you passionate about letting go of perfect?
I know how much “perfection” hurts. I know, firsthand, the emptiness that comes along with the constant race to the “finish line” of perfection. There’s “wanting to do life well” and then there’s “wanting to live a Pinterest-perfect life - perfectly buttoned up, perfectly crafted, and perfectly polished.” One is realistic and one is impossible. That constant strife left me feeling lonely, tired, and burned out in the worst ways. It even has affected my health at times. I’m passionate about this because it’s a societal travesty that we are all so caught up, so on-the-hook. There is so much freedom in messy, flawed, broken, raw reality. 

3. What does it mean to you to be imperfect?
Being imperfect means embracing the mess, savoring the circus. It means letting the laundry pile up just a little while longer to play Candy Land just one more time. It means choosing wild and messy creativity over an always spotless kitchen. It means that when God takes us left when we thought for sure our plan should have taken us right, we take a deep breath and find joy in the change of pace. It means realizing that sometimes we are our truest, realest selves when we let go, let God work, and dig in. 

4. How can we encourage others to let down their guards walk in the freedom of imperfection?
The best way to encourage others to walk in the freedom of imperfection is to live it ourselves. That means totally redefining what “good” is to you. For me, for many years, “good” meant a spotless home, perfectly dressed children, being at my college weight, extravagant birthday parties (to name one specific example). When I started to let go of the idea that I had an image to uphold (difficult when you’re a brand owner), I started to redefine “good” for myself as joyful children, a life-giving home, feeling comfortable, strong, and proud of my body that birthed three children, and birthday parties that left my children feeling unendingly loved - for who they are - on their special day. 

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