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Wanda Wen

39, designer and co-founder of Soolip inc. in West Hollywood, California

Description: Retailer and wholesaler of fine papers

Start-up: $50,000 in 1995

Sales: 2002 projected sales of $1.6 million

A special invitation: Wen, who had worked in the fashion industry, was always drawn to fine aesthetics. So when she and her partner, Grant Forsberg, couldn't find wedding invitations that represented their style, they made their own, sparking the beginnings of Soolip. "I realized as I was hand-cutting 200 invitations that I loved the tediousness."

Baby boom: Soolip Paperie & Press, Wen's first store, was born in June 1995, one month before the birth of her first child, Simone. Two years later, her son, Dag, was born, just three months after she started her lifestyle home store, Soolip Bungalow, which offers high-end clothing, home accessories and furniture. Marie Papier opened its doors in 1999, offering a brightly colored collection of modern stationery and accessories. "We've just been making babies and stores," says Wen, who recently gave birth to her third child, Odin.

Individualized attention: Celebrities including Jodie Foster, Charlize Theron and Sandra Bullock set themselves apart with Soolip's numerous paper and invitation options. Wen asserts: "From the paper style, folding, use of ribbons, beading, dried or fresh flowers and hand tea dying, it's completely customized."

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This article was originally published in the October 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Wanda Wen.

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