It's strange to take a look back at my life and take inventory of things I have come back to over and over and realize these are some of my true loves...as random as they may seem to others.
One of these things is paper. Yes, that's right, paper. While I can't quite put a finger on it, I have realized since my wedding planning days that I really enjoy paper and making beautiful things from it. When Seth and I got engaged it was my goal to make our wedding invitations, but after a trip to a couple of paper/scrapbooking stores I realized it was going to be easier on everyone if I just ordered them. However, I stood my ground on my desire to make something for the wedding and was able to make our wedding programs, which to this day I am still very proud of. (photo by Dara Blakeley)
In January, I decided to try offering custom wedding stationary to anyone I came across that was recently engaged. I was inspired when the sister of one of my college friends randomly found me on Facebook and I saw that she was engaged in her profile. I sent her a message offering my services and she accepted. A week later, I noticed one of my former Resident Assistant's at Meredith was engaged and offered her my services as well - she, too, accepted and also had a friend that was interested! A few weeks later, Seth's long-time friend, Patrick, got engaged and they, too, accepted my offer! WOW. 4 clients in less than a month. Maybe this wouldn't be too hard.
I'm nearing completion of wedding #1 which is June 1, 2007. The bride has been pleased so far, but it's my own quest for absolute perfection which is difficult to work with. I love designing and laying out invitations but I've been let down on the things which I have no control over (i.e. printers & software). Luckily, I have the smartest & most patient husband in the universe and he's helped me though it all - each time coming up with a solution that makes me happy with my products. It's frustrating when your brain knows something is possible, but the machinery you rely on lets you down. It's clear that to do this type of business to the level of perfection which I seek, I'd need a massive budget and top of the line machinery which is just not going to happen. In any case, I'm making do with what I've got and my little home office is coming together nicely.
Once I get my work pattern established, I think the other weddings I'm working on will go much smoother. This first wedding has been a lot of trial and error, but I've made sure that didn't reflect in my product. I think this bride will be pleased - as I am - and hopefully I'll have produced something for her that she wouldn't have imagined otherwise.
It's important to me to produce the quality that's in my head (which is perfection) and I like to think I do as much as I can to match what's up there. I admire people who employ themselves and are so confident and comfortable with what they do that they make their work seem effortless yet the product seems like flawless perfection to the customer. Not to say that these artists aren't also as over-critical of themselves as I am, but ultimatley what's important is that the customer is happy and not necessarily the artist. Our wedding photographer, Dara Blakeley, is someone whose work I admire. When I found her website back in 2001, I saved her in my bookmarks and dreamed that one day she could shoot my wedding (thinking it wouldn't happen for budget or booking reasons). I feel lucky that Miss Dara did shoot our wedding and am proud to be part of her portfolio. I hope that if my little paper business ever goes anywhere - ultimately, I'd love to run a stationary store - that someone may feel that way about me and my product one day. A girl can dream, right?....
PS! I also did all the paper goods for my brother's wedding - but I needed to expand my business outside of the family! (photo by Dara Blakeley)