OH flip it's been nearly seven months since my last blog post - whoops! Where has the time gone?! I know how important it is to keep up appearances on your professional website, to make it known to readers and visitors that you are busy with work with lots of interesting blog content and that you haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. It was always my intention to create one blog post a month, useful info on creating your wedding stationery, tips on how and where to save money etc. things that I felt people would actually want to read - but the reality is that if there is one thing that gets pushed back on my to-do list it is always writing the blog post. (Sorry blog, I promise it's not you!)
There is a lot of news in the Internet World recently that people aren't reading that many blogs anymore - and to some extent I do agree. I find that I'm visiting blog sites in my down time much in the same way that I read magazines - to relax and switch off. Rather than using blogs as a source of information about a certain topic, or to look at work for inspiration. Because for these types of things we now have Instagram - a place where I share all of my wedding stationery updates and general day-to-day news. BUT I still do love a good post every now and then about what people have been up to, because one thing social media isn't very good at is letting us pour out as many words as we want - and sometimes you just need to write more than a couple of paragraphs on a post to get across how you actually feel.
So long introduction short, here is a round up of the first six months of 2017 and what has been great, and what has been not-so-great. (Although to be fair it is all mainly great so hooray for that!)
TWO NEW TEMPLATE RANGES
In February I released the first of two new template ranges, 'ink' - now I have to be honest this design was 100% pure indulgence to feed my current obsessions with pink and black visuals. I love the simplicity of the invites with the white / pink split and I thought it would be really fun to dress up the menus and table numbers etc. as a way to bring out personality. I made it a goal this year to create a template that didn't include some kind of floral elements because to be fair I had pretty much over-done this and was getting slightly bored of drawing flowers. So this range was a way for me to express a different side that I hoped couples would indulge into as well.
The second template was 'Rainforest' my first template range that included foiling, something that I had been asked about a lot. Due to how expensive this process can be some couples could simply not allow it within their budget - and to be fair I totally understand because I doubt I would have been able to afford it either! But finally the printer gods spoke down to us poorer and said you shall not go without beautiful shimmery goodness anymore! and hallelujah we said! As it meant I could now offer couples foiling that didn't break the whole wedding budget. I was really pleased with how this range came out and it was designed to suit any style / theme of wedding with the colours being easily adapted to suit all palettes.
HARBOUR HOTEL WEDDING FAYRE
The first Wedding Fayre of the year for me and I was personally really excited about it due to the beautiful location. For those that are local or know Brighton well the Harbour Hotel has recently had a tremendous upgrade to be one of the only 5* hotels in Brighton. The rooms are stunning with that perfect sea view over-looking the pier. The spa is honestly one of the best I have ever seen and I cannot wait to take a day off and spend the entire afternoon in there. They are also currently building an infinity pool on the bloody roof! So I knew this location would be the perfect place to show off my new range of invites to all the lucky people that are going to be married or have their reception there. I spent some time making my own acrylic sign that I had laser cut with my logo. I LOVED making this and it sort of turned into an obsession with me painting lots of acrylic signs.
The Fayre itself was unusually quiet... it was a gorgeous sunny day and the beach was rammed - something we all had to face as 'it was just one of those days where nobody wants to be inside a building!" I did meet some amazing local vendors though and I'd recommend having a look at Bettie Rose Flowers, her arranging and eye for colours is simply stunning.
PHOTO MORNING WITH EMMA CROMAN
Being a part of the One Girl Band community in Brighton which is hosted/run/owned by the lovely Lola Hoad meant I had the opportunity to have some snaps of my face taken by the amazingly talented Emma Croman. This photo day was to raise funds for Awamu who are a charity working with women in the Kampala slums to achieve a better life for vulnerable children. So this meant I could help raise some money for an amazing cause whilst also having some pictures I could use that weren't taken by myself and didn't look terrible! It was my first time meeting Emma and I cannot recommend her enough to anybody who is in need of some editorial style imagery. Her work is simply gorgeous.
At the very beginning of the year I launched my very own Wedding Website product. These had obviously been starting to become very popular within the Wedding industry and with couples as they save a lot of time for both the wedding party and guests. I knew how important it would be to offer these alongside my stationery items as I want to express how my design experience doesn't just stop at paper. I also knew a lot of bigger companies can offer these websites at an extremely low price (some of them are free!) but with quality and design not on the agenda at all. Web design is actually more of a trade for me then anything else (Its what I actually do in my 'normal' 9-5 day job) so I knew I could offer something really great compared to these other companies.
My main concern with these Wedding Websites would that they would prove to be SO popular that printed invitations would stop becoming a thing that people wanted - I mean if you can save some money within your wedding budget you would right? But since launching this back in January I have actually had more printed Invitation orders than website orders - and I am definitely pleased about that as printed materials just work so well for Weddings. They are personal, the perfect keep sake from the day and there is just something so romantic about receiving something in the post from an actual person that is not just another bill.
I have enjoyed creating these sites though as it has meant a lot of couples tend to get both - a gorgeous printed invitation, with a wedding website to collect RSVP's. Because from what I've heard from couples is that getting your guests to RSVP is the hardest part of planning a Wedding!
THE NOT SO GOOD STUFF
I'm definitely going to keep this section short and sweet because it can't be good to focus on the bad stuff. But I do think it is important to acknowledge it, even just for personal development and letting people know that not everything is perfect.
One of the hardest things I have found since launching this little business is that Instagram can sometimes be a bit of a drag. It is my most used social platform to promote my wedding stationery and I've felt its been nothing but hard work ever since. I think I totally underestimated just how many people were creating wedding invitations and just how many accounts there were doing the same thing as me. The market is SO saturated that I've found it really hard to get my own voice heard over others. (Don't get me wrong everyone is so well deserved, there are so many amazing talented people out there!) But it definitely gets me down when I work SO hard and feel like things aren't paying off the way I thought they would. Not that I ever thought I would be rolling around in money but that Instagram users would find and interact with my account way easier then it appears. I did launch my account right at the time Instagram changed its algorithm, and I think others have felt this lack of interaction in their accounts too (at least I hope I'm not the only one!) I think what I'm getting at is I think I'm going to put less pressure on myself to make my Instagram account a success - because what actually is a successful Instagram account? I rarely find clients through the channel and I think this has proven that it doesn't deserve so much of my time then I give it. I should put my time and energy into advertising communications that actually ARE working for me and just use Instagram as a way to share stuff I find fun. Putting less pressure on it may even make it more enjoyable for me!
- Those bad egg clients
Up until this point I had been very lucky with my clients - all super lovely, all giving great reviews and recommendations and all really happy with the work I was creating for them. This luck was definitely going to run out soon, I mean who gets this lucky with such lovely people! I have yet to experience a bride-zilla, I honestly don't think they exist. But I have experienced those kind of clients that are just never happy, even if I was to marry them myself and give them all the free print products in the World they would probably still find something to moan about. I put it all down to experience and always try to brush it off, but it does put a bit of a downer on my day, especially working for myself where this is no support or back-up.
- Printer mistakes
I am no stranger to the odd spelling mistake being printed on a clients document, it happened so much in my old job that they probably became very close to firing me at one point ha! And even though I have not made a single spelling or error on any of my clients wedding stationery items yet (I say yet as I touch all the wooden things around me) there have been some printer errors that really screw up your day. More often then I would like my clients turn-around times can sometimes be very tight - I get panicked phone calls from brides who need 100 order of services printed within 5 days for their wedding this Saturday. Usually it can be done, but when these items arrive folded or stapled the wrong way the poo really does hit the fan. Luckily it was all re-printed with no hassles but just meant they were delivered on the actual day of the Wedding! Stress levels for both myself and the Bride were too high to even comment and is not something we both wish to ever repeat ha! These things happen and can only be eliminated with experience, something I'm learning all the time.
MY FAVE BESPOKE ORDERS
Once again I've managed to write FAR too much so here is a little rounder of my favourite bespoke orders from this year to finish off. I cannot thank these clients enough for letting me do my thing and trust me with their wedding print.
One again I've managed to write far too much for a general catch-up so maybe it's a good thing I only write on here once every six months! I've got some really fun things lined up for the rest of the year including some paintings which I am currently working on (totally different to what I usually make!) and some more really lovely bespoke invites which I'm looking forward to sharing soon! x