My spotlight on creative small business’ continues with my second wedding supplier Q&A. Its the turn of Sophie of Studio Sophie fame who created our invitations, menu’s and seating plan.
We chose a pineapple theme (that Sophie drew) with some spring cosmos-esque flowers to tie-in the spring time of year. We opted for it in colour and Sophie worked with us to design this idea. I then went about writing my guests names on myself as wanted them all to have a personal feel.
Sophie has so much passion and enthusiasm it is impossible not to feel so uplifted by her infectious creative spirit which is one of the reasons shopping small business is so important – you know they really care! Read on below and I know your agree, Sophie’s advice on being a start-up creative business and also her tips on choosing wedding stationery make a great little read!
Tell me a bit about Studio Sophie and how it started?
I’ve always loved illustration and after working for some pretty inspiring companies as a graphic designer, I felt drawn to the challenge of creating my own products. I am bonkers about print and pattern so I knew this would be a big part of what I created.
My own brand began in 2012, selling a few illustrated ceramics at markets stalls. I experimented a lot with applying my patterns and motifs to different products, from teapots to lampshades, and learned about my business along the way.
My wedding stationery began with a few requests from friends and flourished from there. I soon realised it was the perfect product for my hand painted patterns and graphic design skills. I also feel really lucky to contribute to such an important milestone in people’s lives. My customers are all so lovely and excited, it makes my job so much fun.
What do you enjoy most about being an illustrator?
I’m never happier than with a paintbrush or pen in my hand. Illustrating is a very peaceful task; you can set your imagination free and be experimental. If something doesn’t work well first time, it doesn’t matter, but I often surprise myself with the motifs that emerge. I love working with my hands, directly onto paper, but being able to edit my illustrations and change colours on my computer also makes the possibilities for creation pretty endless.
I have new ideas all the time and I just love having an outlet to try new things. The ultimate reward is when I hear back from my customers about how my work has made their day. Illustration has a really personal and artisan vibe so it just seems to make people happy and that’s great!
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your work?
I am pretty obsessed with nature. Plants and flowers are an amazing resource for a designer. There’s so much variety to explore. You couldn’t possibly ever paint every leaf and blossom in the world, so it’s an endless source of beauty! But patterns and motifs also turn up in unexpected everyday things so I try not to limit what might inspire me.
In the past I’ve illustrated buildings, animals and all kinds of things that just catch my eye with a certain colour or shape.
Are there any current trends within wedding invitations and stationery?
The wedding stationery market is as vast as the number of weddings, which is good because it’s such a personal choice. Many people do prefer to stick to tradition but there’s certainly a growing thirst for new designers to put a twist on the way weddings are done. Customers are ever more design-savvy and they want their wedding to reflect that. That’s why wedding stationery is now starting to mirror trends in fashion, homeware and other areas of design. When you can buy a beautiful birthday card from somewhere like Anthropologie, you are going to wonder if your wedding invites can look like that too.
Lots of people are voting with their feet and wanting to make their wedding feel as personal and expressive as possible – it’s their chance to show the world the kind of design they love. People are making bolder and braver choices, for example, eschewing calligraphy and too much pink. Trends like tropical plants, monochrome prints or metallic details are now just as viable for wedding stationery as they are for a dress, a notebook or a sofa.
What tips do you have for someone choosing wedding stationery?
I think a great place to start wedding planning is to have a rough idea about the colours you like. Everything can spring from there — the flowers, the dresses, and so on. Pinterest is a great place to start searching for inspiration and there are also a plethora of great wedding blogs now. Many of them have directories of suppliers so it’s a great place to find more interesting independent brands and designers.
What advice would you pass on to someone wanting to move their creative hobby into a business?
It really is half passion, half hard work and determination. I wouldn’t start a business unless you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing because that is what will spur you on through the ups and downs of running things. It’s not easy to start up on your own as there is so much to learn outside of your comfort zone. For example if you’re a creative like me, you might feel like a fish out of water with things like finances and marketing. If there’s an area you don’t understand, it might be best to take a course on it or delegate to an expert, rather than use up your own time, which is better spent on the areas you specifically excel in.
Once you’re up and running, never let rejection chink your armour – try to learn from every mistake and setback and use them as fuel to move forward and make changes to how you’re working. Keep your antennae out for opportunities too. With these core values, I think anything is possible!
How many photos do you have on your phone camera roll right now and what are the pics mainly of?
411 (and I’ve only had this phone 3 months!!). They’re of friends, family, days out, a lot of leaves, flowers, bits of architecture out on the street, colours and patterns I’ve spotted that I like, and things I’ve painted.
Who’s your favorite person to on follow social media and why?
@carmelkingphoto on Instagram. She is a photographer friend of mine, we have very similar tastes and I just love seeing what creative things she’s up to.
If you weren’t an illustrator/ in the world of graphic design what would you like to be doing?
I’d write a novel! I love writing so if I were stranded on a desert island for a year, with no rent to pay, I’d probably do that!
Find more of Sophie work via her website www.studiosophie.co.uk and check out her instagram. Studio Sophie is also in the Littlebookforbrides directory which is testament of her being a hard working, brilliant supplier!