Hello! My name is Nichole and I am the Chief Dreamer and designer at Coral Pheasant on the Connecticut shoreline. I am delighted to be guest blogging on my favorite stationery spot on the web this week, and I’m excited to share some of my work and behind the scenes with you. I’m a paper nerd with a penchant for beautiful typography, gorgeous patterns and thick, luxurious stock. Custom invitations are my specialty. I adore clients who respect etiquette and tradition, appreciate the rules, and break them just a bit to create a hip, on-trend, thoughtful and highly personalized stationery suites.
Art has been in my blood for as long as I can remember and my parents encouraged my pursuits wholeheartedly. One of my earliest memories of creating was building my dollhouse with my father. Everything on that miniature house was handcrafted from laying the chimney brick by little brick, to wallpapering the walls, to building the furniture. I delighted in working with my hands to make sure the tiniest of details was perfect. In college, I pursued my love of design by enrolling in a Fine Arts program and graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. It was during those four years that I became infatuated with typography and knew I had found my calling.
The vendors that we hired for our wedding quickly became friends and I was invited to collaborate with them on editorial shoots. My involvement in these creative projects and their support was the kick in the pants I needed to formally develop my stationery business. For the next two years I worked both my corporate job and my own business. In 2012, I attended the Engage! Luxury Wedding Conference and had the great fortune of meeting Sarah Haywood, one of Britain’s top wedding planners. It was this serendipitous encounter that led to our collaboration on the redesign of her 240-page Wedding Bible and her Wedding Bible Planner. Meeting Sarah and landing the job gave me the confidence to dedicate myself full time to my business. Two weeks after returning home from the conference I resigned from my job and began the crazy, rewarding, challenging, wonderful journey of being an entrepreneur.
When thinking of a name for my business I was sitting on the couch in our apartment’s living room and looking around the space. Sitting on a credenza that was a vignette I had styled that was composed of a tall cylindrical vase filled with pheasant feathers and a piece of coral. (I’ve long had a thing for what I like to call “animal ephemera”). I put the two words together and really liked how they sounded. After doing a quick internet search I confirmed that the URL was available (not an easy feat to find one that’s not been taken!) and knew I had a winner. For a while there, I always associated the word coral with the petrified piece that was the original inspiration. It wasn’t until I stared at the clothes hanging in my closet that I realized I owned multiple coral-colored things and a light bulb went on. Of course coral was also a color! It’s funny how something can be so obvious and yet so elusive.
My design process begins with learning as much as I can about the couple I’m working with. I want to know what they love to eat, how they spend their vacations, where they shop and what makes their house a home. Learning what they love in their day-to-day life – and what they don’t! – helps tremendously in understanding the vision for their wedding day.
My design process is also heavily inspired by vintage finds and studying beautifully curated interiors. In my questionnaire I ask my clients what the most treasured piece of furniture or art is in their home. This speaks volumes to me! I love the history behind objects and the visual storytelling that develops as these treasured pieces find their way into homes. The layering of unexpected items, their textures and patinas and patterns. It parallels the design of my stationery. I always seek to have each item in a suite coordinate with the whole but never “match.” I like to vary the sizes of the cards and the colors of the envelopes and I strive to create an element of discovery. This element might be a charming detail tucked into the envelope liner or the unexpected placement of the stamp on an RSVP envelope.
Working for yourself certainly has its rewards and challenges. One of the rewards is realizing my world got so much bigger. When I was working for a company, that was my world. I went to work, did my job and came home. I loved the people I worked with and they were essentially my “network.” For the most part we were all similar in age, doing similar things. When I started working for myself, I crossed paths with so many new people, with a multitude of talents, from wildly diverse backgrounds. It was – and is – wonderful to connect with people who are different from me. Each person brings a new perspective and can challenge you to see things in a new light. On the flip side, being a company of one can be lonely. I loved the people I worked with at my past job. There was definitely a social aspect to work where we all had lunch together and it was easy to bounce ideas around. I also had others to hold me accountable for tasks and projects. When you work for yourself, you have to make a concerted effort to network and you’re the one steering the ship.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about this gal behind the paper!
Photo Credits: Coral Pheasant