Happy Monday!

Happy Monday everyone! Normally I do these link round ups on Fridays, but we had an assembly at my girls’ school and the day got away from me. So I thought I’d save it for Monday instead! Did you have a good weekend? We got our first little snowfall on Saturday afternoon, and my girls were in HEAVEN. There’s a chance we might get a bit more later this week – fingers crossed! But in the meantime…

Yellow and Pink Poinsettia / Oh So Beautiful Paper

…a few links for your Monday!

This California ranch is home to over 500 animals, and they just lost their entire ranch to the fires in the area. All the animals and people made it out safely, but you can support their recovery and rebuilding effort here

Baby2Baby has also organized an Amazon registry so you can help by purchasing items for families that lost everything in the fires.

This DIY “gingerbread” house idea is absolutely genius

My dream winter coat! It’s pink! There are ruffles on the sleeves! Be still my heart.

Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018. What are your thoughts?

Can’t stop watching this hilarious video

This dress would be so pretty for New Year’s Eve

Did you catch my little DIY advent calendar on Instagram? All you need is some watercolor paper, paint, and a star craft punch or a pair of scissors!

YOU GUYS. Have you seen this rainbow Christmas tree??? It’s incredible!

MAKE: Creamy sweet potato agnolotti

 

Last week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

New illustrated wallpapers for December!

Vintage-inspired dusty blue wedding invitations

Sweet and simple calligraphy baby announcements by Bourne Paper Co. and Anne Robin!

Winter wedding stationery ideas

Beautiful envelope inspiration

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Guess what?? If you’re in the DC area, we’re doing a special pop up with our friends Brief Assembly this Saturday from 2-5 pm! We’ll have some of our Liquorary vintage glassware and barware for sale, and I’ll even be there with some of our #OSBPxMonVoir art prints! Plus, we’ll have some brand new (!!) curated cocktail kits with our favorite syrups and bitters! (they make excellent holiday gifts, just FYI 😉) It would be so fun to meet you in person, and you can knock all of your holiday shopping out in one spot! If you can’t make the pop up in person, you can grab your own art print right here and our curated cocktail kits right here, but I really hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area! Details are below – see you there! But in the meantime…

OSBP x Liquorary x Brief Assembly Pop-Up!

…a few links for your weekend!

Loving this sweater – especially in pale lavender and that deep teal green!

Great ideas for using paper flowers in your wedding

I’m totally doing this next year: DIY ornament advent calendar

A geology birthday party! SUCH a great idea!

An historical way of looking at trickle-down economics

Attacks on hospitals led to the Geneva Conventions 153 years ago. It is the original war crime. Since 2011, the Syrian regime has conducted more than 450 attacks on Syrian hospitals, including NICUs, nurseries, and emergency medicine.

 

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Gift Guides! We’ve done four gift guides so far: Home + Style Gift Ideas, Gift Guide for Creatives, Gift Ideas for Kids, and Cocktail + Entertaining Gifts. 

Gorgeous and classic ocean-inspired wedding invitations

Navy and gold foil agate-inspired wedding invitations

Behind the Stationery with bi-coastal stationery duo Anne + Kate

A thank you card round up to help prepare for post-holiday thank you cards!

 

That’s it for me this week! I hope you have a fantastic weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! Last weekend, I hosted Jenna of Mon Voir at Common Room Studio to celebrate her new book, Everyday Watercolor. We had 60 people at the studio over Saturday and Sunday, and it felt so great to finally share the space with people! If you’re in the DC area, we have two really exciting workshops coming up over the next few weeks: an ornament painting workshop with Talia of The White Hearth on Small Business Saturday, and a holiday table styling workshop with Wld Wst on December 16 that we’re calling Architecture of a Table. I’m so excited for both workshops – they’re going to be so fun! But in the meantime…

Black Lamb Studio / Plant Lady

Illustration by Black Lamb Studio via #dailydoseofpaper

…a few links for your weekend!

The world’s most perfect pink coat (and it’s only $160!)

Thinking about giving this DIY holiday greenery chandelier a try

Sign up for the Antiquaria holiday card exchange!

Gimme this rainbow stripe sequin skirt

Still trying to wrap my head around this proposed idea for countering global warming

I may have completely lost my mind, but I really want these glitter duck boots for winter

MAKE: Breakfast pot pies (yum!)

 

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

Loving these quirky camp-theme wedding invitations

How to find the perfect vintage rug for your space

We rounded up some favorite Thanksgiving cards

Gorgeous calligraphy from Pink + Peach

Looking for some fall cocktail inspiration? Try the Jägerita!

 

That’s it for me this week! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Behind the Stationery: Fox and Fallow

Today we’re taking you all the way to Australia to meet Janet from Fox and Fallow! Her bright designs and style reflect her surroundings in Brisbane. Janet shares her schedule for creating new product collections, how she brings each new product to life from design through production, and how her team helps to get it all done and shipped out each day. Take it away, Janet! —Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

From Janet: My background is in graphic design and art direction but after spending 10 years in design studios and advertising I felt like I needed a bit of a change. I really wanted to build my own brand after so many years of building other people’s brands. I fell in love with weddings after designing our own wedding stationery and signs and in 2013 we began creating wedding stationery and signs for couples as a side project. After about a year and a half I really wanted to reach a wider audience and create products of my own. So in 2015 we jumped right into the deep end and we launched our brand at the National Stationery Show in New York in 2015 and haven’t looked back!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We’re located in sunny Brisbane, Australia. It’s a fabulous city, the people are laid back, the food and bars are great and we’ve got more sunshine than we can handle! Our style is bright, fun, intricate and we love foil, so most of our paper goods are offset printed and foil stamped. I like to design in collections, releasing 3-4 collections per year, each with a totally different theme and style. This keeps things fresh and interesting and allows us to keep evolving our style each year.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Our studio is part office, part warehouse. All the design work, invoicing etc. gets done in the office and orders and products are checked, assembled, packaged and shipped out of the warehouse.We make a wide range of paper goods including greeting cards, gift wrap, flat notes, gift tags, prints, journals, notebooks, notepads and calendars.

We also make clipboard packs which are a really fun gift item and we make the clipboards in house, which involves sourcing the wood from a local supplier, laser cutting and engraving them, sanding, riveting and shrink wrapping the whole pack together.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

We take care of the design, quality checking, packaging and assembly but leave the printing to our local and offshore printers. We make most of our products locally in Brisbane or Sydney, but a few products we had to get manufactured offshore to make sure the price points work for our customers.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I usually start with a double espresso and an attempt to clean out my inbox (which rarely happens)! We’ll get any orders from the previous day and ones that have come in overnight to the team to pick and pack so they’re shipped out ASAP. We try to wrap this up by 2pm so they’re ready to be collected by our couriers. After the orders are done for the day the team often keeps working on quality checking, assembling and packaging products and anything else that needs doing before finishing up around 5pm. If we’ve got a big order to get out, it’s all hands on deck and we’ll do some pretty big hours to get it out in time, but it’s great we can be flexible and have our team take product home to package – which works great! No one wants to be working late in the office right?

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I’ll usually grab another coffee and get started on artwork, product sourcing, bill-paying and general day-to-day business things. Darrell and I are both night owls, so we usually work pretty late. I wish my days were filled with painting and making new products, but as I’m sure all creative business owners know, the creative part is a tiny sliver of the running-a-small-biz pie.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I start each collection with a bunch of random thoughts in a notepad file on the computer and on my phone, then I’ll scour Pinterest, Google or books for snippets to create a mood board. I like having the inspiration and colours for each collection all nutted out on a mood board so I can show Darrell and get his thoughts. Once we’re happy with the direction it’s a matter of more research, sketching, scanning, detailed ink sketches, painting, scanning, colouring and refining and deep-etching each element in Photoshop.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

I like painting all artwork as separate components so I can change the colours easily in Photoshop and change the size if needed. If I’m working on custom typography I’ll usually start with sketches and then use a brush pen and ink before I scan each word and vectorize them in Illustrator. I composite all artwork in InDesign and send it off to print for the proofing stage. Once we’ve checked and approved the proofs we wait for the finished goods to arrive.

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

This is the most fun part of what we do and it’s so rewarding when we see our retailers and customers loving our products. We love doing trade shows and pop up events as you really get to see people’s reactions to your products – it’s super valuable having that face-to-face contact. We love it when we meet people who are discovering us for the first time – it makes all the hard work so worthwhile!

Behind the Stationery: Fox & Fallow

All photos by Fox & Fallow.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Our next installment of Behind the Stationery take us to Columbus, Ohio to visit Yao Cheng’s design studio. She’s not only the owner and watercolor artist, but also the calligrapher and graphic designer of all things Yao Cheng Design! Over time, Yao has found that designing for custom clients versus her product line requires different creative processes and dives into how she approaches each of them. With a new baby and a growing team, she navigates through the changes in her business and talks about the reality of coming back to work after maternity leave. Here’s Yao! —Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

From Yao: Looking back, it’s been a very interesting journey of what I thought my business was going to be and what it has become. When I first left my full-time corporate design job to start my own venture in 2012, I thought my business was going to revolve around my interpretation of hand-painted Pysanky eggs. At the same time, I was playing around the idea of art prints and greeting cards because I really loved painting watercolor more than anything else. As I was figuring all of this out, I applied for my first craft show. It was at that show that I had everything displayed and it became very clear to me what people were gravitating towards. Customers felt more connected to my art prints and cards because it’s a natural interpretation of my paintings. After that show, I shifted my focus into the direction of art prints and stationery.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Our business is unique in both the style of watercolor that I create and also in the way that it is structured. We offer giclée art prints, greeting cards, wedding stationery (custom, pre-designed, and calligraphy services!), and gift wrap in addition to our line of textile products. We also have an exciting collaboration with Chronicle Books in which you can find my watercolor designs on a line of notebooks, notecards and the latest One Line a Day journal!

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Photo by Chancey Charm

It wasn’t until 2013 that I really dove into the world of wedding stationery. The Style Me Pretty post of a styled autumn wedding featuring some of my first wedding invitations was really the beginning of our wedding business. As a creative, I love being able to touch and hold things in my hands. The tactile quality makes me feel like I have a tangible connection to something real. Whenever I’m designing wedding invitations, I try to replicate this feeling. I think of wedding invitations as more than just a piece of paper, they are small pieces of artwork that really captures a special moment in a couples life and all the memories of that day!

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Photo by Lily Dent for the Metropreneur

Everyone knows that as a small business, you wear many different hats. That is certainly true with us! We are a very small team at the moment as I am very careful about how fast we grow. Because I have a little one, my days are limited to an 8-hour day. We plan out our next week’s calendar the Friday before, so when I come in in the morning, I have a pretty concise agenda of what needs to be done. Still, I am known to be overly ambitious with my tasks, so I almost never finish all of my tasks for that day! I could be spending the morning answering emails or questions from my team, then jumping on calls with clients or new manufacturers, or even doing a styled shoot for an upcoming newsletter. In a week, I try to carve out an afternoon or a full day to paint, but I wish I had more time devoted to painting!

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

I spend 70-80% of my time running the business, but it’s my dream to flip that so I am able to spend that amount of time painting new work. Don’t get me wrong — I am fascinated by the business side of things because I think learning about strategy, planning, pricing, bookkeeping, etc is all empowering. I think it’s crucial, as the owner, to understand the basics of all the facets of the business before delegating it to others. However, I recognize my strength is in painting, so that’s where I’d like to focus my time on one day.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Photo by Lily Dent for the Metropreneur

Our design studio is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. It’s a space that I am very proud of because it is almost exactly how I’ve envisioned my dream space! We are in a very unique building that is zoned both commercially and residentially. This gave us the opportunity to have our own kitchen and bathroom, offering us the privacy that I knew I’d need in order to focus on the day-to-day! My favorite feature about this space is the large windows that bring in so much natural light, which is great for painting. Half the space is an open loft, and that’s where we spend most of our time. I love that this studio inhabits every step of the design process from painting the original artwork to designing the final product or design. I even had a custom table made by a talented local carpenter so that it would be large enough for us to host our workshopscreative meet-ups, and other events!

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

My design process for wedding stationery is different from how I approach our product line in that I include sketches during the process. For custom bespoke work, I have an initial chat with the client to get a feel of the style and colors that they are looking for. Once I have some visuals to work from, I start sketching with a black pen different layout options of what I think would work. This is actually the most involved part of the design process because I am fully designing out multiple versions of the invitation suite so that all of the layouts and wording are in place before I move into painting. Once we have the layout and color palette approved, I will start painting and adding color in the pieces. It’s sort of magical to see something black and white come to life in watercolor! Designing wedding invitations requires this type of process because I want to make sure our bride can get a visual understanding through every step.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

We really value working closely with our brides through every step of the process! Having planned my own wedding, I know how special and important this day is to each person. One of our most unique custom wedding pieces is my custom maps because the couple gets to highlight what they love about and around the place that they are getting married. I really enjoy creating each one of them because they are more illustration-based and different from the rest of my work. I also create the calligraphy script, making our invitations a complete package. Everything feels cohesive because I can match the calligraphy style to the feel of the entire suite. I think addressing envelopes might be my favorite part of wedding stationery, actually! It’s mindless and a different translation of my love for the free-flowing, fluidity of watercolor.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

However, outside of our wedding work, I take a different approach. First of all, I skip the sketching in black and white phase because I find it much more liberating and challenging to work when I am not really sure of where I am going. My work is very connected to the idea of intuition and improvisation. I like to respond and be in the moment with my paintings, and often find that this is where I find happy surprises! Watercolor, as a medium, lends itself very well to my approach of painting because of how quickly it dries. This allows me to paint fast, usually within an hour or two, and move on to the next idea. I am usually painting 3 different things at once because of this. I love this way of “sketch painting” because it takes away the expectation that this artwork will be the masterpiece. I am free to explore new ideas, expound on them or move on to another and not feel too attached. So in the end, I might make 3-4 painted versions of the final design. Once a piece is finished, we will scan them into the computer and then minimally edit it in Photoshop.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

One of my business struggles of this year has been ramping back up to speed from taking almost 6 months off for maternity leave. I am so grateful that we were able to keep everything running while I was gone, but I would have never expected the kind of challenges I’ve faced coming back. Having turned down many projects and going months without creating new work, I do feel like I “fell behind” in some ways. I have found the panic of feeling like we might not be relevant at any moment to be a common experience for small business owners! Still, it was a fear that became very real as my overhead increased with a studio space and payroll to run every month.

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

Another daily struggle is learning how to be a good boss. Managing employees is not something I learned in art school, and it is definitely unique to each business. I’ve also had to learn not to allow my creative “monkey” brain to get side-tracked with all of the ideas that I think of in a day. This is definitely something I’ve recently learned and happens when you expand to more than just yourself. When it was just me, I didn’t have to plan my calendar out for the year — every product release happened when I had the time to get to it. After all, it was just me, so if it meant working longer days, I could do that. But now, strategies have to be made and clients are committed to far in advance because there are other people involved now. I can no longer just throw a curve ball last minute and think we can stay on schedule with everything else!

Behind the Stationery: Yao Cheng Design

The way my business is structured really reflects the person that I am. I am never satisfied with doing one thing, and I think my strongest work comes from doing multiple projects at once and allowing my ideas for each to bounce off of one another. I truly believe in the work that I do and see so many avenues that my watercolors can go, so it makes sense for me to have every product or project culminate in watercolor, but take on lives of their own.

Photos by Christa Kimble Photography except where noted.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.