Katie, founder of IvoryMint, uses her creativity to create beautiful wedding invitations and stationery. She first wanted to be a wedding stationery designer after creating a set for a friend of the family and enjoying the relationship and creativity she gets from clients.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I have been running IvoryMint for about a year now—in fact it was our work anniversary a few days ago! IvoryMint started as a wedding stationery design company born out of my love for creating pretty things and working with wonderful clients whilst being a little part of their big day.
Just before Christmas last year I created a few Christmas card designs which I sold on Etsy. We were so successful that we now also sell greetings cards and prints and will be exhibiting at PG Live this summer, our very first trade show! It's all very exciting and very scary at the same time!
How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
I had always enjoyed drawing and creating as a child and so design seemed a good choice. I graduated with a BA (hons) in Graphic Design from the University College of Falmouth (too long ago).
In 2011 I decided I wanted to travel to Australia and took on loads of work in the side to save up for it. One of the projects I took on was designing a full set of wedding stationery for a friend of the family. I absolutely loved it and that was where it all started for me.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of IvoryMint?
Having only recently given up my full time job to concentrate on the business I am still getting to grips with time management and organisation (something that used to always crop up on my school reports!) not that it affects the work I do for my clients, its more about doing the stuff I enjoy least like tax and record keeping!
I will generally start the day by making a big cup of coffee, tidying up my desk from yesterday and making a plan for the day ahead; this is important as I am likely to drift off and spend a day drawing rather than doing the things that matter most. Then I shall set about ticking items off my list. Answering emails, creating and sending proofs to clients, packing orders for both wedding stationery orders and day-to-day card sales.
I think I spend about 50% of my time working on existing orders and the other 50% finding new business; advertising, status updates, planning of trade show, updating products on Etsy and my webpage, working on SEO. It’s exhausting!
How do you approach a new project? What’s your design process like?
When someone orders a bespoke wedding stationery design, the first stage is always to get a clear idea of what they are looking for. Sometimes clients have so many ideas that it’s really important to drill down to a style or idea that you both agree on. I use Pinterest a lot and will get the future bride/groom to share their board with me; it helps to see what they are thinking. Then we'll agree on a colour palette and design style and go from there.
I'll start by doing a few sketches to help me work out my ideas, I'll do a few rough designs and show the client asking them to tell me which they prefer most and what elements they like/dislike, from there I shall choose a design to develop further. With bespoke designs I like to offer unlimited proof revisions to make sure that they are 100% happy with everything before we send to print.
You have a wide and varied collection, where do you get inspiration?
Travel is a big inspiration for me; we recently went away to Morocco for my 30th birthday (the less said about that the better) and I was really taken with the amazing colours and patterns there. I'm currently working on a range to reflect the warmth and feel of the place.
I also do a lot of research on the internet, looking at current trends and colour themes. Pinterest is a useful tool for this. Other designs arrive through my love of clean and simple graphics.
What design tools could you not live without?
Adobe Illustrator is by far the most used program on my computer. I also have a graphics tablet and a really big screen but easily the best design tool I have is a sketchbook and pen—I carry it wherever I go so I can sketch ideas as they come about.
Any quick tips for other weddings stationers?
Communication is the biggest difference between a happy client and an unhappy one. You need to be able to understand exactly what they want and they need to feel happy asking you to make changes etc. I love working with my clients and some I would even call friends; it makes the whole process much more enjoyable for both parties.
You can find Katie’s work at IvoryMint, or on Etsy. Join the conversation by leaving a comment in the box below.