Learn about Blush and Gold with our latest interview!
Here at Printed.com, we’ve always been proud to put small businesses and creatives at our core, so we’ll take any excuse to shout about the amazing work they do.
First of all a big hello… tell us a bit about your business!
“Hi, we’re Mara and Paul and together we run Blush and Gold. It’s a stationery design studio.”
How you got started in the stationery design business?
“Blush and Gold started when Paul proposed to me at the end of 2015. Originally, I was a graphic designer so I knew I wanted to work on the stationery for the wedding. One day I thought about designing for my own wedding and I realised that it was something I could do as a business.”
“It’s amazing how quickly Mara was able to put together designs and start Blush and Gold. It was so nice to be able to see her using her creative talents and putting them into something that she really loved. I loved seeing the reactions from her customers when they receive their wedding invites . It was amazing, really heartwarming.”
What does a typical day in the office/studio look like for you?
“Our cats wake us up at about 5 o’clock. But really we get up about half 8/9 o’clock. We generally try to have breakfast and share a couple of words, and then we just start working straight away”
“In the morning we tend not to talk to each other much, we just try and focus on replying to emails and anything that has been building up since the previous day. We sort of work separately in the morning, and then lunchtime is when we discuss things. Sometimes it’s about moving a project along or dealing with some suppliers that might need input from both of us. In the afternoon we go back to work, but we try and be a bit more relaxed. So sometimes we’ll just go for a walk, or go shopping and have a meal. The afternoon is a bit more flexible.”
“We both work really well in the morning, I think we just work better ourselves. Working together has really taught a lot of things including that morning is the best time for us for work. So we do like to have our afternoon.”
“Living together as a couple and then working together are two completely separate things. You have to understand how each other works. We’ve been together 10 years, but we’d never really worked on any projects together or done anything like this. So learning how each other worked was an adventure. The key is knowing how not to annoy each other, which is probably the best thing we learned.”
“We have a rule that whenever we leave the office, we don’t talk about Blush and Gold until the next day. I think that’s something that we had to develop as a bit of barrier to keep ourselves sane.”
“There might be times where we’re sat on the train, or one of us will be looking at social media and will see another design from someone else, or an email will come through at 10 o’clock at night and the other one will just start talking about it, and we have to almost stop each from going into work mode. Which can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but it’s just one of those things you have to get used to. “
“You just have to find ways of working together that suit each other, and make it as productive as possible”
“We both know that if we’ve got our headphones in we’re off limits and focused on a particular task…. it was tough in the beginning, but now that we’ve been working on this together for at least 18 months, it’s become a lot easier and manageable and you go through the lows together and the highs together. “
“It’s really nice to be able to do it as a couple and enjoy the rewards from it. And to be able to go on nice holidays, and hopefully, have children in the future and provide for them through this.”
Where do you find the inspiration behind your designs/what inspires you
“So the inspiration behind our products, what products we would work on, is definitely inspired by life’s big events. For example, the wedding planner which is one of our first products, started because I was looking for suppliers and checklists to plan my wedding, and I couldn’t find anything that was comprehensive enough for my level of planning.”
“That’s how the wedding planner developed. And then all our products after that, they’ve always been linked to something that I’ve gone through. So, for example, our ‘body and soul’ journal evolved from me not having a work/life balance. It was my way of creating something for myself to stop and reflect every day and take some time for myself. The baby book is because we’re starting to think about a family. So the products are based on where we are now.”
“Ultimately, the products are based on where we are as people, and as a couple. “
“It’s a cliché, but inspiration is everywhere. We tend to like going for walks down the shops and seeing what the trends are. Inspiration from fashion, or interior design, or sometimes just what we are doing our house.”
What is the most important thing as a designer to keep in mind when you’re creating design for print?
“I think there are two aspects of what I look for in a printer, and what Printed.com has actually been able to assist Blush and Gold with. One is the quality of the print. I love the fact that you can actually order quite small quantities. A lot of the time we get samples done and then rework them until they are the finished product.”
“We also have a great repour with printed.com. We do feel that we have a direct line to our account manager. If there are any problems or the need for ay quotes she’s always really really quick to reply. So I never feel like as are waiting too long.”
“I think the nice thing about Printed.com is that you can find your way through the website and send everything you need to print on your own. It’s nice that if something goes wrong, we can speak to someone and get it sorted.”
How do you juggle all the different elements that come with having a creative business?
“In terms of being to juggle things like dealing with packaging, inventory, how much to order I think that’s something that I’ve been able to bring to the Blush and Gold. Which allows Mara to more focus on designing and products and really being creative. And it’s something that you just have to learn as you go, I think that the first time you realise you need to do it is when you run out of things, you run out of boxes to put some product on, and it’s a frantic rush and you have to run down the shops to buy some packaging materials, so the next time you’re a lot more prepared and you just learn each time you do it.”
“I tend to look after those aspects of Blush and Gold from the background that I’ve had working in other jobs working in that kind of thing, being able to take on that side of the business and just let Mara be creative.”
How do you stay up to date with trends?
“I think it’s quite hard because we’ve got so many different branches of what we do, so we have the wedding branch, and the baby branch, and the lifestyle branch, and I think there are trends within all of these different areas. So sometimes it’s quite hard to keep track of what’s in the for the baby business, what’s in for the wedding business…”
“We go to exhibitions to keep up to date with current trends, we go to exhibitions, wedding fayres, we look in baby shops and bridal boutiques, and also as we’ve grown the business you start to move into things like wholesale and selling to other business and you understand the trends in the market by speaking to them and finding out what you customers want, sometimes that’s what can drive the business forward and drive product development forward, because you’re responding to the market in real-time.”
“Plus, we take into account the feedback that we get from our customers, whether it’s customers on our website, or online or any of the stores we sell on. It’s their feedback that will drive innovations in our products. Or new designs, from what they’ve been requesting.”
What’s it like to work with brides and grooms?
“It’s really nice to be able to work with couples, to be part of the big day. I really like working with brides and grooms. Although it’s generally the bride. About 90% of the time it’s the bride, but sometimes it’s the groom as well. They work in very different ways, the groom seems much more organised and less emotional about things, so they just know what they want, they write a list and that’s it. Whereas brides you can see they are a little more emotionally involved with the whole process. But there are just different ways of working, a different way of approaching the job and I do really like both.”
“Paul came into the business and looked at the customer service side of the business for our planners and I was quite worried that I was going to miss that one-to-one repour with the customer. So obviously I still really treasure the wedding stationery side of the business because of that.”
“We got a lot of feedback for couples asking if the wedding planners were suitable for say, lesbian, or gay or bi/transsexual weddings and at that point they weren’t because they would mention the bride and groom and genders. So we’ve recently bought out a, we’re calling it the ‘You and me’ planner – so there is no mention of the bride, no mention of the groom – it’s completely gender-neutral.”
What inspired your #InspirationPrinted designs?
“The inspiration behind the ‘weird wild wonderful’ notebooks is, it’s really a way for us to be able to show the diversity and uniqueness in women.”
“One of the things we really want to do this year is to expand our stationery range. So when printed.com got in touch with us, we immediately thought about doing some notebooks, we wanted to aim them at women, we wanted to make them fairly luxurious, beautiful and practical.”
“The idea behind the ‘weird wild wonderful’ set of notebooks is that we wanted to produce a set of notebooks or diaries that reflected the different natures of women’s personalities, and how unique they can be. Like you might not be all three, you might not be weird wild and wonderful, but you’re at least one of them. We’re all wonderful.”
What was important to you in choosing Printed.com as a printer?
“Blush and Gold have used with Printed.com since the very beginning, I did look at other options as well but I did love the fact that the printed.com website was just so comprehensive, and I could find pretty much any options of possible print that I might have needed on the website without having to really interact with anyone else, for me the automation part of it is really important. I did get some samples printed, to begin with, and I liked the choice of the paper stock, there is a variety of choice of paper stocks.”
“What’s really great about Printed.com, is that even on the website for someone who’s not a creative or a designer, you can get things sorted easily. I can order it, choose the paper stock, put the designs through, then send it off to print all in the space of a few minutes. And if someone like me with not much print experience can do that, then anyone can! It’s great for us as I can take on that responsibility as well.”
What’s next for Blush and Gold?
“The next steps for Blush and Gold is to find new ways to grow and come up with products that are not just products for us to sell but products that mean something to us as well. We don’t just create products for products sake, we want things that are going to be useful to us, ourselves to use – the wedding planner was useful to plan our own wedding, the baby journals if we have a family we’ll want to use those, and getting peace of mind through the body and soul journal and the lifestyle range, I think we want to create products that are useful to us and then we can see that they’ll be useful to other people in the future.”
“It’s not just paper, I know that some people might think it’s just paper – it actually means really quite a lot for someone that is planning their own wedding. And just like a wedding planner could be just a book to someone, but you know when it’s a gift or something that someone treasures, could be a memory forever.”
What does inspiration mean to you?
“Inspiration is really hard to talk about because it’s quite innate. However, when it hits you you can to capture it like lightning in a bottle. I think Mara is very good at this. She is such a brilliant designer. When she gets ideas, she just gets them down straight away. She also takes in so many ideas and translates them into products and ideas so quickly.”
“I think it’s just about being observant and trying to capture the world and just take what you need to create something new.”
“Inspiration is everywhere. I think the challenge for the designer is being able to filter everything down into something useful.”
Watch the full interview with Mara and Paul below.