It has taken me two years to finally launch my very own wedding stationery business. Admittedly, I spent a year talking about wanting to set up my own business before actually doing anything about it. I imagine a lot of my friends and family were surprised when they finally saw my first social post. I know a lot of people talk about wanting to set up their own business but very few actually do - but I have!
What made me think seriously about running my own small business was the fact that I was made redundant, quite suddenly. I remember being called into a meeting with my boss and he said that one sentence nobody wants to hear, "I'm really sorry Danielle but we are going to have to let you go."
A million things suddenly started running through my mind - How will I pay my mortgage? I've made such great friends here, will I get to see them again? Will another job be as good as this one? Oh no, I've got to start applying for new jobs!! Is my CV and portfolio up to date? Ahhhh, this is awful!
Losing a job so suddenly scared me and I decided that I never wanted to feel that feeling again. The financial insecurity is what worried me most. When you're working for someone else, your livelihood is literally in their hands. You can obviously do the best you can do, in any job that you get but business is business and sometimes, through no fault of your own, you are let go.
I was lucky and managed to get another job pretty quickly but the feeling of insecurity didn't leave me. Once I had settled into my new role, all my spare time was concentrated on working on the branding for Me&You. It took me a while to come up with the name. I floated lots of ideas past my friends and family before choosing one.
What I liked about the name Me&You was that it referenced to two people. This could be the two people getting married but also me (the designer) and you (the client). I also have a bit of an obsession with ampersands (&) so I had to include that somehow.
I think I must of changed the logo design about three times and the colour palette at least five before settling. Working as a designer can sometimes be very frustrating. You get annoyed at clients when they can't make up their minds about certain aspects of the design - I was now my own worst client!
With the branding, I wanted to keep things simple. As a designer, you soon realise that what clients love to do is fill the page with content. Now that I was creating something for myself, I was able to let everything breathe and I relished in the white space and minimalism. Once the logo, typefaces and colours were all finalised, I was proud of what I'd created and was really eager to show everyone. This didn't happen until months later because I still had to design my collection.
I spent my lunch breaks coming up with new designs and gathering inspiration. I wanted my collection to mean something so it was important to me that the designs reflected certain things and had a focus. I plan to write a few blog posts about each design so I won't discuss much more.
From the beginning, I knew that I wanted colour to play a big role in the collection. Once the designs had been finalised, I contacted G. F Smith to enquire about paper options. They very kindly sent me a wide selection of samples from the Colorplan range. With these samples, I came up with various colour ways that each suite could use. I really enjoyed experimenting with colour, this was probably my favourite part of the whole process.
One of my least favourite parts, however, was trying to find a reliable and friendly printers. The majority of people I spoke to, didn't give me the time of day because I imagine they didn't think I'd bring them much business. Thankfully, a fellow stationery designer recommended Urban Ink and they kindly listened to what I had to say and worked with me on getting my samples printed.
I couldn't be happier with how all the designs in my collection have turned out. I was slightly nervous to press publish, making my website live and to share my first few posts on social media. I am still learning and I am enjoying getting to grips with running my own small business.
I am really looking forward to creating bespoke designs for all the engaged couples out there that may stumble upon Me&You. I know I'll find it an honour every time someone chooses me to work with them, to help them tell their love story through their wedding stationery.
Wish me luck in my new venture!