Becoming a Wedding Stationery Designer: Part I | Hope Johnson | Skillshare

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Becoming a Wedding Stationery Designer: Part I

teacher avatar Hope Johnson, surface designer + printmaker + redhead

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      The Preface


    • 2.

      Overview + History


    • 3.

      Brand Identity


    • 4.

      Building Your Core + Aesthetic


    • 5.

      Finding Inspiration (for your brand & clients)


    • 6.

      DefiningYour Ideal Client


    • 7.

      Business Model Routes


    • 8.

      Pricing for Stationery (and profit)


    • 9.

      Styled Work + Marketing


    • 10.

      What I wish I would have known! (final thoughts)


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About This Class

The Art and Business of Becoming a Wedding Stationery Designer is an introductory course with a focus on building your brand, discovering your ideal client in the wedding world, and growing (and pricing) your worth around a business structure that best suits your lifestyle.

W H A T ' S   I N S I D E : 

BRAND IDENTITY // the why to your work

IDEAL CLIENT // defining her character based on your work

CORE AND AESTHETIC // your aesthetic, vision, and mantra

INSPIRATION // finding your inspiration that represents your brand, core, and aesthetic

BUSINESS MODELS // discovering what type of business model best suits your lifestyle: service, product, or multi-faceted

PRICING YOUR WORK // pricing for profit, determining your overhead, and figuring out HOW many jobs you need each year to survive and thrive

MARKETING // how to network in order to market and showcase your BEST work for your ideal client

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Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Hope Johnson

surface designer + printmaker + redhead


and I teach about all the things I've discovered along the way (except about being a redhead)

Welcome to the studio. My name is Hope Johnson. I am a Louisiana-based surface designer and printmaker. I am most in my element when I'm playing with patterns and paper. My courses here are a reflection of my love for styling, printmaking, patterns + licensing (more on that coming soon), and all things fine-art stationery.

If you stick around long enough, you might get some ink on your hands.

let's be friends


See full profile

Related Skills

Design Graphic Design
Level: Beginner

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1. The Preface: Hi, guys. I'm Hope Johnson, a stationery designer and illustrator from a tiny town in Louisiana. In this skill share class, we're gonna learn the art and business of becoming a wedding stationery designer. I'm going to show you how to discover your core, define your ideal client and find your inspiration sources. Then we're gonna dive into the nitty gritty of pricing for stationary, defining what you charge and marketing your best work. By the end of this course, you'll know exactly what you want your business to look like from the work you want to create to the business model you created from, So let's get to it. 2. Overview + History: Welcome to the becoming a wedding stationery designer course. My name is Hope Johnson, and I'm super excited. Teoh, dig in with you and just sort of teach you all the things I learned in my five or six years of doing this myself. This course is an intercourse, but it is super deep and super detailed, and we're gonna talk about a lot of different subjects. We are going, Teoh. Define your core and your brand. We are going, Teoh, build your business up on a solid foundation. We are going to discuss the different business models you can root your business in, as well as pricing your work. And then we're gonna talk about how to actually market your work to your ideal client. So I'm super excited. Teoh, get started. As we get started, we are going to learn all about your brand identity. And this is just the thing that makes you you that no one else no one else can replicate. We're gonna talk about your ideal client, and we're gonna define her and talk about how to speak directly to her. And then we're gonna move on to more of the business side of things. We're gonna talk about the different business models and which one? Or maybe a combination of different business models that will best suit your life and the time you have. And we are going to sort of finish up with pricing and marketing your work a little bit about me and my history for those joining the right here. So somewhere around 1995 I was given a program called Print Shop Deluxe. This was a program where you could make greeting cards from twice folded letter sheets of paper or banners or all kinds of great stationary related things. Fast forward. A couple of decades, I focused my college days on different printmaking techniques. I was a fine arts major and fell in love with just different process printing like soup screen or lithography and, of course, letterpress printing. Um, after I graduated in 2011 I bid on a table top letter press on eBay and eventually a full size press a few years later, also on eBay, both of which I still have. Right now, they're both sitting right next to me. Actually, as I record this, I officially launched my business in 2012 doing mostly custom work in the wedding area. Um, and in 2017 I design and launched a wedding stationery collection more of a product side to my business alongside my custom work. And then, in early 2018 I launched a wedding planner named The Wedding Guide. It's been a crazy, beautiful journey. Um, and I'm just I'm super excited. Teoh just show you and tell you all the things I've learned along the way and especially the things I wish I would have known early on a couple of quick things. I want to go over. Consider this your housekeeping. Everything that I'm about to teach you is stuff I've learned through trawling era or from other industry leaders. And I hope that you can take all or a little bit or pieces and parts of this information and apply it to what works best for you. So some of the tactics and methods I'm using are for sure would works for me. But I hope that no matter how much you take out of this course that it resonates and it just gets you're super excited to start or grow your current stationery design business 3. Brand Identity: for this lesson. We are going to talk about brand identity and what that means for you as you build or even grow your current wedding stationery business. Your brand identity represents all the moving parts that make you you and every brand should have an identity, and we're going to discover by example what that is for you. I've created a download for you guys that you'll find links in the course notes. But if you haven't had time to download that, no worries. All you really need is a notebook, some motivation and maybe some caffeine, because we're gonna dig pretty deep and do some soul searching. So get excited. Your brands identity should answer a few questions. So what do you stand for? This convey an overlap of both your business and your personal mission. This should be the entire purpose and message behind everybody of work you create for me. I believe I believe in the sanctity of marriage that the wedding is a celebration that deserves to be celebrated. I believe in intentional decisions both big and little and investing, and when tell us that story and this is a stance I take on creating with wedding stationery for a client or picking out a new comforter for my child's bed, I have to have, like a why answered before any decision is made. No matter, no matter what that is, whether that's in my business or in my personal decisions and this, this identity will help you to find what you stand for. So the next question you might want to ask yourself is, What is my core? Your core values may also overlap what you stand for or support at what you find important in a business. Um, I value relationships between my clients and me. I value true intention for the work I'm entrusted to do and treat every client and every job as an opportunity to tell someone story. This was a gift I feel I was given to do. So that's super important to me in my business and making my clients feel feel this, too. Um, the next question is, what is what is my voice? How you speak to your audience is just as important as any. Anything else. Um, are you a more eloquent speaker or are you more witty? And does that voice resonate with I guess the five you want to create for your audience. Are you speaking as an expert in your field or on the same level as your potential clients ? There's no right or wrong answer per se, but you do want to acknowledge how and most importantly, why you speak the way you do and knowing your audience is key for this. So what is my brand? That's the next question question. Your branding is both the physical, emotional and aesthetic representation of your business. You will, of course, have your logo and your brand colors as well as your overall just your your overall look and feel, along with the voice and core of your business. All of this wrapped up together will represent your brand. And lastly, what are your goals? Your goals and growth have every bit to do with your brand. Is anything else? These are the reasons you do what you do. These are the reasons you have chosen this creative entrepreneur were life. This is your calling or your passion and the story that will follow you follow you for you that maybe to quit your 9 to 5 job and make this a full time gig. Or maybe maybe it's a goal to make the support time job because your stay at home mom, all of these things make up your brand identity. And when most people think of brands, they think more surface level, the look and the feel. Thea aesthetics the logo, and it's absolutely all of those things. But it's so much more, and we're gonna talk about this moving on. We're gonna look at a couple of brands and divides they put out and how you can translate that into your own brand. Let's look at Gap, and this may seem like a bazaar. Compare a samba to stay with me. So Gap has a very classic and Taylor look to their clothes and just their overall ascetic. The majority of their pieces are considered the basics right. It's clean lines and super timeless. And one of my favorite stores, I'm going to read you their mission statement. Clean and confident, comfortable and accessible, Classic and modern art collections are a modern interpretation of our Denham roots and signature pieces that are a stable for every wardrobe gap embraces a youthful infectious spirit and the freedom to express individual style Okay, so this is a great example of a brand you would likely easily recognize or could pin someone for shopping here and for inspiration alone if I were to think of a stationary style that would coordinate with gaps Brand. It would be like probably the wedding stationery line found an artifact uprising, something along those lines. It's very clean cut and minimal in nature, and most people can't afford it. Let's shift now and look at Anthropologie is mission statement. Our customer is a creative minded woman who wants to look like herself, not the masses. She has a sense of adventure about what she wears. Although fashion is important to her, she is too busy enjoying life to be governed by the latest trends. Each product offering caters to the lifestyle of our five muses. Soft and delicate boho chic, easy cool, elegant classics and modern sporty and the same the same here. This is a great example. If I were to think of a stationary style that would coordinate with anthropology is brand, I would probably assume it would be a custom project for a high end bride with a larger budget and with both of these brands and there's not a writer wrong comparison, but they're very specific in their style and their mission statement. And if you could put the two next to each other, you'd be able to tell which is which. Oh, in the next. Listen, we are going to define the foundation to your business. This is the why this is the reason you're gonna get up every morning and do what you dio we're gonna talk about sort of the three words that will define that foundation. And we're gonna discover a mantra you can live by as well as sort of talk about the different aspects of the work that you love. So you can sort of build that ideal client profile and your business model, which will follow these chapters. 4. Building Your Core + Aesthetic: on this lesson. We are going Teoh, build your foundation to your business and you certainly wouldn't want to build a home on a rocky foundation. So just imagine this step being a similar process. So we're going to use the same methods that I use for both my own brand as well as my clients and several several other defining moments of my life down to picking a paint color . So I'm super excited to show you these methods. If you have printed your getting started guide or wanna grab that now, that would be a good time to do that. But if you haven't printed that, you can surely follow along these slides and makes them notes in a new book of yours. So I'm super excited to get started. So first I want you to pick 3 to 5 descriptive words that may describe the type of work you're most interested in or most attracted to. These should be adjectives, but they can be either a physical adjective or even an emotion. There's a great list here, but feel free to use a word or a phrase of your own. What sometimes helps me is to pick a few words that definitely don't describe my work or the inspiration I'm trying to pull from. My work is not luxurious. It's it's romantic, but it's not over the top. And my work is not modern. Ah, I may have some minimalistic detail in my work, and I like I like negative space, but I wouldn't classify it as modern, So I want you to decide on and sort of sort of a mantra. This can be a something you keep private written on a sticky note. Ah, this could be something you live by and remember, as you work, this can be something you preach to your audience. A very public mantra. I guess you could say this could be a song lyric or a Scripture or a quote from a book or famous person or even your grandmother. I have ah mantra that I preached my audience because it best represents my core business and what is all about. But in the back of my head, I also can hear my mother's voice. If you're gonna do something, do it right. And that little behind the scenes mantra has perfected. The craft I feel is very important in my work, and because of that, I have refused to cut corners for the sake of time or money or anything else. And last your actual work. You likely already know the type of work you're attracted to. But if you could do something every day for the rest of your working life, what what would that be? Too many designers. Custom work is overwhelming, but to others it's ideal. And for many graphic designers, the actual design process is their strong point. Um, you know, creating maybe like a pre design layout, and that's what they like to do, and they outsource the printing. But to others, the actual printing may be the favorite part of the process for them. Maybe you love the simplistic nature of a beautifully printed letter press card. Or maybe you're a really great watercolor artist, and you want you want to put that into your artwork, find the work you're most attracted to, and make some notes on what it is you love about that work. And don't forget about the process itself and sort of balancing what parts of it you like. You know, like I mentioned you might. You may like the design portion. You may like the printing portion and would love to do that in house. Or maybe it's a balance of both. Here are my answers to the three steps I just gave you my vision. Words that I pull from or organic, romantic, textural, neutral and formal. I feel these words best describe my work, and it's what I used to just anchor my overall vision and just my brands aesthetic overall and and then also for specific projects, projects and other than the unspoken my mom's voice. If you're gonna do something, do it right. I preach this one to my audience Now. At last they were beginning Chapter one of the great story No one on Earth has ever read. It goes on forever in which every chapter is better than the one before, because the sanctity of marriage and the unfolding journey is so important to me, that story telling aspect and because I treat the wedding as sort of the chapter one and I call the stationary the cover to your story. This quote by C. S. Lewis is just dear to my heart, and it just profoundly represents my core and in both my business in my life. So I preached this motto to my audience. And lastly, the type of work I enjoy doing most is the process of the design itself and, of course, the printing as well. Um, letter press printing requires a great deal of process, and it's something I fell in love with very early on in college. My my own family roots go back to a love for antiques and just that nostalgia, I guess I grew up in old home, so I suppose just different aspects of things I've been around around my whole life has has played a role, and I guess just my overall brand and vision for my business. I work a lot with handmade papers and different assembly elements like vintage Sampson wax seals. And these are just things that align with the physical part of my brand On the next listen . Before we dive into defining your ideal client I wanted, I wanted to talk a little bit about inspiration, both the inspiration I used to define my own brand as well as my ideal client and just how how I manifest that into a collection of curated inspiration that I could just always pull from 5. Finding Inspiration (for your brand & clients): Oh, in this lesson, I'm super excited. Teoh sort of diving with you on how I find inspiration for both my brand and for client projects. And it might not be the methods you think so I'm pretty excited to get started. So Schoolhouse Electric, um, anthropology. And behold, in just the same since they're basically basically the same store, an artifact uprising. And these are these are my three stores and down to the packaging of their products. I just love everything about thes stores and their missions and just all of it, Um, even their instagram feeds, which is also very important. Every every little and large detail about thes stores just resonate with me. And these three companies are what I've referenced as I create work. You know, I asked myself, would my work look good next to thes stores or their imagery or whatever? And of course, none of these companies sell stationery, but it's more of a subjective comparison t just overall style. So here's an example of my work that I find coordinates. Well, with each of these photos from each of these brands, so do you see on the schoolhouse electric photo that sort of modern lamp sitting on top of that little hutch. That's a product of schoolhouses, but it reminds me of a desk lamp and the stationary piece you may not be able to tell, but it's structured like the introduction page of a book would be just the policeman of the typography. And that vintage portrait, also sitting on top of the hutch, somehow inspired the vintage stamp selection. And if you have over to the middle, there's a photo of an air for address its feminine. It's a little vintage and floral, and you can see how that may have inspired the floral border in the feminine ribbons and my favorite vintage stamp with the Bellary No on it and something about the way the dress would flutter. A few twirled, and it just inspired something for me for that for that particular sweet. And then there's the artifact uprising photo. This is a photo and book printing company, and this company is big on just minimal design and clean lines and this very simple in nature, and there's a slight modern feel to their work. And although I don't really classify, my work is modern, that particular piece definitely has a balance of white space and sort of lends itself to a minimalistic look. That's that's similar in comparison. And this is This is what I mean by finding your compliment, and it's more symbolic. An inspiration can come from anywhere, and it doesn't need explaining. Ah, for you. It may not be a brand, but if it resonates with you, then its inspiration and moving on, I want to talk about the use of physical and digital inspiration boards. Pinterest is, of course, a fantastic resource for inspiration. Um, I use it daily, and I my favorite boards to pull from I have a your follower. I have some pretty pretty extensive boards, and my favorite ones to pull from are probably Floral and my mood board and my color scheme board. So I'm gonna pop into my floral and you can see there's just so many different textures and colors, and you really you really can't go wrong. I mean, who doesn't love floral and different colors? My might lead towards more fall wedding warmer colors, and that brighter colors may lin more towards a spring wedding inspiration, Um, I have an entire board on mood boards, which makes seem ironic. But something about the way these textures and paper are maybe layer together. I don't know. It just it's done something for me. I love the different moods. The different words I can associate with these mood boards and that usually associates very well and translate translates very well to those three vision words that were created for my clients earlier on. And then I also love my color scheme board, and this may be something I match maybe vintage stamps to or ribbon or something. But thes three boards are probably my most use boards when I'm looking for inspiration. So definitely create a pinchers account if you don't already have one and try to find, um, just whatever subjective inspiration that will guide you in creating a design for your client, that is totally you, and I do look at other stationary. I look at my own stationery, and this ensures that if you're sticking to more subjective inspiration, it ensures that you're really creating work, that that is just all your own and you're not copying anyone else's work, which is just super important. Um, and make sure makes you feel good about your own work, so definitely create a Pinterest if you don't already have one and feel free to follow along mine and grab any inspiration you see here. One of the things I love to do is to create a live mood board. Imagine if one of your pictures boards just came to life. I have this giant piece of acrylic in my studio that I frequently just tape things up to that inspire me, and this may be something that inspires my brand or something job specific. But, um, anything that you love and anything that resonates with you, tape it up on your wall. It's easy to want to compare your stationery style to other stationary designers, especially when you're just getting started. And that's perfectly, perfectly OK. I just like to have more of more of a subjective collection of inspiration for me. I get really inspired by packaging design, and there's something about the layers off, maybe, like promo cards and the box itself in just the presentation off a package. And I sort of want my stationery to have that same that same excitement for you. You may be an amazing watercolor artist and paintings and inspire you or a certain artistic era of paintings inspire you may be your calligrapher and writing expert inspires you. I actually once found a grey shirtless in the parking lot at the grocery store, and I kept it because the handwriting was really nice. So whatever that inspiration is for you, keep a collection of it, whether it's, um, alive Pinterest board that you have taped up on your wall and actual Pinterest board or filed on your computers, something you can pull a pull from that will help you get inspired both for your brand and your ideal and actual clients on the next. Listen, we are going Teoh finally define your ideal client, and I'm going to read you my ideal client profile as well, which is extensive, and yours will be, too. So I'll see you on the next lesson. 6. DefiningYour Ideal Client: on this. Listen, we're finally going to define your ideal client with all of the knowledge you have so far. I'm also going to redo my ideal client profile, and it's pretty extensive, and I'm pretty excited to show you how detailed it has become for me over the years and, um, how you can define that character for you. So let's dive in my ideal clients name is Jennifer Hoffman Orjan. She's 29 years old, and she's a lawyer from New Orleans, living in North Carolina with her future spouse, Nate Atwood. Nate is 32 he is born, was born and raised in Rhode Island, where Jen and he met, but his landscape architecture business brought them both to North Carolina. Jen and Nate are both super down to earth people but are well known for their lovable and fantastic taste. A both half from wardrobe to home. Designed to party planning, they are both super active in their community. They love to travel, they run marathons together each year, and they're planning their wedding in New Orleans with intentions of it becoming sort of this intimate weekender. For all of their closest family inference, Jenin eight. Both have that extra something in their design work and are both super creatively inclined . They both know what they don't like as Muchas knowing what they do like, which is super important. So when it comes to planning their wedding, it was no question that they were gonna hire the best in the industry from there. Very well known wedding planner to the city's top film based photographer, they likely already had all of these vendors in mind before they were even engaged. They're not the type of toe shop around, really, And if they know they can get what they want from a certain vendor, it's it's no questions asked for her knits, wedding stationery. She knows she's looking for something that best represents her vision. Simplistic but very romantic. Maybe a little moody and color schemes because of the time of year. I'm just symbolic as a whole. She knows the stationary will be a glimpse into their big day. Their weekend, really, and once your guests to just feel that sensation, she wants something that when her guest open it, they say, Oh, this is so Jen and Nate. John's vision will always hold a hierarchy over her budget. She's not careless with her money or investments, but we'll certainly not become frugal over the things that matter to her and Nate. Most did in eight. Both invest in things that tell a story, not just items anyone can obtain, whether it's about design or their home or their wedding. And they are just all about super intentional moments. How is that for a descriptive? My ideal client has absolutely changed over the years, but I knew I knew my ideal client was right when I booked her. I mean down to a tee. Her name was Jenna. I cannot make this up. She was from New Orleans on living in Mississippi. She's a lawyer, and her husband is also a lawyer from Canada, and they're getting married in New Orleans. And the more you define your ideal client, the more you will book her over and over again, doing the work you love to do. And this is why knowing your ideal client, it's just key. So let's dig into some questions. You can start to ask yourself to define your ideal client. Here are some questions you can ask as you discover your own ideal client based on the type of work you want to create. So how old is she? Is she younger? Is she more established in her career? Where does she shop? Is she a sales rack shopper at T. J. Maxx or issue boutique shopper? What does her career path look like? Is she more left brain or in it or more right? Brain creative? What is her significant other like? What's the future spouse like? And how does he play a role in the wedding planning? How much money does she make each year? Is she super established in her career? She in the corporate world, issue a lawyer. And how much money does she make in this career for? For her job? Where does she live? A person's home can tell a lot about their lifestyle. What's your idol? Clients? Home. Life Lake. Where in the world is she located? What does she do for fun? What does she do on her down time? This is This is where you would find her if she was, whether friends or with her family or what are her hobbies? What kind of entertainment does she follow? What kind of social media outlets. Does she have? This will help you market. When you find this out, get in her head and really be her. It's totally common to become your own. I don't client, but it's absolutely OK not to be. The most important thing here is to just know her and really, really know her. Your work and idle client will absolutely evolve over time, and it should. It absolutely should. But knowing that ideal client is it's definitely key. Teoh the type of work you want todo as well as how how you'll market that work. And on the next lesson. That's exactly what we're gonna talk about is the type of work you want to do in the different business models. You can reach your business end, and we're going to follow that lesson with pricing year work, so I'll see you on the next lesson. 7. Business Model Routes: on this lesson, we are going to chat about the different three different business models You can root your stationery design business in. Perhaps you're more geared towards a product based business. Or maybe you are sort of longing for more of a service type business. Or maybe you're a mix of both. But whatever that is for you defining that will help you sort of cater this around the lifestyle you want to live. So I'm going to focus on three business models. A product based business, a service based business and a multifaceted business model. Ah, product based business is set up around the idea that you'll have a physical good to sell to a buyer or customer in the wedding stationery world. This is typically found through offering a pre designed collection of stationary sweets and since stationary, will have personal information for parts of the design like names and date. Of course, think of this product as more of a made to order type of product, something that requires very little customization through some quick revisions to your sample. Some benefits to a product based stationary concept is that your potential buyer can easily see what the final product will look like and a benefit for you is that the design is pretty much already in place, and it's assumed that you'd spend less time involved than you would on, say, a full custom client collection or semi custom product based work is also assumed to be valued at a lower price point than custom work. And in turn, your marketing audience is probably broader. But be sure to consider your time here and ask yourself, What parts of the process do you want to focus? And what parts do you want to outsource? And how many revision realms will you allow? And these are just some simple questions to consider. If you're thinking about a pre design collection of work to showcase is more of a product to your stationery business, and I'll dig into this in just a bit. A service based stationary design business is set up around the idea of custom work. The great benefits of custom work is that every job is different and you're typically hired for a specific skill set of yours. Maybe you're really awesome calligrapher, and that's your strong point. That's what you showcase their your custom work. Or maybe you're really awesome watercolor artists, and that's what you showcase through your custom work. And it's assumed that your custom work since you're hiring based on the talents of the individual designer is priced higher than, say, semi custom work or a product based business. And this may narrow your market to those who have a higher price budget. But of course, in turn your benefiting from that higher price, and you should consider though the amount of custom work you want to take on each year and what's involved in the custom work and services you want to provide. And we will also dig into that in a bit, especially when we talk about pricing. Your work and a multi faceted business is an ideal place to find yourself as you grow. But you, for sure, want to start with the one thing starting with the one thing. The thing you love the most will allow you to overtime at additional products or services to your capabilities. If that's what you want, and in turn, you can provide multiple income streams for yourself. Often, a service based business may lend itself to products you may offer So, for example, if your main gig is custom wedding stationery, you start to have enquiries for your hand written envelopes because you're an awesome collect for so you add calligraphy as a service to your custom work or even your product based stationary. Or perhaps you have a market that cannot afford your custom work. So you had a line of pre designed wedding station or a collection of wedding stationery to offer for sort of a variation of your idea audience, sort of a second target market. I want to share a few companies along with my own that do this well. Silken Willow is one of them, and they're one of my favorite companies. This company's main offering is naturally died handmade silk ribbon. They tailor themselves to the wedding Mr Industry, and after starting out with their main offering, added and handmade paper, stationary accessories and even a collection of antique finds other than the ribbon, all of their offerings or items they wholesale from other vendors. These are not items they've created on their own, which is something to keep in mind as you grow your business. Written word calligraphy is another great example. The written word is known for their calligraphy services on, and their main offering is a collection of stationary sweet products created from her calligraphy. Written word has over the years added several products to their shop, like calligraphy practice workbooks, a wax seal kit and even a created funds from there from the designers own calligraphy. And these were all products that the designer created or publish themselves. Also, something to keep in mind as you grow your business for my own business. After years of trying all the things, I decided to focus my business on custom wedding stationery. This was really where my heart was, and after dedicating 100% of it to this and not 20% over five different things, my business really started to grow. And I started figuring out just just what works for me. Aside from my custom work, I began offering a product based line of stationary. In early 2018 I launched a wedding planner and sort of behind the scenes. I began licensing a lot of my illustration work to other designers and brands and teaching the business and design side of wedding stationery. Think about the time you have right now. Are you hustling this alongside a 9 to 5 job with a goal to quit your 9 to 5 job for me? I have two kids and school. They're young, but I carpool them in the morning and I carpal them in the afternoon. Every day I have about six hours, so that's not a long time. But knowing the parts of the work that I love to do, I'm able to sort of cater that into my lifestyle. But, you know, I often outsourced my work. This is my letter for us right behind me. And I love that part of the process. But also, I'm I'm OK with outsourcing that part as well when my schedule gets busy. So knowing what parts of the process you love, you can sort of tailor which business model or maybe a mix of both best suits, your lifestyle. And in the next chapter, we're going to talk about pricing your work and your work. So I'll see you there 8. Pricing for Stationery (and profit): Oh, in this lesson, we're going to talk about a subject that sometimes hard to talk about as a creative entrepreneur, which is pricing your work and your worth. And at one point in my business. So you know where I started. I did the math, and I was effectively paying myself, like, $5 an hour. I didn't account for so many different things, and even worse, I had an excuse for why I didn't account for those things. So we are going to dig in one price in your work, and we're gonna do this in an interesting way. I'm going to compare a traditional pricing method and the one I use to ensure profit and something that gives me an exact number of jobs I know I need each year. So let's dive in. I want to first sort of talk about the pricing for a traditional product. Okay, so let's say we have a pillow from Target. A typical pricing structure for something like that may look like cost times to, which gets you the wholesale price. Then times two again gets you the retail price. So let's say that pillow cost $7.50 to make it. This is the labor and the material. You'll mark up that cost 7 50 times to to get your wholesale value of $15. Then let's say Target buys that pillow at the wholesale price of $15 retails at four wholesale times to $30. So what does this look like? The manufacturer makes $7.50 per product by taking that wholesale price, minus the cost of creating it and gets to $7.50. So $15 minus 7 50 gets you 7 50 Target cells the pillow for $30 it costs 10 $15 so they make $15. The problem is with wedding stationary. One bride may need 100 invitations, and the next 1 may need 100 and 50. And one bride may want letter press invitations, but the other bride may not. There are so many moving parts to pricing for wedding stationery, but that should not affect your bottom line. And I'm going to tell you why in a bit. Here are some typical calls he may find in wedding stationery, whether it's custom or product based, so you have your design labor. This is the fee you charge just to design the peace. Something I wasn't charging at four at all at one point in my business printing labor, which is the amount it costs you to print the piece whether you outsource it or not. When I finally did start charging design fees, I wasn't really paying attention to the printing labor because I was printing my work in house. Please, please, please do not do this. If you decide that you really love the printing process and you print in house, that's fantastic. But you have to imagine yourself as a hired employee and the CEO of your business and asked the CEO, you are paying that employees to print the job for you. So pay yourself. And of course, your material cost is the amount it costs you to buy the paper and materials needed to create the job. So here's the problem. Your unit price. The price per invitation set will vary depending on the paper choices, that printing method, the quantity your client needs. But no matter how Maney Pillow was, target buys that cost and wholesale amount will stay the same. And this is just not the case for a stationary, and I'm going to teach you how to account for profit When you have so many moving parts, it's It's very simple, actually. So here is the formula. I use your profits, plus your cost equals your total. Your profit is the money you want to make. Simple is that the cost is all of the materials and labor involved, including your design fee. Add that up and you have your total, and that's what you charge your plan. And it sounds simple and it ISS. But I'm going to break this down for you right now and tell you why you should profit. Why you should price your work this way to account for profit. Let's use the target pillow formula to to really explain this. This is a traditional product pricing formula. You have a bride who needs 200 invitations, the invitation, the RFP and a details card. She wants them letter press printed with all the bells and whistles. And you think, Oh, this is gonna be a great job. She's picking all the fancy things. So you add up the cost, which, let's say, is $1000 worth of material and labor and your design fee. You take that times to to get your wholesale. So you take your $1000 worth of calls Tom's to to get your whole sale of $2000 then times to to get your retail of $4000. Awesome and side note I'm using wholesale is a part of the traditional product formula, but not in relation to actually wholesaling your stationery. So, looking at the net profit you charged $4000 It cost you $1000 worth of material and labor and your design fee, which means you profit $2000. Then you have a bride who needs 100 invitation sets the invitation in the R S V P only, and she wants them digitally printed. And no, no bells and whistles. So you take your say, $500 worth of material labor and your design be times two to get a whole sale of $1000. Then times two again to get a retail of $2000. Still a great job. You'll bank on the upgrades from this other inquiry you have sitting in your email inbox right looking at this net profit. You charged $2000. It cost you $500 you make $1500. Great. But let's just compare two years of these types of jobs. Year one, you get on Lee The fancy letter Press printed jobs off larger quantities. Your to you get nothing but the jobs like the 2nd 1 The profits for each of these years. You're going to be drastically different because you're up charging the material within your formula based on each client. But why should the materials really even matter? I mean, sure you want everyone to reach for the fancy package, but you shouldn't have to have your profit depend on your clients in decision. Let's look at the profit comes first formula using the same two scenarios. Let's just say you want to make $3000 for every custom client you bring in well, using the profit plus costs equals total method. You plug n $3000 plus, based on the cost from the first scenario, will use again $1000 of cost that kids you a total of $4000. But your profit stays the same because the cost of the job doesn't dictate your profit. Same thing for scenario number two. It may cost you less material and labor for this job, but your profit should stay the same. And by applying this formula you'll know exactly how much you'll make each year. And, more importantly, knowing how many jobs you need to take on rather than flying by the seat of your pants, which is what I did for years. Your design fee and profit is not the same thing. Your design fee as part of the cost it takes to bring the project or designed toe life like the cost of paper or printing. How do you know what to charge for your design fee at the time you spend on a job I know for my collection work, I spend roughly four hours of communication between that initial purchase from my website and then the rounds of revisions and then, you know, ordering material and packaging and shipping the order. I've decided to charge a lower hourly rate for more administrative type of work like this. So maybe it's whatever your hourly rate ist times four hours or however many hours you spend on that particular job, where the design fee for my custom work is a little different because it's more hands a win and requires more creative energy. That formula may look something like X times. 40 hours equals design fee. The Prophet ISS like its name, the prophet you want to make on top of all of the cost involved, including your design work and what you charge for both your design feet and what you want . A profit will vary depending on your market, where you offer and the amount of work you want to take one. So how do you figure this out? How do you figure out how many jobs you need to make each year? Also, simple math. Let's say you need to make and that this is just random numbers $50,000 a year. You know you make $3000 of profit each custom top, so $50,000 divided by 3000 equals about 17 jobs, so you need about 17 jobs per year. So how do you figure this out? How do you figure out how many jobs you need to make each year? Also, simple math. Let's say you need to make and that this is just random numbers $50,000 a year. You know, you make $3000 of profit each custom top, so $50,000 divided by 3000 equals about 17 jobs, so you need about 17 jobs per year. But what about overhead? You guys, I cannot tell you how many times I looked at my bank account and was like it says I made this much money. But where is it? Well, I found it. I found it in overhead calls, which is eventually how I calculated that how is pretty much making $5 an hour after barely breaking even. Here are some typical overhead expenses, so rent, or even if you're rocking a home studio, the utilities it takes upto light up your workspace, any employees or work. Did you hire out? Aside from jock job costs like an accountant or someone toe manage shipments or an intern that you may hire during visit busy seasons? Think about your subscriptions to like email marketing or your website and different office expenses, like ink for your printer or milling supplies, and then internal expenses like taxes. So how do you account for all of this. And how do you How does that translate into your pricing? Well, you added up, Let's use them figures to determine the jobs per month you need just to cover operating expenses. This is your Consider this your break even job count number. We want to figure out how Maney monthly or annually jobs you need just to cover the cost to operate. And then we'll add that to the number of monthly or annual jobs you need to meet your profit goal. So for round numbers, let's just say you spend about $1000 a month on all overhead rant utilities, subscriptions all of that. So 12 months in a year times $1000 a month is $12,000 a year, or $1000 a month. So you know you need 17 jobs per year to profit that $50,000 profit goal. After doing the math and figuring out you need $1000 a month or $12,000 a year to operate and you know you make $3000 job. That equates to four jobs that go completely to overhead cost, which means more realistically you'll need about 21 jobs per year. If you take anything at all from this lesson, or this course is a whole know that you are absolutely worth exactly what you want to charge based on what you need in life and not necessarily what industry standard is. And if I've heard it once, I've heard it 1000 times that people think that Oh, my market, my audience won't pay for what I want to charge, Sister. If that is the case, then you are marketing to the wrong audience. So go back to that ideal client profile and start to target her and sort of refine her in order to be able to charge what you want to charge. And on the next lesson, which is a whole lot less business oriented and a lot more creative, we're gonna dive in when marketing your work and get a little creative in order to showcase your best work in order to both serve the price point you want to charge and your ideal client. So I will see you on the next lesson. 9. Styled Work + Marketing: on this. Listen, we are going to talk about actually getting started in designing, So if you are familiar with illustrator or photo shop or in design, I use a combination of all three programs. Feel free to whip them out now, but it's completely not necessary for this course. This course this lesson. It's more so talking about how to get started in order to create your best work for your ideal client. Early on, I dabbled in so many different things, and when I started to focus on one wedding stationery, I was really able to hone in on what work I wanted to create and was eventually invited to a style shoot. And I had no idea what this was, but it sounded fancy, and a quick Google search fixed that for me. But by now, I hope you have a fine understanding of your your core, your ideal client and your business model. And in this lesson, we're gonna take all of that and start creating work, or at least start the foundation for the work you want to create. Enable Teoh in a way that you can market too your audience. So let's dig in a traditional style shoot will be a team of vendors that get together sort of host a style wedding. You'll typically have a bride and groom model address, of course, details and accessories, astound place setting and stationery and anything the host wants to showcase. Typically, a wedding planner, event coordinator or photographer will host a shoot. But really anyone can. Each of the vendors involved or invited will donate their services or products for the shoot and the shooters often submitted to a local, national or worldwide publication like wedding blog's or even printed editorials. But the benefit of networking and having really awesome photos of your work is always, always, always fantastic in it of itself. The great thing about Styled shoots is generally there's no strings attached to the design process. The host typically has an inspiration board or theme, but etiquette calls for the design to really be in your hands. So this is a great opportunity to really show off your skill set or particular inspiration you've been wanting to create from so reach out to your favorite wedding planners or photographers in your area, or even non locally. Introduce yourself and ask if they've got any upcoming shoots on their calendar and to keep you in mind, it's a great way to network yourself with other vendors who will likely refer you to their own clients in the future. This is actually how I get most of my work from wedding planners I've worked with either in the past or from the vendors associated with different shoots. Aside from full on stop shoot, you can totally create your own mini style shoot just for stationary. I've done this plenty of times when I was just feeling creative, and this is a fantastic way to fill up your portfolio when you're just beginning to start. Think back. One lesson one. How anthropology Is Mission Statement about anthropology is mission statement. They cater to their five muses. Remember, give yourself a few jobs that might have a mood or amuse. You do want to create for maybe something more modern or something more romantic. Maybe you'd imagine a sweet designed for the queen, Whatever. Whatever floats your boat and aligns with your brand, they should be your best work. So have fun with it. Another key point I want to talk about when it comes to marketing your work is the notion of becoming the expert once you have a collection of really fantastic styled imagery of your work, or even if you don't become the expert in your field. Talk about wedding planning tips that may cater to your audience and have them think cash. This girl knows her stuff. I wanna work with her. You can do this on your social media outlets. You can start a blogger where you cater to those planning a wedding. You can lend your knowledge to other blog's as a guest writer. When you look at a photo of your work, ask yourself, What message can I pull from this content? For instance, if you have a really great save the date photo, talk about the necessary information you need to include on a save the date or the time frame. You should have your save the dates ordered by If you have a really amazing menu card, talk about reception dinner etiquette network with other photographers or vendors in your area or those you follow and ask permission to use their photos for non stationary related topics to maybe a really great photo of a bride getting ready for her big day woodland. Well, toe a topic like the five getting ready photos you must capture. The more work that you do that represents your best work and the work you love to do, the more you're going to attract that ideal client. And the more you showcase your work in the sense that you were the expert, the more your audience is gonna be like, I want to work with her. So start if you're starting from scratch or even if you're growing your current stationery design business, create, even if it's just one sweet or one or two suites create something that you absolutely love , like no strings attached, and use that to market your work. And on the next chapter, it's short and sweet, and I'm sad that were coming to an end. But I want to leave you with some words of wisdom of both things that I've learned and things I wish I would have known from the beginning. So I'll see you in the next and last lesson. 10. What I wish I would have known! (final thoughts): all businesses will and should grow. What I wish I would have known from the beginning is the concept of starting small. I'm a big dreamer, and I want all the things that I want them right now. But that taught me a lot of valuable lessons that that's not the way to start. Um, I wish I would have started with one thing instead of five things at 20%. Um, and once I decided to focus on just the one thing at 100% I was able to grow from there. And I think that in this industry there's so many assets available toe learn that it's that it's important to become multi faceted. I think, honestly, that's the only way to survive. But you absolutely have to start small with the one thing that you love to do and grow it from there and for you, and maybe to quit your 959 to 5 job and turn this into a full time gig. And for others, it may be to start a part time job so you can stay home with your young Children and whatever that is for you. The steps that I have created here, hopefully have guided you in that right direction, whether you are starting from scratch or growing your current stationery design business. So I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is called Big Big Magic. And if you haven't read that book, you absolutely shit, so I'll leave you with it now. I hope our paths cross soon, whether that's one instagram or in another course, or if you want to just send me a happy Hello, I'd love to hear from you and I can't wait to see your work. So if you have your vision words sketched out or your mantra or anything at all, I really hope that you take the time to posted and the course notes until next time.