New Year, Same Me (but in case we haven't met...)
I sort of have this love/hate relationship with the new year. I LOVE that I feel inspired all over again to reinvent and improve things, but I HATE that it takes the new year to make a lot of us feel like that! After taking a short break over the holidays, I thought a lot about what I want to share here this year, and what things made me procrastinate when it came to creating content for the blog (ie. why was I making it so hard on myself?). I think there was a lot of pressure to create amazing content, which I still love to do, but I do think there is a lot of room for me to share other stuff here that isn't as curated, styled or planned. Like, more behind the scenes, more business advice, a bigger look into calligraphy as well as more tutorials and tips/tricks... just overall, a deeper look into what goes on here, and in real life, every day.
I'd noticed that as all sides of my business have grown (including both A Fabulous Fete and Wilde House), people are interested in hearing about that journey, what differentiates the 2 companies and my role in all of it. SO. I thought, what better time that January 2017 to re-introduce myself, my businesses and hear a bit more about what you guys want to read. This has also most definitely prompted an about page update... but I'm waiting on a fun logo/site facelift to make that happen;)
Let's start with a bit about AFF and our "HQ"! I thought it was funny, when I was interviewing for an assistant, a lot of people thought that we would be working from an office... Instagram and pretty blog photos (I guess) can make it look that way. But, we have actually just taken over most of the spare bedrooms in our home to run both AFF and WH. We ALL (sometimes 4 or 5 of us, depending on the tasks that day) work from here, usually on alternating times and days (thank god, it would get pretty cozy otherwise). We do have a legit office space with our desks, computers, etc. it's not just girls on their laptops on the couch;) Although it did start that way back in the day! AFF has grown from me writing for the blog (first few years of that embarrassing blog had to be deleted, such a shame) at night after I came home from my day job. I worked at a corporate eyewear/apparel company as a developer (aka, I worked with factories all over the world to get stuff made, negotiate pricing, etc.). There were so many spreadsheets and emails and grey cubicle walls that I needed an outlet. After I wrote for the blog for a few months, I started an etsy shop where I handmade party supplies. That was back at the time when we were all obsessed with washi tape drink stirrers, tissue paper pom poms and thinks like that. My little drink stirrers even made it into Martha Stewart Weddings, cray... Anyways, my journey from there went something like this: I wanted to make parties in a box --> these were a bitch to pack and ship --> left that idea and tried styling parties instead --> good, but I didn't like working on the weekend --> tried calligraphy --> sucked at it for a year or two but got better at it and did a friends wedding invites and reception items --> started to build my etsy shop out with a little calligraphy --> thought I wanted to be a wedding planner --> assisted at a wedding, hated it, dropped that idea --> started to actually get calligraphy orders and thought more about pursuing it --> got really stressed out that I couldn't work full time AND grow my callig biz --> quit my job in 2012, had NO money for a long time but worked hard --> here I am today. And ya, that all took around 6 years. I talked a little more about having real expectations here if you want to dive deeper into that!
Even though I feel like my business has found it's sweet spot, we are always evolving, every day. I don't think I'll ever settle down and JUST do wedding invitations. I have a love for so many other things that I know we'll keep expanding and finding new things we can offer! Which brings me to company number 2, which I started with a friend (who actually started out working with me for AFF!) Megan. Wilde House Paper...
What is Wilde House Paper? I don't think I've ever really explained it enough here... we kind of just jumped into it and never looked back. Megan and I are both stationery obsessed. And while working on wedding stationery is amazing and beautiful and fun, it's always very unique to your client and not something you can use in your everyday life. So forming a company that we could use our lifestyle ideas on was super exciting to both of us. We bounced around a lot of ideas and landed on starting Wilde House as a subscription box company with intention to grow into more products down the road. We launched our first box in November of 2015 and have been designing a collaborative stationery box every month since. Basically, we both gather inspiration for each months box and come up with a color palette and theme. From there we hand letter, illustrate and design 4 to 5 products that are printed and shipped out to our subscribers at the beginning of each month. We've also started to include small "styling extras" to encourage our followers to get inspired with their spaces and style up their desks, homes, or wherever they use their new stationery (and then share on instagram, duh;). It is extremely fast paced and sometimes a struggle with thousands of miles in between us (CA to PA!), but we love it and our growth over the past year is hard to argue with... I think everyone loves getting a surprise in the mail monthly, that is NOT a bill!
We had a small holiday shop in 2016 which was a new experience as we never had an "a la carte" shop. And while that is still on the agenda for the future, we have something even more exciting launching at the end of the month. But more on that coming soon!
So ya, it's been a long winding journey... I graduated high school with the intention of being a fashion designer. I attended FIDM, worked for a small clothing company for about 6 months and from there went straight to the corporate world which is how AFF was born shortly after. It's crazy how things work out, and even crazier to think about what is in store for the future!
I hope that this gives you a better look into what it is that goes on here. I know there's plenty of other little things we can talk about too which I'm excited to write about (how do you organize this into one day? how do you stay inspired? how do you work in a partnership? how do you hire your first employees? right?)
But I'd also love know what you are dying get more info on too! I'm hoping that in addition to the diys, flowers, parties, and inspiration I share here, that I can also start sharing more advice or tips that is requested by you guys. So share in the comments if you have a question!
Images by Sunny Kim Photography