We’re excited to introduce you to Christy, the owner and creative director of Papertree Studio. Papertree Studio is a custom stationery boutique and design studio offering beautifully created paper goods including wedding invitations, stationery and so much more. Christy’s talent gives her clients stunning individualized options for wedding invitations and so much more.
- What is your story? How did you get started? Do you have training?
From a young age, I knew I loved to draw. I had a lot of art classes throughout school and decided to pursue graphic design in college. At Philadelphia University, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design while I was also a varsity athlete. My academic and athletic commitments in college definitely helped me learn to juggle and balance multiple things at once. During my senior year at Philadelphia University, I interned at Comcast-Spectacor in their graphic services department and continued to stay on as a freelancer after college. While there, I applied to a position at a local magazine, which just happened to be Philadelphia Magazine. I balanced working at Comcast, Philly mag and coaching all at once…and loved it. I feel like in our profession it is a rite of passage to have multiple jobs at once. After a couple of years I decided that working only at Philly mag was enough and continued to work there but I also became a Division II head field hockey coach as well. It was fun to do both things that I loved the most; design and hockey. After a while the coaching became too much and my role at Philly mag became more full-time. I worked at the magazine for almost 10 years while freelance designing on the side before I decided to go out on my own to see if I could run my own business. I started my first limited liability company in 2008 but it wasn’t until 2012 that I took the leap from part-time to full-time business owner. Fast forward to today and my company is growing at a great pace which makes me feel truly blessed. Owning my own business has been my dream for a really long time.
- Where are you based and how far do you typically send your products?
I live in South Jersey but also have meeting space in Old City Philadelphia. I have designed invitations for couples all over the U.S. and world!
- What would you want to share with prospective future clients?
If you love to collaborate and create something that really speaks to who you are as a couple (or company) then working with a custom stationer is perfect for you. The process is a little longer but you end up with something truly unique and one-of-a-kind.
- Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who is excited about paper and loves the collaborative process of working with a stationer.
- What are tips to have a stress free wedding/event?
Take a deep breath. Weddings and events are stressful but feel confident that you have entrusted amazing vendors to help you who will work their butts off to make sure your wedding or event is the best day ever.
- What is your design process for your products? If you create completely custom pieces, how do you work with a client?
The first step in our invitation journey is to set up a time to chat or meet in person. We will talk about what the clients are looking for in a suite, colors they plan to use, styles they love and what the overall look will be for their Big Day. Once we have an idea of what they are looking for, we will create an estimate for them to review. We require a 50% deposit to begin the design process. Once we have a deposit and signed contract, we will send the clients a timeline to review. The timeline keeps us on track throughout the process. We will also send them some sample documents to help with the choice of wording for their pieces.
We will ask the clients to send us all of their wording for their invitation and other pieces so we can get started on the designs. Once we have all the information from them we will design the invitation. Papertree will send a PDF proof of two to three design options to review. If our couples don’t love anything we are happy to send some more options…we want our couples to fall in love with their invitation suite and will not settle for less! It’s VERY important that our couples feel good that they have booked a custom stationer. Once the invitation is designed we will design the accompanying pieces for review.
When they are madly in love with their invitation suite we are ready for printing! We ask our clients to approve the proof by signing it and returning it to us. Standard flat printing takes two weeks plus an additional two weeks for assembly. Specialty printing takes four weeks plus an additional two weeks for assembly. All packages are shipped via FedEx and you will receive a tracking number.
- How do you keep yourself creatively inspired?
I surround myself with some really talented people who constantly inspire me to push myself as an artist.
- Do you offer products besides invitations?
We offer anything and everything for a wedding or event. Since we do custom design we can really create anything our clients envision. We also offer graphic design services and Squarespace website design.
- Where is your favorite place to travel for work or play?
I haven’t traveled too much in the past couple of years. I have two small children (4yrs and 1yr) so basically anything that involves sleeping is a plus for me! I have been to Europe a couple of times and Italy is by far my favorite place to travel. You leave there (kicking and screaming) feeling like a better designer and more inspired.
- What do you think makes your business successful? What would you tell yourself five years ago as a business owner?
I think being a kind person goes a long way and staying humble. Not being afraid to make mistakes but learning from them when you do and never accept failure. Making sure you stay current as a designer and that your work is PERFECT. Also being able to wear multiple hats at once. I book consults, do accounting, design, assembly, all while being mom to two adorable red heads. It took me a very long time to learn all the responsibilities of being a business owner while trying to balance work and home life. It’s amazing working for yourself but there is a lot of “behind the scenes” that isn’t so glamorous.
I would tell myself to trust that hard work DOES pay off.