In the Spotlight this week, we have the lovely Stephanie from Copper & Carbon!
PS. Happy belated birthday to Stephanie, from all of us at Artisaire!
“Hi! My name is Stephanie, owner and designer for Copper & Carbon – I’m based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and specialize in custom stationery and decor for events, predominantly weddings. I just celebrated my THIRTIETH birthday 🙈 at the beginning of September, and am so excited to have just embarked on this journey of full-time self employment as of Summer 2019.”
Tell us about Copper & Carbon - What is your background? How did you start your company?
“My educational background is design – specifically, I have a degree in Interior Design from UW-Madison (Go Badgers!). After college, I had jobs at two different retail companies’ corporate offices, in Merchandising and Sourcing roles; with these positions, I gained skills and experience in buying, product development, pricing + promotions, strategic sourcing and marketing, all of which have really helped me in my journey to start my own business as a stationer.
Additionally, I’ve been an avid artist & crafter since childhood – I have always loved coloring, drawing, painting and making things; I got my first calligraphy set when I was in sixth grade! Copper & Carbon was officially started in 2017, after I made made a lot of DIY decor for my own wedding and friends/family started asking me to create invitations and decor for their celebrations.
Over the past two years, I’ve gradually stepped away from my full time job to a part time job, to now being fully self-employed; it’s an absolute dream to be pursuing my passion 100% right now – I get to create beautiful things for people celebrating one of the most meaningful times in their lives, what could be better than that?!”
Spilling The Tea
What has been your biggest struggle or challenge to date? And how did you overcome it?
“The biggest challenge for me has been charging the right price for the work that I do (I know a lot of us creatives struggle with this!) With a background in retail, I KNOW the margins I should be making on my products, but initially it was really hard to quote clients at those prices – I thought they’d think I was nuts!
But at the end of the day, I know how much work I put into my designs, making sure to perfect the little details, and that I only use really high quality materials from suppliers I’ve tried and vetted personally, so I know that the end products that I’m delivering to my clients are a great value.”
What do you find to be the hardest thing about running your own business and what are you doing to manage this?
“The hardest part of running my own business has got to be time management; working out of my home office, I can literally work around the clock if I don’t pay attention! I’m really working to focus on planning out my time each week to maximize my efficiency – waiting to place orders with suppliers once a week versus dropping files every time I get a proof approved because I’m so excited about getting that project to the printer so I can see the finished project ASAP. It’s all about learning to be patient :)”
Teach Us Something!
“Lean on the strengths of your software and stay organized digitally! I know it can be a total pain to manage layers really methodically, but I’ve now gotten myself to a point where I have blank templates set up for each of the sizes I commonly design for with color-coded layers for background graphics, other graphics, text and foil, and it is AMAZING because I can do so much on autopilot now, in addition to not having to set up new files each time I start a new project – it’s very “grab n’ go”.
Additionally. I keep my files really well organized in folders and subfolders, so that it’s easy for me to find assets and update links when I tweak a template – it makes me so much more efficient so I can spend more of my time doing the actual design work. Lastly, learn how to use the data merge utility in InDesign when addressing those envelopes or populating place cards – watch a YouTube video over and over if you have to to get familiar with organizing your data in a spreadsheet and then exporting it to a format you can merge into your design template; it’s a huge time-saver, and the software is much less prone to errors than a human :)”
- Favorite stationery tip or trick? RSVP postcards, they are cute and simple, and you save money on postage because the stamps cost less than a regular letter!
- Favorite animal? I have to say a bunny because I have two dwarf rabbits as pets and they are the most adorable little furbabies…do yourself a favor and check out their insta @bear_and_penelope for cuteness overload – you will NOT be disappointed! 🐰 🐰
- Favorite sealing wax color? Antique Pearl – I LOVE to use colored envelopes to make the invitations really stand out in the recipients’ mailboxes, so the Antique Pearl sealing wax is a really great option for amazing contrast against nearly any envelope color 👍
Thank You So Much, Stephanie!
A huge thank you to Stephanie, we had so much fun learning more about you, Copper & Carbon, your adorable pet rabbits, and your adventure into stationery! Follow Stephanie’s journey on Instagram!
The Artisaire Pro Team