Hello Partners! Happy Thursday!
Joining us in the PRO Spotlight this week is the lovely Sakshi of Inquisited; a handmade paper and letterpress studio specializing in custom fine art wedding invitations. Making their paper right from their studio in Chicago, we’re so excited to be sharing Sakshi’s journey! Without further ado…
My name is Sakshi Karambelkar and I live in the Chicago suburbs. I was born inIndia and raised in New Jersey, and moved to Illinois for college!
I started Inquisited as a lettering and botanical art page, before I discovered handmade paper-making. The paper-making process brought me so much joy and soon it became my focus! When I got engaged, I realized there was a perfect way to bridge my love of calligraphy and art with my new paper-making business in the form of wedding stationery. Starting with designing my own invitations, I began to offer completely custom handmade paper and invitation designs. I often work with other stationers to create the perfect handmade paper for their clients!
Gardening is another huge passion of mine, and I try to grow as many flowers as I can in my little backyard. I have two cats, Zuko and Earl Grey. My degree is in Computer Science, which is a far cry from where I have ended up
Spill The Tea
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to start your own business?
For me, the pivotal moment was when I realized I was coming home from work, and going right back to paper-making regardless of how tired I was. It re-energized me, and gave me a huge sense of satisfaction that I realized was lacking in my day job.
What has been your biggest struggle or challenge to date? And how did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle has been overcoming the fear of not succeeding, especially considering a lot of my family and friends (most of which work in software) couldn’t believe my decision to leave software to start a creative business! I was lucky to still have many supporters, and overcame this fear by knowing that I would always regret not trying.
What do you find to be the hardest thing about running your own business and what are you doing to manage this?
Time management has been a struggle for me. I love being able to set my own schedule, but I quickly realized I need to make definite plans for my day otherwise I would not use my time efficiently. Now I try to outline what I am going to do each week, and then pick tasks at the beginning of the day rather than just ‘going with the flow’.
A Day In The Life
What does your typical workday look like?
I try and start my day with coffee and a walk through my garden (which is a huge perk when working from home!). Then I go into whatever paper-making I need to do for the day. I find that getting my paper making done in the mornings actually allows me to be more productive in the afternoons when I am designing at my computer, or responding to emails. I end my day by doing creative tasks such as illustrating or calligraphy which helps me wind down.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
My biggest advice would be to experiment! Find many different avenues of creativity and discover which ones suit your talents and your passions best. It took me so much experimenting to understand what I was good at, and I wouldn’t have discovered how much I love creating beautiful handmade paper had I not given that art form a chance.
How Do You "PRO"?
How do you sell your clients on wax seals?
Wax seals are very versatile, and showing clients the variety of ways they can be used helps a lot. I think many clients also do not realize the range of colors and designs that wax seals can come in, so providing examples of innovative ways they’ve been used and showcasing how they can amplify the design is a huge selling point.
How did you decide on pricing your wax seals?
I price them based on assembly time as well as cost of materials. To make it simple, I’ve calculated an optimal cost for each seal so all I have to do is multiply by how many seals the project needs!
Do you have any tips for your fellow stationers on listing wax seals?
Variety is really key here. Having a portfolio that showcases wax seals in many different ways makes it a truly desirable addition to clients.
Teach Us Something!
I know a lot of stationers love handmade paper, but have a hard time when it comes to printing or calligraphy on it! A few tips and tricks from me:
- If you’re struggling with calligraphy on handmade paper, try applying a layer of fixative or hair spray first! You’ll notice that the fibers will not pull on your pointed pen as much afterwards. This may also help with bleeding issues.
- You can definitely run handmade paper through an inkjet printer, especially if your printer has an ‘Envelope’ setting. If you do get some ink around the edges of your paper, you can gently scrape it off using an x-acto knife.
- Different formulas of paper are best for different applications of paper. My own paper comes in a calligraphy formula as well as letterpress formula! You’ll find that fluffy papers are particularly hard to write on or foil on, but are excellent for letterpress. Similarly, thin stiff papers are great for calligraphy, digital printing and foiling but don’t give you a great impression when letter-pressing.
If you have any questions on how to best use handmade paper, I am more than happy to help!
Two web tools/app you can't live without?
Illustrator and Procreate. I can’t design without either of them.
Go-to Artisaire sealing wax color?
Prosecco, in my opinion, is the most perfect shade of gold.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Thank you, Sakshi!
Sakshi, it was an absolute dream having you in the PRO Spotlight. We loved learning more about you and your journey! Thank you! We can’t wait to share Part Two of Sakshi’s PRO Spotlight. Be sure to connect with Sakshi on Instagram!
The Artisaire PRO Team