Hello PRO Partners!
We are thrilled to have Andrea from Lupin Design Studio, a studio based in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in the Spotlight this week! Specializing in all things wedding; from save-the-dates to invites and day of decor, without further ado, here is our interview with Andrea…
“My name is Andrea MacDonald, I am from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and have been living in Halifax, Nova Scotia since 2009. I live with my husband, Craig, and our four-year old rescued pitbull mix, Poppy (I have a thing with flowers!)”
Tell us about your business? What is your background? What is your craft? How did you start?
“My business, Lupin Design Studio, officially started in 2014. I had done a few wedding invitations for family members and friends, and it blossomed into a passion for all things wedding stationery. I have been a professional graphic designer since 2011, after attending art school and receiving a diploma in Graphic and DigitalMedia Design. I was working for a few different startups, then in the banking industry, followed by a major skincare company before finally making the jump to Lupin full time in 2017. Since starting my business, I have worked with over 350 couples on different aspects of their wedding stationery, and have loved every minute of it! The name Lupin comes from the flower that grows here in Nova Scotia during the summer – there are fields of these beautiful purple and pink flowers all over the province. I remember them growing at my grandmother’s house, who I was very close to. What better way to honour her than naming my business after that memory.”
Three fun facts about you. GO!
- I have two tattoos – one of a rolling pin on my foot (I’m not a great baker, but my grandmother certainly was), and the other of a … you guessed it, Lupin!
- I own over 200 bottles of nail polish – my nails are ALWAYS painted.
- My second passion is cooking!
Spill The Tea
What has been your biggest struggle or challenge to date? And how did you overcome it?
“Being a solopreneur has many, many challenges – a lot that I totally did not see coming. (So. Many. Emails.) I thought that I had to face everything alone. It wasn’t until I started to build actual connections and friendships with other wedding vendors that I realized that many of us are in the same boat. I’ve always had a great support system with my family and husband, but there is something about being a part of a community of like minded individuals that give you a different perspective on what you are facing. Knowing that a vendor friend is just a phone call away, or being able to set up a meeting for a cup of coffee to discuss what we’re going through gives me a sense of calm to know that I’m not in this alone!”
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to start your own business?
“I knew that it was time to “make the leap” when I was at my corporate day job and all I could think about was making wedding stationery. I started the business as a side hustle, which was amazing and I thought that was what it was always going to be. It got to a point in 2016 where I had to seriously start thinking about running it full-time, which led me to making the full switch in 2017.”
A Day In The Life
What does your typical workday look like?
“My studio is based out of my home, which means my commute is very short! I typically work best at night – a habit I think I developed in college. I know it’s not a typical work day, but I typically spend my mornings doing house work or chores, or running errands. I do reply to my emails first thing in the morning, since I don’t like them sitting in my inbox. Around noon I actually get to work, and usually work until 6pm, and then another burst of work around 9pm. It isn’t a standard day, but it works for me. I also batch a lot of my work, so if I know I have three invitation suites to print, I’ll print all of the envelopes on Monday. If I’m doing wax seals, I’ll set up everything and do all of the seals on Tuesday, instead of doing production on a per-job basis, I do it by element.”
How do you maintain work/life balance?
“Work/life balance is definitely something I still struggle with and am working on. The thing about being your own boss is that there is nobody to tell you when to stop, or start. There have been times that I’ve been scoring place cards at 2am, and times that I didn’t go into my office for two days. Since moving into a home office, I’ve settled down to a routine that works for me. I typically do my consultations on Saturday’s, so I know that my Sunday’s are my no work days, usually spent with my husband and Poppy. Making sure to take real days off is super important! Creating a schedule is also super helpful, and don’t get too hung up on a typical “9-5”. Just do what works for you.”
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
“Make friends with a professional photographer! Doing styled shoots helped me get the photos to start featuring my work on my website, and they capture stationery so beautifully. Even now, if I am asked to be in a styled shoot, I don’t even hesitate – I always say yes. Being able to unleash creativity and think outside of the box is SO fun and getting professional is always a bonus. If you can, invest in getting a few suites photographed. Having professional photography on your instagram and website will really make a difference!”
What is one of your biggest GOALS? Or what is something you are currently working towards?
“To hire someone! I am working towards hiring a second hand, someone who is ready to dive right in to help with design and production. It’s hard to grow as a one person business, and hiring the right people is SO important for growth!”
Teach Us Something!
“I have two helpful tips for when it comes to stamping your wax! Obviously keeping your wax stamp cold is very important, but I found that using ice was a bit messy as it melted over time (especially during those marathons when you have 100+ to do!) To help with this, I bought an ice pack, like the kind you had in your lunch box as a kid. It helps keep the stamp cold without the mess! Secondly, I bought two plate racks from IKEA. After stamping, I set the envelopes in the plate racks so they stand up to dry.”
The book you always recommend? This is not stationery related, but my go to cookbook is Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and I always recommend it!
Favorite place to add Wax Seals? I LOVE the trend of having wax seals on escort cards. It adds such an elegant touch to something that’s otherwise so simple.
Where do you go for inspiration? My Instagram saved folder! I save so many things that inspire me that it’s a great spot to get the burst of creativity I need.
Thank You So Much, Andrea!
Thank you Andrea for being in the Spotlight this week! We loved getting to know more about you, your business, and your journey into the stationery industry. We are looking forward to Part Two of your Spotlight! Be sure to connect with Andrea on Instagram!
The Artisaire PRO Team