Cartoules: Can you tell me about your craft and how you got started designing invitations? What draws you to designing wedding and baby stationery?
Paper Dahlia: I've been very artistic since I was a kid. I was always drawing. Also, my mother was an interior designer so I was raised in an environment where color and design mattered. As an adult I studied fine art at the San Francisco Art Institute, one of the country's oldest fine art schools. I received my Bachelor's of Fine Art in Painting. I continued making art but ending up managing an art supply store which is where I gained an appreciation for paper, printmaking, and design. During that time I got engaged and decided to design and print my own invitations. Boy, I wish I knew now what I didn't know then! However I did get a great response from those invitations and from that I began designing invitations and announcements for my friends and family. But it wasn't until I was laid off from my job that I decided to turn my passion into a career.
I think I prefer to design invitations and announcements because they are such important milestones in people's lives. Sounds kind of corny but I love creating pieces that evoke happiness through something as simple as opening an envelope.
Cartoules: How did you come up with the name Paper Dahlia?
Paper Dahlia: Well, when I started my company I was using my name but only because I couldn't think of anything better at the time! I always felt that I would change it some day. Finally one day a light bulb went on! "Paper" for obvious reasons and "Dahlia" because it's my favorite flower and my daughter's middle name. It just felt right for me.
Cartoules: What do new designs entail work wise for you? Is it complicated? How do you get inspired?
Paper Dahlia: Coming up with new designs is usually low impact as far as work is concerned. If I'm really inspired to create then I can have a new design in a day or two. However, I do like to step away from a design for a while and make edits with a fresh eye. I also have samples printed but that is really my only out-of-pocket expense. Typically I'm inspired by pattern, color, anything vintage, package design, and typography. Also a number of my current designs have been a direct result of work with my clients.
Cartoules: Where do you find most of your clients? How has social media impacted your business?
Paper Dahlia: I used to advertise on a few wedding blogs but with the slowdown of the economy it's been necessary to cut my advertising budget. Therefore, I've had to be more creative about getting my name out there and a big part of that has been social media. I tweet almost everyday and I have a Facebook page as well. I've had a handful of new clients that have found me through Twitter in the last few months. I also use both sites to promote specials and new items. I really believe social media is an invaluable tool for any small business owner.
Cartoules: What has been your favorite project to date?
Paper Dahlia: Oh gosh, it's so hard to pinpoint one project. Each one is unique and presents different challenges. However, one that sticks out for me is a baby shower invitation I completed recently. It's just so feminine and pretty!
Cartoules: What are your future plans for Paper Dahlia?
Paper Dahlia: In the coming year, I would like to focus more on designing for letterpress, as well as do more blog and web design. I am also starting a new style blog named Super Swoon where I will be sharing design, fashion, decor, and party inspiration. It will be launching early November... very excited for that!
All images and designs by Paper Dahlia
You can see more of Kerry's work on her website, catch up on her blog, and see what she's up to on Twitter and Facebook.
As always, if you'd like to be featured in the designer profile series, please email me at julie (at) cartoulesletterpress (dot) com with a brief description of your work, and three images.