Already fans of Julia Eastwood & her gorgeous stationery designs, we decided to catch up with the creator herself to get you an exclusive interview!
When did you launch your business and what is your background?
I launched my wedding stationery business in September 2012. I graduated in 2001 with first class honours in Graphic Illustration. From there I went to work in a professional design studio working on advertising campaigns and editorial work for 5 years. In 2006 I made the leap into teaching and for the next 6 years split my time between being the course leader of an illustration course at college level and doing freelance graphic design. I loved teaching and still miss the rapport of the students I would teach and the feeling of pride in seeing their achievements. The problem was, my students would come back to see me with exciting tales of life at Goldsmiths studying fashion, or taking a gap year working on the design team for Vogue magazine and I would get the itch to be out creating myself. In 2012 I was getting married and I searched and searched for my perfect invite, but nothing seemed to really represent Gary and I – my fiancé. Then it hit me, why on earth wasn’t I designing my own?! And so I set to work…the result was a hand painted illustration with tiny symbols woven into it that represented our life together so far. I received such good feedback about our invite that I started to think ‘what if….’ And so I took a deep breath and left the security blanket of teaching. Luckily, it has all worked out so far….touch wood…
What services do you offer and to who?
I create all aspects of wedding stationery and décor from Save the Date cards through to Orders of Service and Table Plans. One of my favourite requests is when a bride asks for something I’ve not previously thought of. For instance, last year I was asked to create ‘I spy’ cards to be placed on each table with a disposable camera asking the guests to try and capture specific moments from the day. Another bride asked me to create paper fortune tellers (like we all used to make at school) containing a quiz about the bride and groom to go on her tables. Those kind of things make me wish I was getting married again so I could steal their ideas for my own wedding!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Well, anyone who knows me well will tell you I have always been a magpie when it comes to weddings! So firstly been involved in planning couples big days is a huge perk of my job, also I still get to buy wedding magazines every month with the excuse that they are for work! The other aspect I enjoy is the variety. One day I might be hand painting an enchanted forest illustration, the next printing and die cutting doily table numbers, it’s never the same thing from day to day.
What is your unique selling point? & What makes you different to other stationery suppliers?
I think my unique selling point is how personalised my designs are. It’s not just a case of adding your names and venue details, all aspects of my illustrations can be altered to represent you as a couple. For example, a couple recently had a tiny camera, sewing machine, cat, and bike wheel drawn to be hanging off the branches in my woodland wedding invite. It’s subtle, but a nice nod to a couples personality.
Where are you located and what areas do you offer your services in?
I’m based in Halifax, West Yorkshire where I was raised but I have worked with brides all over the world. I was lucky that very soon after opening my business I was accepted as a partner on Notonthehighstreet giving me a strong online presence. Due to this the majority of my work comes from the south of England, all though I’ve worked with couples as far flung as Hong Kong and Australia. Just this morning I sent a proof to a lovely Italian couple who asked me to create my Time Capsule Guestbook translated into Italian for their wedding in Rome. It’s always lovely to work with clients from nearby though, you can’t beat a get together with mood boards and rough sketches over a coffee!
Can you give an idea on price?
Prices start at £1.90 for Save the Dates and range from £2.50 to £6.00 for invites depending on how much detail and how many inserts are needed. I am more than happy to draw up non obligation quotes and if a couple have a set figure in mind can make suggestions on how they can achieve the effect they desire whilst staying in budget.
Can couples request bespoke designs and if so what is the process?
Yes definitely! I love creating bespoke requests. Over the last 3 years I’ve created many bespoke illustrations over a wide range of themes, such as a couple who wanted a bride and groom duck ‘taking the plunge’ , a couple who wanted to be drawn walking their dog into a wood of heart shaped trees and most recently I created illustrations for ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ wedding which was a complete gift of a brief and totally captured my imagination. I would urge couples to contact me if they have an idea but can’t see anything similar on my website because 99.9% of the time the answer will be yes I can do it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?Are there any particular trends in stationery that are popular with your brides at the moment? & What trends do you see being popular this year?
Woodland weddings seem hugely popular this year and my woodland wedding stationery range has been my best seller so far this year. I’ve had a few requests for illustrations that feature starry skies and so I think this may be an up and coming theme. It’s a theme that appeals to me and I plan to create a range based on winter starry skies ‘written in the stars’ as we move closer to the winter wedding season.
How do you provide a superior experience to other illustrators?
Please see question 9… also, I think my background – gaining a first class degree, and having professional experience in graphic design, means I can not only offer a highly creative service, but a very professional service, from adding polished typography to being able to prepare artwork for print so that it prints to a very high standard. Good illustration can be ruined so easily with bad typography and layout for print!
How far in advance would you advise a bride to start sourcing their wedding invitations?
I always advise my brides to aim to book 8 weeks before they would like to receive their invites. Design slots do tend to book up in advance, 8 weeks means the first design draft will be completed in the first 3 weeks, and then I allow 3 weeks for the proofing process in which I will supply up to 3 proofs to ensure the design is completely perfect. Lastly, the remaining 2 weeks gives me time to prepare everything for print, send to print and have them returned to me (I use a wedding specialist in Northumberland) and then for me to finish with any special finishing touches such as rounded corners or ribbon.
In terms of when to send out, the magazines always say 3 months before the day, but personally, I think it depends on the time of year. I got married in August 2012 and was conscious of people wanting to book holidays, so I sent my Save the Dates in August 2011, and my invites in January 2012.
What type of bride do you think your style of work appeals to and why?
I think the brides who like my work are individuals, who value personal details in their wedding and chose items that represent themselves as a couple and their story so far. They enjoy telling their love story, and celebrating the real reason everyone has joined them for the day.
Are you married? What type of invitations did you have on your wedding day? What would you choose now? If not, what would you choose if you did get married?
I am married! I got married on the 11th August 2012 and it really was the best day of my life. You can’t describe the ‘wedding bubble’ you become immersed in on the day and really do it justice. My wedding invite was the first invite I designed and the first product I stocked. It’s also still one of my best sellers so it’s nice to know that 4 years on it’s still ‘got it’. In fact, a lot of products on my website are ones I first created for my own wedding, the Time Capsule Guestbook was first made for our day – although we were naughty and opened it the day after instead of a year after and the football shirt table plan cards were made so that my husbands love of Huddersfield Town could be featured somehow.
How can brides get in touch with you to find out more?
It’s best to email me as I am notoriously bad with my mobile phone… my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my website is www.lovejuliaeastwood.com. You can follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com/juliaeastwood or if you are local, we could get together for a chat.