Our spotlight is on stationery today! Julia Eastwood’s beautifully hand illustrated wedding stationery to be more precise. We’ve managed to pin down this talented artist to find out how it all started, how it’s all going and, of course, what kind of an impact Covid-19 is having…
Inspired by time spent sitting painting with her mother when she was a young child, UNVEILED Network Member Julia Eastwood has since built a business around her talents, creating collections of lovely invites and table plans for her happy couples, going from a small setup in her spare bedroom at home, to the Halifax-based studio and team of staff during her impressive 8 year journey.
As self-confessed stationery addicts ourselves, we understand why it’s so important to get this right. It’s usually the first element of your wedding that your guests will see so it really sets the tone and precedent for what’s to come. It’s also one of the first things that you brides and grooms-to-be will get to tick off your list so it’s extra exciting!
Let’s hand over to Julia and get her top tips, biggest no-nos and find out where she gets her inspiration from in these funny times…
Briefly introduce yourself and your business?
My small, independent business creating wedding stationery using my own original illustrations, started life in my back bedroom in 2012. The last eight years have been somewhat of a roller coaster and since then my little business has grown into something I could never have dreamed of!
Where did your passion for design come from?
It’s hard to say where it came from, it’s just something that has always been in me… My mum is a really good painter and I can remember sitting for hours as a little girl scribbling away to be like her!
The silver lining of 2020 is that it has made me realise just how much I love my job. There is no getting away from it, last year was a tough year. After eight years of building a business, overnight work disappeared. But, after a rocky start to lockdown (I even considered selling decaf coffee at one point!) I knuckled down and began work on new collections, building a new website, learning about SEO and Alt Tags, social media; all the things I had never had time for before. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some tough days, and sleepless nights, but, when you realise you are working every day just as hard as ever, for no income, just because you love it, that’s a very good place to be.
Do you have a dedicated workspace?
In 2016, I moved into a small office in the thriving Croft Myl hub in Halifax. Four years and three studio moves later (I keep bursting out of our spaces!) I still love being there. Vicky and Brian Nolan, the owners, have done an amazing job with the interiors and the atmosphere is lovely, lots of small independent businesses all rooting for each other. For the time being I am back to being a one-man band, but I can’t wait to welcome my team back and have us all chatting away in the studio!
Why do you think stationery plays such an important part in a wedding?
Well, I’m obsessed with stationery in general. I’ve lost count of the number of notebooks I buy in a year (and still get excited every time) but, I think wedding stationery plays a key role in setting the tone for your big day. It gives guests a glimpse into the atmosphere and vibe you are aiming for and on a more practical note, it also ensures the day runs smoothly with table plans etc.
Do you have a signature style?
I draw and paint all of the illustrations on our products myself. I like to start with very loose and delicate watercolours before layering up quite intricate and complex compositions. It’s unintentional, but looking back through my collections, I can see a recurring theme of landscapes; I like to create a scene that you can almost step into.
Tell us about your latest collections?
I feel really proud of my latest collections! Like so many I am trying hard to focus on the positives of the year we have just experienced, and one of my positives was time. For the first time in a long time, I had the chance to begin a collection, leave it, and revisit until I was really happy with it. Hopefully people will like them! There is a collection for each season, and to me, they have a lighter, fresher feel to them.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs and where would you advise couples to look for inspiration when choosing their wedding stationery?
I am a little bit (hugely) obsessed with Pinterest and can spend hours pinning! When I begin work on a new collection my first step is to create a board for the wedding I envisage the collection being used in, whether that’s a woodland teepee wedding or an elegant Christmas manor house wedding. Like any designer I’m a bit of a sponge for what’s going on around me, in fashion, homeware, culture and that all comes together in the work I create, albeit subconsciously.
What products can you provide to a couple?
Over the years I’ve broadened my product range to cover a wide range of wedding stationery needs, starting with ‘before the day’ (Save the Date, Invitations), through to ‘on the day’ (Order of Service, Table Plan, Table Names, Menus and Place Cards) and finally ‘after the day’ (Thank you cards). One of my favourite ‘on the day’ products to work with couples on are menus. With every menu I create, I love pretending to decide what I would choose! A product I have recently added is ‘Change the Date’ cards. This time last year I would never have dreamed this would be something I would need to do, but they are actually really useful for couples who have sadly had to postpone their wedding.
What do your couples love about your service and creations?
Looking through reviews, a common thread is the friendly service which is so fab to hear! I aim for each couple to feel like they are the only people I am working with at any given time. I’m lucky, I get to forge relationships with my clients at one of the happiest times in their life.
What are your top 3 tips for couples when choosing their wedding stationery?
The most important tip I can give is to remember when ordering invitations that you need one per household, not one per person, the price is quite literally halved! The second would be to have a second person check your proofs, a fresh pair of eyes can spot a detail you may have overlooked. The last tip would be to check when your venue needs your guest menu options before setting your ‘RSVP by’ date.
What are your top 3 no-nos for couples when choosing their wedding stationery?
I only really have one! Don’t try and fit ‘War and Peace’ on the invitations! Too much information can be overwhelming, meaning guests may miss a crucial detail.