Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sweetface Spotlight: Marigold & Grey

Today we have the privilege of featuring a new start-up for our Sweetface Spotlight! Jamie Kutchman started her welcome gift company, Marigold & Grey, in the beginning of 2014 and is already enjoying great success in the wedding planning industry. Her website features a variety of hand-crafted, artisanal items and gifts to add that personal touch to your welcome bags. And she has just about the loveliest Instagram feed you've ever seen! (If you are a fan of beautiful packaging and styling, be sure to follow her @marigoldgrey). 

Jamie Kutchman, founder

I loved talking with Jamie and hearing her enthusiasm for Marigold & Grey and her customers in particular. She has a passion for engaged couples, and her approachable and friendly demeanor paired with a creative eye make her ideal to work with.

DC is one of many city-themed welcome bags

The Beginning. Jamie spent the past 11 years working in medical and surgical sales, a field with constant pressures and high expectations. She excelled at her work, but it didn't satisfy the desire she had to create something creative and meaningful. Earlier this year, she left the field and went full time into her start-up, Marigold & Grey. The name is derived from her wedding colors, and also reflects the vision she had for her business: classy and elegant grey paired with approachable and fun marigold. 

Ironically, it was her many years in medical sales that helped prepare her for a welcome gift company. It taught her the importance of hard work and attention to detail. In addition, the biggest products she worked with were surgical packs: kits she prepared to be opened by the doctor just before surgery. The similarity to packing a gift bag to be opened before an important event is not lost on her, but Jamie explained that though the logic and procedure is similar, she is finally in her element with welcome bags. 

In addition to the name origin, Jamie's wedding also served as the catalyst and inspiration for her business. Half of her welcome bags were sent to the wrong hotel, leaving her stressed and frustrated on the eve of her wedding. She is committed to attention to detail and ensuring perfection for her clients, and her website offers hand-assembly and delivery for those in the DC metro area (stretching from Annapolis to Charlottesville). 

Krista A. Jones Photography

Her Success. Jamie attributes her success early on to choosing the right partners to work with. She's had opportunities to partner with some amazingly talented stylists and photographers for styled shoots and the design of her website. For her products, she likes to focus on items that have a hand-crafted, artisan feel with a story behind them. She has a passion for small businesses and loves locally-inspired gifts from different regions of the country. Some of her favorite items include wooden map coasters from Neighborwoods that have etched designs and smell delightfully like cedar, and Haute Papier's state-themed notecards. Many of her city-themed bags come from Maptote and offer a gift bag option that guests can use long after the event. In the food category, she named Sugarfina, Fatty Sundays, 2 Armadillos, Fresh Bakes, and Pie Sisters as the companies that came to mind first that she’s currently loving. Jamie realizes the importance of the small details, and partners with companies that share this value. 

An exciting upcoming venture for Marigold & Grey is creating welcome bags for Bow Ties and Bubbly, a modern spin on a bridal show hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club. Each room will be styled in a different theme with a variety of vendors, and there will be interactive features including dance lessons, a floral crown DIY, and a bow tie station for grooms. You can register here

Krista A. Jones Photography 

Curious how to put together the ideal welcome bag? Here are Jamie's tips for the perfect balance: 
  • Keep it simple and significant; adding more items may actually detract from the appearance. 
  • Choose one thing from each category laid out on her site: candy, savory snacks, sweet snacks, beverages, essentials, and keepsakes. Jamie recommends letting the packaging option (such as a destination-themed tote) set the tone for the gift. 
  • For the finishing touches, such as ribbon, tissue paper, and gift tags, try to incorporate your wedding colors to coordinate with the event. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sweetface Spotlight: Little Bird Creative

This week we're featuring another amazing, innovative company based out of Alexandria VA - Little Bird Creative. I met with Carina in her beautiful home studio to discuss starting her own business, the different types of printing techniques, and what her upcoming plans for Little Bird Creative are in the New Year. I also had the privilege of seeing several of her beautiful designs, and I can't wait to share some pictures with you!

Carina Herman, the designer behind Little Bird Creative

The Beginning. The name Little Bird Creative is not only catchy and fun, but also has a story behind it. The phrase, "A little bird told me" is a phrase Carina's dad often used when she was growing up. She thought it was a perfect fit for the wedding industry as well. Each communication the bride has with the guests- through the save the date, invitation, and wedding website, for example- gives a little more of a peek into the style and aesthetic of the actual wedding day. 

Carina launched Little Bird Creative five years ago, while she was a designer for Paper Source. When the company stopped doing custom invitations, Carina knew she wouldn't be fully fulfilled unless she started her own custom design business. Her passion for custom work is evident, and she spoke of loving creating something that matched the spirit of the couple she is working with. She loves incorporating patterns and variety into her designs, which is something that is made much easier by today's wedding culture. Twenty years ago, there was a set formula so that every wedding- red roses and all- looked very similar. Now, weddings come in all sorts of styles, themes, and colors, and that's something Little Bird Creative (and Sweetface!) is very excited about.

The Designs. Carina described her typical client as looking for something traditional with a twist. She has the ability to capture the personality of the bride and groom and unite their styles in a design - for example, coupling a groom's traditional style in the format of an invitation with the bride's bubbly personality through a pink geometric border.  

Another lovely aspect of Little Bird Creative's designs is the incorporation of a variety of printing styles, from flat to letterpress to foil. Carina was gracious enough to explain the different types to me and share examples of these three styles of printing. For all you readers out there who are novices like me when it comes to this, here's a quick guide! 

  • Flat: this is the standard printing style, which is similar to the laser printing of a home printer but of higher quality. Flat printing pairs well with special, textured paper. The color is a result of ink mixed together on top of each other to create the final hue. 

  • Letterpress: this style of printing is only capable on a letterpress printing machine, which is rare and no longer produced. Each ink color is laid down separately, so the paper goes through the press once for each color. The text and design that was "pressed" is indented slightly into the paper. 

  • Foil: Similar to letterpress printing in that the paper goes through the machine once for each layer of foil. Usually printed with metallic foil, this type is often mixed with flat printing. 

The Future. Perhaps most exciting is what the future holds for Little Bird Creative in 2015. In the New Year, Carina will be launching a Save the Date line in her online shop. While she has previously done all custom work, this will be an opportunity for brides to see pre-made designs to choose from or use as a jumping off point for customization when they are still in the early stages of planning. 

Make sure to be on the lookout for the launch of this line by following Little Bird Creative on Instagram (@littlebirdcreative) and Twitter (@lbcdesign)! 

Tips for Brides from Little Bird Creative:
  • Start working with your stationery suite designer at least 6-8 months before mailing. This way you can maximize your personalization and custom options. 
  • Pull together a well curated inspiration board-think color swatches, themed elements and photos of your venue. It will be a great guide for you throughout the wedding planning process.
  • Hand address your envelopes. You can work with a calligrapher or split this up between family members and the bridal party, as guests aren’t going to compare the envelopes. Hand addressed invitations add a personalized touch that printed envelopes are missing.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sweetface Spotlight: Sweet Root Village

Welcome to the first Sweetface Events Vendor Spotlight! This is a new series on our blog where we'll be featuring local wedding vendors in the DC area to serve as inspiration for our readers and brides. Our first feature is on a lovely creative business based out of Alexandria, Virginia that shares a similar name (we couldn't resist). Sweetface social media intern Kate sat down to chat with Rachel Bridgwood and Lauren Anderson of Sweet Root Village, which focuses on photography and florals.

Rachel and Lauren of Sweet Root Village
Photo by Sarah Bradshaw Photography 

There's nothing more refreshing than talking to people who love what they do. For the ladies of Sweet Root Village, their passion for their work was evident from the beginning of our conversation. I met with Lauren and Rachel on a cold Friday morning and was immediately ushered into their beautiful studio space with a warm welcome and the offer of freshly prepared French press coffee. We chatted about how Sweet Root came to be, their strengths as business partners, and what they envision for the future. 

The Beginning. 
Lauren and Rachel met during their college years and became fast friends. Both were creatively minded, interested in photography, and had dreams of starting their own creative enterprise. The brainstorming session for the business began, as all good brainstorming sessions do, over a glass of wine. The name Sweet Root Village was inspired by a blog Lauren and Rachel liked the sound of - A Cup of Green Ginger. They began writing out words they liked and seeing what sounded good together. Village was a staple from the beginning, as its all-encompassing nature seemed to fit the vision they had in mind. Sweet Root came soon after, and the name was born. 

When the two friends started their blog in the summer of 2010, they really honed in on three facets: florals, photography, coordination. Both loved florals and photography, and couldn't do without either. Coordination was added as a bonus - a smaller focus that was mainly for brides who liked Sweet Root's style and asked them to coordinate their wedding day as well as do their photography and florals.

The Team. 
Lauren and Rachel work exceptionally well together - it must be related to that instant bond of kinship that brought them together in the first place. Both women are equally passionate about florals and photography, though they play different roles in managing the business. Lauren has a head for numbers and handles Sweet Root's finance. Rachel studied graphic design in college and heads up their online presence and branding. They both spoke to the benefit of having a business partner that they are completely committed to and open with. They communicate well, and have the benefit of filling in for the other when one of them is out of the office.

Sweet Root Village's studio space is housed on the bottom floor of a lovely historic brick building in Old Town Alexandria. They share the building with other creative business: Alumbra Photography, UpCircle Studio, Kelley Cannon Events, and Michelle Lindsay Photography. While this much overlap may cause competition in other studios, the women at 112 South Patrick use the shared space to their advantage. Being so close to other creatives leads to wonderful collaborations and a family-like environment. Lauren and Rachel told of a recent potluck with everyone in the building, and it was actually Susannah of Alumbra Photography that Lauren and Rachel partnered with to look for a studio space together. 

The Business. 
When talking with Lauren and Rachel about their proudest moment as business owners, they discussed several significant accomplishments: moving into their first studio, being featured in The Knot, Washingtonian, and Mingle Mag all at once, and for non-wedding events, collaborations with West Elm, Kinfolk, and Anthropologie through partnering with A Daily Something. 

Sweet Root Village's designs for a wedding at Murray Hill
Photos By Sweet Root Village

Their favorite wedding was undoubtedly the one at Murray Hill in Leesburg, Virginia. They created hanging macramé for the florals, loved the vendors, and truly clicked with the bride and groom. Read more about the Murray Hill wedding on The Knot, here

Another stand-out point for Sweet Root Village is their focus on sustainability and their use of locally sourced flowers. From day one, Rachel and Lauren wanted to be sustainably minded. While there are many places to find flowers worldwide, Sweet Root Village prefers to get as much as they can during the local growing seasons from a nearby co-op of Virginia farmers. It's a labor of love as it takes much more coordinating and planning, but it's something they're really passionate about - the opportunity to work with local farmers and see the faces of those who have cultivated their flowers.

The Future. 
As for future plans, Rachel and Lauren want to see where the business takes them. Maybe moving to a warehouse space and hosting workshops, maybe something else entirely. They are open to whatever the future brings. The beauty of this is focusing on the present without the constant pressure planning or readjusting missed goals. Sweet Root Village will naturally progress, as it has done so far. And based on their past success, their future must hold quite a lot of promise. 

Be sure to check out the blog posts below for more lovely photography + flowers by Sweet Root Village! 


Here's hoping for a Sweetface and Sweet Root collaboration in the future!