Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Feature - invite me!

This week, I am starting my Friday Feature, a series of interviews with the owners of Etsy stores listed on my Sensational Shops tab. While it's one thing to take a peek at a store, it's even more interesting to get to know the people behind them. This week, we're taking a closer look at invite me! This shop offers DIY wedding invitation kits, custom wedding invitations, monograms, and personal stationery. I met them through the Ignored Etsy forum, and they always have something new and exciting to offer! I ordered some simple mini thank you notes and they turned out so cute! And, to top it all off, they even sent me a small free gift with my order...definitely great customer service over there! So, let's get to know invite me!

1. How did you get into crafting?
Well Emily came out of the womb with a crayon and some pipe cleaners in her hand! She has a very creative mother and they were always doing projects when she was little. It's just in her blood! Monique's always had creativity within her, too! And when we became friends, that creativity just exploded. We work really well as a pair... so all of our ideas become that much better when we get together. We started being creative together at work when we designed lesson plans (we're teachers), and the art side came out as we decorated our classrooms. Then when we helped each other with our weddings... well I guess we're getting to question 2 now!
2. How did your Etsy shop come to be?
We love love! We love weddings and making things. So making things for weddings... was a natural fit! We guess it started with Emily's wedding. She wanted to make her own invitations, but procrastinated until the last minute (Hey! Planning a wedding is hard work!) so she tried to find a kit. Everything on the market is so generic! And the paper in the kits at the store is flimsy and poor quality. We kept thinking, "It seems like someone could make a better kit...." Then Monique got engaged! We made her invitations and just fell in love with the design process. We already knew we work well together and we were having so much fun, we thought "What if we did this for other people?" And invite me! was born! We started posting pictures of our designs on facebook and soon enough our friends were asking us to do their invitations. Then we made a web site... but we needed a "store" of some sort. That's when we stumbled upon Etsy. We had never even been on it before! But we knew lots of people had heard of it... so we just jumped right in! We create custom designs for people like Monique who want something special that no other couple in the world has. And we create kits for people like Emily who want to make their own, don't have time to search for every paper and template, but still want high quality! We're also expanding our collections of ready-to-go designs everyday! After joining Etsy, we started getting requests for other types of cards... personal stationery and thank you notes. That's been so much fun! We couldn't be happier with that decision to join Etsy. We've met great people and spread the word about invite me! way faster than we could have otherwise.
3. What is your favorite part about being creative?
We only get one favorite? We love the feeling of seeing an idea manifest in paper. We love the synergy of working together! One of us will have an idea and the other what will say "what if we do this?" and we get so excited as it takes off! Then as we work on it, we both just add things and cut things and change things... then voila! We often surprise ourselves with designs that neither of us could have come up with on our own. It's a great feeling.
4. Are you a full time crafter or do you have a "day job?"
We both teach 8th grade math! The summer has been awesome because we can work on invite me! full time. It will be hard to go back to work in September! But we love what we do, and we make time for invite me! ever second we're not teaching class. Even on our lunch, we'll go over designs, or list items, or even cut paper!
5. If someone were to buy you a birthday gift on Etsy, what 3 words would they use in their search?
Search for "coffee," "yoga," or "paper," and you're bound to find birthday presents for both of us! If we could just fill our days with coffee, yoga, and paper... we'd be happy for life!
6. How do you create your designs?
We design a lot of things together. We'll see a chair or a pillow or a window display at Crate & Barrel and just think "How can I take that and turn it into an invitation?" And then bounce ideas off of each other. We make sure we always have a notebook and a pen, so when we're getting coffee or out shopping, we can just make a quick sketch! A lot of our designs happen from mistakes, too. We both had a picture in our mind, once, of a great Save the Date... but when we tried to make it, it turned out hideous! Then Monique cut off the bottom and top... and the resulting square was adorable! Then Emily stuck a colored layer on the back and it got even cuter! Monique added a ribbon loop... and bam: a cute, modern, Save the Date that neither of us pictured, but both of us created. We do have our own ideas, too. Contrary to popular belief, there are moments where we are apart and spend time in our own homes with our own spouses. But we always come to each other the next day with "I had this idea!" and we can help each other turn those ideas into great invitations.
7. What's in your Soundtrack to Sewing?
Ooo. We're so busy talking we don't actually listen to music while we create! Don't get us wrong, we love music! Our laughter and chatting would just drown it out if it was on while we worked. Monique loves 80s music and Emily loves any random thing she can sing off key to or dance to. So throw in a mixed tape from high school, add in some Black Eyed Peas and Bootylicious, and we'll be happy.
8. Favorite spots for inspiration?
Well we get our best ideas at the gym or at Starbucks. Because that's when we can talk without interruption! We love hanging out at paper stores and imagining what we can turn those blank sheets into. And we love weddings! It's just great to see a couple's style and items and colors that represent who they are. That's the most inspiring thing when designing an invitation for someone. We don't like to draw inspiration from other cards... that's cheating. But we love seeing a cute dish or a gorgeous outfit and recreating the colors and textures in paper.
9. Who inspires you?
We inspire each other! Is that fair to say? But we really do bring out the best in each other.
10. If you had to choose one item in your shop as a signature piece, what would it be and why?
Well that's so hard to pick one piece! Our orange flower invitation is really unique, so it stands out as something we're really proud of. But a SIGNATURE... maybe the polka dot cards! They're so fun and so versatile. Whenever we make a set of invitations for a couple, we also make a set of polka dot cards in their wedding colors. And the bold, modern design is very "us." We actually designed them for Monique to use as her thank you cards, and they just took off! It's hard to pick one signature piece, though, because one of the things that we love about our work is that we can customize everything for each customer. We're all about finding out who you are, learning about your style, then making it appear on paper for you!

Thanks to Emily and Monique over at invite me! for taking the time to answer my questions with such great detail! If you have a wedding, bachelorette party, baby shower, or just want some cute stationary, head on over to invite me!

Lastly, I've been included in a BNR Treasury curated by Sooner Designer, another shop on the Sensational Shops page. Head on over and check out all the wonderful products offered by the shops who frequent the Ignored Etsy Forum. Like me, these shops always welcome a little love!

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