I am well aware that I can't do what I do without the help of so many creative partners. From planners to print shops to my #BYDAMI team who take care of design, social media, and so much more! in all honesty, we have experienced real growth in the last couple of years because we are blessed with the best. So about 4 years ago I decided to begin a culture of sending thank you gifts at the end of the year. when people invest in you or support you, that is the least that you can do (Now might be a good time to share that my love language is gifting. But I actually don't care too much for generic store bought gifts. I LOVE intentional gifts like handwritten cards, photobooks, and all things personalized lol)
Since I don't get the opportunity to design much for myself, I made a decision to use the year end gifting as an opportunity to create new products (last year we created fans and a fun 3d-ish box, see HERE ) that will be added to our offerings. that way we kill many birds with one stone.
So for our 2017 partners we created a box theme, Write the Vision, Make it plain. I chose this theme because it is quite personal to me. At any given time I have at least 4 journals at once. I write down everything - goals, prayers, schedules, to do, every single thing lol - because I feel like writing things down is the first step to making it happen. It is out of my head and now an actual "tangible thing."
It was a no brainer to do a journal. We also included a bookmark, a game board and chocolate treats. The journals are currently listed in our online gift shoppe if you are interested in getting one!
The main box is an all black acrylic box with green foil text stamped on it. The interior of the box features velvet interior and a hidden base compartment - which is most definitely my favorite part. below are several images of our 2017 gifting and you can check out an unboxing video here.
I am excited to announce that with the latest box we designed our shoppe is officially open. The feedback our journals have received has been unreal so we have them ready to order right now! Simply hit shop in the menu bar. We will be updating the gift shoppe all year long so be sure to visit as often as you like :)
While we were in Lagos last year we got a chance to be part of my dear friend, Toun's docu series. She simply wanted to document our regular day with no added fluff and it was simply beautiful. These are truly some of favourite images because it shows what this season is largely made up of for us - an overdose of family time that is intentionally focused on our toddlers. It is messy, busy, loud, overwhelming and beautiful. Thank you Toun. You are incredibly talented :)
Toun is also a Lagos based children's photographer so be sure to hire her to capture your kiddos next celebration.
I am such a HUGE fan of Toun! See some of our pics below.
In the past it was almost a taboo to choose black as a wedding color. It just didn't seem right, which is why it is so surprising how much of a wedding trend black has become in recent times. We have had the privilege of creating lots of black suites in 2017 and the trend is still alive and strong in 2018. Take a look at some of our favorite Black suites!
Black and silver foil wedding invitation
black and silver foil baroque invitation Suite
ATINUDA Two Black Boxed Invite, with Acrylic; Oak Leaf Collection
Black and Gold Circular Lasercut Invite with Mirror Acrylic Flowers
Wow, where do I start with this? Simply saying thank you does not seem enough. I feel like it does not fully express the debt of my gratitude. Thank you so much to everyone that was a part of this dream come true for me.
Many years ago, about 8 to be exact I started a blog that I loved so much, some of you might remember daminiyi.com. Needless to say I have missed it and sometimes wish I continued. I always have so much to say, lol. I have decided to share a bit more of this next season of expansion from a more personal perspective. I have added "Dami's Thoughts" to my current platform which will serve as my blog. With that said, welcome to "Dami's Thoughts" where I share all of my experiences from the perspective of an entrepreneur, mom, wife etc, latest work, and much more. I am going to be personal but not too personal. It will be authentic and true and if you want to hear about the real life challenges and success of forging your own path in business while handling life, here is the place to be. I will also be sharing on all things By Dami Studios as well. I hope you come back to visit to check out our weekly updates.
Last year I shared in a TM podcast that I had a goal so big I could not actually put into words. It had been on my mind but I had no idea how the job would be executed. But faith without works is dead. I am a christian. I serve a big God that does not deny his children any good thing, I am confident in that and I am a living testimony of that. The first thing I did was WRITE it down. I wrote it down and put it on my wall. There is power in writing down your vision and goals. And I have to do it with a pen on paper not in my note app, on the computer etc.
i had no idea where and how it would happen. I know I have a strong client base and connection to Lagos and my goal has always been to establish something back home. Long story short, we secured the location early this year and I just said I would move my family from NY for a couple of months at the end of the year to sort out the opening. And that was it, I actually kind of forgot about it for most of the year. Maybe I did not forget about it lol but it wasn't at the top of my mind.
LESSON ONE: Write the Vision. and then MOVE.
If you are waiting for a convenient time, it will never come. I started reaching out to realtors in Lagos and at the same time I thought I would need investors. Long story short, the Wedding Mall happened and we were able to fund the entire project without any help.
LESSON TWO: Your confirmation is yours, you don't need validation from anyone.
Don't allow anyone else feed you with their doubt. How can you fully expect someone else to fully understand a vision or mission that has been tailor made and aligned for your life. Except an individual has walked in your exact shoes and your destinies are entwined, don't expect them to fully understand. This does not mean you don't seek "wise" counsel..
LESSON THREE: Get ready to feel like throwing in the towel. Over and over and over and over and over again :)
The real challenge is not giving up when the going gets rough. This was personally my hardest (yet best, so strange :/) year in business. It felt like I was going crazy and simply jumping from frying pan to fire on a weekly basis. Everything that I considered my worst nightmare happened this year. For the first time in my career, I had to refund a client $$$$$, Customs delay on materials, all sorts of unimaginable pressmen errors (when My team makes any error guess what? it is my error. someone else's error is MY error - the post man, pressmen, staff, etc.) And all of this happened when I felt like I was top on of things and had error proof plans in place.
And then there was this other side of my character being attacked in several settings...now if you really know we, you know I am serious about that area of my life. Listen good here, all those things were simply DISTRACTIONS!
LESSON FOUR: Guard your ideas, let distractions serve as fuel to get you closer to your dreams.
With all that said, I am so grateful for those challenges. They also have a role to play and their role is most important. They build resilience, equip you with owning up and problem solving skills. You get to see a new side of you and others. And you can't enter your new season without going through a test - Before you become a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc you have to take boards that aren't easy, labour and delivery before a child, etc. Trials come before transition and elevation to prepare you for what is to come, at least that is my experience. During this season. I learned so much and made so many changes in those short months. I learned to discern better with my clients. Not every client is your client. You don't need to work with every planner - you just might not be compatible. i learned to work smarter, create more checks and balances, create timelines that will give even more time to edit and manage emergencies. most of all, I learned to rely on God. When you truly end up in yucky uncomfortable places, you rely on God whose wisdom has truly brought me through and will continue to in the coming years.
Finally, don't interfere with your fire. Let it do it's job. My prayer during this season was to see my challenges through God's eyes. My prayer is that we ask God to help us see our obstacles and challenges through him...and then we will result to thanksgiving.
LESSON 4: Don't Give up!
Finally, I would like to talk a bit about resilience. As an individual, I am strong willed and I have serious tunnel vision. I write the vision and make it plain. I protect my ideas by padding them up with prayer, working tirelessly to achieve them and let the results do the talking. it is never a straight road but you have to be determined. choose to always take the next step. You don't have to sprint or run. You don't even have to be able to see or know what is next. Simply take the next step. :) And to God be the Glory on the 11th month of 2017, By Dami Studios Lagos happened. All because I took one step at a time.
Before I get into the actual launch, I just want to take time to celebrate and thank Adeola of Made Beautiful Events, she held me accountable and helped me see this showroom to fruition. Adeola knows me and understands my vision to a T. Thanks for your excellence...that sums you up nicely. I am so excited to share more about adeola and the amazingness she has been up to. Especially the wonders and miracle she is performing with our Lagos team to ensure excellence in service.
And then to the launch :). We are housed at the Wedding Mall Lagos (1b Bashorun Okusanya) in Lekki phase one. It was so nice to see so many of our friends. I would like to send a special thank you to Made Beautiful events who planned and ensured a smooth and amazing launch. Adela's flowers, our new floral crush in Lagos. She killed our greenery arch and the smell of eucalyptus still welcomes you many weeks later! The cakes were a showstopper. Thanks Livvy's Twist not only for your talent but for your awesome customer service. I did not get a chance to taste one mac from Sokolad. It was devoured before I could even blink. That is because she has the best macs in Lagos. And I honestly mean that. Sara O, what an absolute blessing..THANK YOU! I had an emergency crisis. I reached out to her and she made it happen in a day's notice and she BLESSED us and would not accept payment. Our photographers, Shina and Femi; True rockstars, and super grateful for our dear friend Segun who recommended them. To the Wedding Mall/Wedding Guru team thanks for all the yummy eats and you did an amazing job with the launch of the entire mall. Yes, the wedding mall is now in Lagos!!
So what's next? We are excited to welcome guests to check out our work and visit when you can. I will be splitting my time between my NY studio and the Lagos Showroom. When I moved away from Lagos almost 20 years ago I always said I would come back and work in education (did you know I have a masters in education leadership and taught for 5 years before retiring). And while we have been on ground the last two months we have been working on just that. I always thought I'd be an actual teacher in Lagos but there is a greater calling.
As we prepare for 2018 in Lagos I am excited to walk into my purpose. Have you heard the term, your passion will help drive your purpose? that is what this year will be about for us. My calling in life has always been to teach, it is where I feel the most at home and the most valuable. By Dami Studios Lagos, was beyond opening up a GORGEOUS studio, it is about being in Lagos with rolled up sleeves and changing the lives of our kids and educational system one child at a time. We've partnered with 2 organizations doing real hard and good work and we are joining our hands to make Nigeria a better place. More on this to come.
Dear Lagos, We are glad to be here and you WILL FEEL OUR presence. Get Ready! Thank you for all the congratulatory messages. I am truly humbled.
I dedicate the blog post to my daddy. Who never wavered when i changed from being a lawyer to a doctor and ultimately a teacher (my dream job). Whom I know was concerned on how I would contribute to my family when I decided to do this paper thing full time and who was beaming with pride at our Lagos launch and now gets to convince people when he overhears them talking about parchment by dami that "Dami" is indeed his daughter!(true story) Oh Daddy, the best is yet to come!
Have a blessed 2018!
2016 was an awesome year for parchment by dami! We got to be part of so many awesome projects, collaborated with so many industry giants and so much more! I would like to coin the year as the year of menus! simply because our brides did not come to play!
Menus now serve as part of your tablescape decor and can be so incredibly elaborate. We moved from simple cards to more intricate designs with lots of fun and luxury printing methods. i look forward to doing a lot more exciting menus in 2017!
in 2016, we launched our signature #lettersbydami engagement letters. They are traditional engagement letters used during traditional yoruba engagement ceremonies. the marriage proposal letter is used by the groom's family to request the hand of the bride in marriage. While the marriage acceptance letter is presented to the groom's family from the bride's family in acceptance of their request. here are some of the letters we were lucky to create for our clients this year.
Finally, in 2016 we launched our sister company, clutched by dami. Which is all about custom crystal clutches. It was birthed out my love for all things personalized and keepsakes. these clutches are completely customizable and has truly been the highlight of my year!
We are excited to introduce something especially for brides under clutched by dami in the coming year! I love this image of a true new orleans couple and their personalized street car clutch. stay tuned ;)
thanks so much for all the love and support in 2016, we are looking forward to an excellent 2017!
In celebration of year 5, here are 5 business lessons i have learned in the last couple of years.
1. HAVE A CONTRACT - and do not a thing until it is signed. This is straight forward and needs no further explanation :).
2. SET BOUNDARIES - I have learned this is a business! And as much as it requires genuine personal relationships it is still important to clock out and clock in. It is not OK for business to consume every part of your life. There should be family time, off time, personal time, and any other time you want to create. It can be hard to turn your brain off when you own your own business. But what happens when you burn out? Everything suffers, and that is not worth it.
3. OUTSOURCE - I wrote in my previous blog post about buying a printer and doing every single thing at home. It is not sustainable. I believe in doing what I do best and hiring others to do what they do best. It results in less stress and more happy :)
4. OWN UP AND APOLOGIZE - This is a handmade business. Things happen. Orders get lost, errors get overlooked, clients are under deadlines and are stressed and so many other crazy things happen. Always be solution-minded and always choose the high road. in the words of Michelle Obama, "even if they go low, ALWAYS go high."
5. DON'T HATE - I could have said this in a nicer way, but this is the bottom line. comparison is the thief of joy. Unfortunately, it is human to compare and what was meant as admiration can quickly turn to comparison. I am speaking from experience. Hating on another person's blessings only makes you look awful, petty, spiteful and does not dull their shine. I have learned to focus on my work and appreciate the work of others and then get back to mine. Because there is an unhealthy spiral that takes place when you take your eyes off your work and start to dissect the favor and blessings and hard work of others.
Of course I have way more but these stand out at the moment. Looking forward to the lessons that awaits in the next five years.
It is so hard to believe that it has been 5 years (on the 23rd of this month) since I officially decided on this journey. I remember launching this 5 years ago on my 25th birthday and not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I have zero design training but I had confidence and I was naive and optimistic, which quite frankly can be a good mix of qualities when starting out.
I share a lot about how a failed promise turned into me making my own invitations. A couple of inquiries later, I decided to try my hands at this invitation thing. I was printing at home with a bootleg printer and decided I needed to buy a "real" printer. I simply asked my husband to head to best buy to pick up a fancy printer. No research lol. $300 later and hand cutting every single invitation piece, I knew I needed major help.
So get this. I emailed every single invitation designer I could find in the envelopments NYC directory and asked them for print shop recommendations. If I knew what I know now, I would have never done that. Again, being naive helps. It keeps you optimistic and bold. I know most people laughed at me like, what a joke, why in the world would she ask for our "invaluable resource" but guess what, one person responded. No, she did not share her printer, but she did share a resource that changed the trajectory of my business. she shared a stationery forum that had a ton of resources, where you could ask questions and have fellow stationers help you out with everything from font identification to dealing with a difficult client.
Due to that response, I make sure I am always available to people who are interested in this business. Someone took a chance with me and the best thing to do is pay it forward. When I get emails about getting into this business, I make sure to pause and respond (sometimes weeks later :() but I make sure to respond because I am humbled to be used as a vessel in someone else's success story.
As I approach year 5, I have come A LONG WAY from where I started and I HAVE A LONG NEVER ENDING journey of growth and innovation ahead of me. I am in awe of my growth and direction. (I personally have conditioned myself to keep pounding. But I am deliberately stopping this month to take in this crazy amazing journey. Yes, it is ok to pat yourself on the back. It is ok to acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your milestones and successes. which is exactly what i plan to do. all month long baby!!!)
Year 1, I blindly started this journey
Year 2, I tried to figure out what the heck I got myself into but kept at it
Year 3, I got pregnant, Quit my Job and didn't work much due to maternity leave
Year 4, I came back to work with a new focus - create my own lane
Year 5 - Bigger Opportunities and major growing pains
Year 6 - Scares me. But if your plans don't scare you then they are not big enough!
To those of you that have cheered me on this journey, I am forever grateful. To planners and industry professionals that support and refer my work to their clients, thank you. To friends who have chosen to support my craft, thank you.
To the awesome "first clients" who chose to support me despite not knowing what the heck I was talking about, I thank you. If you did not give me a chance, no one else would have.
Tunu - Thanks for being my first wedding client. I am sorry I said there is no way to print white on black. I know better now lol
Eniola Ayoola - Thanks for pushing me to do your invites.
Charlene - Thanks for not only supporting me but for overpaying. #MyWife
Tinnell - Thanks for not killing me when I forgot to add the date on your invite. I think I cried for 7 days straight.
Tiffany Willie - For allowing me do your grad school graduation invites. I was so excited to work with that vibrant red.
Melanie Sauls - For allowing me do your wedding invitations. Still one of my favs. The petal fold and baroque pattern is so beautiful. I had nightmares about your bellyband popping after I had to replace a couple.
Sarita Dillard - For allowing me do your BM cards. I wanted soo bad to make something special for you and you pushed me by rejecting my initial idea.
There are so so many people that supported me right at the beginning and I am grateful to every single client.
I leave you with this, please shoot for your dreams. With hard work and dedication, you WILL get good at it.
ps. While writing the names and mishaps, my thoughts kept circling back to my husband. He has been my encourager, comforter, every single thing. He has talked me through every high and low. I have never done a late night supply run because of him. I could go on forever but I really don't think I would be here without him. Thanks NIYI for being my constant.
"Dami, I have no idea what that means."
is what i hear often when I get so excited about a design i am working on with a client. I go on and on and on using all my fancy stationery verbiage lol. and then i have to go back and explain what all the terms mean. thankfully, i have learned to speak in lay man terms when talking about invitations but i thought it would be nice to start my very first blog with a complete guide to stationery terms. OK, maybe it isn't all the way complete. But it does cover most of the popular terms. let's get right to it.
Digital printing: A printing technique that uses tiny dots to form text and images. it yields similar results to what you might achieve from your at-home printer (but with a bit higher quality). You're limited to thinner less specialty papers.
Offset printing: Also known as "flat" printing. A process that involves a stamp-like instrument that prints the words and images at once -- the ink is premixed, unlike with digital printing. You can use highly textured paper to add dimension to the otherwise flat appearance of the text.
Die: An etched metal plate used to create engraved or embossed images and type.
Die-cutting is the process of cutting various paper shapes (like scalloped edges or patterns) and is typically used with envelopes (think all the trending fancy envelope flaps). The process uses a die that looks like a giant hole puncher, only with more precise cutting.
Embossing: A printing process that uses dies to raise letters and images on the paper's surface. The paper is impressed with etched designs and words to produce beautifully subtle details. an emboss can also be blind. Which means without the addition of ink or foil. letters and images appear raised but colorless.
Foil stamping: A technique in which a copper plate is used to push and color gold, silver or even colored metallic and non mettalic foils into the paper to make an impression. In the past, gold and silver foil were so dominant, but now you can pretty much foil in any color. This is easily our go to 2016 technique. This and laser cutting of course :)
gold foil stamped cards by parchment by dami
Engraving: A process in which a plate is etched with your invitation wording and is then pressed into the paper, leaving only the letters slightly raised. An indentation or "bruise" forms on the back of the paper from the pressure. The engraving plate is an etched steel or copper die used to create engraved type or images.
Thermography: A heat-based process that fuses ink and resinous powder to create raised lettering. The subtle difference between thermography and engraving is that with thermography, the text is slightly shiny and the back of the invitation remains smooth (engraving leaves an impression).
Laser cutting: A process that uses a laser to cut out words and design details on invitations. This is by far a Parchment by Dami favorite. Mainly because the possibilities are endless. Laser-cutting, although is not a new technique, has become a very hot trend in wedding stationery. i also love that you can laser cut pretty much any material like wood, paper, acrylic, and much more.
Laser cut table numbers and Menus, gold mirror acrylic invitation, invitation pocket and envelope flap.
Letterpress: A printing technique in which a metal plate is carved to leave behind only the lettering and images you want printed (the wording and design are raised on the plate) -- the letters are then inked. The design is transferred by placing paper against the plate and manually applying pressure, sinking the images and letters into the paper (rather than raising them like with engraving).this is a technique that we love and wish we do more of. A little fun fact, the very first invitation i made was letterpress. and it happens to be my own wedding invites from six years ago.
Screen printing: A process that involves a mesh stencil (the "screen") being pressed against material -- fabric, wood, acrylic, paper, etc. Ink is then pressed through the porous mesh onto the material with a roller.
gold and rose gold screen print on acrylic and fabric by pd
Typeface Terms and Techniques
Alignment: Used to describe the position of your invitation text in relation to the margins. Traditionally, the text is centered on the card; modern invitations often play around with the positioning of the text, sometimes aligning it all to one side.
Calligraphy: Artistic, stylized handwriting. Traditionally, a calligrapher would use ink and a quill or steel nib pen. Calligraphy can be used on invitations, envelopes, place cards and so on.
Flourishes: The ornate calligraphic details and scrollwork attached to calligraphy letters that frequent ultra-formal invitations.
Hands: The various (calligraphic) script and lettering styles a talented calligrapher can create.
we love seeing our invitations paired with gorgeous calligraphy. Work by eo letters and LH calligraphy (middle)
digital calligraphy: a font that mimics the traditional nib pen hand calligraphy style.
Font or typeface: The style and appearance of a letter or character.
Initial cap: A term for the exaggerated, oversize first letter of a word you'll sometimes see used in lavish calligraphy or as a decorative typeface. Also known as a "drop cap."
Point size: Unit of measure indicating the size of an individual letter or character.
Typography: Refers to the art of arranging typefaces, point size and line length into a cohesive and readable language.
a selection of pd invitations highlighting typography
Backer: A piece of paper that your invitation is displayed on top of -- it often matches the color scheme of your wedding invitation. It's a way to add a design element to a simpler invite.
Beveled edge: The slanted edge of heavier stocks that shows the thickness and dimension of the invitation; oftentimes, it's edge-painted (see Design Treatment Terms).
Corrugated: Thick wrinkles, ridges and grooves that give paper a cardboard look.
Cotton fiber: A type of paper most often made from 100 percent cotton; it's arguably the most traditional option for wedding invitations.
Deckled edge: The irregular, feathered or torn-looking edge associated with handmade paper.
Linen finish: A paper type with a surface that's grainier than pure cotton stocks and resembles the look and feel of cloth linens. Another classic choice for wedding invitations.
Liner: A decorative piece of paper used to line the inside of envelopes -- can be thin like parchment (see below) or thick like construction paper.
Marbled paper: Decorative paper (you can use it for your liner) marked with swirling patterns, similar to the surface of marble. this is a hot trend right now
Matte: Paper with a non-reflective finish; depending on the thickness, it can be used for the invitation.
Parchment: Cloudy, translucent paper, generally used as a decorative element rather than for the invitation itself.
Stock: Used to describe the thickness and heaviness of paper. Formal invitations usually use a heavier stock paired with squares of delicate stock like parchment.
Vellum: Paper made from a cotton blend, with a translucent, frosted appearance and a smooth finish (feels like plastic). Vellum is sturdy enough to be printed on and can be used for the actual invitation.
Watermark: A translucent emblem in fine paper that's visible only when the paper is held up to light. A watermark denotes superb quality, signifying the exclusivity of the paper company or boutique.
Presentation and Packaging Terms
Boxed: A custom-made box created out of silk, velvet or even elegant, thick paper that holds the entire invitation suite inside for a luxe presentation.
satin, card stock and silk boxes by pd
Bifold: An invitation that's folded in half so it resembles a greeting card. It's sometimes referred to as a "folder" because you can add a pocket on the left panel for response cards and other enclosures.
Envelopes: The most traditional way of packaging invitations. Envelopes can be classic (white or off-white), or made more modern by personalizing them and infusing them with your wedding color palette. They can also be made of burlap, vellum or silk. this year, we have payed particular attention to making custom envelopes with customized flaps.
gold and emerald flap, oak leaf flap and a baroque gold flap
Gatefold: An invitation with two panels that meet in the center and open up like doors to reveal the wording. It may include folders on one or both panels as well.
Belly band: A piece of material that wraps around your invitation suite to hold it all together. It can be as simple as a ribbon or as luxe as laser-cut paper or a piece of lace.
silk ribbon, paper and lace belly band examples by pd
Trifold: Card stock that's folded into three panels, accordion style; the typical invitation wording is printed on one panel, while the others might contain information for peripheral parties and/or the travel and accommodation information.
sleeves: a pocket that holds all the pieces of an invitation suite.
blue gatsby sleeve, hibiscus sleeve and white and gold foil pocket by parchment by dami
Design Treatment Terms
Edge painting: Painting or inking the edge of thicker card stock; it's often done on an invite with a beveled edge.
Map cards: Most commonly featured on enclosure cards in invitation suites. Maps can be hand-painted and customized to call out locations where the wedding events will take place and even the couple's favorite local spots. Directions to the wedding may be printed on the same card.
Monogram: A combination of your fiance's name and your name -- it can be both of your first names, your first and last initials, just your first initials or simply your new married ones. Many couples use a custom-designed monogram as a wedding motif.
monogram used in floor decal, napkin ring and vinyl on invitation box.
Wax seal: A very traditional form of sealing your envelopes. Oftentimes a family emblem is made into a wax seal for the wedding -- many couples also create their own monogrammed seals for the occasion.
IN conclusion, most invitations use a combination of techniques. That is where the beauty lies, achieving the perfect balance that fits the client.
*all professional pics by AMY ANAIZ PHOTOGRAPHY. Some definitions obtained from theknot.com*