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.