STUDIO TOUR: PAPERKNOTS
This afternoon we step inside the stylish and pretty workspace Lisa Butler, owner and designer of luxury British stationery design studio Paperknots. Lisa’s wedding stationery designs have often graced the pages of B.LOVED and she even designed my gorgeous new logo for Louise Beukes Styling earlier this year, as well as being the design partner for Flourish & Prosper. Lisa loves creating pretty, with a weakness for beautiful packaging and obsession with all things paper, her designs are more than just an invite, card or logo, but an experience in themselves. Her studio is predictibly pretty, with beautifully organised shelves of books, trinkets, ribbons and of course her own stationery designs! Read on for an interview with the lovely Lisa…
Name: Lisa Butler
Current Title + Company: Creative Director at Paperknots
Tell us a little about your business Based in London, the studio was established in 2012, offering a wide range of design-based services – from providing brand identities and a full graphic design service for businesses, to designing beautiful and unique wedding stationery and a developing collection of greetings cards.
How did you get started in the industry + what prompted you to get started? I’ve loved everything to do with paper and design for as long as I can remember. As a child all my pocket money used to be spent in Partners (as it was called at the time) on an endless array of pencils, erasers, notebooks, which I’d then put straight to use as soon as I got home. As I grew older my obsession developed into a weakness for beautiful packaging design – I’m such a sucker for buying things simply for how they are presented! I took my degree in Packaging design and my subsequent first job was as a Packaging Designer. For me, receiving a charmingly presented wedding invitation should be like receiving a beautiful package. I love the fact that it gives the first insights and detail into someone’s big day.
What do you think has made your business successful? I believe my success comes from having such a varied design background and understanding that wedding stationery is so much more than just inputting details and adding a few pretty pictures. With my graphic design background and experience of working to design briefs for a broad range of clients, I’m able to offer an intimate and unique design service that means that every order can truly represent the couple and their day. I’m also fully aware that not everyone has the budget to have the luxury of bespoke design and so therefore offer a collection of ‘house designs’ created to suit a wide range of wedding styles.
Where do you work + how do you make sure your space stays inspiring? My studio is in my home, which means I’m never far away from it! This makes it incredibly important to remain an inspiring and creative space. Being a stationer means that I have a lot of things, endless drawers and boxes of samples, envelopes, cards, ribbons and so on – it can get cluttered very easily! As a result, one of my first investments was in lots of big white drawers and storage units to keep everything organised (and calm!). As much as I love a clean space to work in, I’m definitely more inspired if I’m surrounded in pretty things. I have a lovely selection of props I’ve used across the years in various shoots – from neon jars to stylish mugs and pots full of gorgeous stationery. I love a glittery twine or a herringbone ribbon, so have spools of these displayed on the shelves. I have many beautiful pieces of design I’ve collected over the years from stunning business cards to inspirational quotes and even things such as a unique floor pattern I have torn from magazines and these hang from my inspiration ‘line’ tucked under my shelves.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting their own business, and what advice would you give for avoiding it? Saying yes to every job that comes your way – as a small business it’s very easy to want to take it all on but it’s so important to learn to say no! In the first year of Paperknots I strived for those new client emails landing in my inbox but over time I’ve learnt that it’s more about the value of those new enquiries and not the quantity.
When you do decline a job, look at how you can be as helpful as possible to the person enquiring – they’ve chosen you to work with and it would be most disappointing to them and helpful to no-one to simply just reply with a ‘no, sorry’ type email. Similarly, I’m always more than happy to pass work on to another stationer/supplier if I think they are better suited to the job (or if I don’t have the time to do the client justice). I’ve met some fabulous contacts and friends via various groups and sharing work can have a wonderful impact on everyone.
How would you describe your style? What attracts people to your brand + how important is this to the success of your business? Style and brand is incredibly important to me – branding makes up a huge part of my design background so this was always going to be a fundamental aspect of my business from day one. Offering company branding to other businesses as part of my graphic design service would not work at all if I didn’t have clarity and consistency with my own branding.
I would describe my brand as contemporary, stylish and feminine. Because I work with a whole range of clients from cocktail bars to PR agencies to wedding couples and planners, I needed to establish a brand that would appeal to all without losing impact. I achieve this through clean lines and geometric shapes yet combine these soft script fonts and cute bows. My colour palette contains creamy shades of pastel but these sit alongside bold and vibrant colour – through complementing contrasts, clever design intertwining and brand consistency across everything I do, I am creating a distinctive and recognisable image for my company.
What trend predictions do you have for 2015? Judging by the stunning wedding dresses I saw coming out of New York fashion week last month, I think it could be an exciting year for trends. Dress designers seem to be embracing non-traditional colours such as aquamarines, greys and mints and I would love it if these soft muted hues followed through into the stationery world. I also spotted lots of detailed embellishments and appliqués, so I’m thinking elegant and romantic stationery styles, emphasised with luxe printing techniques such as foils and embossing would be perfect to reflect this.
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months? Well just last month I took on my very first assistant, Claire, to help out with invitation orders so that I can free up some of my time, to get back behind the computer designing new things for 2015. My next step will be to look for external office space where I can look to grow the team further, although this may be a little further ahead then 12 months. With the extra time I get I want to increase the wedding house collections. I attended my first greetings cards industry seminar (The Ladder Club) earlier this month and am feeling incredibly inspired and much more knowledgeable on the subject and cannot wait to put that to use… fingers crossed I’ll even get to do my first trade show in the Autumn.
Tell us 5 things we don’t know about you…:
- I’m travel obsessed (I just returned from Brazil a couple of days ago)
- I love to cook and bake (although I never stick to a recipe)
- I’m extremely clumsy but somehow have never broken a bone *touches wood* but generally have at least 3 bruises at any one time
- I’ve recently learnt to ski (so the “never broke a bone” thing may not be true for much longer…!)
- I’m incredibly grumpy when I haven’t eaten