Studio tour: Weddings by Socialites

Name: Kelly McWilliams
Location: Cape Coral, Florida (South West Florida Gulf Coast)
Company: Kelly McWilliams’ Weddings by Socialites

What do you do? Wedding Planning & Design (Primarily Destination)

What is your aesthetic? Polished, pretty and light

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? I chose this studio space because it had everything I needed to feed my creative mind.  It’s full of light and the waterfront setting just screams destination wedding.  When I designed the studio interior I brought in pieces that were eclectic in the most subtle manner.  Meaning that there isn’t anything “matchy matchy”, but it does all flow.  Many of the decor pieces are from the weddings we’ve done in the last few years, so they’re good memories as well.  I adore fresh flowers and plants, but I do not have a green thumb.  So, yeah, I have to make weekly stops at the landscaping store for not dead plants. I still can’t believe the fern in here is still green after nearly 3 weeks.  One thing I have to point out is that I do have a least favorite part of the studio.  I’d feel like I was lying if I pretended it didn’t exist.  Behind my desk is the “storage and assembly area” It’s jam packed with everything we use to physically create things.  I just don’t like that there’s so much “stuff”.  But the truth is, we use all that stuff and it has to be within reach.  I do love that its behind my desk so that I only have to look at it when its time to cut, tie, and glue or to grab a beer from the fridge for a groom who is over talking about linens and floor plans.

Favorite part of your studio? I can’t pick a single favorite. I love the view of the palm trees in the breeze from my desk for when I’m doing logistical work.  I love meeting with clients in the sitting area because it feels so comfortable; very natural for just getting to know one another.  Finally, I adore my photo art gallery.  Seven of our favorite photographers have gorgeous large images of our clients on display right now.  Oh one more thing, I love how much open space we have.  It’s actually big enough for a cocktail party for 45 in here.  Our clients love my addiction to books and magazines, so the library is their favorite part.  I’m pretty sure I have Barnes & Noble beat with my collection.

Where do you go for inspiration? Three places, I have a favorite shop that I find the most wonderful decor pieces in.  Many times I’ll design an entire wedding around one piece.  I stop in probably twice a week just to look.  Second, I read.  I read both wedding, entertaining/cooking and design (books, blogs and magazines).  I never copy, but for certain the images make my gears turn.  Lastly, I go out to dinner and to parties as often as I can.  I find the more that I am exposed to entertaining, the more I have a mind to push the envelope.  So when I have the opportunity, I love to get “fancy” and celebrate anything.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? My bedside notebook and my iphone. They keep my creative thoughts and logistics available to me.

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? This studio is a dream come true.  I can’t imagine an upgrade is possible.  Although, I’m also a gadget girl and I’m dying for an ipad and a touchscreen monitor.

Anything else we should know? My motto is Work hard, smile alot and work very hard.  I think everyone should try it.  It works, promise.  My business is boutique.  As much as I would love to design 30 weddings a year, I just can’t.  For me it is so much more important to get the 15-20 that I do take, to be the most outstanding celebrations possible.  For me, its just as much about the experience (For the bride & groom and their guests) as it is about the aesthetic.  That means spending more time on each one and having relationships with my clients.  As much as I love creating events, I also love educating about them.  So I love speaking at events to industry professionals and hosting events for brides.

[images from Impressions Photography]

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Studio tour: Papél New York

Name: Raegan Hirvela
Location: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Company: Papél New York

What do you do? Papél New York is a Brooklyn based modern paperie catering to the urban chic family in search of what is not easily found. We provide an intimate selection of eco-friendly social stationery, greeting cards, and customizable invitations & announcements.

What is your aesthetic? I always had a vision of the shop aesthetic having a classic concept with a modern edge.   From our store fixtures and window displays to the products we carry, I look for items and ideas that are timeless.

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? Although the music is fun, the cards on the shelves get more than just a giggle, and Francesca my daughter is constant amusement for the customers, but when it comes to collaborating with a client, it’s all business.  We have a dedicated space in the back of the shop where the bride & groom can sit down, relax and flip through our edited selection of wedding vendors.  We created this space so that it was secluded enough for client meetings, while un-obstructing the flow of the store.   It allows first time customers a sneak peak into the customized world of stationery and invitations that we offer.  We achieved this with our room divider made of reclaimed coffee tables that I picked up at thrift shops and the Salvation Army across the city.  It is simply awesome!

Favorite part of your studio? Without a doubt, my favorite part of the shop would have to be our newest addition, my 5 month old daughter Francesca.  Here at Papél, bring your daughter to work day is almost everyday for me!  She is a tough boss and sets high expectations for us. Don’t be fooled by her slight of smile or charismatic kick of the socks, she means business when at the shop.  Oh, and our paper airplane installation on the ceiling is also whimsical and eye catching!

Where do you go for inspiration? I get a lot of my inspiration from the neighborhood.  If something catches my eye, I try to track it down, or find a vendor that offers that concept I am looking for.  I find that flea markets and craft fairs are hidden gems for potential new vendors.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? That would have to be my Point of Sale system.  It is a super intuitive system and is built specifically for Mac.  So it offers a very “sexy” feel at checkout; well, as sexy as software could possibly be.  I don’t mean to geek out, but it not only functions as our POS system, but it fully integrates my inventory and sales and streamlines work flows.  It also allows me to give prospective clients an itemized quote for their invitations or announcements.  I take great care in pulling these detailed quotes together and find that my clients really appreciate that.  I believe that putting a lot of time into these customized quotes allows my clients to have a transparent and easy to understand view of what to expect from a design and price point perspective.

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? One of my biggest goals right now is to get my website up and running.  I have been working with a designer to configure my webstore with the POS system.  The idea is to make the site easy to navigate but also to highlight our highly edited selection of products and services while keeping the feel of who we are.

Anything else we should know? We are a real multi-generational shop and you will often be greeted by my Dad, my amazing daughter Francesca or even Parker, the most rugged and tough poodle you will ever meet.  After much convincing, my Dad decided to throw his gloves in from retirement and help renovate and now man the shop with me.  Do not be surprised if you see him behind the counter offering our customers dried apricots or animal crackers.  He is a real charmer!

[images from Papél New York]

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Studio tour: Jasmine Star

Name: Jasmine Star
Location: California
Company: Jasmine Star Photography

What do you do? I capture life as it happens.

What is your aesthetic? Lifestyle Photography for Fabulous People

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? I’m actually one of the few photographers in Southern California who have a studio space to meet in…and it’s something I’m incredibly grateful for!  I’m lucky enough to share studio space with Elysium Productions (www.elysiumproductions) and the synergy we’ve created is something I cherish.  Julie Hill is an amazing cinematographer, so it’s often we meet with the same clients.  The studio has been Julie’s for a few years, but she graciously invited me to share it about two years ago.  The studio style is straight-forward and simple, which is the same approach we take with our art.

Favorite part of your studio? And here’s where I sound like a geek….I really love the projector and large screen.  There’s something powerful about displaying images in a large format and it creates the perfect ambiance.  The lounge is a clean room with images mounted to the wall and albums to look through, but the adjacent meeting room has a large sofa and plush chairs, so enjoying the screen has an movie-like appeal.

Where do you go for inspiration? I’m heavily inspired by fashion and editorial work, so you’ll find stacks of magazines around the studio.  Some of my favorites are Vanity Fair, Russh, Vogue, Blender, and V.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? Is the Internet considered a tool?  If so, I definitely couldn’t live without it…I mean, I how could I survive without reading Brooklyn Bride?!  😉

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? I’ve discovered that if I’m content with everything I have, life has a way of upgrading itself…naturally. If I’m always in search of the next bigger, better, stronger thing, I’ll never enjoy the beauty of contentment.

Anything else we should know? I’m married to a man I just barely deserve and own a dog who melts my heart on a daily basis…and, yes, I have a hard time choosing who is my favorite. Though I’ve garnered awards for my work and was voted Top 10 Wedding Photographer by American Photo Magazine, my crowning accomplishment was making meatloaf for the first time last year. I, however, still need to work on making the meatloaf edible. I love to eat chocolate, run on the beach, and spend too much time writing on my blog. I hope to take the wedding industry by storm. Or learn how to make meatloaf. Whichever comes first.

[images from Jasmine Star]

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Studio tour: Emily Thompson Flowers

Name: Emily Thompson
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Company: Emily Thompson Flowers
What do you do? Floral and event design.
What is your aesthetic? Wild, extravagant.
How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? It displays my sculptural work as well as all kinds of flowers and plants. It is chock full of my grandmother’s peculiar collections as well as my own. It was originally a raw, industrial space, but now reflects all my conflicting yet harmonious interests.
Favorite part of your studio? The work tables, usually a big mess.
Where do you go for inspiration? My library, which includes a huge image file that I hauled to the studio by the armload, when the Brooklyn Library gave theirs away. They wouldn’t let any one person take more than she could carry, so I nearly collapsed getting down those steps with a stack taller than me .
What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? I have a new flower-clipper holster that I love.
Is there anything you’d upgrade to? I’d love a real glass storefront, or at least a glass door. We have a big red metal door that we keep open until we start to freeze or swelter, depending on the season.

[images from Levi Stolove]

Levi Stolove a member of Brooklyn Bride’s preferred vendor listings

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Studio tour: And Kathleen

Name: Kathleen Shannon
Location: Oklahoma City, home office
Company: And Kathleen

What do you do? I work as a graphic designer and art director. I specialize in small business branding and identity development (logo, business card, signage and blog design) as well as print goods such as custom wedding invitations and stationery.

What is your aesthetic? I think I’ve got this indie-modern meets vintage-apothecary kind of vibe going on. I love working in limited 2-color palettes and contrasting vintage woodcut art with clean and modern typography. I love bringing hand-drawn elements into my work as well. Everything is highly-customized to my client but each piece has a huge part of me in it too.

How does your studio style convey your professional aesthetic? I put my heart and personal style into every single project I work on – and the fact that my studio is in my home reflects that. My space is an eclectic mix of vintage mid-century modern furniture paired with a modern color palette and natural textiles such as a cowhide rug and wood floors. I’ve worked hard to create a beautiful environment that is full of character and conducive to creating beautiful work in.

Favorite part of your studio? I love my chalkboard wall. I was afraid it wouldn’t get much use but my friends are always goofing around on it and drawing silly pictures that keep me smiling daily.

Where do you go for inspiration? I find inspiration from interior and fashion design blogs. A few of my favorites are The Selby, UnoCosa’s Scrapbook, The Jealous Curator, and Desire to Inspire. I also get loads of inspiration from movies – anything Wes Anderson or Sofia Coppola makes my heart go pitter-patter. I also just took a huge trip to Nepal where I hiked up to Mt. Everest Base Camp – the whole trek was beyond inspiring and I came home ready to hit the ground running with my design work.

What tool do you use in your business that you can’t live without? My Pantone and paper swatch books. Oh and Sharpies.

Is there anything you’d upgrade to? I just purchased a Gocco press and would love to get into hand making more print goods for my clients. I would love to create a handmade stationery line.

Anything else we should know? My coworker is named Mister Scooty Boots. He mostly stares at birds out the window or hangs out in my lap but I keep him on the payroll anyways.

[images from And Kathleen]

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