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Studio Space

Meet A.J.: Wedding Photographer and Entrepreneur

Finally, the fourth edition of the RC&D mini series: Meet the Boss Behind the Brand! And I’m thrilled to have A.J. with us to share her passion for photography and her wisdom from years working in the wedding industry. If you’ve ever had an interest in turning your photography hobby into a business, this is a great place to start. Take it way, A.J.!
1. Please introduce yourself and your business.
Hi, I’m A.J.! Half of a husband and wife wedding photography team, mom to the cutest little girl (and dog!) on the planet, encourager to women creatives and founder of Darling Wedding Workshop! Nothing makes my heart happier than images you can feel and seeing other women achieve their dreams!
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2. Where are you physically located and where can we find you online?
I’m based out of my home office in Wake Forest, NC, and my website is www.ajdunlap.com :) We love to travel though, so you’ll find us on the road several times a year heading somewhere fun to explore!
Follow A.J. on Instagram: Instagram.com/AJDunlap
Like A.J. on Facebook: Facebook.com/AJDunlap

3. A. How important has social media been for growing your business?  Social media is what launched my business!! Thanks to some personal photos posted on Facebook years ago, people started contacting me for portraits and eventually weddings! I’ve run a 98% word of mouth business thanks to social media and happy clients :)

 

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4.  How did you get started photographing weddings?
Believe it or not, photography was never an interest to me! I studied math and science in school! But then my older siblings started having babies and I desperately wanted to freeze time. I saved up, bought a camera and started sharing their pictures on Facebook. That’s when people started contacting me to take their family portraits. Soon after I got my first wedding request, and it was during that wedding that I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life! And I haven’t looked back!
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5.  A. What was one of the challenges of being a photographer?
The biggest challenge of being a photographer has been balancing my schedule. When you work weddings your weekends are gone. It’s important to make sure I balance that work time with time off during normal working hours or else I’d have no life. Especially now that we have a daughter! Spending time with her is much more important than spending time with my computer :)

 

6. How many employees do you have? Do you outsource any aspects of your business? (i.e. accounting, legal) No employees, just me and my hubby on wedding days. But we do outsource our editing and taxes!! It has saved me so much time having someone else edit my weddings. Time that I can now spend with my daughter or on other more enjoyable aspects of my business like running my workshop!! Accounting I outsource, because that stuff is confusing, haha!

View More: http://ajdunlap.pass.us/vendorimages05162015
7.  What is one of your favorite parts about being being your own boss?
I love being my own boss, because I set my schedule! If I want to take my work on the road I can, or if I need a sick day, I take it! If my daughter needs a little more attention I can give it to her. That freedom is priceless!! The life of a work at home/stay at home mom is challenging, but fun! I have to balance short bursts of work with meal times, diaper changes, and play time! Having her at home with me, helps me break up my time just sitting at a desk, which is really nice!

8. What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?
Find someone who is doing what you want to do, and ask them to mentor you! I chose the hard road of figuring it out on my own, but let me tell you I could have saved a LOT of time and energy by asking someone more established! Hiring a mentor will be worth every penny! That and spend money on branding!!! It’s so worth it! Having a brand that reflects the personal side of you will go so much farther than just taking pretty pictures.
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9. Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I love to paint! Not art, but furniture!!!! I almost always have some sort of house project going! My husband keeps asking me when we’re going to stop spending money on the house, and I keep laughing at his silly question :)

10. Sending snail mail can be a great way to personalize a message or stand out from your competition. When do you use snail mail in your business? I’m always mailing my couples!! From welcome gifts to thank you letters and Christmas presents. I love the personal touch that snail mail gives to my brand :) Who doesn’t love a surprise in the mail?!

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11. What can you tell us about Darling Wedding Workshop?
Besides photography, my passion is helping women run successful creative businesses! Especially photographers! It’s why I started Darling Wedding Workshop. Empowering women to be artists, and do it successfully makes my heart soar!!!

 

Thank you A.J. for sharing the details of what you do and how you do it! Photos from your studio are always so stunning.

I don’t know about you, but this boss babe’s got me wondering if even I could be a successful wedding photographer! Just sign me up for a Darling Wedding Workshop and I’ll be on my way! Speaking of A.J.’s workshop, I’ll be posting some of the incredible photos from the shoot. You may even see a few pics of my lettering in there. Hint hint!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this interview in the comments. And if you’re an entrepreneur and want to share your wisdom, I’d love to hear from you, too.

 

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Join me on my favorite online places: Instagram Facebook Etsy

Turing My Art into Wearable Fashion with VIDA

Here is the reason why I am SO excited today: I am turning my art into wearable fashion with VIDA.{YAY!} Most of you know I run a calligraphy and paper goods studio out of my home in addition to running this blog. (If you’re here for the first time, welcome!) I do a lot of hand lettering for local weddings and incorporate real roses in my stationery and imagery whenever possible!

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Above is an image I took of rose petals before preserving them. Once preserved, the petals are used to make stationery and artwork that retail in stores here in the US. Pressed roses are so pretty- I just love them! But that moment right before roses are pressed, well it’s just as beautiful. {smile} I love snapping a photo of work in progress like this one to share on social media. I mean, when the process of creativity is just as striking as the finished product, why not share it?
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Then out of the blue, VIDA approached me about turning my art into wearable fashion. I was blown away because wow, what an honor! I spent this past weekend sorting through my images, pulling out the ones I thought would look incredible as clothing. And now, my first official SIGNATURE COLLECTION of Scarves and Women’s Tops has gone public: See it now
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Notice the image on this top is the the same as the scattered petals photo above. So far I have transformed 20 plus images roses, calligraphy and mixed media into scarves and tops. Sure, wedding season is in full swing and the orders for calligraphy services have been non stop. But I am so much fun designing with VIDA that I will continue to add more products over the coming weeks.
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I’m really excited to partner with VIDA for this collection. VIDA is a new kind of fashion ecommerce company that connects artists like me all over the world with producers to bring our work to life. And for every product sold, VIDA hopes to provide the gift of literacy to the makers they work with. Which of course makes collaborating with them that much better. Preorder my designs and Vida will transform them into wearable art in a responsible, sustainable way. (Tip: search for me by name, Tiffany Anne, on the site shopVIDA.com and click on my headshot)
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Thank you for your continued support of my blog, my art and my passion. I can honestly say, I would not be able to do it without the support of such awesome readers and fans! Yep. Y’all rock. {wink}

 

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I’m really proud today to share this work with you. Simply click over here to buy any one (or more!) of these scarves, and don’t forget to include coupon code Welcome15-0403 to get 15% off (that’s just $34 for the Modal scarves!). But remember, this offer only lasts until 4/10/2016, Midnight PST. PLUS customers who buy my first 10 pieces each receive a $25 VIDA gift card! How awesome is that?

Below are some of my favorite items from this collection with many, many more on the way. Enjoy! (I know I can’t wait to receive my own!)

…VISIT MY COLLECTION AT: http://www.shopvida.com/collections/voices/tiffany-anne-harris

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Behind the Scenes of a Dream Wedding Planner: Her Company. Her Story. Meet Stephanie.

So here it is, the third edition of the RC&D mini series: Meet the Boss Behind the Brand. And I’m beyond excited to have the boss behind Viva L’Event with us to share her story and her passion for event planning. Okay, the floor’s all yours!
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I am Stephanie, Owner and Creative Director of Viva L’Event a wedding planning and design company specializing in destination weddings.  I was born and raised in the Windy City of Chicago and moved to the south in North Carolina 8 years ago.
Photo Credit: f8 Photo Studios | www.f8photostudios.com
Where are you physically located and where can we find you online?
I am located in Raleigh, North Carolina a perfect central point from the beach to the mountains.
An apple a day keeps the doc away...or at least an apple place card that is! Photo by: @photographyjandj
Photo credit: J & J Photography | www.photographyjandj.com
How important has social media been for growing your business?
Social media is a great way to get your brand out to the public in a quick visual way.  A way to not only showcase your work but also your personality, travel and my companies work.  I don’t separate my personal and business Instagram or instance because I want my viewers to see not only what is going on in my business but also show my personal life too.  Now I don’t show it all but it gives a look into my life day to day.  As a destination planner and designer it’s also a way for me to showcase and look into other vendors all over the world.
Happy Fall Y'All as you say here in the south!! Love this picture by @littlewhale3 from @gncipollfoschi and Tommy's wedding! #vivalevent #fallwedding #maconphotography
Photo credit: Macon Photography | macon-photography.com
How did you get started as an event planner?
I went to school with a passion in marketing and advertising and minored in graphic arts but I always had a passion for event planning.  Back when I went to school hospitality wasn’t an option but in total I am happy that I went with a marketing communications degree.  I think this has helped me overall in running my business.  I would encourage other students to look into having a business background too.  After graduating from college in 2002 I worked at a Media agency in downtown Chicago and even though it was great I knew there was a passion still in event planning.  I started just networking and found a friend of a coworker that did corporate event planning so I reached out to her through Facebook.  We talked for months and one day she said “would you be interested in interviewing for a event planning/promotions position?”  I was worried because more promotions positions just seem like this sales position but I went for it.  Two interviews later I was now managing and planning events for the 7 states in the Midwest and part of a National travel destination planner in the US and Caribbean.  I met my significant other at a meeting in St. Louis and we ended up moving to NC together as he had received a promotion.  Long story short I left the business I was working for due to new parent company ownership and not wanting to move back so I started working  for a planner in Raleigh, NC and then was hired back to work from home by previous company.  The company I was working for was selling off and then I began my business 6 years ago.
GIVEAWAY time!!!! I hope we hit the "Target" with our new site. The time is here for our special contest following our exciting news this Monday for our new website launch. In order to participate in the contest: •••must like this post and @vivalevent and tag a friend in post below and something you love about the new site. Good Luck to all those who enter, random drawing will take place live on Periscope (follow us at @vivalevent) Monday for the $50 gift card to Target!! #vivalevent Love this picture of my team by @f8photostudios!!!
Photo Credit: f8 Photo Studios | www.f8photostudios.com
What was one of the challenges of starting your company?
When I started my business I had a partner and unfortunately after one year in business something happened that I didn’t see coming and I had to separate from the partnership.  It was like starting completely over but in the end it was for the better for many reasons.
How many employees do you have? Do you outsource any aspects of your business?
I currently have 4 employees and some with me from the beginning.  I always have wonderful partnerships with the schools and offer internships throughout the year as well. I also outsource my legal, part of my accounting currently.
I scream from the rooftops today with excitement for our special launch on Monday!!!! What is the launch for you ask...check back on Monday to see! We will also be doing some fun things with the launch too so be sure to check back in. I can't express to you how blessed I am to do what I love for my job, I never think it's a job because it's what I love! I thank my wonderful #teamhive @laurennicolefreas @kristin_holland @jamiejay1005 @jacklinw @sefloraldesigns and my amazing past and current clients and their families for trusting in Viva for their events. I couldn't do what I love without them all so THANK YOU! Thank you to @f8photostudios for this team picture (missing Lauren and Anna in this one) and beautiful @merrimonwynne. #vivalevent #vivalaunch thank you to @mrsmartinson54 for the gorge makeup.
Photo Credit: f8 Photo Studios | www.f8photostudios.com
Can you walk us through a typical day running your business?
There is no typical day to what I do.  Everyday is different which is something I love.  Some people prefer to have the same and routine this always keeps me going.  Now this doesn’t mean I don’t have a routine in what I do.  Each week there are To Do’s and items I need to do.  There are meetings I set and some weeks we have our events on the weekends too.  I also have clients that live out of state and out of state weddings so some weeks I am also traveling to see them and have meetings.  I start off my day at my computer every day and sending out updates and emails.  Everyone always asks me how do you keep your clients straight and how do I do what I do.  For me it’s easy because every couple is so different and each special day is so drastically different.  I love that!  Different couples, different families and different guests.
So excited to have @andreacalhoun and @dsurovchak wedding featured on Wedding Row @charlestonweddings online blog! One of my favorite weddings to plan and design with this super fun couple at @boonehallweddings. Amazing pics by @michaelmossphotography. Rentals by: @oohevents @snyderevents @event_haus
Photo credit: Michael Moss Photography | www.michaelmoss.com
What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?
Think of what you want your company your brand to represent.  What is your true passion, not necessarily what will just make money but to make you happy.  I truly believe if you do what you love and love what you do you will make money but that won’t be what’s important.  This is how I feel so blessed today, I don’t make millions but I LOVE what I do!
My #wcw is @misshayleypaige! Gotta love a this gorgeous crop top dress!!! Photo by: @heathergracebeerman and @jakestephenbeerman, Hair/Makeup: @makeupbyashleymooney Flowers by: @sefloraldesigns Venue: @merrimonwynne Planning & Design @vivalevent Bridesmaids dresses: @bellabridesmaids Check out the feature is the most recent @trendybridemagazine.
Photo credit: Jake + Heather | jakeandheatherphoto.com
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I love Muay Thai and I used to train in it, it’s an amazing sport!!  I also played soccer and was in gymnastics and dance growing up.  I am  also HUGE sports fan in general specifically the Steelers and the Chicago Cubs.  I know weird mix right but my significant other he is from Pittsburgh.  I became a huge fan growing up with NFL season tickets to the Chicago Bears with my family and I just got sucked into the Steelers amazing team!!!
Use the natural beauty of your venue, simplicity is so elegant and stunning in this setting. I love this photo from my clients @andreacalhoun and David Charleston wedding at @boonehallweddings by @michaelmossphotography.
Photo credit: Michael Moss Photography | www.michaelmoss.com
Sending snail mail can be a great way to personalize a message or stand out from your competition. When do you use snail mail in your business?
I send items in the mail from my welcome packages to say thank you for selecting working with me and vendor thank you notes.  I think it’s very important to still send a hand written note.  These days sometimes with everything in social media and online we lose the face to face or hand written in the mail notes.  I love receiving pieces in the mail still to this day!
Cheers to #internationalwomensday to all the hard working boss ladies!!! Photo by: @heathergracebeerman and @jakestephenbeerman. Styled and designed by: @vivalevent Published in: @trendybridemagazine
Photo credit: Jake + Heather | jakeandheatherphoto.com
We’re all loving this, Stephanie! What else can you share with us?
I have wanted to adopt a french bulldog and hopefully one day I will be able to.  If you meet me I look taller sitting down so don’t be surprised if you meet me sitting down and I stand up, at 5’0 tall!  Pretty funny right!
A little prettiness to brighten this gloomy day. Photo by: @annkamphoto
Photo credit: Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema | www.annkam.com
Thank you Stephanie and Team Hive for letting us explore your world of creating beautiful weddings! To keep up with Stephanie and her top notch team, you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter and like them on Facebook.

I’d love to hear you’re thoughts about this interview in the comments below. And if you have suggestions for future brand interviews or would like your business featured, click here for more details.

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Gandhi Says Slow Down

This quote by Gandhi makes me think of the benefits of slowing down, putting away the to-do lists and just enjoying the moment at hand. Which is exactly what we’ve had the opportunity to do a few weeks back. You see my toddler caught a nasty cold recently and he was kind enough to share it with me. We had restless, congested nights and sleepy, feverish days. We were a sight for sure. I didn’t want to slow down but I had to, so I pressed ‘pause’ on my business and focused on resting; with a heavy emphasis on cuddling together under blankets and sipping warm drinks. It was a rough week, but it was so good in a way that I won’t forget.

Sometimes we think it’s up to us to make the world go round, as if we alone hold up the walls of our homes like human pillars. But let’s just pretend the world won’t end if we allow ourselves to  stop rushing around. Just think, what would happen if you didn’t post anything on social media for days… weeks? Really, what would happen? If we give ourselves permission to forgo the things that seem so important, we may find we have more breathing room than we let ourselves believe. So let go a little, cut your obligations loose and take a deep breath… at least for the time being. Then, when you’re ready I encourage you to reevaluate which things are worth stressing over.

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Insider Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs from a Brand You Need to Know

So here it is, the second edition of the RC&D mini blog series: Meet the Boss Behind the Brand. And I’m thrilled to have the bosses behind Forgotten Cotton with us to share their story and their savvy business know-how. Okay y’all, take it away!

 

1. Please introduce yourself and your business.

We are Elizabeth and John, the married team behind Forgotten Cotton. We are a handmade business who design and create irresistible fashion accessories for women. We focus on having a variety of fun colors and interesting textures. Our recent love affair has been with lace. It is such a pleasure to make stylish accessories that add something special to any look. One of the biggest perks to buying from a handmade business such as ours is we can customize anything.  When you receive an item from us we want it to be a perfect fit and created for your needs and style.

We were both born and raised in small town Pennsylvania (in the home of the Doodle- the Cheese Doodle, as in right by Wise Company. Extra points if you know them since they are a Northeast regional brand we miss very much).  Life works in mysterious ways and we didn’t find each other until I (Elizabeth who will be writing this interview) moved to NYC to complete my Master’s Degree. From that point forward there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish as a team. We started our business when we lived in  a small apartment in NYC and as our business grew we were ready to take the next step and go full time. This was a unique opportunity to say- Ok, where do you want to live?  We had been in NYC for over 8 years so it seemed a good time to make the jump and live somewhere else. We considered many places around the country and finally decided Wyoming was going to be the next leg of our adventure. The first time we saw Wyoming and our new home was after a 5 day trip across the country to move. This decision has been regarded as one of our finest after the one where we decided to spend our lives together.

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2. Where are you physically located and where can we find you online?

Our current home is in Northwestern Wyoming along with the pronghorn, wolves and coyotes. We are right next to the Rocky Mountains and have the most amazing view of the Bear Tooth Mountain Range.  We will admit it can be difficult at times to be so far away from everyone we know. We hope they know we miss them a ton and appreciate every phone call and skype date.

We sell online at a number of locations:

Aftcra: www.aftcra.com/forgottencotton

Etsy: www.forgottencotton.com

Amazon Handmade: www.amazon.com/handmade/forgottencotton

Email List: http://eepurl.com/bquxCT

 

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3. How important has social media been for growing your business?

We use all the different types of social media to relate and keep in touch with different types of customers. Instagram is an obvious favorite choice due to it being a visual media. Instagram allows us to share new ideas in a way that is curated to match our visual style. We also love facebook since that was our first social media platform and have been working to adjust with the ever changing platform that is has become. A few months ago we started our own email list  which has been a really awesome for us to keep our fans and customers updated with new items, sales, and news. (The Gold is in the List by Dave Conrey is a great book to checkout on the topic of starting an email list).  We find that different platforms engage different types of customers so it is important for us to continually grow and remain active on each platform.

4.  How did you get started making your products?

The beauty of having your own business is the possibility of continued growth and invention. We had always discussed the idea of having a business. ForgottenCotton started out with $40 worth of supplies and an idea. We really didn’t know that it would turn into the everything that is has in terms of scale and viability. We believe in making high quality products that are made in America and the response we received when starting our business let us know that this was something people wanted.

5. What was one of the challenges of starting your company?

One of the biggest challenges we faced feels like a common thread for a lot of small businesses. I was working full time as an art teacher at a private elementary school. So while we were very lucky to be able to have John stay home and run the business all my nights and weekends were filled with trying to balance having a full time job and helping with the growth of our business.  Another common thread we hear often and can relate to is the struggle with a lack of room. We were living in a tiny space in NYC and the business ended up taking up every spare inch we had available.  We feel very fortunate to have built our business to the point where we could both work full time on the business and have space to expand in a meaningful way.

6. How many employees do you have? Do you outsource any aspects of your business? (i.e. accounting, legal)

We are a start to finish a two person team. It is really great to be able to say that we each have our strengths of different business acumen which allows for a balance of tasks. We really do everything all the way from designing graphics to photography to managing social media. Obviously, we design and make all of our items which sometimes feels like the smallest part of running our business. Our methodology of having a business comes down to the principal that it is better to learn the skills as needed than to outsource them. For example our photography skills have grown dramatically over the past four years from constant learning. We talked with photography friends, researched information, and tried new ideas until we started to feel we were getting the type of photos we wanted.  I think one of the biggest assets we have as a team is our ability to self evaluate and make decisions on how best to move forward.  If you have someone else telling you what to do or how to do it we feel that limits the ability to self examine different aspects of your business and can ultimately stunt growth. By knowing how each moving part works we are able to better examine, evaluate, change, and grow.  We are in a constant state of motion and discussion of where we can improve while educating ourselves with the information needed  to make those improvements.

7.  Can you walk us through a typical day running your business?

I would love to run you through a typical day however I don’t know if you can have such a thing when working from home. Our schedule tends to fluctuate dramatically depending on what time of the year it is and what current projects are brewing. During November and December we will spend 20 hours a day on processing orders, making, and shipping (rinse, wash, and repeat). When you come to a month like March the schedule of our activities is very different. We are planning new ideas, ordering supplies, working on photoshoots and introducing new products to our customers. Some days we spend working on custom orders while others it will be testing out new ideas. Since we make all our own designs and patterns we have a lot of trial and evaluation for each new item. I think the best part of having a home business is being able to have that flexibility and set up our days to best suit our needs.

8. What advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own business?

I could sit down with a pot of coffee and talk for hours on this one! The short answer I would tell someone is to  just get started. Don’t be afraid to start small. To expand that idea into broader terms I would tell someone that you do not need to take expensive classes and have thousands of dollars to start a business. Do not be afraid of what you don’t know because you can always learn. Spend time researching. The internet is a magical place with tons of free resources. Don’t get sucked into listening to what everyone else has to say or what everyone else is doing. Fear of failure can be a stumbling block for beginning businesses as people who are not confident in their own ability to make decisions look for answers from other people. You don’t have to do that. Our friend Sharon from Academy of Handmade recently wrote an amazing and on point article talking about how you should never crowd source the ideas and running of your business. Trust your instincts. (Go check out her article for more).

Looking back at where we started we can see how little we knew. I am not afraid to say that we didn’t know anything. Don’t shy away from researching the type of business you are getting into and examining the potential market for your ideas. The key to getting started is understanding  that you can always improve. The truth is running a business isn’t easy and is a ton of work but that should never stop you. If you are committed to what you are doing and open to examining ways to make yourself better it is possible. Focus on having smart business growth and being authentic to who you are and what you want your business to be. People will take your business as seriously as you do. You will get frustrated. You will have wins and losses. If you take it as it comes it can be an amazing ride.

Also, and this is a highly debated topic our opinion is to get a real camera. Product photos should never be taken and edited on cell phones.

9. Can you share a fun fact about yourself?

Fun fact about us: We love reading and video games. Our favorite book series is A Song of Ice and Fire (let us get specific in saying not the show, the books- go read them because they are amazing).  Our favorite video game series are: Fallout, Witcher, Dragon Age, GTA, and Red Dead Redemption. There are so many others but that is our top of the top.

Bonus fun fact: We do not own cell phones. We live in an area that does not get cell phone reception so we got rid of them when we moved.  We are not sad about that at all.

10. Sending snail mail can be a great way to personalize a message or stand out from your competition. When do you use snail mail in your business?

Our entire business is based around sending snail mail! Since we are an online business all of our items are sent through the mail. It is a great feeling knowing that every day someone is opening a package from us. Everyone loves getting mail and having a business where we get to send it is really a great experience when the mail runs smoothly.

11. How do you decide what materials to use?

We always look for materials that are best suited to the vision we have for the project. For example when making our faux leather cuffs we researched  many (many!) different kinds of faux leather until we found the one that we felt was perfect for our needs. We have very high standards for making our products and want to find materials that match our expectations. We also are very particular about where we purchase our materials in that we aim to buy from small American Businesses. While the process of finding suppliers who fit our needs and expectations does take a long time it also allows us to build a business relationship with our suppliers who are all amazing in helping us source the types of materials we need.

12. What is one thing you would want a first time customer to know?

We want all of our customers to know that we are here to help. If someone has a question or a specific need we always want them to feel free to contact us. If someone wants something custom that we don’t offer please send us a message. If you need something customized we are happy to be of assistance. We have been involved with custom items for everything from weddings to kids to cosplay. Often times custom requests will lead to adding a whole new product line based on the inspiration we receive from our customers.

13. What type of camera/ photoediting software do you use?

We use a Nikon D90 for our product photos and edit with Photoshop. For online photos such as Instagram and Facebook I have a delightfully useful Samsung Galaxy Camera with Wifi Integration. My favorite app for quick photo editing is SnapSeed.

14. Where do you take your product photos?

All of our product photos are taken right here either in our house or on our property. Those mountains you see? Those are the Rocky Mountains in their full beautiful glory. We love having the ability to integrate where we live into our product line as it gives our photos a feeling that is unique to our brand.

15. What is the most common non product question you receive?

Where did you get those boots? No kidding. I know, they are amazing boots in our photos which is why I chose to wear them. The boots I am wearing in many of our product photos were given to me as a gift several years ago and are Frye Brand. They are no longer in production (and have not been for years) but you may be able to find a used pair on Ebay.

16. Tell us about your Cats.

We are a petfree shop however we do have two cats who live with us in our home. They are  two black rescue cats from Brooklyn that are named Coheed and Cambria (named after the band.) They traveled all the way here with us from NYC. They love boxes, sunny windows, and sitting by the fire. Their favorite food is Tuna. They also love when we give them fabric scraps to play with.

For deals, sales, behind the scenes, and more follow us!
Get 10% off your next order. Sign up for our mailing list!: http://eepurl.com/bquxCT

 

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A big Thank You to Elizabeth and John for letting us step inside their incredible business adventure. To keep up with these two, you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter and like them on Facebook. Be sure to also subscribe to their mailing list for 10% off your next order.

Anyone else bubbling with inspiration? Before you ask, it’s really early here so we promise it’s not from champagne. {smile} I’d love for you to share you’re thoughts about this interview in the comments below. And if you have suggestions for future brand interviews or would like your business featured, click here for more details.

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How to Make Opportunity Knock: Motivation for Bloggers, Brands and Businesses

As a small business owner I know that opportunity doesn’t always come knocking. If you’re a blogger or entrepreneur looking for opportunities, you may already know that you usually have to get out there and look for it.

I mean, consider this: there are billions of people on the planet. Millions of people in your own backyard. That’s a lot of doors to for opportunity to go a’knocking on. {wink} Simple math would tell you your odds of being first in line are slim to none. {sigh} So how do you stand out? How do you increase the odds?

Well one way is to put yourself out in the world, be seen, get heard. Set up a door right in front of Mr. Opportunity if you have to. And no, it’s not wrong to go after your dreams with everything you’ve got. In the words of Mark Cuban, “It’s not about money or connections. It’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business.” There is a way to make noise without being obnoxious.

One thing I do as a blogger is feature content and products from incredible or inspiring people. It can be tedious at times, searching to find just the right fit for my brand and my blog. So when I get pitched by bloggers wanting to guest post*, industry pros looking to collaborate or entrepreneurs seeking features – it’s not annoying, it’s a relief! {wink} Assuming our visions are aligned, then the easier they make it to work with them, the easier it is to hit the ground running and push ‘publish.’ When you go looking for Mr. Opportunity, you save him -or her- the trouble of finding you. {smile}

This week RC&D will be hitting the pavement passing out one media kit after another across the central Carolinas. Call it finding opportunities or just plain hustling. {wink} And it’s all about making it easier for others to do business with you. So don’t wait to be found. Open the door before he knocks, stop him in the street and show him what you’ve got to offer. That’s how you make your own opportunity. We all have obstacles in our lives, don’t let one of them be you.

How do you make your own opportunities? How you stay motivated? If you have a favorite quote that helps you stay positive please share it below. You may even see it hand lettered on the blog. Oh and if you have a favorite place to shop let us know so we can get RC&D products on shelves near you.

GIVEAWAY WINNER IS SARAH!!! Congrats! Sarah- check your inbox and reply with your shipping address and we’ll send along your new set of RC&D travel notebooks. {YAY!}

Don’t miss out on the next giveaway or sale. Subscribe to the blog while you’re here for more freebies and fun.

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*For advertising, wholesale, submission opportunities, donations and collaborations please email RaleighCalligraphy@gmail.com.

Love Themed Gift Guide for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here! And if you’re a hopeless romantic like me, you’ve probably been looking forward to this holiday since the first… of January. Well, whether you love it or just live with it, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Enter your V-Day gift guide:

Nail and String Art Heart in Yellow on Stained Wood by Nailed it Design.

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Valentine's Day Card by RC&D
XOXO cotton linen card with red rose petals to celebrate love by Raleigh Calligraphy & Design.

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Hand stamped stainless steel collar stays by Beadsoul.

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Natural White Rope Gold Open Hook Clasp Bracelet – Navy/Red by Allison Cole Jewelry.

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Red Lace Boot Cuffs by Forgotten Cotton.

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You’re My Lobster – Valentines Day mug by The Silver Spider Print Shop.

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Heart Cross Stitch by Cloth & Twig Shop

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Love Themed Wooden Frame by Legacy Images.

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Heart Stationery by RC&D
Heart note card set by Raleigh Calligraphy & Design.

What will you be giving to your Valentine this year? Love letters? Flowers? Chocolates? Something from this gift guide? I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned so share away in the comments below!

Heads up! Our Travel Notebooks Giveaway ends on Valentine’s Day! Entering is as simple as subscribing to the blog. Hurry! (see previous post for photos of our must have gold foil notebooks)

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