Editor’s Note: This post is sponsored by Mulberry and Elm as design services were provided in exchange for advertising services on Classic Bride blog. The luxury custom stationery and design company is a Select member of Classic Bride blog’s vendor guide and this post is part of the member’s many privileges. Find out more about becoming a member here. All editorial and opinions (with the exception of Taylor’s answers, of course) are my own.
I’m so thrilled to introduce one of my favorite independent stationers in the wedding industry who is also a brand new Vendor Guide member, Taylor Near, of Mulberry and Elm! Taylor’s wonderful talent is also to thank for Classic Bride blog’s monogram masthead as well as several other design elements found throughout the blog. While Taylor has been working on creative pursuits her whole life, she came to realize that calligraphy and design were her passion while planning her own wedding. That realization led to turning Mulberry and Elm into a full-time pursuit. Today, Taylor enjoys working with clients to create truly unique wedding suites and projects. And I’m so happy to chat with Taylor today about her venture into the world of weddings!
Q. Taylor, can you tell us what led you to pursue a career in stationery design?
A. I have always been a creative person but believe it or not, not too long ago I was an accountant! I at least worked at a very fun e-commerce company but it was not fulfilling my creative passion. After working with my mom, a graphic designer who has been in the industry for over 40 years, on my own wedding invitations I started exploring the world of luxury custom stationery and design. I taught myself how to write with a calligraphy pen and studied online watercolor tutorials to improve my skills. After a few friends asked me to design their wedding invitations, I quickly found more clients through Instagram and word of mouth that appreciated my aesthetic and vision for unique and classic heirloom pieces. I worked on nights and weekends to grow my business and took it full time a year ago.
Your style is so effortless. How did you cultivate your signature stationery look?
A. I have always had a classic eye and design aesthetic, from clothing to interior design. I find that my classic design lends itself to certain typeface combinations and my watercolor style. I think my watercolors have a slight architectural look to them (which makes sense, given that my dad is an architect!). With my artwork, I am constantly evolving and learning new techniques and methods. I love to work with clients that push me outside of my comfort zone, and challenge me to try something new!
What would you say your biggest influences are in your work?
A. I am inspired and influenced by everything around me! I always ask my clients to send over all of their wedding inspiration – you never know what pieces of the wedding puzzle can be woven into the stationery design. Each year, there seems to be different ‘trends’ in the wedding industry, but I try to keep my designs timeless. Instagram and Pinterest definitely offer lots of different ideas and inspirations for the business and I like to check out different travel blogs and interior designers to pick up on fun and different patterns and color palettes.
Do you have any advice for engaged couples who are beginning to plan their stationery needs?
A. Plan ahead! I hate to have to turn away clients when I am overbooked or if there is not enough time to complete their project. Usually Save the Dates are sent out 8-10 months ahead of the wedding date and Invitations are mailed around 8 weeks before the wedding. Most designers will want at least 6 weeks before these dates to start the design process and many designers can be booked a year in advance! Beginning the stationery discussion early will allow you to have the flexibility to use the printing method you want and avoid any rush fees. I also would recommend focusing your budget on custom elements such as a custom crest or monogram – these pieces can be used throughout your stationery and on fun day-of items like cocktail napkins or menus! Creating a custom element like this is like creating a logo for your wedding – help tell your story that is, of course, unlike anyone else’s!
Any favorite projects you’ve worked on over the years that you’d like to share?
A. There are so many! Each project I take on feels unique and inspired in its own way. My clients always bring me fun new ideas to try which I love! One of my favorite projects was working with Ashley Abbott Events on a dinner party for Olivia Wilde hosted by True Botanicals to support Time’s Up. We created an Invitation, Menu, Thank You tags and Place Cards that featured watercolors of organic elements that can be found in True Botanicals products. All text was painted by hand in a loose watercolor script. I just loved the way the stationery interacted with the tablescape and florals – everything blended seamlessly to create a magical, organic look. Check out ashleyabbottevents.com for images from this fab event!
Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Taylor! It was such a pleasure getting to know you and to learn more about your business. I’m so happy to welcome you as a member of the blog’s vendor guide and look forward to following your design adventures! Dive into Taylor’s vendor guide portfolio here or find more of Taylor’s inspiring work at Mulberry and Elm.