We’re re-launching our popular interview series ‘Industry Interviews’ but this time focusing on all things weddings! Bridal boudoir is one of the main reasons that clients book us and we thought that partnering with other like minded businesses would be a great opportunity to gain a new audience and client base.
Every second Monday we will feature a new interview with some of the wedding industry’s most influential and up & coming professionals. Learn tips and tricks, how they got started and what advise they have for newcomers.
Our kickoff interview is with the beautiful Andrea MacDonald from Lupin Wedding Design Studio.
Tell us a little about Lupin Design Studio?
Lupin Design Studio started as a wedding stationery business. It started in late 2014, and has worked with over 30 couples to create customized, boutique stationery for their big day. Right now, it is in the midst of transitioning into a design studio. It will always offer boutique wedding stationery, but will also provide bad-ass visual identities to other boss ladies that own their own business. I’ve been passionate about graphic design for over ten years, and have been a professional in the industry for the last six. I can’t wait to share my skills with these other amazing businesses.
What types of services do you offer?
When it comes to weddings, Lupin offers everything from Save the Dates to Seating Charts. I strive to ensure that everyone has what they want on their wedding day, right down to the perfect place card. We locally source all of the printing, further supporting local businesses as well as providing a quicker turnaround time.
Right now, we are determining what exactly we’ll offer in our branding packages. We want to ensure that their visual identity represents who they are as a brand and a business, but also gets them noticed with an eye catching design. Aside from the visual aspect, we’ll offer marketing services to help boost digital marketing efforts (like a social media strategy or help with email marketing!)
There will always be a customized aspect to the services that Lupin offers. For example, a cake decorator who needs a personalized order form – we do that. A photographer who wants a brochure promoting their packages – we do that, too! Nothing is too outlandish for us.
Why do you want to focus on working with female entrepreneurs?
For some reason, competitiveness among women is a real thing. I don’t want to compete with them, I want to empower them and help them grow as leaders. I want to offer my skills to them and at the same time, learn from their strengths and weaknesses and experiences.
Do you operate out of a storefront or a residential studio?
I’m currently working out of a cozy residential loft space but I also enjoy taking my laptop to a coffee shop and doing work there. I’ve met with clients at my home or have met them at their offices, homes or at a local coffee shop. I’m very mobile and can travel to them if it’s easier for them. I don’t have plans to look for a storefront anytime soon.
Is it a one woman shop or do you have other people working for you?
Mainly just myself, but my business partner/fiancé Craig does the accounting. I do all the design and marketing for my business. In the future I’d like to hire someone to help with the administrative duties, but for now I do most of the day-to-day tasks.
Do you have a formal education in design or did you teach yourself?
I went to the Centre for Arts and Technology in 2009, graduated in 2011 with a diploma in Graphic and Digital Media Design. The course was heavily based on web, a lot of print, and social media classes, but I’ve been interested in design and teaching myself Photoshop for almost 10 years.
Do you think designers need to have formal education in order to run a successful design business, or do you think they can teach themselves?
To an extent I believe education helps. I don’t have a business background, and I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I sort of stumbled into entrepreneurship and have been figuring out the ins-and-outs of running a business ever since. I have found so many great resources and talked to friends with business backgrounds who have helped me out. I think that if I had an education in business it would have really helped, but as far as design goes, I think you either have an eye for it or you don’t.
How far in advance to clients book you and what is your turnaround time?
It depends on the project and the client needs, but clients can book anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in advance. I typically have material ready within a month from concept to design in hand. I only take on a few clients at a time so that I can give 100% focus to them and try not to spread myself to thin. I enjoy building a relationship with my clients and working together to create a design they are truly happy with rather than working in a high volume environment.
How would you like clients to prepare for consultations with you?
Before we set up consultations/meetings, I like to know more about their ideas. What their colors are, their theme, what type of feeling they get when they think about their final products. I get them to send me inspiration of what type of designs they like, for example a Pinterest board. I ask them why they like it, what specifically speaks to them about the design. And from there I come up with a few options and they take what they like and don’t like and I refine that into another design, and most of the time they love it! Sometimes clients prefer a different look and feel and I continue customizing it until they are happy with it.
What else would you like people to know about your business?
I’m approachable and I have the experience in the real world. I want them to be happy with their product.
What have you learned from past mistakes that will help you grow as an entrepreneur?
I used to compare myself to other designers and have since learned to focus on being confident. I’ve had many people recommend me and ask me to take part in stylized photoshoots and it’s really reassuring to me. I think it is something that all creatives struggle with, especially when you’re just starting out, but knowing that we all started somewhere really helps.
Something else I’ve learned is that I know who my client is and what they want and what I can provide. When I started out I used to do everything they asked and undercut myself and would take whatever client I could get, but now I make sure my clients are the right fit for me and that we will work well together. I know that clients who want to spend $.30 on an invitation are probably not my clients and I’m ok with saying no and recommending another designer to them, but at the beginning that was definitely something I struggled with.
Who is your ideal client?
Someone that values what I do and understands the process involved. Someone that is not interested in just choosing a generic template or paying $5 for a logo – that’s just not the right client for me. Someone that wants to work with me as a person and wants my experience but who also trusts me to give them beautiful designs. At the end of the day, it’s my reputation and I want to give them something I’m proud of and if I feel that we’re not a compatible team then I will suggest the take a different route.
What tips do you have for new designers getting in to business for themselves?
Take more breaks! I sometimes work too long on a design and will go back later and think what was I thinking? So every 20 minutes or so get up and walk around and do something else than look at your computer screen. Make lots of different designs for practice – you won’t use every design you create, but it will give you ideas for next time. And don’t be offended when a client says they don’t like what you’ve created for them. Everyone has different tastes and in the end it’s their project and they have to be happy.
Here are some of Andrea’s lovely designs below, photographed by Jenn Gregory/Halifax Boudoir. Please visit Lupin Design Studio at http://lupindesign.com/