Name of Your Business: Champagne & Ink
Champagne and Ink is a Newport, RI based event styling business. We offer fresh designs, custom letterpress, hand-crafted details and complete décor styling.
How did you get started?
During the summer of 2011, we had about 12 weddings that we were in or guest of and for each one we had some sort of involvement. Whether it was helping with the save the date and invitation designs, wrangling bridal parties to walk down the aisle, or setting up decor that the bride needed a trusted and creative eye to handle each time we played a part someone would comment ‘you’re so good at this, you should really start a business’. Well after our last wedding of that summer, we really started to question, why aren’t we getting paid for this? It’s super fun, we’re doing it anyway, and people seem to love what we’re doing…BOOM the birth of Champagne and Ink.
What’s the best part of owning your own business?
The best part is when we hustle all day and exhaust ourselves with hard work and sometimes stressful situations at the end of the day it’s all for our own benefit. We are the ones that see the direct results and responses from people when we’ve put in the work and gone the extra mile. It’s an amazing feeling to be busting your butt and have people get excited about it.
What’s the best part of having a business partner?
In our particular situation, it’s pretty awesome to have a business partner that is also your best friend, work never really feels like work. Likewise, it’s great to have that support of another person to bounce ideas off of, or to go into those larger decisions with. You never quite feel like ‘ooohhhh sh**, I hope I made the right choice’ because you’ve had the time to talk things through with your business partner and you’ve made the decision together. It’s that extra boost of confidence that you may need from time to time.
What is your most popular product?
At the moment it’s really a tie between paper goods for wedding and wedding styling. Since we just opened doors in January 2014, we have spent most of this wedding season doing invitations, and day of paper goods (ceremony programs, menu cards, etc.), while at the same time quoting and chatting with 2015 and 2016 brides for larger styling jobs.
How do you keep your business current?
We pay attention to what magazines and blogs are posting and pinning as well as what our clients are asking for. It is important to us to maintain a blend between our clients ideas, what is on trend for their style or season and our own creative vision.
What is the one tool you couldn’t live without?
Ellen – I could not live without a bone folder. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it is a small flat piece of bone that is rounded at the end and is used to give a hard crease to paper. It’s like magic, I can use it to do so many things.
Danielle – I could not live without my phone, as silly as it sounds. I cannot live without it (and my fiance will agree). It makes it easy to answer emails, and check in with clients as well as sketch and send ideas to Ellen on the go. It is an essential tool for me.
What’s the nicest compliment you’ve received about your business?
A few months ago we were hired by a bride to create Letterpressed Invitations for her wedding. We perfected the design and then we hand pressed each piece of the invitation, created a custom liner and belly band to hold everything together. The day we met with her to deliver the invitations we opened the box, handed her a full suite and she started to cry. We had a brief moment of panic, but then she said through tear filled eyes ‘I can’t believe these are for me’. That is probably the nicest compliment we could have ever received.
What inspires you?
Ellen – Quality work. I am constantly seeing artists inside and outside of our industry doing amazing work. I love to see the craftsmanship, the ingenious design techniques, the fresh ideas and I am able to take that excited energy and pour it into my own work.
Danielle – Photography and Installations. I take most of photos for C&I, so I love to browse through all kinds of photographers websites and blogs to see what other artists are doing. I’ve also always been a huge fan of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, how they are able to imagine, create and then execute these enormous installation projects is so inspiring not only on the creative level, but also on the logistical (I’m a nerd and love spreadsheets) side of things.
How do you relax?
We love to escape to the water. Whether it is on a boat, at the beach, or in a pool, getting into the water is the fastest way to disconnect from work and completely unwind. Sometimes, we’re even lucky enough to catch a fish while we’re at it!
What do you do when you’re having a bad day?
Take a deep breath, take a step back and then hop back on the horse and deal with it. Bad days are just that, one day… tomorrow will always be better.
What is your motto or theme song?
This is the best question, we were just laughing the other day that it is sometimes difficult to articulate exactly what it is that we do. We’re event stylists, not event planners. So the easiest, fastest way to explain that to someone has been ‘We Make it Pretty’ – whatever your ‘it’ may be: a wedding, a baby shower, a dinner party, we come in and we make it pretty.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Ellen’s husband, Bill and Danielle’s fiance, Dan have been best friends since they were four years old. Ellen, Danielle and Bill met in college, Bill later introduced Danielle to Dan. Our men are part of the reason we transplanted to Newport, RI, and one of the many reasons why we love it here so much.
Connect with Champagne & Ink
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