Ask the Expert {Artemis Stationary}

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I’ve photographed too many wedding invitations to count., mostly to please the mother of the bride. However, when I photographed the work of Nathan at Artemis Stationary in the UK, three important details stood out: creativity, quality, and consistency.

Nathan’s work needed a stage (across the pond) to stand on, so I invited him to share a bit more of his enthusiasm in this installment of Ask the Expert. Nathan has been a kind blog commenter over the years, so I thought I’d hold the microphone to him.

1. Nathan, if you were to write the book “Everything I Learned About Wedding Stationary, I Learned in Kindergarten,” describe key 5 points.

  • Bespoke wedding stationery and wedding stationery is a competitive field with a low cost of entry. Be prepared for a war of attrition in establishing yourself.
  • Some of the wedding stationery competition won’t charge sustainable rates. If you want to make a living from stationery, you’ll be up against hobbyists doing it for cream tea or gin money. You have to give people a good reason to pay more which they can appreciate before they make their purchase.
  • Leave time to redo in case there are issues.
  • If you’re making the wedding stationery, find out how to make it properly. Aim for a finish better than the average hobbyist.
  • Marketing is the key. It is worth having a plan A, B, C, and D that play the strengths of your products.

2. Describe the best thank you’s or gifts you can extend to current clients to make them ‘happy’?

I follow up after the end of the order and always thank people. I like to send hand-written Christmas cards to clients.

3. What are your best advice for photographers to extend “word of mouth” referrals?

Word-of-mouth referrals are tough in wedding stationery, especially if you have set designs. No one wants to match something of a close friend or family member. It’s good to have several designs that may satisfy yet look different enough that no one’s a copycat. Good relationships with clients are essential.
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4. What is your biggest challenge to your creative business? What goals will you set to rise above the challenge?

Marketing and reaching potential clients who will love your work is the biggest challenge. It’s easy to spend a lot of time being creative, coming up with new sketches and designs. Finding a way to tell the world in a fiercely competitive market about your product is the hard part. I’m trying to find new ways to approach this all the time. Good record keeping so you can identify trends in orders is essential.
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5. In one sentence, what’s the importance of marketing/sharing and branding to your art?

A distinctive label/watermark helps build credibility.
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6. What’s the best way to market YOU?

With wedding stationery I think that’s less important but numerous stationers are very successful in putting themselves forward as one of the main selling points. And they do sell themselves on everything from their lifestyle, the trials and tribulations of their business and personal life. As well as having great images of them on the main page. A lot of this depends on the potential value of yourself or a version of yourself in the marketing.

I think ideally I’d like my work to do the work. But I know that selling online as an individual or small business you have to give people a reason to trust and think they can work with you. There are some very well established stationers who sell themselves very well. Everything from the fact they don’t scrub up half badly to how amazing their studio looks and the ups and down of their private and work life is talked about or used well. Its great and a real asset if you can pull it off and people actually care.
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7. Tell us three Must-Do’s when it comes to building trust with clients so we are interacting with them more as a “friend” than a “vendor.”

  • Put trust at the heart of the relationship. You may get burned, but you have to invest before you can expect your client to.
  • Give advice that is independent and not profit centric so your clients know that you have their interests at heart. This is likely to lead to a longer relationship knowing they can trust your advice.
  • Never leave a client waiting an unreasonable time to hear from you.

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8. If you were a personal trainer at Wedding Stationary Boot Camp, what music would you tell your students to bring and what to leave home? 

Whatever gets you in the creative zone. There is music for days you have to hustle, whether you make your own stationery or just pack it after it arrives from the printers, be efficient and focus to get those orders out the door.

9. How do you balance working for free with vs charging full price?

If there are obvious sales it will lead to and those clients won’t reasonably expect a discount, charging full price is a good idea. If you think the exposure will be as good as something you’d pay for also go for it! If someone’s asking you to do it cheaply or free and they’re far more convinced it will benefit you, trust your instinct. Too many people many working for free in the name of experience or exposure makes it difficult to make a living.
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10. How would you market the latest new “thing” in the wedding photography industry?

Depends on the thing and whether you’re ahead of the curve. If you’re ahead of the curve it may be worth sending a sample or images to friendly bloggers. Even if they don’t blog about it themselves if you have an article, photo gallery, etc about it they may at least share it with their followers. Trying to focus on the likely search engine keywords for it early would be wise.

11. What resources inspire your business and art?

It’s about working for great clients, each with their own unique story to tell. Designing and making something which will delight your client and their guests. It’s always a good day where you get that thank you email. So much in the world around you can be inspiring: the sun illuminating a canopy, a clear sky at night, the natural history museum in London, even the style and swagger of the early 1920’s movie theme parks. Very fond of Art Deco’s blend of archaeology and the future! Sometimes it’s a mood, a feeling, or a sense of time or style. I also enjoy trying to be original.wpid-artemis_stationery_wedding_ideas_09-2014-02-6-07-05.jpg

Thanks, Nathan, for sharing your creative talents with the wedding community!

Blog readers, here are other Ask The Expert posts you might enjoy:

Custom Wedding Jewelry >> Inspiration from the wearer
The Art of Framing >> Tips on framing your favorite photo
Shooting Super 8 in a wedding >> Why motion film art remains important on the wedding day.

Stay tuned for future “Ask the Expert” interviews of others who love to create as much as share. I’m looking for suggestions for new content, toss a comment below and share what you’d like see next!

3 Responses to “Ask the Expert {Artemis Stationary}”

  1. Nathan @ Artemis Stationery — February 17, 2014 @ 3:07 pm (#)

    Thank you for featuring this RJ! It’s a real privilege to be on your blog after so regularly reading it.

  2. Pingback: Story telling with pictures - your wedding invitations? | The English Wedding Blog & Calligraphy for Weddings

  3. Pingback: Ask The Expert {Wedding Planner Hana April Chughtai} » Kern-Photo - Kern-Photo

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