Written by AJ Collins – Freelance Writer & Editor

http://www.ajcollins.com.au

Passion before the planning

Somewhere in a cosy house in Melbourne, sits a gentle, creative soul who has found her perfect niche: Little Sister Invitations. Surrounded by the paraphernalia of wedding stationery: pearlescent, rustic and coloured cardstock, diamantes, ribbons and lace in every colour of the rainbow, Megan has found happiness in running her own successful wedding stationery business.

Megan’s business was always there in infancy as she worked for years, after hours, building her skills and brand. A lot of sleepless nights went into her decision to take a leap of faith so many of us consider: leaving full-time employment. It’s was a huge risk, but Megan had an ace up her sleeve: ten years’ experience working in graphic design and printing. It was the pressure of working full time and planning her own wedding that tipped Megan over the edge into living her dream. And it’s paid off.

‘I’ve always loved stationery,’ says Megan. While some youngsters would walk into a lolly or cake shop all googly-eyed, Megan would walk into stationery shops and go weak at the knees. ‘I loved looking at all the coloured, shiny papers, pens and stationery.’ Megan’s hands wave expressively as she thrills about how she now gets paid to print and create beautiful stationery with her very own stock of pretty things, all day long (without putting on a single kilo from her purchases).

Little Sister Invitations 1

The Little Sister name

‘People query me about my business name,’ says Megan. ‘It originated from a brain-storming session with my older brother. We made a list from everything that came to mind. Later that night, when I went to bed, my brother kept going and left me a few more names: “Smelly Sister, “Annoying Sister”, “Big Sister” and then “Little Sister” stuck with me.’ According to Megan a lot of brides identify with it. Who doesn’t love a little sister?

Now many a bride sits fascinated while Megan weaves her magic, putting together a piece of this with a sliver of that, matching fabric with card, bling with lace, and printing in unique styles. Of course Megan has a large range of ready-made designs for brides to browse through, but for that bride who wants her own, individual design, Megan is happy to meet in person and guide or inspire you. ‘At the moment I meet new clients at a coffee shop, where I bring all my samples. Eventually, I’m planning on building a studio at the front of my house.’

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Little Sister Invitations 2b

What’s so special about Little Sister invitations?

White Ink Printing. Never heard of it? That’s because this gorgeous printing technique is brand new on the market and Megan has invested in the process already. If you’ve ever tried to print in white (you may laugh but trust me, many have) you’ll know that it’s just not possible unless you back-fill the entire page with colour. Even then the printing isn’t clear and you’ve wasted enormous amounts of ink.

Previous to this new technology, screen printing was the only way to print white, and the process was labour intensive and therefore costly. Now there’s a new alternative and it’s incredibly popular among brides for wedding invitations.

‘I was really excited about it,’ says Megan. ‘The night I decided to buy a white printer, I was awake until 3am with my mind on fire. I thought OMG! I can do this, I can do that!’ She already had five designs built in her head. After investing many hours on research and due diligence, Megan is now set up and operating this cutting edge technology with many happy brides and grooms under her belt.

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 Little Sister Invitations 3b

Little Sister products

Little Sister Invitations has the same range of stationery that most wedding stationery suppliers have: reception stationery, menus, place cards, tags for bomboniere, orders of service, save the date cards, rsvp cards. Stretching into other events. The advantage Megan has over other wedding suppliers is her solid background in graphics, print knowledge and designs. ‘Some may look great on screen but the printing comes out different. It takes knowledge about typeface, font line endings, what works on the page and what doesn’t,’ says Megan. You only have to look at the variation in her designs to know that she’s got this nailed. Latest trends, traditional styles or some complete original and avant-garde, Megan does it.

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The Magic behind the mind

It’s good thing Megan has such a big heart and a big imagination to keep coming up with new designs. Running an artistic business can be a little risky, as often clients aren’t exactly sure what they want and Megan has to start with a blank canvas. ‘I’m always tweaking the look of my designs, trying new combinations of paper, glitter, patterns, waiting for inspiration to strike.’ That’s when the magic happens though. ‘One of my clients from the U.K. wanted something modern for a small wedding but had no idea what she wanted.’ Megan set to work dreaming up something new that might match her client’s personality. The response was “OMG that’s amazing! Let’s do it.” ‘Times like those are what I love about my job,’ says Megan. ‘She went from not knowing what she wanted to being so happy.’ It’s this kind of nights-awake-dreaming that keeps the artist within Megan producing the kind of magic she lives for.

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Little Sister Invitations 5b

5 TIPS FOR WEDDING STATIONERY

How to order your invites

Megan makes it easy for brides to choose their stationery by labelling each range the name of a bride (some real, some fictitious). This makes it easy recall the design when new clients mention them. ‘So instead of them saying “the polka-dot one or the rustic one with lace” they can just name the design.’ It makes sense to have a process Brides can identify with, and that simplifies their choices. Once the invites have been chosen, a sample is constructed for approval and then Megan goes ahead and prints the order.

When to order your invites

Megan’s turnaround time is generally 4 – 6 weeks, which allows time for proofs to be approved, any minor changes a bride might desire, sending them off for professional printing, and the time for them to be assembled.

When to send your invites:

If your wedding is on a weekend, 3 months prior to your wedding.

If your wedding is on a week day, allow more time for people to arrange time off work.

Save the Date Cards

Should be sent around 12 months (or earlier) prior to wedding for international guests, to allow for travel arrangements

Should be sent 6 months in advance of wedding for local guests

RSVP Cards

Ask guests to return their RSVPs within a month of your wedding so you have time to chase up any missing responses.