Clockwise from top left: Andrea Liss, Colin Cowie, Marina O'Leary, Becca Rose Atchison, Dennis Smith, Tara Guerard, Beth Chapman, Cindy Shanholtz.
Andrea Liss of Hannah Handmade is credited with inventing the use of layered fabrics and stitching on invitations and stationery. Her contributions to the stationery industry don't stop there. Have you ever sent a square envelope through the mail? When the post office wanted to do away with them because they were too much of a hassle, Andrea was one of the design experts who testified before the US Postal Rate Commission on the value of square envelopes in the mail stream. She was also part of the team that developed the 64 cent butterfly stamp. Like I said in my talk: send these ladies a thank you note.
I first met Andrea this past May when she attended my class at the National Stationery Show in New York (oh yeah, she's also the designer behind the NSS official logo). I'm pretty sure that within twenty minutes of the class ending, Anne Chertoff, Jessica Paulen, Ellen Black and I had talked Andrea into attending the June Engage in Las Vegas. By the end of that Engage, Andrea remarked to me, "I've worked in weddings for decades, but this conference has me thinking about my business on an entirely different level." It is a real testament to what Rebecca and Kathryn have created that the Engage conferences can further even the businesses of industry icons.
For this Engage at The Breakers, Andrea created a custom turndown gift for each attendee -- a dupioni silk covered mirror with the tagline "Reflect on all things possible." Aside from being beautifully made, what struck me was the booklet inside.
Millennials (the generation born between 1979-2000 and who currently account for 83% of wedding clients worldwide) value heritage, artisanal and handmade products, and love getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Andrea took this information to heart and made a booklet with images of her process behind the creation of these boxes.
That is hand-printed velvet. Amazing.
The booklet shares that the entire process of making these mirrors and boxes took more than forty steps from beginning to end. In addition, the last page is numbered (mine is number 267 out of 275), letting each person know that their gift is truly one of a kind and a limited edition.
Whether you've been in business for decades or are just starting out, inviting people to see your process will help them connect with you and can help build loyalty to you and your art.
Photos courtesy Andrea Liss, Hannah Handmade, except top photo courtesy Elan Artists, Scott Clark and Chellise Michael