Stockist Spotlight: Emma Jo Designs


Towards the end of 2014 I came across the super talented Emma Jo - here is my interview with the creative genius herself ...

Please could you give a brief introduction on yourself and your company to my  readers who may not have come across you before…

Hello, I’m Emma and my little company is Emma Jo, I specialise in alternative wedding stationery for couples that want something a little different, who want choice, great design and uncompromising quality. Unlike a lot of stationers I design, most often bespoke work and then handle almost all of the print and finish process myself too so I am very hands on with the whole design to print process. I offer a large choice of print options including digital, letterpress, foil, laser and screen printing alongside a diverse range of design styles so there is plenty of choice for all your stationery needs.
I am very proud to say we won ‘Best UK Stationer’ as part of The Wedding Industry Awards in 2013 and feature in ‘The Complete Vintage Wedding Guide’ as the Stationery expert too.

How did your business get started and what were the ideas behind it?
Emma Jo started by accident really, I have a design and print background and at the time I was a designer for a baby brand company designing pretty patterns and illustrations for strollers and baby grows. I’ve always designed and made things in my spare time and stationery has always been an obsession of mine. I had always wanted an excuse to letterpress print my work and at the time I found a lot of American companies were reviving letterpress for printing wedding stationery and felt I could fill the gap in the UK. I found that the UK was lacking really good, exciting wedding stationery designs and even fewer offered letterpress printing. A few designs turned into a couple of bookings
as I found my feet, which turned into a full time job!

Why did you choose to focus on weddings?
When I started, wedding stationery in the UK seemed uninspiring and way behind the US in terms of design and choice and their didn’t seem to be anything exciting that couples could have fun with, that was based on good design and I wanted to change that.

What inspires you as a stationery designer?
Couples who are giddy about stationery, have a fun brief and who are open to ideas - especially my slightly unconventional ones and then trust me to take their ideas and turn them into beautiful stationery that they and their family and friends love.I take inspiration from all over - art, fashion, interiors, travel as well as the wedding industry. I do love Pinterest!

Can you tell us your three favourite designs; why are they are your top picks?

I have a huge soft spot for the Elephant design I created for a couple as part of the bespoke service. I love the concept, I love elephants and I love the mix of processes we incorporated – hand illustrations, duplexing of super thick card and gold and silver edging – what is there not to love!

I’m excited about a new design that is launching very soon that features hand painted lettering and patterns in monochrome, which I think, will be a favourite for city weddings and graphic lovers. I’ve just got to think of a name for it now!

I love making ‘Pencil Us In!’ a new save the date design, complete with personalised, foil printed pencils for guests to keep. It is a quirky, fun save the date and is useful too!

Do you have any advice for brides when picking their wedding stationery for their big day?

Research, it’s not every day you order your very own, personalised stationery! Start a Pinterest board and pin things you like and see if certain styles and designs emerge. This can help you focus on what you are looking for. Consider the fonts, layout, wording and anything else that is important to you.

Have fun with your stationery, you may want your stationery to reflect your venue in style with colours that match your bridesmaids or for it to bring the theme of your wedding together or you might want the stationery to reflect you as a couple and your journey together.

If a bride has a limited budget for wedding stationery, which items should she think about spending her money on?

Invitations are a must, they let your guests know everything they need to and are often kept as a keepsake after too so they are super important to everyone.

For the day I would say place cards, they help with seating arrangements and could be combined with favours. And if you would like menus but don’t have the budget have one per table instead of per place setting.  There are lots of options and every couples priorities and budgets are all different so work with your stationer to see what your budget can cover, stationery is often time consuming and will likely be custom made for you so be aware of costs.

 I would just say, be realistic with your budget; consider the items you would like and what you have to spend. If your budget is tight, high end, bespoke print methods and all the trimmings like envelope liners and wax seals are probably not an option for you but as a compromise you could skip the save the dates and splurge on the invites of your dreams!

Please could you tell us more about the bespoke service at Emma Jo?

I really love collaborating with my couples to create completely original, bespoke stationery and this service is perfect for couples who love stationery and want to create something extraordinary and truly unique.Initially, I recommend that the couple spend a little time discussing their ideas together, what they want, what they really don’t want and gather some visual inspiration, again Pinterest is great for that! I also love hearing all about them and their wedding as these details really help me convey a personal touch within their stationery too. The more they can illustrate to me what they love and hope for, the more I can understand their tastes, suggest ideas and develop them into a solid concept that they will love! I devote a lot a time and care into each bespoke project and we can spend a few weeks just finalising details, materials and finishes. Each project is completely different. After the initial consultation (usually over email as my couples come from far and wide) we discuss and review ideas and then I produce an initial proof based on the chosen concept. The couples then review the proof, feedback is given and adjustments made to create the final design. I then go to print and assembly if needed, so it’s a real labour of love and it’s not unusual for me to work with a couple for twelve months but this services often produces my favourite designs.

Are there any future projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I am launching five brand new designs within the next month, there is going to be lots more foil designs available as well as quirky save the date options. I’m very excited about them as I really believe they offer something different for couples that want more and better choice for their wedding stationery without comprising on style or quality.

Do you have any goals or aspirations for your company in 2015?

I hope to launch even more new collections in the New Year and I am excited to include some laser cut options too!

Do you have any tips for anybody thinking of setting up their own business?

Make sure you offer something different, and that you believe there is a market for. Be prepared to work very long hours including weekends but make a huge effort once you can be set boundaries so it doesn’t take over your life, it’s important to have a break and enjoy time off too. I learnt that the hard way!


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