Boutique by TeresaKatherine
TeresaKatherine Designs: https://www.teresakatherine.com/
Boutique by TeresaKatherine: https://www.boutiquebyteresakatherine.com
1. For those interested in getting into this line of work, what kind of advice or information do you think is important to know?
Set up all your business accounts properly in the beginning (business licenses, tax ids, solid contracts, etc) it may seem like a big investment upfront but will save a lot of headache in the future.
It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to do and what type of client you want to attract.
When you’re focused, it’s easier to market your product or service. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow and change in the future.
2. Do you prefer using more color or to keep it more monochrome in both of your businesses?
For TeresaKatherine Designs, I prefer to limit the color palette and keep it clean and simplified. My target audience includes scientists and engineers so shapes with sharp edges and clear, easy to read graphics are appealing to them.
For Boutique by TeresaKatherine, I keep my branding to black and white with pops of peach and mint to achieve the sleek, elegant look of many luxury brands. At the same time, I’m designing invitations and stationery for fun, lively events such as weddings and baby showers so I’m not afraid to use color in my work.
3. Regarding both of your businesses, how important would you say it is for a client to have done some research and have an idea of what they want?
Very important, while I can help guide and shape their ideas, we need to have a starting point because there is a wide range of styles for invitations, branding, and even presentations. If my clients have a basic idea of the goals they want to achieve and who they want to reach, I can develop a strategy to realize their goals.
4. What is something you want your clients to know about both of your businesses?
I approach design with a science and art background. Initially I was only interested in fine art such as painting and drawing while I was studying chemistry in college, but my whole life I’ve been interested in how and why things work and trying to find ways to make things more beautiful and effective. I came to graphic design as a means to use my artistic talents to help those of a more analytical mindset achieve clear and effective communication. Whether is branding an innovative product or clearly presenting
research data, the success of a product or idea is also dependent on how it is perceived and design plays a huge role in this.
Even with my stationery clients and products, I’m not simply trying to create something lovely for people to buy, I want to understand my client and portray their uniqueness. I tend to simplify my designs, especially my greeting cards, because I feel like the typical greeting card tries to put too many words in your mouth and complicates the message. I want people to feel like they can embellish a card with their own words, I’m just helping them get started.
5. What kind of design tools do you need to keep your businesses running on a daily basis?
I use the Adobe Creative Cloud (mostly the big 3, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) for digital work and most of my creations start as a sketch with pencil and paper. I think it’s important to flesh out ideas rapidly this way first before starting on the computer. I also bring a lot of watercolor into my designs so I always have those supplies around for when I want to add that element of texture.
6. Why did you decide to separate both businesses rather than keep them under one single design label offering different services?
I started out with the two business under one umbrella but it was confusing for me (and I’m sure my audiences) to market my products and services. I was simultaneously trying to reach a highly technical audience and appeal to the ‘modern host’ like event planners, brides and individuals looking for paper goods. Once I split the two brands, it’s been much easier to focus my messaging.
7. How important is digital marketing to your business?
Very important, I know my audience is on Pinterest and social media looking for inspiration for their projects or they are at their computer completing a paper and looking for resources. Some of the scientific magazines and journals may be useful for advertising but most people simply don’t have the time to read a magazine cover to cover on a regular basis.
8. What kind of custom work can you do for your clients in both of your businesses?
TeresaKatherine Designs: branding, website design, infographics, presentation design, conference materials.
Boutique by TeresaKatherine: invitations, stationery, monograms, watercolor art.
9. Can you explain your process for working with the client? Which of those steps do you consider the most important?
Discussion, research, design, production, follow-up
10. What do you think is most important to know when branding or rebranding a business?
The goals/vision for the brand coupled with their audience or following. These 2 pieces have to work together.
11. Can you go into more specifics into your Total Branding service?
Often when businesses ask for a logo, they really need a brand created or updated. Your logo is one piece of your brand identity but how it is used and what colors and fonts used across all visuals are what make up a brand. I created this package service to incorporate all aspects of a brand and the touch points a customer will interact visually with a business. The logo may catch someone’s eye but the cohesiveness of a website and business cards, presentations, etc will signal whether or not a company has their identity defined. The better defined your identity, the better you can market to your target
audience and therefore close deals or attract customers.
12. What kind of work is considered as Event Collateral?
I define ‘events’ as professional conferences, business meetings, networking events or corporate dinners. The collaterals can range from programs to large format signage, place cards or even invitations.
13. How do you decide which vendors will be best to use for your client’s needs?
I worked at a local print and marketing agency during and after completing my design certificate and gained immense industry knowledge about the capabilities of various printing methods and turnaround times. When I choose a new vendor I consider what types of services they offer and usually request paper or product samples when available. After running a small or test job then I decide if this is a vendor I’d like to continue to work with. The quality, price, and turnaround are all important factors to
consider. Some clients prioritize speed over materials, which I take into consideration when generating timelines and making recommendations. Social media groups are also good references for print vendors.
Boutique by TeresaKatherine
14. Do you have a design philosophy for your weddings and stationery business?
I still incorporate my ‘discussion, research, design, production’ philosophy but present it in a different way. I want to get to know my client and hear their story for the wedding/party/special event so I can find ways to incorporate special elements into their designs. The inspiration board is a visual representation of my research; since Pinterest is a huge platform for searching for wedding and party ideas, I present the inspiration board as a customized ‘Pinterest’ board for their event since it’s a familiar way to gather ideas. Once my client and I are on the same page for the ‘vision’ I start the design process and give them 2 options to consider.
15. How do you decide what kind of watercolor paintings to do?
They are usually personal choices that have meaning for the intended gift recipient (ie a watercolor of the Rotunda at The University of Virginia for a friend graduating from the Classics department). If the painting is not a specific gift, then I choose objects that I find interesting or challenging to paint.
16. How much of a processing time should your clients leave for their stationery needs before their event?
Outside of full wedding suite design, I recommend a minimum of 2 weeks for the design process and 1-2 weeks for production and delivery. The design process depends not only on me but also on the client providing the necessary information and feedback in a timely manner.
17. Specifically regarding weddings, which type of paper do you advise brides to portion most of their budget on: Save the Dates, Invitations, Menu Cards or Thank Yous?
If they want luxury, then I suggest to invest their budget in the invitation suite as this is the crux of their paper goods experience. The other pieces can still portray a quality, luxurious image without needing to incorporate letterpress, foil stamping, etc.
18. Can you go into more detail regarding your Monogram signs?
Working with a CNC machine sparked my imagination for all the types of materials I could make signage out of. Whether I digitize my own lettering or choose a font I love, the outline of the letterforms is cut out of plexi glass and sometimes adhered to panel that frames the letterform. For solid colors I’ll use spray paint to achieve a flat look; for the wood grain texture, I used a stiff bristled brush with acrylic and metallic paint. The 2 pieces are adhered using heavy duty double-sided tape.
19. How do you decide which vendors to recommend to your clients?
For printers, it’s based on materials/printing methods available, quality, and price. For event planners, photographers and florists, it’s pricing and personality as these people will work closely with my clients to bring their vision to life.