Happy Friday, my lovelies! And time for me to introduce you to another fabulous South African service provider. Essie Letterpress is one of SBB’s sponsors, which I’m thrilled about because I love their work so much – not just the beautiful letterpress printing they offer, but the designs they produce as well. It makes me want to reach into my screen and stroke the invitations (is that a publishing thing? an obsession with paper?) just so I can feel those delicious indentations and smell the ink. My love affair with letterpress aside, Vanessa and Ben of Essie Letterpress are just the nicest people to work with, so I asked them to share some behind-the-scenes info and advice with my readers.
Hi Vanessa – thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions about your business! How did you get into letterpress?
I was living in San Francisco twelve years ago, whilst studying interior design, when I first came across letterpress, as one of my housemates was doing a part-time course. I immediately fell in love with it! I went on to work as an Interior Designer, but when I moved to a farm from Cape Town two and half years ago and wanted to do something creative, I instantly thought about starting a letterpress printing company. There was also a gap in the South African market for letterpress, so it seemed like the perfect venture.
As well as straightforward letterpress printing, what other services or products do you offer?
We offer a design service, and on the printing side we have just started doing hot foiling as well.
I’m super excited about today’s Q&A, as it features a designer I have admired for a long time, Elbeth Gillis. You’ve seen many of her dresses on real brides here on SBB, and every time I do I’m struck by how beautiful they look. Elbeth also has a reputation for being amazing to work with, which really makes the whole process of creating your dress such a special experience. I’m thrilled to be working on a little something behind the scenes with Elbeth too – watch this space! For now, let’s meet the lovely lady, and find out a bit more about what drives and inspires her. (All images are from Elbeth’s 2012 collection.)
Hi Elbeth – thanks so much for taking the time to chat to me! I’m a big fan of your gorgeous dresses – how would you describe your latest collection?
Very romantic and feminine with a vintage feel.
How did you get started in the business? I studied Fashion Design at CPUT and then worked as a designer for some of the big chain stores before starting my own business designing what I love most, wedding gowns.
Do you have a design philosophy? Less is more and always use the best quality fabrics and trims available.
Where do you find inspiration?
I look at trends from the Haute Couture collections. Beautiful fabrics always inspire me and sometimes the smallest things like a new sleeve detail or beaded flower can lead me to create a new design for a gown.
What’s a typical day in the studio like?
I usually start the morning by checking on the gowns that my staff are busy with, seeing how far they are and if things are being done the way I envisioned. Then I check the dresses that brides will be fitting that day. I usually have a few fittings and consultations with new clients every day. I will also check that we have all the fabrics and trims we need for the gowns we are working on and either my assistant or I will pace orders or run around to source the fabrics. I will also respond to queries and do quotes on email and update our facebook and twitter accounts.Read More