As promised in my first ever blog post, here's the story of Silhouette Blue Stationery!
While stationery has always been a love of mine, I hadn't planned on it being a career. I majored in graphic design in college, but the focus was never on starting a business. That all changed as I entered my senior year at Loyola University Chicago, and had to start brainstorming for Senior Show - an art major graduation requirement that was basically a huge semester-long project that ended with an exhibit at Loyola's art gallery.
I decided to create a line of greeting cards and Silhouette Blue was born! Well, not really. At this point I still didn't have any intention of using these cards to launch a business. I created several mock-ups of potential cards, and my advisor and I kept going back to this design, which would end up being the inspiration for the entire line:
Embrace Greeting Card - the very first official Silhouette Blue card!
After months of designing I had a beautiful collection of 30 greeting cards, each featuring a colorful silhouette. I agonized over color schemes, paper finishes, card sizes and envelopes, but I needed a name. I sat around my childhood kitchen table with my mom, dad, and grandma tossing around ideas, taking notes on a napkin. I'm not sure who, but one of them suggested combining "silhouette" (a nod to the silhouette designs) and a color (a nod to the bright ink colors). And Silhouette Blue was born! I would say, half-born. Can you be half born? I still wasn't thinking that Silhouette Blue would turn out to be a legit business - if I was I would have picked something easier to spell!
Four designs from the original 2006 Silhouette Blue collection.
And finally, at the gallery opening a week before graduation, Silhouette Blue was truly-really-actually born. During the cocktail party so many people came up to me wanting to BUY MY GREETING CARDS. I had printed and packaged a few cards with the hope that this would happen, but that was mostly wishful thinking. When stranger named Charles (I remember him so clearly - thank you Charles!) handed over his hard earned money in exchange for Silhouette Blue greeting cards, my perspective changed. This could be a business.
As fate would have it, soon after my first sale my newly engaged cousin asked me to make her wedding invitations. I was terrified but exhilarated by the opportunity, and immersed myself in the world of paper goods. I researched and designed and printed and cut and glued all 250 pocketfold invitations in my parent's basement, my desk tucked between the big freezer and the water heater. Humble beginnings indeed, but I felt my soul come alive. I felt at home, and knew that this would be my future.
In the months and years after my cousin's wedding, so many things fell into place. I knew more people getting married who needed invitations, I opened an Etsy shop, I created my own website, I moved into an apartment with an office. Four years after my cards debuted at Senior Show, I quit my job to run Silhouette Blue full time.
And now it's been ten years, and this wonderful job still makes my soul come alive.