Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This Irish wedding makes me happy for surprising reasons

I don't normally post about past (or present) customers, but one thing that always tickles me pink is when we hear from an overseas bride or groom. We don't ship printed cards yet, but lots of couples have used our designs and just printed in their own country. A frequent lament we hear is "All the stationery over here sucks!". For them, 'sucks' generally means boring or traditional. 

It feels kinda weird writing about a customer... I normally don't, I normally write about whatever fiddly things are going on in my brain. But today the fiddly things are how it truly is amazing to hear that you have helped someone. Sure, you've helped them through a commercial interaction—but is that not valid? Against some of my own fears and guilts, it seems like it is indeed valid. 

I started A Printable Press during the beginning of the recession, to help out other people, and of course to earn a living for myself as well. Or rather, I didn't know it would be a living, I thought it would just be a little something on the side. That little side project turned into a full-time company in a flash, like a knock you over flash. Because, as it turned out, so many people wanted good design in a way they could afford. Not just wanted, but kind of needed. 

I have had nigh-breakdowns about wanting to earn a living by doing good in the world, and feeling that I had fallen into a dreaded industry that convinces people they need to spend tons of money on a single day. That I was complicit in the era of making people think they need something, even if it racks up credit card debt.

But I am finally, finally, coming to believe that I am providing a service. A nice service, like nice as in being a nice person, doing nice things for people. Are pretty wedding invitations necessary to a wedding? No. You can email or do an online thing, or even call people or send a hand-written note. But people seem to have an inborn desire for prettiness, and an inborn eye for it too. People do not want to have to buy their stationery from Costco. And not everyone is a designer and can make all things by hand. Or have design programs.

It's not just a modern industry. The wealthy used to have calligraphers do each invitation by hand, gild the edges in fact (was it real gilding? I just realized that I don't know! What if it was! Holy crap). And have some guy in livery hand-deliver it, and then another guy would hop in their horse and carriage and return a hand-written reply. And you know what? These days, it's not just for those who can afford gilding. 

I *think* I might actually and truly be doing something nice for the world. It's something other people have been trying to convince me of for 3 years, that I had accomplished that goal. Somehow, for some reason, it is today that I truly believe it.

Anyway, all of these fiddly thoughts came about because I received a note from a Facebook reader about their wedding in Ireland. Their location was the Royce estate, as in Rolls Royce, and Jo was kind enough to send a couple of pics. 


Now, with that much gorgeousity, they are probably not in dire financial straits. But I bet they can't afford gilding either. And they certainly didn't like any of the stationery they found in Ireland. We made someone happy, happy to the point where she wanted to let us know about it. That we helped make things just a little more special.

Thank you Jo. You don't know it, but you pushed me over the hill of "Am I doing any good in the world?" to help me run down the other side into the fields of "I am making people happy!".

Xoxo to Jo,


  1. Kimi, I am a longtime lover of your blog & your work (found you on APW when they posted about your wedding & amazing dress the first time!) And I just want to affirm that you are doing good - from our own wedding experience. We didn't use Printable Press (although I spent a lot of time on your site looking at different images) - we found an artist who drew invitations for us as a side project (we live in Pittsburgh and he was affordable! Had we not found him we would have used PP) - I'm rambling but what I am TRYING to say is that because of the ethos you have here, that everyone deserves to have beauty/an aesthetic that works for them, we were able not only to look for this artist, but engage him and articulate to him what aesthetic we were looking for. I seriously do not know if we would have realized it was okay to do that without PP and your gentle insistence that it is perfectly fine for people to customize as they want. I just wanted you to know that you are making happy - not only in your work (believe me I will be using PP for future events requiring invitations!) but in the energy you are putting into the world, and that made a difference for me.

    1. Hannah, I cannot tell you how much your comment means to me. Oddly, it means even more that you were able to create your own completely unique stationery, because that's what I wish for everyone. And hearing that my/our energy is being felt out there, that what we expend on our job reverberates further out, is tear-worthy. I may spin off on your comment, if that's ok. I hope you read this!

  2. Hello Kimi - Kim here

    I will de-lurk this instant to say yes, yes, yes, overseas cards *SUCK*. SO. BAD. At least the "commercial" variety. Come to think of it, most of the wedding industry sucks in a bad way (speaking of much of continental Europe here) - it is *always*, a million times, the same. I see so many of my acquaintances who otherwise are super creative, opinionated and free people succumb to the cookie-cutter definition of what a "real" wedding must look like - boring, horrible invitations included. Even *they* don't like them...and yet, everyone plays the same spiel because there are no other options available to you (unless you are super creative AND can deal with the comments and stares of people who think you're nuts for not doing it "the standard" way. Ah, the central European wedding! It deserves it's own post, really).

    On the upside, though: because everything is so traditional and "boring", there's very little room for the budding wedding industry to "over-up-sell" people the way I see many over your side of the pond struggle with - the traditional wedding in and of itself is a fairly down to earth affair. Nevertheless, great design (like yours) for the win! So I'll be sure to keep pointing people your way whenever I have the chance. And translate for them if need be.

    All the best with your business and many kind regards from Switzerland!

    1. Well I obviously need to write a post about European wedding style! I've heard about the traditionalism that pervades the celebrations, which I don't think is a bad thing, and might even take some stress out of all the planning. But it is never ever a good thing for people to feel pooh-poohed for wanting to do things differently. How do you think it could be improved? Do you think there's a way to ease people into things? Europe is so advanced in sooooo many other ways!