Sunday May 4, 2014
By Jolly Edition
Every year we like to write a little retrospective for posterity. It’s important for us to be honest and transparent with our audience; it’s the foundation of our brand and the wedding industry could use more honesty in general. If you’re investing in your own celebration, you’re a wedding vendor or you’ve been married for thirty years, everyone could benefit from knowing we’re one of the companies trying to make your life easier. We’re always looking for ways to improve our offering for both us and our clients. Writing this helps us register this moment in our journey and we hope, should you read it, you’ll enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed 2013.
LHR ✈ BWI
In April we moved from Cambridge, UK, to Baltimore, US. We’d planned our move carefully over the course of many months but nothing could have prepared us for the upheaval we went through. We dragged our entire lives, Jolly Edition and all, inside three suitcases over three thousand miles and five time zones away. We had the unenvious position of buying a completely new office (and equipment and furniture to fill it) as well as finding new printers, suppliers, a new accountant and most painfully, new friends.
It was tough. Fortunately this brought about a changing in currency, from British pounds to American dollars, which led us to rethink our pricing entirely. Which was quite the epiphany!
Charging For Our Work
Way back in 2012 we made a big mistake. We included the number of prints in the cost of our work in an effort to benchmark our services for prospective clients. We saw a landscape where stationers, almost without exception, charged $x per print for their work. With hindsight we know this was a mistake for a single, important reason: no other stationer does what we do. We’ve always prided ourselves on our ability to offer custom stationery. Not designs we’ve used on another project rejigged to include the new clients’ palette choice, not swapping heads on illustrations or reusing elements in multiple projects.
We begin with nothing and work with each and every client to build their stationery from scratch into something completely unique to their celebration. In 2013 we realized we were trying to do too much, we were misleading clients by benchmarking the price of our work against higher–volume, non–custom stationers. We now itemize each project’s price so our prospective clients can make a more informed decision based on what we’re offering against other vendors.
It was this decision which led to our big success in 2013.
In 2013 we doubled our income from 2012. Our hard work looked to be paying off, defining a more sustainable trajectory for our future. Until recently there were just two of us, Laura and Tom, working away on projects for clients across the globe. We went from half–time to full–time inside six months of forming Jolly Edition and in the last year we doubled our profit. We’re very proud to say we did this without sacrificing the quality of our work. We did multiply the volume of our output. In 2012 we completed more than 30 projects, last year we did more than 100.
One Hundred Projects
We were overcome with the attention our work received in our first and second years. We were featured — to name a few — by (our heroine) Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Glamour, CBS, Your & Your Wedding and — the icing on the cake for any vendor on Etsy — we were made Featured Sellers.
We’re already a quarter into year three and therefore late in posting this update. Fortunately this is because we’re working hard to fulfill the fifty projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on so far this year. This, as you math whizzes out there will have calculated, means we’re on course for another record–breaking year. But we can’t continue this alone.
Investing in Our Brand
Early this year we realized we can’t do this alone. We work long hours, seven days a week and there’s only so many clients we can say yes to before we begin to jeopardize everyone we’ve promised to do our best for. At the time of writing cloning is still illegal so that’s not an option.
Enter new illustrators, Emma Block and Elizabeth Graeber. Laura and Elizabeth have been peers for many years and Emma is someone who we’ve enjoyed watching for some time. We found a way to bring their work to our audience using the same pricing, process and management as any of our other projects we’ve been busy creating. We’re so excited to introduce their work to you over the coming weeks and months as we triple our availability in a multitude of interesting ways.
Would You Like To Work With Us?
For the first time we’re looking for more illustrators to be a part of our company. We’ve crafted a transparent, detail–oriented, fun process with which to work with our clients and we’re now looking for illustrators with a strong voice to their work to be a part of our journey. We’ll be picky about who we choose to keep our offering manageable yet exciting but we’re always open to making new friends and welcoming people into our business.
Year three is all about offering our personality–driven work available to as many people as possible. We’d love you to be a part of our year.
Photography by the wonderful Sarah Mooney